Talking To My Agnostic Friend

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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Princess Kairi » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:10 am

Someone at church actually let me borrow the documentary of The Case for Christ and I was able to use it during one of our sessions. It really helped a lot and I want to get the book, but can't right at this moment.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Nate » Tue Oct 01, 2013 1:34 pm

C.S. Lewis is a great fiction writer and he's nice for inspirational statements but he is a really, really bad theologian. Probably one of the worst.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Tue Oct 01, 2013 4:42 pm

I wouldn't say he's a bad theologian per se. His stuff tends to be pretty much in line of orthodox theology. But he's certainly not the best when it comes to arguing Christianity as some sort of truth. His realm of study was literature and not theology.

As for Lee Strobel, good grief what a hack. I put in in the same playing field with people like Richard Dawkins. The Case for Christ/Faith/a Creator books are all pretty terrible. And while I tend to decry all of apologetics in general, there are still some apologists I have *some* level of respect for (such as Alvin Plantinga and ONLY Alvin Plantinga. But even so I think reformed epistemology and analytical philosophy in general are all kinda dumb). Lee Strobel isn't one of them. Your time is better well spent elsewhere.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Nate » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:40 pm

I'm mostly thinking of Lewis's "three L's" argument which is laughably bad in that it's a false dilemma, and his refusal to admit that non-theistic versions of morality exist (even if he didn't agree with then, he seems to have pretended they didn't exist).
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Tue Oct 01, 2013 8:56 pm

Yeah those were all pretty terrible.

Anyway I'm not a proponent of convincing anyone that Christianity is correct, especially even to yourself. I think an important part of being spiritual is being aware that you could very well be incorrect about everything yet you so choose to believe in what you believe. I love the line from a song by mewithoutYou that goes "So by now I think it's pretty obvious that there's no God; and there's definitely a God!"

Most people see a dualistic tension between two statements, but it's actually just one statement. It's about accepting and living out a paradox and by doing so it's no longer entirely a paradox any longer.

Don't be so concerned with telling or convincing him on what is true or not true because nobody actually has access to the Truth. We're already stuck with arbitrarily defining and signifying things simply because we think with some man-made construct that is language. So I think it's better to focus more on being what you believe to be true so that it is actually true.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Princess Kairi » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:16 pm

Mr. SmartyPants wrote:Don't be so concerned with telling or convincing him on what is true or not true because nobody actually has access to the Truth. We're already stuck with arbitrarily defining and signifying things simply because we think with some man-made construct that is language. So I think it's better to focus more on being what you believe to be true so that it is actually true.

We've actually touched on that. My take on it is I have nothing to lose if I'm wrong.

Thank you so much for the help and prayers, everyone. He's actually starting to seriously consider everything. He told me tonight that for the past few days he's been trying to decide if he should start believing again or not. I took this as a very good sign and he even told me that he's surprised with how far he's gotten.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Tue Oct 01, 2013 9:27 pm

I don't think it needs to be this dichotomy of "believing" or "not believing". Spirituality can be seen as a spectrum and it's important to appreciate all areas of that spectrum.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Xeno » Tue Oct 01, 2013 10:24 pm

Princess Kairi wrote:We've actually touched on that. My take on it is I have nothing to lose if I'm wrong.

Don't go so far as to extrapolate that into him having everything to lose if he's wrong. What MSP is saying is neither of you really know, thus neither of you have anything to lose by being wrong, nor anything to gain by being right (you could both be wrong, or both be right, or both be wrong AND right Image). So if he's cool with believing in all this then cool, if not then that's cool too.

Edit: I can't say anything about Lewis because I never read his stuff, but Strobel's work is hilariously bad. A lot of it attempts to use science and logic to provide proofs for the spiritual/supernatural, problem his arguments fall apart entirely too easily.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Nate » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:11 am

Xeno wrote:Edit: I can't say anything about Lewis because I never read his stuff, but Strobel's work is hilariously bad. A lot of it attempts to use science and logic to provide proofs for the spiritual/supernatural, problem his arguments fall apart entirely too easily.

Without veering this thread too much off-topic, Lewis has an argument for the divinity of Jesus often called "the three L's." He was upset with the claim that Jesus was a great moral teacher but not the Son of God, and said that due to things Jesus said, the only way you can view him is as Lord, a Liar (and therefore could not be a great moral teacher) or a Lunatic, "on the level of someone who says they are a poached egg" and therefore we should not listen to him.

Now even taken at face value, a liar does not always lie about everything and a person can be a liar and still teach good moral values...a liar can even teach that lying is bad even if he does it himself. Likewise, if the hobo at the street corner that says that he can control rats with his mind also says to brush your teeth twice a day, it would be ridiculous to think that brushing your teeth twice a day is therefore wrong or should be ignored.

However, more importantly it ignores what can be called the "four M's," which of course are that Jesus was Mistaken about his claim, but still a good moral teacher who should be listened to, Misquoted by people who heard him preach, that his claims to divinity were Made up by the writers of the gospels, or that Jesus himself was Mythological (which does not invalidate the teachings themselves).

The second is that Lewis has said if life has no meaning, "we should not know that it has no meaning," same as if we lived in a universe where light didn't exist, we would not know the meaning of light or that it existed. It falls in line with other statements of his that boil down to "I desire x, therefore that implies that x exists." Which isn't a very strong argument for the existence of something (one could make the same statement about karmic retribution, for example, which isn't a Christian concept), not to mention comparing a physical thing such as light to an intangible concept such as meaning. Likewise with his statement of how he rejected atheism, because he said he was originally an atheist because he thought the world was cruel and unjust, then realized "But that implies that there is an objective standard of what is just and righteous," and said that the concept of justice could only come from God. Unfortunately, as I said, this completely ignores that non-theistic arguments for objective morality exist, and even besides that, even if you accept his premise that objective morality comes from a deity that doesn't prove the Christian God, but merely a god.

ANYWAY.

To get this thread back on track.
Princess Kairi wrote:We've actually touched on that. My take on it is I have nothing to lose if I'm wrong.

This isn't entirely true. I know what you're getting at, Pascal's wager (if God doesn't exist, I cease to exist just like an atheist, therefore no loss). The problem with Pascal's wager is that it ignores things like "What if Zoroastrianism is the correct religion?" Then you would still have everything to lose if you were wrong.
Thank you so much for the help and prayers, everyone. He's actually starting to seriously consider everything. He told me tonight that for the past few days he's been trying to decide if he should start believing again or not. I took this as a very good sign and he even told me that he's surprised with how far he's gotten.

You're quite welcome, but remember, you're saying that he's trying to decide and you take that as a good sign, but what if he comes out of it and says "Eh I'm still not convinced?" What do you do then? I think it would be a very bad idea if you tied your happiness to whether or not he became a believer or not. I guess what I'm asking is, would you be upset or depressed if he stayed agnostic/atheist? And also, more importantly, why would you be upset/depressed if you did?
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Princess Kairi » Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:47 pm

Nate wrote:You're quite welcome, but remember, you're saying that he's trying to decide and you take that as a good sign, but what if he comes out of it and says "Eh I'm still not convinced?" What do you do then? I think it would be a very bad idea if you tied your happiness to whether or not he became a believer or not. I guess what I'm asking is, would you be upset or depressed if he stayed agnostic/atheist? And also, more importantly, why would you be upset/depressed if you did?

I get what you're saying and agree that it's good to be prepared for what may happen, but I also think that it's not good to over prepare. The Bible says to praise God in all situations and this is no doubt a reason to praise. You haven't had the experiences I've had with him. He's made a lot of progress since we first started this. Come what may in the future and we'll deal with it then, but for now he's showing signs of hope and I thank God for that. If it wasn't for God, we wouldn't have made it this far.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Xeno » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:10 am

You're saying progress like he's in rehab or something. And to further Nate's question, which you didn't really answer, what next week he tells you that despite everything you've talked about, he just can't find it in himself to believe. How long do you see this process taking exactly? At what point do you sit back and go "okay, we've been talking about/studying this for however long, do you or do you not feel compelled to believe?" Does this discussion happen a month, 6 months, a year from now? Do you just keep talking to him about this until the end of time until he either tells you he believes or tells you to stop?

Saying you can deal with it in the future is fine, and you will deal with it In the future, but not even planning for the outcome for this is just a bad idea. Save not planning for what kind of car you'll get when you're married.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Nate » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:45 am

Princess Kairi wrote:I get what you're saying and agree that it's good to be prepared for what may happen, but I also think that it's not good to over prepare.

You say it's not good to over-prepare, but you're the one saying you think this is the guy God wants you to be with and even if you aren't actually planning for it, you're probably thinking marriage. So why is it okay to over-prepare in one circumstance but not another?

Would you want to have a romantic relationship even if he decided not to believe? And if he didn't want to believe, how would you feel? And why would you feel that way: because he decided not to believe, or because you'd be more apprehensive (possibly even unwilling to consider) a romantic relationship?

Because if the biggest reason you would feel sad or upset is because "Now I can't be with this guy" then ultimately this isn't about him looking for God, it's about you. And that's bad.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby K. Ayato » Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:52 am

You said it, Nate. That's why I insist you take a break from this guy, talk with a pastor, and really step back and take a look at what your motives truly are in this situation and whether or not they're in fact driven by your feelings.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:14 am

What if he's trying hard to believe because he wants to be with you? That could easily mean that he's not being honest wth himself. That's only gonna breed resentment in the time to come.

Trust me this stuff happens all the time.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby K. Ayato » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:55 am

Well said, MSP. Both on what you just said and what Nate brought up. Both instances were ones I myself refused to look at clearly, and the resulting heartache is what I'll have to deal with for probably the rest of my life. In spite of the circumstances, my little Jenna is a gift I cherish every day.
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Re: Talking To My Agnostic Friend

Postby Atria35 » Wed Oct 23, 2013 3:00 pm

Just to provide another story/pov/whatever, this last weekend my pastor married his girlfriend of four years. His girlfriend is a Hinduit. Neither of them felt any need to convert each other, as they clicked so well with their values and respected that each other were so spiritual that they clicked regardless. And they are both very much in love. So. Four years. And still going strong. It can happen.
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