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Why It's Hard To Debate With Christians.


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I can think of a few reasons.

 

1. No True Scottsman: every Christian does this to an extent. Either by claiming you were never a true Christian, that someone else isn't a true Christian, or by distancing themselves from what others believe. I'd say every Christian, even the most Liberal ones, are distancing themselves in one way or another.

 

Sometimes they actually don't believe what some of the nuttier ones do. Heck, I was raised Liberal Christian so I know. Sadly, this means that when those fundies get called out, the liberals often feel attacked, as if they are being lumped in. You can even specify that you are only targeting the fundamentalists in your rants, but they'll still go on the defensive. Therefore, entire discussions on Christianiy can go off on a tangent on how not all Christians are like that and how it's bad to stereotype (no matter how specific you've been). It's possible that the ones who responded to your rant don't really believe the version of Christianity you're debating.

 

However, it's also possible that they do, but just have a different interpretation. This goes into number 2.

 

2. Semantics If you make a post on a message board saying that you're not religious, chances are you'll get one Christian who will tell you that religion is bad, but that Jesus is the answer. All you gotta do is believe and you'll be saved from hell, but of course, it's not religion. What you begin to realize is that their definition of religion is much different than yours. Their definintion discludes their beliefs because theirs is "the truth." However, they probably don't have a problem claiming that evolutionism, atheism, and secularism, are religions. Ultimately, you'll probably find yourself debating the definition of "religion" instead of the claims of Christianity. And that's just one example of the semantics game in action.

 

3. Lack Of Understanding We have seen things through both sides of the playing field, but they most likely haven't. Therefore, they can't imagine ever not believing in Jesus. For example, if we mention something evil or horrific God did in the bible, they'll take this as an admittance that we do believe. Since they see God as a real being, they think when we refer to him, we're seeing him as a real being and NOT a character.

 

Sometimes it's just looking at things from two different viewpoints. We can both use analogies to describe the free will/hell delimma, but they will be on different ends of the spectrum. I could compare the choice to a mob boss telling you to pay up or get wacked, but they will compare it to us foolishly running off a cliff, sealing our own fate. To some of them, God and Jesus is a fact as obvious as the sky being blue, but to us skeptics, it's just religious dogma now. I guess this doesn't always have to be a bad thing, but it is frusturating.

 

I know there are others, but those are the main obsticals which come to mind.

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That's exactly what I believed when I was a Christian. Yet eventually I came to my senses when I realized it's all a sham. Christianity is mythology, and being "born again" is all in your head.

I was furiously fiddling with my balls. When I looked at my balls, my hands weren't fiddling them, must have been Jesus.

So, Jay, you were never a true atheist! lol   As to whether a born-again Christian can fall away:   1. the majority view and the longest-attested historical view is that one is born again in ba

Guest Valk0010

I can think of another one, but its a odd one that I have had trouble expressing. But I will give it a go.

 

Ideology.

 

They are adhering to a ideology, and therefore everything has to be filtered thru that ideology.

 

For example, when I read William Lane Craig's attempts at theodicy. Its a perfect example of speaking thru googles.

 

The ideology is correct to therefore, anything against that ideology has to be either worked in or the more absurd answer has to be accepted, because again the ideology is correct.

 

Case point. God must have a reason for toddlers to die of starvation. Even thought we don't know why we should still assume he is loving. We see god working in weird ways, so he must exist.

 

Thinking outside of ideology. Its the Argument from ignorance fallacy and moral cruelty on the part of a omnipotent god. Also, if a omnipotent god doesn't take care of such important matters as say the starvation of children, why should we fit him in elsewhere like say, actually raising Jesus from the dead. Those wierd ways are irrational and shouldn't be believed. No loving god could do this sort of thing.

 

See the difference. We see the emperor has no clothes, they seem him in lavish robes.

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I can think of a few reasons.

 

1. No True Scottsman: every Christian does this to an extent. Either by claiming you were never a true Christian, that someone else isn't a true Christian, or by distancing themselves from what others believe. I'd say every Christian, even the most Liberal ones, are distancing themselves in one way or another.

 

Sometimes they actually don't believe what some of the nuttier ones do. Heck, I was raised Liberal Christian so I know. Sadly, this means that when those fundies get called out, the liberals often feel attacked, as if they are being lumped in. You can even specify that you are only targeting the fundamentalists in your rants, but they'll still go on the defensive. Therefore, entire discussions on Christianiy can go off on a tangent on how not all Christians are like that and how it's bad to stereotype (no matter how specific you've been). It's possible that the ones who responded to your rant don't really believe the version of Christianity you're debating.

 

 

 

The question whether one is a Christian or not is a surprisingly tough to answer. I started to attend a Baptist church when I was in high school ( 'Christian' ) , became an avid atheist in college ( 'UnChristian' ) , went back to church after college due to a girl I was dating at the time ( Christian again), and later losing interests ( UnChristian again for a long while), etc. Only in 1996 when I got BORN AGAIN did I truly understand what being a Christian believer is. Since then, I remained a committed Christian and my faith has been growing stronger over the years as I have more experience with God.

 

So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

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So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

I have had two different experiences that one might call supernatural. One was me realizing christianity was baloney the first time, when I reconverted I had a born again experience(it was different then anything I ever experienced as a believer). I deconverted for the second and final time, about 7 months later.

 

Last october due to various things, I ended up in such a bad way mentally I started hearing things that were not there. I am thick skinned enough to guess your response to this. But as a atheist I heard, god talk to me and tell me to not do something. I legitimately heard a voice I had never ever heard before in my life, talk to me. Now if what you said is true. Then I would have never deconverted the second time, and as well I would be a christian now.

 

I will tell you why I don't believe that october experience is actually god talking to me. One, the facts don't the support the hypothesis. Two, I recently had a medication change and have not had anything like that happen to me since. I don't think I was really hearing god.

 

But if your right, then I am completely batty right now and should reconvert in a heartbeat.

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So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

I have had two different experiences that one might call supernatural. One was me realizing christianity was baloney the first time, when I reconverted I had a born again experience(it was different then anything I ever experienced as a believer). I deconverted for the second and final time, about 7 months later.

 

Last october due to various things, I ended up in such a bad way mentally I started hearing things that were not there. I am thick skinned enough to guess your response to this. But as a atheist I heard, god talk to me and tell me to not do something. I legitimately heard a voice I had never ever heard before in my life, talk to me. Now if what you said is true. Then I would have never deconverted the second time, and as well I would be a christian now.

 

I will tell you why I don't believe that october experience is actually god talking to me. One, the facts don't the support the hypothesis. Two, I recently had a medication change and have not had anything like that happen to me since. I don't think I was really hearing god.

 

But if your right, then I am completely batty right now and should reconvert in a heartbeat.

 

 

There are all sorts of mental phenomena. Personally, I even believe that I once heard from Satan. Please! Don't freak out. I am an Ok guy.

 

 

Born again experience is different. You know it only when you experience it. If your idea of 'born again' is somewhat hazy, chances are that you are not born again.

 

 

So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

Could you be more specific, that is a pretty broad question? I could tell the whole story, but I am sure the are particular bits you might want to look for.
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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

Could you be more specific, that is a pretty broad question?

 

 

Why do you think you were born again?

 

First of all, I believe it is a relatively rare phenomenon. I was a 'Christian' for more than 16 years and 'cultural Christian' for more than 24 years before being born again.

 

And as I said, if your conception of 'born again' is in anyway hazy, you may not have been born again.

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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

Could you be more specific, that is a pretty broad question?

 

 

Why do you think you were born again?

 

First of all, I believe it is a relatively rare phenomenon. I was a 'Christian' for more than 16 years and 'cultural Christian' for more than 24 years before being born again.

 

And as I said, if your conception of 'born again' is in anyway hazy, you may not have been born again.

Alright I'll bite tentatively

 

I was raised in a sort of lukewarm christian household. Even though I first decided, to accept christ, at nine at a billy graham event. (I don't believe a child can or should make that sort of desicon but that is another matter). I was never raised in a dye in the wool serious christian household. About the only thing really fundy that was beaten into my head was innerrancy of scripture. In fact I remeber times dragging my family to church.

 

During my teenage years, I am became more or less lapsed as a Christianity by even liberal standards. At 18, I decided I wanted to save people's souls. Well as funny as it may seem, I found the arguments from the other side to be more rational then what I was always taught. Like the eye proves evolution to be false, free will means we have to have suffering in the world. Things of that nature. I got a little overzealous in my new found conclusion. I ended up in a debate with a pastor over a phone and it lasted for like 2 hours. By the end of it, I saw no reason other then to believe. So i prayed with this guy and really meant it. And, the experience I had, was more or less more peace and certainity and comfort then I had ever experienced in my life. I felt like I was home, wierdly enough and all was okay. I thought I seriously experienced the kind of thing that you know, real converts to christianity feel. It reminded me of pentacost, slightly, but with less dramatics. With that I became a christian again. And wanted to learn desperately still things like the evidence for christianity. I wanted to know, because i wanted to convert people. I wasn't incredibly studious but I would find myself blocking out things I realized after I read them, either in some instances made no real sense, or in some instances actually made perfect sense, but disagreed with my experiences. Finally in november of 2009, I realized, wait, I am wrong. And what is wierd, was the night my faith feel apart, was the absolute opposite of the night i joined up. It was hell, trying to suppress what I knew, that there was no god. After I accepted it, that turmoil finally stopped and I had become a Deist for the time being. Mostly because I couldn't quiet make the leap to atheism.

 

BTW: that is the reader's digest verison of what happened

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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

Could you be more specific, that is a pretty broad question?

 

 

Why do you think you were born again?

 

First of all, I believe it is a relatively rare phenomenon. I was a 'Christian' for more than 16 years and 'cultural Christian' for more than 24 years before being born again.

 

And as I said, if your conception of 'born again' is in anyway hazy, you may not have been born again.

Alright I'll bite tentatively

 

I was raised in a sort of lukewarm christian household. Even though I first decided, to accept christ, at nine at a billy graham event. (I don't believe a child can or should make that sort of desicon but that is another matter). I was never raised in a dye in the wool serious christian household. About the only thing really fundy that was beaten into my head was innerrancy of scripture. In fact I remeber times dragging my family to church.

 

During my teenage years, I am became more or less lapsed as a Christianity by even liberal standards. At 18, I decided I wanted to save people's souls. Well as funny as it may seem, I found the arguments from the other side to be more rational then what I was always taught. Like the eye proves evolution to be false, free will means we have to have suffering in the world. Things of that nature. I got a little overzealous in my new found conclusion. I ended up in a debate with a pastor over a phone and it lasted for like 2 hours. By the end of it, I saw no reason other then to believe. So i prayed with this guy and really meant it. And, the experience I had, was more or less more peace and certainity and comfort then I had ever experienced in my life. I felt like I was home, wierdly enough and all was okay. I thought I seriously experienced the kind of thing that you know, real converts to christianity feel. It reminded me of pentacost, slightly, but with less dramatics. With that I became a christian again. And wanted to learn desperately still things like the evidence for christianity. I wanted to know, because i wanted to convert people. I wasn't incredibly studious but I would find myself blocking out things I realized after I read them, either in some instances made no real sense, or in some instances actually made perfect sense, but disagreed with my experiences. Finally in november of 2009, I realized, wait, I am wrong. And what is wierd, was the night my faith feel apart, was the absolute opposite of the night i joined up. It was hell, trying to suppress what I knew, that there was no god. After I accepted it, that turmoil finally stopped and I had become a Deist for the time being. Mostly because I couldn't quiet make the leap to atheism.

 

BTW: that is the reader's digest verison of what happened

 

 

 

 

That is really fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing it. I really appreciate it.

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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

Could you be more specific, that is a pretty broad question?

 

 

Why do you think you were born again?

 

First of all, I believe it is a relatively rare phenomenon. I was a 'Christian' for more than 16 years and 'cultural Christian' for more than 24 years before being born again.

 

And as I said, if your conception of 'born again' is in anyway hazy, you may not have been born again.

Alright I'll bite tentatively

 

I was raised in a sort of lukewarm christian household. Even though I first decided, to accept christ, at nine at a billy graham event. (I don't believe a child can or should make that sort of desicon but that is another matter). I was never raised in a dye in the wool serious christian household. About the only thing really fundy that was beaten into my head was innerrancy of scripture. In fact I remeber times dragging my family to church.

 

During my teenage years, I am became more or less lapsed as a Christianity by even liberal standards. At 18, I decided I wanted to save people's souls. Well as funny as it may seem, I found the arguments from the other side to be more rational then what I was always taught. Like the eye proves evolution to be false, free will means we have to have suffering in the world. Things of that nature. I got a little overzealous in my new found conclusion. I ended up in a debate with a pastor over a phone and it lasted for like 2 hours. By the end of it, I saw no reason other then to believe. So i prayed with this guy and really meant it. And, the experience I had, was more or less more peace and certainity and comfort then I had ever experienced in my life. I felt like I was home, wierdly enough and all was okay. I thought I seriously experienced the kind of thing that you know, real converts to christianity feel. It reminded me of pentacost, slightly, but with less dramatics. With that I became a christian again. And wanted to learn desperately still things like the evidence for christianity. I wanted to know, because i wanted to convert people. I wasn't incredibly studious but I would find myself blocking out things I realized after I read them, either in some instances made no real sense, or in some instances actually made perfect sense, but disagreed with my experiences. Finally in november of 2009, I realized, wait, I am wrong. And what is wierd, was the night my faith feel apart, was the absolute opposite of the night i joined up. It was hell, trying to suppress what I knew, that there was no god. After I accepted it, that turmoil finally stopped and I had become a Deist for the time being. Mostly because I couldn't quiet make the leap to atheism.

 

BTW: that is the reader's digest verison of what happened

 

 

 

 

That is really fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing it. I really appreciate it.

So what are your thoughts?
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So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

 

That's exactly what I believed when I was a Christian. Yet eventually I came to my senses when I realized it's all a sham. Christianity is mythology, and being "born again" is all in your head.

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Epiphanies are all mental constructs.

 

My BA experience happened in my own home. I had been watching a series of videos over the weekend starting Friday and all the time smoking and drinking. At the end of each vid was an alter call and I resisted as I really was not that moved. The last vid however had a rather moving alter call and I repeated the prayer.

 

The following Friday I testified to the group that got together to sing songs and do stuff the church did not allow. The prime reason was to learn the choruses as I had been drafted into the P&W group because of my musical skills.

 

They all then prayed and laid hands on me.

 

That night I then went to the living room and started praying when I got home and had watched a left behind vid.

 

I sensed, as I was bawling my eyes out, the presence of two beings in the room and would go as far to say that I saw them in my minds eye.

 

This was very very real and what I termed the turning point.

 

I had wanted this stuff to be real as it seemed these folk had something I did not.

 

IOW, the abandon of logic and rational thought was imperative for this to happen and as that part of my brain was not exercised of course the experience was new and very real.

 

After many years, this event was the thing to wrestle with after I had discovered the buy bull was all BS and the origins of the religion pagan and man made.

 

It was only when I saw Darren Brown's instant conversion video was I able to find a cognitive reason to explain what happened.

 

 

This was as they say the final nail in the coffin of my deconversion as I had seen this mind manipulation first hand and to a large extent had participated in the coercion albeit unawares.

 

Once the logical side had connected all the dots, there was no doubt whatever I had experienced like the anointing et al. it was all fabricated by my brain as I WANTED it to be real. It was not real.

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So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

 

That's exactly what I believed when I was a Christian. Yet eventually I came to my senses when I realized it's all a sham. Christianity is mythology, and being "born again" is all in your head.

 

Why do you think you were a Christian?

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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience? I am just curious because my current pet thesis is that a born again Christian will not renounce his faith in Christ.

Could you be more specific, that is a pretty broad question?

 

 

Why do you think you were born again?

 

First of all, I believe it is a relatively rare phenomenon. I was a 'Christian' for more than 16 years and 'cultural Christian' for more than 24 years before being born again.

 

And as I said, if your conception of 'born again' is in anyway hazy, you may not have been born again.

Alright I'll bite tentatively

 

I was raised in a sort of lukewarm christian household. Even though I first decided, to accept christ, at nine at a billy graham event. (I don't believe a child can or should make that sort of desicon but that is another matter). I was never raised in a dye in the wool serious christian household. About the only thing really fundy that was beaten into my head was innerrancy of scripture. In fact I remeber times dragging my family to church.

 

During my teenage years, I am became more or less lapsed as a Christianity by even liberal standards. At 18, I decided I wanted to save people's souls. Well as funny as it may seem, I found the arguments from the other side to be more rational then what I was always taught. Like the eye proves evolution to be false, free will means we have to have suffering in the world. Things of that nature. I got a little overzealous in my new found conclusion. I ended up in a debate with a pastor over a phone and it lasted for like 2 hours. By the end of it, I saw no reason other then to believe. So i prayed with this guy and really meant it. And, the experience I had, was more or less more peace and certainity and comfort then I had ever experienced in my life. I felt like I was home, wierdly enough and all was okay. I thought I seriously experienced the kind of thing that you know, real converts to christianity feel. It reminded me of pentacost, slightly, but with less dramatics. With that I became a christian again. And wanted to learn desperately still things like the evidence for christianity. I wanted to know, because i wanted to convert people. I wasn't incredibly studious but I would find myself blocking out things I realized after I read them, either in some instances made no real sense, or in some instances actually made perfect sense, but disagreed with my experiences. Finally in november of 2009, I realized, wait, I am wrong. And what is wierd, was the night my faith feel apart, was the absolute opposite of the night i joined up. It was hell, trying to suppress what I knew, that there was no god. After I accepted it, that turmoil finally stopped and I had become a Deist for the time being. Mostly because I couldn't quiet make the leap to atheism.

 

BTW: that is the reader's digest verison of what happened

 

 

 

 

That is really fascinating. Thank you so much for sharing it. I really appreciate it.

So what are your thoughts?

 

 

If you are asking me whether I think you were born again, my honest answer has to be no.

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Epiphanies are all mental constructs.

 

My BA experience happened in my own home. I had been watching a series of videos over the weekend starting Friday and all the time smoking and drinking. At the end of each vid was an alter call and I resisted as I really was not that moved. The last vid however had a rather moving alter call and I repeated the prayer.

 

The following Friday I testified to the group that got together to sing songs and do stuff the church did not allow. The prime reason was to learn the choruses as I had been drafted into the P&W group because of my musical skills.

 

They all then prayed and laid hands on me.

 

That night I then went to the living room and started praying when I got home and had watched a left behind vid.

 

I sensed, as I was bawling my eyes out, the presence of two beings in the room and would go as far to say that I saw them in my minds eye.

 

This was very very real and what I termed the turning point.

 

I had wanted this stuff to be real as it seemed these folk had something I did not.

 

IOW, the abandon of logic and rational thought was imperative for this to happen and as that part of my brain was not exercised of course the experience was new and very real.

 

After many years, this event was the thing to wrestle with after I had discovered the buy bull was all BS and the origins of the religion pagan and man made.

 

It was only when I saw Darren Brown's instant conversion video was I able to find a cognitive reason to explain what happened.

 

 

This was as they say the final nail in the coffin of my deconversion as I had seen this mind manipulation first hand and to a large extent had participated in the coercion albeit unawares.

 

Once the logical side had connected all the dots, there was no doubt whatever I had experienced like the anointing et al. it was all fabricated by my brain as I WANTED it to be real. It was not real.

 

 

 

There does seem to be self hypnosis aspect to your experience.

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If you are asking me whether I think you were born again, my honest answer has to be no.

I am not offended because I know better then to be, but kind of curious why you think so? And more the point, what biblical basis do you have to judge?
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If you are asking me whether I think you were born again, my honest answer has to be no.

I am not offended because I know better then to be, but kind of curious why you think so? And more the point, what biblical basis do you have to judge?

 

 

Thank you so much for not being offended by my honest answer. I prefer not saying it. But since you asked, I felt you deserved my honest answer.

 

I am just going by my own experience and my own understanding. What I am more sure of is that God has worked and is working on your lives. I can only pray that some day you will see the truth.

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Thank you so much everyone. I bid you goodnight. God bless you.

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So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

 

That's exactly what I believed when I was a Christian. Yet eventually I came to my senses when I realized it's all a sham. Christianity is mythology, and being "born again" is all in your head.

 

Why do you think you were a Christian?

 

Don't bother with semantics. I know I was a Christian. I was "born again," and Christ was my whole life. All I wanted was to grow in Christ and know God better, and to see others brought into the fold. Just like you, I thought that someone who had "experienced" the Holy Spirit would never reject him. That is precisely why my deconversion was such a painful process. What I had "known" to be true turned out to be false. What was utterly inconceivable (that I would stop believing) became reality.

 

So, don't try to insinuate that I wasn't a "true Christian," because when I was a Christian, I also said the same thing about those who left the faith. It may be inconceivable to you that you're wrong, but the fact is that you are, just like I was when it was inconceivable to me.

 

The reality is that I was every bit as much of a "true Christian" as one can possibly be. I was 100% convinced that Christianity was true, that Jesus had redeemed me from my sins, and that the Holy Spirit was living in me. I built my whole life around it. I was nothing and God was everything, and all that mattered to me was following him.

 

In the end, though, I found that Christianity does not stand up under scrutiny. It's mythology, plain and simple. This realization was an incredibly difficult paradigm shift, but it's one that I had to face, since I value truth.

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If you are asking me whether I think you were born again, my honest answer has to be no.

I am not offended because I know better then to be, but kind of curious why you think so? And more the point, what biblical basis do you have to judge?

 

 

Thank you so much for not being offended by my honest answer. I prefer not saying it. But since you asked, I felt you deserved my honest answer.

 

I am just going by my own experience and my own understanding. What I am more sure of is that God has worked and is working on your lives. I can only pray that some day you will see the truth.

Ahh then no true scotsman then.
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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience?

 

I was furiously fiddling with my balls. When I looked at my balls, my hands weren't fiddling them, must have been Jesus.

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So let me ask you, what happened when you had this born again experience?

 

I was furiously fiddling with my balls. When I looked at my balls, my hands weren't fiddling them, must have been Jesus.

Don't tempt him, remeber jesus said masturbating was a sin.
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The question whether one is a Christian or not is a surprisingly tough to answer. I started to attend a Baptist church when I was in high school ( 'Christian' ) , became an avid atheist in college ( 'UnChristian' ) , went back to church after college due to a girl I was dating at the time ( Christian again), and later losing interests ( UnChristian again for a long while), etc. Only in 1996 when I got BORN AGAIN did I truly understand what being a Christian believer is. Since then, I remained a committed Christian and my faith has been growing stronger over the years as I have more experience with God.

 

So I tend to subscribe this view that a true born again Christian will never, ever denounce his faith and would eventually finish his life as a believer. And indeed he would rather die as a martyr than denouncing his faith.

 

So, Jay, you were never a true atheist! lol

 

As to whether a born-again Christian can fall away:

 

1. the majority view and the longest-attested historical view is that one is born again in baptism. So if that's true, then yes, a baptized, regenerated person can later fall away.

 

2. Jay, your posts about the born-again are excellent examples of stuff that commits the No True Scotsman fallacy that Jackbauer described. You need to set forth in advance the criteria that humans can use to judge whether someone is born again (I'm guessing you won't say that it's the sacrament of baptism, but if you do, that would make it easier).

Or, you need to state that there are either no criteria discernible to a human being, or no criteria discernible to anyone who is not already born again.

 

If there are criteria that we can all use, then you can continue your discussion about people falling away. If there are no criteria known to humans by which they can judge that person X is born again, then there is no point continuing the topic. if the criteria are known only to those who are already born again, or only to some of them, then again there's no point continuing the topic, since in that case, you cannot show to someone else that you are born again, let again that anyone else is or is not.

 

3. your idea that regeneration occurs in an experience that has distinct psychological manifestations at the time of the experience is not in scripture. You are getting it from evangelical/fundamentalist protestant culture.

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I is almost too perfect that the progression of the thread only served to prove the original proposition of the OP.

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I wrote about this on the following thread.

 

http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/51083-ex-christians-dont-exist-apparently/

 

I had debated with a Christain scholar on Theologyonline.com.

 

If anyone's interested, here's that thread again:

 

http://www.theologyo...ead.php?t=81673

 

The guy was called Town Heretic - he said he was a lawyer.

 

His argument was essentially that I could not possibly be an ex-christian because there is an inherent contradiction in apostacy. His argument was that he assumed that "trust" is a forever or nothing concept and because I doubted the Bible, I never had genuine trust to begin with and therefore did not know the real God or Jesus. He said I had a stunted faith which was more like infatuation than genuine faith. He said I was logically inconsistent irrespective of whether a God exists or not!

 

I thought perhaps at first that I was missing something, but after careful examination clearly I wasn't. It was essentially bullshit and a disingenuous tactic from someone who was more keen on winning an argument with sophistry than being interested in a genuine pursuit of truth.

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