Recently, I found the channel of a man named Pedro Leonardo. According to what I’ve read about him, he is a former SDA pastor (now an atheist) who constantly bashes this church, and sometimes he attacks Christianity in general, sayind things like “faith is a medieval pest that modern science has not been able to destroy” (he has no idea about REAL science and how it leads to God, so don’t worry about that).
Although I have refuted most of his arguments in the comment section of any video I find him (Hitchens razor is very useful against him), this one is pretty interesting (it is in Spanish).
Here, he argues that “Christianity is a dead end”. Why? Well, he says something that most of you have heard before, “truth is subjective”. Then, Pedro argues that salvation is different in every church, so you will never know which church is the right one.
After that, Leonardo paraphrases the “who created God?” argument saying that “before God there was nothing, so God created Himself, and that is nonsense”. Following that statement, he uses the “Jesus is a copy of 34 messiahs who supposedly came before him” argument (yeah, he watched too much Zeitgeist).
This is a VERY controversial topic between us Christians and the plurality of churches is a common objection to Christian theism. Is Christianity really a dead end? Or is it the real way to God?
I just attended a conference in which one of the workshops was over the subject of the reformation and this very plurality that you observe. [yeah … I know … thousands of years of history condensed into a 50 minute workshop --it wasn’t just the reformation but also included the Eastern Orthodox before that, and all the happenings since. The speaker moved fast.]
But something said there left an impression on me. The speaker [not himself of Eastern Orthodox persuasion] said he had taken his students to visit an E.O. church; and the architecture itself conveyed a message. They don’t have statues like Catholics do, but they do have plenty of pictures depicting saints all through history. Standing there he was surrounded by saints all around and above; all staring at him. It gave one the impression that you were being challenged --or maybe cheered on. Your team is bigger than your own little church, and certainly bigger than just you. All these eyes are there as if to say “here is what we did to advance God’s kingdom. Now you are on the field --how will you carry this on?”
Our speaker appreciated with us, then and there, how productive and even essential it is for churches to recognize their roots into this history and how much accountability that should help us to recognize. Even non-denominational churches who may in some ways try to distance themselves from all such heritage or lineage – they still have it whether they recognize it or not. And we all do well to stay plugged in for that “larger than my own church” accountability and not run from it.
That doesn’t, of course, answer everything about all our co-existing cousins of denominations or how or if they should all relate to each other. But recognizing our common roots in a very stout tree is a good start --even if we still argue about who is the true continuation of the main trunk all the way back to the beginning and who is a “branch off of” that trunk. But in the end I think all that squabbling will be shown to be silly.
I personally maintain that the shadow of our Savior falls across such a wide swath of us all that it is no respecter of denominational or even organized religious boundaries. Yes – it is necessary to be in “a” or “the” fold in order to find counsel and grow in discipleship. But as regards salvation, I think Christ may truly be “salvation without borders” so to speak. Certainly not geographically or even religiously drawn up ones anyway.
God’s Church would be impoverished, not strengthened; if it were to have a sudden “unity” thrust upon it as an end of all plurality. Let detractors and skeptics complain about that as they will. (Can you tell this is a protestant speaking?). Unity is always good as an aspiration – and I enjoy and admire that in my Catholic brothers and sisters to the extent that they actually have it. But we who may not formally be part of that specific fold shouldn’t die a thousand deaths over not having it. There are some good reasons for that too.
Well, I’m still a SDA and, to be honest, my church is not really open. Sure, I can accept evolution, the Big Bang and all other things because I have an open mind and a really good education, but most people inside the SDA church are very close and some did not even get a decent education (here in Uruguay, people rarely finish what would be middle school). They say evolution is blasphemy and that accepting evolution can disqualify you from God’s Kingdom (I’m not joking when I say this).
I try to have a peaceful dialogue with them. I even recommended books which are helpful to understand evolution and how you can accept it without rejecting God (Saving Darwin for example, which is one of my favourites), but they just won’t listen. They keep quoting Mark and Exodus to support YEC and don’t want to see what those passages really mean.
Since I do not speak Spanish, I will not try the video. A few years back, I attended a biblical archaeology lecture given by the son of missionaries, a man also turned off to religion. I recall one overhead he presented to the audience. The overhead proved, by what he presented, that the Bible is translated so differently in each version that you cannot trust it. The audience loved it, rocking back and forth in their seats slapping their thighs with laughter. Later, I realized that this man had made an overhead presentation that misrepresented what the various translations said with regard to that particular verse.
He had to know what he was doing, and he had to know he was misleading his audience.
Since that time, I have been very skeptical of people who claim to have been pastors or topnotch religious anythings and then fallen from the faith. They may have fallen…this is true. But they have decided to take others with them.
I had a discussion with Pedro Leonardo on Facebook today. I just asked him for evidence to back up his assertions and guess what? He just insulted me over and over again. After dismantling all of his arguments and strawmen using logic and Hitchens’ razor, he just said “You are an impostor! Neither you, or God, or the devil will stop me!” and then blocked me, showing that he didn’t have any evidence for his atheism.
For someone who claims to be a “freethinker”, he didn’t think very much.
When I was an atheist, I really did not believe in God. Any talk that impacted that idea was rejected by me very emotionally. When I stopped beng an atheist I actually forgot, for a time, that I ever had been one. This is because atheism is mostly emotions, I have known other atheists to forget also that they ever had been one…All people believe in God. But some of us are too angry to admit it. Sorry for this guy. He must have been deeply hurt or disappointed at some point.
According to him, the church gave him ‘mental problems’ (if he didn’t have them already) and now makes videos on YT and hate posts on FB against Christianity. Trying to argue with him is pointless. He will start insulting you after he has no more cards on his hand. His classic one is:
“Being a Christian is believing in myths, fables and fairy tales.”
I simply dismantled it saying “Give me proof of why being a Christian means that you now believe in talking snakes”
He just insulted me and said “You are defending that piece of ****” and then said “You are just a kid, only kids question people with 50 years of experience on this subject”
How did I respond? Simple: “You’re just appealing to your authority, and that does not prove anything”
After dismantling every single one of his arguments in a VERY long thread, he said that I was an impostor and that I was not the kid* on my profile picture, and then blocked me.
*Funny, cause in my FB profile picture you can see I have a beard.
Anti-evolution and/or young earth creationism is much more of a founding doctrine in SDA than other denominations, as I am sure you are aware. In fact, much of the modern creationist movements has its roots in SDA. As it turns out, Biologos has a nice article on the subject found here.
“When I was an atheist, I really did not believe in God.”
Followed by . . .
“All people believe in God. But some of us are too angry to admit it.”
Some of the weakest arguments I have seen involve people pushing assertions about what other people really believe, and both theists and atheists are guilty of this at times. I have seen atheists argue that deep down Christians really don’t believe in God, and I have always found that to be a rather short sighted and borderline insulting argument. The best we can do is take people at their word and perhaps find something in common that we all share.
Hello T…I meant that in the sense that I “did not believe” when I was an atheist. I was not pretending to be one. But once I decided that there is a God, it was as though I always had believed in Him. It might be called spiritual blindness. There might be reasons someone gives but it is blindness in the sense that their emotions or some bad experience has gotten in the way.
And yes, I do believe that all people have had moments when they believed. God has not left us with no evidence of His existence whatsoever. There is a reason why some want to NOT believe. But the evidence for belief is still there.