Why should I believe in God?

(GJDS) #22

One correction is required; in Paul’s time belief in gods was widely held, and Paul shows they turned away from God and created idols that catered to their immoral tendencies.

Nowadays there are brilliant theologians and brilliant atheists. The misbehaviour by established institutions who claim they are Christian has tarnished God’s name, and many have preferred a secular outlook - it is ironic that the immorality of so called religious people is now one factor (of many) that has led to a disbelief in God.

(Randy) #23

Mr Allen,

I don’t understand this–“most city western atheists don’t worship the replacement of God reptiles?”

I’m not sure this really relates to Dr Rauser’s note, but please clarify.

(Mitchell W McKain) #24

It is an easy technique of rhetoric to call anything you don’t like an idol and the people having anything to do with it, rather than doing what you dictate, worshipers of that idol. So if you don’t like reality TV then TV is an idol and those who participate in those shows are worshiping this idol, or you call the participants idols and the people who watch those shows the worshipers. If it is a different church then it is an idol and if people are going to that church rather than the one you declare is correct then those people are worshiping an idol too. The variations of this rhetoric are endless.

(Paul Allen) #25

Yes, I agree with you GJDS. Unfortunately, it is a great excuse to point out other people’s sins - while ignoring your own, even redefining them to avoid any lasting guilt through a seared conscience.

When drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit the ugliness of sin is revealed.

(Paul Allen) #26

Hi Mitchell,

Thanks for your comments.

  1. Everyone suppresses the truth. In order to suppress the truth, you have to know it first. (Romans 1:18)
  2. What can be known about God is plain to everyone in the world. (Romans 1:19)
  3. God has revealed himself to all in what he has made (“God has shown it to them”). (Romans 1:19)
  4. “They (all) knew God.” (Romans 1:21)
  5. In order to exchange the glory of God for other things (“for images”), we must know him, at least in some way. (Romans 1:23)
  6. With all of this knowledge, we did not honour him or give him thanks. (Romans 1:21)
  7. We suppressed this knowledge of God and traded the knowledge of his glory for the glory of the things he created. (Romans 1:18)
  8. Therefore, we are all without excuse. (Romans 1:20)
  9. People are not ignorant of God - they cannot claim “It’s not fair I didn’t know you existed God!”

(Mitchell W McKain) #27

That sounds like an excuse.

Incorrect. People can and have frequently suppressed the truth even when they do not know it. Creationists do this all the time. They suppress the truth of evolution even though they often really don’t know what the theory is saying.

Nonsense. That isn’t what the passage says either. You are changing the words again. The word used in the passage is “them” not “everyone,” and this refers to the wicked men who God is angry with because they suppress the truth. These are those in rebellion.

“They” referring again to people who are in rebellion against God, which is not the case with most atheists. The main reason people believe in God is because they experience God for themselves. God certainly can make people believe if He chooses to do so. But I think it is demonstrable that believing in God is not in everyone’s best interest, so God may have very good reasons for not making people believe in Him. If you believed in God then you would trust His judgement. But then a lot of the people who say they believe in God don’t really believe in Him or trust His judgment – they just use him as a tool of manipulation to get what they want.

This refers to the idolatry spoken of in verse 23, which obviously has nothing to do with atheists.

Yes. Whether we believe in God or not, we are without excuse for doing evil. So if someone give this as an excuse for doing evil then that is just stupid. But again this does not apply to atheists.

Get real. People most certainly are ignorant of God and often it is the so call Xtians who are most ignorant of God… AND ignorant of the Bible too.

But let’s continue our Bible study in Romans and move on to chapter 2.
Romans 2:12 All who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. 14 When Gentiles who have not the law do by nature what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that what the law requires is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness and their conflicting thoughts accuse or perhaps excuse them

I think “Gentiles” is the word Paul uses which most closely matches “atheists” because this is just about fact that they had different knowledge and beliefs Those Paul talked about in chapter 1 was clearly about people distinguished by their behavior not by their beliefs. Atheist are often the ones doing the right things for their own sake, while Xtians are often using religion to aid or hide the evil they do.

(Shawn T Murphy) #28

Dear Paul,
This is an interesting representation of Romans 1:19-23. It clearly says that when they knew God they they could see Him and His unseen things. But after they were corrupted, they could not. This is Paul’s description of the Fall. Those who fell from the Grace of God in Heaven, having known Him but had “became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.”

This is the reason for life on earth and the need for the redemption that Jesus brought. It does not mean that everyone should know God like they did when they lived in His Glory.

(Randy) #29

Right. I think this is a correct analysis.It’s difficult to read with our Western, 21st century filter, but I think that is what Paul is looking at. Thanks.

(Richard Wright) #30

Hello Mitchell,

God is a given in the bible, as Paul makes clear in Romans 1.

That not the bible’s message, the one Reggie tries to follow to have a better life. What is considered challenging is to have faith in God, as the Hebrews writer says in 11:6, and that we’ll be blessed by following his ways:

“And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

Now that is what doesn’t make sense. Not only are we expected to believe in the Father, but need also to believe in the son to have eternal life, as John said in the famous 3:16:

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

In as sense, you’re right. We’re called to persuade people to have believe in the Son. But sometimes, especially in the modern age, that entails trying to convince somebody that God exists.

(Mitchell W McKain) #31

Definitely! What is not a given is that anybody should believe that what, the Bible says or takes for granted, should be believed.

Of course. But it is also a fact that the Bible has been used motivate people to do evil things and it is also a fact that a belief in God is a part of some people’s psychopathology. So for many people a belief in either God or Bible has not been a good thing. And then there are those who say they believe in God but make the world into a living hell for others.

I don’t know about you, but I believe that Jesus, the Son, IS God. But this really has nothing to do with the fact that regardless what you feel called to do, it is clearly not God’s highest priority to make people believe in Him. It is the same situation as we were talking about before regarding poverty, injustice, and oppression. However much God calls upon us non-Marcionite Christians to help the poor, seek justice, and correct oppression, God does not do away with these things because these are not God’s highest priority either. There are things which are more important, like teaching us love and responsibility.

(system) closed #32

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