Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

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DBowling
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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#16

Post by DBowling » Thu Apr 04, 2019 10:03 am

RickD wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 9:14 am

Again, metanoia literally means, "a change of mind". It doesn't mean, "a turning from sin".
Metanoia means a change of mind... but the Scriptural context of metanoia helps us understand the object of what we are changing our minds about.
The context of repentance in the NT often involves "repentance for the forgiveness of sins" and "calling sinners to repentance"
So in the NT (and the OT for that matter) repentance does indeed involve a "change of mind" regarding sin.
And as I mention above, that "change of mind" regarding sin involves deciding that I no longer want to be a slave to sin and that I want to be delivered from sin.
So there there is a way to understand the phrase "turning from sin" that is an accurate understanding of the Scriptural principle of a "change of mind" regarding sin.
If "turning from sin" were a requirement for salvation, we'd all be lost. If one wants to claim that turning from sin is a part or sanctification, then I'd agree.
And based on what "turning from sin" means to you, I agree with what you are saying.
But the issue here is "turning from sin" means something totally different to claysmith than what it means to you.
So when you and claysmith are discussing whether "turning from sin" is a Scripturally accurate definition of repentance you are just talking past each other.
But it's not metanoia, and turning from sin is not the part of trusting/faith that saves. "Repent and believe", more accurately is "change your mind (about who Christ is, and what he's done), and believe".
Based on how metanoia is used throughout the NT I would also add that metamoia also involves changing your mind about sin.

Trusting Jesus to save me from my sin involves.
Turning TO Jesus to deliver me FROM my sin.

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#17

Post by Philip » Thu Apr 04, 2019 11:47 am

Having faith in Jesus includes recognition that A) one is a sinner, B) realizing they need salvation, and C) they believe Jesus is God's Son / the resurrected Christ of the Gospel who also has the power to save them, and D) they are submitting themselves to Him. But that submittance doesn't mean they first MAKE Jesus the Lord of their life - as that's a life-long process of slowly learning how to do. No, they are recognizing and submitting themselves to Him AS their Lord. As Christians, we all know it's more than a matter of mere belief.
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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#18

Post by patrick » Thu Sep 26, 2019 6:36 pm

I have to say, I sort of wonder where the misunderstanding surrounding belief began, who is served by the obfuscation of what it means to believe. It would be quite helpful if we, as a society, could stop making Christian belief out to be a mere intellectual prediction about the afterlife.

Anyways, to me, belief in Christ is more like a commitment to act as if goodness reigns supreme, allowing oneself to be moved by hope. We might still be addicted to this or that sin, but believing in the good we can at least confess that we have a problem.

And people go to hell not because they put their bets on the wrong pony but because their hearts have hardened to stone. Some people just feel like there's no way to possibly justify the suffering they have experienced, and they feel insulted by anyone who suggests their suffering somehow is justified. We aren't even able to recognize God as God in a state like that.

Personally, I have suffered enough to be sympathetic to this view, but for me it's a lot more about hope vs despair. I am too tired to be angry, I guess. Sure, I get pretty irritated when people use their beliefs to justify callousness and laziness, but when it comes to the bigger picture? Either there is light or all is darkness.
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Philip (Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:27 pm)

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#19

Post by claysmithr » Mon Dec 23, 2019 7:42 pm

It boils down to sin. If you believe, then you are held accountable for you sin and you must stop sinning. If you don't believe, you can sin all you want and not care. Believing in Jesus Christ usually compels people to lead better lives, and some atheists love their sin too much. Also, pride. The whole "I don't need God" attitude, when in fact we need him to provide everything that makes our existence possible, like air to breath and water to drink and food to eat, things most humans take for granted.

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#20

Post by UsagiTsukino » Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:14 am

There are rising of atheism is on the raise so will Christianity be decline? I mean people my age are don’t really believing in it. This has a lot to do with abusive and the fact of why so why do we need to suffer. Some of it also has to deal with how we do worship now.

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#21

Post by Byblos » Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:24 am

UsagiTsukino wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:14 am
There are rising of atheism is on the raise so will Christianity be decline? I mean people my age are don’t really believing in it. This has a lot to do with abusive and the fact of why so why do we need to suffer. Some of it also has to deal with how we do worship now.
This is incoherent. You may want to restate.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#22

Post by RickD » Mon Mar 02, 2020 10:09 am

Byblos wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:24 am
UsagiTsukino wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:14 am
There are rising of atheism is on the raise so will Christianity be decline? I mean people my age are don’t really believing in it. This has a lot to do with abusive and the fact of why so why do we need to suffer. Some of it also has to deal with how we do worship now.
This is incoherent. You may want to restate.
And also, I can’t understand it.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#23

Post by DBowling » Mon Mar 02, 2020 12:26 pm

Byblos wrote:
Mon Mar 02, 2020 6:24 am
UsagiTsukino wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 9:14 am
There are rising of atheism is on the raise so will Christianity be decline? I mean people my age are don’t really believing in it. This has a lot to do with abusive and the fact of why so why do we need to suffer. Some of it also has to deal with how we do worship now.
This is incoherent. You may want to restate.
Here is my guess at what Usagi is saying
There are rising of atheism is on the raise so will Christianity be decline?
Since athiesm is on the rise, does that mean that Christianity is (or will be) on the decline?
I mean people my age are don’t really believing in it.
People of Usagi's generation are rejecting Christianity
Because...
This has a lot to do with abusive
1) of abuse (child abuse?) within the Church
the fact of why so why do we need to suffer.
2) How can a good God allow the suffering that we see in the world today?
Some of it also has to deal with how we do worship now.
3) Worship practices in the Church are not relevant to Usagi's generation

I could be wrong, but this is my best guess at the point Usagi was trying to make.

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#24

Post by UsagiTsukino » Tue Mar 03, 2020 7:05 pm

Okay here is what I was trying to say.

People in my generation are rejecting Christ due to many factors.

The hypocrisy on how churches have preachers who have hidden abuse of their congregations or children like Catholicism. How why do we need a God sine suffering like rape or disease is still here. Jesus must not be coming back so we shouldn't believe in him.

So do we need to change how things are now? Less and less people my age are going to church.

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Re: Merely Believe in Christ? Why Don't Atheists Believe?

#25

Post by abelcainsbrother » Sat Mar 07, 2020 8:00 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Feb 10, 2019 2:13 am
In John 3:16 is says that whosoever believes in Jesus should not perish, but have everlasting life. Many of us (Christians), including myself, will even say that belief is all one needs to have or do. And yet, what we mean by these words is rarely unpacked, and until they are such words carry very little meaning.

What does it mean for us to BELEIVE in Jesus? That Jesus is God? He died on the cross as the ultimate sacrificial lamb in substitution of humanity? That one simply believes a Jesus existed, whoever he is, and in whatever he did? What if somone merely intellectually acknowledge Jesus and what he did, but then their heart remain unchanged and far from God -- is such a person "saved"?

On that last question, I'm sure (I'd hope) many Christians would agree that such a person who carried mere belief that Jesus existed and died for their sin, and yet their minds didn't much care about Jesus at all -- that such a person is not really a Christian in Biblical terms. Yet, don't they fulfull the requirement of John 3:16 since they would believe in Jesus and God as such? So then, it would seem there is something more involved in "belief".

And that is, a change in conscience towards God, the strong desire to turn toward God, to turn to Christ and place one's trust in Him in however manner one does or is capable of doing such. This we read in Acts 3:19 where it is said "repent and convert..." Repent means "to turn" and/or "change one's mind". Indeed, I love the passage in Romans where Paul explains, '"For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”'

That is, unless, and until, one understands that "belief" (pisteuo) actually has a deeper meaning that reaches to the depths of our heart, that is, the belief is being persuaded of, a turning towards to the point that you will trust in -- well, I think such people have a very superficial understanding of "belief" in John 3:16. It is a transformative belief, one's whole countenance is changed, such that they desire Jesus and God. Thus, they "believe".


So then, I turn to the question of why don't Atheists just believe? Really, I'm not as concerned to answer whatever their pet-peeve might be against belief in Christ and/or God, or why they claim to have an absent of belief in God. Rather, I feel this misunderstanding of the Christian message -- that all one needs to do is believe (without truly understanding what such means) -- leads to many just dismissing the Christian message out of hand.

For a reasonable and all-loving God who wants us to believe in Him, all such God needs to do is SHOW Himself to the world. Isn't this what all Atheists generally ask for? To put myself in the mind of Atheists, if God is all-loving then God should simply show Himself in a manner we can all see and touch. Then ALL will believe and then ALL can be saved! But silly Christians believe in some HIDDEN God, who demands belief in Himself, while at the same time playing a game of hide and seek which (we are told) has enormous ramifications for those who don't end up believing for they'll burn in Hell for eternty. What a nice and loving God you Christians have. He sounds like a cruel God, and I don't really care much for such a stupid God even if you're right.

To be honest, I'd largely agree with Atheists who'd complain like this. If all one needs to do to be saved, and all that matters for us, is simply believe that God exists, merely believing Jesus "died for our sins" (religious language which too requires some unpacking), then God manifesting Himself to all of us is all that'd be needed. Yet, God doesn't do that, therefore the God Christians claim to believe in, who is meant to be all-loving while allowing many to be tortured for eternity because He hides away, well such a God doesn't exist!

As I see, a lot of this wrong-think comes down to a misunderstanding on "belief" in the Christian message. It is a misunderstanding about just what exactly God desires from each of us. It isn't that we merely believe, but rather God wants our hearts. God wants us to freely choose and turn towards Him, and many do turn towards God because their hearts are open, even a great deal of people turn to God/Christ because their hearts have become very broken and they see nothing to lose. And to many such, God responds with grace and love in personal ways only such people could explain.

Now a world wherein a righteous God sets up a throne and rules sovereignly over His creatures (as God should), well, what room is there for our free decision to actually reject God? Some would argue it is impossible to reject God in such a world, indeed at least one couldn't reject God entirely. In our world, where God isn't visibly present to us in our every moment, it seems to me our hearts have a lot of room to move within. We each have a freedom to explore our evil desires without God looking over our shoulder, or to do good out of some goodness of our hearts. We each have freedom to either seek God (and I believe all such will find God), or we can bury and reject God utterly and completely.

It's likely also not a matter of God should have created a world where He was directly present and not hidden from view, but that God actually created both types of worlds. Many believe God did create a world with creatures within to whom He is clearly viewable in His kingdom as Lord (angelic spiritual beings and a heavenly kingdom). In this kingdom God is acknowldged by all, nonetheless some envied God, wanted to be God, and so the story goes many angels were cast out of this kingdom. Yet, God also created a world, our world, wherein He could test the hearts of more free beings, beings God created to see whether they would FREELY pursue, acknowledge and love Him, or whether such would prefer to bury any knowledge of Him in complete denial.

Which free being are you in this world?
Many may not agree with me,but here is the way I see it.This is my brief explanation,which is not fleshed out like it could be, but here goes.It is because of deception that people reject Christ,but more specifically propaganda and indoctrination both outside and in the church.People have been dumbed down to not think for themselves but to be told what to believe and what they are told to believe is not true.The truth is hidden and must be searched out and people don't have the time to search out the truth and so they rely on others to tell them what is true and what is'nt.They don't know how to do the research themselves,remove their bias and follow where the evidence leads,no ,they are told what to believe. If you are a Christian? You are taught young earth creationism is true,which is not true,and if you are not, you are taught Evolution is true,which is not true.And so it seems these are the only two choices to choose from and yet they are both wrong. The true history of the earth is covered up and hidden,which if taught would cause people to realize God's word is true,but because it is covered up and hidden people only really know Young Earth Creationism or Evolution. It is one of many wedge issues used to keep the people divided arguing with one another so that our corrupt rulers are safe.But you end up with indoctrinated people both inside and outside the church.
Hebrews 12:2-3 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith;who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross,despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

2nd Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,lest the light of this glorious gospel of Christ,who is the image of God,should shine unto them.

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