Listen to young atheists

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1over137
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Re: Listen to young atheists

#16

Post by 1over137 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 1:58 am

I think Ictchus has experiences as well as I have and we know things like not paying attention to important things happen
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#17

Post by DowTingTom » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:08 am

1over137 wrote:I think Ictchus has experiences as well as I have and we know things like not paying attention to important things happen
But you don't know anything about the people in the article, yet you are happy to dismiss the preacher and the new followers?

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#18

Post by GreyDeSilvisanctis » Wed Aug 07, 2013 6:32 am

DowTingTom wrote: Well the Parable of the Sower suggests that Jesus places great value in getting more people to hear the message -
Matthew 13 wrote:"19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
It looks to me very much like 'Phil' was 'stony ground' and that Jesus is more interested in people who 'produce a crop' - the 'good' - the old Pastor was clearly nor getting the numbers in, and Phil clearly wasn't one of the people God wanted to understand his message - perhaps he was one of the people referred to in Isaiah 6?
Hello DowTingTom,

Yes, one might agree with you that Phil was "stony ground" because it is written "...what was sown in their heart" (Matthew 13:19) but don't forget to take into account that "seed ... refers to someone who hears the word" in the following verses. The seed of the gospel in Phil was planted on "stony ground" or in other words, the gospel in Phil was not fostered well because it was presented wrongly and/or corrupted (in the case of the watered-down gospel). The parable refers to the person bearing the seed and not the person being the location. The location is the situation and in this case, how the gospel is presented. Note that the worries of life and wealth (in verse 22) are not necessarily innate in every person. There's more to growth than just potential in self; growth is an exchange between the inside and out, the self and the environment.
DowTingTom wrote:"During his junior year of high school, the church, in an effort to attract more young people, wanted Jim to teach less and play more. Difference of opinion over this new strategy led to Jim's dismissal. He was replaced by Savannah, an attractive twenty-something who, according to Phil, "didn't know a thing about the Bible." The church got what it wanted: the youth group grew. But it lost Phil."

That's good, surely? More people were saved and heard God's message. Phil had already heard it - the fact that it didn't stick through something as insignificant (compared to God) as a change of leader means he was most probably 'stony ground'

Surely getting a net increase in the number of people coming to the youth group is a good thing from God's point of view? Phil had his chance. He heard the message and rejected it. Give the others a go.
You assume, however, that the old Pastor's method is like planting on good soil. Look closely at what the others have been saying in the previous posts and you would notice that the old Pastor's method is still planting on the "stony ground" that you mentioned - since they have no root, they last only a short time. (I agree with Ichthus and 1over137 here). Pastors like these (and I have indeed met with some) go for the benefits for themselves and not for other people, not for God. I am careful not to point fingers, though, and hasty generalization is a fallacy I don't want hanging over me. Some of those Pastors actually have genuinely noble motivation but that's all they've got - zeal (as PaulSacramento posted up top).

~Grey :)

P.S. Edited it a few times to get the point across.
Last edited by GreyDeSilvisanctis on Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Listen to young atheists

#19

Post by Icthus » Wed Aug 07, 2013 7:17 am

DowTingTom wrote: So you're taking the second-hand reporting of the view of one atheist over a pastor and dozens of Christians about how good the preaching is? Interesting ...
No, actually, I'm not. You seem to be conflating increased youth group membership with "a pastor and dozens of Christians" claiming that the preaching is good. No one, at least in the article, claims that anyone thought the new pastor's preaching was an improvement over her predecessor, only that more people joined the group. And that is quite believable; many young people would greatly prefer a youth group with a lot of hand-holding, feel-good social justice themes, and ceremony than a serious, informed Bible study. But that hardly means that anyone is claiming that the new pastor's preaching was better. It may have reached more people, but if reaching more people requires dumbing down and hollowing out the religion being preached, is that really better.

I might be mistaken, but weren't you the one who said in another topic that before you stopped believing you knew much more about the Bible than most of the Christians around you? Don't you agree that serious study and attempting to know the material is important?

I might also add that increased participation in the youth group doesn't necessarily mean that more people are becoming Christians. Nothing was said in the article about those who joined when the new pastor came not being Christians before joining.

Also, you say "second-hand reporting of the view of one atheist." What is so bad about second hand reporting of events, especially if actual quotes are given? Wouldn't the opinion (if they actually gave one) of the pastor and dozens of Christians be third-hand? And why shouldn't I take the word of an Atheist? Am I required to mistrust someone because they don't believe in God?
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#20

Post by 1over137 » Wed Aug 07, 2013 11:05 am

DowTingTom wrote:
1over137 wrote:I think Ictchus has experiences as well as I have and we know things like not paying attention to important things happen
But you don't know anything about the people in the article, yet you are happy to dismiss the preacher and the new followers?
You are an extremist, in my opinion. Taking things to extreme.

I cannot know what is true about that issue in the article. But as I said, I have experience based on which it could be possible.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#21

Post by DowTingTom » Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:53 pm

1over137 wrote:
DowTingTom wrote:
1over137 wrote:I think Ictchus has experiences as well as I have and we know things like not paying attention to important things happen
But you don't know anything about the people in the article, yet you are happy to dismiss the preacher and the new followers?
You are an extremist, in my opinion. Taking things to extreme.

I cannot know what is true about that issue in the article. But as I said, I have experience based on which it could be possible.
It is interesting to note that asking questions and seeking clarification comes across as extreme behaviour.

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#22

Post by DowTingTom » Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:02 pm

Icthus wrote:I might be mistaken, but weren't you the one who said in another topic that before you stopped believing you knew much more about the Bible than most of the Christians around you? Don't you agree that serious study and attempting to know the material is important?
...
Also, you say "second-hand reporting of the view of one atheist." What is so bad about second hand reporting of events, especially if actual quotes are given? Wouldn't the opinion (if they actually gave one) of the pastor and dozens of Christians be third-hand? And why shouldn't I take the word of an Atheist? Am I required to mistrust someone because they don't believe in God?
Not quite. When I was a Christian I read the bits I was asked to. Then I flicked around and the more I did the more disturbing I found the bible to be. No bible study group ever looks at the bear that mauled the children who mocked Elisha for being bald, and they never look at the bit about stoning rape victims, but it's all there.

Since I have become an atheist I've read most of the bible whereas it seems most Christians, if they've read much at all, have just read the bits their daily bible notes ask them to, hence I seem to know more about the actual content than most believers I meet.

You are not required to mistrust atheists, of course. Sadly research shows that many Americans do. It's good to hear you are not one of them.

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#23

Post by Icthus » Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:58 pm

DowTingTom wrote:
Icthus wrote:I might be mistaken, but weren't you the one who said in another topic that before you stopped believing you knew much more about the Bible than most of the Christians around you? Don't you agree that serious study and attempting to know the material is important?
...
Also, you say "second-hand reporting of the view of one atheist." What is so bad about second hand reporting of events, especially if actual quotes are given? Wouldn't the opinion (if they actually gave one) of the pastor and dozens of Christians be third-hand? And why shouldn't I take the word of an Atheist? Am I required to mistrust someone because they don't believe in God?
Not quite. When I was a Christian I read the bits I was asked to. Then I flicked around and the more I did the more disturbing I found the bible to be. No bible study group ever looks at the bear that mauled the children who mocked Elisha for being bald, and they never look at the bit about stoning rape victims, but it's all there.

Since I have become an atheist I've read most of the bible whereas it seems most Christians, if they've read much at all, have just read the bits their daily bible notes ask them to, hence I seem to know more about the actual content than most believers I meet.

You are not required to mistrust atheists, of course. Sadly research shows that many Americans do. It's good to hear you are not one of them.
You know, the bear thing probably isn't as bad as it sounds. The words in the original text translated to children don't necessarily mean children, and more often refer to young men of at least conscription age. And they likely weren't simply making fun of Elisha for being bald. After all he was what, twenty or so at the time? He certainly wasn't losing his hair naturally at that age, and if he had no hair it was likely because he was in mourning (his teacher being taken to Heaven and all). Those "kids" were in all likeliness making fun of the man, knowing full well that he was a prophet hence the "go on up" part, and may have had other things in mind. Back then young men didn't gather by the dozen around the roads outside of town harassing people unless they intended mischief (waylaying travelers and such). Besides, a prophet is a messenger bearing God's word. You don't mess with God, so you don't mess with his messengers either.

I'm not saying that this is a perfect explanation or even necessarily correct, but I think it makes sense (and I am not an inerrantist anyway so what does it matter to me). I don't go around claiming that the Bible is perfect, but I feel that the vast majority of supposed contradictions/objectionable content/etc is the unfortunate result of decontextualization. You, I believe I recall, lamented elsewhere that the Bible is difficult to understand (which is true), but one has to remember that it was not written for us yesterday. It was never meant to be flung open to a random page and used as a prooftext for what such-and-such person should do to confront such-and-such problem in their life. The Bible is the written record of God's interaction with humanity and though it has lists of rules (usually meant for specific groups of people in a specific context) and teachings, it was never meant to be the answer to all life's questions (however much American evangelicals wish that was the case).

Here for instance is a lecture from world-reknowned scholar N. T. Wright on the purpose of the Bible for Christians. I highly recommend it.

http://ntwrightpage.com/Wright_Bible_Authoritative.htm

Wright distinguishes between the ways that the Bible is and has often been used by different varieties of Christians and attempts to lay out how he believes it was intended to be taken.

I wish I could stay and talk because you seem like a sincere seeker of answers who has encountered understandable frustration reconciling today's context with the Biblical text rather than one who simply wishes to trade talking points, but I'm in the middle of a thesis so I might not have as much time as I'd like. Apologies.
“The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.” -G.K. Chesterton

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Re: Listen to young atheists

#24

Post by 1over137 » Thu Aug 08, 2013 4:12 am

DowTingTom wrote:
1over137 wrote:
DowTingTom wrote:
1over137 wrote:I think Ictchus has experiences as well as I have and we know things like not paying attention to important things happen
But you don't know anything about the people in the article, yet you are happy to dismiss the preacher and the new followers?
You are an extremist, in my opinion. Taking things to extreme.

I cannot know what is true about that issue in the article. But as I said, I have experience based on which it could be possible.
It is interesting to note that asking questions and seeking clarification comes across as extreme behaviour.
You said I am happy to dismiss people...
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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