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Stood Up By God

Over the weekend, I had a pretty long conversation with an old friend of mine who up until recently was a Christian. In fact in the ten or so years that I have known him, this was the first conversation we had together in which we were both atheists and he is still having difficulty with the transition.

I asked him about what it was that finally led him t realize that there probably was no God and how he felt after coming to that realization. To be fair, he is very well studied in the Bible and Christianity and I had known for a while that he was having doubts. I even predicted that he would lose his faith and come over to the side of reason. Just as an aside, why aren’t CNN, NPR, MSNBC, and The Religious News Service covering my friend’s de-conversion? “Yale seminary graduate leaves Christianity and becomes an atheist.”

In any case, the final straw for him was sort of a variation of my Ontological Argument for Disproving God. If God really does exist, then God should know what evidence to present to him, be able to present that evidence to him, and would actually do so out of a desire for fellowship with him. Christians have often told me that if I sincerely prayed for God to reveal himself, God would. In the case of my friend (and myself) God didn’t.

My friend relayed an interesting story to me that came from a recovering drug addict that he was counseling. I will paraphrase the story. The addict told him about something that happened to the addict’s sister. The sister was a high school student and a bit of a geek. She was picked on a lot by more popular people and guys were just not into her. Anyway, she started having a conversation with someone online. After several communications, things really started getting romantic and between her and this guy. He seemed to really like her. This went on for quite a while and they finally set up a place and time to meet in person. But when she got there, he never showed up.

As it turns out however, the guy wasn’t real. Two of her female classmates made him up and were carrying on this online romance as a prank. She felt betrayed. While she enjoyed herself a great deal when she believed the guy was real, learning the truth has soured that enjoyment.

This is how my friend feels about God. He had wonderful time as a Christian and Christianity brought him a great deal of comfort and enjoyment, but now that he knows the truth, all that has been soured to him. While he understands that he was never lied to by people who deliberately tried to deceive him, he still feels anger and betrayal similar to that of the high school girl who was the victim of that prank. God stood him up.

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  • Rex

    I have to take issue with your ontological argument. When we come to God, we come on his terms. Dictating to God how we want to hear from him doesn’t get the job done. God has revealed himself in nature. All you have to do is look into the heavens and down at nature to realize there’s a creator of it all. Yes, I’ve studied all the naturalistic arguments, but it requires a lot of imagination to believe that all we see came out of nothing by itself.
    God has specifically revealed himself in his word. Even if you don’t like what he has to say, there he is. When a Christian says to you to pray that God will reveal himself to you, that generally means that you would come to a personal realization and acceptance of him based on the revelation he’s already given you.

    • dangeroustalk

      First, you failed to grasp the point of the Ontological Argument for Disproving God. I is pretty iron clad unless you are prepared to reject the premiss that God is love or whatever. But in this conversation, I am talking about this argument in the sense that my friend used similar reasoning as his last straw. He has had doubts for some time and is educated enough to know where the bullshit lies.
      Second, Sincere prayer argument – http://www.dangeroustalk.net/?p=2296
      Third, Look around you – http://www.dangeroustalk.net/?p=2083

      • Rex

        Sorry, I didn’t notice the link to your clip. Your ontological argument works well for the god you conceived of, but does nothing to disprove the God of the Bible. I agree that God has the three attributes you mentioned. However, the Bible also covers how he uses them. He presents himself in nature and in his word. He sent us a redeemer. He gave us free will to accept him. Nowhere in scripture does it say his plan is to control our minds to believe in him.
        Regarding the last paragraph in your Look Around You piece… I’m not sure what I’m to explain. What is the contradiction you’re referring to?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Joel-Justiss/1230854499 Joel Justiss

    I like your ontological argument for disproving God. Like your friend, I experienced that disappointment, and like him, I felt betrayed and angry. My anger was not with the many honestly deceived people who had innocently deceived me, but with the many generations of people who failed to be skeptical of what they were being taught–especially those who knowingly exaggerated their testimonies to make them more convincing.

  • http://rebekkaksteg.com/ Rebekka @ Becky’s Kaleidoscope

    I loved this post, and I really liked your ontological argument. Like your friend, and like Joel Justiss, I too have felt disappointed and betrayed by God, and angry.

  • Mr Mister

    Hope he finds it easy to cope