One of my neighbors recently posted her advice for everyone to live without religion.
Here is what she posted:
“Religions are myths. Love yourself and be kind. My inspiring thought for today is that we only can judge ourselves. There were no brutal blood sacrifices needed to make you whole. You’re a whole person just as you are. Live in that freeing truth. You are not the chief of sinners, but youve (sic) made mistakes, easily corrected. Live lawfully, kindly, and lovingly. You don’t need a book to tell you right from wrong. You are good. You are worthy. Live in the light of secular peace.”
Let’s find some common ground.
Her statement must be understood in Christian terms.
Kindness is encouraged by the Christian Scriptures and the Christian God (the One that was brutalized and sacrificed his blood).
Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another a)Colossians 3:12
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. b)Galatians 5:22-23
Judging yourself is a Christian principle.
Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup… But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. c)1 Corinthians 11:28,31
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. d)Romans 2:1
Ineffectual blood sacrifices are rejected by God.
What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
says the Lord;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats. e)Isaiah 1:11
Your burnt offerings are not acceptable, nor your sacrifices pleasing to me. f)Jeremiah 6:20
Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; g)Amos 5:22
For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it;
you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise. h)Psalm 51:16,17
Truth as a source of freedom is a beloved citation from the words of Jesus.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” i)John 8:31-32
Living lawfully is a Christian principle.
But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. j)1 Peter 4:15,16
The Bible clearly states that we all have made mistakes.
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, k)Romans 3:23
God does tell us to live in the light.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” l)John 8:12
…I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me. m)Acts 26:17-18
Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. n)Philippians 2:14-16
At the same time, it is a new commandment that I am writing to you, which is true in him and in you, because the darkness is passing away and the true light is already shining. Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness Whoever loves his brother abides in the light, and in him there is no cause for stumbling. But whoever hates his brother is in the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. o)1st John 2:8-11
Finally, Scripture teaches that religion is myth.
“THIS PEOPLE HONORS ME WITH THEIR LIPS,
BUT THEIR HEART IS FAR AWAY FROM ME.
‘BUT IN VAIN DO THEY WORSHIP ME,
TEACHING AS DOCTRINES THE PRECEPTS OF MEN.’ ” p)Matthew 15:8-9
O Timothy, guard the deposit entrusted to you. Avoid the irreverent babble and contradictions of what is falsely called “knowledge,” for by professing it some have swerved from the faith. q)1 Timothy 6:20-21
For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. r)2 Corinthians 11:13-15
All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. s)John 10:8-10
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” t)John 14:6
Only Jesus saves.
No religion can save us. Church membership cannot save us. Only the person Jesus can save us. So let’s not focus on making up more human rules and philosophies and imposing them on others.
Words must have meanings.
Without the words of Jesus and the Scriptures, I would have no reference point from which to understand the all-religion-is-myth (ARM) statement. She uses Christian language such as “chief of sinners” and other phrases.
In an atheism-based universe, everything is amoral matter. Loving and hating would be morally equal values to a bunch of molecules.
The ARM statement absolutely endorses everyone doing what they feel is right. The definitions of good, kind, and lawful are all subject to human judgment or conscience and societal norms.
Imagine a society where everyone has always done whatever each independent person feels is right. History has recorded some of the atrocities performed when self-guided atheistic leaders were in authority. Even Christianity has a tarnished record because of what happens when the Church follows human will.
Imagine the history of the world if Judeo-Christian cultures never existed and pagan or atheistic cultures had prevailed and if societal norms had not been shaped by any of the followers of Jesus. Thank God for Christian stuff like rule of law, education, medicine, liberty and human rights.
Can I be a Christian without Christ?
The ARM statement wants all the fundamental behaviors of Christianity (love, peace, kindness, lawfulness, justice, selflessness, et cetera) without Christ. This is a backwards compliment to Christians, a nod that we are following the right way when we follow the principles of Scripture. It’s like saying, “We want to be like you, but we don’t want your bloody Jesus.”
The ARM statement unfortunately overlooks the facts, stuff like history and geography. Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and Nazareth are all real places that still exist for examination. The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are well-documented by eye-witnesses in an abundance of manuscripts in existence today. Anyone can say that Jesus was a mythological character, but they do so against the facts and evidence. They call him a myth as an act of faith and emotion, not as a result of unbiased investigation.
It’s a trap!
The author of the original ARM statement was shocked by the reaction of Christians. They didn’t like what she wrote. They let her know that they didn’t like it.
One of the Christians went too far and threatened to pray for her, so our atheist writer responded, “I don’t understand why I’m being persecuted for my lack of faith this way. 1st Amendment!” (Because, as we all know, the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America u)FIRST AMENDMENT: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. is the one that protects your right to express disapproval toward religion and prevents rebuttal from the target of your criticism. )
The writer intentionally posted on the hot topic of religion in order for religious readers to respond. She knew before she posted that people would disagree with her with strong emotions.
The writer intentionally used words that oppose the Christian God, “Brutal blood sacrifices” is a verbal assault against the Gospel and the Atonement.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. v)Romans 5:8
The writer placed the bait for Christians. She hoped they would be unkind so that she could justify her attack on their God. What religion tolerates this type of hateful defamation of their God? Well, Christianity does, because our God said, “Love your enemies.” So she was safe from house-burning or tar-and-feathering because she singled out the precious blood of Jesus.
My conclusion is that Christians should respond as Jesus said to respond.
Don’t take the bait and get caught in the trap. Any rebuttal, even an offer to love and pray for someone, will be interpreted as unkind, actually as un-Christlike.
You can’t win this argument with an argument. I don’t know anyone that was angrily squabbled into the Kingdom of God. The best witness is always kind, patient, peaceful, gentle, faithful, selfless, and loving.
I remember that God loves me. And if God can be gracious toward me, He also loves this angry atheist. We need to behave toward this person as she is a person loved by God.
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” w)Matthew 5:43-45
References [ + ]
|c.||↑||1 Corinthians 11:28,31|
|j.||↑||1 Peter 4:15,16|
|o.||↑||1st John 2:8-11|
|q.||↑||1 Timothy 6:20-21|
|r.||↑||2 Corinthians 11:13-15|
|u.||↑||FIRST AMENDMENT: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.|