Me: “Hello. 🙂 My church and I are out sharing Christ today, do you have time to talk?”
Lady: “I don’t have five minutes for that sort of rubbish.”
Me: “So. . .you’ve got four minutes?”
Lady: “I don’t have time for your sort.”
Me: “Who are my sort?”
Lady: “. . .the Jehovah witnesses?”
^^^^^ What an anti-Christian, religiously relativistic culture leads into, cult craziness and irritability.
For regular readers of the blog they’ll remember how I exchanged messages with an atheist named John, who, writing on the uniqueness of Christ, barrelled onward point after point only to have each debunked and exposed as empty rhetoric (it’s here). However, what visitors to the blog don’t know is that I allowed John to have the last word during our conversation. Now, I’m not writing it was a particularly inspiring last word, rather they wrote some mockery of the Trinity. Nevertheless, during the tail-end of our conversation, careful readers will note, John become totally immune to having their points demolished, they’d simply refused to take stock of their failed ideas, instead choosing to continue on into other points (I’m reluctant to even describe such replies as arguments), due to which it’s clear they had hardened their heart towards both God and his fellow man.
Readers will also remember Alex Black, Mara, Slrman and Allallt, they’ve done it all, from defending same sex parades to attempting to undermine the humanity of unborn babies, and yet, I’ve never considered any of these writers to be a proper critic of mine, they’re not considered critics simply on account of the fact that they aren’t prepared to face Christianity as it is. You can’t be my critic if you’re unable to honestly and accurately rewrite to me my own beliefs, because if it’s all straw manning, and if it’s all pearl clutching, I’m going to reply “My friend, you’re not yet prepared to have a serious, exciting conversation on these kinds of a thing.” In like fashion, I ended up teasing John because that’s the only language they were able to speak, but more importantly, that’s perhaps the only kind of interaction that’s going to remain with them.
Nevertheless, this space is an equal opportunity platform, and I an equal opportunity critic, as readers who’ve checked out my conversations with believing writer “Done with religion” should remember. The conversation shouldn’t be limited to atheists, in fact, they’re involved in some of the most uninteresting conversations I’ve ever had, whereas Mormons, Muslims and Buddhists are (especially so in person) often more witty, good-natured and interested in the facts of religious worship/belief. Atheists are rather dismissive in comparison, and to express God’s presence to most is a bit like explaining a rainbow to the colour-blind, although, at least in the case of the colour-blind, they may want to know what’s being seen that they haven’t yet seen, whereas atheists are (generally) not even with want to know this amazing experiential reality.
That aside, I’ve been about teaching and preaching to unbelievers on the mean streets of London (and boy are they ever mean), not the streets, they’re normally very clean and pleasant, rather, the people, the people are mean.
My church partners have been spat upon, they’ve had dogs sent after them, they’ve had to develop the thickest of skins to deal with the kinds of abuse they have to endure. As for myself, maybe it’s got something to do with my award winning smile, or the misleading fact that it looks like I’d bite your dog back, whatever the reason, most unbelievers have loved on me. I’m invited into people’s homes (not something I’d advise others to do), I’m gifted an opportunity to share God’s word, arguments from history, cosmology, and of course it’s all wrapped up with an invitation to visit my church sometime (it’s not mine, per se. I’m not a real pastor. . .it’s just a jpg).*
So, for believers, in spite of the internet craziness (the kind of thing you read regularly), and the animosity in person, for that one chance meeting, for that cup of coffee and broken heart who feels as though they’ve been abandoned, your efforts are worthwhile. Be a labourer for God’s kingdom, not just on forums with certified lunatics, but with your church in the real world, you’ll find that the rewards are far greater than anything you give up getting started.
Which leads into my reason for posting today, as initially I thought to myself, let’s just continue with the Chris Shearer Mormon material, then I’ll lazily jump back into sharing the videos of Inspiring Philosophy, that’s good viewing. However, as I’d been writing the introduction to part three, I thought to myself, man, there’s such an awesome array of unpublished conversations which haven’t yet been shared, unpublished largely because writing my thoughts on the material would take me an age. I thought to myself, maybe they contain just the kind of conversation somebody needs. Maybe my pleasant disposition shouldn’t just be extended to strangers on the doorstep, but to lurkers also, they’re people too after all.*
If my duty is to be a servant to others, why not extend that to my posting schedule too, due to which, I’m going to add a list of unpublished conversations I’ve had with others on forums throughout the internet, adding a small description of the exchange afterwards. For regular visitors, and irregulars I suppose, feel free to write in the comments which conversation you’d most like to see added in my next “OSC” article. So, like in the case of John in our conversation on pagan parallels, I’m giving readers the last word, what conversation should be shared next? Until then, wish me luck so that nobody on the streets sets their pompom dog on me. 😉
1. A reply to the Recovering know it all.
This reply to a prolific atheist writer is the closest I’ve come to writing a declaration of faith, it’s an awfully short one, most readers have probably already seen it themselves. Nevertheless, if anybody would like to read a more lengthy article of my thoughts on the brief exchange, ask in the comments below.
2. A lengthy exchange with the librarian.
This long back and forth was with the lovely orangutan librarian, who was just a joy to write to. I’d have to ask their permission before posting, and even in the after thoughts I couldn’t write a bad word about them. This talk was an in-depth look at orthodox Judaism, so for people who aren’t sure about the story behind Jewish religious beliefs and practices, this is a great chance at learning the ins and outs (even if it’s just uploaded in the form of my replies only, like an essay).
3. An atheist writes me a lot of objections.
A young atheist ends up sending a lot of objections my way, many of which are of the moral and epistemological variety. Why doesn’t God just come out? Why do I believe in God and not fairies, or goblins? If you’ve been asking yourself the same, ask to read my replies to him.
4. A message to the god extinguisher.
The name is as daft as the man. “The god extinguisher” ends up not replying to my initial message, they actually block me right away. I’ve got my first message nonetheless, and it’s a world class schooling on why the old fashioned “Why do Christians eat shellfish?!” argument fails.
5. Dying to be loved.
This is a lengthy bit of explanation on the gay rights/conversion therapy situation. It’s a good one for anyone who’s being told there’s no agenda, no activism and no story behind the rise of queer America. There’s certainly a story behind how gay “marriage” is now a thing, it’s also an important conversation in that it highlights the toll that this has all taken on same sex attracted people.
6. What was meant by true Christians.
Now, this is an explanation of what was meant in an exchange between myself and Alex Black about the no true Scotsman fallacy. Believers understand the Holy Spirit works in a regenerate person’s life, yet the way by which I share how a person might appear to be Christian often involves not stressing this fact to the uttermost. This chat is a good place to see that explained.
7. Zen Scribbles writes on feminism and Islam.
“I’m a Muslim, I’m a feminist, this makes total sense.” But does it, does it really? To read a few carefully composed questions, this is the exchange for you. We’re actually still chatting, hope they’re doing well.
8. The last major exchange between myself and Alex Black.
This talk is an excellent one really. It’s a show of force from which my buddy Alex never recovered, afterwards they dropped out of the blogging scene blaming the heated exchanges about bathroom politics online. I’m sure that’s true, I just hope our exchange added something positive to the background noise in the meanwhile. This talk shows how atheism has zero, literally zero arguments in its favour. I wish them well and hope they’re still asking themselves the hard questions that brought them offline and into the real world (sometimes that’s the healthiest thing for us).
9. Chris Shearer on Mormonism (Unfair Mormons III).
This should be fresh in everybody’s mind, ask for more of Chris if you’re interested in reading his replies on Mormonism.
10. The three Mormons (A monolithic hot mess).
The three Mormons is an internet show on YouTube where overly smiley Mormons tell everybody how awesome it is to give 10% of your wage to the temple in exchange for cheap magic underpants. Now, when I first commented on one of their videos, I said to myself there’s no way these guys are going to address this message, oh me of little faith. One of the show’s presenter, a young man named Kwaku, actually comments on my points to try and set me straight. This leads into a nice exchange, lots of content too. Now, I’m not here to drive anyone into voting for any particular conversation, they’re all plenty interesting, but how can you not want to read an exchange between myself and the face below…you can’t not want it.
11. A message on the Holy Spirit and Jehovah Witnesses.
If you’re a Scripture lover, this one is for you. In it I defend the personhood of the Holy Spirit. Great verses and an awesome resource.
12. An exchange on how to win a debate.
Gosh, just look at all of these lunatics, half of them are probably writing to me from prison. I mean, another great conversation! This one was started by the Dr. Craig vs. Hitchens debate, and mostly is about how to judge who’s came away as the winner. An interesting little exchange.
13. Discussing God with a neuroscientist in training.
This one is interesting for people who’ve been faced with the claim “Christians and Muslims believe in the same God.” It also touches upon the famous Trump Muslim ban. I really enjoyed this one, it’s got some great teaching about the real Jesus too.
14. On faith and everything else.
This moral dilemma about a lost wallet sparked my commentary.
15. Gamer gate!
Now, this is an old conversation which I had with about four or five guys, they’re all out to defend Islam and they’re all getting smashed (that’s the ah, technical term). I’m adding it because I’ve never actually uploaded the conversation on here, for which I’ve never had an opportunity to reflect upon it and add some after thoughts.
16. Poetry in motion!
I think this would be part five of my conversation with kaptinok (I’m misspelling that for sure). If you’ve enjoyed parts one to four, which are mostly me lecturing the poor guy, ask for more. If you’ve never checked out our exchange, give them a read.
17. Daryl and DWR on LGBT and the church.
They’re believers and they support homosexual relations, that’s interesting any day of the week.
18. A history lesson on the stonewall riots.
I have an exchange with an older man who describes himself as a “barren women”. He’s also a lesbian and father of four. I’m saying nothing. . .not a thing.
19. An interrogation of DWR and their beliefs on Scripture.
This conversation comes highly recommended. I know most of what I discuss with DWR is a bit of a non-event, as he can be very closed about sharing anything. So in this conversation I take a super non-combative stance, one which involves mostly me asking questions of my conversation partner. You’ll get to read their views, my carefully composed questions, then come to a decision of your own about what was shared.
20. Discussing faith with Allallt again.
This conversation features the material of Alvin Plantinga on the subject of faith. It totally brings the subject of what faith is onto the Christian’s terms, as reasonable people would allow for from the get go, there’s no out for the atheist in this exchange, they can only scoff (it’s flawless).
21. The Tyranny of heaven.
This one was such a biggie, for which I’ve been lazy about posting it. The conversation was going on at the same time I was whipping John Zande on the subject of the uniqueness of Jesus. It’s about morality, the law and so much more. A really great exchange and has so much going for it in terms of my conversation partner.
22. Discussing God with a Music teaching communist.
This conversation goes on for about four messages, so not many, although they’re meaningful ones if you’re interested in a proper understanding of the history behind the death and resurrection of Jesus.
23. Sharing arguments from historicity with a lady online.
Again it’s another message exchange focused on the historic arguments surrounding the crucifixion, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This lady was an once a Christian before giving up her faith, if memory serves.
Having more conversations in the pipeline I ought to be stopping hereabouts, as there’s no point in overwhelming myself. It’s like when there’s too many cheeses at the shops, it’s like no, I’ve only come for one. If anything in the above jumps out at you, feel free to vote on seeing it published in the near future, if you’re not the voting sort however, well, you’re just a big meanie, just like the guys below. . .especially that guy on the right. . .that’s you if you don’t comment.
― T. C. M