Writing on “recovering know it all” atheist blogger KIA himself is a bit of a mystery. Were they once a know it all, only now in recovery from their state of knowledge (hence their atheism). Or is it that they now know it all because of atheism, and it’s just incidental that they’re also in recovery. Whatever the answer to these ever ponderable mysteries (what do you mean try his about page?!) my buddy John writing on Nickel boy graphics requested that I’d repost and write up a commentary on a brief exchange which myself and KIA had awhile back. So, let’s have a read of some of the questions Mr. Know it all had for me….which actually means I must know things they don’t….they were coming to me for answers after all….yet they know everything….thus I know more than everything….(mind blown):
Why do you want to be the fount of knowledge for seekers of God? Which God speciifcally? Why that specific god above others?
In answering the above questions, what separates an awful response from an excellent one? I’d write having a familiarity around classical doctrine. “There are many gods and many lords” a polytheist could confidently quote, and yet, unless the readers are aware of Paul’s strict monotheistic stance on such topics, they’re simply at the mercy of however the crafty quote has been framed. If you don’t know your Christianity, then every reply is going to be undermined by an atheist who does (to however small a degree) know Christianity. Nonetheless, where does my friend’s initial set of questions go wrong, how would the Christian reader reply if met by their challenge?
KIA’s above questions imagined an equal platform being shared with regards to “gods”, many lords, many gods, why bother choosing one over another in light of the undeniable fact of religious relativism. Of course, everybody who’s even remotely acquainted with comparative world religions would laugh themselves to stitches at religious relativism (nonetheless, atheists want to entertain it). “Why should I choose one god over any others?” If I’m assuming the question to be genuine, that would show how deeply unacquainted the questioner is around world religions. It’s like the old chestnut of a rich man not knowing how much a pint of milk costs, it’s not just that he doesn’t know, but that to not know something so widely known shows the rich man up for being thoroughly out of touch. You may as well down a bottle of JD and slur the question down the phone at me, that’s how unsophisticated it comes across.
For another example, just on account of multiplying ambiguous, widely discredited sources, believing in Allah as revealed by the compilers of Islamic tradition would be less justifiable than believing in Jesus by way of an eyewitness having their own words put to parchment. Let me unpack that thought. You’ve got fifth hand testimony (the Islamic kind), where compilers have written upon behalf of the companions, who supposedly spoke on behalf of Muhammad, who supposedly spoke on behalf of Gabriel, who supposedly spoke about Allah’s Qur’an in heaven, compare their testimony about God’s nature over against eyewitness testimony (Paul’s kind), as found in any number of their epistles. The person who isn’t schooled in comparative religions can only ask an undercooked, blunt question, for to ask a fuller question whilst providing the relevant background information would totally give the game away. An educated person on comparative religions wouldn’t ask why believe in one God over another god because when they’d ask, their question would end up being composed like so: “Why believe in Paul’s God over an imam’s god, the same imam who’s plagiarised from the New Testament and put its words upon the lips of illiterate, unschooled caravan raiders over 600 years after the composition of the now perverted original?” To ask the question is to answer it. How exhausting it must be for believers to have to explain such simple concepts to the atheist meme machine. You just can’t pretend that there’s no compelling reasons to choose one understanding of the divine over another. Some beliefs to do with God are based upon better historical data, others are based upon religious experience, whereas the greats are grounded in our best historic data and religious experience. Anyhow, let’s get to my long overdue reply…
It would rather be the information of the blog, which comes from some of the best in the study of faith, which would be properly described as a knowledge font, not myself.
Though insofar as seekers of God are concerned, there’s such an array of information available, much of which interprets the question of the ultimate absolute through the eyes of political correctness, or even religious relativism, both of which are from the outset incapable of coming to the knowledge of the ultimate absolute, I’m happy to have the sort of exchange, as I’m sure most honest people are, which would throw out these failed ways of interpenetration in favour of an unbridled pursuit of truth. Due to which the readers wouldn’t try finding the ultimate absolute in political correctness or religious relativism, for both of these demand people grant everything regardless of their truth value an equal platform. The God I’m referring to would be found in the person of Jesus Christ, for the reason that it’s Christ who has had the transformative impact upon me which no other holy man or sage claims to have. I’d ask you to consider one God over others simply because the others aren’t Gods, they’re idols. Insofar as other propositions of religions are concerned, I’ve enjoyed studying many, from the beheading of Ganesh by their father Shiva, to the tale of the Buddha abandoning their wife and child so to find the path of enlightenment. I’m sharing with you, my friend, that in the case of every religious teacher or originator, there emerges a clear distinction between the teacher and their teaching by which they claim to rescue you, from Mohammed and their Qur’an, which he claimed would seduce you by its poetry, to Buddha and their Nobel Paths, which ought to guide you. You aren’t to run to Zoroaster, or Krishna, or anyone of these many people. Though you’re being asked to run to Christ, They’re saying Their words are never going to pass away, and that by simply asking Him, He might come into your life, you’re being asked to cast your cares upon Him so that you too might experience an existential change so dramatic as if to totally rebirth you. This is one of many reasons I’d ask you to consider Christ as a person, as opposed to the others, which are merely propositions.
I posted my response on the about page, getting liked by a couple of bloggers, but, perhaps more importantly, KIA himself appears to have rated the reply. Most atheists, treated poorly by “believers”, having their own scars from what may have been a lifetime of abuse in religions, often forget that some people really are motivated by love for the unconverted. On the streets I recently asked a Jehovah witness about their motivation, I asked “What do you believe is going to happen to a person like me, I’m not part of the Watchtower, I’m not like you.” Now, I knew the answer, he apparently didn’t, he replied we’d all be judged by our hearts, and I’m such a good guy that I’ve got nothing to worry about on judgement day. Nothing about annihilation, heavenly hopes and earthly hopes, they simply replied it’ll be fine. That’s not what the Watchtower teach. If they believed that, which they may not have, it should have totally taken the wind out of their sails in terms of sharing their faith.
If I believed as this man did, that everybody was saved, that everybody gets some kind of happily ever after, I wouldn’t write to unbelievers, nor would I bother witnessing on the streets or doorsteps, I’d let them go about their day confident in the fact that although they’re blaspheming, and although they’re hating their brother, that’s a non-issue in the eyes of God. Let them all eat cake, I’d say, I certainly wouldn’t be handing out Watchtower publications by the side of a bus stop, getting the odd dirty look, being treated like dirt, no way, not for me. But this man, what motivated him? I can’t say, insofar as he could explain, he had no powerful motivation for going out and spreading this kind of literature. Our exchange came to an abrupt end with a question, or rather, the literature behind the question, I asked “If you believed the Watchtower had gotten it wrong, would you still want a part in the organization?” They replied “No. nobody wants to be tricked.” Though when they seen how the Watchtower had tricked its members, they flinched, they couldn’t bite the bullet, they ended our conversation. That’s religion gone wrong, that’s the kind of thing which harms people like KIA, it’s the same reason why many feel in need of recovery.
For curious readers, the conversation with Alex (my witness friend), ended with my pointing towards a book by Judge Rutherford, the second president of the Watchtower society, one called “Millions now living will never die.” In which they wrote: “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old” (Millions Now Living Will Never Die, 1920, p. 89-90). Although in later years the Watchtower went further, writing in 1924: “No doubt many boys and girls who read this book will live to see Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Daniel, and those other men of old come forth in the glory of their better resurrection, of perfect in mind and body. It will not take long for Christ to appoint them to their post of honor and authority as his earthly representatives. The world and all the present conveniences will seen strange to them at first, but they will soon become accustomed to the new methods. They may have some amusing experiences at first; for they never saw telephones, radios, automobiles, electric lights, aeroplanes, steam engines, and many other things so familiar to us.” (The Way To Paradise, 1924, p. 226). The Judge even had a mansion prepared for their return, Beth Sari, meaning house of the kings, a ten bedroom mansion made in anticipation for the return of the mighty prophets of old, they even leased a car in the name of king David, sadly for the Judge however, this never happened. It was false prophesy, pure and simple.
What motivates the average cult member is a mystery to me, their ability to avoid the facts a marvel, however, for the Christian born again by the Lord’s Spirit, it’s gratitude to God, and love for man, that’s what motivates the believer, just as the Scripture teaches. Christians are forgiven, and it’s not of themselves, for which nobody can boast. KIA was comfortably answered not because I’m particularly savvy, but because God’s word is clear, accurate and useful for instruction, and I’m not willing to resist that great textbook. I don’t want another man KIA, killed in action. Cult members may say everybody’s saved, everybody’s good, that’s not true however, as we know no man seeks after God, and every man has gone his own way, for which every man needs rescue, so everybody needs Jesus. If we don’t know that, we know nothing.
― T. C. M