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Feedback archiveFeedback 2012

What do the atheopaths have to hide?

Skeptics who refuse to reveal their name—do they have something to hide, or something to fear?

Published: 19 May 2012(GMT+10)

123rf.com

There appears to be an increasing trend of late with atheopaths seeking to distract us from producing content for the website and our publications by bombarding us with insincere ‘enquiries’ with fake names and fake email addresses. We publish this email to which Dr David Catchpoole responds, complete with fake name and email address to show precisely the sort of opposition we face.

Eyes Mind Wideopen with ‘email address’ iamnotasheep@URAbloodyfool.com writes:

Regarding your article: Holy books? Which one are you going to trust? by David Catchpoole … .

I’m still confused! How does using YOUR holy book prove anything more than that you have a book that you adhere to when answering all questions pertaining to YOUR religion? It would mean nothing to you … prove nothing to you … if I were to quote something from “The Gospel of Thomas” to prove to you that Agnosticism is the one true religion. It’s like holding a piece of gold in your hand at the bank to prove you have a backyard full of gold. Mr Catchpoole’s argument insults the intelligence of any thinking person and makes himself and anyone taking him seriously, look like an ignorant fool.

Hmm I [don’t] wonder why you don’t have a place for comments on your website.

CMI’s Dr David Catchpoole responds:

Dear “Eyes Mind Wideopen”,

First, regarding your last sentence, I apologize that as the article Holy Books? pre-dates our modern website’s format, it does not have the “Comment on this article” facility that our more recent online articles do, e.g. see Expert engineer eschews “evolutionary design” and Secular biology class confirms design and one of my own: The ‘vital mission’ for atheists: discrediting the supernatural. We do indeed publish a range of selected incoming comments at the foot of the relevant article—critical or supportive, informative or enquiring. [Note from web editors: As of 17th April 2012, the “Comment on this article” facility has now been installed at the end of the Holy Books article.]

We do indeed publish a range of selected incoming comments at the foot of the relevant article—critical or supportive, informative or enquiring.

As for your other criticisms, I confess that “Holy Books” was not designed for all readers, but only those who have “passed first base” so-to-speak, i.e. readers eager to progress beyond the basics of the creation-evolution issue, having realized that there is a Designer, and are now seeking to know their Maker. The article nowhere mentions ‘proof’ or ‘prove’—the onus is on the readers to think it through for themselves. My article was intended to help them do that.

But it seems to me from your positive comments regarding agnosticism that you have not yet acknowledged that you do have a Maker. So I encourage you to read our articles on design—two of which I’ve already mentioned in this reply.

Regards

David Catchpoole

Creation Ministries International


morgueFile.com

Despite comments such as the one above, we still as Christians possess a mandate to proclaim the gospel to atheists, even if they find it offensive, as Dr Don Batten points out in this feedback.

Christina K. from the United States writes in response to article Why do atheists hate God?:

Hi all. My best friend is an atheist—a very nice person. He says that the reason why he dislikes everyone trying to save him is the same reason why a Christian person would dislike a Muslim person attempting to convert them to Islam. He said that both people have reason to believe the way they do, and since he doesn’t try to force atheism on others, he doesn’t want religion forced upon him. I do pray for his soul, but what he says does make sense. I guess I can quote Matthew 23:8–12; “But do not be called Teacher; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Messiah. But the greatest among you shall be your servant. Whoever exalts himself shall be humbled; and whoever humbles himself shall be exalted.” I don’t feel like its right to judge or try to change atheists. God will determine their place in the afterlife, it is not my place. Just my two cents. God bless.

Dr Don Batten replies:

Dear Christina,

Thanks for commenting.

I know some nice atheists too. But nice atheists break the first commandment just like everyone else and will be judged by God for their rebellion against His right to rule over them. Atheists need Jesus, not so they will be nice, but so that they will escape God’s wrath.

Actually, I don’t mind Muslims trying to convert me at all; in fact I welcome it as an opportunity to share the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ with them; that God has paid the price for our sin and that we cannot earn ‘Brownie’ points with God by Jihad or other means. I do get angry about Muslim-inspired killing of people who refuse to ‘convert’ to Islam (100s of thousands of people in southern Sudan are facing this risk right now), but that is a different thing. If Christians were killing atheists because they would not convert, I would not blame them for having a negative view of Christians. But of course that is not happening. We Christians are not ‘forcing’ our beliefs on anyone.

So your atheist friend’s analogy breaks down.

I’m not sure I see the relevance of Matthew 23:8–12 to witnessing to atheists, although the general call to humility is apt in all situations.

Surely, if someone is truly your friend, you would do everything in your power to make sure that they had the opportunity to repent and receive salvation?

You say, “I don’t feel like its right to judge or try to change atheists.” The flip side of this is that you are happy to see them suffer God’s wrath for their sin. Surely, if someone is truly your friend, you would do everything in your power to make sure that they had the opportunity to repent and receive salvation? What sort of friend would stand by and just watch you as you sailed towards a Christ-less eternity in hell, saying “It’s not my place to judge”? No, the judgment the Bible proscribes is that which puts others down in comparison to ourselves (‘I am holier than you’), it is not an excuse for silence regarding the Gospel call.

“God will determine their place in the afterlife, it is not my place.” This is true, but God says it is our place, our responsibility, to tell them of the Gospel: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Mat. 28:19–20)

“For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How are they to call on one they have not believed in? And how are they to believe in one they have not heard of? And how are they to hear without someone preaching to them?” (Rom 10:13–14)

Of course if your atheist friend is just not interested and says he does not want to hear, you cannot force things. But you can keep praying for a willingness to listen and be ready to share when the door opens.

With kind regards,

Don Batten

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Readers’ comments
Anthony & Naomi M., Australia, 19 May 2012

Eternity is too important. Many people get caught up in the here and now, they are the centre of their own universe. We must be willing to tell them the truth, if they like it or not, and be the best witness we can. Keep up the good work.

A. R., United Kingdom, 19 May 2012

Ultimately, it comes down to the question of whether we believe that hell is a real place. No matter how uncomfortable we may feel about the idea of hell (and I admit that it is not an idea that I particularly like talking about), I think the Bible is quite clear that it is very real. Jesus clearly believed that hell is real. If that is the case, we have to ask ourselves whether on judgement day, there will be friends, family, neighbours and colleagues who will be able to point the finger at us and say, "You knew about this all the time. Why did you never even bother to try to warn me"?

Too often, many of us are more concerned about whether our friends will think we are weird or bigoted than about the eternal future those friends may face (and I admit that I have to pick myself up on this regularly). But what, ultimately, is more important? Popularity and intellectual respectability, or being faithful to God, and showing real love for our friends? We should endeavour to explain the Gospel graciously, thoughtfully and respectfully, being ready to do a little prayerful homework if we can’t give an answer immediately (avoid flannelling!). It is counter-productive to try to force the Bible down anyone’s throat.

We need to remember what Peter tells us -"...in your hearts honour Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defence to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behaviour in Christ may be put to shame" (1 Peter 3:15-16, ESV).

I heard of an atheist who, while not agreeing with a Christian who sought to tell him the Gospel, commended the Christian for at least caring enough to try. He could see that if Christians never try to reach others with the Gospel, perhaps we are implicitly saying that either we don't really believe it, or that we are satisfied that we have our own ticket to heaven, but we don't care enough to try to warn anyone else of the danger they are in.

Yes, it can be uncomfortable to have to step out of your comfort zone, but the joy of seeing a friend coming to Christ is more than worth the adventure!

D. F., United Kingdom, 19 May 2012

Greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I would just like to point out that using "Christ less eternity" lessen the impact of God's wrath. For the non-believer it does not mean anything and for the Christian it takes away the impact of spending the rest of eternity in the Lake of Fire.

Brotherly love, Dwight

Don Batten responds

I did say “Christ-less eternity in hell”, but you have a point that we should never lessen the gravity of God’s wrath.

sheldon M., South Africa, 19 May 2012

Thanx for this. I have been struggling with this in the sense that as soon as you try talk to someone about Christ they have the response of what makes you better than me, or who you to judge? I think a key issue is to wait on the Holy Spirit to lead you to someone whose heart is ready to receive. You are not going to get anywhere by condemning someone. You have to do it in the pure love of God.

Don Batten responds

If we understand that we are saved only by God’s grace, not even a tiny bit by our own works/goodness, then there is no room for a ‘holier-than-thou’ attitude. We approach the sinner as a fellow-sinner, lovingly pointing out the eternal consequences of sin and the way of salvation God has provided through Jesus.

Linda K., United States, 19 May 2012

What do atheopaths have to hide and more importantly, what is the cause of the shame such that they must hide behind false names?

Pride goes before a fall, and in this case, pride has led atheopaths to accept an extremely unpalatable definition of themselves in the name of "science and reason."

First, the definition they have rejected:

(citations taken from Nihilism: Why America and the West are Committing Suicide, L. Kimball, Renew America)

"So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them." Genesis 1:27, KJB

A person is uniquely free because he can spiritually transcend matter to access the supernatural dimension as Paul affirms: "Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom" (2 Cor. 3:17)

The inhuman view of themselves that they have freely chosen states that man is nothing more than a highly evolved ape, an accidental product of time plus chance. And his thoughts are nothing more than the interaction of chemicals and the firing of neurons in his brain:

"With B.F. Skinners' behaviorism there is neither God nor soul. Human beings are chemicals turned into psychochemical machines determined by environment, chemistry, chance, and cultural conditioning.

Cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett, one of the Four Horsemen of the ‘New Atheism’, claims there really is no you, that soul, spirit and will are illusions caused by chemical interactions in the brain while his partner in nihilism, naturalist Tom Wolfe proclaims,

"Sorry, but your soul just died." (The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul, Beauregard and O'Leary, p. 4)"

Pride has led atheopaths to depersonalize themselves. They have stepped out into the void and are no longer human. And now we know why they creep into this forum and from behind false names launch poison darts dipped in envy.

Jonathan M., Canada, 19 May 2012

For me, the main reason I believe in the Bible as the Word of God is because it is a simple message of love that is historically and scientifically anchored and that meets the innermost longings of every human heart. We all thirst for righteousness and love in ourselves. This is why we hate having our unrighteousness pointed out. But the Bible only wounds so that it can heal. Jesus calls us sinners only so that He can call us forgiven and teach us to love again.

The story of Jonah, to me is a great place to start for many atheists. Here you see a touching portrayal of how God cares not only about the cruel Ninevites, but even about their cattle! We see the same love at the cross. It touches the heart and fights back against the cynicism that seeks to choke life, love and joy right out of us.

Steven G., Canada, 19 May 2012

"He said that both people have reason to believe the way they do..." except that at least one of them is wrong.

Anyone worthy of the title 'man' should care which.

Michael S., United Kingdom, 19 May 2012

"I’m still confused! How does using YOUR holy book prove anything more than that you have a book that you adhere to when answering all questions pertaining to YOUR religion"- Anonymous atheist.

It's a common argument but is should also be noted that the bible is a collection of books, noting historical events, those events and places and names being corroborated by historical finds.

It is claimed that we have a "religion" and I find that to be a slippy term of reference in that religion is usually a set of beliefs and rules, it is not to be born again, in that to be born again as Christ said, is an experience. Giving your life to God is not really, "religion". I would say this is one essential difference between genuine faith-experience and "other religions". it should be noted that the bible gives answers that fit with the facts in life. The bible answers for why people behave they do, because of a sinful nature, it also explains why the earth is as it is, with harmful disease and struggle, because of the fall.

I think the bible, as a "Holy book" can only be regarded as set-apart from the others in that it is so broad, so explanative of this life we go through, and offers a genuine connection to the actual creator of the universe, as far as I know "religion" does not do this, does not have real meaning factually or history and is based upon us doing something for god/s rather than God redeeming us through salvation, through Christ.

So the realities of sin, the history as well as the factual consistencies in the bible, make it much more than just another religious book. I think yes, this atheist person is confused, as he is approaching this issue coming from an atheist-angle, as though his worldview is the source of truth, but I think it is a shallow evaluation of our faith, based largely on ignorance.

Trevor B., Australia, 20 May 2012

Thanks Don for your excellent response. I find myself that some atheists seem very touchy about Christian issues and claim that we are 'forcing' our religion on them even when simply just mentioning the fact that I attend church or that I am a Christian. A lot of atheists seem to misunderstand the reason why Christians talk about their faith, which it is out of concern for their eternal future. Your article gets this message across really well. Admittedly though, some Christians probably don't have the right attitude either, not understanding their own faith and trying to do 'works' of evangelism to get 'brownie points' with God.

Scott L., United States, 24 May 2012

You lump all Atheists together in one article, however, these are just a small portion of the Atheist community. Just as I'm sure you would not want me lumping you guys in with the Westborough Baptist Church nuts.

There are always going to be a certain few who are on the fringe and really should not classify the group as a whole. For example if you go to a College Football game when Michigan Plays Ohio State, there are some rabid fans that will throw things or ridicule the opposite fans, however, as a whole the fan base does not reflect those select few who can't seem to act rationally.

Don Batten responds

I don't see how we could be interpreted as saying that all, or even most, atheists submit insulting comments under false names and email addresses. However, it is very common (depending on the article, it can be as high as 1 in 3). I also wrote "I know some nice atheists", which surely makes it clear that we are not 'lumping all atheist together'.

ross S., Australia, 25 May 2012

I like how you mention in your response to one of the emails that you deplore "muslim inspired killing of people who refuse to convert to Islam". How about killings in the name of your christian god? David Koresh, Reverend Jim Jones etc... Still been no one killed in the name of atheism!

Don Batten responds

David Koresh was no Christian (he was a Davidian, which is a cult). And Jim Jones was most definitely no Christian. According to that often anti-Christian source, Wikipedia, “By the spring of 1976, Jones began openly admitting even to outsiders that he was an atheist.” Jones' favourite reading was the writings of Stalin, Hitler, Marx, etc. He was a communist sympathizer, if not an actual communist. But there is no need to go looking for a Christian who has acted badly to prove your point. They exist. But their behaviour is inconsistent with Christianity, which is what makes it so reprehensible (because it is hypocritical). There is nothing about the evil actions of atheist tyrants, who killed ~150 million last century, that is inconsistent with atheism. Atheist Stalin likened murdering people to mowing the grass. In fact, Stalin murdered many people to try to enforce atheism as the state religion of the Soviet Union. That is surely "in the name of atheism"?

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