Terry Pratchett on Religion
Originally Posted by a Christian
Some things to keep in mind:
1. Remember that they are people, just like you are. Contrary to what you may have been led to believe, they are not some lower life form we share this planet with.
2. More than likely, they are smarter than you are. This can be difficult to come to grips with, but it does appear to be true and is a claim that is actually supported by the Bible ( 1 Corinthians 1:18-31 )
3. Statistically, they are also as moral, if not more so than you are. While it is a good thing that they generally are highly moral, it is a shame that we, who often times claim the moral high ground, seem unable, or unwilling, to match our words with our lives.
4. They will probably thump you in debate. They are much more likely to have carefully thought through their position and understand why they believe what they do. We are more likely simply to present some argument that the person we heard it from guaranteed would destroy the enemy. The problem with that is that many of them have heard the same arguments many times and are easily able to counter them.
5. Don’t under-estimate their knowledge of the Bible. Many of them are more familiar with the Bible than the average Christian is. And they know all of the passages that will cause you a problem, and will not hesitate to challenge you with them.
So, as a Christian, what chance do we have when doing battle with the godless empire? Here are some suggestions that may make your stay here more rewarding.
1. Don’t feel like you have to win all of the battles. You are not going to. In fact, you may not win any of them. Be satisfied with being able to clearly and logically express what you believe and why. While you may never convince another person on this group, you will have helped yourself by taking the time to understand what you believe and why, and to verbally present it. 1 Peter 3:15 says in part “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” We are challenged to give an answer, not to win a fight.
2. Be respectful, open and truthful. The remainder of 1 Peter 3:15 tells us to make our defense “with gentleness and respect”. Realize that the people you are debating with really do have a lot to offer. Don’t throw away the opportunity to learn from them because they do not believe in the God we hold dear. Don’t make the mistake of believing that everything an atheist says is suspect.
3. Treat them the way you would like to be treated yourself. Remember what Jesus says in Matthew 7:12: “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.” Jesus tells us to initiate the desired treatment, not just respond to others in the way we are treated. Most atheists here will treat you with at least the same amount of respect that you show to them.
4. Be willing to admit that there are things you don’t know. Believe it or not, it will not hurt your position.
5. Remember that our walk is by faith and that we cannot prove that God exists or that the Bible is true. We might be able to make an argument to support those beliefs, but do not mistake that for proof.
6. Remember that while the Bible may be authoritative to you, like it is to me, to an atheist it is just an old book and has no more authority than the Iliad.
7. Enjoy your stay with us, learn and share, and don’t get too worked up about anything.
8. Don’t feed the trolls.
By Robert Ingersoll
To love justice, to long for the right,
to love mercy,
to pity the suffering, to assist the weak,
to forget wrongs and remember benefits,
to love the truth, to be sincere,
to utter honest words, to love liberty,
to wage relentless war
against slavery in all its forms,
to love family and friend,
to make a happy home,
to love the beautiful in art, in nature,
to cultivate the mind,
to be familiar with the mighty thoughts
that genius has expressed,
the noble deeds of all the world;
to cultivate courage and cheerfulness,
to make others happy,
to fill life with the splendor of generous acts,
the warmth of loving words;
to discard error, to destroy prejudice,
to receive new truths with gladness,
to cultivate hope,
to see the calm beyond the storm,
the dawn beyond the night,
to do the best that can be done
and then be resigned.
This is the religion of reason,
the creed of science.
This satisfies the brain and the heart.