Thursday, October 13, 2011

lessons from an Atheist

This week has been some what of a tumultuous week for me spiritually and emotionally.

Over the summer I heard this from Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller).  It's about 5 minutes long if you have time I encourage you to watch it.  Jillette is a known Atheist and in this video he tells a story of a man who gave him a Bible after one of his shows.  The man knew he wasn't a believer but said he couldn't go away from the show knowing in his heart that Penn didn't know Christ and that he did nothing about it. 
Jillette says :
“I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me alone and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?
I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”

The part about it being socially awkward got me.  That is so true of my life.  I do not say things because I don't want to ruin friendships or make people angry.  I do not say things because I don't want to look narrow-minded or holier-than-thou.  I don't want to go around beating people with my Bible, I don't want to be judgmental.... but I also can't sit by and do nothing.
Right now, this very minute, I have family and friends, of all walks of life and faiths, that I truly believe in my heart are going to Hell and I say nothing because of fear of ridicule or loss of friendship.

So here I am.  I am putting myself out there saying that I love you and I would like to share with you what I believe. 

I believe with my whole heart and mind that God is real.  I believe that there is only 1 God {Isaiah 44:6-8}.  I believe that He always was and He will always be {Psalm 90:3, Numbers 23:19}.  I believe that God is three in one, the trinity - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit {Ephesians 4:4-7}.  I believe that He sent his son Jesus to Earth to die for our sins so that we could know eternal life with him in Heaven {John 1:14, John 3:16, John 14:6, Colossians 1:15-17}.  I believe that on the 3rd day Christ rose from the dead, later ascended into Heaven, and sits at the right hand side of God {Mark 16:19}. It is by our faith alone that we can be called sons and daughters of God.  Salvation is free gift of God{ Titus 3:5, Ephesians 2:8, Galatians 2:21}.  I believe in the cross.  I believe in a personal relationship with God.  I believe in prayer.  I believe in the entire Bible. I believe that you cannot pick and chose the scriptures you want to believe and follow.  I believe in Hell.  I believe that only God can judge, and I believe he will {Matthew 25:41-46}.
I believe these truths to be the foundation and core of Christianity {Matthew 7:21-23}.

I was saved when I prayed a prayer of repentance.  I confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness.  This does not mean that I no longer sin. I probably sin daily, but I serve a loving, forgiving God.  I know that He is greater than anything in this world and I am humbled by his presence.  I know that I by myself would never be worthy to enter Heaven, but through Christ in me I am called a child of God and someday I will be welcomed into the Kingdom.  No greater love has ever been known than Christ's love for us and for that I am thankful.

If you would like to learn more about Christianity click here and if you'd like to know more about the Church of the Nazarene, the church Lee and I attend you can click here.


Natalia Lynn said...

I have heard that before. And I totally understand what you are saying and feel like i do the same. Isn't it a shame? Why are we so worried about what other people think when God is the only one that matters? Great post, lots to think about!

-STEPHANIE said...

Great post Kels.

Grace said...

I can't agree with you. Having conversations about religion with people who don't share your beliefs is not productive. The chances of convincing anyone (especially people who are already committed to a different value system) are extremely low, and the chances of offending them extremely high.

Any American (or anyone in Grenada, for that matter) is going to be familiar with Christianity and its belief system, because it's omnipresent. I was raised by atheists, and even I have heard everything in your penultimate paragraphs. People choose not to be Christian not because they haven't heard about it, but because they dislike the religion/the beliefs/the people etc.

When people try to proselytize me, I find it extremely offensive. It shows a lack of common courtesy, since you are persisting in a topic which others do not want to discuss. (Answering questions from sincere seekers is of course completely different.)

Please continue to keep your opinions about who is going to Hell to yourself (especially as, even if you are religious, only God knows the answer to this).

Sorry if I sound harsh, but honestly as someone who is not Christian and has no interest in being so, hearing people's testimonies/belief systems which they feel compelled to share gets really old.

Rhelda said...

I really needed to see this Kelsey, I have been battling with myself on if God always forgives me for the wrongs I do.....I am glad I'm not alone. Thank you for your uplifting words. You were my blessing from God today....thank you:)

-Kelsey Coghill said...

Thanks for the comment Grace, I am so thankful that you took the time to read my post, but I am afraid you missed the entire point. I am not worried about offending anyone nor saying what is socially acceptable. It is my uttermost belief that the God of Christianity is real and that I as a Christian am called to go unto all the world and share what Christ has done in my life. I am speaking out of love and a sincere desire to tell others about Christ. Contrary to what you may believe there are MANY MANY MANY people whom I encounter on a daily basis who do not know about Christianity and what I as a Christian believes.
As an atheist even Penn Jillette saw the injustice done by many Christians who believe in Hell but do nothing to warn others and tell them what they can do to go to Heaven. The truth is Hell is real and people are going there every single day. You are correct to say that I do not know who, but I know what the Bible says.
The fact that you have heard enough Christian's testimonies and have been proselytizes for it to become old is encouraging to me. I am so thankful that there are people who are not afraid to share their heart and I pray that I may someday be able to share my faith more openly with others.

Grace said...

Hi Kelsey,

Actually I think that as a religious person who wants to convince others to be religious too, being concerned about offending others or social acceptability is crucial.

I wrote on my blog (here: about why I am an atheist, and one of the main reasons was due to the poor behavior of the religious people I encountered. (And this is not uncommon: it's an important reason that Christian missionaries in China were so unsuccessful, for example.)

If you are trying to convert others to your moral system, then you have to demonstrate its superiority by showing its positive effects on you (through your behavior; as we all know, talk is cheap). Acts of charity are a great way to do this; preaching at people who don't want to listen is not.

I understand that you have strong beliefs, and even though I probably completely disagree with them, I am not going to try to convince you otherwise. But your idea about testifying to others is not going to further your own stated goals.

Sorry to post such long comments and I wish you the best in your journey!

Rob, Michelle, Luke & Harper said...

I respect your convictions and admire your bravery. If people don't want to hear about Christ, they don't have to listen (or read), but it seems only appropriate to share with others what makes you so happy, even if it offends a few, it will inspire more.

Anonymous said...

You forgot one...

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy . . for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it."—Exodus 20:8, 11.

But what about Christ’s resurrection? Nowhere in Scripture were we told to keep any day in honor of Christ’s resurrection. To do so is unscriptural. On the contrary, to set aside the Creation and sanctification Sabbath of the Bible—for another day of the week—and excuse it by saying that we do so "in honor of Christ’s resurrection,"—is indeed to do a very daring thing. Who dare presume to set aside the Memorial of Creation and salvation for any reason! To knowingly do so, flies in the face of repeated, direct, Biblical commands by the God of heaven. To do so denies that He is our Creator and Redeemer.

If we abandon the Bible Sabbath and keep another day holy, in the Judgment what excuse can we offer? There is no Bible reason for keeping the first day of the week holy instead of the seventh day.

So remember to keep the Sabbath (Saturday) holy.

Amanda said...

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them int he name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

Share your faith! Plant those seeds!
This was such a blessing to read. Thank you, Kelsey!

SarahGlenn said...

You are probably getting too many comments on this already - but I did want to thank you for your good example. Through your actions and the way you treat people, I can tell that you are truly trying to be an example of your religion, like Grace mentioned in her comment. Thanks for posting. And thanks for inspiring me to be a better follower of Jesus Christ!

Ashley said...

You're a good girl, Kelsey. I'm sure the Savior is proud of you. I know from watching your actions that you love Jesus. Keep being good :) XOXO

Erin and Paul Anderson said...

I also would like to commend you for standing up for what you believe. You and I don't share all of the same beliefs, but I find it admirable that you are so dedicated and not afraid to share your conviction even though others may take offense.

I do believe that there is a way for us to share our messages, but still be sensitive to others and what they believe. Although I think that talking about what you believe is important, I think we often times forget that our example is one of the biggest strengths that we have in being Christian.

When someone thinks of Christianity, I would hope that I can be someone who is living my religion and trying to be a good example.


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