Thursday, September 12, 2013

Christians: Here Are the Steps To Convince Me to Accept Christ

Here's a road map for Christians who want to convert me. There's no sarcasm here; I mean this all quite sincerely. What I'm pointing out with all this is that going right to accepting Christ is skipping many, many steps.

First, you'll explain why I should even start thinking about such a question in the first place. Why would I even be worrying about this, more than I worry about four-sided triangles? I have other things to think about that are self-evidently much more relevant and meaningful. I would ask this same question to (for example) a salesman who comes to my door and insists that I need new windows when the need for windows is anything but obvious.

After that, you would explain how such a thing as a god CAN exist.

At THAT point, you would show that it actually does.

In so doing you would explain how you know that it actually does, in ways that are objectively measurable to everyone. (Otherwise, why should I listen to you instead of everyone else who's trying to get my attention on this and many other matters, many of whom are hucksters and don't want to give me evidence?)

You would then explain why this god has characteristic A and not characteristic B in terms of properties we can measure in ways (again) that are objectively accessible to everyone. "It came to me in a dream" or "you'll never understand until you let go" doesn't work when psychics and hippies try it, and it won't work here either.

The existence of this god must require a change in my decisions and behavior somehow, otherwise you wouldn't be talking to me about it; so once you establish the existence of a god with characteristics A B and C but not X Y and Z, you'll relate the measurable properties you established to human actions and to mine, specifically.

Importantly, I am living a good, happy, productive life now. While there's always room for improvement, it is not clear how accepting Christ would improve my values; it seems very much like it could only confuse them.

Then you'll establish why there are not other gods with different characteristics who are equally worthy of consideration. If Yahweh can be real, why can't Shiva? Hundreds of millions believe in him! Isn't Satan a god too, or at least a supernatural being, as well as angels? Why don't you believe in them? (Or do you?)

Now (and only now) are we even getting into Christian specifics. After you've done all this, if you want me to be YOUR kind of Christian, you'll convince me of the historical accuracy of the Bible (which many Christians dispute in different ways); why so many different kinds of Christians have taken the same leader and book and come away with very different teachings (even disagreeing on the order and wording of the Ten Commandments); you'll also resolve the many inconsistencies within the Bible so I know which parts to believe; and finally, explain why even though this book is very well explained by the knowledge, writing style, culture and politics of the era in which is was written, edited and collated, why it's any different from the Quran, the Diamond Sutra, or Bhagavad Gita. (In other words, if all those are just made up with tricks to keep people believing and spread themselves - which they were - why are the similar tricks in the Bible any different.)

You'll definitely explain why your understanding of morality differs so dramatically from the people who wrote the Old and New Testaments (unless you support slavery, stoning, etc.)

For most types of Christianity you'll also go through all the steps above to convince me that certain things exist that I also currently don't believe in, besides supernatural beings - things like souls and life after death.

If at any point in this process you appeal to a sense of faith or say that reason doesn't work on this, then you'll also tell me why I should listen to you instead of the Muslims and Scientologists (and many others) that say the same things to me. Or weird hippies that don't like "Western science, man!"

So before we get all the way down to "my version of the Christian God is the correct one and you should do X, Y, and Z" you have a few other steps to go through first.


Anonymous said...

They don't need your money that badly, lol. Good points made, would like to have seen some of the most brought up verses regarding tithing and selflessness to others as some are taken advantage of using the bible.

Anonymous said...


Michael Caton said...

One thing that religious folks could do is focus on areas of common moral understanding. If you start right off with "gay people are bad; you have to accept the Bible AND completely change your morality right away" that usually doesn't work. For that matter, doesn't work for atheists talking to religious people either.