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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Agnostic

I have already met several Christians at my new job. Some of them went through job training with me and others I met when I went to the actual building where I now work and got my office space. This past week, however, I had the opportunity to meet an agnostic. This happened when one of the Christians I met told me he had been discussing certain things with this girl who had a lot of questions about Christianity and such. He knew a little about my background, and asked me if I could help him answer some of her questions.

In the process of actually helping him answer her questions, I just piped up and asked, “Is she willing to talk to me?” He said let me ask her (she worked in the same building we did on a different floor). A little later that morning he sent me an e-mail telling me she wanted to talk with me, would lunch work? Of course I said “yes.” So we all met in the cafeteria on the bottom floor of the building and spent an hour discussing certain issues and answer questions.

It has been quite a while since I have actually corresponding in any sense with an atheist or an agnostic, so I thoroughly enjoyed this hour. She was genuinely searching for answers to her questions, she did ask some of the typical questions I have heard in the past, but apparently somewhere down the road prior to her talking with me she encountered some fundamentalists who told her she was going to hell, and that the bible had this that and the other in it (this that and the other being the typical “translation” that is often used in such a way as to make the text fit into the “mind frame” of the group or individual).

She told me afterward she had never really had some of her questions answered the way I answered them, and that gave her something further to think about. However, she also told me that I actually answered some of her questions to her satisfaction and that no one has ever been able to do that. I thank God for this girl, because she made me once again realise how important it is that we as Christians very much need to embrace the atheist and the agnostic as they struggle with their questions and as they seek answers. I told her at the beginning of our conversation that I was not attempting to convert her to Christianity. I was simply there to try and answer some of her questions based on my past research and experience (having described my educational background to her). This, I believe put her at ease. Too often I think she has experienced Christians who have talked with her (or at her) only to try and force her to “make a decision” with an “or else” attitude (i.e. or else you are going to hell).

Just as an FYI, here are some of the questions she asked me:

If God created man, who created God?
Why was hell created to punish man? In God’s eyes we’re suppose to be his children.
Where are the remaining books that were not included in the Bible? Why were they left out?
Why are we made to have and believe something that cannot be proven?
Do people really worship Jesus or the message he brought?
If I were to lie, but someone else were to commit murder but asks for forgiveness, who would go to hell?
Why does God allow people to hate, lie cheat, steal, etc. only to forgive them?
If “all strength comes through God” why are people who have faith in God, so weak?

These were just a few of the questions she had for me when we talked. You notice how most of the emphasis in the questions is hell, or damnation, etc. It’s as if she has mostly been presented with an angry God and tormented Christians.


Blogger Chris Tilling said...

Lovely post, Todd. Good on you!

6:40 AM, June 18, 2006  

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