Skip to comments.I Love Talking To Ex-Mormon Atheists
Posted on 03/12/2013 9:27:52 AM PDT by Colofornian
I did not expect to meet so many atheists when I moved to Utah seven years ago. But I should have known better: America as a whole is secularizing, and Mormonism itself has a scorched earth policy. My Mormon girlfriend in high school once essentially said, If the LDS Church isnt true, I dont know that I could ever believe in God. Mormonism already is a form of atheism: it denies the existence of an all-powerful, all-knowing, first, most high God, and instead teaches a kind of naturalism or materialism: everything is matter, even spirits, and everything is subject to eternal laws of ultimate nature, even the gods. It feeds its people conspiracy theories about the corruption of the Bible, and it scares the heck out of Mormons over non-Mormon churches: if you dont stay with the One True Church, youll have to settle for an abominable evangelical church with a corrupt pastor who is a minister of Satan.
That is a colorful way of putting it, but you get the point.
It is depressing that so many people leave Mormonism only to become agnostics or atheists. Fortunately, atheists have a hard time staying atheists. Their children are probably much more open to the Biblical gospel than Mormons are. I suspect God is up to something he has multi-generational plans weve never dreamed of. If giving people the truth about Mormonisms history and the truth about the Biblical gospel of Jesus Christ statistically increases the odds of a person becoming a self-confessed agnostic or atheist, then so be it. God is sovereign and I am not here to be a social engineer or to play God. My job as an ambassador of Jesus is to preach the word of truth in love, and let the chips fall where they may. Fortunately, there is the fruit of ex-Mormon Christians to celebrate.
I used to be intimidated to talk to atheists. They are, in my experience, generally confident about their atheism and have tough questions. But over time I discovered that the average atheist hasnt read a substantive book defending atheism or theism, and gets his intellectual prowess from image memes and YouTube. Today, I like to start off conversations with atheists by asking, Have you ever read a good book defending atheism or theism? Usually they havent. Have you ever heard any good arguments for the existence of God or the resurrection of Jesus? Usually they havent. What are the strongest arguments for theism or Christianity, and what about them do you find lacking? Blank stare. What do you think are some of the most difficult questions for atheism to answer? Ughhh
These are great introductory teaching moments. Would you mind if I shared a few good arguments for the existence of God and for the resurrection of Jesus? What an awesome opportunity, especially when it culminates in a presentation of the most beautiful (and true) story in the world: God, yes, God, became a man, suffered with us and for us, and paid our penalty on the humiliating and shameful cross, and showed us the best display of sacrificial love there has ever been, simultaneously vindicating the righteousness of God, raising three days letter, showing us that the Lord Jesus Christ has all authority under heaven and earth and infinite power to keep his promises.
My favorite argument for the existence of God is the moral argument for God. I push it really hard:
1. If there is no God, there are no objective moral values or duties.
2. There are objective moral values and duties.
3. Therefore, God exists.
The really interesting thing about this argument is that atheists disagree with each other and dont know it. Some affirm both premises and simply havent followed them through to the conclusion. Some affirm premise #1 and disaffirm premise #2, others disaffirm premise #1 and affirm premise #2. Call me a rascal, but when Im being dog-piled by atheists, I love to get them arguing with each other. The argument is a great way to simultaneously engage someones intellect, spiritual intuitions, and suppressed presuppositions, all at the same time.
You can hear more about the moral argument for God here. But dont let YouTube suffice: read a good book. Some of you are, like me, at times utterly sick of reading about, thinking about, and discussing Mormonism. Take the opportunity to read some good literature that both engages atheism and supports the basics of Biblical Christianity. The ironic thing is that you can take what you learn and share it with not only your atheist neighbors, but also your Mormon neighbors. I dare say that all of the evidences, arguments, and Biblical declarations that atheists need to hear are things that Mormons equally need to hear. Mormons are atheists in embryo. As Mormons are, ex-Mormon atheists once were; as ex-Mormon atheists are, Mormons may be. To quote The Dark Knight Rises out of context: There is a storm coming. Mormon parents need to stop asking themselves, Will my children remain in the LDS Church?, and start asking, When my children leave the LDS Church, will they believe in Jesus? Not if, but when. Its happening in Utah, and its happening fast. Mormons have a hard time imagining what being a Christian theist would be like outside of Mormonism. I want to help start this process of imagination.
Addendum: Ten Discussion Questions for Atheists and Agnostics
Is there anything you reasonably believe to be true, yet cant empirically demonstrate?
Are there any objective moral values or duties?
Is torturing babies for fun morally objectively wrong?
Does atheism have a problem of evil?
Does every effect have a sufficient cause?
Do you trust your cognitive faculties?
To what extent and why?
Is an infinite regress possible?
Is it possible that God exists?
Is truth important for its own sake?
Is the question of Gods existence important?
Do you feel angst or sorrow over the absurdity of life?
What do you think of the person of Jesus?
Have you ever heard of the trilemma?
Philosophical discussion important, but secondary and supplemental to direct preaching. People are not only emotional and spiritual beings, but also intellectual beings, so I consider it a respectful and loving thing to engage a person intellectually.
We are all fools for something. I choose to be a fool for Jesus. If any of you think you are wise by the standards of this age, you should become fools so that you may become wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18) Be a fool with me and preach the ridiculous gospel of Jesus Christ. Self-confessed atheists are no different than the rest of us inadvertent practical atheists who sin as though God does not exist. We need to repent of trusting ourselves and cry out to Jesus in brokenhearted, child-like faith.
God is good, and Jesus has risen,
You eloquently wrote, “Everytime I see something like this posted I know your hate and bigotry is working overtime. Mostly I know what is pisted is bovine excrement and should taken as the complete utter lie it is intented to be. May God have mercy pn your hate filled soul.”
I have some feedback for you.
1. You have made a (4 actually) personal attack on the person who posted the thread.
2. You claim it is bovine excrement and yet can’t demonstrate any falsehood
3. You claim it is a lie, yet can’t refute it with a fact
Which leads to the only conclusion that your post, claims and attacks are unsupportable.
Now, tell the truth. When you misfired, were you wearing the magic underwear? Fess up.
“Your message equates to any evangelization being a hate crime. Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and indeed anybody else would have an equal right to be offended by a polite Christian calling on them.”
I’m going to take this rare parting in the mists of history to point out we agree on this. It doesn’t matter to me personally, whether someone believes exactly as I do. Like Paul, I surely wish they did, minus the chains, for their own sake. I am not offended personally at all.
In the end, they have personal responsibility and freedom for their own life and choices. I don’t wish to take away the freedom or responibility God gave them.
I’m just a signpost on the way, a friend, or the loving Hand of Christ. Sometimes I get to “put a pebble in their shoe” that continues to feel uncomfortable every time they think about it.
Still, they alone decide the response before God. While I may feel sorrow for their choice, it is their call.
No I just believe anyone telling me and my 2 year old child that we were going to Hell because we were Christians and not Mormons to be verbally attacking us to the point of a hate crime...
What would you call it ???
I also believe that mocking my 2 year old when she screamed in fright at the ugly voices was evil..
whatcha think about that if she was your little girl ???
Did you notice I specifically said “polite?”
If they were rude, or loud or abusive, you had every right to become offended. I’ve never met a Mormon missionary that behaved in this way, but given the number of them out there it would be very surprising if there weren’t some.
But, IMO, you should have considered the rudeness or loudness or abusive language to constitute the verbal attack, not the disagreement.
YMMV, of course.
If they were rude, or loud or abusive, you had every right to become offended
Are the evil words not enough ???
After all, Christ said, Nobody comes to the Father except thru me, which means all other religions are false, if you take him at his word.
So, do you take Him at His word? This is, according to the site owner, a Pro-Christian site: "
My position stands. "The so-called book of Mormon is false gospel, ie, fiction. It has nothing whatsoever to do with Christianity or the Word of God.
Look up false prophets in KJV.
Must be a flaw (among many flaws) in my up-bringing."
I take Him at His word. I believe nobody can come to the Father except through Christ.
I also believe that anyone, whether Mormon, Buddhist or Jewish, who believes differently and politely offers to explain why is not adequate reason to become offended, nor does their doing so constitute a hate crime.
I really enjoyed seeing your paintings on your home page...very nice and I have been in several of the sites.
To my mind, tattling to Daddy is more than a little inappropriate in this case.
I have been perfectly polite to you, and to the extent of my ability to everybody else I’ve ever spoken to on this forum.
I believe that American Christians who believe their own religion to be true do not have a moral right to be offended by people of other religions who believe the same about their own faiths and express that belief politely. To my mind, this smacks waaaay to much of the whole Muslim blasphemy thing.
Personally, I believe Christ could have had a rational and polite conversation with a Hindu or Buddhist monk, or with a pagan Greek priest. Possibly he did. He would not have budged from his position that they were in error, but he wouldn’t have tried to silence them.
The Apostle Paul in Athens calmly discussed Greek religion with his listeners, and even drew analogies from it to illustrate the truth of Christianity. He recognized there were truths even in pagan religion, though obscured by a whole bunch of lies.
BTW, I agree with Jim that the Book of Mormon is false doctrine.
I just disagree with you about how we should react to those who believe in false doctrines.
There are many, many Christians who would disagree with you. As I stated earlier, IMO it's comparable to someone saying, "Sherman, that child of yours is the ugliest thing I have ever seen."
It's obvious your mileage may vary.
This has been one of the strangest defenses of mormonism that I have seen on FR. One would wonder just what you WOULD find offensive.
Agree to disagree.
Their belief that I will burn in hell if I don’t believe as they do does nothing to put me there, any more than your similar belief about them of itself has any effect on their ultimate fate.
I’m curious if you are equally offended by Jews who believe Christ was a false prophet, many of whom have said some remarkably impolite things about Him over the centuries. Do you think Jews who are horribly offended by Christian attempts to convert them are justified? How about similar Muslim reactions? I’m not talking about violent physical reactions, just offense that someone has made an attempt to share their faith.
I must agree with you in that I find your position odd. Possibly you are correct in how most Christians would respond, but to my mind it’s still an odd reaction.
Technically I believe this hypothetical Mormon would agree with my statement. He is disagreeing about the method by which one must approach the Father through Christ.
Thanks for the ping metmom
Point #1, it is common to ping another FReeper when they are mentioned in a post, but perhaps you aren't aware of that courtesy.
Point #2, IMO JR may very well wish to disagree with the statements that you have made on this thread....which HE may find as "inappropriate" such as the following:
"I believe that American Christians who believe their own religion to be true do not have a moral right to be offended by people of other religions who believe the same about their own faiths and express that belief politely. To my mind, this smacks waaaay to much of the whole Muslim blasphemy thing.
Side note: The mormon religion began with blasphemy and its leaders believed THEY had a "moral right" to castigate and slander "all other creeds" from the beginning...except for Islam, which they have made common cause with.
Some examples from mormon sources:
Just one response is needed. Give them a decent head start before having them escorted off the property...
You could bring out the nuclear weapon to mormons. Throw a glass of water in their face. It will scar them forever and they will have victim stories to tell on FR.
Oh, I DO recall the poor mormon who was attacked with a glass of water...
Yep. You don’t see many Mormons following the practices of Origen, although some mormons in Utah did it to other persons they disapproved of.