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Main Discussion Zone => Religion In The News => Topic started by: Hatter23 on October 01, 2012, 03:46:21 PM

Title: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on October 01, 2012, 03:46:21 PM
Justin Obriecht thought he had it all.

"I had a good life,” said Obriecht recently at Hope Covenant Church. “I had enough money, I didn't have a lot of stress. Things were really good for me as an atheist."

Starting with his first restaurant opening in Tinley Park in 2001, Obriecht went on to open Culver’s locations in Orland Park, Tinley Park, Frankfort, Homewood and Matteson. But he later found something was missing.

Today, Obriecht is a member of Willow Creek Community Church. His talk at Hope Covenant Church in Orland Park was his second testimony.

“The nice thing about a testimony is it's a story about what happened in my life,” Obriecht said. “It's not about me shoving anything down anyone’s throat. A testimony is the quickest way to get to know somebody. I have put that out to all my employees. I have not received any negative reply about my relationship with Jesus Christ."

Obriecht came bearing Butterburgers, custard, a few of his employees and his testimony. More than 100 people came out to enjoy dollar Butterburgers and Culver's custard before listening to Obriecht’s story.

"I opened up a business when everyone thought the world was coming to an end," Obriecht said. 

Days after the 9/11 attack, Justin was preparing to open his first Culver's restaurant in Tinley Park. Just 25, Obriecht was the youngest person to open up a Culvers restaurant. Three years later, the Tinley Park Culver's had $3 million in sales, more than any other Culver's.

Five years after he found the success in Tinley Park, Obriecht opened restaurants in the other four nearby towns.

"The south suburbs have supported us amazingly,” he said. “I give a lot of that credit to the people of the south suburbs."

Obriecht gave back along the way. He participated in cancer walks, fundraisers for area schools and other philanthropy.

"I was an atheist but I wasn't a bad person,” Obriecht said. “I wasn't cheating, I wasn't stealing but I swore a little too much. The only difference is when you have a belief in God and you know God, he expects you to be more disciplined.”

Obriecht was traveling when he stopped in Tennessee, and began meditating around 2 a.m. He suddenly felt a warmth and peace come over him. He said that Jesus came into his life at that moment.

Obriecht immediately called his mother, who had become a Christian a few years before. She had almost the same experience.

Rather than open more restaurants, Obriecht and his new wife Tara are working on helping others.

"As far as charity work, I started a program three weeks ago,” he said. “When I was saved I went around and told my testimony to all the homeless people that lived around me. One day one of the ladies named Carrie asked me to take her to church. A light bulb went off. Maybe there are others that would like this opportunity. I decided to set up a program where I hand out flyers throughout the week. Whoever shows up at the bus stop near my building, my wife and I pay for them to get on the bus. We go to church together. After church my wife and I buy them lunch and give them tickets to do laundry the following Saturday."

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nick on October 01, 2012, 04:03:01 PM
I'm a little suspicious.  Notice how he talks about not being a bad person not sealing and such?  Like that is what atheists do.  Seems to smell a bit to me.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jaimehlers on October 01, 2012, 04:14:09 PM
So, he's basing this conversion on the fact that he was meditating and felt warm and at peace?

Isn't that kind of the point of meditating?  I've meditated at night and felt warmth and peace, usually as an effort to relax enough to sleep.  Gonna need more than that to convince me.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: EV on October 01, 2012, 04:50:42 PM
I kinda imagine him to look like this:

(http://angryjogger.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/weird-fat-man-eating-burger.jpg)

but with a crucifix.

I do think that his testimony is flipping ridiculous though. It is not particularly philosophically sound.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Mr. Blackwell on October 01, 2012, 06:11:54 PM

Rather than open more restaurants, Obriecht and his new wife Tara are working on helping others.

"As far as charity work, I started a program three weeks ago,” he said. “When I was saved I went around and told my testimony to all the homeless people that lived around me. One day one of the ladies named Carrie asked me to take her to church. A light bulb went off. Maybe there are others that would like this opportunity. I decided to set up a program where I hand out flyers throughout the week. Whoever shows up at the bus stop near my building, my wife and I pay for them to get on the bus. We go to church together. After church my wife and I buy them lunch and give them tickets to do laundry the following Saturday."

I would much rather him open more restaraunts which will give more people jobs than spend his money taking homeless people to church.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jetson on October 01, 2012, 06:22:44 PM
This dude was never an atheist.  End of story.  There are way too many pathetic attempts by people who think that not attending church is being atheist.  Real atheists don't convert to theism.  ;D
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: stuffin on October 01, 2012, 09:10:21 PM
No cheating or stealing but hamburgers, swearing and meditation; hmmm, toss in some beer and I might be convinced to accept jesus.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jaimehlers on October 01, 2012, 11:41:36 PM
This dude was never an atheist.  End of story.  There are way too many pathetic attempts by people who think that not attending church is being atheist.  Real atheists don't convert to theism.  ;D
"No True Scotsman" is still a fallacy no matter who uses it.  :P

I kid.  I know what you mean, he was probably willing to believe, just didn't have the emotional reason to believe until that experience he had (which naturally was shared by a Christian, therefore it could only have been done by Jesus).  I get so tired of people making the correlation fallacy.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Aaron123 on October 02, 2012, 01:40:18 AM
Quote
Obriecht was traveling when he stopped in Tennessee, and began meditating around 2 a.m. He suddenly felt a warmth and peace come over him. He said that Jesus came into his life at that moment.

I can't help but imagine that this guy was rasied as a christian, didn't really think about religion too much, then reinterpreted the last 10-15 years of his life as "atheist".

Would explain why it apparently took so little to 'convert' him...
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Bad Pear on October 02, 2012, 02:18:12 AM
This dude was never an atheist.  End of story.  There are way too many pathetic attempts by people who think that not attending church is being atheist.  Real atheists don't convert to theism.  ;D

He was possibly an atheist by the strict definition of the word: He didn't believe in a/any god. However, I highly doubt that he ever gave the issue much thought and/or even to this day knows what the word 'atheist' even means.

At any rate: Your statement might, to avoid fallacy, be better rendered as : Atheists who have given serious thought to the subject and understand it don't convert to theism.  :P
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on October 02, 2012, 04:04:12 AM
I'm a little suspicious ...  Seems to smell a bit to me.

I agree.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: EV on October 02, 2012, 05:16:11 AM
I'm a little suspicious ...  Seems to smell a bit to me.
I agree.

He reeks of Poe. And onions.

Something about the story just doesn't quite add up. Hatter, was this the article you posted? http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/local-culvers-owner-finds-solace-in-religion
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jetson on October 02, 2012, 06:08:57 AM

At any rate: Your statement might, to avoid fallacy, be better rendered as : Atheists who have given serious thought to the subject and understand it don't convert to theism.  :P

Of course, you are more accurate.  I was just trying to be mean.   >:(

You are a bad pear.   ;D
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on October 02, 2012, 06:55:03 AM
I'm a little suspicious ...  Seems to smell a bit to me.
I agree.

He reeks of Poe. And onions.

Something about the story just doesn't quite add up. Hatter, was this the article you posted? http://orlandpark.patch.com/articles/local-culvers-owner-finds-solace-in-religion

Yes. There's another possible interpretation here. This article was free publicity for his restaurants; pehaps he's joining the fast food faith to dollars trend.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nick on October 02, 2012, 08:18:12 AM
The God discount...like Chic-Fil-A with the gay thing.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on October 02, 2012, 06:03:29 PM
Yes. There's another possible interpretation here. This article was free publicity for his restaurants; pehaps he's joining the fast food faith to dollars trend.

Perhaps the franchisor didn't like the franchisee's lack of faith, and the franchisee wants to buy into another franchise ...

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 10:01:01 AM
Hello all,

My name is Justin Obriecht and I was surprised to see a discussion surrounding my testimony.

While I've read and appreciate all of the differing views of what has happened in my life, I was hoping some of you would take the time to read my full testimony, written by me, soon after the events happened.

I'd be happy to discuss my motivations, my past anti-theistic life, and any thing else, if we can just start from the same position, which is my personal testimony.

You can find it here http://justinobriecht.com/about/

Thanks for not being luke warm and being bold in what you believe. I know from past and present experience it's not easy no matter which side of the fence you're on.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 18, 2013, 10:17:56 AM
Gettin' me some popcorn... this should be interesting.

Welcome aboard Justin Obriecht.  I hope you have a strong stomach - well, a burger guy would! :)  Love me some burgers.

Curious our little place here would have set off your radar... someone tip you off you were the subject of discussion?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jaimehlers on July 18, 2013, 10:34:01 AM
I have one question for you.  Are you willing to consider that what happened to you could have some other cause besides Jesus Christ visiting you?  Note that I am not expecting you to concede that it was something else - that would be a bit much to expect from anyone.  I just want to know whether you're open-minded enough to acknowledge that you might have been wrong about it.

Also, paragraph breaks in that testimony of yours.  Please.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on July 18, 2013, 11:20:48 AM
I'm willing to accept Justin experienced something.  By something, I mean a kind of natural mental breakthrough, akin to what yogis and zen masters describe.  It is a natural and repeatable experience  that can be achieved through discipline and practice.  By his own admission, Justin was practicing those techniques already and in fact was meditating when his "epiphany" happened. 

But I see no evidence to suggest, let alone conclude it was jesus H christ.  He has done what people who have experienced something profound have done for thousands of years - attribute a natural but undefined process to the supernatural.  And he attributed it to the myth he was most familiar with, the one that permeates the culture in which he lived.


From Justin's link

Quote
Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.




edit - read some more of his blog.  It's a rare level of crazy.  Not quite Wayne Harrposon level, but approaching it.  This post has all sorts of nutty, devil riddled conspiracy theories to explain why Obama didn't do exactly what Justin wanted him to do.
http://justinobriecht.com/2012/10/30/votes-ii-the-miscalculation/#more-125
(It was the Debil!)

It also gets into his man-crush on Rand Paul and the weirdness libertarians have about the fed and gold standard.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on July 18, 2013, 11:29:59 AM
translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.

And, of course, those aren't mutually exclusive, either.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 18, 2013, 11:37:49 AM
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 18, 2013, 12:18:25 PM
Welcome Justin

While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

My atheist mind is casual, at best. I can argue atheism all day long, but I put much more intensity into my work or my 3D drawings on my computer or into friendships and family. In comparison, my atheism is a blip in my life, energy-wise. I post here for fun, not reassurance, for instance.

Can you explain what an "intensely atheist mind" is? As per your testimony.

P.S. We don't have any Culver's out here in Montana. Do you deliver?  ;D
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nick on July 18, 2013, 12:34:39 PM
I am also curious as to how you found us.  This posting is from a long way back.  Maybe in one of those God states you were turned on to us?

Cheeseburger, cheeseburger, cheeseburger...pepsi.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on July 18, 2013, 12:35:54 PM
I'm willing to accept Justin experienced something...

Indeed.  The issue on the table is "What happened?"  Religious experiences occur in virtually every culture (don't know about the Piraha, 'tho) and usually get translated into something appropriate to the host culture.  I think that neuroscience will eventually find the answer, though.

Quote
translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.

Coming from ecumenical polytheism with a hint of Buddhism, I would tend to translate it as Tiamat (or as Guan Shi Yin, Oðinn, Athena, or any other deity with whom I had been enamored), but almost certainly not as Jesus because Christianity never resonated with Me.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 18, 2013, 12:46:59 PM
I know that if I ever have a warm feeling come over me, I'll either take off a blanket or turn the thermostat down. But I always have been practical.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Samothec on July 18, 2013, 05:43:11 PM
Justin,
I read your testimony. I note that you were extremely ill and afterwards experienced a great number of new sensations. A severe illness can cause changes in the brain due to swelling or other damage. That fact along with your statements about tingling sensations make me wonder if the illness caused some initial damage which was followed by several transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
Quote from: Wikipedia
Symptoms vary widely from person to person, depending on the area of the brain involved. The most frequent symptoms include temporary loss of vision (typically amaurosis fugax); difficulty speaking (aphasia); weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis); and numbness or tingling (paresthesia), usually on one side of the body. Impairment of consciousness is very uncommon. There have been cases of temporary and partial paralysis affecting the face and tongue of the afflicted. The symptoms of a TIA are short-lived and usually last a few seconds to a few minutes and most symptoms disappear within 60 minutes. Some individuals may have a lingering feeling that something odd happened to the body. Dizziness, lack of coordination or poor balance are also symptoms related to TIA. Symptoms vary in severity.
Other than the tingling[1], do you recall experiencing any of the other symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about those symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about the other significant changes to your mind and senses?

Regarding the disappearing red light. You clearly state the red light was small and in your left peripheral vision. Human peripheral vision is largely devoted to sensing motion. Also, objects not in our main focus can disappear from our vision. These facts along with your description point to a quite ordinary situation of the meditation focus causing the light to not register until a slight shift in your body/head causes a shift in the light - implying movement. Since we evolved to react to peripheral movement, your focus was brought back to the light and it reappeared. Once you are comfortable with ignoring the light again and drop back into meditation, the light disappears again until you move and it reappears. And it repeats. Nothing mystical about it, sorry.

I understand the desire for there to be magic in the world. But there is a very real possibility you have suffered minor[2] brain damage which has caused these changes. The worry is that if you don't see a doctor, you could suffer worse - sooner rather than later. If this was Jesus/God reaching out to you then a visit to the doctor - where you describe all your symptoms to him - will only show a healthy brain and body. If the sensation were caused by damage then a visit to the doctor could save your life.
 1. Yes, I did note that you said your whole body was tingling. I'll point out that it says "usually" regarding the tingling being on one side of the body.
 2. hopefully only minor
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 18, 2013, 06:01:04 PM
He came, he dumped his website on us, and he went away...

Now he has left us in d'lawd's hands

Bye burger man... we hardly knew you and your red light
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 08:49:56 PM
I have one question for you.  Are you willing to consider that what happened to you could have some other cause besides Jesus Christ visiting you?  Note that I am not expecting you to concede that it was something else - that would be a bit much to expect from anyone.  I just want to know whether you're open-minded enough to acknowledge that you might have been wrong about it.

Also, paragraph breaks in that testimony of yours.  Please.

At the time I did consider other causes for about a week. Even though I was very confident, I wasn't positive.

However, after several tangible and causally related incidents in the weeks following my testimony all related to God, the Bible and Jesus Christ I was left with no other explanation. After a year and half of the same type of things happening over and over there is no other conclusion.

Every sign, signal, and prompting I've ever received, I've acted on, and every single one has not only been congruent with the Bible but has had a tangible and causally related outcome.

I don't mean to keep dumping reading material on you but this post will give you a good picture of those Biblically congruent, causally related events.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nick on July 18, 2013, 09:06:37 PM
You must be a very special person in God's eyes.  Too bad He does not treat the rest of us that way.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 09:13:06 PM
I'm willing to accept Justin experienced something.  By something, I mean a kind of natural mental breakthrough, akin to what yogis and zen masters describe.  It is a natural and repeatable experience  that can be achieved through discipline and practice.  By his own admission, Justin was practicing those techniques already and in fact was meditating when his "epiphany" happened. 

But I see no evidence to suggest, let alone conclude it was jesus H christ.  He has done what people who have experienced something profound have done for thousands of years - attribute a natural but undefined process to the supernatural.  And he attributed it to the myth he was most familiar with, the one that permeates the culture in which he lived.


From Justin's link

Quote
Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.




edit - read some more of his blog.  It's a rare level of crazy.  Not quite Wayne Harrposon level, but approaching it.  This post has all sorts of nutty, devil riddled conspiracy theories to explain why Obama didn't do exactly what Justin wanted him to do.
http://justinobriecht.com/2012/10/30/votes-ii-the-miscalculation/#more-125
(It was the Debil!)

It also gets into his man-crush on Rand Paul and the weirdness libertarians have about the fed and gold standard.


I don't mean to be impersonal but I think bullet points will best help us stay on the same page while addressing all of your thoughts.

1. In what other ways would you expect my "natural mental break through" to affect my life moving forward?

2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do. The way they meditate and the way I used to meditate cleared my mind and I zoned out in a way. Now, that's no longer possible. Now I'm very in tune with my surroundings when I meditate and feel a connection, peace and warmth that I've never experienced in my life until I was Born Again.

3. The issue with simply attributing it to the "myth" most prevalent in the culture is that all of my experiences since then have been tangible and causally related and congruent with the Bible.

4. While the feeling in my heart was the biggest reason it was and is far from the only. As I said in my testimony I called my mom and without any other discussion she described the same experience. An experience I was never aware of bc I spent my entire life telling my mom how crazy she was and how she needed a crutch.

5. While catholicism was in my background (I never thought of it after the age of 15 and before that I went through the motions as a kid, I'm 36 now) you have to understand that there was nothing I was more sure of on this planet then there not being a God. I was an anti theist through and trough. Sending out emails, riding my friends and unlike most atheists it was all done from the goodness of my heart. I wasn't mad at God, I didn't like the devil, I just simply saw the world as black and white and theism as a mental disorder and the church as the worst thing on the planet. I currently despise catholicism (not catholics, they're well intentioned deceived people), it's a cult no different the mormon and jehovah witness church.

6.I don't care about Obama, I don't care about politics. Please consider reading the blog closer. Politics is a joke. We have no representatives. I don't think  I even mention Rand Paul in the blog. I know nothing about Rand Paul and couldn't care less about him. I rarely think about the gold standard or the fed.

Thanks for taking the time to read my testimony and for the comments.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 09:19:27 PM
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...

1. Can you tell me about your story so I have a frame of reference here Donny? (I know I'm new but I have to take Lebowski quotes when I can, no offense at all)

2. Nothing I've experienced over the past 1.5 years has been congruent with any other religion and has been perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

3. My previous intensely atheist mind didn't attribute anything with God, or any deity or magic or ghosts or anything supernatural or unexplained by science.  If you couldn't prove it or it wasn't in front of me it didn't exist.

Again sorry for the impersonal bullet points.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 18, 2013, 09:24:45 PM
Jason

As someone who has been an atheist longer than you've been alive, I'm wondering why you think it is that your god touched you (while you were an atheist) but has never done the same to me or the others here on the forum. I've never even had any sort of experience, with or without the warm fuzzies, that hinted at the existence of a god.

Plus, you need to realize that generic statements like you just made in your last post, ("Every sign, signal, and prompting I've ever received, I've acted on, and every single one has not only been congruent with the Bible but has had a tangible and causally related outcome. ") contain absolutely no specifics and tell us only your interpretation of these generic and non-detailed events and nothing else. Hence we see them as quite unconvincing.

I am an atheist because I have never seen one single sign of a god. I am an atheist because the bible stories are exactly like all other stories of all other religions, full of tall tales and boastful doings and power tripping/blame placing/misplaced hope. Were I not told otherwise as child, I would not have been able to see any difference in the veracity of the christian bible vs. the stories of greek gods. I was told they were different when I was young, but I figured out they were not as I got older. And again, devoid of inexplicable warm feelings, I remain an atheist because I have no reason to think otherwise. Personal testimony is cute and all, but a god who cheers you up with personal contact and stays away from me for a lifetime seems a bit too fickle for me to get excited about. Even if he is real. But since I assume he is not, his fickleness is not an issue.

You are telling us that you have had concrete experiences that you can only attribute to a god. When telling us those things, you need to go into specifics if you are going to have any hope of impressing any of us.

I am impressed with your drive, your success, your good works and anything else you've done to make our world better. If I lived near you I'm sure I'd be eating at one of your restaurants regardless of what you believe. But this christian trip you are on does not impress me unless you can find a way to convince us it is something besides wishful thinking and a vapid reassessment of life events is involved.

I have a friend who swears that it hardly ever rains at her house. She knows it rains all around her house whenever storms come through, but she says that most of the time the rains miss her place. I've been at her house many dozens of times over the last two decades while it was raining, but each time she swears it is an anomaly, and that normally it doesn't happen. I've asked her neighbors if they've noticed any such difference, and none of them have. She is otherwise a sweetheart and this is of no consequence to her life or mine, but her interpretation of reality does not match what I see, which means that at least one of us is making something up. I'm guessing it is her. It could be me. It could be both of us. And the question now is, between you and I, which one of us is making stuff up. Not maliciously. Not egregiously. Just plain making things up and thinking we are right. Thinking that we each have the truth, and acting accordingly. Again, in this case, we might both be wrong. But there is no way we can both be right.

P.S. By the way, in your response to screwtape, you mentioned that when you were an atheist, you were not mad at god. I just want to make it clear that atheists can't be mad at god, since he doesn't exist. Many of us are not to happy with the track record of humans involved with religion and doing bad things in the name of their beliefs, but we are not mad at your god or any other. This is normal.



Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 09:27:55 PM
Welcome Justin

While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

My atheist mind is casual, at best. I can argue atheism all day long, but I put much more intensity into my work or my 3D drawings on my computer or into friendships and family. In comparison, my atheism is a blip in my life, energy-wise. I post here for fun, not reassurance, for instance.

Can you explain what an "intensely atheist mind" is? As per your testimony.

P.S. We don't have any Culver's out here in Montana. Do you deliver?  ;D

Thanks for your response,

Well I guess what I mean is I not only didn't believe but I saw it as a cancer. As a psychological problem. As a crutch. And it was a main focus for me bc I couldn't stand to see people I love be so deceived and damaged. I wasn't willing to be a convenient friend (not saying you are), I wanted to help them.

The problem is while I saw the idea of God stealing a persons glory and accomplishment on one side bc all glory goes to God, and stealing their responsibility on the other bc God has a plan/ reason for everything, I never really stopped to examine the person to see if this truly was creating a mess of a person in the middle. I was blinded by my assumptions and the ways of this world, and now that I understand the Bible better and the fact that this world is backwards in almost every way, I've realized that those Christians live amazing (not easy) lives.

I was just in Montana. What an amazing state. No delivery and no Culver's coming there for a spell I'd guess.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 09:43:36 PM
Justin,
I read your testimony. I note that you were extremely ill and afterwards experienced a great number of new sensations. A severe illness can cause changes in the brain due to swelling or other damage. That fact along with your statements about tingling sensations make me wonder if the illness caused some initial damage which was followed by several transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
Quote from: Wikipedia
Symptoms vary widely from person to person, depending on the area of the brain involved. The most frequent symptoms include temporary loss of vision (typically amaurosis fugax); difficulty speaking (aphasia); weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis); and numbness or tingling (paresthesia), usually on one side of the body. Impairment of consciousness is very uncommon. There have been cases of temporary and partial paralysis affecting the face and tongue of the afflicted. The symptoms of a TIA are short-lived and usually last a few seconds to a few minutes and most symptoms disappear within 60 minutes. Some individuals may have a lingering feeling that something odd happened to the body. Dizziness, lack of coordination or poor balance are also symptoms related to TIA. Symptoms vary in severity.
Other than the tingling[1], do you recall experiencing any of the other symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about those symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about the other significant changes to your mind and senses?

Regarding the disappearing red light. You clearly state the red light was small and in your left peripheral vision. Human peripheral vision is largely devoted to sensing motion. Also, objects not in our main focus can disappear from our vision. These facts along with your description point to a quite ordinary situation of the meditation focus causing the light to not register until a slight shift in your body/head causes a shift in the light - implying movement. Since we evolved to react to peripheral movement, your focus was brought back to the light and it reappeared. Once you are comfortable with ignoring the light again and drop back into meditation, the light disappears again until you move and it reappears. And it repeats. Nothing mystical about it, sorry.

I understand the desire for there to be magic in the world. But there is a very real possibility you have suffered minor[2] brain damage which has caused these changes. The worry is that if you don't see a doctor, you could suffer worse - sooner rather than later. If this was Jesus/God reaching out to you then a visit to the doctor - where you describe all your symptoms to him - will only show a healthy brain and body. If the sensation were caused by damage then a visit to the doctor could save your life.
 1. Yes, I did note that you said your whole body was tingling. I'll point out that it says "usually" regarding the tingling being on one side of the body.
 2. hopefully only minor

Thanks for reading and the thorough response. Again please excuse the impersonal nature of the bullet points and quick responses but I want to address everything properly.

1. There are two important things to remember about my testimony. The first is that these sensations happened on three different occasions and the last two were a month after the first and me being sick. The second is that I've had nothing but Biblically congruent, tangible and causally related experiences since.

2. Wouldn't you expect those attacks to affect other areas of my life, behavior or health? Wouldn't you expect them to create some negative affects instead of all being intensely positive? The only symptom I had was the tingling. There have been no other significant changes to my health since the incident. I've been in amazing health and as I explained in the testimony my mental health has never been better.

As the Bible says I have a clear conscience (after sending letters to almost everyone I've ever wronged) and I said in the testimony I've never felt better emotionally, mentally or physically.

3. It started out in my peripheral but as I said I turned and stared at it for about three minutes (and it was still flashing) until the second identical but much stronger tingling feeling happened as did a month earlier. I didn't go back to meditating after I looked directly at the still flashing light.

4. I've never had a desire for their to be magic in the world and I still know there is no such thing.

5. What other areas of my life/health/thinking would you expect this brain damage to affect?

6. What could have brought on this brain damage?

7. I'm in perfect health and as I've said my thinking has never been clearer. My stress and anxiety has never been lower. And it's congruent with trusting our Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible explains.

Thanks again for reading my testimony and taking the time to write that out.

P.S, The illness I had was strep throat. I've never heard of that causing brain damage.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 09:48:57 PM
You must be a very special person in God's eyes.  Too bad He does not treat the rest of us that way.

First I want to say that I'm sorry to hear about the apparent pain or suffering you've had in your life. I've had large doses as well.

However, we're all very special in God's eyes and what happened to me is available to anyone who's willing to humble themselves and ask Jesus Christ to come into their life in a sincere way.

There are reasons to numerous to mention for what there is evil, pain and trauma in this world but the refuge (not avoidance) from all of it is only found in Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 18, 2013, 10:12:04 PM
Jason

As someone who has been an atheist longer than you've been alive, I'm wondering why you think it is that your god touched you (while you were an atheist) but has never done the same to me or the others here on the forum. I've never even had any sort of experience, with or without the warm fuzzies, that hinted at the existence of a god.

Plus, you need to realize that generic statements like you just made in your last post, ("Every sign, signal, and prompting I've ever received, I've acted on, and every single one has not only been congruent with the Bible but has had a tangible and causally related outcome. ") contain absolutely no specifics and tell us only your interpretation of these generic and non-detailed events and nothing else. Hence we see them as quite unconvincing.

I am an atheist because I have never seen one single sign of a god. I am an atheist because the bible stories are exactly like all other stories of all other religions, full of tall tales and boastful doings and power tripping/blame placing/misplaced hope. Were I not told otherwise as child, I would not have been able to see any difference in the veracity of the christian bible vs. the stories of greek gods. I was told they were different when I was young, but I figured out they were not as I got older. And again, devoid of inexplicable warm feelings, I remain an atheist because I have no reason to think otherwise. Personal testimony is cute and all, but a god who cheers you up with personal contact and stays away from me for a lifetime seems a bit too fickle for me to get excited about. Even if he is real. But since I assume he is not, his fickleness is not an issue.

You are telling us that you have had concrete experiences that you can only attribute to a god. When telling us those things, you need to go into specifics if you are going to have any hope of impressing any of us.

I am impressed with your drive, your success, your good works and anything else you've done to make our world better. If I lived near you I'm sure I'd be eating at one of your restaurants regardless of what you believe. But this christian trip you are on does not impress me unless you can find a way to convince us it is something besides wishful thinking and a vapid reassessment of life events is involved.

I have a friend who swears that it hardly ever rains at her house. She knows it rains all around her house whenever storms come through, but she says that most of the time the rains miss her place. I've been at her house many dozens of times over the last two decades while it was raining, but each time she swears it is an anomaly, and that normally it doesn't happen. I've asked her neighbors if they've noticed any such difference, and none of them have. She is otherwise a sweetheart and this is of no consequence to her life or mine, but her interpretation of reality does not match what I see, which means that at least one of us is making something up. I'm guessing it is her. It could be me. It could be both of us. And the question now is, between you and I, which one of us is making stuff up. Not maliciously. Not egregiously. Just plain making things up and thinking we are right. Thinking that we each have the truth, and acting accordingly. Again, in this case, we might both be wrong. But there is no way we can both be right.

P.S. By the way, in your response to screwtape, you mentioned that when you were an atheist, you were not mad at god. I just want to make it clear that atheists can't be mad at god, since he doesn't exist. Many of us are not to happy with the track record of humans involved with religion and doing bad things in the name of their beliefs, but we are not mad at your god or any other. This is normal.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

1. I believe God touched me for the same reason He touches anyone who's been Born Again. I humbled myself to the fact that I didn't have it all figured out when at the hight of my anti-theism I said those two Our Fathers. In addition, I searched for truth in a humble way my entire life. Every time I found another kernel no matter how it didn't fit into my life I embraced it. Up until this experience I'd never had any warm and fuzzies of any sort either, hence the anti-theism. It's all about sincerely humbling yourself and apologizing to Jesus for pushing Him away all these, asking Him to come into your life and thanking Him for not giving up on you.

2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not. Even the devil believes. God's looking for a loving personal relationship with each of us through His Son Jesus Christ. That's what I've been experiencing for almost two years. There's no mistaking it or misunderstanding it. If you read more of my blog you will see endless examples of causally related experiences.

3. I was an atheist for the same reason. The thing you should consider is that lack of proof of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Think about when we thought the world was flat. Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God? Your comments about the Bible being the same as anything are way off. It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you. No other topic has more disinfo on the net about it then Christianity. What I've done my life as far researching is I always set out to prove my self wrong.

4. There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God. There's no amount of proof or intellectual gymnastics that will move someone toward Christ. I appreciate the kind words but it's important to understand that I'm not here to impress or convince. I'm just telling about my experience and what I've learned about the Kingdom of God and the Bible.

5. No one is making stuff up. We can both be right about our experiences up until this point. I was in your shoes two years ago. All I can tell you is if you sincerely want to know the truth about Christ He will show it to you. Search for info that will prove your current beliefs wrong. Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind. No one can prove that the Bible isn't true, and no one can prove that God is real, so I would encourage everyone to have a very open mind to the most important issue in the world.

6. Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.

I enjoyed reading your point of view and your tone.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 18, 2013, 10:30:42 PM
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...

1. Can you tell me about your story so I have a frame of reference here Donny? (I know I'm new but I have to take Lebowski quotes when I can, no offense at all)

2. Nothing I've experienced over the past 1.5 years has been congruent with any other religion and has been perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

3. My previous intensely atheist mind didn't attribute anything with God, or any deity or magic or ghosts or anything supernatural or unexplained by science.  If you couldn't prove it or it wasn't in front of me it didn't exist.

Again sorry for the impersonal bullet points.

Hello again. Sorry, I doubted your return (no pun intended).

Let's keep with the bullet points:

1. Never saw Lebowski, but my story as it is would be here -

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24916.0.html

- I'm pretty new here, having been a xian for over 30 years and finally shedding all of that 6+ months ago - no pain, no trauma, no hating god, etc. just facing up to my doubts and thinking critically after a long sleep.

2. I really have no idea what you mean by that phrase you have used numerous times "...perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible..."  It sounds like a $6 burger, but it really has no meat until you explain what you mean by it.  If you are saying your experiences square with the bible - well, I'd expect a xian to say that.  My personal version of god was always strangely like me too in my theistic days.  He liked the same music, believed the same theology, planned out the same eschatology and darned if he didn't share my version of soteriology as well.

3. I don't see that as an "intensely atheist mind" you had there - seems more like a rational mind.  Essentially, you gave up rationality for "faith" - sorta the opposite, right?

Thanks for your response and I'd be frequenting your burger spot too, were they here in god's  zeus' hermes' cattle country (Oklahoma)

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 18, 2013, 10:40:51 PM
Justin,

Many of the regulars here will tell you in much more specific terms than I that preaching to us here will NOT garner you much favor.  If you assume you are talking to a bunch of god hating folks who've never darkened the door of a church or cracked open a bible, you'd not only be hopelessly wrong but downright condescending.

Many were "true" christians for many years (like myself) and many, I would wager, have forgotten more about the bible than you have learned at this stage in your journey.  I and many here have read that holy book cover to cover - many times.  I know your lingo and I know you think you are dealing with people who have never heard or considered what you are saying.  I'd urge you to read some posts here - not just this thread (although it may run you off when you see what you are going to be up against).

Good luck


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 18, 2013, 10:50:58 PM
Justin, thanks for your response. We continue to disagree but both of us prefer that over having one of us forced to believe something we don't want to.

But you obviously ran with the wrong atheist crowd. Again, I'm not the least bit mad at your god, or any other. Non-existent entities are sort of hard to get pissed at. And I think that most atheists on this site would agree. Right folks? Your claim otherwise makes us a bit suspect about your claim of atheism. Might it be more accurate to say you weren't a believer because you didn't like the guy, not because you didn't believe in him. Which is not atheism, but rather rejectionism or some other differently-labeled belief.

However, that is speculation on my part, and I don't pretend that it is accurate. But I assure you, we actual atheists aren't the least bit upset with your deity.

In the meantime, if you could explain how one can be mad at something that doesn't exist, that would be appreciated.

And until a god shows up that isn't big on playing hide and seek, I'm pretty sure I won't change. I'm not the least bit interested in asking for any sort of salvation. Nobody has found a way to convince me that it would be a good idea or a realistic goal. Or even interest me in the church potlucks. So methinks we'll have to agree to disagree.

When I was a child, I was told there was a god and I believed it simply because I had no reason not to. I went to church and everything. That would have been a great time for your god to show himself to me in some meaningful way. If he is real, he missed his chance. As an omnipotent dude, he could have done something noticeable by me as a child and I might have reacted to the stories very differently. He would have to come to my house and have dinner now to convince me that he exists.

He's welcome any time. Or he can choose some other path to me. But whatever he does, it has to be more than merely implying that he exists. If I am important to him, he can overlook his silly rules and do something proactive for my soul. Because he squandered his chance to get me back in the 50's. His bad.

Unless he isn't real. Which I am as sure as one can be that is is not. And I even have proof. He could cause me to die before I finish typing this sentence, or before I press "Post", and for a brief second (if he were to allow it) I would know I was wrong. But he didn't do it during that sentence, nor during this one, or before I pressed "Post". I invite him to do it. I give him my complete permission to do me in with a heart attack or some other quick (and I don't care how painful) death or disability that would prevent the posting of this response.

If he is real, he's a pussy. Afraid of being seen, afraid of being "known", whatever. He's a pussy. I could respect that if he weren't simultaneously so demanding. But in fact, it is the humans that invented him and the humans that carry on in his name that do the demanding, and like I said, I'm not too happy that I share the planet with the worst of that crowd. But your god is too incompetent to get my attention. He should be ashamed.

Excuse me while I live long enough to post this. One last chance god. Stop me now.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on July 19, 2013, 12:23:43 AM
I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Justin, I think My mind is reasonably open.  I've practised or dabbled in multiple religions since I was a kid, going though a final short burst of Ásatrú (reconstruction of the old Norse beliefs) before settling into a comfortable agnostic atheist position.

Christianity just doesn't resonate with Me.  It never has, and I've known the Bible stories for nearly 50 years now.  I don't like the narrative and I don't like the characters, but I especially don't like the theology.
My road to truth doesn't lead to the cross; quite the contrary.  If for some reason I do end up there, I'll be the One who shoos away the Roman legions, rescues the young rabbi and the two thieves and bandages their wounds, then smashes up all the crosses and sets them ablaze so that we can roast marshmallows and make S'mores for 5000.  8)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on July 19, 2013, 01:52:48 AM
Justin, I noticed the discussion of your illness with the strep throat and the tingling, and another possibility could be post-infectious encephalomyelitis (breakdown of the myelin sheaths in the brain due to an infection).

It may be a one-off event, but it would be a good idea to rule out early multiple sclerosis.  If you get tingling sensations, fatigue, dizziness, muscle spasms, unexplained jabs of pain  or have problems with your vision, please get referred to a Neurologist and have an MRI of the brain and cervical spine to make sure it isn't something more serious.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a Doctor but I do work for Neurologists, including MS specialists.)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on July 19, 2013, 08:02:54 AM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

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He created a perfect atmosphere for Adam and Eve and had a perfect relationship with them until they severely damaged that relationship by sinning in the form of disobeying God.

OK...

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This created a separation from God for all future generations.

If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit? 

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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

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On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

Citation needed...

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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

Why have a requirement at all?

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In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

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I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Most of the regulars here are former Christians, and they weren't casual about it.  They came to their atheism largely by pursuing the tracking and researching and open-mindedness that you are begging them to embrace.  Just saying.

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May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

Please do not say things like this.  Most of us are uncomfortable with it at best and highly offended by it at worst.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on July 19, 2013, 08:36:54 AM
1. I believe God touched me for the same reason He touches anyone who's been Born Again. I humbled myself to the fact that I didn't have it all figured out when at the hight of my anti-theism I said those two Our Fathers. In addition, I searched for truth in a humble way my entire life. Every time I found another kernel no matter how it didn't fit into my life I embraced it. Up until this experience I'd never had any warm and fuzzies of any sort either, hence the anti-theism. It's all about sincerely humbling yourself and apologizing to Jesus for pushing Him away all these, asking Him to come into your life and thanking Him for not giving up on you.

Most of the regulars here have not always been atheists; most of them are former Christians.  When they felt their faith starting to fade, they were highly alarmed and did not want to lose it.  They desperately prayed and prayed and prayed, frantically begging Yahweh to give them strength or some kind of a sign or something to help them continue believing him.  Yahweh did not answer them.  It's a big part of the reason that they're atheists now.  What do you think about that?

Quote
2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not.

Obviously he does care, considering what he does with people who don't believe.  I have no interest in "Doctor Who" at all, so if someone says that Tom Baker was not the best doctor, I'm not inclined to soak that person in gasoline and throw a lit match on him.  Actually, it's hard for me to imagine doing that to anyone at all, but if I did, you can bet it would be for something I care about a hell of a lot.  No pun intended.

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The thing you should consider is that lack of proof of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I don't think anyone here would think that.  Scientific skepticism entails rejecting a claim until evidence for the claim is provided, which is not the same thing as saying that the claim is false.  One of the reasons we're atheists is that we have seen no evidence that a deity exists.  Should anyone present any, we will examine it.

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Think about when we thought the world was flat.

What about it?

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Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God?

How about some kind of a healing miracle that cannot be explained by natural processes?  Like, say, an amputee spontaneously and miraculously getting his leg back?

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It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you.

Considering that Christ is omnipotent, it shouldn't matter, should it?  It isn't possible to fight someone who is all-powerful.  I mean, if I fill a balloon with water and shoot it point-blank with a .44 Magnum, what are the odds that the balloon is not going to burst?  The odds of winning a fight with Jesus should be even slimmer than that, shouldn't they?

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No other topic has more disinfo on the net about it then Christianity.

Again: shouldn't be possible, should it?

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4. There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God.

Actually, there could be, it's just that what skeptics would need to have such a relationship, believers are unable to provide.  For starters, you would have to prove that Yahweh exists, since it is not possible to even contemplate having a relationship with someone if you don't even know whether that person exists.  That, all by itself, is a tall order.

Having convinced someone of the existence of Yahweh, the next step would be to convince that person that Yahweh is not a complete fucking asshole.  Most rational and healthy people would not wish to have a relationship with a mass murderer of any kind, for example, and Yahweh, as portrayed in the bible, most certainly is one.  (Fun experiment for you, by the way... try going thru the bible sometime and adding up all the people that Yahweh slaughters.  Then, for comparison, add up the total number of people killed by Satan.  It's an eye-opening exercise.)

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There's no amount of proof or intellectual gymnastics that will move someone toward Christ.

And that doesn't tell you anything?

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5. No one is making stuff up. We can both be right about our experiences up until this point. I was in your shoes two years ago. All I can tell you is if you sincerely want to know the truth about Christ He will show it to you.

I do sincerely want to know the truth about Christ.  If I'm wrong about his not existing, I seriously want to know that -- I absolutely hate being wrong about anything, and if Christ exists and is omniscient, then he knows that.  So why am I still an atheist?  He knows full well that he would have my approval to correct my error.

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Search for info that will prove your current beliefs wrong.

Which ones?

Quote
Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind.

Most of us here have been to church more than a "couple times".  And most of us have read the bible in full, more than once and in more than one translation.  For many of us, it's why we're atheists now.

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No one can prove that the Bible isn't true

Actually, there are quite a few things in the bible that are known to be false.  The exodus, for example, never happened.  Neither did the flood.  The human race is not descended from two human beings.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.

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and no one can prove that God is real

Now you're starting to get it.

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so I would encourage everyone to have a very open mind to the most important issue in the world.

Why do you assume that we don't?  Is it simply because we disagree with you?

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6. Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.

I find that rather doubtful.  I would need to know specifics, but I imagine that, more likely, they were angry at people who called themselves followers of Yahweh because of the things that those people say and do.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on July 19, 2013, 08:51:54 AM
I don't mean to be impersonal but I think bullet points will best help us stay on the same page while addressing all of your thoughts.

Thanks for responding. I do not mind that at all.

1. In what other ways would you expect my "natural mental break through" to affect my life moving forward?

I've spoken to people who claimed their disciplines would allow them to walk through solid objects, teleport, fly and other amazing powers.  But I give that no credence. They were obviously kooks.  I would expect you to continue to meditate as a way to reduce stress and focus yourself. And I would expect you to continue to be better at it.  Why?  What else should be expected?

2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

Well, then maybe meditation had nothing to do with.  But after having read your testimonial, I am at a loss as to why you would expect anyone else to connect your rather subjective experiences to any supernatural source, let alone jesus H.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do.

I cannot be sure, of course, but suspect that is only because you think it is so. 

3. The issue with simply attributing it to the "myth" most prevalent in the culture is that all of my experiences since then have been tangible and causally related and congruent with the Bible.

I find that unlikely.  As with your initial "spiritual" experience, things happen and you just chalk it up to jesus.  Anyone can do that.  A lot of people do.  I could do that, but I find that to be egotistical.  I used to do it, back when I was xian.  But I was just deluding myself.  I think people want to feel special.  And what is more special than being favored by the omnipotent creator of all being? 

The bible has enough material in it, and the human brain is maleable enough that you can match anything you want to it.  In the American Civil war both sides used the bible to justify their respective positions on slavery.  My point being, there is literally nothing that cannot in some way be interpreted as congruent with the bible.

4. While the feeling in my heart was the biggest reason it was and is far from the only. As I said in my testimony I called my mom and without any other discussion she described the same experience. An experience I was never aware of bc I spent my entire life telling my mom how crazy she was and how she needed a crutch.

Sorry.  I don't find coincidences to be even a little compelling.  Sometimes when I walk by street lights, they go dark.  Is that evidence of my arcane powers?  No, unfortunately.  Sometimes I am able to convice weak minded fools to do my bidding.  Is that evidence the Force is with me?  No, unfortunately. 

5. While catholicism was in my background (I never thought of it after the age of 15 and before that I went through the motions as a kid, I'm 36 now) you have to understand that there was nothing I was more sure of on this planet then there not being a God.

That is not what I am talking about and it doesn't matter.  All that matters is you had a framework of beliefs instilled in you at a young age which you fell back on.  I'd be a little more impressed if your experience had pointed you in novel direction, like a religious tradition you'd never even heard of.  THAT would have been something.  "I had a feeling that I needed to [X],[1] so I did, and I felt bliss!  Later I researched it, and it turns out this is exatly what Sufi Mulims do!"

But it didn't.  You took it as a sign that the old one, the one with which you were familiar, was true afterall.  As if that wasn't totally predictable. 

I currently despise catholicism (not catholics, they're well intentioned deceived people), it's a cult no different the mormon and jehovah witness church.

While I agree about the cult thing, I categorize all religious organizations as cults.  You are in a cult.  That is because to call a group a cult is a way of delegitimizing them.  It is derogatory.  That is to be expected coming from me.  Coming from you that is hypocrisy and bigotry.

That is not a surprise, though.  I find most protestants are bigots.  I've been to a protestant service where the entire sermon was dedicated to deriding catholicism.  Pathetic.  Love your enemey indeed.  In all the years I attended catholic mass I never heard a single word against protestants. 

You are also deluding yourself with the sola scrpitura approach.  The bible was never meant to be the authority.  It was constructed as a tool by the church.  I generally eschew analogies, but this one works.  If yhwh were a hamburger, the RCC would be McDonalds.  The bible is just the menu.  McDonalds gets you the burger.  They are the experts at that.  They made menu just to help communication between you and they.  Just because you, BurgerMan, have their menu does not mean you can get a burger.  It is not the recipe. You protestants are idolators, worshipping a book, an instrument intended for teaching.

6.I don't care about Obama...

Fair enough.  It appeared otherwise in your blog, but I'll leave it alone.



Also, I removed your preachy post, the one you said was for you.  Preaching is not allowed here.  It is a forum for discussion, not for xians to preach at us. 

 1. http://www.encyclopedia-of-religion.org/practices_of_sufism.html (http://www.encyclopedia-of-religion.org/practices_of_sufism.html)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jaimehlers on July 19, 2013, 11:20:14 AM
Justin, here's something for you to think about.  The message of Christianity may sound good to you, a believer, but it is predicated on something that is truly horrendous.  And that is the idea that humans suffer because Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH, and that they deserve this suffering.  This motif is repeated elsewhere in the Bible - that it's right and just for generations and generations of people to suffer because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, simply because YHWH decreed it.  This is one of the most horrible and vile evils imaginable.

Naturally, if you accept that premise, the message of Christianity, that people can earn redemption and forgiveness by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus, seems reasonable.  But it is not.  Nobody deserves to suffer for what their parents did, let alone their however many times removed ancestor, and a god that would condone such a thing for so long (thousands of years, even if you accept the Christian timeline, much longer if you don't) is not worthy of being obeyed, let alone worshiped.  Certainly not when he sends his 'son' to die in a passion play, as if that makes everything right.

Because it doesn't.

And what makes it even worse is that it's not based on reality, on things that people can prove happened, but based on belief, on things that people think happened because they were written in old books.  We're not talking about natural laws such as gravity or electromagnetism here, or even the principle of entropy, all of which are easily demonstrable.  We're talking about events in a creation myth that nobody can prove happened, and which has nothing to distinguish it from the dozens of other creation myths that people came up with.  Yet, people spread it as if it were the Gospel (heh) truth, acting as if it's true simply because they were taught that it was true.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have everything figured out.  But that doesn't mean I need to accept someone else's beliefs as true without some serious hard evidence to prove it.  Not subjective experiences that could mean a lot of things, but actual evidence as solid (heh) as the fact that mass attracts mass.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Samothec on July 19, 2013, 11:35:36 AM
Justin,
Since I referenced Wikipedia in my previous post, I figured it would be obvious that I am not a doctor but I thought I should mention that directly. (Thank you Astreja)

Please note that I did not have time yet to read your replies to others nor most of their comments in return.


Upon rereading about the red light, I realized a couple things.

First, I apologize for my speculation about the red light as you mention the tingling in the second half of the sentence which is what caught my attention. So it made me forget about the reference to you looking directly at it and I reasoned out an incorrect sequence.

Second, since you indicate that you have not gone to the doctor, I more strongly urge you to go. You said you had none of the other symptoms yet the portions I've underlined below suggest you had symptoms of something even if not a TIA.
Quote
I’m also wondering why it wasn’t flashing a minute ago but is now. So after about a minute of staring at this light I get the most intense unique tingling feeling all over my body. Dramatically stronger than the one I felt a month earlier by the elevator. It’s so strong that all of my hair is standing up on end and it feels like I’m getting lifted off the bed. At this point I’m overwhelmed and breathing heavily. This intense burst lasts for a about a minute which feels like an hour and then ebbs and flows for another four minutes.
The blinking light could have been normal to the device but you don't believe it was and if it is not then that becomes another symptom. The hair standing on end is the least of the ones in the quote above. The feeling of weightlessness/lifting happens with curtailed blood flow to the brain. The distortion of time I'm less certain of but I think can also be caused by curtailed blood flow to the brain.

Please see a doctor. An MRI (or whatever the doctor chooses for testing) will let a doctor determine if you have a serious condition or if you are safe.

A radical mental change as you describe does not happen for no reason. If it happens overnight with the events you describe it is an indicator of brain damage. It doesn't matter if it is an atheist becoming a believer or a believer becoming atheist – in a healthy person there are doubts and speculations beforehand. You indicate there were none. If you were being disingenuous to make the change more dramatic then you need to do the honest thing and correct your testimony. If you are being honest about the change then you need to see a doctor.

The following are not in the order you wrote them:
P.S, The illness I had was strep throat. I've never heard of that causing brain damage.
It would be unusual but you need to remember that an illness is a trauma to the body. While it is called strep throat because it mainly manifests in the throat, there is nothing to prevent it from causing inflammation in any portion of the body.  Unfortunately inflammation in the brain is very damaging due to the skull restricting expansion. So, unusual, yes, impossible, unfortunately no.

2. Wouldn't you expect those attacks to affect other areas of my life, behavior or health? Wouldn't you expect them to create some negative affects instead of all being intensely positive?
5. What other areas of my life/health/thinking would you expect this brain damage to affect?
6. What could have brought on this brain damage?
The strep throat seems to have initiated the changes. You have already described several different changes. As for your mind being 'better' – that is a subjective evaluation. I do note that, to partially use an analogy, your mind can no longer function in 5th gear it now functions in 4th (or 3rd) gear. That indicates damage. You may welcome the change. With a car going fast does make corners difficult and catching details one is flying past is also a problem. So subjectively, a slower functioning brain could feel better.

4. I've never had a desire for their to be magic in the world and I still know there is no such thing.
I include divine workings under the term "magic" since they also have no rational explanation.

7. I'm in perfect health and as I've said my thinking has never been clearer. My stress and anxiety has never been lower.
With your mind no longer racing, stress and anxiety would be less. Many people feel as if they are in perfect health until they drop over dead.

1. ... The second is that I've had nothing but Biblically congruent, tangible and causally related experiences since.
7. ... And it's congruent with trusting our Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible explains. 
I have no idea what you mean by this. I don't know if you are saying you can now heal people – if so cool, and you can prove there is at least divine magic in the world. Or are you saying people around you now act as if they are from the area around Jerusalem from 2000 years ago?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 19, 2013, 12:17:23 PM
Justin, here's something for you to think about.  The message of Christianity may sound good to you, a believer, but it is predicated on something that is truly horrendous.  And that is the idea that humans suffer because Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH, and that they deserve this suffering.  This motif is repeated elsewhere in the Bible - that it's right and just for generations and generations of people to suffer because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, simply because YHWH decreed it.  This is one of the most horrible and vile evils imaginable.

You make perpetual punishment seem like a bad thing, jaimehlers. But it isn't that bad. Why, in North Korea today if you commit a crime, your children and grandchildren are also put in prison with you, and I think that's beautiful.

Oh wait, now that I've thought about it...  :(

As jaimehlers and I and the other atheists agree (well, probably agree, its not my job to put words in the mouths of others), the Adam and Eve thing is obviously a story constructed by humans for the purpose of a) erroneously explaining the beginning, because the authors hadn't a clue anyway, and b) maintaining some control and/or explaining why people do bad things, because that is what made up stories of that genre are for.

It is impossible to be punished forever by a "loving" god. Not only because there are no gods, but also because a truly loving god would be in a position to set reasonable standards, would communicate clearly and would be capable of being appreciated by people that didn't fear him. A non-existent god, on the other hand, would have to be a bit heavy-handed, because his inventors, seeking power over the local minions, would need to be able to justify fucking the populace. And of course, to make that more likely, they need to keep the average IQ of the people sort of low. So they lie and call it science.

Nope, I ain't taking the rap for a couple of ancient shoplifters. Never have, never will. If you really feel a need to convince me otherwise, christians, I suggest you first give me a pre-frontal lobotomy and then scramble the rest of my brains with a stir-stick. That will make us equals and give you a chance.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on July 19, 2013, 12:35:34 PM
So Justin, you were an atheist. Think about when you were an atheist and remember that I, as an atheist, don't accept woo, logical fallacies.

Tell me, how do I spererate what you are saying from a mental breakdown or a lie.

You know, evidence. That simple

Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 19, 2013, 01:02:24 PM
I suspect he is gone. His preachy post that screwtape removed ended with what seemed like a goodbye to me. He was around early this morning, but he hasn't been since.

Apparently we aren't pushovers.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Zankuu on July 19, 2013, 01:07:15 PM
Hi Justin, and welcome.

Every atheist to theist conversion story I have read or heard have all had the quality of being very peculiar. None have sounded very convincing to me because the reasons/requirements for their conversion do not match up with mine. This isn’t to say atheist to theist conversions don’t happen. I believe they do. But I don’t think these people were atheists for the same reasons I am. Did these ex-atheists turned Christian apply rigorous skepticism to supernatural claims? Did they research the history of Yahwism and the origin of Yahweh/El? Were they cognitively prepared to confront the reality of their eventual death? Or did they feel cheated or wronged by god? Did they lose their faith while battling depression? There are both good and bad reasons to become an atheist.

----

I read your testimony and I have a few questions:

Quote
I truly believed that religion was the most destructive thing on the planet and that the concept of God was psychologically damaging for a myriad of reasons.

• What arguments for atheism did you use/find convincing?
• Why did you think Christianity was damaging, and could you list several reasons from that myriad?
• Now that you’re a Christian, do you still think there are aspects of Christianity which are damaging?
• While you were an atheist, did you consider yourself to be a sinner?

You chalk up your February 17th experience as Jesus visiting you, but I think it’s much more likely you were experiencing side effects of taking oral penicillin. Daydreaming, tingling limbs, altered saliva, and a sense of euphoria have all been reported side effects of penicillin. When I was a Christian I felt the presence of a supernatural being. I now recognize that the presence I felt was a high-level release of serotonin causing a self-transcendent state. It's a pretty common experience in church settings, football stadiums, and after ingesting psilocybin, etc. My point is the human brain can be messed with fairly easily and produce "miraculous" effects- from little overactive protein structures in the human body to stimulants and hallucinogens.

• Since beta-lactam antibiotics are known to affect people’s mental states, wouldn’t it be illogical to consider your case as supernatural when it has been observed and documented as a natural phenomenon in countless other cases? At the very least you can understand why I think this is the more reasonable explanation.

Quote
About a minute into staring at it this second time I get another intense tingling feeling all over my body but no flashing. After about thirty seconds of this it hits me like a ton of bricks that it’s Jesus Christ visiting me now, and it was Jesus visiting me the night before and a month ago. So in my heart I knew what had happened but my intensely atheist mind was scrambling for any other explanation.

I certainly wouldn’t describe your mind at this point as “intensely atheist.” Hell, the night before you were saying Hail Mary’s for Christ’s sake. It seems like you had been considering Christianity and looking for a reason to believe. You found Jesus in a hairdryer of all things.

• At that point in your life, was there any beneficial reason to become a Christian? Any friends or love interests at Willow Creek Community Church that encouraged you to fellowship with them?

----

Again, welcome to the forum. Hope you enjoy it.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 19, 2013, 01:46:21 PM
Good post Zankuu. And I agree. As a dyed-in-the-wool atheist myself, I can't imagine how a physical sensation, no matter how good or bad, would suddenly have me think that Jesus was involved. I'd spend a long time looking for logical/physical explanations, and the JC thing would be far down my list.

But just as it has been shown that many anti-gay men are actually turned on by the thought of gay sex, while most straight men who are not anti-gay are not, it is probably the case that some that call themselves atheists are closet believers. It's not like there is a standard that one has to meet to be an atheist. We just stamp that label on ourselves and poof, we're non-believers. In Justin's case, I tend to suspect he was ostensibly atheist, not actually. Because again, as an atheist, it'll be a cold day in hell when JC is the first thing to pop into my mind when something strange just happened.

Unless of course some white dude with long blonde hair and a halo floats gently into my house and says hello. But even if that happened, it is more likely that I would decide then and there to turn gay.

P.S. I known darned well that if there was a Jesus, he wasn't white and blonde. But many a contemporary painting of the dude looks like that. And you gotta admit, he's often kind of hot looking. As is Mary. Crap, I'm a bi-atheist!
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Samothec on July 19, 2013, 03:42:11 PM
2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do. The way they meditate and the way I used to meditate cleared my mind and I zoned out in a way. Now, that's no longer possible. Now I'm very in tune with my surroundings when I meditate and feel a connection, peace and warmth that I've never experienced in my life until I was Born Again. 

You should read up on meditation and the phenomenon known as "satori". If you did not experience any physiological damage then this is very likely what you experienced. Your word choices did not initially indicate that to me but the description above of now being 'in tune' with your surroundings when meditating reminds me of what I've learned about satori. After you experience it your perceptions of the world around you are, simultaneously, the same yet profoundly different.

Not knowing about satori, it is most likely that (if this was just cognitive) your mind filled in the only spiritual material it knew well enough to 'explain' the feeling – your Christian upbringing. Since Catholicism is negative (overall) and satori is a transcendent experience, your mind would have stripped away the negative elements when referencing the spiritual material giving you a faith in Jesus but not accepting of Catholicism.

Quote
... perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ
You keep repeating this like a mantra.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on July 20, 2013, 12:31:47 PM
From Justin's link

Quote
Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.



That's the prima facie case against these sudden conversions. People who live in Oklahoma and are unlikely to hear about any other religion than God/Jesus are also very unlikely to give testimony to any other religion. Is anyone in Oklahoma suddenly going to find revelations in Muhammad?

Are there burger joints in Iran where owners suddenly find Jesus Christ? Or do they find Muhammad? What about burger joints in Tibet? Do those owners suddenly find Jesus Christ?




Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on July 20, 2013, 12:44:10 PM
Hello all,

My name is Justin Obriecht and I was surprised to see a discussion surrounding my testimony.

While I've read and appreciate all of the differing views of what has happened in my life, I was hoping some of you would take the time to read my full testimony, written by me, soon after the events happened.

I'd be happy to discuss my motivations, my past anti-theistic life, and any thing else, if we can just start from the same position, which is my personal testimony.

You can find it here http://justinobriecht.com/about/

Thanks for not being luke warm and being bold in what you believe. I know from past and present experience it's not easy no matter which side of the fence you're on.

Justin, thank you for visiting the forum and for being willing to post here.

I have not read anything that I haven't read before, elsewhere. While I am glad that you are feeling well, perhaps 50% better than on any other day in your life, I do not attribute such things to mysticism. You found Jesus because the Catholics found you and inculcated you long ago. When you ask 999,999 out of 1,000,000 people in Illinois who they found in their hearts, it's going to be Jesus. Not Zeus, Zorg, Cthulhu, Muhammad, Allah or Buddha. Nope, Jesus always wins the heartland. He doesn't fare so well in Iran, Tibet, Sudan, Siberia, Mongolia, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco ...

Your testimony is solely about being sucked into the trap of your locale rather than any proof of mystical interaction with reality.

That's my $5. I used to give just 2¢ but I've had to adjust my contributions to match inflation.


By the way, call me cynical but an atheist who finds Jesus is a great way to get into a new career. I've thought about doing it myself, but I'm too honest to engage in such blatant manipulation.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on July 20, 2013, 12:47:07 PM
While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

I do not understand what an "intensely atheist mind" even means, Justin. Does it mean you were forcing it upon yourself? My mind looks intensely for facts, logic and rational understanding. If you mean that I have to drop all of those in order to find Jesus, then don't worry yourself. I won't. I can't.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 03:52:20 PM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

Quote
He created a perfect atmosphere for Adam and Eve and had a perfect relationship with them until they severely damaged that relationship by sinning in the form of disobeying God.

OK...

Quote
This created a separation from God for all future generations.

If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit? 

Quote
In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

Quote
On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

Citation needed...

Quote
God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

Why have a requirement at all?

Quote
In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

Quote
For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

Quote
I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Most of the regulars here are former Christians, and they weren't casual about it.  They came to their atheism largely by pursuing the tracking and researching and open-mindedness that you are begging them to embrace.  Just saying.

Quote
May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

Please do not say things like this.  Most of us are uncomfortable with it at best and highly offended by it at worst.

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back here. I've had a chance to read some of the discussion that's taken place since my last visit and it's very thought provoking and genuine, which so encouraging and refreshing.

However I was hoping someone could help me understand why the post that Pianodwarf is quoting above has been removed?

It makes it very hard for me to be genuine and open when the possibility that any of my posts could be removed and in turn not keep everything that I say in context. I also feel that it detracts from the open and healthy discussion that has been taking place so far.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 21, 2013, 04:36:32 PM
Justin
here is a link to the forum rules:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21732.0.html

screwtape mentioned removing them for "preaching" which you will see addressed there

I won't won'tc speak for screw.. but my own two cents: I doubt you'd appreciate or find it to be an open and healthy conversation if we started listing a bunch of zeus-worship phrases or quote summaries from the koran.... even if w  hoped with all our heart you would convert.
 That is  preaching
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nick on July 21, 2013, 05:15:15 PM
It is just so hard to save these poor souls without preaching. ;)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 05:27:48 PM
Justin
here is a link to the forum rules:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21732.0.html

screwtape mentioned removing them for "preaching" which you will see addressed there

I won't won'tc speak for screw.. but my own two cents: I doubt you'd appreciate or find it to be an open and healthy conversation if we started listing a bunch of zeus-worship phrases or quote summaries from the koran.... even if w  hoped with all our heart you would convert.
 That is  preaching

Oh, I didn't see that at the end of his post. While I'll certainly respect the rules here I have to say I didn't really see that as preachy.

I was simply stating my position. It's hard to have a discussion without each of us understanding the others position.

I could see things being deleted in that vein if my posts were filled with preachy things but I think I've kept it pretty worldly in all of my posts.

As far as posting zeus phrases or koran items it wouldn't bother me in the least. It would be the same as if someone posted the story of the flying spaghetti monster. As an atheist I never understood why my atheist counterparts got so bent out of shape about going to church or having someone throw Bible verses at them, or even reading the Bible. To me it was like getting mad or bothered by someone telling me fiery tales or a 5 year old talking to me.

Even if that one post is seen as a little preachy it would mean a lot to me to have it restored.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 05:30:10 PM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

Quote
He created a perfect atmosphere for Adam and Eve and had a perfect relationship with them until they severely damaged that relationship by sinning in the form of disobeying God.

OK...

Quote
This created a separation from God for all future generations.

If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit? 

Quote
In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

Quote
On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

Citation needed...

Quote
God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

Why have a requirement at all?

Quote
In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

Quote
For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

Quote
I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Most of the regulars here are former Christians, and they weren't casual about it.  They came to their atheism largely by pursuing the tracking and researching and open-mindedness that you are begging them to embrace.  Just saying.

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May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

Please do not say things like this.  Most of us are uncomfortable with it at best and highly offended by it at worst.

Can someone give me a step by step on how to partially quote items like this?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Azdgari on July 21, 2013, 05:36:07 PM
Just type (quote) at the start of the text you want to quote, and (/quote) at the end.

Except use square brackets, [like] [these] [ones], instead of the (curved) (brackets).

That will put the text between those tags within a quote box.  I can sure see why you'd want to do that for a response to Pianodwarf's post!
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on July 21, 2013, 05:44:42 PM
Can someone give me a step by step on how to partially quote items like this?

Hi, Justin:

There's a test area where you can fool around with the quote function (as well as the forum's other features) to become comfortable using them.  The Test Area is here:
http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/board,28.0.html

If you're familiar with how HTML code works at all, you'll find the code for the forums is pretty similar.  You should also use the "Preview" button at the bottom of the composition window to ensure that the post you're creating comes out looking the way you want it to.

If you have further problems learning how to use the forum's functions, please speak up, and one or more of the regulars here will show you some sample code to accomplish what you're trying to accomplish.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 05:45:53 PM
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...

1. Can you tell me about your story so I have a frame of reference here Donny? (I know I'm new but I have to take Lebowski quotes when I can, no offense at all)

2. Nothing I've experienced over the past 1.5 years has been congruent with any other religion and has been perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

3. My previous intensely atheist mind didn't attribute anything with God, or any deity or magic or ghosts or anything supernatural or unexplained by science.  If you couldn't prove it or it wasn't in front of me it didn't exist.

Again sorry for the impersonal bullet points.

Hello again. Sorry, I doubted your return (no pun intended).

Let's keep with the bullet points:

1. Never saw Lebowski, but my story as it is would be here -

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24916.0.html

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- I'm pretty new here, having been a xian for over 30 years and finally shedding all of that 6+ months ago - no pain, no trauma, no hating god, etc. just facing up to my doubts and thinking critically after a long sleep.

So have you ever felt the Holy Spirit? Would you say you had a relationship with Jesus Christ during those 30 years?

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2. I really have no idea what you mean by that phrase you have used numerous times "...perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible..."  It sounds like a $6 burger, but it really has no meat until you explain what you mean by it.  If you are saying your experiences square with the bible - well, I'd expect a xian to say that.  My personal version of god was always strangely like me too in my theistic days.  He liked the same music, believed the same theology, planned out the same eschatology and darned if he didn't share my version of soteriology as well.


I think the easiest way i can explain it is if I go back to the first month after I was Born Again.

I figured ok, if all God wanted was for me to humble myself, come off my staunch atheistic views just little, and say those two Our Fathers and He would come into my life, He must be pretty logical, personal and sensitive to what I do in my life.

You have to understand, saying those two our fathers may not seem like a big deal, and they may not be a big deal to others who may say them to ask God into their lives, but for me it was admitting to God that something was possible that I thought was impossible and I was very genuine in my crack of doubt that had creeped into my life in the form of their could be a God.

So that told me that He should give me other direction, that the Holy Spirit I could feel inside me should guide me and lead me in certain ways. So I was very sensitive to it. And when I felt like God was telling me something I would follow it no matter what. The thing is that each time I did, not only was what He was asking me to do congruent with the Bible, but the actions I took had amazing outcomes that I could have never predicted.

Now it's important to understand that not every prompting from the Holy Spirit has a great outcome or even an outcome that we can understand as I quickly learned. But early on God was building my faith and doing amazing things. The thing is they're always congruent with the Bible and God's attributes. And whether we understand them or not they're always in our best interest.

I hope that clears it up.

I also have to say that the things God has asked me to do and continue to ask me to do are completely contrary to everything I've ever done in my life or many times what I want to do at all. This contradicts the way you experienced with God. My desires, behaviors and the way I see the world has completely changed since the Holy Spirit has begun dwelling inside of me and it's not bc God or the Bible tells me to do them, it's bc I feel obligated to do them, I want to respect my relationship with Christ, out of what He has done for me.

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3. I don't see that as an "intensely atheist mind" you had there - seems more like a rational mind.  Essentially, you gave up rationality for "faith" - sorta the opposite, right?

It is an atheistic mind because saying there is no God is just as much of a truth claim as saying there is. No one can prove either side conclusively and that's exactly how God wants it. The only thing that can prove God to anyone is God Himself. I assure you my mind is more rational now then at any other time in my life.


Thanks for your response and I'd be frequenting your burger spot too, were they here in god's  zeus' hermes' cattle country (Oklahoma)

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on July 21, 2013, 06:03:36 PM
Hi everyone; your resident black dreadlocked atheist commie mommy here. Y'all have said nearly all the relevant things I would have said to the burger guy --although in not nearly as witty and incisive a style as mine. :angel:

One thing nobody has brought up. He said when he was an unbeliever,  he responded to religious people with goodness in his heart. Unlike most atheists. Huh?

I doubt that most of the people he knew were atheists-- in the US that is not even possible! And we have as much goodness in our hearts (along with blood, arteries, cholesterol, spare valentine candy) as anyone else. Does he make a low-carb burger option?

I would like to reiterate one point: it is not surprising that a guy in the US would decide that Jesus Christ was the main dude. When I briefly returned to religion back in college (because my life was falling apart and also to chase this cute Christian boy) I, too, decided it had to be Jesus Christ speaking to my soul. It would be very surprising, even evidence worth researching, if either of us had heard from gods we had zero previous knowledge of, like Durga, Shango or Ahura Mazda.


Rationality returned eventually, except a brief new age interlude when again, not coincidentally, my life was in crisis. And he had to diss on the JW's, didn't he? I might be showing up on his doorstep this Saturday morning if I had not become an unbeliever. He should be happy I am no longer religious. ;D

And if some god wants to materialize in my bedroom someday, I would much rather Jesus stay home. Next time the hot white guy with long blonde hair better be Thor.... :-*
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 06:04:03 PM
Justin,

Many of the regulars here will tell you in much more specific terms than I that preaching to us here will NOT garner you much favor.  If you assume you are talking to a bunch of god hating folks who've never darkened the door of a church or cracked open a bible, you'd not only be hopelessly wrong but downright condescending.

Many were "true" christians for many years (like myself) and many, I would wager, have forgotten more about the bible than you have learned at this stage in your journey.  I and many here have read that holy book cover to cover - many times.  I know your lingo and I know you think you are dealing with people who have never heard or considered what you are saying.  I'd urge you to read some posts here - not just this thread (although it may run you off when you see what you are going to be up against).

Good luck

I tried not to assume anything coming into this and I purposely didn't read other posts so I would garner no preconceived notions. I apologize if that came off preachy but I was simply stating my position.

I can also say that I'm very impressed with the level of rational and logic here. I don't get the God hating vibe at all and it's refreshing. I can tell that I'm dealing with well thought out people and as I said in my first post, "thanks for not being luke warm".
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 06:52:29 PM
Justin, thanks for your response. We continue to disagree but both of us prefer that over having one of us forced to believe something we don't want to.

Couldn't agree more!

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But you obviously ran with the wrong atheist crowd. Again, I'm not the least bit mad at your god, or any other. Non-existent entities are sort of hard to get pissed at. And I think that most atheists on this site would agree. Right folks? Your claim otherwise makes us a bit suspect about your claim of atheism. Might it be more accurate to say you weren't a believer because you didn't like the guy, not because you didn't believe in him. Which is not atheism, but rather rejectionism or some other differently-labeled belief.

I feel you on this but it's hard to deny that there are a lot of angry, bitter, resentful atheists out there. I totally see your personal logic as it was the same as mine. I also agree that this site seems to be full of thinking atheists which is really nice.

I truly believed in my heart that there was no God. Zero mad at Him. Zero in love with the devil. They did not exist in my world at all. Bc I knew I couldn't prove there was no God, as is conveniently the case for the most important question in the world, my favorite thing to tell people was a saying I made up that goes like this "There is such a small chance of there being a God, that it isn't worth thinking about or changing anything you do in your life."

However, that is speculation on my part, and I don't pretend that it is accurate. But I assure you, we actual atheists aren't the least bit upset with your deity.

In the meantime, if you could explain how one can be mad at something that doesn't exist, that would be appreciated.

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And until a god shows up that isn't big on playing hide and seek, I'm pretty sure I won't change. I'm not the least bit interested in asking for any sort of salvation. Nobody has found a way to convince me that it would be a good idea or a realistic goal. Or even interest me in the church potlucks. So methinks we'll have to agree to disagree.

You have to understand that He developed it that way on purpose. If He was obvious we wouldn't love Him. This world is a perfectly worked out Devine equation that produces the most love between our Creator and us. An equation that forces the people who love Him to work hard to get to know Him just any other relationship. An equation that makes it impossible for one person to convince another bc He doesn't care if you believe, He wants a relationship. No person can force another person into a loving relationship. God's only purpose for creating us and this world is to develop as many loving, genuine relationships between us and Him.

He respects our desire not to believe in Him or have a relationship with Him. Any thing less would make us robots.

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When I was a child, I was told there was a god and I believed it simply because I had no reason not to. I went to church and everything. That would have been a great time for your god to show himself to me in some meaningful way. If he is real, he missed his chance. As an omnipotent dude, he could have done something noticeable by me as a child and I might have reacted to the stories very differently. He would have to come to my house and have dinner now to convince me that he exists.

The same happened to me. As I said I started out catholic, went to church and by the time I was 16 or so I was like "ya right, I don't see any sign of this Guy" My story wasn't over and either is yours. You have to understand that pure Christianity is very hard to find. The catholic church is a demonically controlled entity that is designed to keep people from a RELATIONSHIP with God and in the end push them away from Him. The same can be said for almost all of the denominations.

He has never missed His chance. As you should expect, our understanding is not the same as the God who created the universe. If you truly want to find Him, He'll find you. But the key is humility and sincerely wanting a relationship with Him.

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He's welcome any time. Or he can choose some other path to me. But whatever he does, it has to be more than merely implying that he exists. If I am important to him, he can overlook his silly rules and do something proactive for my soul. Because he squandered his chance to get me back in the 50's. His bad.


That's an awesome attitude. One I can assure you He respects and adores. He will do much more than imply that He exists as He has in my life. You're very important to Him. Importance that man can't even comprehend. Religion = rules, Chrisitanity = relationship.

We also have to remember that God owes us nothing. He already gave us life and everything we have. However He will give us something (eternal life, a relationship with the only Living God, and blessings while we're here) if we'll just believe from the mountain of evidence that He's telling the truth when He says He sent His only Son to die for our sins.

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Unless he isn't real. Which I am as sure as one can be that is is not. And I even have proof. He could cause me to die before I finish typing this sentence, or before I press "Post", and for a brief second (if he were to allow it) I would know I was wrong. But he didn't do it during that sentence, nor during this one, or before I pressed "Post". I invite him to do it. I give him my complete permission to do me in with a heart attack or some other quick (and I don't care how painful) death or disability that would prevent the posting of this response.

That's assuming he wants you to die and from your previous para, I don't think that's the case. As you can imagine the God of the universe doesn't like being tested. He doesn't like little games. He want's sincere desire for you to want Him and have Him in your life. 

He owes you nothing, not proof, not signs. Why would He ever prove His existence to someone who doesn't believe he exists. He loves and respects us enough to let us believe what we want. He doesn't beg, that would only cheapen Him and His Son.

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If he is real, he's a pussy. Afraid of being seen, afraid of being "known", whatever. He's a pussy. I could respect that if he weren't simultaneously so demanding. But in fact, it is the humans that invented him and the humans that carry on in his name that do the demanding, and like I said, I'm not too happy that I share the planet with the worst of that crowd. But your god is too incompetent to get my attention. He should be ashamed.

Afraid is the wrong term. He know's that being seen doesn't create real love. He knows real love only comes from working to get to know someone. He's certainly not afraid of being known bc you can learn all about Him in the Bible. You can get to know Him better by studying the Bible then you can your spouse.

He's not demanding. Religion is demanding. You can't prove humans invented Him and I can assure you they didn't. But you are right that it is the humans who want to act as if they are God (pope, priests, cardinals and many more) do the demanding.

I'm not happy that I share the planet with them either. They're the ones who drove me away from God. Their hypocrisy and counter Biblical teaching. Don't let people get in the way of searching out a relationship with God. He's not going to get your attention until you truly want Him to.

Excuse me while I live long enough to post this. One last chance god. Stop me now.


edit - fixed quotes, I think
~Screwtape
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 06:57:59 PM
I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

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Justin, I think My mind is reasonably open.  I've practised or dabbled in multiple religions since I was a kid, going though a final short burst of Ásatrú (reconstruction of the old Norse beliefs) before settling into a comfortable agnostic atheist position.

The fact that you're dialoging with me and have dabbled in multiple religions does show that you have an open mind. However an open mind isn't what is required for a relationship with Jesus Christ. The only thing that's required is a genuine burning to have Him in your life. Without this it doesn't matter where you look, what you read or how open your mind is. Without the strong desire to have Him in your life nothing else matters.

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Christianity just doesn't resonate with Me.  It never has, and I've known the Bible stories for nearly 50 years now.  I don't like the narrative and I don't like the characters, but I especially don't like the theology.
  • I'm not willing to pretend that I was born evil and fit only for the flames of Hell, and I certainly can't view other people in that light.
  • Neither can I wrap My mind around the oft-mentioned idea that a god cannot tolerate imperfect beings, cannot associate with them, and must bar them forever from its presence.
  • Finally, the idea of substitutionary atonement through a blood sacrifice is absolutely, unconditionally abhorrent to Me.  I cannot and I shall not accept the purported sacrifice of Jesus.
My road to truth doesn't lead to the cross; quite the contrary.  If for some reason I do end up there, I'll be the One who shoos away the Roman legions, rescues the young rabbi and the two thieves and bandages their wounds, then smashes up all the crosses and sets them ablaze so that we can roast marshmallows and make S'mores for 5000.  8)

That's unfortunate bc the Bible is the truth and all the other things you mentioned is the only way to salvation.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 07:00:56 PM
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Justin, I noticed the discussion of your illness with the strep throat and the tingling, and another possibility could be post-infectious encephalomyelitis (breakdown of the myelin sheaths in the brain due to an infection).

How does that come about? Does it repair itself or with what the docs prescribed for the strep throat, penicillin?

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It may be a one-off event, but it would be a good idea to rule out early multiple sclerosis.  If you get tingling sensations, fatigue, dizziness, muscle spasms, unexplained jabs of pain  or have problems with your vision, please get referred to a Neurologist and have an MRI of the brain and cervical spine to make sure it isn't something more serious.

I haven't experienced any of that. My health is better then it's ever been.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a Doctor but I do work for Neurologists, including MS specialists.)

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 21, 2013, 07:27:16 PM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

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So what's stopping him?

Us

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He created a perfect atmosphere for Adam and Eve and had a perfect relationship with them until they severely damaged that relationship by sinning in the form of disobeying God.

OK...

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This created a separation from God for all future generations.

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If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

That's not true bc He wanted to give us free will. He didn't just want a bunch of robots walking around worshipping Him. He wanted people to worship Him under their own free will. He wanted them to accept the free gift of salvation willingly.

It's our free will that created that separation but out of His abundant grace (unmerited favor) He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins to give us each a second chance individually. It's the best deal of all time.

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And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit?

Because before that there was no sin. When they sinned, the world was poisoned by sin. It was no ordinary event. Instantly Adam and Eve knew they were naked, knew the difference between right and wrong, and in turn started acting as God the same way we do today.   

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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

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Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

Bc this is the most effective way for Him to show His grace. Which in turn creates a situation where His created beings can't even comprehend how much He loves them and in turn if they're willing will love Him all the more. This world is really a perfect formula for creating as much love between God and man as possible.

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On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

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Citation needed...

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15&version=NIV

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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

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Why have a requirement at all?

Bc this is part of the perfect formula. The above requires people to humble themselves and to seek out the truth even the whole world is telling them the opposite. If He gave it away it would mean nothing to us. Only things that are earned through trusting and having faith in something or someone is worth anything.

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In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

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Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

There's excuses here, but none when you come face to face with God on the final judgement. All of the things you listed are only that way bc of your potential preconceived notions, hardened heart or unwillingness to give it a chance . It's not about reading the Bible it's about what kind of heart and mind you read it with. All research should be done with a mind and a heart and an eagerness to be proven wrong. Most research should be done on things that go against our current understanding, beliefs or positions.



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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

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You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

It's true that you can't choose to believe something that isn't true, can be proven false or something there is no proof or evidence of. That certainly isn't the case with Christianity or God. Just Google " Christian Apologetics" and that will quickly become clear. Google "Fine tuning of the universe" or "the moral arguement for God" Or "William Layne Craig". The most brilliant atheists understand that there is a world of evidence of God, the crusifixian and almost all events in the Bible. Nothing in the Bible can be proved false.

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I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

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Most of the regulars here are former Christians, and they weren't casual about it.  They came to their atheism largely by pursuing the tracking and researching and open-mindedness that you are begging them to embrace.  Just saying.

Christian is very broad term. I'd challenge any of them to tell me that they're felt the Holy Spirit or had a relationship with God. Religion is the great deceiver!



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May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

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Please do not say things like this.  Most of us are uncomfortable with it at best and highly offended by it at worst.

I understand, it wont happen again.

But I have to ask why would a quote from a fiery tale make someone uncomfortable or offend someone? It would be like someone coming up to me and telling me "may the peace of Peter Pan be in your heart" and me having any reaction to it at all.

I hope to be on again soon. Until then I want everyone to know that I really appreciate and find value in this dialog. I really appreciate the respectful way everyone has handled this conversation. I also want to apologize for some of the things that I now know to be offensive and I will do everything in my power to not have it happen again.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on July 21, 2013, 08:52:55 PM
The fact that you're dialoging with me and have dabbled in multiple religions does show that you have an open mind. However an open mind isn't what is required for a relationship with Jesus Christ. The only thing that's required is a genuine burning to have Him in your life.

Not only do I not have a "burning desire" to have Jesus in My life, I have no desire at all.

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Without the strong desire to have Him in your life nothing else matters.

Perhaps to you, Justin, but you aren't in a position to decide what matters to other people.

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That's unfortunate bc the Bible is the truth and all the other things you mentioned is the only way to salvation.

Then I reject salvation.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Azdgari on July 21, 2013, 09:22:43 PM
Justin, every post you've made lately has had the same flaw in quoting:  You've missed the presence of the automatic quote tag that gets put in when you click the "quote" button to begin your post.  It begins with (quote author=...), and you don't need to then add a (quote) after that one.  You've doubled up the quote tags at the start of every post, and as a result the opening tag never closes and the whole post shows up as a quote.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on July 21, 2013, 09:26:41 PM
How does that come about? Does it repair itself or with what the docs prescribed for the strep throat, penicillin?

Penicillin doesn't directly repair nerves, but it can stop an infection and allow swelling to go down.

I did a quick read-up on infectious encephalomyelitis, and now think it's unlikely in your case because it tends to affect kids rather than adults.  MS is still on the table, so please see your doctor right away if you experience a relapse of anything odd related to the nervous system.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 21, 2013, 09:31:00 PM
Justin

You really need to work on your quoting. Your response to me was a mess because you didn't do things right. We have a nice little thread that tells you all about how to do it. You can find it here:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html)

You were nice enough to tell me that I shouldn't test the lord, and that he apparently still wanted me alive (when I got all testy on the dude) A six year old drowned in the river near where I live last week. Was this because the kid knew enough not to test god and got snuffed? Did the lord want the kid dead? How come I can exercise my free will and ask god to kill me, but the kid didn't get any free will or anything else except lungs full of water?

And a god that allows disparities that big in life is no god at all. Which is exactly what I believe in. (I don't actually expect a response. No christian on this planet is capable of giving a cogent one. And I've heard more excuses than I care to deal with.)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 21, 2013, 09:47:46 PM
The fact that you're dialoging with me and have dabbled in multiple religions does show that you have an open mind. However an open mind isn't what is required for a relationship with Jesus Christ. The only thing that's required is a genuine burning to have Him in your life. Without this it doesn't matter where you look, what you read or how open your mind is. Without the strong desire to have Him in your life nothing else matters.

Apparently you were a rarity. An atheist with a burning desire to have Jesus save you. Methinks the rest of us are a little less concerned about such things.

As for me, gobs of things matter. Just not the god stuff.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on July 22, 2013, 08:23:16 AM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

Us

How can we be stopping him?  He's omnipotent.  You can't stop an omnipotent being from doing anything.

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This created a separation from God for all future generations.

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If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

That's not true bc He wanted to give us free will.

And being omniscient, he knew how we would choose, which makes him responsible for everything that has ever happened or will ever happen.  If, ten million years from now or whatever, the field of genetics has advanced to the point where you can determine, with 100% certainty, that any children you bear will turn into mass murderers, then any murders that happen as a result of your deciding to bear children will be your fault, not your children's, because you had enough information to know that you should not have procreated in the first place.  Same with Yahweh and the universe.

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He didn't just want a bunch of robots walking around worshipping Him. He wanted people to worship Him under their own free will. He wanted them to accept the free gift of salvation willingly.

Saying "worship me or I'll set you on fire for all eternity" is not a choice.

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It's our free will that created that separation

Nope.  Adam and Eve did it.  Yahweh is just punishing everyone for it.  It absolutely amazes me that Christians can believe that this is just.  If you were given the electric chair because you had an ancestor in Sparta who murdered someone, you would be outraged beyond the power of language to express, but you think Yahweh doing the same thing is fair and proper?  Sorry, no -- I absolutely refuse to take responsibility for anyone's actions other than my own, and if Yahweh insists on doing otherwise, well, then -- he's an asshole.

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but out of His abundant grace (unmerited favor) He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins to give us each a second chance individually. It's the best deal of all time.

It's not a "second chance" for us because we never even had a first chance.  And, again: Yahweh could have just said, "I forgive everyone".  So much easier.  No misery or suffering required by anyone.

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And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit?

Because before that there was no sin. When they sinned, the world was poisoned by sin. It was no ordinary event. Instantly Adam and Eve knew they were naked, knew the difference between right and wrong, and in turn started acting as God the same way we do today.

That's not an answer.  Please explain, clearly and explicitly, why you believe it is just to penalize anyone for the actions of their ancestors.  You know, I hate to go Godwin here, but Adolph Hitler has living ancestors today, and no one would think of giving any of them the death penalty or a prison sentence or anything for what Hitler did.

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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

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Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

Bc this is the most effective way for Him to show His grace.

Seems like it would be a lot easier and less painful for him to simply forgive everyone and create a global sign for everyone to see and understand -- not to mention more effective.  If the method you describe is so effective, why are two-thirds of the people on the earth not Christians?

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Which in turn creates a situation where His created beings can't even comprehend how much He loves them and in turn if they're willing will love Him all the more. This world is really a perfect formula for creating as much love between God and man as possible.

Again: "love me or I'll set you on fire forever" is not a choice, and even if it were, it would not be a choice offered out of love.  When a human being does something like that, we usually call him a stalker or a maniac or something.

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On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

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Citation needed...

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15&version=NIV

Sorry, no.  That is not evidence, that is the claim.

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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

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Why have a requirement at all?

Bc this is part of the perfect formula.  The above requires people to humble themselves and to seek out the truth even the whole world is telling them the opposite.

Why is that so important?  Oh, here we go:

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If He gave it away it would mean nothing to us. Only things that are earned through trusting and having faith in something or someone is worth anything.

That's not true.  I'll admit that when you work for something, it does often "taste sweeter" than if it's just handed to you, but if someone gave me a free Lamborghini, I would still value it.  A lot.

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In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

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Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

There's excuses here, but none when you come face to face with God on the final judgement. All of the things you listed are only that way bc of your potential preconceived notions, hardened heart or unwillingness to give it a chance .

You do not know that.  I've been studying such matters for about a good 25 years now, so I'm not simply dismissing them because I'm not interested or anything.

And in the end, if, as you say, I end up coming face to face with Yahweh for a final judgment, well... my only comment to him is going to be, "If you wanted me to believe in you, you should have made your existence just a tad more obvious.  The fact that I spent my life not believing in you is your fault, not mine, and now you're going to set me on fire for all eternity because of your mistake?"

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It's not about reading the Bible it's about what kind of heart and mind you read it with. All research should be done with a mind and a heart and an eagerness to be proven wrong. Most research should be done on things that go against our current understanding, beliefs or positions.

I'm not "eager" to be proven wrong... I doubt that very many people are.  However, when presented with proper evidence, I am perfectly willing to do so.

Reading the entire bible was, in fact, "research done going against my current understanding, beliefs, and positions".  That's almost quintessential for an atheist, really.  And, as I said, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  As Astreja sometimes likes to say, "If you want me to believe that what this book says is true, please show me a snake that can talk.  Until then, we don't have much to discuss."  One could say the same thing about all kinds of other things for which there should be significantly more evidence (e.g., the exodus -- there should be tons of evidence of that if it happened, and there's actually none at all).

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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

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You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

It's true that you can't choose to believe something that isn't true

You cannot "choose" to believe anything at all, whether it's true or false.  The human mind simply does not work that way.  Beliefs arise in human beings by various methods, probably the two biggest ones being childhood indoctrination and being presented with evidence.  Simply choosing to have a belief, however, is not possible.

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Just Google " Christian Apologetics" and that will quickly become clear. Google "Fine tuning of the universe" or "the moral arguement for God" Or "William Layne Craig".

I urge you to use caution when saying things like this.  The people at this site are far more erudite regarding this topic than you appear to realize.  We know who William Lane Craig is -- notice, for example, that I even know how to spell his name, which you do not.  We're also quite familiar with the fine tuning argument, the moral argument, and probably everything else about apologetics that has ever been discussed.

We are not atheists because we haven't examined such arguments.  We are atheists because we have, and found them lacking.

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The most brilliant atheists understand that there is a world of evidence of God

Obviously we don't, or we wouldn't be atheists.

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the crusifixian and almost all events in the Bible.

Actually, very few of the events written about in the bible can be verified.  And:

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Nothing in the Bible can be proved false.

This is simply not true.  Geological evidence shows that there was never a global flood.  The Sinai desert was not occupied by two million people for forty years.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.  On and on and on.

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I'd challenge any of them to tell me that they're felt the Holy Spirit or had a relationship with God.

Then you'd better be ready to face a good deal of hostility.  I've seen their reactions when they are told that they "weren't really Christians" or "didn't really feel anything in their hearts" or anything else along those lines.  They get pretty angry.  And I don't blame them.

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Religion is the great deceiver!

THAT'S for sure.

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But I have to ask why would a quote from a fiery tale make someone uncomfortable or offend someone?

It's hard to explain, and different people probably have different reasons.  For my own part, it sounds condescending, and I don't like being spoken down to.  I'm an intelligent man who has spent many years thinking about and examining such matters -- I mean, jeez, I majored in philosophy, for crying out loud, so when I hear someone saying that they "hope my eyes will be opened" or something like that, it sounds to me like I'm being spoken to like a naive, inexperienced child, which I most definitely am not.  It would be kind of like expecting a dentist not to know what wisdom teeth are, or something.

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I hope to be on again soon. Until then I want everyone to know that I really appreciate and find value in this dialog. I really appreciate the respectful way everyone has handled this conversation. I also want to apologize for some of the things that I now know to be offensive and I will do everything in my power to not have it happen again.

I'm glad you're here, and I hope you're finding the conversations interesting and informative.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 22, 2013, 09:40:08 AM
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So have you ever felt the Holy Spirit? Would you say you had a relationship with Jesus Christ during those 30 years?
Justin, your quoting was giving me fits, so I will address your question to me in your favored bullet points.

1. Ok, I fear where this one is going - the classic "no true scotsman" logical fallacy.  But I will bite...
 
2. That being said, I will give you a 100% honest answer, but having been in your shoes before, I am afraid it will mean nothing.

 Simple answer - "YES" I thought I felt the HS and I definitely would have and did profess a relationship with Christ for those 30+ years.  I was active in my church(es), taught many a Sunday school class and either led or attended or read more bible studies than I can count. I prayed every day, read the bible through several times, read it almost daily, confessed sin, witnessed, led others to christ, you name it...  I realized "coming to faith" and "having faith" are choices, just like a chice to wear blue socks today.  There's no magic involved, you just have to choose to suspend logic and rationality to hold onto faith, since there is nothing there.  I didn't like losing my faith, it felt bad/ I fought it - but I'm glad I did and I'm a better person for it.

 I can still reproduce those "feelings" or HS leadings/still small voices/warm fuzzies or whatever you like, if I put my mind to it.  However, one part of my deconversion was the realization this supposed relationship with christ that is like no other - truly is... it's like NO other relationship.  I asked myself what other relationships do I have with someone I have never met/spoke to/saw/touched/engaged with in some way/etc and such a person has never responded directly to me in a tangible/audible/etc way??  Answer - zero.  (I know plenty of believers hear all kinds of things in their head/heart - please define how that's different from imagining or hallucinating).  Yet, I'm to worship, love and desire such a thing?? Sorry, I'll take Santa instead - he makes more sense.

3. Finally, I am a closeted atheist - I am married to a believing spouse and have believing children. We go to church together and they participate in various church functions as well - all of my family claiming to know christ.  I am indistinguishable from the thousands of other "believers" in the large church I attend.  However, I do not openly "lie" to anyone who asks me specifics or asks my input on religious matters (I won't quibble over the lie term here).  I will just note, given believers' presupposed notions, a non-answer or a double entendre works great.
 
 For example, my wife challenged me recently "Do you believe the bible was inpired by god?"  I answered, "of course it was."  She asked for no calrification and I gave none.  Her presupposition is that I believe like she does that god breathed inspiration into the authors and they wrote what he wanted. 

 All I meant was whoever wrote it had god on their brain, either as a theme to pursue or a story to invent - there was no intervention on mythical god's part.  I write a few things myself and recently I wrote a poem about a creepy fellow who has a stack of human bones in his backyard that gives him much pleasure.  Warren Zevon's Excitable Boy song inspired me... Warren is long dead, and I have never met him - he certainly had no input, other than a thread of an idea from a line in his song. Warm sun inspires me to read a book by the pool - the sun didn't write the book I read or create the lounger I relax in with an adult beverage.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on July 22, 2013, 04:42:52 PM
Seems to me that if Christianity was self-evident, and there was one true god who wanted everyone to join up,  there would be no other religions. How could there be? The one true religion should be like water, or air. It would not have to compete in the global marketplace with other beliefs, because as soon as people heard about it, they would realize it made sense and immediately adopt it.

There are no substitutes for water or air, and everyone needs them to survive. The one true religion should be like that. No preaching, convincing or force should be necessary. Missionaries should not have to go around trying to convert people.  Anyone who is not a Christian should be obviously suffering, far less happy and successful than believers, like someone deprived of water or air.

You don't have to show up on someone's doorstep to persuade them to breathe air--you should not have to persuade anyone into the one true religion! No apologetics or complicated arguments should be needed, because there should not be any logical holes that need plugging.

The holy book should be amazingly transcendent, prophetic and full of useful information with no need for extensive study to comprehend its meaning. No scientific discovery or invention or law should make the religion look silly or outdated. Everything in the religion should match objective reality without question.You should not have to invent a powerful, scheming devil to explain why the world is the way it is. In sum, nobody should have to turn off their brain, "let go and let god", surrender fully to the holy spirit, have the correct attitude of submission, "open their heart'', or be in desperate emotional straits to believe.

Certainly no new religions should be arising after the establishment of Christianity, like Islam or Mormonism or Scientology. And the ones that pre-date, like Judaism and Hinduism should have disappeared as soon as the one true faith came on the scene. Christianity itself should not have to change with the times, either. Truth should always be truth, right?

We can see that is clearly not the case.

It took centuries for the heathens and pagans in Europe to be beaten into submission by Christian rulers. The largest group of Christians is Catholic, and that holds sway mainly in poor countries where indigenous people were conquered, enslaved and forced to convert. The Jews did not buy into the Christ deal, even though they were supposedly right there watching all the miracles. A billion Hindus are largely unimpressed. Buddhists likewise see no need to change. Islam is growing faster worldwide than Christianity.

More people throughout history have rejected the bible than have accepted it as truth. Even the people who accept it have to ignore most of it or else it makes no sense! And it is not like any of the other major religions is any better. Bad things happen to believers of every faith. People have to do everything for themselves, no matter what they believe. Prayer doesn't work, ever, for anyone. This god just doesn't seem to be up to snuff.
 
In contrast to what we would expect, some of the most successful, peaceful and stable regions worldwide are where most people are atheists. Many atheists are familiar with different religious traditions, or even used to practice a faith, so they know what they are rejecting.

If there is an all-powerful god in charge, he is doing a very good job of pretending not to care about any of this. :P
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on July 23, 2013, 07:12:19 AM
the Bible is the truth.

Support this assertion with evidence. Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 06:31:10 PM
I'm really sorry about botching the quoting. I wasn't aware of the preview which will be a big help. I've now read everything I can about it and hope to have it down.

Is there a "reverse quote" button? Like a button I can push like the quote button, but in reverses the "quote" and the "end quote" text?

1. I believe God touched me for the same reason He touches anyone who's been Born Again. I humbled myself to the fact that I didn't have it all figured out when at the hight of my anti-theism I said those two Our Fathers. In addition, I searched for truth in a humble way my entire life. Every time I found another kernel no matter how it didn't fit into my life I embraced it. Up until this experience I'd never had any warm and fuzzies of any sort either, hence the anti-theism. It's all about sincerely humbling yourself and apologizing to Jesus for pushing Him away all these, asking Him to come into your life and thanking Him for not giving up on you.

Most of the regulars here have not always been atheists; most of them are former Christians.  When they felt their faith starting to fade, they were highly alarmed and did not want to lose it.  They desperately prayed and prayed and prayed, frantically begging Yahweh to give them strength or some kind of a sign or something to help them continue believing him.  Yahweh did not answer them.  It's a big part of the reason that they're atheists now.  What do you think about that?

First of all I love the genuine nature of your question.

I don't know how to emphasize this enough. Christian is such a loose term. There are very few Christian catholics, mormons, jehovah witnesses, etc... A person is not a Christian until they've been Born Again as Jesus said. They are not Born Again until they've been in dwelt with the Holy Spirit as I and millions of others have and everyone could.

I'm very skeptical of anyone who claims to have been a Christian as I've previously described, and now claims not to be. The reason for this is that you can't unbelieve something that you yourself have physically experienced and have known to be true. You can't have a relationship with someone and then say you didn't or believe you didn't. The Holy Spirit is a tangible presence in a true Christian's life, not something that someone can change their mind about or forget.

As far as the experience you've described, my guess is that they were never truly saved. They were in a legalistic religion that preached salvation by works (catholicism, mormonism, jehovah etc..), instead of salvation by grace as the Bible clearly teaches. Faith can fade but once you've felt the Truth in the form of the Holy Spirit there's no putting that back in the bottle.

There's plenty of people who've tasted that Truth, and while they know it's real, have decided to push God away for a myriad of reasons. They appear as atheists but they're really just mad or disappointed with a faultless God. I'm not directing this to anyone in particular.

Also there could be people in the group you've described that had a different timetable then God. There are people who have the wrong understanding of God's attributes and of the Bible and in turn their expectations of God are faulty. Others just didn't have the trust they needed to wait for God or to know that we should never go upon our own understanding.

No matter the reason I feel deeply for these individuals. It's important to remember that their story isn't over.
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2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not.

Obviously he does care, considering what he does with people who don't believe.  I have no interest in "Doctor Who" at all, so if someone says that Tom Baker was not the best doctor, I'm not inclined to soak that person in gasoline and throw a lit match on him.  Actually, it's hard for me to imagine doing that to anyone at all, but if I did, you can bet it would be for something I care about a hell of a lot.  No pun intended.

He doesn't care if you believe in Him, He cares if you believe in His Son Jesus Christ and that you believe that He sent Him to die for our sins. He cares, bc this is the only way He can have a personal, loving and intimate relationship with His creation. And yes He is very offended, as would anyone, when His creation, which He owes nothing, but has given everything doesn't believe Him or believe in His Son. He does care a lot about us, that's why He's set up this perfect formula called the Gospel.
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The thing you should consider is that lack of proof of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I don't think anyone here would think that.  Scientific skepticism entails rejecting a claim until evidence for the claim is provided, which is not the same thing as saying that the claim is false.  One of the reasons we're atheists is that we have seen no evidence that a deity exists.  Should anyone present any, we will examine it.

I'm not going to bog this thread down in the mountains of evidence that exists for the resurrection, God existing or any of the other evidences that support Christianity. The reason for this is that as I said earlier no one will be able to convince someone of God other than God Himself. I can't convince someone to have a realtionship with someone or to love someone. It's never about evidence it's about where a person's heart is. God has no interest in proving Himself to someone who isn't interested in a relationship with Him. Who isn't desperately seeking Him through His Son Jesus Christ.
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Think about when we thought the world was flat.

What about it?

Just saying that a lack of evidence of something doesn't mean it isn't true. For a long time there was no evidence that we knew of that the Earth was round but it still was. There's no evidence that there's intelligent life anywhere else in the universe but I'd guess most people on this site have FAITH or BELIEVE there is. You have to understand that that Christians don't have faith in a thing or a concept, they have faith in the person of Jesus Christ. It's no different then having faith or believing in your dad when he tells you he's going to do something or that he did something. You have no proof that he's going to do it/did it, but you have faith that he will/did
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Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God?

How about some kind of a healing miracle that cannot be explained by natural processes?  Like, say, an amputee spontaneously and miraculously getting his leg back?

The Bible is filled with exactly what you are asking for. Also as I've said if He did that right in front of you, you may believe but would you love Him and His Son? Would you repent of your sins and ask Him for forgiveness? If not that's a worthless act for Him to do. Also he tried that with Jews in the Old Testament and it didn't work. Doing overt things like that not only makes God into a novelty act but also would cheapen the relationship that developed.
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It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you.

Considering that Christ is omnipotent, it shouldn't matter, should it?  It isn't possible to fight someone who is all-powerful.  I mean, if I fill a balloon with water and shoot it point-blank with a .44 Magnum, what are the odds that the balloon is not going to burst?  The odds of winning a fight with Jesus should be even slimmer than that, shouldn't they?

This would negate our free will. So would Him healing amputees right in front of us. He's not interested in shoving Himself down our throat (even though that's what many misguided Christians do). That would cheapen Him and His Son. As I've said this world is the perfect formula for creating as much true love between God and man as possible. The holocaust, this forum, atheists, satan and sin all serve a purpose.

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No other topic has more disinfo on the net about it then Christianity.

Again: shouldn't be possible, should it?

[/quote]Same formula I've been talking about
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4. There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God.

Actually, there could be, it's just that what skeptics would need to have such a relationship, believers are unable to provide.  For starters, you would have to prove that Yahweh exists, since it is not possible to even contemplate having a relationship with someone if you don't even know whether that person exists.  That, all by itself, is a tall order.

Having convinced someone of the existence of Yahweh, the next step would be to convince that person that Yahweh is not a complete fucking asshole.  Most rational and healthy people would not wish to have a relationship with a mass murderer of any kind, for example, and Yahweh, as portrayed in the bible, most certainly is one.  (Fun experiment for you, by the way... try going thru the bible sometime and adding up all the people that Yahweh slaughters.  Then, for comparison, add up the total number of people killed by Satan.  It's an eye-opening exercise.)

You're right believers are unable to provide this proof, no one is able to provide this proof. God is the only One who can prove Himself to anyone and it's that way by His perfect design. The only way God will be proved to anyone is if they humble themselves before Jesus Christ, ask Him for forgiveness, say you're sorry for pushing Him away all those years and thank Him for not giving up on you.
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There's no amount of proof or intellectual gymnastics that will move someone toward Christ.

And that doesn't tell you anything?

Yes, that God in His infinite wisdom created a system that is completely reliant on His grace and a person using their free will to choose to have a realtionship with Him. No coercing, no pushiness, no cheap miracles, just humility and an eagerness to have a relationship with Jesus Christ . That His children (Born Again Christians) can play a role in moving people toward Him through spreading the Gospel, but only the person can ask Him into their life.
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5. No one is making stuff up. We can both be right about our experiences up until this point. I was in your shoes two years ago. All I can tell you is if you sincerely want to know the truth about Christ He will show it to you.

I do sincerely want to know the truth about Christ.  If I'm wrong about his not existing, I seriously want to know that -- I absolutely hate being wrong about anything, and if Christ exists and is omniscient, then he knows that.  So why am I still an atheist?  He knows full well that he would have my approval to correct my error.

I can tell by tone of your questions that you're genuine. Because it's not enough for you to WANT to be wrong. You have to admit you're wrong. And in order to that you have to have a humble heart and start to do research in a way that seeks to prove your current knowledge and beliefs wrong. If you really read carefully what I write and you truly want to know the truth about Jesus, you'll find your path. He rejects no one that truly wants the truth.
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Search for info that will prove your current beliefs wrong.

Which ones?

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Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind.

Most of us here have been to church more than a "couple times".  And most of us have read the bible in full, more than once and in more than one translation.  For many of us, it's why we're atheists now.

As I said it's not about reading the Bible or about going to church. Its about the state of your heart and mind when you do those things. If you're truly searching for truth, you'll find it.

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No one can prove that the Bible isn't true

Actually, there are quite a few things in the bible that are known to be false.  The exodus, for example, never happened.  Neither did the flood.  The human race is not descended from two human beings.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.[/quote]

[/quote] I could bog this thread down with a bunch of links but I wont. The reality is that nothing in the Bible has been proven false. And it's all moot bc as I've said I can't force you into a relationship or force you to love someone.
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and no one can prove that God is real

Now you're starting to get it.

This inability to prove it conclusively either way is God's perfect design. A design that requires faith that's based on trust. Trust that creates love like nothing else.
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so I would encourage everyone to have a very open mind to the most important issue in the world.

Why do you assume that we don't?  Is it simply because we disagree with you?

It's s numbers game. There are closed minded people in great numbers on every issue especially this one.
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6. Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.

I find that rather doubtful.  I would need to know specifics, but I imagine that, more likely, they were angry at people who called themselves followers of Yahweh because of the things that those people say and do.

Nope they're mad at a faultless, blameless God. Also being angry at people that believe in a fairy tale is very weird. The reality is the Gospel has an emotional impact on people.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on July 24, 2013, 06:40:21 PM
You can't have a relationship with someone and then say you didn't or believe you didn't.


Incorrect: Santa Claus


Lets start of with a basic question: Do you acknowledge people hallucinate, lie, and exaggerate?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 24, 2013, 07:36:26 PM
I knew I'd be told I wasn'a true christian... knew it...  30+ years playing footsie with d'lawd in a conservative, southern baptist church and I wasn't a true christian.  My church would fight you on that (still)
Plus.. I am also closed minded?
Damn, Justin, you aren't a very nice representative for your cause throwing around unfounded allegations against burgereaters you don't know.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 07:37:47 PM
I don't mean to be impersonal but I think bullet points will best help us stay on the same page while addressing all of your thoughts.

Thanks for responding. I do not mind that at all.

1. In what other ways would you expect my "natural mental break through" to affect my life moving forward?

I've spoken to people who claimed their disciplines would allow them to walk through solid objects, teleport, fly and other amazing powers.  But I give that no credence. They were obviously kooks.  I would expect you to continue to meditate as a way to reduce stress and focus yourself. And I would expect you to continue to be better at it.  Why?  What else should be expected?

Well I don't meditate. As I said in a previous post after being Born Again I could not meditate in the same way I did before. Before I cleared my mind and felt disconnected, now I pray out loud to God and feel an amazing connection with Him. I don't do it to reduce stress or to focus, i do it bc I can't wait to feel that connection and pour my heart out to God.
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2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

Well, then maybe meditation had nothing to do with.  But after having read your testimonial, I am at a loss as to why you would expect anyone else to connect your rather subjective experiences to any supernatural source, let alone jesus H.

What about me calling my mom and asking her why she believed in Jesus Christ? This without any idea why she believed bc I'd spent my whole life telling her she's crazy. This being the first thing I asked her without any other discussion on the call about what just happened to me.

She then goes on to describe almost the exact same experience (there is no typical experience but I believe God blessed us with the same one so that this atheist would finally see the light) I just had that morning, the night before and month previous.

What about all the causally related, biblically congruent events that have happened in my life over the past 1.5 years? What about the amazing connection I feel when I pray to the God of the Bible? What about the tears that flow down my face every time I worship God at my Christian church? What about the complete 180 that has occurred with my desires, addictions, behaviors, and the way I view the world all of them congruent to the Bible and only possible via the Holy Spirit?
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I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do.

I cannot be sure, of course, but suspect that is only because you think it is so. 

3. The issue with simply attributing it to the "myth" most prevalent in the culture is that all of my experiences since then have been tangible and causally related and congruent with the Bible.

I find that unlikely.  As with your initial "spiritual" experience, things happen and you just chalk it up to jesus.  Anyone can do that.  A lot of people do.  I could do that, but I find that to be egotistical.  I used to do it, back when I was xian.  But I was just deluding myself.  I think people want to feel special.  And what is more special than being favored by the omnipotent creator of all being?   

The bible has enough material in it, and the human brain is maleable enough that you can match anything you want to it.  In the American Civil war both sides used the bible to justify their respective positions on slavery.  My point being, there is literally nothing that cannot in some way be interpreted as congruent with the bible.

As I've said my life has changed 180 degrees. No part of it has been left untouched. Most of know that people's basic behaviors, proclivities and desires don't just change. All of mine did in less than a couple months. Anyone that knows me knows that I don't fake anything. I don't just go along with anything. I'm very skeptical. There is no question that the God of the Bible is changing my heart, desires and mind through the Holy Spirit. There is no feeling special or better then others, bc I had very little to do with it. It's all a product of God's unmerited favor.

You're right that people can and do match anything they want to the Bible. The difference is you can't mistake the tangible Holy Spirit living inside of you changing your life, heart, mind, behaviors and desires from the inside out. You can't fit direction that comes straight from God and then has biblically causal outcomes to the Bible. And if you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, you have no reason to manipulate the Bible, it actually detests you. Humans can manipulate others with the Bible, but no one can manipulate a person relationship with God if they truly understand the Bible and have respectful, personal relationship with God.
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4. While the feeling in my heart was the biggest reason it was and is far from the only. As I said in my testimony I called my mom and without any other discussion she described the same experience. An experience I was never aware of bc I spent my entire life telling my mom how crazy she was and how she needed a crutch.

Sorry.  I don't find coincidences to be even a little compelling.  Sometimes when I walk by street lights, they go dark.  Is that evidence of my arcane powers?  No, unfortunately.  Sometimes I am able to convice weak minded fools to do my bidding.  Is that evidence the Force is with me?  No, unfortunately. 

The street light example isn't causally related to anything. It doesn't happen to line up with the Word of God. What I'm describing is much more powerful and amazing.
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5. While catholicism was in my background (I never thought of it after the age of 15 and before that I went through the motions as a kid, I'm 36 now) you have to understand that there was nothing I was more sure of on this planet then there not being a God.

That is not what I am talking about and it doesn't matter.  All that matters is you had a framework of beliefs instilled in you at a young age which you fell back on.  I'd be a little more impressed if your experience had pointed you in novel direction, like a religious tradition you'd never even heard of.  THAT would have been something.  "I had a feeling that I needed to [X],[1] so I did, and I felt bliss!  Later I researched it, and it turns out this is exatly what Sufi Mulims do!"

But it didn't.  You took it as a sign that the old one, the one with which you were familiar, was true afterall.  As if that wasn't totally predictable. 

 1. http://www.encyclopedia-of-religion.org/practices_of_sufism.html (http://www.encyclopedia-of-religion.org/practices_of_sufism.html)
I think you should consider reading my testimony again. For a month straight leading up to Nashville, I tried to chalk up the tingling feelings and the changes that were happening in my life to anything but God. The thought never crossed my mind. Then even in Nashville I started to think it could be God but not Jesus as you can see in my testimony. It wasn't until God made it abundantly clear (after I'd already humbled myself) that I finally gave into it being Jesus.

Just bc I was raised that way doesn't mean that Jesus isn't the one and only true God. It's hard to have a genuine Devine experience point you in a direction of fasle divinity as is the case in all other religions and Gods.
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I currently despise catholicism (not catholics, they're well intentioned deceived people), it's a cult no different the mormon and jehovah witness church.

While I agree about the cult thing, I categorize all religious organizations as cults.  You are in a cult.  That is because to call a group a cult is a way of delegitimizing them.  It is derogatory.  That is to be expected coming from me.  Coming from you that is hypocrisy and bigotry.

That is not a surprise, though.  I find most protestants are bigots.  I've been to a protestant service where the entire sermon was dedicated to deriding catholicism.  Pathetic.  Love your enemey indeed.  In all the years I attended catholic mass I never heard a single word against protestants. 

You are also deluding yourself with the sola scrpitura approach.  The bible was never meant to be the authority.  It was constructed as a tool by the church.  I generally eschew analogies, but this one works.  If yhwh were a hamburger, the RCC would be McDonalds.  The bible is just the menu.  McDonalds gets you the burger.  They are the experts at that.  They made menu just to help communication between you and they.  Just because you, BurgerMan, have their menu does not mean you can get a burger.  It is not the recipe. You protestants are idolators, worshipping a book, an instrument intended for teaching.

I'm not in a cult. Here is a cult checklist. http://packham.n4m.org/cult.htm Now almost all religions fall into this category but true Christianity does not.

It's not bigotry to disagree with someones lifestyle or beliefs. Do you think women should have to wear Burkas? Do you think polygomy is ok? It's also not bigotry to speak the truth and call out destructive religions. Catholism is one of the most damaging things in this world. The truth about it should be shouted from the roof tops. We love our enemy (no that catholisim is our or my enemy, just going off what you said) enough to tell them the truth, instead of being apathetic and letting them sit in their deceived state.

The Bible was always meant to be the authority. It was written by men who were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. It's 100% true.

The catholic church is the opposite of the experts at bring you or teaching anyone about God.

I do not worship the Bible as that would be idolatry. I worship the one and only Living God through His Son Jesus Christ.
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6.I don't care about Obama...

Fair enough.  It appeared otherwise in your blog, but I'll leave it alone.



Also, I removed your preachy post, the one you said was for you.  Preaching is not allowed here.  It is a forum for discussion, not for xians to preach at us.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 07:59:02 PM
Justin, here's something for you to think about.  The message of Christianity may sound good to you, a believer, but it is predicated on something that is truly horrendous. 

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It doesn't matter how it sounds to me or anyone else. It's the truth.

And that is the idea that humans suffer because Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH, and that they deserve this suffering.  This motif is repeated elsewhere in the Bible - that it's right and just for generations and generations of people to suffer because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, simply because YHWH decreed it.  This is one of the most horrible and vile evils imaginable.

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God did us one huge favor. He blessed us with free will. I don't think anyone reading this would want it any other way. What you stated is true, we are suffering bc of what they did and yes we deserve it. God is completely faultless and blameless. There is good news however. You can be saved from that suffering by humbling yourself and accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. He gave us the best way out ever. He sent His Son to die for our sins, all we have to do is believe Him, and we live forever and live a blessed, forgiven and cleansed conscience life here on Earth.

It's the opposite of a vile evil. For the creator of the universe to send HIS only Son to die on the cross for OUR sins, after we messed up under our own volition, when we didn't deserve it, is unimaginable grace and love.

Naturally, if you accept that premise, the message of Christianity, that people can earn redemption and forgiveness by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus, seems reasonable.  But it is not.  Nobody deserves to suffer for what their parents did, let alone their however many times removed ancestor, and a god that would condone such a thing for so long (thousands of years, even if you accept the Christian timeline, much longer if you don't) is not worthy of being obeyed, let alone worshiped.  Certainly not when he sends his 'son' to die in a passion play, as if that makes everything right.

Because it doesn't.

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The thing you're missing is that humans didn't stop there. They kept sinning and became more an more evil through their own free will, in spite of being the closest generation to God in history. That's why it was passed down. We're to blame for the world being this way and it would be 1000 X worse if it wasn't for the presence of the Holy Spirit in this world. Everything is our fault, but God gave us the most amazing gift imaginable.

And what makes it even worse is that it's not based on reality, on things that people can prove happened, but based on belief, on things that people think happened because they were written in old books.  We're not talking about natural laws such as gravity or electromagnetism here, or even the principle of entropy, all of which are easily demonstrable.  We're talking about events in a creation myth that nobody can prove happened, and which has nothing to distinguish it from the dozens of other creation myths that people came up with.  Yet, people spread it as if it were the Gospel (heh) truth, acting as if it's true simply because they were taught that it was true.

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It absolutely is reality. Nothing could be more real. Where did the Big Bang come from? Things don't just pop into being uncaused out of nothing.

God's creation is all around us. Nothing could be more demonstrable. I experience it everyday to be true. No one taught me it's true. I and millions of others have personal, tangible, causally related, relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have everything figured out.  But that doesn't mean I need to accept someone else's beliefs as true without some serious hard evidence to prove it.  Not subjective experiences that could mean a lot of things, but actual evidence as solid (heh) as the fact that mass attracts mass.

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I also don't have everything figured out. The only thing I know for sure is Christ crucified, the resurrection, and that I have a relationship with Him.

I would never suggest anyone to accept someone else's beliefs as true. That would be worthless and will never result in being Born Again. There will be no evidence forthcoming that will cause you to enter into a relationship with Jesus Christ or in turn get you into heaven. Your heart will have to desire a relationship with Him just like any other relationship.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 08:12:37 PM
Justin,
Since I referenced Wikipedia in my previous post, I figured it would be obvious that I am not a doctor but I thought I should mention that directly. (Thank you Astreja)

Please note that I did not have time yet to read your replies to others nor most of their comments in return.


Upon rereading about the red light, I realized a couple things.

First, I apologize for my speculation about the red light as you mention the tingling in the second half of the sentence which is what caught my attention. So it made me forget about the reference to you looking directly at it and I reasoned out an incorrect sequence.

Second, since you indicate that you have not gone to the doctor, I more strongly urge you to go. You said you had none of the other symptoms yet the portions I've underlined below suggest you had symptoms of something even if not a TIA.
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I’m also wondering why it wasn’t flashing a minute ago but is now. So after about a minute of staring at this light I get the most intense unique tingling feeling all over my body. Dramatically stronger than the one I felt a month earlier by the elevator. It’s so strong that all of my hair is standing up on end and it feels like I’m getting lifted off the bed. At this point I’m overwhelmed and breathing heavily. This intense burst lasts for a about a minute which feels like an hour and then ebbs and flows for another four minutes.
The blinking light could have been normal to the device but you don't believe it was and if it is not then that becomes another symptom. The hair standing on end is the least of the ones in the quote above. The feeling of weightlessness/lifting happens with curtailed blood flow to the brain. The distortion of time I'm less certain of but I think can also be caused by curtailed blood flow to the brain.

Please see a doctor. An MRI (or whatever the doctor chooses for testing) will let a doctor determine if you have a serious condition or if you are safe.

A radical mental change as you describe does not happen for no reason. If it happens overnight with the events you describe it is an indicator of brain damage. It doesn't matter if it is an atheist becoming a believer or a believer becoming atheist – in a healthy person there are doubts and speculations beforehand. You indicate there were none. If you were being disingenuous to make the change more dramatic then you need to do the honest thing and correct your testimony. If you are being honest about the change then you need to see a doctor.

The following are not in the order you wrote them:
P.S, The illness I had was strep throat. I've never heard of that causing brain damage.
It would be unusual but you need to remember that an illness is a trauma to the body. While it is called strep throat because it mainly manifests in the throat, there is nothing to prevent it from causing inflammation in any portion of the body.  Unfortunately inflammation in the brain is very damaging due to the skull restricting expansion. So, unusual, yes, impossible, unfortunately no.

2. Wouldn't you expect those attacks to affect other areas of my life, behavior or health? Wouldn't you expect them to create some negative affects instead of all being intensely positive?
5. What other areas of my life/health/thinking would you expect this brain damage to affect?
6. What could have brought on this brain damage?
The strep throat seems to have initiated the changes. You have already described several different changes. As for your mind being 'better' – that is a subjective evaluation. I do note that, to partially use an analogy, your mind can no longer function in 5th gear it now functions in 4th (or 3rd) gear. That indicates damage. You may welcome the change. With a car going fast does make corners difficult and catching details one is flying past is also a problem. So subjectively, a slower functioning brain could feel better.

4. I've never had a desire for their to be magic in the world and I still know there is no such thing.
I include divine workings under the term "magic" since they also have no rational explanation.

7. I'm in perfect health and as I've said my thinking has never been clearer. My stress and anxiety has never been lower.
With your mind no longer racing, stress and anxiety would be less. Many people feel as if they are in perfect health until they drop over dead.

1. ... The second is that I've had nothing but Biblically congruent, tangible and causally related experiences since.
7. ... And it's congruent with trusting our Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible explains. 
I have no idea what you mean by this. I don't know if you are saying you can now heal people – if so cool, and you can prove there is at least divine magic in the world. Or are you saying people around you now act as if they are from the area around Jerusalem from 2000 years ago?

There was nothing I was more positive in my life about then there being no God, and that was the case until that night in Nashville right before I said the two Our Fathers. After that I thought it was possible but far from sure or even slight confidence. There will never be a change in my testimony.

It could either be brain damage that has no other side affects, or the experience it lines up perfectly with and continues to be proven out every day I wake up, and that is the Holy Spirit is changing my heart, desires and behaviors from the inside out.

You have to understand that if that ambiguity wasn't in there God would turn into a cheap thrill or interesting guy to have around. God purposely puts that ambiguity all around Him to give people the opportunity to be hard hearted, skeptical, untrusting, and /or prideful or not. He does it to protect our free will.

Devine workings have a perfectly rational explanation. There's a God who loves us and nothing happens outside of His either direct or permissive will.

This "Biblically congruent, tangible and causally related experiences since" means, that when the Holy Spirit guides me it's always congruent with the Bible.  When I listen to Him there are tangible causal outcomes that are also Biblically congruent. When I apply the teachings of the Bible to my life I have tangle, causal, biblically congruent outcomes in my life.



Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 08:19:39 PM
Justin, here's something for you to think about.  The message of Christianity may sound good to you, a believer, but it is predicated on something that is truly horrendous.  And that is the idea that humans suffer because Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH, and that they deserve this suffering.  This motif is repeated elsewhere in the Bible - that it's right and just for generations and generations of people to suffer because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, simply because YHWH decreed it.  This is one of the most horrible and vile evils imaginable.

You make perpetual punishment seem like a bad thing, jaimehlers. But it isn't that bad. Why, in North Korea today if you commit a crime, your children and grandchildren are also put in prison with you, and I think that's beautiful.

Oh wait, now that I've thought about it...  :(

As jaimehlers and I and the other atheists agree (well, probably agree, its not my job to put words in the mouths of others), the Adam and Eve thing is obviously a story constructed by humans for the purpose of a) erroneously explaining the beginning, because the authors hadn't a clue anyway, and b) maintaining some control and/or explaining why people do bad things, because that is what made up stories of that genre are for.

It is impossible to be punished forever by a "loving" god. Not only because there are no gods, but also because a truly loving god would be in a position to set reasonable standards, would communicate clearly and would be capable of being appreciated by people that didn't fear him. A non-existent god, on the other hand, would have to be a bit heavy-handed, because his inventors, seeking power over the local minions, would need to be able to justify fucking the populace. And of course, to make that more likely, they need to keep the average IQ of the people sort of low. So they lie and call it science.

Nope, I ain't taking the rap for a couple of ancient shoplifters. Never have, never will. If you really feel a need to convince me otherwise, christians, I suggest you first give me a pre-frontal lobotomy and then scramble the rest of my brains with a stir-stick. That will make us equals and give you a chance.

Well it sounds like you have your mind made up. As unfortunate as that is, especially on an issue that is not provable one way or the other, and is far from clear for people who haven't felt the Holy Spirit or been in a relationship with Jesus Christ, I hope that you'll continue to be as confident and public about your beliefs in your daily life, as you are about them here. I know from experience it can be tough, but to be neutral or silent in my opinion is worse then being wrong.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 08:23:04 PM
So Justin, you were an atheist. Think about when you were an atheist and remember that I, as an atheist, don't accept woo, logical fallacies.

Tell me, how do I spererate what you are saying from a mental breakdown or a lie.

You know, evidence. That simple

Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

From a lie, you can't for sure, and God wouldn't have it any other way. From a mental breakdown, I'd have to ask what other areas of my life would you expect to see signs of that mental breakdown, bc me or others don't see any, quite the opposite really.

There is no evidence I can give you. Only God can do that.  The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 24, 2013, 08:30:36 PM
The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

I think that quote sealed the deal for me on giving you the benefit of the doubt about having been a former atheist. You either don't know what what the term really means or you were as much an atheist as I was once mother teresa. So, I guess I'm playing the "no true atheist" card. :)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 08:53:10 PM
Hi Justin, and welcome.

Every atheist to theist conversion story I have read or heard have all had the quality of being very peculiar. None have sounded very convincing to me because the reasons/requirements for their conversion do not match up with mine. This isn’t to say atheist to theist conversions don’t happen. I believe they do. But I don’t think these people were atheists for the same reasons I am. Did these ex-atheists turned Christian apply rigorous skepticism to supernatural claims? Did they research the history of Yahwism and the origin of Yahweh/El? Were they cognitively prepared to confront the reality of their eventual death? Or did they feel cheated or wronged by god? Did they lose their faith while battling depression? There are both good and bad reasons to become an atheist.

----

I read your testimony and I have a few questions:

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I truly believed that religion was the most destructive thing on the planet and that the concept of God was psychologically damaging for a myriad of reasons.

• What arguments for atheism did you use/find convincing?

1. The fact that I thought I never saw any evidence of God.
2. All the evil in the world
3. All the hypocrites who claimed to be men of God
4. All the damage religion did.
5. The fact that no Christians I knew could defend their faith
6. All the hypocritical Christians around me
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• Why did you think Christianity was damaging, and could you list several reasons from that myriad?

I didn't say "Christianity" I said "religion". I still think religion is the most damaging thing in the world and for the same reasons I did then as a matter of fact.
1. It deceives people.
2. It destroys lives.
3. It controls people.
4. It gives God a bad name.
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• Now that you’re a Christian, do you still think there are aspects of Christianity which are damaging?

True Biblical Christianity. No. It's the truth of this world and the most amazing and beautiful thing imaginable.
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• While you were an atheist, did you consider yourself to be a sinner?

I never thought about it, so no. That language never came into my mind. It was totally ridiculous. It would be like asking if I ever applied the concept of getting money from the tooth fairy to my real life.
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You chalk up your February 17th experience as Jesus visiting you, but I think it’s much more likely you were experiencing side effects of taking oral penicillin. Daydreaming, tingling limbs, altered saliva, and a sense of euphoria have all been reported side effects of penicillin. When I was a Christian I felt the presence of a supernatural being. I now recognize that the presence I felt was a high-level release of serotonin causing a self-transcendent state. It's a pretty common experience in church settings, football stadiums, and after ingesting psilocybin, etc. My point is the human brain can be messed with fairly easily and produce "miraculous" effects- from little overactive protein structures in the human body to stimulants and hallucinogens.

How do explain that I felt the exact same thing a month after being on the penicillin on two separate occasions and days? All of those things are still happening to me minus the tingling limbs and euphoria.

I feel the presence of a supernatural being all the time. I'd think my serotonin receptors would be desensitized by now. My brain is being perpetually "messed with" in the most amazing way.
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• Since beta-lactam antibiotics are known to affect people’s mental states, wouldn’t it be illogical to consider your case as supernatural when it has been observed and documented as a natural phenomenon in countless other cases? At the very least you can understand why I think this is the more reasonable explanation.

The antibiotics were long gone a month later in that hotel room. God will always leave room for the skeptic to stay skeptical, but He'll also make it the case that said person will have to have stronger faith to believe the opposite of the truth as well. It's how he protects our free will.
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About a minute into staring at it this second time I get another intense tingling feeling all over my body but no flashing. After about thirty seconds of this it hits me like a ton of bricks that it’s Jesus Christ visiting me now, and it was Jesus visiting me the night before and a month ago. So in my heart I knew what had happened but my intensely atheist mind was scrambling for any other explanation.

I certainly wouldn’t describe your mind at this point as “intensely atheist.” Hell, the night before you were saying Hail Mary’s for Christ’s sake. It seems like you had been considering Christianity and looking for a reason to believe. You found Jesus in a hairdryer of all things.

First of all they were Our Fathers (big difference), and second of all my mind may have not been as intensely atheist as it had been before I said those Our Fathers (before that it was as intensely atheist as you can get) but my mind was still extremely atheist but my heart wasn't bc that's where God changes you from.
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• At that point in your life, was there any beneficial reason to become a Christian? Any friends or love interests at Willow Creek Community Church that encouraged you to fellowship with them?

Absolutely zero. Life was good. I was returning from a week long trip to South Beach and looking forward to having sex with a girl that I was honest about not being exclusive with. Looking forward to my top floor apt, new BMW, yoga, six months of unexplained sobriety from weed and alcohol, eating at amzing restaurants every night, still feeling amazing after the Feb 17th experience, good relationships with my friends and family, successful bizs, and at that point I'd never heard of Willow Creek and anyone that knows me would tell you that I would never compromise my integrity, beliefs or values for anything, none the less a girl and that's still the case.
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----

Again, welcome to the forum. Hope you enjoy it.

Thanks for being so welcoming. I really appreciate the way you ask your questions and your sincere inquisitiveness. When I get on here I try to respond to as many people as possible and I know that sometimes I can come off short or not as thorough as possible but I'm trying my best.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 24, 2013, 08:58:07 PM
Well it sounds like you have your mind made up. As unfortunate as that is, especially on an issue that is not provable one way or the other, and is far from clear for people who haven't felt the Holy Spirit or been in a relationship with Jesus Christ, I hope that you'll continue to be as confident and public about your beliefs in your daily life, as you are about them here. I know from experience it can be tough, but to be neutral or silent in my opinion is worse then being wrong.

And you don't have your mind made up? We look at the world in different ways, and the outcome is bound to vary a bit. We both like hamburgers, but I see no truth whatsoever to the Jesus tale, and until is matches reality is some verifiable way, I don't think I will.

Unless I, of course, as a serious atheist, also look for Jesus, like you did. Which ain't likely. I know from various life lessons learned that looking for stuff that isn't there tends to create wrong answers. And I have no reason to voluntarily give myself an "F" for this life.

We both have our minds made up. The difference is this. I have never assumed that reality will match what I hope is true. When my mother died suddenly, I didn't start wailing and telling people that it couldn't be true. I accepted it as fact and dealt with it. When my father was dying painfully of prostate cancer and all the crappy things that go with it, my religious step-mother was praying all the time that he would live another day, while I simply wanted his pain to stop, and I knew the only way was for him to die or at least go into a coma. I had no illusions that he would get better, I didn't pray that he would be miraculously cured, I didn't beg any deities to take away his pain, I didn't gnash my teeth and wail, I simply hoped that he wouldn't suffer long and did what I could to help until he passed. Lots of religious folks involved kept asking their god for favors and telling each other that god was acting in mysterious ways, etc. To me, he was simply dying, and the pretend stuff was useless garbage that got in the way of helping him be comfortable.

I am not one to get on my knees and cry about anything. I have no need to relate to some skydaddy that doesn't exist just so I'll feel better as tears run down my face. I can't relate to the emotions associated with religion, because they are all made up. If I a going to be emotional, I'll wait until there is something to be emotional about. And I am at times emotional, because the circumstances call for it. I was excited about the recent birth of a grand-nephew, for instance. I was ecstatic that a friend recently found out that her cancer was gone after months and months of chemo and radiation. I friend recently found a job after being without work for almost a year. We had a great celebratory dinner. But you will never see me getting myself all happy about my thinking I have a so-called god in my life, or because I imagine a prayer was answered, or any other fantasy.

Yep, my mind is made up too. But I have an advantage. The mind I made up was my own, not the one I had drummed into me by other wrong people.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on July 24, 2013, 09:02:10 PM
Good post Zankuu. And I agree. As a dyed-in-the-wool atheist myself, I can't imagine how a physical sensation, no matter how good or bad, would suddenly have me think that Jesus was involved. I'd spend a long time looking for logical/physical explanations, and the JC thing would be far down my list.

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As it was for me for the three seperate events that happened over a month. It wasn't until the third event, and me calling my mom and her having the same event that it clicked for me intellectually.

But just as it has been shown that many anti-gay men are actually turned on by the thought of gay sex, while most straight men who are not anti-gay are not, it is probably the case that some that call themselves atheists are closet believers. It's not like there is a standard that one has to meet to be an atheist. We just stamp that label on ourselves and poof, we're non-believers. In Justin's case, I tend to suspect he was ostensibly atheist, not actually. Because again, as an atheist, it'll be a cold day in hell when JC is the first thing to pop into my mind when something strange just happened.

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There was nothing I was more sure of in this world then there not being a God. Jesus was never considered in my for any experience until March 22nd 2012.

Unless of course some white dude with long blonde hair and a halo floats gently into my house and says hello. But even if that happened, it is more likely that I would decide then and there to turn gay.

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Well it seems like you've made up your mind already on an dually unprovable scenario/reality.

P.S. I known darned well that if there was a Jesus, he wasn't white and blonde. But many a contemporary painting of the dude looks like that. And you gotta admit, he's often kind of hot looking. As is Mary. Crap, I'm a bi-atheist!
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on July 24, 2013, 09:45:39 PM
Fix your quotes, dude.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Azdgari on July 24, 2013, 09:48:22 PM
There was nothing I was more positive in my life about then there being no God, and that was the case until that night in Nashville right before I said the two Our Fathers.

Why were you positive about there being no god?  What was your rationale?

You have to understand that if that ambiguity wasn't in there God would turn into a cheap thrill or interesting guy to have around. God purposely puts that ambiguity all around Him to give people the opportunity to be hard hearted, skeptical, untrusting, and /or prideful or not. He does it to protect our free will.

Free will to do what?  I don't know about you, but I have to believe something exists before I can be free to choose to follow it or not.  I cannot choose to follow something I don't believe exists.

By the way, are you depriving me of my free will right now?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on July 24, 2013, 11:21:43 PM
So, god, for no apparent reason, chose to give the "born again holy spirit" to this burger guy, so he has the truth now. How did he get so special? Why did he get hit with the holy stick? God has chosen to not give most of the world the "born again holy spirit". Why this burger guy and not the billions of people in China, India or Iran?

Over two-thirds of the planet is not even Christian, let alone "born again".  Most will die practicing the wrong religions, or Thor forbid, no religion at all. And will go to hell for all eternity, according to the "born-again" types. I guess it's part of god's mysterious free will plan, to make his message incomprehensible and his presence undetectable to most people. From the getgo, the ones not given the "born again holy spirit", that is, most of humanity, were destined to burn in hell.....

I am not denying that he was an atheist and had some mystical experience. If he had been in Iran he would be praising Allah. In India he would be thanking Brahma and Vishnu for finally showing him the truth. In Cuba he would be sacrificing a goat and two chickens to Papa Babaluaye. In China he would be thanking the spirits of his ancestors. No matter where he lived, he would assume that his mystical experience was evidence of the truth.

All I can say is, that burger guy should be grateful. He sure is one lucky ducky. &)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on July 25, 2013, 04:49:32 AM
So Justin, you were an atheist. Think about when you were an atheist and remember that I, as an atheist, don't accept woo, logical fallacies.

Tell me, how do I spererate what you are saying from a mental breakdown or a lie.

You know, evidence. That simple

Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

From a lie, you can't for sure, and God wouldn't have it any other way. From a mental breakdown, I'd have to ask what other areas of my life would you expect to see signs of that mental breakdown, bc me or others don't see any, quite the opposite really.

There is no evidence I can give you. Only God can do that.  The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

If there is no evidence you can give me...then your claim has every bit of weight than someone who states they believe in Hercules or the Flying Spaghetti monster or Santa Claus.

Therefore the statement:

The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

has all the merit of

The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in Santa Claus then the opposite.

I even bolded them both so they have equal visual weight. They are the intellectual equivalent.

You are a grown man going on about the importance of believing in Santa Claus as far as I am concerned.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: relativetruth on July 25, 2013, 06:19:21 AM
bm
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on July 25, 2013, 12:17:46 PM
Well I don't meditate....pour my heart out to God.

I have no idea how you came around to this answer or what your point is.  You asked how I would expect your presumptive meditational breakthrough to affect your life.  What's this got to do with it?

What about me calling my mom and asking her why she believed in Jesus Christ?

What about it?  You are the claimant.  The burden of proof is yours.  It is up to you to establish the veracity of your conclusions.  I do not have to explain it away.  Otherwise any idiot can make any crazy-but-impossible-to-disprove claim and have to be taken seriously.  For more on that, see Russel's Teapot, though as a former atheist you should be both eminently familiar with it and ashamed of yourself for resorting to "prove me wrong" tactics. 

As for your mom, I can think of two things off the top of my head to dismiss it.  First, it is possible you heard the story before and simply forgot.  Memory is an unreliable thing.  Second, assuming she is your biological mother, it is possible you both share some genetic predisposition to a similar neurological glitch.  I'm not claiming that was it.  I'm just saying, there is enough reasonable doubt (not to mention paucity of evidence) to reject your claims.

What about all the causally related, biblically congruent events that have happened in my life over the past 1.5 years?

I need you to explain what you mean by "causally related, biblically congruent".  I know what each of those words mean, but when you put them together in that order, I have no idea what you are saying.

What about the amazing connection I feel when I pray to the God of the Bible? What about the tears that flow down my face every time I worship God at my Christian church?

I call that working yourself up into a frenzy.  You think followers of your particular cult are the only ones who "feel" things?  I referenced Sufis already.  They are just one non-xian mystical group.   Hindus, Buddhists, Native Americans.  They all "feel" things.  Heck, even the fricken mormons claim to hear a "quiet voice".  It is not unique to you or your group.  It appears to be part and parcel of having a sufficiently highly developed brain.  And this type of experience has been replicated in labs, without any invocation of deities or spooks or hobgoblins.

So, if you want me to buy what you're selling, you need to bring a lot more to the table.


What about the complete 180 that has occurred

that's your own brain at work.

... only possible via the Holy Spirit?

I don't see how it's only possible with the holy spirit. You've not established that as a fact.  It is just an emotionally fraught opinion.

Anyone that knows me knows that I don't fake anything.

Hold on there, slim.  No one said you faked it.  I certainly haven't.  I think you probably had the experiences you claim you had.  I just think your explanation for them is wrong.  You are leaping from an experience to jesus H, and I do not find that connection to be obvious or warranted.

I'm very skeptical. There is no question that the God of the Bible is changing my heart, desires and mind through the Holy Spirit.

The latter sentence negates the former.

It's all a product of God's unmerited favor.

yeah.  That must be it.  You are special.  All the rest of us here, on the other hand, are totally shit outta luck.

The difference is you can't mistake the tangible Holy Spirit living inside of you...

Okay.  Let's analyze this rationally.  How do you know this?  How do you know it is the HS as opposed to a drug in your coffee or some other kind of supernatural effect? 

And if you have the Holy Spirit inside of you, you have no reason to manipulate the Bible,

Of course, if you only think you have the HS inside you and actually don't , you may manipulate the bible and think you're not.

a person relationship with God 

Can you describe this?  I've had conversations with many xians who talk about a relationship with god.  I inquire what they mean by that and it always ends up that it's not actually a relationship like any other relationship they have.  It is a "relationship", in quotes.  That is because it is not a relationship at all.  It is defined by them talking to a god whom they believe exists and then interpreting mundane goings on around them as coded messages from said deity.  Or they get feelings, which they are sure come from him.  Mormons actually claim to hear a "still, quiet" voice, which, not coincidentally, sounds exactly like their own.

So, this relationship you claim to have - describe it for me.

The street light example isn't causally related to anything. It doesn't happen to line up with the Word of God. What I'm describing is much more powerful and amazing.

I have no idea what you mean.  What do you mean the street lights are not causally related to anything?  Everything is causally related to something.  And what powerful, amazing phenomenon are you talking about?  Nothing is more powerful or amazing than the Force.


I think you should consider reading my testimony again.

No.  You've not said anything to make my point invalid.  I stand by what I said.  I am not impressed.  You've not connected the dots.


Just bc I was raised that way doesn't mean that Jesus isn't the one and only true God.

True.  But come on, you find god and it just so happens to be the god you were raised believing?  And as was pointed out by others here, how is it that people in india, pakistan, china, and all those other heathen nations don't have the same kind of experiences and conclude "it must be jesus H"? 

The only people who turn to jesus H christ are the ones who've already heard of jesus H christ.

It's hard to have a genuine Devine experience point you in a direction of fasle divinity as is the case in all other religions and Gods.

I hope you realize how stupid that statement is.  It really is beneath me to explain it. 


I'm not in a cult.

Says the cultist.  Do you think Catholics think they're in a cult?  Mormons?  Of course not. And yet, you think they are anyway.

I reject your checklist. Dickie Packham is obviously a twit.  His checklist is self serving and he, as far as I could find, is not an expert in anything, except perhaps speaking German.  You need to do better than that. 

Here, start with wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult  It's not perfect, but at least it has references to legitimate people.



It's not bigotry to disagree with someones lifestyle or beliefs.

I didn't say it was. But you do not just disagree with them.   You arrogantly look down on them.  If you did not, you would not be calling them a cult.  Own up to your bigotry, Justin.  Bigotry makes baby jesus cry.  Why are you making baby jesus cry?

Catholism is one of the most damaging things in this world.

I don't disagree.  I'm not defending the RCC.  However, I find it hypocritical in the extreme for you to be throwing stones.  It is no more damaging than evangelical xianity and probably less so than the charismatics.  You know.  The loons who speak in tongues, handle snakes and writhe around on the floor. 

The Bible was always meant to be the authority.

That would be incorrect. 

Their authority is based on apostolic succession. Not the bible.

The bible exists only because it was assembled by early church leaders through a process of negotiation, popular vote and horse trading, so to speak.  The books that make up the bible were decided by...the church.  Without them, you wouldn't even know what belongs in the bible. 

And the bible does not itself say it is the authority. Sola Scriptura is not biblical.  However you slice it, you rely on the authority of the Roman Catholic Church.  Without it, the bible is totally subjective.

It was written by men who were inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit. It's 100% true.

Ipse dixit.  And those allegedly inspired men were certainly not whatever new-to-the-game cult you represent.

The catholic church is the opposite of the experts at bring you or teaching anyone about God.

I would agree.  However, my position is if there is a god, no one knows anything about it.  Thus, the people who wrote the bible are as reliable as my garbage man, progably less so, given their level of knowledge.  Your plumber is as much an expert on god as you, a theologian or a priest.  You, however, have no grounds to complain about them.  Your arguments are hypocrisy.

I do not worship the Bible as that would be idolatry. I worship the one and only Living God through His Son Jesus Christ.

No, no.  You fetishize the bible.  It is an idol to you.  All your "congruent with the bible" talk is no different than bowing down to Mammon.  That too makes baby jesus cry.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: DVZ3 on July 25, 2013, 05:59:21 PM
I knew I was an atheist for many reasons. The one that mainly sticks out is thinking about the myth that there will be an afterlife with Jesus/god etc... There is no rationale a person could logically come to in believing in an afterlife let alone one with man made character from a book from once upon a very long time ago...

I'm sorry, but this is just another man with a silver tongue pretending to have all the answers and why our position hasn't been thought about or reasoned. This man is just another liar with a smile. I try to have a smile back but it's ever so increasingly difficult to knowing what they believe to be true is the biggest white lie ever told this century.

These same types of people will go watch a magic show with a great magician showing people being sawed in half, levitation, disappearing acts etc... All these illusions are done with slight of hand and trickery to be sure. This same person understands this and hopefully wouldn't walk away from a David Copperfield show thinking he was the real deal regardless how much emotion and sense of wonder to the mystifying illusions trying proclaim that he is a messiah etc...

In other words, he is perfectly content with doing this "slight of tongue" with a character from long ago but doesn't apply the same "slight of hand" logic to it he would with someone today. Now he is just another guy with a silver tongue for an ancient person proclaimed to be not only a magician of his time but the magician of the universe. And this person expects all of us to believe this because he was moved by a show sort speak...

This to me is a very dangerous and almost schizophrenic way to live your life and view the world but it's accepted because its religion.

Anyways, good luck with your burger joint. There is another religion where the cow is sacred and you would labeled as the devil. But hey, you have Jesus when you meet in him in the afterlife you guys can enjoy a burger or two I suppose. 
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Ambassador Pony on July 25, 2013, 06:08:51 PM
bm
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: DVZ3 on July 25, 2013, 06:53:51 PM
In Steve Jobs format.....  and there's one more thing.

Not only did he come in preaching to us but worst yet (they never get it) he comes with a staggering amount of assumptions, stereotypes, and prejudice that would make George Zimmerman jealous but leaving him wanting to know jesus.

Look what George did and the outcome with a gun "literally on his side".

Now look throughout history and even today with what people to with jesus/god on their side... historically, scientifically, politically, and even socially...

One of the biggest differences that separates us from chimps and ape species (even if you don't believe in evolution) is the fact that we can learn and advance from our former generation; chimps and apes do not show this awareness or trends.  As humans we can exchange and share information for survival and advancement of the species. When a child begins to 'point' this means they are trying to share information of what they are seeing in the world (a very special time if you're a parent and understand this).  When we become adults we use language, body language (pointing is now one of many forms), and now written/read communication skills on a whole other level.  Even now younger kids are learning about technology and computers faster than anyone would have ever imagined.

Learning from our past/history is part of being human.  Atheist are typically atheist because they have learned about our past and our history and now we are just 'pointing' at all theists and asking them to finally deliver extraordinary evidence for an extraordinary claim.  That's it, it's really as simple as that.  But there hasn't been any extraordinary evidence.  None whatsoever - You included.

But thank you for reminding me that even a person with 2-way conversation and better yet, a relationship with the universes magician named jesus, can't be communicated in a way to inform them of the types of people here in this forum.  While you smile and tell others in your circle of friends and restaurant patrons that you're not prejudice, you don't stereotype and you're not a bigot.  Just remember that you have the cloak of the truth wrapped around you like a warm blanket a child would once covet and not want to ever let go.


Edit - I hope I wouldn't have to explain this bit I will anyways. This guy thinks he's just like George Zimmerman with Jesus as his side arm doing what he believes may be the right thing to do. He won't let the police/Jesus do the bidding because they both knew the job won't get done for some reason...
He will be questioned and passionately pointed at with questions. In the end, he will play the victim...  :-\
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on July 25, 2013, 07:22:12 PM

Anyways, good luck with your burger joint. There is another religion where the cow is sacred and you would labeled as the devil. But hey, you have Jesus when you meet in him in the afterlife you guys can enjoy a burger or two I suppose.

Which makes me think of the temperance movement and SPAG. All those 'devil's drink' and 'demon rum' sermons. All the while the only time alcohol is mentioned in the New Testament is that the guy whom they worship uses his divine almighty power to make more of it.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 25, 2013, 07:56:34 PM
hatter... you realize jeezus was making Welch's grape juice, right?  That's why Paul said not to get drunk with grape juice... I hate when that happens to me.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on July 26, 2013, 08:11:06 AM
I'm really sorry about botching the quoting. I wasn't aware of the preview which will be a big help. I've now read everything I can about it and hope to have it down.

It does take a bit of practice.  Keep working on it, you'll get it eventually.

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Is there a "reverse quote" button? Like a button I can push like the quote button, but in reverses the "quote" and the "end quote" text?

You'll notice that there are several formatting buttons when you compose a post, such as "bold", "italic", and so on.  One thing you can do is to select a section of text in your post, then click the pertinent formatting button to apply that type of format to the entire section you've selected.  "Quote" is one of the buttons.  So there's no "reverse quote" button or anything like that per se, but there are some ways in which the quoting level can be handled at least partly automatically.

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Most of the regulars here have not always been atheists; most of them are former Christians.  When they felt their faith starting to fade, they were highly alarmed and did not want to lose it.  They desperately prayed and prayed and prayed, frantically begging Yahweh to give them strength or some kind of a sign or something to help them continue believing him.  Yahweh did not answer them.  It's a big part of the reason that they're atheists now.  What do you think about that?

First of all I love the genuine nature of your question.

Thank you.

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I don't know how to emphasize this enough. Christian is such a loose term. There are very few Christian catholics, mormons, jehovah witnesses, etc... A person is not a Christian until they've been Born Again as Jesus said. They are not Born Again until they've been in dwelt with the Holy Spirit as I and millions of others have and everyone could.

As an atheist myself, I don't consider it my place to tell Catholics, Mormons, or anyone else that they're not "real Christians".  If someone tells me that he is a Christian, I consider myself ethically bound to take him at his word.  Apart from the intellectual implications of an atheist deciding who is or isn't a member of a class that he himself says he doesn't belong to, it's just plain rude.  (By way of comparison, I've had Christians openly tell me that I'm not a "real atheist", so I can tell you from experience that it is highly offensive.)

Also, are you familiar with the logical fallacy known as a "No True Scotsman" argument?  Because it sounds to me like you're committing it here.  If you're not, you might want to review it.

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I'm very skeptical of anyone who claims to have been a Christian as I've previously described, and now claims not to be. The reason for this is that you can't unbelieve something that you yourself have physically experienced and have known to be true. You can't have a relationship with someone and then say you didn't or believe you didn't. The Holy Spirit is a tangible presence in a true Christian's life, not something that someone can change their mind about or forget.

And this one is definitely a "No True Scotsman".  And, again, I'd caution you about whom you say this to, regardless of whether it's a fallacy or not.  If you say it to most of the regulars here, they're probably going to think that you're belittling the pain they experienced as a part of losing their faith, and they won't take kindly to it.  Kind of like, "Oh, your wife cheated on you and ran off with the mailman, taking your life savings with you, huh?  Well, then, you weren't really married in the first place, I guess.  A real wife wouldn't do that to her husband."

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There's plenty of people who've tasted that Truth, and while they know it's real, have decided to push God away for a myriad of reasons. They appear as atheists but they're really just mad or disappointed with a faultless God. I'm not directing this to anyone in particular.

Maybe there are such people, I don't know; if so, I don't believe I've met any.  I do know that you won't find any such people here at WWGHA.

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Also there could be people in the group you've described that had a different timetable then God. There are people who have the wrong understanding of God's attributes and of the Bible and in turn their expectations of God are faulty. Others just didn't have the trust they needed to wait for God or to know that we should never go upon our own understanding.

If Yahweh knew that these people would become atheists if they didn't receive some kind of a sign or something within a certain timeframe, and he did not give these people a sign, then their atheism is Yahweh's fault.  How could it be otherwise?

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It's important to remember that their story isn't over.
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Neither is yours.  ;-)

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2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not.

Obviously he does care, considering what he does with people who don't believe.  I have no interest in "Doctor Who" at all, so if someone says that Tom Baker was not the best doctor, I'm not inclined to soak that person in gasoline and throw a lit match on him.  Actually, it's hard for me to imagine doing that to anyone at all, but if I did, you can bet it would be for something I care about a hell of a lot.  No pun intended.

He doesn't care if you believe in Him, He cares if you believe in His Son Jesus Christ and that you believe that He sent Him to die for our sins. He cares, bc this is the only way He can have a personal, loving and intimate relationship with His creation.

If you say that whether he can have a relationship with us is dependent on our own beliefs, you are denying his omnipotence.  Are you willing to do that?

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And yes He is very offended, as would anyone, when His creation, which He owes nothing

He may not be obligated to give us anything (though I find that debatable), but he absolutely does have an obligation to refrain from certain actions directed toward us.  He is obliged, for example, not to set anyone on fire -- and he is failing to uphold his obligation.

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He does care a lot about us, that's why He's set up this perfect formula called the Gospel.

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How does that follow?

I'm not going to bog this thread down in the mountains of evidence that exists for the resurrection, God existing or any of the other evidences that support Christianity.

That's because, as far as the claims of the bible go, most of them have no support at all, and some of them are flatly falsifiable -- examples of the latter, for example, I've already given (e.g., we know that there was no exodus because if such an exodus occurred, there would be certain types of archaeological evidence , and such evidence isn't present even in minuscule amounts, let alone the overwhelming amounts that should be there).

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The reason for this is that as I said earlier no one will be able to convince someone of God other than God Himself.  I can't convince someone to have a realtionship with someone or to love someone. It's never about evidence it's about where a person's heart is.

But, again: in order to have a relationship with someone, you must have not the smallest doubt that the individual in question actually exists.  (Have you ever been in love with someone whose existence you were uncertain of?)  That being the case, if Yahweh wants to have a relationship with me, he first has to stop playing hide-and-seek with me.

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God has no interest in proving Himself to someone who isn't interested in a relationship with Him. Who isn't desperately seeking Him through His Son Jesus Christ.

You've got hold of a chicken-and-egg scenario here: by this explanation, the only way anyone can become a Christian is if they're already a Christian.  Doesn't make a heck of a lot of sense.

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Just saying that a lack of evidence of something doesn't mean it isn't true.

And, again, so what?  Did anyone make this claim?  If they did, then obviously, they're wrong.

However, the flip side of the coin is that, just as lack of evidence doesn't mean something isn't true, it also doesn't mean that it is worth considering whether it is true.  Sagan's "The Dragon in my Garage", for example.

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You have to understand that that Christians don't have faith in a thing or a concept, they have faith in the person of Jesus Christ.

Oh, believe me, the regulars here understand that very well.

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It's no different then having faith or believing in your dad when he tells you he's going to do something or that he did something.

Actually, it's worlds different in that the existence of your dad cannot reasonably be doubted without going the route of the Cartesian Demon.  The existence of Yahweh, however, is another matter.

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Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God?

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How about some kind of a healing miracle that cannot be explained by natural processes?  Like, say, an amputee spontaneously and miraculously getting his leg back?
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The Bible is filled with exactly what you are asking for.

Right, and as I've said: the bible is not evidence, the bible is the claim.  Where is your evidence?

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Also as I've said if He did that right in front of you, you may believe but would you love Him and His Son?

To be honest, probably not.  Yahweh is a torturer and mass murderer whose kill count was not exceeded by any human being until the Twentieth Century (if, indeed, even then).  As I've said before, it's just barely possible that you could convince me of Yahweh's existence.  Love him?  Never.  He's the pinnacle of imperious tyranny.  Now, if he wants to try to convince me that he is different from how he is described in the bible, that might be another matter.

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Would you repent of your sins and ask Him for forgiveness?

My first question would be to ask him how I wronged him.  I do apologize to people I have harmed, but what with him being omnipotent and all, it's kind of hard for me to conceive of how it would even be possible for me to harm him.

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Also he tried that with Jews in the Old Testament and it didn't work.

So?

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Doing overt things like that not only makes God into a novelty act but also would cheapen the relationship that developed.
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Again, so?  If he wants a relationship with me, isn't it better that it be a cheap one than none at all?

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It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you.

Considering that Christ is omnipotent, it shouldn't matter, should it?  It isn't possible to fight someone who is all-powerful.  I mean, if I fill a balloon with water and shoot it point-blank with a .44 Magnum, what are the odds that the balloon is not going to burst?  The odds of winning a fight with Jesus should be even slimmer than that, shouldn't they?

This would negate our free will. So would Him healing amputees right in front of us.

Ah, the "God plays hide and seek so we can have free will" argument.  Do you have any idea how bad this argument is?  I don't think you do.  Greta Christina explains it probably better than anyone else could.

Quote from: Greta Christina
“God can’t reveal himself to us clearly,” this argument goes, “because he wants us to have free will. We have to be free to believe in him or not. If he revealed his presence to us, we’d be forced to believe in him — and our free will is a precious gift. It’s what makes us God’s unique creation.”

It’s a really, really bad argument.

I’m going to dismantle it today.

Imagine you’re on a jury. You’re asked to decide whether something is or is not real, whether it did or did not happen: whether the accused stole the diamonds, or set fire to their warehouse for the insurance, or shot a man in Reno just to watch him die. The prosecution doesn’t offer much evidence at the trial — it’s all circumstantial at best, third-hand hearsay at worst, with excessive appeals to emotion and fear, and arguments based on faulty logic. So you decide to acquit.

And then, after you’ve reached your verdict, you’re told there’s a videotape, clearly showing the accused committing the crime.

You’re baffled. You’re outraged. You confront the prosecutor in the hallway, and ask, “Why didn’t you show us this evidence at the trial? Why show it to us now — when it’s too late to do anything about it?”

And the prosecutor replies, “Because you had to be free to decide for yourself. If we gave you that videotape, it would have made your choice too obvious. Free will is a precious gift, a crucial component of the justice system — and in order for the jury to have free will, we can’t make the right verdict too obvious. That would have forced your hand.”

Would you nod your head sagely in agreement? Would you think that was a sound and reasonable explanation?

Or would you think they were out of their gourd?

And if you’d think this was a ridiculous and outrageous explanation from the prosecutor — then why on earth would you think it’s a good argument when it comes to God?

The "free will" argument is backwards.  Having less information doesn't enhance our freedom of choice, it's exactly the opposite: the more information we have about any particular matter, the more likely we are to make a wise (and correct) decision.  So by hiding from us, Yahweh isn't respecting our free will, he's actually interfering with it.

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There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God.

Actually, there could be, it's just that what skeptics would need to have such a relationship, believers are unable to provide.  For starters, you would have to prove that Yahweh exists, since it is not possible to even contemplate having a relationship with someone if you don't even know whether that person exists.  That, all by itself, is a tall order.

Having convinced someone of the existence of Yahweh, the next step would be to convince that person that Yahweh is not a complete fucking asshole.  Most rational and healthy people would not wish to have a relationship with a mass murderer of any kind, for example, and Yahweh, as portrayed in the bible, most certainly is one.  (Fun experiment for you, by the way... try going thru the bible sometime and adding up all the people that Yahweh slaughters.  Then, for comparison, add up the total number of people killed by Satan.  It's an eye-opening exercise.)

You're right believers are unable to provide this proof, no one is able to provide this proof. God is the only One who can prove Himself to anyone and it's that way by His perfect design. The only way God will be proved to anyone is if they humble themselves before Jesus Christ, ask Him for forgiveness, say you're sorry for pushing Him away all those years and thank Him for not giving up on you.

Proof shouldn't even be necessary before contemplating a relationship.  In fact, the concept is pretty ridiculous because it puts the whole thing backwards, as I've already said.  If you were contemplating marrying a woman, would you be asking for proof that she exists?  Of course not, because it's the other way around: if you were contemplating marrying a woman, it would be (in part) because you were already convinced that she existed -- in fact, just having that explained to you should show you how ridiculous it would be for it to be any other way.

It isn't possible to consider having a relationship with Yahweh -- or with anyone else -- unless you are first completely satisfied as to the existence of that person.  And if, as you say, Yahweh's existence cannot be demonstrated by anyone but Yahweh, well, then, my being an atheist is completely his fault.

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I do sincerely want to know the truth about Christ.  If I'm wrong about his not existing, I seriously want to know that -- I absolutely hate being wrong about anything, and if Christ exists and is omniscient, then he knows that.  So why am I still an atheist?  He knows full well that he would have my approval to correct my error.

I can tell by tone of your questions that you're genuine.

Thank you for acknowledging that.  You'd be surprised how many people deny it.

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Because it's not enough for you to WANT to be wrong.

I don't think anyone wants to be wrong about anything.  I suspect I may have a more intense hatred of it than most, but I doubt that anybody, for example, loads a gun and points it at his own head, preparing to pull the trigger, knowing that the gun will kill him but "hoping that he's wrong" about the gun going off when he fires it.

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You have to admit you're wrong.

And when proven wrong, I am perfectly willing to do so.  Yahweh doesn't seem interested in showing me the error of my ways, though.

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Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind.

Most of us here have been to church more than a "couple times".  And most of us have read the bible in full, more than once and in more than one translation.  For many of us, it's why we're atheists now.

As I said it's not about reading the Bible or about going to church.

Actually, you did say it was about reading the bible or going to church, but whatever.

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Its about the state of your heart and mind when you do those things. If you're truly searching for truth, you'll find it.

You're right, I have found it: Yahweh does not exist.

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No one can prove that the Bible isn't true

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Actually, there are quite a few things in the bible that are known to be false.  The exodus, for example, never happened.  Neither did the flood.  The human race is not descended from two human beings.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.

I could bog this thread down with a bunch of links but I wont. The reality is that nothing in the Bible has been proven false.

Many things in the bible have been proven false.  I just gave a few examples.  There are many others as well.

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Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.

I find that rather doubtful.  I would need to know specifics, but I imagine that, more likely, they were angry at people who called themselves followers of Yahweh because of the things that those people say and do.

Nope they're mad at a faultless, blameless God.

If Yahweh is omnipotent, then everything is his fault, but that aside: if there's anyone who's "angry at god", whichever god you're talking about, then they are, by definition, not atheists.  You cannot be angry at someone whom you do not believe exists, therefore, if you are angry at god, you are not an atheist.  It would be like saying that you're a bachelor who's angry at his wife.  It's simply not possible.

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Also being angry at people that believe in a fairy tale is very weird.

Not when you take a look at what those fairy-tale believers do based on their beliefs.

If we lived in a nation where 75% of the so-called "adult" population believed in the Easter Bunny; if several million of those people were wealthy and influential, and determined to pass laws based on Easter Bunny-ism that affected everyone, even the non-Easter Bunnyists...

If every other street corner in the nation had a temple for people to meet to worship him, and if radio and television was flooded with people preaching the Good News of the Easter Bunny (free candy, if only you believe!)...

If those temples were given tax exemptions, at the cost of higher taxes for everyone else...

If the minority who lacked belief in the Easter Bunny had to struggle with hiding that lack of belief for fear that disclosing their apostasy would result in their property being vandalized, their families ostracizing them, their careers and even their personal safety put at risk...

If that minority were routinely told to move to another country were non-Easter Bunnyism was welcome...

If custody battles in divorce cases were routinely decided in favor of Easter Bunnyists, with the judge explicitly saying that his decision was because non-Easter Bunnyism was "not in the child's best interests"...

If anyone openly admitting to non-Easter Bunnyism lacked even the smallest chance of being elected to any public office much above the position of dogcatcher...

If those disbelieving in the Easter Bunny were determined in public opinion polls to be almost as untrusted as rapists...

If teenagers admitting to their parents that they were not Easter Bunnyists faced the very real risk of being kicked out of their own homes, even if they had not yet reached the age of majority...

If the well-funded Easter Bunny majority was constantly trying to inject Easter Bunnyism into public education disguised as "science", while simultaneously working just as hard to have real science excluded from the curriculum...

If all that, and far, far more, were true...

...then we'd be pretty angry at Easter Bunnyists as well.

Can you understand why?



EDIT:  Forgot to source the Greta Christina quote and link to full article:
http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2010/08/11/why-does-god-play-hide-and-seek/
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on July 26, 2013, 09:30:53 AM

If all that, and far, far more, were true...

...then we'd be pretty angry at Easter Bunnyists as well.

Can you understand why?



EDIT:  Forgot to source the Greta Christina quote and link to full article:
http://freethoughtblogs.com/greta/2010/08/11/why-does-god-play-hide-and-seek/

I'm figuring...no.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: The Gawd on July 26, 2013, 09:49:56 AM
Damn. I going to get some Culvers today, I forgot how delicious those butta burgers are. And I'm in Bolingbrook Justin, if ever out in the REAL south suburbs I'll be expecting a double butta burger with bacon, cheddar, mayo, and onions with chili cheese fries.................................. on the house. A WWGHA discount if you will.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on July 26, 2013, 10:17:36 AM
My synopsis of Justin's POV.

Atheists are angry at god. He used to be an atheist. The only way to get Jesus into your heart is to want him to be there. Which was what he wanted while he was an atheist angry at god. Things are okay now, so tears stream down his face he is so joyful. Hamburgers are good.



Edit: My bad. Had his name wrong. Fixed it.



Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on July 26, 2013, 10:27:56 AM
^^^ roll up every christian preconceived notion about atheists' views, sprinkle in a heavy dose of self-identification with those notions during the dark days, wrap it all in a half dozen logical fallacies and add a side of magic jeezus fries and a large cup of our fathers...

What does that make?  It's a causally related, biblically congruent Justin Happy Meal!

And don't forget: toy surprise is "Credulity Man" who you can bend, shape and twist into whatever you like.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 07, 2013, 11:15:10 AM
I hope to get back here when I have more time, but things have just been a little busy.

I wanted to pass something along quickly that came to my mind as I was reading my Bible today.

Atheists and many of you have asked for proof or rational or have urged me to talk you into it or be more persuasive.

I've responded by saying that's not possible. No one can talk someone into loving someone else. No one can talk someone into wanting to be in a relationship with someone.

The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.

God has designed the world to make it impossible for someone to have God proven to them. Impossible for someone to be talked into a relationship with Christ. All of these would do nothing but cheapen God and the ensuing relationship that such shallow maneuvers would create.

I think this is what Jesus was trying to say in Mark 4:10. He's saying all of this will purposely sound ridiculous to someone who doesn't desire to have a relationship with Me. Who doesn't want help, who is too proud to ask for God to come into their life.

He spoke in parables so that only the people who truly wanted to know Him, would come and ask what they meant. He had no interest in spreading the most beautiful Truth to people who weren't willing to humble themselves and form a real relationship with Him.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Aaron123 on August 07, 2013, 11:36:20 AM
The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.

Bull.  Many of us were christains at one point.  We sincerely desired a relationship with Jesus.  We didn't just go "Jesus... eh, whatever".  We tried to hang on to our faith, find reasons to believe.  But in the end, we found that there was no reasons to believe.  You really think we wouldn't want to be friends with the creator of the universe?  Thing is, we would.  How awesome would that be?  However, the fact remains that there is no evidence of such a thing.



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God has designed the world to make it impossible for someone to have God proven to them. Impossible for someone to be talked into a relationship with Christ. All of these would do nothing but cheapen God and the ensuing relationship that such shallow maneuvers would create.


In other words, reality operates exactly as we'd expect it if no gods were involved.


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I think this is what Jesus was trying to say in Mark 4:10. He's saying all of this will purposely sound ridiculous to someone who doesn't desire to have a relationship with Me. Who doesn't want help, who is too proud to ask for God to come into their life.

I am so sick and tired of the "too proud to seek god" arguement.  It's nothing more than a bullshit excuse for god's absent.



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He spoke in parables so that only the people who truly wanted to know Him, would come and ask what they meant. He had no interest in spreading the most beautiful Truth to people who weren't willing to humble themselves and form a real relationship with Him.

And then those people go to hell and suffer for all eternity.  Yeah, "beautiful truth", alright.

What is even meant by "humble themselves"?  It's one of those buzzwords thrown out a lot, but it doesn't really mean anything by itself.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on August 07, 2013, 11:43:20 AM
The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.

I swear to almighty glob, if anyone ever says this to me in person, I will knock evey last tooth out of their empty head and shove them right up their bottom.  I'm really sick of hearing this.

God has designed the world to make it impossible for someone to have God proven to them. Impossible for someone to be talked into a relationship with Christ. All of these would do nothing but cheapen God and the ensuing relationship that such shallow maneuvers would create.

God hides himself because knowing that a god exists would cheapen the relationship.  That's brilliant.[1] 

Justin, I noticed you are married.  Why do you cheapen your relationship with her by living with her and knowing her name and what she looks like and having met her in the first place?  Why don't you marry my cousin Sophia instead?  I won't tell you where she lives nor what she looks like nor anything about her.  This will give you an opportunity to have a perfect, pure relationship, instead of that cheap one you have with your current wife.

The rest of what you said was too stupid for me to bother to address. 


How's about you start addressing some of the counter-arguments?  pianodwarf and I spent a lot of time an effort to explain to you the problems with your ideas.  It is kind of disrespectful for you to just ignore us.

 1. that's sarcasm, because what you said was the exact opposite of brilliant.  It was stunningly idiotic. I was truly surprised by how stupid it was.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on August 07, 2013, 12:31:07 PM
He had no interest in spreading the most beautiful Truth to people who weren't willing to humble themselves and form a real relationship with Him.

Seriously, Justin?  Paul of Tarsus gets knocked on his butt and blinded for several days, but we modern folk have to suck it up, stretch our imaginations and just plain accept your narcissistic hide-and-seek god to avoid an eternity of hellfire?  That's fractally wrong.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on August 07, 2013, 12:37:34 PM
The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.

Justin, you really need to respond to the direct rebuttals people have provided.  You asked if I "truly" had a relationship with jeezus/holy casper, etc... I responded - as have others.  You summarily dismiss all of our fervent attempts to build/cultivate/share/maintain our faith (30+ years as a xian for me).  I believe pianodwarf told you very early on this would be offensive to many of us here.  Guess what... it is.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on August 07, 2013, 12:45:37 PM
I hope to get back here when I have more time, but things have just been a little busy.

Thank you for letting us know.  As screwtape said, some of us have asked you some things that we'd like you to address.

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No one can talk someone into loving someone else. No one can talk someone into wanting to be in a relationship with someone.

I don't think anyone asked you to convince them to love Yahweh, or convince them to be in a relationship with him, either.  We've just asked you to give us some reason to believe that he exists.  That's a very different matter.

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God has designed the world to make it impossible for someone to have God proven to them.

Already addressed in the quote I gave from Greta Christina's article about the prosecutor who doesn't give you all the evidence in a case.  It's patently absurd.

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Impossible for someone to be talked into a relationship with Christ.

Well, yes, that's obvious.  You can't talk someone into a relationship with anyone at all.  This isn't a meaningful thing to say.

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All of these would do nothing but cheapen God and the ensuing relationship that such shallow maneuvers would create.

How the deuce does it "cheapen the person and the relationship with that person" to be certain that the person exists?!  That's just crazy.

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I think this is what Jesus was trying to say in Mark 4:10. He's saying all of this will purposely sound ridiculous to someone who doesn't desire to have a relationship with Me.

I have to point out, yet again, that it is quite impossible to have a relationship with someone whose very existence you consider doubtful.  To even contemplate having a relationship with someone, you must be quite thoroughly convinced that the person exists.  Or do you doubt whether your wife exists?

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Who doesn't want help, who is too proud to ask for God to come into their life.

On the defiant challenge of many believers before you, I have on more than one occasion openly asked Yahweh to come into my life, and Yahweh has never responded.  (The only response I've gotten is from condescending Christians who try to argue that since I accepted their challenge, it means I'm actually a believer who doesn't want to admit it.)  So this statement is just plain wrong.

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He spoke in parables so that only the people who truly wanted to know Him, would come and ask what they meant.

Considering the penalty that he imposes on people who don't "truly want to know him", this is a pretty lousy thing to do.

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He had no interest in spreading the most beautiful Truth to people who weren't willing to humble themselves and form a real relationship with Him.

Same answer.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jtk73 on August 07, 2013, 01:06:31 PM
...salvation by grace as the Bible clearly teaches.
Salvation from what?

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...we should never go upon our own understanding.
Why wouldn't Yahweh provide us with this understanding? I thought you said the didn't want mindless robots?

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He doesn't care if you believe in Him...
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He is very offended...when His creation...doesn't believe Him
The two preceding statements are contradictory.

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...He can have a personal, loving and intimate relationship with His creation.
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He is very offended...
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He does care a lot about us
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God has no interest in proving Himself to someone who isn't interested in a relationship with Him.
These are very human emotions, behaviors and desires. These don't seem like attributes of an all-powerful deity. At least not one worthy of worship or even acknowledgment.

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...that's why He's set up this perfect formula called the Gospel.
You must have a very different definition of perfect than most of the rest of the world.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jtk73 on August 07, 2013, 01:36:34 PM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.
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He wanted people to worship Him under their own free will.
More human attributes that make your god seem very petty and not really very god-like.

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He wanted them to accept the free gift of salvation willingly.
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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins..
So...is it free or not? If it has a requirement, then it isn't free.
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The above requires people to humble themselves and to seek out the truth even the whole world is telling them the opposite. If He gave it away it would mean nothing to us.
Ok..So NOT free. Got it. Thank you for clarifying.

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It's our free will that created that separation
No, it wasn't. God set up the game and made the rules. EVERYTHING is on him.

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He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins
Then why are you on here talking about it. He died for our sins, what more is there to say or do. We can all go out and sin as much as we want. It's all forgiven, right?

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When they sinned...
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Instantly Adam and Eve knew...the difference between right and wrong
If they didn't know the difference between right and wrong...how would they know that eating the fruit was wrong? How would they know that doing something that God told them not to do was wrong?

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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.
Again, why are you on here talking about this. All sins are forgiven - go live it up any way you like.

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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.
It is God's decision to send people to hell. It is completely on HIM.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on August 07, 2013, 02:42:26 PM
It is God's decision to send people to hell. It is completely on HIM.

Precisely.  I think this is something that True Believers™ tell themselves in a vain attempt to reconcile "Just God" with "Loving God" (although the dichotomy could be resolved simply by letting go of one of these mutually exclusive god-concepts).

When I was studying Business Administration about 20 years ago, one of the first things I learned is that responsibility and power go hand-in-hand.  You cannot give someone the responsibility for a problem unless you also give them the power and authority to properly deal with the problem.  Unless people in hell have the ability to just get up and leave whenever they feel like it, the god that created and sustained the hell, and who prevents anyone from leaving it, bears 100% of the responsibility for all suffering that occurs there.

I'm also amazed by the innumerable contradictions in Justin's worldview:  Free gift... with conditions.  Adam and Eve punished for something they did not yet understand.  A loving god who's offended when people don't return that love.  Just when I think Christianity can't get any more bizarre than it already is...
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on August 07, 2013, 04:13:51 PM
Justin

You still haven't explained how it was that you were an atheist, but still wanted a relationship with god, which was required to get it. And now you have it.

How can one be an actual atheist and also want a relationship with god. Not that I care, but others might.

In the meantime, all the excuses we get from believers as to why their god remains invisible suck big time. Each sounds exactly like what it is. And excuse.

If I were a god, nobody would doubt my existence. Especially if I was in the mood to diss people for an eternity if they didn't get all excited about my existence. I'd give them a running start by saying "Hi" and stuff like that.

If you led a different religion in which you knew that the god you espoused didn't exist, how would your excuses look different from christian ones?

Don't tell me that you would whine more than christians. That's not possible.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on August 07, 2013, 04:46:12 PM
It sounds like something a con artist would say. A psycho con artist.

A guy walks up to you on the street: "I have a marvelous free gift just for you. It's inside this small locked box. You have to swear that you believe the gift is inside before I give you the box. You can't just say you believe, you have to really mean it. And it is worth 1000 bucks."

This does not sound right to you. "Why should I believe that there is a marvelous gift in the locked box?"

"You just have to have faith."

There are nine empty boxes sitting open beside the guy. They look just like the locked one. You take the locked one and shake it. There is no sound.

"Uhh, those boxes are all empty. This locked one sounds like there is nothing inside it, either. And if I have to pay 1000 bucks for it, how is it free?"

"Don't worry about that--someone else already paid for these gifts. If you have faith that the gift is inside, you can have the box. But if you don't accept the box, someone will shoot you in the leg."

You hand the box back to the guy. "What, so now you are threatening me? You sound like a loony."

"I am not threatening you. I am just warning you that people who don't accept the box with the marvelous gift get shot in the leg. Remember on the news last week, that young guy who was shot in the leg? I'll bet he did not have one of these boxes."

The con artist points to a large group of people all holding locked boxes and smiling. "They all believe, and see how they haven't gotten shot in the leg."

"Most people never get shot in the leg-- it has nothing to do with any stupid box. Besides, those boxes are still locked. How do any of those people know there is a gift inside?"

"They have faith. They humbled themselves and admitted that their lives were meaningless without the marvelous gift inside the box. Don't you feel sad and empty sometimes? "

"Well yeah, but--"

"That is because you have a box-shaped hole in your heart. Accept the box."

The smiling people begin to sing a beautiful song about how glad they are that they believe there is a gift in the box, and how happy they are that they have not been shot in the leg.

You shake your head in wonder. "When do they get to actually open their boxes?"

"They don't. They have to care for the box, and then leave the box for their children to open after they die."

"What a stupid story. This sounds like a bunch of craziness to me. Keep your stupid box. I'm outta here." You quickly walk away. The man yells, "You are going to get shot in the leg! Just you wait!" You ignore him.

After a few minutes you look back and see the con man is talking to another person. To your surprise, the woman smiles, nods and accepts the locked box. As you watch she joins the singing group.... :?

We atheists are surrounded by smiling, singing people clutching the tattered empty gift boxes they got from their parents.  :o


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: lotanddaughters on August 07, 2013, 08:40:23 PM
3. Finally, I am a closeted atheist - I am married to a believing spouse and have believing children. We go to church together and they participate in various church functions as well - all of my family claiming to know christ.  I am indistinguishable from the thousands of other "believers" in the large church I attend.  However, I do not openly "lie" to anyone who asks me specifics or asks my input on religious matters (I won't quibble over the lie term here).  I will just note, given believers' presupposed notions, a non-answer or a double entendre works great.
 
 For example, my wife challenged me recently "Do you believe the bible was inpired by god?"  I answered, "of course it was."  She asked for no calrification and I gave none.  Her presupposition is that I believe like she does that god breathed inspiration into the authors and they wrote what he wanted.

Thanks for sharing.



Is there already a thread that exists where you discuss your plans(or lack of plans) for deconverting your wife and children?

This is a great thread, and I don't want to derail it. Your circumstance is very interesting, however.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on August 07, 2013, 08:59:14 PM
I hope to get back here when I have more time, but things have just been a little busy.

Thank you for letting us know.  As screwtape said, some of us have asked you some things that we'd like you to address.

None of my questions were ever addressed ... at least not directly. I anticipated that would be the case ... whatever ...


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No one can talk someone into loving someone else. No one can talk someone into wanting to be in a relationship with someone.

I don't think anyone asked you to convince them to love Yahweh, or convince them to be in a relationship with him, either.  We've just asked you to give us some reason to believe that he exists.  That's a very different matter.

If I started a relationship with Jesus, wouldn't that be gay? Wouldn't having a relationship with Jesus Christ violate homosexuality rules for Christians? Maybe they just follow the don't-ask-don't-tell philosophy, or maybe since I can't fuck a spirit I can only be a prison bitch, which means only I am gay but not Jesus?

This personal relationship stuff with Jesus is beyond confusing.



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I think this is what Jesus was trying to say in Mark 4:10. He's saying all of this will purposely sound ridiculous to someone who doesn't desire to have a relationship with Me.

I have to point out, yet again, that it is quite impossible to have a relationship with someone whose very existence you consider doubtful.

Well, even John Hinckley proved his love to Jodie Foster, and he was just a mysterious figure for her. She didn't even want the relationship. The Christ/God figure can't even show up for church on Sunday. If John Hinckley can shoot the POTUS in order to show his love for Jodie Foster, why is Christ/God in hiding? Is he afraid of being shot by John Hinckley?


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: lotanddaughters on August 07, 2013, 09:47:45 PM
The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.
If me experiencing eternal happiness is at stake, I most certainly want a relationship with Jesus Christ.


I most certainly wish that I have won a million dollars, but I see no evidence that indicates that I have. And, after hearing thousands of stupid, idiotic arguments from people claiming that I have won a million dollars, but the reason I may never see proof of that million dollars is because I don't sincerely want that million dollars, you must understand that I am pretty fed up with this bullshit by now.


And . . . eternal happiness is infinitely greater than a million dollars.

Go ahead and tell me again that I don't want a relationship with your version of Jesus Christ.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: One Above All on August 08, 2013, 04:18:11 AM
BM
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Mrjason on August 08, 2013, 04:37:13 AM
The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.

You're absolutley right. I have no interest in reading the same fairytale over and over again and grovelling to a figment of someone else's imagination.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on August 09, 2013, 12:03:34 PM
I've responded by saying that's not possible. No one can talk someone into loving someone else. No one can talk someone into wanting to be in a relationship with someone.

The reason you may never see proof, or ever have a relationship with Jesus Christ is because you don't sincerely want one.

I'm not asking for being talked into a relationship, I'm asking for some evidence that the person you are talking about is more real than Santa Claus.

stop dodging.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Graybeard on August 18, 2013, 10:04:15 AM
I hope to get back here when I have more time, but things have just been a little busy.

I won't hold my breath, but if you do, you might want to go back to your "testimony"[1] that you will find here: http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,25208.msg563609.html#msg563609
 1. or as normal people say, "unsubstantiated claims that defy logic"
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 21, 2013, 10:06:53 PM
They always say they are too busy. They always say they'll come back...

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on August 22, 2013, 06:55:56 AM
They always say they are too busy. They always say they'll come back...

-Nam

Shall I demand dozens of examples with proof that they just haven't gotten around to it? &)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 06:43:33 PM
2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do. The way they meditate and the way I used to meditate cleared my mind and I zoned out in a way. Now, that's no longer possible. Now I'm very in tune with my surroundings when I meditate and feel a connection, peace and warmth that I've never experienced in my life until I was Born Again. 

You should read up on meditation and the phenomenon known as "satori". If you did not experience any physiological damage then this is very likely what you experienced. Your word choices did not initially indicate that to me but the description above of now being 'in tune' with your surroundings when meditating reminds me of what I've learned about satori. After you experience it your perceptions of the world around you are, simultaneously, the same yet profoundly different.

Does Satori say anything about your new reality lining up with the Bible perfectly? Does it mention anything about feeling the Holy Spirit living inside you? Does it say anything about having a relationship with the only Living God? I'm guessing no, and the only explanation for what I've described is that of which the Bible describes when a person is born again or I'm totally insane.
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Not knowing about satori, it is most likely that (if this was just cognitive) your mind filled in the only spiritual material it knew well enough to 'explain' the feeling – your Christian upbringing. Since Catholicism is negative (overall) and satori is a transcendent experience, your mind would have stripped away the negative elements when referencing the spiritual material giving you a faith in Jesus but not accepting of Catholicism.

catholicism is a cult, it's a religion, I have a relationship.
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... perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ
You keep repeating this like a mantra.

That's because it's the most important non-spiritual thing to understand about my experience and totally undermines your previous point.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 06:49:08 PM
From Justin's link

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Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.



That's the prima facie case against these sudden conversions. People who live in Oklahoma and are unlikely to hear about any other religion than God/Jesus are also very unlikely to give testimony to any other religion. Is anyone in Oklahoma suddenly going to find revelations in Muhammad?

Are there burger joints in Iran where owners suddenly find Jesus Christ? Or do they find Muhammad? What about burger joints in Tibet? Do those owners suddenly find Jesus Christ?

Maybe the reason they're unlikely to hear about other religions is bc Jesus is the true God.

Maybe they don't give testimony to any other religion bc the other religions are false and they had a real experience with the only Living God.

There are no revelations from muhammad that aren't demonic. Muhammad, Joseph Smith and all the other religions are nothing more then demonic deceptions played on unsuspecting individuals.

I don't know about the burger joint thing, but Iranians certainly find Jesus. Tibet as well. People from all over the world have always found Jesus, many who had never heard the name Jesus.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: One Above All on August 22, 2013, 06:53:52 PM
<snip>

Maybe the reason they're unlikely to hear about other religions is bc Allah is the true God.

Maybe they don't give testimony to any other religion bc the other religions are false and they had a real experience with the only Living God.

There are no revelations from Jesus that aren't demonic. Jesus, Joseph Smith and all the other religions are nothing more then demonic deceptions played on unsuspecting individuals.

I don't know about the burger joint thing, but Iranians certainly find Allah. Tibet as well. People from all over the world have always found Allah, many who had never heard the name Allah.

Did my story convince you? The correct answer is NO. Know why? Because it's simply not true, except for the first bit of the last paragraph. The truth is that all religions are false. People converting to and from a certain religion doesn't make it more or less true than the others. They're all false.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:03:21 PM
Hello all,

My name is Justin Obriecht and I was surprised to see a discussion surrounding my testimony.

While I've read and appreciate all of the differing views of what has happened in my life, I was hoping some of you would take the time to read my full testimony, written by me, soon after the events happened.

I'd be happy to discuss my motivations, my past anti-theistic life, and any thing else, if we can just start from the same position, which is my personal testimony.

You can find it here http://justinobriecht.com/about/

Thanks for not being luke warm and being bold in what you believe. I know from past and present experience it's not easy no matter which side of the fence you're on.

Justin, thank you for visiting the forum and for being willing to post here.

I have not read anything that I haven't read before, elsewhere. While I am glad that you are feeling well, perhaps 50% better than on any other day in your life, I do not attribute such things to mysticism. You found Jesus because the Catholics found you and inculcated you long ago. When you ask 999,999 out of 1,000,000 people in Illinois who they found in their hearts, it's going to be Jesus. Not Zeus, Zorg, Cthulhu, Muhammad, Allah or Buddha. Nope, Jesus always wins the heartland. He doesn't fare so well in Iran, Tibet, Sudan, Siberia, Mongolia, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco ...

Your testimony is solely about being sucked into the trap of your locale rather than any proof of mystical interaction with reality.

That's my $5. I used to give just 2¢ but I've had to adjust my contributions to match inflation.


By the way, call me cynical but an atheist who finds Jesus is a great way to get into a new career. I've thought about doing it myself, but I'm too honest to engage in such blatant manipulation.

The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals. And Christianity happens to be the only true religion. The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

The fact that Christianity flourished in the US is not evidence that Jesus Christ isn't God.

Everyone fails to realize that my experience is ongoing. It's not just my testimony. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Bible says the Holy Spirit now lives inside me and guides my life.

And while you're the first person ever to question my credibility in relation to my testimony or my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can say that what I'm claiming is either true or makes me, Jesus Christ and all other Christians (including MLK, Colin Powell, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington) nuts.

 The question I always ask people when they say I might be nuts, is what other areas of my life would you expect that insanity to affect? For the people who know me that's a very hard question to answer.

As far as a new career, I neither need one nor want one. Actually I'm in the hole about $30k because of the work God has called me to do, so not a good financial or career move I can assure you.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:08:56 PM

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Hello all,

My name is Justin Obriecht and I was surprised to see a discussion surrounding my testimony.

While I've read and appreciate all of the differing views of what has happened in my life, I was hoping some of you would take the time to read my full testimony, written by me, soon after the events happened.

I'd be happy to discuss my motivations, my past anti-theistic life, and any thing else, if we can just start from the same position, which is my personal testimony.

You can find it here http://justinobriecht.com/about/

Thanks for not being luke warm and being bold in what you believe. I know from past and present experience it's not easy no matter which side of the fence you're on.

[/quote]Justin, thank you for visiting the forum and for being willing to post here.

I have not read anything that I haven't read before, elsewhere. While I am glad that you are feeling well, perhaps 50% better than on any other day in your life, I do not attribute such things to mysticism. You found Jesus because the Catholics found you and inculcated you long ago. When you ask 999,999 out of 1,000,000 people in Illinois who they found in their hearts, it's going to be Jesus. Not Zeus, Zorg, Cthulhu, Muhammad, Allah or Buddha. Nope, Jesus always wins the heartland. He doesn't fare so well in Iran, Tibet, Sudan, Siberia, Mongolia, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco ...

Your testimony is solely about being sucked into the trap of your locale rather than any proof of mystical interaction with reality.

That's my $5. I used to give just 2¢ but I've had to adjust my contributions to match inflation.


By the way, call me cynical but an atheist who finds Jesus is a great way to get into a new career. I've thought about doing it myself, but I'm too honest to engage in such blatant manipulation.
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I'm sorry I botched the quotes it wont happen again.


The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals. And Christianity happens to be the only true religion. The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

The fact that Christianity flourished in the US is not evidence that Jesus Christ isn't God.

Everyone fails to realize that my experience is ongoing. It's not just my testimony. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Bible says the Holy Spirit now lives inside me and guides my life.

And while you're the first person ever to question my credibility in relation to my testimony or my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can say that what I'm claiming is either true or makes me, Jesus Christ and all other Christians (including MLK, Colin Powell, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington) nuts.

 The question I always ask people when they say I might be nuts, is what other areas of my life would you expect that insanity to affect? For the people who know me that's a very hard question to answer.

As far as a new career, I neither need one nor want one. Actually I'm in the hole about $30k because of the work God has called me to do, so not a good financial or career move I can assure you.

How do you perceive what I'm doing to be manipulative?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Tero on August 22, 2013, 07:15:54 PM
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The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals. And Christianity happens to be the only true religion. The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

The fact that Christianity flourished in the US is not evidence that Jesus Christ isn't God.

GASP! :laugh:

So this is not a put on? OK, whatever.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: One Above All on August 22, 2013, 07:17:27 PM
The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals.

lol no.

And Christianity happens to be the only true religion.

Hell no.

The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

Fuck no.

The fact that Christianity flourished in the US is not evidence that Jesus Christ isn't God.

True. It's not evidence of the opposite either.

Everyone fails to realize that my experience is ongoing. It's not just my testimony. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Bible says the Holy Spirit now lives inside me and guides my life.

Is that anything like a Xenomorph? Because I bet some of us (not me, though) would like to see the Holy Ghost burst from your chest, so we can analyze it.

And while you're the first person ever to question my credibility in relation to my testimony or my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can say that what I'm claiming is either true or makes me, Jesus Christ and all other Christians (including MLK, Colin Powell, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington) nuts.

Too true. Christians (and theists) are nuts just because they're nuts. Belief in something for which there is no evidence is insanity and should be treated as such, if not for the fact that religion is a tolerated form of insanity.

The question I always ask people when they say I might be nuts, is what other areas of my life would you expect that insanity to affect? For the people who know me that's a very hard question to answer.

Hm...
The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals.
<snip>
And Christianity happens to be the only true religion.
<snip>
I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Bible says the Holy Spirit now lives inside me and guides my life.

And that's just from one post. If I knew you better, I'm sure I'd be able to point out other ways in which your insanity shows itself.

As far as a new career, I neither need one nor want one. Actually I'm in the hole about $30k because of the work God has called me to do, so not a good financial or career move I can assure you.

So Allah[1] is paying you?
Also, can you perform miracles, like the Bible says you should be able to? If so, I got a mentally disabled cousin who could use your help. I used to pray for her, but the big man never did anything but give me the finger (in a metaphorical way; he didn't even move his big fat ass to do that).[2]
 1. Explanation: The only god actually named "God" is Allah (which literally means "God"). The god of christianity is most commonly known as "Yahweh" (YHWH), but is also referred to by other names in the Bible, such as "Jealous".
 2. I (and other atheists) can probably guess what you're going to say in response to this revelation. It's a very common claim by theists.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:18:26 PM
While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

I do not understand what an "intensely atheist mind" even means, Justin. Does it mean you were forcing it upon yourself? My mind looks intensely for facts, logic and rational understanding. If you mean that I have to drop all of those in order to find Jesus, then don't worry yourself. I won't. I can't.

No, it means that I thought the chances of God being real were so low it wasn't even worth thinking about.

My mind works the same as yours, and the more you look intensely for facts, logic and rational understanding, the closer you'll get to Jesus Christ.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: One Above All on August 22, 2013, 07:21:38 PM
<snip>

The more you look intensely for facts, logic and rational understanding, the closer you'll get to Me. I, the One Above All, am the supreme ruler of the multiverse (God). Your god (lowercase "g", since it's not a major deity) is false.

Prove me wrong.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:29:05 PM
Hi everyone; your resident black dreadlocked atheist commie mommy here. Y'all have said nearly all the relevant things I would have said to the burger guy --although in not nearly as witty and incisive a style as mine. :angel:

One thing nobody has brought up. He said when he was an unbeliever,  he responded to religious people with goodness in his heart. Unlike most atheists. Huh?

Actually that's not what I said. I said that I tried to help them with what I saw as a disease in believing in God. I did it with the best of intentions. I also wasn't presuming anything about atheists in general.
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I doubt that most of the people he knew were atheists-- in the US that is not even possible! And we have as much goodness in our hearts (along with blood, arteries, cholesterol, spare valentine candy) as anyone else. Does he make a low-carb burger option?

When did I say most people I knew were atheists? Most people I knew were religious but didn't actually have a relationship with God. We have a veggie burger!
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I would like to reiterate one point: it is not surprising that a guy in the US would decide that Jesus Christ was the main dude. When I briefly returned to religion back in college (because my life was falling apart and also to chase this cute Christian boy) I, too, decided it had to be Jesus Christ speaking to my soul. It would be very surprising, even evidence worth researching, if either of us had heard from gods we had zero previous knowledge of, like Durga, Shango or Ahura Mazda.

People all over the world find Christ and the fact that many people do in the US, isn't evidence that Jesus isn't God. The key is that you returned to religion. You've never had a relationship with God. It's hard to hear from god's that don't exist.
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Rationality returned eventually, except a brief new age interlude when again, not coincidentally, my life was in crisis. And he had to diss on the JW's, didn't he? I might be showing up on his doorstep this Saturday morning if I had not become an unbeliever. He should be happy I am no longer religious. ;D

I am happy you are no longer religious. That's one thing that hasn't changed from my atheist days, I still try to save people from religion.
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And if some god wants to materialize in my bedroom someday, I would much rather Jesus stay home. Next time the hot white guy with long blonde hair better be Thor.... :-*

What do you have against Jesus?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:33:36 PM
The fact that you're dialoging with me and have dabbled in multiple religions does show that you have an open mind. However an open mind isn't what is required for a relationship with Jesus Christ. The only thing that's required is a genuine burning to have Him in your life.

Not only do I not have a "burning desire" to have Jesus in My life, I have no desire at all.

Why is that?
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Without the strong desire to have Him in your life nothing else matters.

Perhaps to you, Justin, but you aren't in a position to decide what matters to other people.

I'm not but God is. You have to agree that if God is Jesus, nothing else matters if you don't have a relationship with Him
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That's unfortunate bc the Bible is the truth and all the other things you mentioned is the only way to salvation.

Then I reject salvation.

Can you explain your logic here? Just to be clear, salvation means you'll live forever with God as opposed to spending eternity in hell.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:38:13 PM
Justin

You really need to work on your quoting. Your response to me was a mess because you didn't do things right. We have a nice little thread that tells you all about how to do it. You can find it here:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html)

You were nice enough to tell me that I shouldn't test the lord, and that he apparently still wanted me alive (when I got all testy on the dude) A six year old drowned in the river near where I live last week. Was this because the kid knew enough not to test god and got snuffed? Did the lord want the kid dead? How come I can exercise my free will and ask god to kill me, but the kid didn't get any free will or anything else except lungs full of water?

You can exercise your free will but you can't impose your free will on God. He is sovereign. There are a myriad of reasons for the child's death. The probable reason is that we live in a broken world full of sin that we created.
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And a god that allows disparities that big in life is no god at all. Which is exactly what I believe in. (I don't actually expect a response. No christian on this planet is capable of giving a cogent one. And I've heard more excuses than I care to deal with.)

Can you explain this a little more? Are you saying everyone should be equal?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 07:40:55 PM
The fact that you're dialoging with me and have dabbled in multiple religions does show that you have an open mind. However an open mind isn't what is required for a relationship with Jesus Christ. The only thing that's required is a genuine burning to have Him in your life. Without this it doesn't matter where you look, what you read or how open your mind is. Without the strong desire to have Him in your life nothing else matters.

Apparently you were a rarity. An atheist with a burning desire to have Jesus save you. Methinks the rest of us are a little less concerned about such things.

As for me, gobs of things matter. Just not the god stuff.

I'm not a rarity. You can find born again christians all over. Spend some time talking to them with an open mind. To be more concerned with anything but the possibility of God sounds crazy to me. Even as an atheist I knew this. It's the reason as an atheist I spent so much time on the subject. It just so happens I was wrong about my position.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on August 22, 2013, 08:19:30 PM
Maybe the reason they're unlikely to hear about other religions is bc Jesus is the true God.

Oh god, my stomach is turning.

Um, which version of Jesus is the One True GodTM?  Catholic? Methodist? Baptist?  Jehovah Witness? Mormon? Presbyterian?

I'm so tired of these One True God arguments that are simply hollow shells much like empty eggs.


Maybe they don't give testimony to any other religion bc the other religions are false and they had a real experience with the only Living God.

No originality whatsoever.  No depth whatsoever.  No point whatsoever.


There are no revelations from muhammad that aren't demonic. Muhammad, Joseph Smith and all the other religions are nothing more then demonic deceptions played on unsuspecting individuals.

Put it in a mirror and see the opposite.   Another hollow reply that doesn't even qualify as an argument.


I don't know about the burger joint thing, but Iranians certainly find Jesus. Tibet as well. People from all over the world have always found Jesus, many who had never heard the name Jesus.

People all over the world have found Muhammad, as well. Some of them found all kinds of religious figures. But, at what rate are people in Iran finding Jesus? Very little. I'm sure you can find, oh, 500. But there are millions of Iranians. They find Muhammad far more often than they find Jesus.


Really?  This is all you could come up with? This is prima facie evidence that you are unable or unwilling to engage in logic or reality, or even accept a challenge to either.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 08:45:18 PM
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

Us

How can we be stopping him?  He's omnipotent.  You can't stop an omnipotent being from doing anything.

We have free will and He does not stand in the way of our free will. If He did we would all be robots and that isn't what He wants. He wants us to make the choice whether or not to love Him. That's how all genuine relationships are formed. You have to have the desire to be in that relationship
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This created a separation from God for all future generations.

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If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

That's not true bc He wanted to give us free will.

And being omniscient, he knew how we would choose, which makes him responsible for everything that has ever happened or will ever happen.  If, ten million years from now or whatever, the field of genetics has advanced to the point where you can determine, with 100% certainty, that any children you bear will turn into mass murderers, then any murders that happen as a result of your deciding to bear children will be your fault, not your children's, because you had enough information to know that you should not have procreated in the first place.  Same with Yahweh and the universe.

Yes He did know how we would choose but in His infinite wisdom created the most amazing way for us to be reconciled with Him, through trusting and believing in His Son Jesus Christ.

It does not however make Him responsible for everything. Just because He knows what's going to happen doesn't make Him responsible. He is a faultless and blameless perfect loving God. As I've said He created the best possible formula for creating the most love between Him and His creation as possible and that includes evil, death, and everything else in this world. It's important to note that he did this while also causing the least amount of suffering and pain, and yes I know all about the Holocaust and other horrible things.

The analogy you give is faulty because there isn' tremendous love, beauty and life created when because of those babies being born.
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He didn't just want a bunch of robots walking around worshipping Him. He wanted people to worship Him under their own free will. He wanted them to accept the free gift of salvation willingly.

Saying "worship me or I'll set you on fire for all eternity" is not a choice.

This forum is proof that it is.
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It's our free will that created that separation

Nope.  Adam and Eve did it.  Yahweh is just punishing everyone for it.  It absolutely amazes me that Christians can believe that this is just.  If you were given the electric chair because you had an ancestor in Sparta who murdered someone, you would be outraged beyond the power of language to express, but you think Yahweh doing the same thing is fair and proper?  Sorry, no -- I absolutely refuse to take responsibility for anyone's actions other than my own, and if Yahweh insists on doing otherwise, well, then -- he's an asshole.

Adam and Eve were simply the first ones, they created the initial separation. Every person and generation since has decided and chosen to follow in that rebellion and sin including me and you. I don't even understand what the big deal is since Jesus has died on the cross, and all you have to do to make this all moot is ask Him into your life and repent of your sins.
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but out of His abundant grace (unmerited favor) He sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins to give us each a second chance individually. It's the best deal of all time.

It's not a "second chance" for us because we never even had a first chance.  And, again: Yahweh could have just said, "I forgive everyone".  So much easier.  No misery or suffering required by anyone.

Your premise is wrong. God owes us nothing. We are the creation, He is the creator. Imagine the clay arguing with the potter. You act as if the second chance requires you to cut off your arm. It's the best deal ever, He dies for your sins and you get eternal life.

If He was to just wipe the slate clear that would cheapen Him and the relationship He wants with each of us. True love comes from getting to know someone, through struggle and hard times, through working at the relationship and a relationship with Jesus is no different.
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And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit?

Because before that there was no sin. When they sinned, the world was poisoned by sin. It was no ordinary event. Instantly Adam and Eve knew they were naked, knew the difference between right and wrong, and in turn started acting as God the same way we do today.

That's not an answer.  Please explain, clearly and explicitly, why you believe it is just to penalize anyone for the actions of their ancestors.  You know, I hate to go Godwin here, but Adolph Hitler has living ancestors today, and no one would think of giving any of them the death penalty or a prison sentence or anything for what Hitler did.

Firstly God owes us nothing. Secondly if Hitlers ancestors acted as he did they would be punished, the same way we're punished because we act in the same way our ancestors did. 
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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

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Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

Bc this is the most effective way for Him to show His grace.

Seems like it would be a lot easier and less painful for him to simply forgive everyone and create a global sign for everyone to see and understand -- not to mention more effective.  If the method you describe is so effective, why are two-thirds of the people on the earth not Christians?

It may be easier but like I've said many times, it wouldn't create as much true love between the creator and the created. It's not about quantity, it's about quality. The lack of Christians is not an indicator of quantity and quality of love being exchanged between the creator and His children. I can tell you from personal experience if God did as you suggested I would not love Him as much or as deeply. It would be cheap easy love.
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Which in turn creates a situation where His created beings can't even comprehend how much He loves them and in turn if they're willing will love Him all the more. This world is really a perfect formula for creating as much love between God and man as possible.

Again: "love me or I'll set you on fire forever" is not a choice, and even if it were, it would not be a choice offered out of love.  When a human being does something like that, we usually call him a stalker or a maniac or something.

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On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

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Citation needed...

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15&version=NIV

Sorry, no.  That is not evidence, that is the claim.

No that's evidence http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence
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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

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Why have a requirement at all?

Bc this is part of the perfect formula.  The above requires people to humble themselves and to seek out the truth even the whole world is telling them the opposite.

Why is that so important?  Oh, here we go:

Bc what perfect being wants to have a relationship with a know it all, prideful, egotistical, sinner.
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If He gave it away it would mean nothing to us. Only things that are earned through trusting and having faith in something or someone is worth anything.

That's not true.  I'll admit that when you work for something, it does often "taste sweeter" than if it's just handed to you, but if someone gave me a free Lamborghini, I would still value it.  A lot.

But a perfect God would never do something not perfect. So you kinda proved my point here.
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In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

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Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

There's excuses here, but none when you come face to face with God on the final judgement. All of the things you listed are only that way bc of your potential preconceived notions, hardened heart or unwillingness to give it a chance .

You do not know that.  I've been studying such matters for about a good 25 years now, so I'm not simply dismissing them because I'm not interested or anything.

And in the end, if, as you say, I end up coming face to face with Yahweh for a final judgment, well... my only comment to him is going to be, "If you wanted me to believe in you, you should have made your existence just a tad more obvious.  The fact that I spent my life not believing in you is your fault, not mine, and now you're going to set me on fire for all eternity because of your mistake?"

-The Bible doesn't emanate anything to you bc you wont let it.
-Personal testimonies are only worthless to atheists when they involve Jesus Christ. In all other arenas they're critical.
-There is no such thing as macro evolution. http://www.blogos.org/gotquestions/young-earth-creationist.php http://www.blogos.org/compellingtruth/evolution-facts.html
- If the universe wasn't created what happened? What caused the Big Bang? As Bill Craig says "To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic.
- Yes it's very possible. As I've said many time, it's not about reading the Bible, it's about what kind of heart you read the Bible with. If you read it in a skeptical way there is no power in the Bible. But if you read it in a humble, honest, searching for truth way, it's the most powerful thing on Earth.

I can tell you have an open mind and are genuinely looking for truth. I promise if you keep looking in a humble way, It will find you.

He made it blatantly obvious and He'll show exactly how. The Bible says we will have no room to argue and we wont even try. The reason for that is, God doesn't send us to hell, we send ourselves to hell. He simply respects the decision that each of us make while we're on this Earth.
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It's not about reading the Bible it's about what kind of heart and mind you read it with. All research should be done with a mind and a heart and an eagerness to be proven wrong. Most research should be done on things that go against our current understanding, beliefs or positions.

I'm not "eager" to be proven wrong... I doubt that very many people are.  However, when presented with proper evidence, I am perfectly willing to do so.

Reading the entire bible was, in fact, "research done going against my current understanding, beliefs, and positions".  That's almost quintessential for an atheist, really.  And, as I said, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  As Astreja sometimes likes to say, "If you want me to believe that what this book says is true, please show me a snake that can talk.  Until then, we don't have much to discuss."  One could say the same thing about all kinds of other things for which there should be significantly more evidence (e.g., the exodus -- there should be tons of evidence of that if it happened, and there's actually none at all).

If you keep searching for evidence with the heart you display here you'll find it.

I agree with that the research you did was done against your world view but did you do it in a humble, wanting to be proved wrong way? That's how true scientists do their research.

Because God refuses to show you a miracle doesn't mean he doesn't exist. Remember it wouldn't be a perfect formula and their wouldn't be free will if He didn't let the skeptic have a leg to stand on. A very weak leg, but still a leg. The weakness of that leg will be embarrassing for many at the final judgement.
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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

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You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

It's true that you can't choose to believe something that isn't true

You cannot "choose" to believe anything at all, whether it's true or false.  The human mind simply does not work that way.  Beliefs arise in human beings by various methods, probably the two biggest ones being childhood indoctrination and being presented with evidence.  Simply choosing to have a belief, however, is not possible.

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Just Google " Christian Apologetics" and that will quickly become clear. Google "Fine tuning of the universe" or "the moral arguement for God" Or "William Layne Craig".

I urge you to use caution when saying things like this.  The people at this site are far more erudite regarding this topic than you appear to realize.  We know who William Lane Craig is -- notice, for example, that I even know how to spell his name, which you do not.  We're also quite familiar with the fine tuning argument, the moral argument, and probably everything else about apologetics that has ever been discussed.

We are not atheists because we haven't examined such arguments.  We are atheists because we have, and found them lacking.

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The most brilliant atheists understand that there is a world of evidence of God

Obviously we don't, or we wouldn't be atheists.

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the crusifixian and almost all events in the Bible.

Actually, very few of the events written about in the bible can be verified.  And:

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Nothing in the Bible can be proved false.

This is simply not true.  Geological evidence shows that there was never a global flood.  The Sinai desert was not occupied by two million people for forty years.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.  On and on and on. 

I disagree and so does the good doctor. http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/
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I'd challenge any of them to tell me that they're felt the Holy Spirit or had a relationship with God.

Then you'd better be ready to face a good deal of hostility.  I've seen their reactions when they are told that they "weren't really Christians" or "didn't really feel anything in their hearts" or anything else along those lines.  They get pretty angry.  And I don't blame them.

Well what did they feel? If they were real Christians they know Jesus is God. You can't unbelieve the truth. You can't put the genie back in the bottle. You can however feel like the God you know is real didn't treat you fairly and grow hostile to said God.
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Religion is the great deceiver!

THAT'S for sure.

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But I have to ask why would a quote from a fiery tale make someone uncomfortable or offend someone?

It's hard to explain, and different people probably have different reasons.  For my own part, it sounds condescending, and I don't like being spoken down to.  I'm an intelligent man who has spent many years thinking about and examining such matters -- I mean, jeez, I majored in philosophy, for crying out loud, so when I hear someone saying that they "hope my eyes will be opened" or something like that, it sounds to me like I'm being spoken to like a naive, inexperienced child, which I most definitely am not.  It would be kind of like expecting a dentist not to know what wisdom teeth are, or something.

That seems a little defensive to me. In order for what they're saying to be offensive you would have to know everything. The reality is you don't currently know the truth and those people are actually telling you something you need to hear badly. You are one of the few who doesn't have convenient friends.
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I hope to be on again soon. Until then I want everyone to know that I really appreciate and find value in this dialog. I really appreciate the respectful way everyone has handled this conversation. I also want to apologize for some of the things that I now know to be offensive and I will do everything in my power to not have it happen again.

I'm glad you're here, and I hope you're finding the conversations interesting and informative.

Responding to your respectful dialog has been really exciting and fulfilling for me.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on August 22, 2013, 09:01:18 PM
The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals.

Do you know how many times you will find the words "God", "Jesus" or "Christian/ity" in the US Constitution?   Zero times.

Do you know how many times you find the word "religion" in the US Constitution?   Two times.  The first time stipulates that there is no religious test to hold an office, and the second time is in the First Amendment which states that Congress shall pass no law regarding an establishment of religion.

So much for the USA being founded on "Christianity and Biblical principals [sic]" when there is nothing in the US Constitution that codifies a connection to religion much less even imply that connection in any meaningful way.

Are you really that ignorant of history? Of civics? Of the Constitution? Have you ever read the US Constitution?


And Christianity happens to be the only true religion.

Every religion makes that claim, so the assertion is completely intellectually bankrupt.


The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

Iran has not laid a connection between Islam and the government? Saudi Arabia? Did you know that the British have a national religion? Sweden? Many others ... I see that you like to engage in complete misinformation and disinformation.

The fact that Christianity flourished in the US is not evidence that Jesus Christ isn't God.

I have no idea what you mean by that statement, but considering that Jesus Christ isn't a real person the statement itself carries no meaning.


Everyone fails to realize that my experience is ongoing. It's not just my testimony. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Bible says the Holy Spirit now lives inside me and guides my life.

Mmmkay. Fine. Whatever. That's an opinion statement on your perspective of your life. Fine.


And while you're the first person ever to question my credibility in relation to my testimony or my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can say that what I'm claiming is either true or makes me, Jesus Christ and all other Christians (including MLK, Colin Powell, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington) nuts.

You are intellectually shallow. Not just in what you say, but in your ability to comprehend. I never once questioned your credibility in relation to your testimony in your relationship with Jesus Christ. That you think I did shows that you are shifting the point to fit your circumstances rather than to address the point I made. The point I made, and I'm not sure why I am bothering to post it a second time, is that your testimony of finding Jesus is a result of your location, not personal veracity. You found Jesus because you happened to be in a place where a lot of other people find Jesus. If you had been in a location where other people find Muhammad, I wouldn't question your personal veracity in statements of testimony for Muhammad. I am not questioning your personal veracity in testimony for Jesus. You find sea shells at the beach, so collecting them in a box to show everyone just shows that you were at the beach. The sea shells are real. The beach was real. The sounds of the ocean you heard in the sea shells -- not so real. Get it?

You need to attain some depth of discussion to survive on this forum.


The question I always ask people when they say I might be nuts, is what other areas of my life would you expect that insanity to affect? For the people who know me that's a very hard question to answer.

I never said you were "nuts" nor did I imply it. Nor did I state or imply that you were insane. So I don't know why you want to put words in my mouth except to project a particular viewpoint upon me simply because you lack the ability to respond in a meaningful way.


As far as a new career, I neither need one nor want one. Actually I'm in the hole about $30k because of the work God has called me to do, so not a good financial or career move I can assure you.

You want to have Jesus Christ as your Personal SaviorTM. Fine. I don't care. This idea of testimony to go around and proselytize people into your beliefs is to publicly advertise yourself in a variety of ways. One of them is for commercial purposes. Churches are not non-profit organizations -- they just happened to be untaxed ventures. So, whether you are pushing burgers or miracles, proclaiming an affinity for a locally popular deity certainly helps the bottom line of an income statement for either enterprise.

Asking your customers if they would like a slice of Muhammad on their burgers wouldn't get you far economically, and while I wouldn't find your choice of Islam any better than your choice of Christianity, I would at least give you bonus points for going against the local grain by offering slices of Muhammad on top of the chargrilled angus.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: ParkingPlaces on August 22, 2013, 09:06:59 PM
Justin

You really need to work on your quoting. Your response to me was a mess because you didn't do things right. We have a nice little thread that tells you all about how to do it. You can find it here:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html (http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,16778.0.html)

You were nice enough to tell me that I shouldn't test the lord, and that he apparently still wanted me alive (when I got all testy on the dude) A six year old drowned in the river near where I live last week. Was this because the kid knew enough not to test god and got snuffed? Did the lord want the kid dead? How come I can exercise my free will and ask god to kill me, but the kid didn't get any free will or anything else except lungs full of water?

You can exercise your free will but you can't impose your free will on God. He is sovereign. There are a myriad of reasons for the child's death. The probable reason is that we live in a broken world full of sin that we created.
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And a god that allows disparities that big in life is no god at all. Which is exactly what I believe in. (I don't actually expect a response. No christian on this planet is capable of giving a cogent one. And I've heard more excuses than I care to deal with.)

Can you explain this a little more? Are you saying everyone should be equal?

I quoted the whole thing for clarity, but am responding to the bold part.

I of course know nothing about you other than your success in the burger business and your born again stance. But lets say you have a kid. You raises him or her well, and introduce the child to Jesus, and religion sticks and he decides he is saved and he goes through life as a christian. Then old age arrives and finally takes your child off into a wonderful infinity in heaven with Jesus.

The same day your kid is born, a crack addict has a child as well, who is beaten and starved and at the tender age of three gets raped and smothered by a 400 pound man.

At what point did said child get to exercise her free will? How can the disparity between the two children be so great? Several christians have told me that the important person in this scenario is the 400 pound rapist, who is exercising his free will, and that is more relevant. And while I recognize that as a christian, your job is to excuse every flaw in the god story, I for one could never respect, let alone worship, a god that inadequately explained why such differences exist, let alone let them happen.

Oh, and as I understand it, via various christians, we are born sinners. It is not a choice. We can choose the being saved part, but we can't choose not to be sinners because we are bearing the burden of Adam and Eve's sin. Of course if you see it differently, I'm not surprised, because christianity has so much variety in it. If you could clarify, that would be nice. It doesn't matter what your point of view is. You don't have to argue it. Just help us understand what you believe in this particular instance.This is in case I misunderstood your response to pianodwarf, where you said:

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Adam and Eve were simply the first ones, they created the initial separation. Every person and generation since has decided and chosen to follow in that rebellion and sin including me and you. I don't even understand what the big deal is since Jesus has died on the cross, and all you have to do to make this all moot is ask Him into your life and repent of your sins.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 09:21:01 PM
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So have you ever felt the Holy Spirit? Would you say you had a relationship with Jesus Christ during those 30 years?
Justin, your quoting was giving me fits, so I will address your question to me in your favored bullet points.

1. Ok, I fear where this one is going - the classic "no true scotsman" logical fallacy.  But I will bite...
 
2. That being said, I will give you a 100% honest answer, but having been in your shoes before, I am afraid it will mean nothing.

 Simple answer - "YES" I thought I felt the HS and I definitely would have and did profess a relationship with Christ for those 30+ years.  I was active in my church(es), taught many a Sunday school class and either led or attended or read more bible studies than I can count. I prayed every day, read the bible through several times, read it almost daily, confessed sin, witnessed, led others to christ, you name it...  I realized "coming to faith" and "having faith" are choices, just like a chice to wear blue socks today.  There's no magic involved, you just have to choose to suspend logic and rationality to hold onto faith, since there is nothing there.  I didn't like losing my faith, it felt bad/ I fought it - but I'm glad I did and I'm a better person for it.

First of all I appreciate your candor and honesty. I don't have to revert to the "no true scotsman" logical fallacy, you're admitting you were never saved. You're admitting you never felt the HS. You don't even believe it exists. All of the things you listed are not evidence of the HS. They are simply works and rituals if a person isn't born again.

You're right that coming to faith is a choice. It's why God gave us free will. And it is as simple as picking out socks as well if you're heart and motivations are genuine. You're also right that there's no magic involved, in fact there's no such thing as magic outside of the devil.

There is plenty there. I have a rich, tangible, personal relationship with Jesus Christ and so do millions of others.

In spite of your current convictions, I can't ignore that your life was very different before. It's almost impossible to live the life you described with out the HS. So I do think it's possible that you could have been saved and God wasn't what you expected or wanted. If this is the case you're still saved. [quote/]

 
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I can still reproduce those "feelings" or HS leadings/still small voices/warm fuzzies or whatever you like, if I put my mind to it.  However, one part of my deconversion was the realization this supposed relationship with christ that is like no other - truly is... it's like NO other relationship.  I asked myself what other relationships do I have with someone I have never met/spoke to/saw/touched/engaged with in some way/etc and such a person has never responded directly to me in a tangible/audible/etc way??  Answer - zero.  (I know plenty of believers hear all kinds of things in their head/heart - please define how that's different from imagining or hallucinating).  Yet, I'm to worship, love and desire such a thing?? Sorry, I'll take Santa instead - he makes more sense.

Do those feelings, HS leadings or small voices lead to tangible, predictable, Biblical outcomes? If they do they're the HS. If not they are meaningless.

You're right it is like no other. It's a spiritual, metaphysical relationship that from time to time becomes tangible and real. If you never had Christ respond to you in a tangible way you were not born again. I'm not saying you have to hear a audible voice even though many do (not me yet), but He is definitely active and tangible in His children's lives.
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3. Finally, I am a closeted atheist - I am married to a believing spouse and have believing children. We go to church together and they participate in various church functions as well - all of my family claiming to know christ.  I am indistinguishable from the thousands of other "believers" in the large church I attend.  However, I do not openly "lie" to anyone who asks me specifics or asks my input on religious matters (I won't quibble over the lie term here).  I will just note, given believers' presupposed notions, a non-answer or a double entendre works great.
 
 For example, my wife challenged me recently "Do you believe the bible was inpired by god?"  I answered, "of course it was."  She asked for no calrification and I gave none.  Her presupposition is that I believe like she does that god breathed inspiration into the authors and they wrote what he wanted. 

 All I meant was whoever wrote it had god on their brain, either as a theme to pursue or a story to invent - there was no intervention on mythical god's part.  I write a few things myself and recently I wrote a poem about a creepy fellow who has a stack of human bones in his backyard that gives him much pleasure.  Warren Zevon's Excitable Boy song inspired me... Warren is long dead, and I have never met him - he certainly had no input, other than a thread of an idea from a line in his song. Warm sun inspires me to read a book by the pool - the sun didn't write the book I read or create the lounger I relax in with an adult beverage.

This is a very sad thing to read. Why be a closet atheist? I couldn't have imagined that in my past life. You're being dishonest with your wife and children over something you think is a fairy tale. If they came home saying they believed in Jack In The Bean Stalk, would you jump on the band wagon and withhold information from them?

Why don't you come out of the closet?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 22, 2013, 09:24:34 PM
They always say they are too busy. They always say they'll come back...

-Nam

Shall I demand dozens of examples with proof that they just haven't gotten around to it? &)

Do you really have to ask?

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 22, 2013, 09:38:43 PM
This guy was never an atheist, based on many things he's said in this topic but mainly this:
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He is a faultless and blameless perfect loving God.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 09:44:08 PM
The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals.

Do you know how many times you will find the words "God", "Jesus" or "Christian/ity" in the US Constitution?   Zero times.

Do you know how many times you find the word "religion" in the US Constitution?   Two times.  The first time stipulates that there is no religious test to hold an office, and the second time is in the First Amendment which states that Congress shall pass no law regarding an establishment of religion.

So much for the USA being founded on "Christianity and Biblical principals [sic]" when there is nothing in the US Constitution that codifies a connection to religion much less even imply that connection in any meaningful way.

Are you really that ignorant of history? Of civics? Of the Constitution? Have you ever read the US Constitution?

http://www.rbvincent.com/usconstitution.htm
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And Christianity happens to be the only true religion.

Every religion makes that claim, so the assertion is completely intellectually bankrupt.


The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

Iran has not laid a connection between Islam and the government? Saudi Arabia? Did you know that the British have a national religion? Sweden? Many others ... I see that you like to engage in complete misinformation and disinformation.

I wasn't saying anything about their govt, I was simply saying that false religions happened to take hold in those areas. This does not discount Christianity in any way
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The fact that Christianity flourished in the US is not evidence that Jesus Christ isn't God.

I have no idea what you mean by that statement, but considering that Jesus Christ isn't a real person the statement itself carries no meaning.

What I'm saying is, Jesus Christ being God or not, isn't affected by whether Christianity has a stronghold in the US. Almost all Atheist scholors know Jesus was a real person, it's His deity they question.
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Everyone fails to realize that my experience is ongoing. It's not just my testimony. I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and as the Bible says the Holy Spirit now lives inside me and guides my life.

Mmmkay. Fine. Whatever. That's an opinion statement on your perspective of your life. Fine.


And while you're the first person ever to question my credibility in relation to my testimony or my relationship with Jesus Christ, I can say that what I'm claiming is either true or makes me, Jesus Christ and all other Christians (including MLK, Colin Powell, Abraham Lincoln and George Washington) nuts.

You are intellectually shallow. Not just in what you say, but in your ability to comprehend. I never once questioned your credibility in relation to your testimony in your relationship with Jesus Christ. That you think I did shows that you are shifting the point to fit your circumstances rather than to address the point I made. The point I made, and I'm not sure why I am bothering to post it a second time, is that your testimony of finding Jesus is a result of your location, not personal veracity. You found Jesus because you happened to be in a place where a lot of other people find Jesus. If you had been in a location where other people find Muhammad, I wouldn't question your personal veracity in statements of testimony for Muhammad. I am not questioning your personal veracity in testimony for Jesus. You find sea shells at the beach, so collecting them in a box to show everyone just shows that you were at the beach. The sea shells are real. The beach was real. The sounds of the ocean you heard in the sea shells -- not so real. Get it?

You need to attain some depth of discussion to survive on this forum.

"By the way, call me cynical but an atheist who finds Jesus is a great way to get into a new career. I've thought about doing it myself, but I'm too honest to engage in such blatant manipulation." That was your statement. At best you were passively aggressively questioning my motives and integrity.
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The question I always ask people when they say I might be nuts, is what other areas of my life would you expect that insanity to affect? For the people who know me that's a very hard question to answer.

I never said you were "nuts" nor did I imply it. Nor did I state or imply that you were insane. So I don't know why you want to put words in my mouth except to project a particular viewpoint upon me simply because you lack the ability to respond in a meaningful way.

I never said you called me nuts or implied it. You're quoting me out of context. I was simply saying there's only three rationalizations for my testimony and those are, Jesus is God, I'm nuts, or I'm lying.
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As far as a new career, I neither need one nor want one. Actually I'm in the hole about $30k because of the work God has called me to do, so not a good financial or career move I can assure you.

You want to have Jesus Christ as your Personal SaviorTM. Fine. I don't care. This idea of testimony to go around and proselytize people into your beliefs is to publicly advertise yourself in a variety of ways. One of them is for commercial purposes. Churches are not non-profit organizations -- they just happened to be untaxed ventures. So, whether you are pushing burgers or miracles, proclaiming an affinity for a locally popular deity certainly helps the bottom line of an income statement for either enterprise.

Asking your customers if they would like a slice of Muhammad on their burgers wouldn't get you far economically, and while I wouldn't find your choice of Islam any better than your choice of Christianity, I would at least give you bonus points for going against the local grain by offering slices of Muhammad on top of the chargrilled angus.

Everything I do here is reactionary to the OP. I'm not trying to proselytize, I'm simply telling my experience and what I know to be true. As I've said, you can't talk someone into a relationship with someone.

As far as increasing my bottom line I have no interest in a church. As far as my restaurants go, I can assure you my testimony hasn't affected the bottom line. You could ask 1000 guests that comes in my stores and maybe 5 would know my story and 50 would know me. In the rare case that someone does hear my story, it has just as good of chance turning someone off as it does making them buy an extra meal from me.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 22, 2013, 09:51:47 PM
I checked out the rest of Bob's website: yeah, no bias there.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 09:54:55 PM
Seems to me that if Christianity was self-evident, and there was one true god who wanted everyone to join up,  there would be no other religions. How could there be? The one true religion should be like water, or air. It would not have to compete in the global marketplace with other beliefs, because as soon as people heard about it, they would realize it made sense and immediately adopt it.

It's not self-evident and I never said it was. It's only self-evident if the persons heart is humble and searching for truth.

This fact that it isn't self evident and that we live in a fallen world is what makes other religions possible. People's broken sinful nature makes other religions possible. The devil being the great deceiver makes other religions possible. Our free will makes other religions possible.
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There are no substitutes for water or air, and everyone needs them to survive. The one true religion should be like that. No preaching, convincing or force should be necessary. Missionaries should not have to go around trying to convert people.  Anyone who is not a Christian should be obviously suffering, far less happy and successful than believers, like someone deprived of water or air.

Only if God didn't give us free will and we lived in a perfect world. Only if God didn't create the perfect formula to develop as much love as possible between His children and Himself. Between this response and my previous one your analogy and premise is clearly flawed.
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You don't have to show up on someone's doorstep to persuade them to breathe air--you should not have to persuade anyone into the one true religion! No apologetics or complicated arguments should be needed, because there should not be any logical holes that need plugging.

The holy book should be amazingly transcendent, prophetic and full of useful information with no need for extensive study to comprehend its meaning. No scientific discovery or invention or law should make the religion look silly or outdated. Everything in the religion should match objective reality without question.You should not have to invent a powerful, scheming devil to explain why the world is the way it is. In sum, nobody should have to turn off their brain, "let go and let god", surrender fully to the holy spirit, have the correct attitude of submission, "open their heart'', or be in desperate emotional straits to believe.

Certainly no new religions should be arising after the establishment of Christianity, like Islam or Mormonism or Scientology. And the ones that pre-date, like Judaism and Hinduism should have disappeared as soon as the one true faith came on the scene. Christianity itself should not have to change with the times, either. Truth should always be truth, right?

We can see that is clearly not the case.

It took centuries for the heathens and pagans in Europe to be beaten into submission by Christian rulers. The largest group of Christians is Catholic, and that holds sway mainly in poor countries where indigenous people were conquered, enslaved and forced to convert. The Jews did not buy into the Christ deal, even though they were supposedly right there watching all the miracles. A billion Hindus are largely unimpressed. Buddhists likewise see no need to change. Islam is growing faster worldwide than Christianity.

More people throughout history have rejected the bible than have accepted it as truth. Even the people who accept it have to ignore most of it or else it makes no sense! And it is not like any of the other major religions is any better. Bad things happen to believers of every faith. People have to do everything for themselves, no matter what they believe. Prayer doesn't work, ever, for anyone. This god just doesn't seem to be up to snuff.
 
In contrast to what we would expect, some of the most successful, peaceful and stable regions worldwide are where most people are atheists. Many atheists are familiar with different religious traditions, or even used to practice a faith, so they know what they are rejecting.

If there is an all-powerful god in charge, he is doing a very good job of pretending not to care about any of this. :P
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 09:56:59 PM
the Bible is the truth.

Support this assertion with evidence. Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

If I thought that doing so would bring you closer to God, I would. Just don't forget, saying the Bible isn't the truth is also a truth claim that you have to back up.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 22, 2013, 09:58:52 PM
the Bible is the truth.

Support this assertion with evidence. Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

If I thought that doing so would bring you closer to God, I would. Just don't forget, saying the Bible isn't the truth is also a truth claim that you have to back up.

Typical Christian response: if I knew it'd convince you, I would.

Why are you here BUT to convince us.

Idiot.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 09:59:11 PM
You can't have a relationship with someone and then say you didn't or believe you didn't.


Incorrect: Santa Claus


Lets start of with a basic question: Do you acknowledge people hallucinate, lie, and exaggerate?

If you think you had an actual relationship with Santa, there is no way to the say you didn't and be telling the truth.

Yes people do all those things.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:00:45 PM
I knew I'd be told I wasn'a true christian... knew it...  30+ years playing footsie with d'lawd in a conservative, southern baptist church and I wasn't a true christian.  My church would fight you on that (still)
Plus.. I am also closed minded?
Damn, Justin, you aren't a very nice representative for your cause throwing around unfounded allegations against burgereaters you don't know.

I'm not sure what you're talking about here? Can you post the link to the post that I said these things? As far as I know at the time you wrote this I hadn't even responded to your testimony.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on August 22, 2013, 10:01:32 PM
This is a very sad thing to read. Why be a closet atheist? I couldn't have imagined that in my past life. You're being dishonest with your wife and children over something you think is a fairy tale. If they came home saying they believed in Jack In The Bean Stalk, would you jump on the band wagon and withhold information from them?

Why don't you come out of the closet?

Perhaps because it would expose him and his family to a very high risk of family dissolution if his partner doesn't want to be married to an "unequally yoked" spouse.  It happens quite frequently, Justin, perhaps not so much in liberal Christianity but definitely in the more fundamentalist and literalist sects.

There is also the danger of being ostracized by the entire community, and even of losing one's job if the boss is a strong believer.

Finally, there are also innumerable teenagers out there who have been disowned and kicked out of the house when they admitted to having lost their faith.  That's why I and many others recommend that people -- Especially minor children with no means of support -- refrain from telling other family members until they become independent of the family (get a job and a new place to live, finish school, and if necessary move to a different part of the country).
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 22, 2013, 10:05:05 PM
Judges have been known to give a child to the Christian spouse even if not the most suitable of the two based on them solely being Christian. Can't have children growing up in loving godless homes.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on August 22, 2013, 10:07:51 PM
It's not self-evident and I never said it was. It's only self-evident if the persons heart is humble and searching for truth.

Truth does not require humility; quite the opposite.  I take the attitude "We deserve nothing less than the truth."  One should also not have to grovel before gods in order to obtain it.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:08:49 PM
The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

I think that quote sealed the deal for me on giving you the benefit of the doubt about having been a former atheist. You either don't know what what the term really means or you were as much an atheist as I was once mother teresa. So, I guess I'm playing the "no true atheist" card. :)

Well that's a mistake bc as I've said before I was so sure God didn't exist, I would tell people that the chances of Him existing were so small that it wasn't even worth talking or thinking about.

The only thing that's changed since then is, God came down and got me and I started researching like crazy the real truths of this world. Like the following:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2423&topic=56

http://www.gotquestions.org/Noahs-ark-animals.html

http://www.ldolphin.org/popul.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/star-light.html

http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/race-definition.html

https://bible.org/article/messianic-prophecies

http://www.compellingtruth.org/how-old-is-the-earth.html
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on August 22, 2013, 10:13:05 PM
the Bible is the truth.
Support this assertion with evidence. Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.
If I thought that doing so would bring you closer to God, I would. Just don't forget, saying the Bible isn't the truth is also a truth claim that you have to back up.

Read Hatter's words more carefully, Justin.  He did not say "the Bible isn't the truth"; he requested evidence.  There's a huge difference.

For example, if I say "There's a clock and a laser printer on My desk" and someone asks for evidence, I don't assume that they've said "No, you don't have a clock and a laser printer there."  I just show them.  That's what we're asking you to do:  Show us, through empirical means, that the Bible is a reliable source of information.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:18:30 PM
Well it sounds like you have your mind made up. As unfortunate as that is, especially on an issue that is not provable one way or the other, and is far from clear for people who haven't felt the Holy Spirit or been in a relationship with Jesus Christ, I hope that you'll continue to be as confident and public about your beliefs in your daily life, as you are about them here. I know from experience it can be tough, but to be neutral or silent in my opinion is worse then being wrong.

And you don't have your mind made up? We look at the world in different ways, and the outcome is bound to vary a bit. We both like hamburgers, but I see no truth whatsoever to the Jesus tale, and until is matches reality is some verifiable way, I don't think I will.

Unless I, of course, as a serious atheist, also look for Jesus, like you did. Which ain't likely. I know from various life lessons learned that looking for stuff that isn't there tends to create wrong answers. And I have no reason to voluntarily give myself an "F" for this life.

We both have our minds made up. The difference is this. I have never assumed that reality will match what I hope is true. When my mother died suddenly, I didn't start wailing and telling people that it couldn't be true. I accepted it as fact and dealt with it. When my father was dying painfully of prostate cancer and all the crappy things that go with it, my religious step-mother was praying all the time that he would live another day, while I simply wanted his pain to stop, and I knew the only way was for him to die or at least go into a coma. I had no illusions that he would get better, I didn't pray that he would be miraculously cured, I didn't beg any deities to take away his pain, I didn't gnash my teeth and wail, I simply hoped that he wouldn't suffer long and did what I could to help until he passed. Lots of religious folks involved kept asking their god for favors and telling each other that god was acting in mysterious ways, etc. To me, he was simply dying, and the pretend stuff was useless garbage that got in the way of helping him be comfortable.

I am not one to get on my knees and cry about anything. I have no need to relate to some skydaddy that doesn't exist just so I'll feel better as tears run down my face. I can't relate to the emotions associated with religion, because they are all made up. If I a going to be emotional, I'll wait until there is something to be emotional about. And I am at times emotional, because the circumstances call for it. I was excited about the recent birth of a grand-nephew, for instance. I was ecstatic that a friend recently found out that her cancer was gone after months and months of chemo and radiation. I friend recently found a job after being without work for almost a year. We had a great celebratory dinner. But you will never see me getting myself all happy about my thinking I have a so-called god in my life, or because I imagine a prayer was answered, or any other fantasy.

Yep, my mind is made up too. But I have an advantage. The mind I made up was my own, not the one I had drummed into me by other wrong people.

You're right that I do have my mind made up but I have not only tangible personal proof of my position but a mountain of evidence to back up my faith. It's important to remember that saying God doesn't exist is just as much of a knowledge claim as saying He does, and the claim that He doesn't has the same standard of proof and evidence. So where's your proof that God doesn't exists?

I looked for Jesus in an honest and humble way for twenty seconds and He came and met me just like the Bible said he would. You have no proof that He isn't there so don't be too strong about what you shouldn't do. Also spending a little time searching for Jesus wont get you an F in this life, it might get you an A in the only way an A is possible.

No body drummed anything into me. Quite the opposite. The only One who drummed anything into me was Jesus Christ.

Being as positive as you are about something you can't prove seems illogical to me.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on August 22, 2013, 10:21:34 PM
The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

I think that quote sealed the deal for me on giving you the benefit of the doubt about having been a former atheist. You either don't know what what the term really means or you were as much an atheist as I was once mother teresa. So, I guess I'm playing the "no true atheist" card. :)

Well that's a mistake bc as I've said before I was so sure God didn't exist, I would tell people that the chances of Him existing were so small that it wasn't even worth talking or thinking about.

The only thing that's changed since then is, God came down and got me and I started researching like crazy the real truths of this world. Like the following:

http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=2423&topic=56

http://www.gotquestions.org/Noahs-ark-animals.html

http://www.ldolphin.org/popul.html

http://www.gotquestions.org/star-light.html

http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

http://www.christiananswers.net/q-aig/race-definition.html

https://bible.org/article/messianic-prophecies

http://www.compellingtruth.org/how-old-is-the-earth.html

Justin,
Are you onl a serious search for truth if you look at one side of any issue? I used to look there as well (one side predisposed to tell me the side god wanted me to hear), but thanks for the slew of links.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Astreja on August 22, 2013, 10:23:18 PM
You're right that I do have my mind made up but I have not only tangible personal proof of my position but a mountain of evidence to back up my faith.

That evidence may work for you, Justin, but it doesn't work for us.  And I don't see that changing any time soon.

Quote
I looked for Jesus in an honest and humble way for twenty seconds and He came and met me just like the Bible said he would.

Very serious question here, Justin:  What kind of religious education and background do you come from?  Before your disbelieving phase, what did you know of the Christian message and how and from whom did you acquire that information?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:24:28 PM
There was nothing I was more positive in my life about then there being no God, and that was the case until that night in Nashville right before I said the two Our Fathers.

Why were you positive about there being no god?  What was your rationale?

1. I never equated any of the tangible evidence that we all see relating to God to God.
2. The people who claimed to know God around me were hypocrites and couldn't defend their faith.
3. I saw the church as a horrible thing and for the most part it is.
Quote

You have to understand that if that ambiguity wasn't in there God would turn into a cheap thrill or interesting guy to have around. God purposely puts that ambiguity all around Him to give people the opportunity to be hard hearted, skeptical, untrusting, and /or prideful or not. He does it to protect our free will.

Free will to do what?  I don't know about you, but I have to believe something exists before I can be free to choose to follow it or not.  I cannot choose to follow something I don't believe exists.

Free will to humble yourself (not saying you're not humble this is a blanket answer) and search for truth. Free will to soften your heart and seek out the evidence that makes it obvious that God exists. Free will to ask Jesus Christ into your life, repent of your sins and thank Him for not giving up on you.
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By the way, are you depriving me of my free will right now?

Not sure what you mean by that.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on August 22, 2013, 10:27:43 PM
And this is where you really lose the argument, Justin:
Quote
You're right that I do have my mind made up but I have not only tangible personal proof of my position but a mountain of evidence to back up my faith.

Faith is defined as:

A strong belief in God or in the doctrines of a religion, based on spiritual apprehension rather than proof.

Meaning in the simplest of terms: Faith is the lack of Evidence.

You lose: goodbye.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:32:52 PM
So, god, for no apparent reason, chose to give the "born again holy spirit" to this burger guy, so he has the truth now. How did he get so special? Why did he get hit with the holy stick? God has chosen to not give most of the world the "born again holy spirit". Why this burger guy and not the billions of people in China, India or Iran?

Over two-thirds of the planet is not even Christian, let alone "born again".  Most will die practicing the wrong religions, or Thor forbid, no religion at all. And will go to hell for all eternity, according to the "born-again" types. I guess it's part of god's mysterious free will plan, to make his message incomprehensible and his presence undetectable to most people. From the getgo, the ones not given the "born again holy spirit", that is, most of humanity, were destined to burn in hell.....

I am not denying that he was an atheist and had some mystical experience. If he had been in Iran he would be praising Allah. In India he would be thanking Brahma and Vishnu for finally showing him the truth. In Cuba he would be sacrificing a goat and two chickens to Papa Babaluaye. In China he would be thanking the spirits of his ancestors. No matter where he lived, he would assume that his mystical experience was evidence of the truth.

All I can say is, that burger guy should be grateful. He sure is one lucky ducky. &)

I appreciate the tone of your post. I have to say again it has nothing to do with luck. The only reason it happened to me is that while I was an atheist I was sincerely and diligently searching for truth my entire life, and it lead me to Jesus Christ and I humbly asked Him into my life at that point.

Many of you have nothing to worry about. You're humble in your questions and your search. If you continue on that path Jesus will find you.

I'm grateful beyond words, and I will spend the rest of my life serving Jesus Christ out of a feeling of obligation (not force) for the grace He extended to me that He paid for with His life and gave to me for free.

God wants all people to come to Him and while the Bible says the vast majority of people will go to hell, it was not predestined that way. God may have known it was going to happen that way from the beginning, but if He wanted people to have free will, it was out of His hands.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:37:26 PM
So Justin, you were an atheist. Think about when you were an atheist and remember that I, as an atheist, don't accept woo, logical fallacies.

Tell me, how do I spererate what you are saying from a mental breakdown or a lie.

You know, evidence. That simple

Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

From a lie, you can't for sure, and God wouldn't have it any other way. From a mental breakdown, I'd have to ask what other areas of my life would you expect to see signs of that mental breakdown, bc me or others don't see any, quite the opposite really.

There is no evidence I can give you. Only God can do that.  The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

If there is no evidence you can give me...then your claim has every bit of weight than someone who states they believe in Hercules or the Flying Spaghetti monster or Santa Claus.

Therefore the statement:

The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

has all the merit of

The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in Santa Claus then the opposite.

I even bolded them both so they have equal visual weight. They are the intellectual equivalent.

You are a grown man going on about the importance of believing in Santa Claus as far as I am concerned.

But as I've said to say there isn't a God requires evidence as well. What's yours? I don't get into the evidence game bc it's futile. You can't prove someone into loving someone.

The premise of your statements are wrong. Just bc I didn't give you and evidence doesn't mean there is none. The reality is there is a mountain of evidence to prove not only God's existence but that Jesus is God as well. If you want evidence I've posted several links throughout this thread that are filled with evidence.

On the contrary there is no evidence to suggest Santa is real.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on August 22, 2013, 10:45:27 PM
^^^^
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have

http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Peter+3%3A15&version=NIV

I think that means proof
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Azdgari on August 22, 2013, 10:48:19 PM
1. I never equated any of the tangible evidence that we all see relating to God to God.
Yes, well, attributing things to one's specific supernatural being or beings is what one typically starts doing after one starts believing, right?
2. The people who claimed to know God around me were hypocrites and couldn't defend their faith.
And now you've joined their ranks, at least on the latter point.  I don't know if you're a hypocrite, but you are now actively discrediting your faith, whether you realize it or not.
3. I saw the church as a horrible thing and for the most part it is.
So...what you're saying is that you weren't aware of any of genuine reasons for disbelief.  No wonder you gave up on atheism; you weren't informed/educated on the subject.  #1 describes your change of belief, while #2 and #3 are not rational reasons for unbelief.  Your unbelief was not founded rationally, nor is your belief.  This relates to you, not to any gods.

Free will to humble yourself (not saying you're not humble this is a blanket answer) and search for truth. Free will to soften your heart and seek out the evidence that makes it obvious that God exists. Free will to ask Jesus Christ into your life, repent of your sins and thank Him for not giving up on you.

I do search for truth.  The path you describe entails abandoning any way to determine truth.  It is the ultimate death of truth.  I would have to give up on truth in order to, by your terms, embrace it.  That is impossible.  I am not free to do that.

Not sure what you mean by that.

According to you, God refuses to make himself known to me because it would violate my free will.

You have made yourself known to me.  Therefore, by your own reasoning, you have violated my free will.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Justin Obriecht on August 22, 2013, 10:49:02 PM
I knew I was an atheist for many reasons. The one that mainly sticks out is thinking about the myth that there will be an afterlife with Jesus/god etc... There is no rationale a person could logically come to in believing in an afterlife let alone one with man made character from a book from once upon a very long time ago...

I'm sorry, but this is just another man with a silver tongue pretending to have all the answers and why our position hasn't been thought about or reasoned. This man is just another liar with a smile. I try to have a smile back but it's ever so increasingly difficult to knowing what they believe to be true is the biggest white lie ever told this century.

These same types of people will go watch a magic show with a great magician showing people being sawed in half, levitation, disappearing acts etc... All these illusions are done with slight of hand and trickery to be sure. This same person understands this and hopefully wouldn't walk away from a David Copperfield show thinking he was the real deal regardless how much emotion and sense of wonder to the mystifying illusions trying proclaim that he is a messiah etc...

In other words, he is perfectly content with doing this "slight of tongue" with a character from long ago but doesn't apply the same "slight of hand" logic to it he would with someone today. Now he is just another guy with a silver tongue for an ancient person proclaimed to be not only a magician of his time but the magician of the universe. And this person expects all of us to believe this because he was moved by a show sort speak...

This to me is a very dangerous and almost schizophrenic way to live your life and view the world but it's accepted because its religion.

Anyways, good luck with your burger joint. There is another religion where the cow is sacred and you would labeled as the devil. But hey, you have Jesus when you meet in him in the afterlife you guys can enjoy a burger or two I suppose.

If you look at this link first (http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence) and then this link (http://www.dartmouthapologia.org/articles/show/110) you'll see that your premise might not be as air tight as you think. If Jesus has been raised from the dead, so will all born again Christians.

What do you think I'm lying about?

I never said atheists weren't well thought out.

I don't think anyone will have heard of David Copperfield or anyone else from our generation 2000 years from now. Just saying.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on August 23, 2013, 06:11:18 AM
http://www.rbvincent.com/usconstitution.html

The Laws of Nature and Nature's God are not the Laws of Christianity or Christianity's God.

Being endowed by your Creator is not a reference to any specific deity, nor necessarily any deity. I am my daughter's creator. I am not a god.

I've read this drivel before. It's an attempt to insert the square peg of Christianity into the round hole of spirituality -- generic religion, if you will.  The Declaration of Independence is not a legal document, but a letter telling King George III to kiss off and go home. It was written in the vernacular of the British. As King of England he was also the head of the Anglican church, so writing this with a religious tone was to let him know that he was not in charge of all people on earth.

Let's take this from your angle and presume that Christianity was, indeed, important in the development of the US Constitution. Since the bible justifies slavery, that's why the founding fathers decided that it was okay to hold blacks as slaves for 100 years until we fought a war to free the slaves. They were sold like property and treated like dirt. They counted as 3/5ths of a man for the purposes of representation, but had no ability to vote. They couldn't own anything and they were ripped apart from their wives and children on a whim. In keeping with true form of selling your daughter into slavery, many young black slave (girls) were sold for their ability to satisfy the sexual desires of their owners.  How's that for being Christian?

Also, true to Christianity which didn't allow women to hold positions in the church, women (at this point, only white women) were not allowed to hold political offices. Hell, they couldn't even vote in most of the country until passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920. Do you think Christian influence is democratic in any way?

Why do you want to play this pointless game?


I wasn't saying anything about their govt, I was simply saying that false religions happened to take hold in those areas. This does not discount Christianity in any way

Yes you were. You stated that the US Constitution was based on Christianity and among the same points stated that other countries have not found the One True GodTM. The heavy implication was that if they had found the One True GodTM their forms of government would be like ours.

Your stepping away from that particular cliff also does not support Christianity in any way whatsoever.


What I'm saying is, Jesus Christ being God or not, isn't affected by whether Christianity has a stronghold in the US. Almost all Atheist scholors know Jesus was a real person, it's His deity they question.

Show me atheist scholars who claim that Jesus Christ was, indeed, a real person and that they only take issue with his status as a deity. I don't know of any. At best you are going to find someone who wants to take a different tact with Christians by conceding that Jesus Christ was truly a human being that existed but had no real powers. I have no idea why anyone would be willing to make such an argument because there is no direct evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed and scant circumstantial evidence for his existence.

Quote
"By the way, call me cynical but an atheist who finds Jesus is a great way to get into a new career. I've thought about doing it myself, but I'm too honest to engage in such blatant manipulation." That was your statement. At best you were passively aggressively questioning my motives and integrity.

Again, you fail to see the point. I do admit to passively-aggressively attacking your public testimony and proselytizing, but not for personal veracity but as a crass attempt at financial gain. I don't indict just you in this, I indict all Christians who do this. If your spirituality and your relationship with Jesus Christ is so important, so tantamount to your existence, you would not be using it for financial gain from others. You would not seek to advertise your business as a christian burger joint or take any value from others while disseminating your information.

In the Bible, Jesus had nothing and preached for nothing. Show me a Christian in public nowadays that preaches and proselytizes for nothing. It doesn't happen. Public Christianity is a for-profit enterprise. What Would Jesus Do?  Well, he would do it for free. Try to copy that one, will you?

I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for it.


I never said you called me nuts or implied it. You're quoting me out of context. I was simply saying there's only three rationalizations for my testimony and those are, Jesus is God, I'm nuts, or I'm lying.

Okay, I will agree with you on this, but in an entirely different context, one for which you are not aware and one for which I shall not care to discuss at this time.


Everything I do here is reactionary to the OP. I'm not trying to proselytize, I'm simply telling my experience and what I know to be true. As I've said, you can't talk someone into a relationship with someone.

Here is intellectual bankruptcy showing up on the balance sheet of logic once again.

By its very nature testimony IS proselytization. There is absolutely no reason for testimony whatsoever except to either (1) convince others that you have found the proper religion or proper god and they should follow you, or (2) to continue to edify those who share your religion but have doubts. Testimony is the dog in the field that keeps the sheep under control.


As far as increasing my bottom line I have no interest in a church.

I never stated or implied that you did. I said that you were profiting from your religious viewpoint.

As far as my restaurants go, I can assure you my testimony hasn't affected the bottom line.

I can assure you it has.


You could ask 1000 guests that comes in my stores and maybe 5 would know my story and 50 would know me. In the rare case that someone does hear my story, it has just as good of chance turning someone off as it does making them buy an extra meal from me.

You are correct that you will turn off some people, but only a few. By advertising your faith you attract and gain a particular kind of customer, one that seeks out people of faith because they think that there is some inherent good in somebody who operates a business off Christian principles. Whether they think your food has been blessed or whether the money spent at your establishment will find its way into churches rather than BMWs and McMansions, or whether they believe you wouldn't pickup a burger dropped on the floor and feed it to someone, they will come to you specifically for your religion. I do not think that people in Illinois are somehow more immune from this behavior than people in Maryland or anywhere else.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on August 23, 2013, 06:13:54 AM
^ Unless I put parentheses around the word "girls" in my previous post, the forum software would reject it. It doesn't like

young black slave girls (italics added only to get it to post)

but is okay with

young black slave (girls)


It vomits specifically on "girls".

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on August 23, 2013, 08:32:10 AM
People from all over the world have always found Jesus, many who had never heard the name Jesus.

bold mine.  this is a claim.  support it with evidence. 


The thing you're missing is that this country happened to be founded on Christianity and Biblical principals.

That is almost completely incorrect.  It is founded on Greek and Roman principles and Enlightenment philosophy.  There is almost nothing xian about the the US system of governance.

And Christianity happens to be the only true religion. The foundation just happened to not be laid in those other countries in anything but a false god and religion.

ipse dixit.  So says you.  Prove it. 

You make a lot of claims, but you have yet to put up.  We call this "preaching" and it is against the rules.

I have a relationship with Jesus Christ

I've asked you to explain this.  You haven't.  Instead you just keep repeating this.  I find it very rude.

 
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on August 23, 2013, 08:34:04 AM
How can we be stopping him?  He's omnipotent.  You can't stop an omnipotent being from doing anything.

We have free will and He does not stand in the way of our free will. If He did we would all be robots and that isn't what He wants. He wants us to make the choice whether or not to love Him.

I have to point out, yet again, that you cannot choose to love someone or not to love someone.  Would that that were the case... life would be a thousand times easier if you could simply choose which emotions you wanted to have at any given time.

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That's how all genuine relationships are formed. You have to have the desire to be in that relationship

N.B. that "loving someone" and "being in a relationship with someone" are two different things.  It appears that you're equating the two, here.  (Note, for example, that while you cannot choose to love or not to love someone, you can choose whether to be in a relationship with him.)

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It does not however make Him responsible for everything. Just because He knows what's going to happen doesn't make Him responsible.

Of course it does.  How could it not?

Quote
Quote
He is a faultless and blameless perfect loving God. As I've said He created the best possible formula for creating the most love between Him and His creation as possible and that includes evil, death, and everything else in this world. It's important to note that he did this while also causing the least amount of suffering and pain, and yes I know all about the Holocaust and other horrible things.

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Saying "worship me or I'll set you on fire for all eternity" is not a choice.

This forum is proof that it is.

How so?

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Adam and Eve were simply the first ones, they created the initial separation. Every person and generation since has decided and chosen to follow in that rebellion and sin including me and you.

I don't believe that's scriptural, is it?  I thought that sin was something that everyone inherited from A&E and therefore not something that anyone has a choice in.

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I don't even understand what the big deal is since Jesus has died on the cross, and all you have to do to make this all moot is ask Him into your life and repent of your sins.

"And if you don't, I'll set you on fire for all eternity."  That's the big deal.

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Your premise is wrong. God owes us nothing. We are the creation, He is the creator.

By this logic, parents owe their children nothing, either.

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Imagine the clay arguing with the potter.

If clay were sentient and could think and feel, it would have every right to do so.

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You act as if the second chance requires you to cut off your arm. It's the best deal ever, He dies for your sins and you get eternal life.

And I if I don't accept the doctrine, he sets me on fire for all eternity.  Yep, wonderful deal, all right.

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If He was to just wipe the slate clear that would cheapen Him and the relationship He wants with each of us.

How?

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True love comes from getting to know someone

Right, which harkens back to what I said before: love isn't something you can choose to feel, it comes about naturally from getting to know someone.  As pertains this matter, I don't even believe that Yahweh exists at all, so there's the first barrier to my loving him... the second barrier is that he sets people on fire, and while it's just barely possible that the first barrier could be surmounted, the second barrier never could be.  I am not capable of loving someone who sets people on fire for not loving him.  Quite the contrary, if I knew such a person had taken an interest in me, I would be reviewing my personal security arrangements and working with the police to ensure that this person would stay away from me.

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through struggle and hard times, through working at the relationship and a relationship with Jesus is no different.

It's different because Jesus sets people on fire for not believing he exists.  (Are you starting to see a pattern here?)

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Secondly if Hitlers ancestors acted as he did they would be punished, the same way we're punished because we act in the same way our ancestors did.

Right, and that's my point: A&E were the ones who ate the fruit.  We didn't, and yet we're being punished for it.  It's unjust.

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http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+15&version=NIV

Sorry, no.  That is not evidence, that is the claim.

No that's evidence http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence

No, it's the claim that requires evidence.

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-The Bible doesn't emanate anything to you bc you wont let it.

False.  I opened that book with all willingness to be "shown the light", and I wasn't.  I know others who have done the same thing.

There's a YouTuber, for example, named BionicDance, who was raised in a nonreligious home and had never read the bible, except for the few passages that most people are familiar with.  A while back, she said that since she was so vocally critical of Christianity, she thought it would be a good idea for her to read the bible, just to have a better idea of what she was being so critical of (an idea I agree with, which is one of the reasons I read the bible myself).  In a video she made, she openly said that she was actually rather nervous about it, because she thought there was a good chance that reading it would actually convert her to Christianity, but she also said that if this was something she was wrong about, she definitely wanted to know about it.  (It doesn't get much more open-minded than that -- I certainly know for a fact that very few Christians are willing to examine evidence that contradicts their faith.)

So she started reading it, and after she finished each book, she made a video about it.  What ended up happening was not that she was converted; her reaction was somewhat similar to mine in that she was alternately bored, offended, and incredulous that anyone could possibly find the book inspiring in any way.  As with me, it served only to solidify her rejection of Christianity -- in her case, she was so completely disgusted with the bible that she never even finished it, she only got up to 1 Kings, I think it was, before she made one last video about the subject saying that she wasn't going to continue with the project because it was a huge waste of her time.

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-Personal testimonies are only worthless to atheists when they involve Jesus Christ. In all other arenas they're critical.

Personal testimonies are worthless when they're not backed up with evidence.  This applies to Jesus and to everything else.

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-There is no such thing as macro evolution.

This is just plain wrong.

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- If the universe wasn't created what happened? What caused the Big Bang?

This is the fallacy known as the argument from ignorance: you cannot imagine where the universe came from, therefore you conclude that Yahweh must have made it.  It doesn't work that way.

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As Bill Craig says "To suggest that things could just pop into being uncaused out of nothing is to quit doing serious metaphysics and to resort to magic.

Same answer.

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It's not about reading the Bible it's about what kind of heart and mind you read it with.

Hey, if the bible were right, believe me, I would want to know about it.  Most of the other people here would probably tell you the same thing.  But I'm going to approach the bible the same way I approach any other truth claim: I'm going to examine the claim, then I'm going to examine the evidence (if any) in support of the claim to try to determine whether the claim is true.  There's no reason I should treat the bible any differently.

This applies not just to any historical claims that the bible makes, but also to any ethical codes it dictates.  For example, if a book says that the proper penalty for a rape is to require the rape victim to marry her rapist, I am going to speak critically of that notion regardless of which book it happens to appear in.

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All research should be done with a mind and a heart and an eagerness to be proven wrong.

No.  Research should be done with eagerness to determine the truth.  Research should never be done with personal desires in mind -- personal desire to be proven right or wrong.  A big part of the point of the scientific method is, in fact, to eliminate personal bias.

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If you keep searching for evidence with the heart you display here you'll find it.

I already have.

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I agree with that the research you did was done against your world view but did you do it in a humble, wanting to be proved wrong way? That's how true scientists do their research.

Answered above.

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Because God refuses to show you a miracle doesn't mean he doesn't exist.

Of course it doesn't.  But it certainly tends to lead me in that direction.

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Remember it wouldn't be a perfect formula and their wouldn't be free will if He didn't let the skeptic have a leg to stand on. A very weak leg, but still a leg. The weakness of that leg will be embarrassing for many at the final judgement.

I believe I already gave you a link to Greta Christina's article, "Why Does God Play Hide and Seek?"  Basically, the idea that Yahweh hides from us so as to give us free will is an astoundingly bad argument.  Having information doesn't interfere with our ability to make wise choices.  It is, in fact, exactly the opposite: lacking information is what interferes with our ability to make wise choices, so by hiding from us, Yahweh is actually interfering with our free will, not supporting it.

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Geological evidence shows that there was never a global flood.  The Sinai desert was not occupied by two million people for forty years.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.  On and on and on.

I disagree and so does the good doctor. http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/

And you're both wrong.  *shrug*

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It's hard to explain, and different people probably have different reasons.  For my own part, it sounds condescending, and I don't like being spoken down to.  I'm an intelligent man who has spent many years thinking about and examining such matters -- I mean, jeez, I majored in philosophy, for crying out loud, so when I hear someone saying that they "hope my eyes will be opened" or something like that, it sounds to me like I'm being spoken to like a naive, inexperienced child, which I most definitely am not.  It would be kind of like expecting a dentist not to know what wisdom teeth are, or something.

That seems a little defensive to me.

I suppose maybe it does, but if you had spent as much time, effort, and money as I have studying such matters only to have people tell you that you don't know anything about the topic, you'd probably respond rather defensively as well.

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In order for what they're saying to be offensive you would have to know everything.

Of course I wouldn't.  But their attitude appears to be that I don't know anything, or at least that I know almost nothing, about this topic.  Which is blatantly false.  I know more about this topic than most believers do, in fact -- as do most of the regulars here at WWGHA.

As far as apologetics goes, the last time I head any kind of an argument for or against the existence of God that I had never heard before was about three years ago, and the last time before that would probably have been somewhere around 1993 (in college).  So yes, when someone implies that I'm not well-informed about the subject, I tend to get offended, even if it isn't someone who should necessarily know better.

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The reality is you don't currently know the truth

Physician, heal thyself.

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and those people are actually telling you something you need to hear badly.

I don't need to hear misinformation.

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You are one of the few who doesn't have convenient friends.

Not sure what you mean by this?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jaimehlers on August 23, 2013, 08:51:36 AM
While it's certainly true that one can have a belief without being religious about it, the fact of the matter is that by definition, seeking a relationship with a deity is religious in nature.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religious (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/religious)

Both definitions 1 and 3a apply to a committed relationship with God, since unlike many human relationships, it cannot be a relationship between equal partners.  If Christians are correct that there is a god out there, it can only be a relationship between a powerless human and a powerful god, which is very lopsided.  At best, it would be the equivalent of a master/servant relationship, and it can never become less lopsided than that no matter what happens.

That may be okay for Christians, but it would not be okay for me, because that attitude limits human potential.  Imagine voluntarily becoming a servant for life for the richest, most powerful person who ever lived.  No matter what you accomplish after that, it's always in the shadow of this rich, powerful person.  It will always and only ever be on their terms.  What they want comes first, and anything you want comes second no matter what.

That may not be what you're seeking, but it is certainly what you'll get.  Because, while you might be dealing with a kind, benevolent master, you're still dealing with a master.  And there's no guarantee that he will ultimately be kind or benevolent in the long run.  Just your belief, which is not a solid base to support anything with, since it's totally immaterial.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: naemhni on August 23, 2013, 08:53:38 AM
This is a very sad thing to read.  {neopagan's story}

Yes, it is.  Unfortunately, a lot of us can tell similar stories.

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Why be a closet atheist? I couldn't have imagined that in my past life. You're being dishonest with your wife and children over something you think is a fairy tale. If they came home saying they believed in Jack In The Bean Stalk, would you jump on the band wagon and withhold information from them?

Why don't you come out of the closet?

The problem is that atheists often face discrimination in our society (as well as in others).  Most of the regulars here at WWGHA, including me, can tell you stories about various ways in which we've encountered prejudice.  In my own case, probably the worst incident was when I was a senior in college, and a girl from a Catholic family told me that I had gotten her pregnant.  Before telling me, she told her father, and he advised her to conceal the pregnancy from me, leave school, and have the baby at home, thus completely denying me my rights as a father.  His justification for this was: "I don't want a fucking atheist raising my grandchild."  And compared to what some people have had to deal with as a result of their atheism, that's actually pretty minor.

There's a saying in atheist circles that being an atheist today is kind of like being gay in the 1980s: we're confronted with a lot of severe prejudice, and there aren't even very many people (apart from atheists themselves, of course) who even think that there's anything wrong with it.  I've told my story about Nicole to quite a few Christians, for example, and the only reaction I've ever gotten from any of them is indifference.  However, if the same thing were to happen to a Jew, or a Hispanic, or a Muslim, or a {insert any other group you can think of here}, most people would be outraged and appalled at such a display of bigotry.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: jaimehlers on August 23, 2013, 09:11:59 AM
I disagree and so does the good doctor. http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/
Walt Brown's PhD is in mechanical engineering.  That is to say, in the engineering of machines and other human-created things.  That does not qualify him to have an expert opinion on something in the field of geology (which is where this hydroplate theory of his would come from).  So, his disagreement, while not moot, is not especially meaningful either.

By the way...where were Dr. Walt Brown's efforts to poke holes in this "hydroplate theory" of his?  You lecture about scientists needing to do that, and yet you link us to a propagandistic Youtube video that purports to show how the supposed global flood happened, yet you don't show us any of his efforts to find problems this theory of his.  Did you even look for them?

And also, this theory of his is more than a little too grand.  It's not an effort to get at the truth, it's an effort by someone working outside their field of expertise to show that what they already believe is the truth (and more to the point, to attempt to explain away every piece of countervailing evidence in the process).  He's already got this established idea of what he thinks happened - the flood written about in Genesis - and his theory is nothing more than a way to support what he already believes to be true.

EDIT--It took actually watching this video to really see just how awful of an explanation it really is.  Seriously?  He thinks that this water, stored in a circular layer ten miles down, simply burst free in a few moments and jetted into the stratosphere?  Where much of it conveniently froze, allowing us to have frozen mammoths at the same time everything else was drowned?  Totally ignoring what would happen to water that was moving at supersonic speeds to begin with.  Friction creates heat, and the amount of friction (and thus, of heat) we're talking about would have caused this water to vaporize very quickly, generating a ballooning pocket of superheated air which would have gone outwards as well as outwards, frying anything that got anywhere near it to a crisp.  In other words, instead of a great flood which drowned everything, it would have turned Earth (at least a large part of Earth) into a giant frying pan.  Or maybe an expanding fuel-air bomb would be a better analogy.  The point is that nothing anywhere near this event would have survived long enough to be drowned.

It gets even more fanciful after that.  Instant creation of fossils due to sediment from eroded rocks?  While I will grant that this kind of rapid burial is one of the requirements for fossils to be made, there are serious problems with this idea of his.  First off, there's nowhere near enough fossils to account for the sheer number of animals which would have been killed in a mass extinction like this, second, there's too many different kinds of fossils to explain as dying in a single cataclysmic event such as this, and third, even straightforward carbon dating (which is accurate to about 50,000 years) demonstrates that most of these fossils are much older than his 5,000 year figure.

Then he talks about how these subterranean chambers would have buckled, creating the mid-Atlantic ridge.  This is at least semi-plausible, though not in the way he suggested.  This spherical, subterranean chamber he proposed, which had to be under a tremendous amount of pressure, simply couldn't have had enough support to keep from collapsing in on itself, which would have caused a worldwide catastrophe of shattering earthquakes as the entire upper crust of the planet settled in on itself.  We're talking earthquakes that make the worst ones on record look tame.  Doesn't matter if you were on a boat or on the land - it would probably have killed every human being, either from the direct effect of the earthquakes or the massive tsunamis that would have happened on bodies of water.  Since the ark was on dry land, it would have been so badly damaged that it would have sunk almost instantly, assuming it could have survived getting hit by various walls of water in the first place.

And that completely ignores the fact that we have records from human civilizations from before the supposed time of the flood, and which continued on afterward, without breaks.  If this flood had actually happened, all of these civilizations would have ended right then and there, and there would be no 'after' records'.

In short, this is garbage masquerading as science.  A pitiful attempt by a mechanical engineer to devise a way for his belief to be true, rather than a serious attempt to come at the facts.  And it's got logical and scientific holes big enough to sail an ocean liner through, as I just showed.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: DVZ3 on August 31, 2013, 06:54:09 PM
I knew I was an atheist for many reasons. The one that mainly sticks out is thinking about the myth that there will be an afterlife with Jesus/god etc... There is no rationale a person could logically come to in believing in an afterlife let alone one with man made character from a book from once upon a very long time ago...

I'm sorry, but this is just another man with a silver tongue pretending to have all the answers and why our position hasn't been thought about or reasoned. This man is just another liar with a smile. I try to have a smile back but it's ever so increasingly difficult to knowing what they believe to be true is the biggest white lie ever told this century.

These same types of people will go watch a magic show with a great magician showing people being sawed in half, levitation, disappearing acts etc... All these illusions are done with slight of hand and trickery to be sure. This same person understands this and hopefully wouldn't walk away from a David Copperfield show thinking he was the real deal regardless how much emotion and sense of wonder to the mystifying illusions trying proclaim that he is a messiah etc...

In other words, he is perfectly content with doing this "slight of tongue" with a character from long ago but doesn't apply the same "slight of hand" logic to it he would with someone today. Now he is just another guy with a silver tongue for an ancient person proclaimed to be not only a magician of his time but the magician of the universe. And this person expects all of us to believe this because he was moved by a show sort speak...

This to me is a very dangerous and almost schizophrenic way to live your life and view the world but it's accepted because its religion.

Anyways, good luck with your burger joint. There is another religion where the cow is sacred and you would labeled as the devil. But hey, you have Jesus when you meet in him in the afterlife you guys can enjoy a burger or two I suppose.

If you look at this link first (http://carm.org/manuscript-evidence) and then this link (http://www.dartmouthapologia.org/articles/show/110) you'll see that your premise might not be as air tight as you think. If Jesus has been raised from the dead, so will all born again Christians.

What do you think I'm lying about?

I never said atheists weren't well thought out.

I don't think anyone will have heard of David Copperfield or anyone else from our generation 2000 years from now. Just saying.

Really... You don't think a magician like David Copperfield would be worshiped as a god back in those days!?

You are either denying reality, denying the past and/or don't understand the past in correlation/comparison within today's context of  human knowledge and technology, pretending to be naive, being purposely naive, or just plain being a liar for christ. All things being considered and posted by you... I think you are being conveniently naive which would make you a liar.

Please tell me there's a chance you may be unkowningly naive?  :-\
(http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/93/Buddy_christ.jpg)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on September 27, 2013, 02:38:24 PM
the Bible is the truth.

Support this assertion with evidence. Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

If I thought that doing so would bring you closer to God, I would. Just don't forget, saying the Bible isn't the truth is also a truth claim that you have to back up.

Perhaps you're not getting the phrase "couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad." Either that, or you would require someone to prove the Iliad isn't true before accepting the claim the Grecian Gods exist and should be worshipped.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on September 27, 2013, 02:42:47 PM
So Justin, you were an atheist. Think about when you were an atheist and remember that I, as an atheist, don't accept woo, logical fallacies.

Tell me, how do I spererate what you are saying from a mental breakdown or a lie.

You know, evidence. That simple

Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.

From a lie, you can't for sure, and God wouldn't have it any other way. From a mental breakdown, I'd have to ask what other areas of my life would you expect to see signs of that mental breakdown, bc me or others don't see any, quite the opposite really.

There is no evidence I can give you. Only God can do that.  The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

If there is no evidence you can give me...then your claim has every bit of weight than someone who states they believe in Hercules or the Flying Spaghetti monster or Santa Claus.

Therefore the statement:

The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in God then the opposite.

has all the merit of

The reality is that it takes more faith not to believe in Santa Claus then the opposite.

I even bolded them both so they have equal visual weight. They are the intellectual equivalent.

You are a grown man going on about the importance of believing in Santa Claus as far as I am concerned.

But as I've said to say there isn't a God requires evidence as well. What's yours? I don't get into the evidence game bc it's futile. You can't prove someone into loving someone.

The premise of your statements are wrong. Just bc I didn't give you and evidence doesn't mean there is none. The reality is there is a mountain of evidence to prove not only God's existence but that Jesus is God as well. If you want evidence I've posted several links throughout this thread that are filled with evidence.

On the contrary there is no evidence to suggest Santa is real.

Said "evidence" in your links amounts to other people who say Santa is real. That's not evidence; that's other peoples opinions.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on September 27, 2013, 02:57:47 PM
You can't have a relationship with someone and then say you didn't or believe you didn't.


Incorrect: Santa Claus


Lets start of with a basic question: Do you acknowledge people hallucinate, lie, and exaggerate?

If you think you had an actual relationship with Santa, there is no way to the say you didn't and be telling the truth.

Yes people do all those things.

If you acknowledge people hallicinate, lie, and exxagerate...than you acknowledge people will give you incorrect information, intended or not.

As such, if that information does not match your day to day experience, Is it wrong to treat it with skepticism?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on September 27, 2013, 07:48:08 PM
If we were living in the ancient Aztec society of Mexico, we would be surrounded by millions of people who believed with all their might that their gods were real. They had the sacred writings, priests, holidays, and slaves sacrificed on altars regularly to prove it. Their ancestors had created images of the gods, and their ancestors would not lie. The continued existence of the universe itself proved that their gods were real.

1) Did the Aztec gods really exist? If not, why did people worship them for thousands of years, give their lives for them, organize their society around them?
2) What evidence could a Christian show to the Aztec people that would convince them that their gods were not real? 

Remember, the Aztec were conquered by the Spanish and forced to convert to Christianity. That is why most Mexicans are Christians today. The conquest did not mean that the Aztec gods were not real, it just showed that the Spanish were more ruthless and had better diseases.

Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Tero on September 28, 2013, 08:05:26 AM
There are in fact no atheists that are republicans. If you run into one on the net, they are trolls or scams.

If you have right wingy ideas and are an atheist, you eventually turn libertarian.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nam on September 28, 2013, 08:36:18 AM
There are in fact no atheists that are republicans. If you run into one on the net, they are trolls or scams.

If you have right wingy ideas and are an atheist, you eventually turn libertarian.

I know Republican atheists. Hell, I once leaned that way myself. Though, today, one of the main prerequisites of being a Republican seems to be also being a Christian. Wasn't always so.

But I don't understand how some people, such as atheists, non-whites, women, or the poor to middle-class can be Republican, since those in charge don't give a shit about them, at all.

-Nam
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on September 28, 2013, 06:38:25 PM
^^^I agree. Like gay Republicans who are in it for the tax breaks.  Especially now since the Obama administration is giving gay married couples equal tax benefits, despite right-wing outrage. I'm like, why the eff are you hanging with people who hate you? :?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on September 28, 2013, 07:16:02 PM
There are in fact no atheists that are republicans. If you run into one on the net, they are trolls or scams.

If you have right wingy ideas and are an atheist, you eventually turn libertarian.

Sure there are; for the most part they are towards the Libertarian side who decided to be part of a party that can win an election.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Nick on September 29, 2013, 09:09:15 AM
The county I live in is 98% republican.  The average income, if you do not farm, is $20,000 to $30,000 a year.  I never understood why these people voted as they do.  You should hear them talk about health care.  Most do not have coverage or very poor coverage.  Seems like every weekend their is some kind of fund raiser to help someone with medical bills.  Yet they continue to suck up the GOP juice.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on September 30, 2013, 09:41:28 AM
If you have right wingy ideas and are an atheist, you eventually turn libertarian.

That's even worse.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on September 30, 2013, 12:34:01 PM
If you have right wingy ideas and are an atheist, you eventually turn libertarian.

That's even worse.

I'm not sure on that one. As outspokenly anti-Libertarian as I can be sometimes; they start off the the very correct premise, "More regulation is not always the answer." Unfortunately as soon a they became a party, it was turned into the absolutely ludicrous premise "Less regulation is always the answer"

The core example, Rearden Steel, works on magic.
Its workers arrive via roads that government didn't build...magic.
These workers don't decide to rise up and kill their oppressor managers...magic.
They are educated to be productive by no one....magic.
They don't get sick from unregulated food...magic.
No one steals the output of the factory...magic.
There is a demand for the steel without building regulations or a military to buy it...magic.
It can get the product to its customers without seaport and rail systems that only are efficient when they are standardized and regulated by a central authority...magic.
Money exists to buy raw materials and sell finished product....magic.
The corporate structure, which requires an advanced court system to protect investors from mismanagement....doesn't need one because it is magic.


"Going Galt" would ruin everything because there is no one waiting in the wings for people to retire or die, despite it actually happen several times a day in the real world, because...well, magic.


Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: screwtape on September 30, 2013, 01:03:11 PM
they start off the the very correct premise, "More regulation is not always the answer."

I don't think that is the premise with which they start.  I believe their premise is "Imma do what I want and screw the rest of you!"

I've made the argument elsewhere here that by D&D alignment standards, libertarian is chaotic evil.
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: nogodsforme on September 30, 2013, 02:24:01 PM
A libertarian guy I know is an airplane mechanic. He hates the government, seemingly not realizing that he would have no job if not for the government. His company is totally dependent on government contracts.

How many planes do individual consumers buy vs the military? And who would ever get on a plane if they were not strictly inspected and regulated by the government?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Chronos on September 30, 2013, 04:23:37 PM
If you have right wingy ideas and are an atheist, you eventually turn libertarian.

That's even worse.

Beggars can't be choosers ... but we can hope ... ;)
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: Hatter23 on October 04, 2013, 02:31:59 PM
A libertarian guy I know is an airplane mechanic. He hates the government, seemingly not realizing that he would have no job if not for the government. His company is totally dependent on government contracts.

How many planes do individual consumers buy vs the military? And who would ever get on a plane if they were not strictly inspected and regulated by the government?

No to mention the vast amount of land needed for an airport.....would such expanses exist on the coasts without some government interference?
Title: Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
Post by: neopagan on October 04, 2013, 03:20:36 PM
  It seems our friend Justin has been absent from the thread built in honor of his miraculous conversion for some time.  Since he is away, I thought one of his website postings would be entertaining and enlightening. 
  I read Justin's website on occasion... it reminds me of how my brain used to "work," back when I was a theist. 
  This incredibly long gem is from a special guest posting from Darrin, doe hunter of the gods, on JO's website.  I'm glad Darrin is now on the straight and narrow after a misspent youth of drugs and being “hired by mafia related associates." It's full of the zany nonsense we all love about theist conversion tales, but I really like how Darrin the hunter gives us a real-life, living and breathing example of SPAG (without even realizing it):

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Now my relationship with God is not as fancy as many of you. In fact it was 9 long years before I heard the voice of the Lord. While I was jogging down an old gravel road in Illinois, God spoke to me and simply said, “Ask me for something.” I stopped immediately and stood in the hot sun wondering if I had lost my mind. After all I had just heard a voice. I literally shook my head and stated aloud, “What?” God then said, “Ask me for something boy.” I believe to this day that God used the word “boy” because it’s a slang word I often used and was something I saw as confirmation. Kinda like God speaking to me like I speak.
http://justinobriecht.com/2013/08/12/another-amazing-testimony/