Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What would it take for me to be a Christian?

As an atheist and former Pentecostal evangelist, I am often asked by believers what would it take for me to come back to the faith. Since I left the fold in 1994 I recall my final prayer to the Lord ending with  the one and only condition that would bring me back . I did not want to hear from his followers about his love, or have the gospel preached to me all over again. As arrogant as it might sound I feel that I have read and studied the Bible enough times to know pretty much everything about salvation and what it claims God requires.

This is the obligation of anyone claiming to be a follower of Christ

One of my biggest problems with the scriptures is that they are first of all fallible. Secondly, they are not absolute but rather subject to the many interpretations of man. These interpretations are subject to a society's language, culture, and traditions that preceded the coming of Christianity to that group. Not to mention the current events that that society may be facing at the time that the gospel is presented to them. These and possibly many other factors are the reasons that there are so many Christian sects all over the world today.The last problem I have with Christianity is that they (denominations) all claim to have the truth. But upon close inspection of the scriptures it is not hard to find flaws in all of them that do not accord with the teachings of the scriptures.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. John 14:26

            Apparently the Holy Spirit has not been doing a good job at communicating "the truth."

According to The Center for the Study of Global Christianity there are approximately up to 41,000 Christian denominations and organizations in the world! I view each denomination as a person or group of persons from another denomination that did not agree with some of their teachings. Each and every one of these denominations are the result of doctrinal disagreements due to how they all interpret the scriptures as a whole. So my question to God would be: "if according to John 14:26 and other scriptural texts the Holy Spirit is supposed to guide us to the truth then why is there so much disagreement as to what that truth is?

Since its beginnings the Christian church has been plagued with disagreements and dissensions as to what the Lord taught and believed. Why was the Lord not clearer in communicating such an important message to his followers? If anything we learn that the Lord if he existed suffered from poor communication skills. It could also be said that his followers suffered from poor comprehension skills. Either way the message is not clearly defined and as a result of it there has been much bloodshed and many lives have been destroyed in more ways than one due to this fact.

We can't rely on the Bible, the Holy Spirit, or man for the interpretation of what the truth really is about, so we are left with one source: the truth himself. Jesus Christ, if he existed is the supposed founder of the Christian church whether that was his intention or not. It has always been a policy of mine in life to research any information I obtain as thoroughly as possible. At times I am able to go to the source such as in the case of Jehovah's Witnesses or any other denomination by reading their instructional and source materials to inform myself as to what they believe. But other times we are forced to rely on second and third hand or even further removed sources as in the gospels.

Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

The above text and others asks believers to always go to the source. In this case the source is Christ and so that is also my definitive proof that Christianity is true. I know that the Bible praises those that believe in him by faith without ever having seen him. But I demand evidence and I don't think that it would be too much trouble for God to provide me with that evidence in a way that would satisfy me.

This did happen in the Bible if we are to believe its tales which quite honestly I don't. In John chapter 20 we are told of the apostle of Christ; Thomas. After the Lord had made a couple of postmortem appearances to Mary Magdalene and his other disciples they were dining together and were sharing their experiences with one another. Thomas of course did not believe what he had been hearing and declared: ...“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 Thomas in my eyes represents every atheist alive today that doubts these stories. He definitely represents me! This impresses me most because Thomas supposedly walked and talked with Jesus on a daily basis when he was allegedly alive and walked the earth.

Thomas like myself was not happy with just hearing stories, Thomas demanded proof! The Bible also has a parable that emphasizes how important every lost soul is to God. "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?" Luke 15:4 Right now if God is real and Christ is the true messiah, as a former servant of his I am a lost sheep trying to honestly find my way home. But like Thomas I need to see the shepherd himself before I come back to the fold.

Here is my requirement: just as the Lord fulfilled Thomas's request I would like him to fulfill mine which is the exact same one Thomas made. “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” John 20:25 I think that this is a more than reasonable request. Unfortunately some individuals so called revelations that happened almost 2000 years ago and has been handed down from generation to generation ad infinitum to the present day will not suffice. If you want my life you have to prove to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that you exist. That is what it will take for me to come back to the faith and to the service of the Lord.

Note: All biblical quotations are taken from the New International Version of the scriptures.


  1. The kicker is that doubting Thomas is an insult in religious circles. He's looked down on for needing to have proof. Of course now I look at it and I see him as the only sensible one.

    1. Yeah, Thomas was actually chastised by Christ for requiring evidence and not simply believing by faith.

      Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:29

      More faith propaganda is all that is my friend.

  2. It's also interesting to note that all of the great prophets and other religious zealots--Moses, Mohammed, Noah, Joseph Smith, George W. Bush, et al--were allegedly contacted directly by god, yet the rest of us are told we have to take his existence on faith and faith alone. Why is that?

  3. Believing something just because it is written in one of many religious books is really, really stupid. Unfortunately the vast majority of believers had it drilled into them since they could understand speech and it's difficult to get them to see how ridiculous their beliefs are. Then they see "faith" as something good. I see faith without evidence as just dumb. They like to say we have faith that if we cross the street we won't get hit by a truck. Ummm. no, that's why we look both ways first. If we had "faith" we'd just cross without looking and risk either seriously pissing off a driver who had to stop suddenly or injury/death from being hit.

  4. Maybe you will know this answer. Even though Thomas was the one that doubted was he not the most loved disciple?
    If he was then Jesus if he existed approved of people questioning, so maybe Jesus was an Atheist ;)

    Great post again

    1. According to wikipedia, the most beloved disciple is john

    2. Thanks Christian. I was a little confused when I read your comment at first because traditionally it was believed that the disciple whom Jesus loved is John. But in all reality it is all speculation because he is not identified by name.

    3. Thanks all the same. I just thought I had heard something like that when I still went to church. That said I heard many strange things when I went to church.

  5. I've always said that when this Jebus comes to my house, knocks on my door, and is floating a foot off the ground, or walking through walls, while dripping blood from his wounds and speaking in Aramaic I'd have enough evidence to believe, or have myself committed, one or the other.

  6. @Chatpilot if Jesus appeared physically and you got the chance to see the nail marks in his hands and put your finger where the nails were, would you really believe? Or, would you be inclined to explain it away as a hallucination?

    Just curious.

    1. Eddie, one of my conditions is that I am wide awake, lucid, and can physically touch him. If I did experience it in the same way that Thomas die hell yeah I would believe! Also, one thing I did not mention in the post was that this happened to Thomas in front of the other disciples while they were together. So according to this tale Thomas also had witnesses to his experience! That takes this request to a whole new level.

  7. Well, when it comes to Christianity, it is reasonable to ask of the 40,000 denominations "Who's right?"

    But observe the chart that you posted, which is exactly why I came across this blog when I was looking one up. What was the original Church of Christ? It was, since the beginning and is now, the Catholic Church.

    Even though the graph shows the "Early Church" as preceding the "Catholic Church", they are one in the same, except that the "Early Church" wasn't as clearly organized because of its obvious newness.

    And sure enough, the head honcho of the early Church, the faithful Peter, the rock on whom Jesus "will build my (his) church" (Matthew 16:18), is none less than the first pope of the Catholic Church, therefore making Catholicism Jesus's Church!

    Also, as a testament to Catholicism's truth, unlike other churches, Catholicism has never changed its doctrine on social issues (and sins) such as contraception and homosexuality while others have clearly given in to the peer pressure.

    Yes, while "the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it (the Catholic Church)" (Matthew 16:18), the protestants are changing their stance on these evils left and right and falling prey to our culture.

    Even if this isn't the clear as day miracle you were looking for, I hope that you will at least now be enlightened on this particular matter of truth, and from now on, if you ever reconsider believing in Jesus, I would encourage you to forget about the heresies of protestantism and only consider Catholicism, the truest and original Church of Christ.

    1. YellowW

      Thanks for your comment on this matter but I disagree with you on many points regarding the Catholic church and many of their doctrines. Christianity was not a unified church in the beginning and I don't believe in the churches claim to direct succession of popes to the apostle Peter.

      As you might know the church initially started out as a Jewish sect that later expanded to allow and accept gentiles into the fold. The N.T. book of Acts is not an reliable account of the churches history and today biblical scholars are even beginning to doubt the actual historicity of Jesus himself. There is scant secular evidence for his existence outside of the Bible and considering the fame that is claimed for him this is highly suspect and unusual.

      In certain countries like Africa the prohibition of birth control has led to a massive amount of std's and overpopulation leading to starvation and death. The celibacy requirements for the clergy have led to rampant pedophilia and sexual misconduct. The prohibition on divorce has forced others to leave the church or stay stuck in an abusive relationship. etc. etc.