Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"You're Nothing Without Me" and Other Atheist Misunderstandings and Straw Man Arguments (Part 3)

By Tony Miano


7. "You're a terrible person and you need me to be better."

Many of these assertions/objections are simply reworded statements, which all have the same underlying premise. "I'm a good person." Therefore, I will simply restate the answer I gave to assertion/statement #4.

The statement drips with arrogance, self-righteousness, and sinful delusion. A person who would make such a statement as an objection to Christianity is a person who actually believes in their deluded mind that they are better than God.

There's no need to spend a lot of time on this one, because the person who would make this statement has already shown their inability to reason, and an inability to see themselves in their true light.

God alone is good (Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19).

No mere human being is good (Psalm 14:1-3; Psalm 51:1-3; Romans 3:10-18), according to God's standard: moral perfection (Matthew 5:48).

8. "You're not worthy of my love."

Again, the faulty underlying premise that people are inherently good is obvious in the eighth assertion/statement.

If you are reading this and you are a person who thinks you are worthy of God's love, there's no other way to break the news to you than to simply tell you the truth.

You are not worthy of God's love. No one is. No one.

No one deserves a gift. Anything received that is deserved is a wage, payment, or credit. And God, in His Word, has much to say about wages, payments, and credit.

The wages earned for your sin is not God's love, but death.

"For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 6:23, NIV, emphasis added).

You will never pay God enough to be worthy of His love.

"No one can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for them—the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough—o that they should live on forever and not see decay" (Psalm 49:7-9, NIV, emphasis added).

And God gives no credit, let alone extra credit, for simply doing the things every person ought to do, in obedience to God and His Word.

"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full (Luke 6:32-34, NIV, emphasis added).

The word "worthy" appears 44 times in the ESV translation of the Bible.

Jacob realized that he was worthy of nothing from God.

"And Jacob said, 'O God of my father Abraham and God of my father Isaac, O Lord who said to me, "Return to your country and to your kindred, that I may do you good," I am not worthy of the least of all the deeds of steadfast love and all the faithfulness that you have shown to your servant, for with only my staff I crossed this Jordan, and now I have become two camps. Please deliver me from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, that he may come and attack me, the mothers with the children'" (Genesis 32:9-11, emphasis added).

John the Baptist realized he was not worthy to be in the presence of the Lord.

"Even now the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and gather his wheat into the barn, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire" (Matthew 3:10-12, emphasis added).

A Gentile soldier realized that he was unworthy to have God incarnate step foot in his house.

"And he said to him, 'I will come and heal him.' But the centurion replied, 'Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, "Go," and he goes, and to another, "Come," and he comes, and to my servant, "Do this," and he does it'" (Matthew 8:7-9, emphasis added).

Jesus made it very clear that whoever loves other people, even one's self, more than they love Jesus are not worthy of Him. Three times in the span of two sentences Jesus drives this point home.

"Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me" (Matthew 10:37-38, emphasis added).

Nowhere in God's Word will you find a statement by God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, or the disciples that in any way affirms the false notion that sinful people are worthy of God's love. And this is what makes God's love so amazing. This is what differentiates the beautiful, pure, and holy love of God from the selfish, lustful, and otherwise sinful forms of love so often touted by people as "good."

God's love for sinners is not tainted by sin.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).

"For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:6-8).

"Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13).

"But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).

The only one who is worthy of praise, honor, glory, and love is Jesus Christ the Lord.

"Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created" (Revelation 4:11).

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying,

"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever" (Revelation 5:13)!

So, again, it is true and will always be true. No one is worthy of God's love. And until those who think otherwise come to terms with their unworthiness, they will not and cannot love God, nor receive His gifts of forgiveness and eternal life.

9. I'm only doing this because I love you.

Those who would try to use the above statement as some kind of ammunition against God and against biblical Christianity likely ascribe to one of a few schools of thought (of course there might be others). They have either been victimized in some way, with the perpetrator insisting what they were doing was an act of love. Or they remain the spoiled brats they were as a child, maintaining the narcissistic belief they should receive whatever they want whenever they want it. They may have never come to terms with the reality that parents discipline their children or withhold things from the children because they love their children.

Another school of thought, which I won't spend any time dealing with here, is "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Since it's been well established in this series of articles that, according to God's Word, there are no good people; suffice to say bad things don't happen to good people. Bad things (of varying degrees) happen to everyone, because no one is good--no not one (see Psalm 14:1-3; Romans 3:10-18).

God lovingly disciplines His children.

"Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

'My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.'

"It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it" (Hebrews 12:3-17).

Only those who are graciously adopted by God, through faith in His Son Jesus Christ, are His children (born again followers of Jesus Christ; John 3:3, 7). All others are not children of God, but rather children of wrath.

"For he whom God has sent utters the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him" (John 3:34-36).

"So then, brothers, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, 'Abba! Father!' The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him" (Romans 8:12-17).

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:1-3).

Those who are not God's truly adopted children do not face the discipline of a heavenly Father. They face the wrath and judgment of a holy Judge.

"Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth" (Colossians 3:5-8).

"Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains, calling to the mountains and rocks, 'Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand'" (Revelation 6:15-17)?

"Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:11-15).

10. Don't listen to anyone who doesn't understand what we have.

This last assertion is rather nonsensical, which is consistent with the atheistic worldview as a whole. But, for the sake of this article, I'm going to assume the author is, in some way, espousing views consistent with the intolerant and utterly inconsistent "COEXIST" lobby.

Every time I run into a "COEXISTer" and dare to challenge them on their worldview, regardless of how gentile I am with my words (and, yes, I'm capable of that), they seem to be gung-ho to tolerate everything--everything but biblical Christianity.

The reason there is no room for biblical Christianity (and not the pseudo-Christianity of most liberal denominations) on the "COEXIST" bumper sticker is because unsaved people cannot tolerate the exclusive claims of the real Jesus Christ. Their sinful, self-righteous, self-absorbed nature just will not allow it.

And any person who claims to be a Christian while denying the exclusivity of Christ and biblical Christianity, is likely not truly saved. They may very well be false converts who has never come to genuine repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Note to Atheist Readers: You can leave your Scotsman friend at home. The fallacy you like to trot out to appease your conscience and skirt around a significant and true biblical issue (true and false conversion) carries no weight here. The Word of God is true, while one of your favorite fallacies is full of holes.

Following the false and blasphemous gods of Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah's Witness, Scientology, Raelism, Urantianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Oprah-Winfreyism, or any other man-made religion leads only to death, punishment, and eternity in Hell. There is no hope of real forgiveness, salvation, and eternal life apart from genuine repentance toward and faith in the one true Jesus Christ, the Creator, the God of the Bible.

Here are some of the exclusive claims of Jesus.

"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me'" (John 14:6).

"I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand" (John 10:28).

"I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture" (John 10:9).

"And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in him may have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:14-16).

"'God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.' The woman said to him, 'I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ). When he comes, he will tell us all things.' Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am he'" (John 4:24-26).

The same cannot rightly or truthfully be said about any other god or any other representative of any of the myriad of false gods that presently plague the earth.

~~~~~

There you have it--a Christian response to a piece of artwork, which is based on a fallacious, atheistic worldview--a worldview derived from a depraved ignorance to what the Bible actually says and what Christians actually believe. And all who place themselves under a godless worldview will nonetheless stand before God to give an account for their lives. On that great and terrible day, they will not be able to claim innocence or ignorance.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen" (Romans 1:18-25).

But you do not have to remain in your self-induced ignorance, maintaining your self-proclaimed innocence.

Please read the following closely. Your very soul may depend on it.

When you die (and we will all die someday), you will stand before God and give an account for your life--every decision made, every action taken, every idea thought, every word spoken. He will judge each of us according to the perfect moral standard of His Law. If we have sinned against Him in any way (and all sin is against God)--if we have lied, stolen, looked with lust, taken His name in vain, hated another person, or coveted someone else's possessions; He will find us guilty of breaking His Law.

We also sin against God when we fashion a Jesus in our mind to suit ourselves--when we create a Jesus in our imagination with whom we are comfortable. This is called idolatry. It is idolatrous to change the character of Jesus Christ and make Him into Someone who turns a blind eye to sin or even applauds sin.

When you stand before God, if He finds you guilty of breaking His Law, He will punish your sin. And the punishment God has ascribed for sin is eternity in Hell. He must do what is right, because He is holy, righteous, and just.

I don't want that for you. I don't want that for anyone.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift. In addition to being holy, righteous, and just; God is also, loving, merciful, and kind.

2,000 years ago, God the Father sent His Son to earth in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus was and is fully God and fully Man, yet without sin. Unlike you and me, He never once violated the Law of God in thought, word, or deed. He couldn't because He was and is God in the flesh--the sinless Lamb of God who came to take away the sins of the world.

Jesus lived the perfect life (a life pleasing to God the Father) that neither you nor I can live. About 33 years into His earthly existence, He voluntarily went to the cross. He suffered and died a horrific, bloody death to take upon Himself the punishment you and I rightly deserve for our sins against God. Three days later, He forever defeated sin and death when He rose from the grave. He is alive today, and He will return at a time of the Father's choosing.

What God commands of you is the same thing He commands of me and all people everywhere. He commands that we repent (turn from our sin and turn toward God); and, by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.

You may have heard this (or something similar) in the past, maybe even in church. But it is not enough to nod your head in agreement and then believe in a Jesus whose character is different than the one, true Jesus of the Bible.

Like everyone else, you must come to Jesus Christ on His terms, not your own.

Please, repent of your sin and, by faith and by faith alone, receive Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, while He has given you time.

And let me encourage you to watch this important documentary.