Hi everyone, in order to keep my apologetic skills sharp, I frequently go on a Facebook group called “Friends of the Bible and Beer Consortium.”
The group is designed to be a place where skeptics and Christians can interact, but I find myself usually outnumbered by skeptics, and the Christians who attempt to join in are often not well-versed in apologetics. If you feel led, check out the group on Facebook and see if you can change the thinking of the skeptics.
Following is a sample thread from one of my discussions. What else might I have said? The name of person writing is in boldface.
Andrew Why would someone live like Jesus if they didn’t believe God exists? Sounds like the mysterious land shark I keep hearing about.
Me Andrew, If you don’t believe in God, you lose more than Jesus-- you lose any possibility of Life having meaning. Several atheists, including Jean-Paul Sartre understood this, he famously declared that life was “meaningless and absurd.” Which, in my mind, is a proposition more frightening than the existence of hell.
Arron That’s really sad that you feel that way, Dennis, and I’m not trying to be glib. I genuinely mean it. I find it sad when I hear theists claim that without Jesus life would have no meaning.
I, and every atheist I know, find great meanings in our lives. We don’t tie One True Meaning up with a deity - we find it in life itself. It doesn’t have to have meaning to anyone else.
Me Arron, we all enjoy temporal (in the moment) meaning in our lives, but if there is no God what could provide a transcendent (ongoing, permanent, toward an absolute goal) --meaning?
Arron Why is a transcendent meaning necessary? Why is temporal meaning not sufficient?
Me Arron, you can certainly believe that temporal meaning is sufficient. Buddhists do, and that’s why suicide for them is a ritualized and honorable act. If life has only temporary meaning, and it gets really bad, you just quit.
Arron As much as I’d love to discuss suicide with you, and may we will bring it up soon, I’m trying to keep on topic.
Me Arron, Yes. But keep in mind that Christians do not think of Christianity as a social construct. To put it simply, we didn’t make the rules, God did.
Arron Dennis, fair enough. Thanks to you guys for the chat. See, we don’t always have to poke the bear.
Aaron Dennis, meaning is internal. It’s subjective. The universe can succumb to heat death and there exist no god and no afterlife and that won’t change the fact that my life has meaning to me.
Me Aaron, we can all have joy and deep meaning in particular moments. But what about the full arc of your life? Even if you achieve every ideal that you can imagine and get exactly the life that you want, what purpose does it have if human history is meaningless? I believe that human history does have meaning because of God-- God gives a purpose to human history.
Several atheist philosophers including Sartre, Camus, Russell–have declared that life has no meaning and only atheists are brave enough to realize that fact. I consider them to be half right–if there is no God, human history has no meaning, purpose or goal. I believe that there is a God and that humanity is moving towards an epic conclusion. Those who reject God are only waiting on the heat death of the universe.