Test of Sincerity

anthonykim021272:

HI, I stumbled upon your video somehow and I would like to ask you some questions, 

When you ask you decided to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, at an early age, was it just verbally or did you have the dramatic experience of the Holy Spirit when you realize that you are a true sinner and sincerely repent and ask God for forgiveness?

you said that you havent really read the bible until you had to debate your belif with some random guy you met online, how can this be true if you were really a born-again christain?

when you are truly borned again, dont you have an automatic hunger for the word of God and read and pray everyday?

also when you say you prayed everyday and every moment, was it just a prayer about certain things becuase most part of a prayer is about repentence and cleansing yourself to be right with God.

have you ever thought maybe, just maybe, you were able to de-convert because as you described, your personal walk with god was indeed a delusion or an illusion because it really was on your part because you were not really saved to begin with?

maybe you thought you really experienced the holy spirit and you didnt and you created an illusion that you really had a realtionship with god when you really didnt, it is possible for someone to think that they are saved even though they are not.

holy spirit doesnt just come inside you just because you ask for it, it is a gift from god.

will having a supernatural encounter with God reconvert you into becoming a christian again?

and just a minor thought while i was watching your video, have you ever really met the professor you were debating with online in person?

how sure are you about his claims of being who is really is-a person of high educational background, not that it really matters…

I apologize if I sounded rude, but i really want to understand and know the details of your realtionship with God if it really was sincere.

Evid3nc3:

“When you ask you decided to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior, at an early age, was it just verbally or did you have the dramatic experience of the Holy Spirit..”

It was a dramatic experience, yes.

”..when you realize that you are a true sinner and sincerely repent and ask God for forgiveness?”

Of course. That’s the essence of the sinner’s prayer: they make you feel guilty about the smallest, most innocent offenses (which are the only kind most 6 year old children could even be guilty of). In my case I had stolen a toy from the church nursery once.

“you said that you havent really read the bible until you had to debate your belif with some random guy you met online”

Nope. I never said that. That is entirely mistaken. I explicitly said that I tried to read the Bible cover-to-cover one year before meeting the Professor. I also made it very clear that I had read the Bible regularly for years before this, just never COVER-TO-COVER (which is quite different from never reading the Bible AT ALL, which is what you are accusing me of):

2.4 Deconversion: The Bible (Part 1)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=70SYwkoH_yc

“when you are truly borned again, dont you have an automatic hunger for the word of God and read and pray everyday?”

I did pray and had a desire to read the Bible every day (most likely induced by the promise that this book had all the answers I would ever need). And most days I did, especially in college. I just hadn’t read the Bible from cover to cover. I focused mostly on the epistles before taking up the task of reading the Bible cover to cover.

“becuase most part of a prayer is about repentence and cleansing yourself to be right with God.”

I repented regularly and constantly insisted that God show me his will for my life, multiple times a day, ESPECIALLY when debating the Professor. If that is not “cleansing yourself to be right with God”, I don’t know what is.

“have you ever thought maybe, just maybe, you were able to de-convert because as you described, your personal walk with god was indeed a delusion or an illusion because it really was on your part because you were not really saved to begin with?”

No. That is ridiculous. I have never seen any evidence that anyone on this planet could be more sincerely “saved” than I was. I see the desire of people like yourself to assert that, somehow, despite all outward and inward evidence that I believed and behaved exactly as they do, that I was somehow different than them, and that they are somehow “saved” in a way that I wasn’t, as wishful thinking.

“maybe you thought you really experienced the holy spirit and you didnt and you created an illusion that you really had a realtionship with god when you really didnt, it is possible for someone to think that they are saved even though they are not.”

Only if that is what all Christians are doing. The evidence of my life and my (EXTENSIVE, lifelong, and continued) interactions with other Christians allows me to see no other possibility as more justified than this: that is what ALL Christians are doing.

“holy spirit doesnt just come inside you just because you ask for it, it is a gift from god.”

You are presupposing that God exists in this statement. Your presupposition is unjustified.

“will having a supernatural encounter with God reconvert you into becoming a christian again?”

I still have all the same feelings I had as a Christian. Every single feeling that I formerly labeled as “spiritual”, I still have. Therefore, in order for me to reconvert, I would need more than just feelings. I would need evidence whose *only* satisfying explanation is that a God exists.

“and just a minor thought while i was watching your video, have you ever really met the professor you were debating with online in person?”

I’ve never met him in person, no.

“how sure are you about his claims of being who is really is-a person of high educational background, not that it really matters…”

I don’t base my beliefs on the authority of any person and neither should you. This is called an Appeal to Authority, and it is a logical fallacy. As I show quite clearly in the series, I didn’t just “take the Professor’s word” for it. I went out and found his books and read them. I didn’t need to take his word because the evidence spoke for itself.

“I apologize if I sounded rude, but i really want to understand and know the details of your realtionship with God if it really was sincere.”

I understand. My experience was sincere and I have every reason to believe it was as sincere as any other Christian’s.

7 comments on “Test of Sincerity

  1. Matt says:

    Out of curiosity, why not meet the professor? Do you have future plans to do so? He clearly has had a major impact on your life. Do you continue to communicate with him?

    Also, I’ve wanted to say that your videos are fascinating. Having come from a non-religious upbringing (we were Christian in name only), I truly appreciate the insight and perspective you’ve provided. Keep up the great work!

    • evid3nc3 says:

      The situation with the Professor has a lot of nuances, not least of which, I think, is his desire to live a private life and not to be an activist in the atheist movement, as I am. I will explain more in a later video.

      Thanks for the compliments on the series!

  2. Richard says:

    “have you ever thought maybe, just maybe, you were able to de-convert because as you described, your personal walk with god was indeed a delusion or an illusion because it really was on your part because you were not really saved to begin with?”

    “maybe you thought you really experienced the holy spirit and you didnt and you created an illusion that you really had a realtionship with god when you really didnt, it is possible for someone to think that they are saved even though they are not.”

    These lines here makes me laugh…do you think the believer would ever turn around and ask these questions of their own self?

    If it’s possible that your religious experience was fake, a delusion, then why can’t the believer’s experience be a delusion? If it is possible for someone to think they’re saved even though they’re not, is it possible the believer is himself mistaken?

    When believers makes statements like this, they’re opening themselves up. It’s like the criminals who subconsciously leave clues at a crime scene because they want to get caught…maybe believers such as this subconsciously want to be shown the error of their ways?

    The whole “no true Scotsman” fallacy is a pet peeve of mine. When I was saved I had a “dramatic experience of the Holy Spirit” where I realized I was a “true sinner” and sincerely repented by asking God for forgiveness.

    I prayed every day and had a hunger for the word of God and began to read, not just my bible, but any Christian book I could get my hands on. I read Christian living, Christian fiction, Christian apologetics, everything I could, because I wanted to know as much about God as I could. I wanted to bury myself in God and dedicate every thought in my mind to God. I fell head over heels in love with God.

    I loved and worshiped Jesus Christ as my lord, savior, and God…and it pisses me off when people say I wasn’t a “real” Christian or wasn’t “really” saved. I takes everything I have to keep from laughing in their face at the absurdity of what they’re saying. “They” are trying to tell me what “I” experienced?

    But you’re right, it’s wishful thinking. If they accept that someone can be as convinced about the reality of God as they are, that someone could have experienced the love and presence of God like they have, that someone could be “truly” saved and then wake up and become genuinely convinced that God isn’t real…then they have to accept that God’s presence is that underwhelming, that God is unfaithful and will abandon people who genuinely believe in him, or that…dun dun dun!… God isn’t real.

    -Peace

  3. Steven Webb says:

    Hey man I just came across your video. I grew up my whole life as a Christian. I took a class in college and read the epic of gilgamesh, where I read an account of the Flood very similar to the Bible. That got me doubting my belief in the Bible and I have been searching to understand the Bible more. I love your videos on the history of God. Would you recommend any other books besides the History of God? I want to learn as much as I can. Thank You.

  4. Can I just say I sincerely thank you for unveiling me from ignorance. Ever since I saw your videos (about 4 days ago) I have been restless and eager to uncover TRUTH. I see the bible as a book of inspirational quotes but nothing else. Some verses are truly weird and unrelated but some do make a lot of sense.

    I have been brought up in a strong catholic faith and ever since this strong doubt has surfaced, I’ve felt uneasy around my family. I truly feel as if I’m alone in this and am slowly shutting down into depression. I understand everything you have said and do not doubt that there are things which defy logic, and religion is one of them. I just feel so lost. Help?

  5. Will Kemp says:

    It’s strange to me that Christians find it so hard to believe you were in fact a “real” Christian before your deconversion. And more importantly why does that matter?

    I will gladly accept an anthropologist’s account of an isolated tribe of people in India, despite the fact that he is not a member of the tribe. He knows how to communicate in a language I understand, and he has presumably learned to communicate with the tribe in their language as well. It’s the evidence that matters.

    Your videos are well supported by evidence, and it’s the evidence that should compel people to reexamine what they were taught in Sunday school.

  6. Kateface says:

    I was glad to find your documentary Why I am No Longer a Christian thanks to it being up on the Top Documentary Films website – a lucky find as I initially went there looking for history documentaries!

    I am eagerly awaiting the next instalment.

    Particularly as finding this series has come at an excellent time.

    My partner, who is Christian (but has an aversion the negative and hateful fundamentalist aspects) has been expressing some of the thoughts and doubts that you raise in your videos. I can tell he is deeply troubled by some of his doubts, and is trying to reconcile his feelings with his spiritual beliefs.

    I although I tried to talk with him about what his feelings were and what they mean to him regarding his faith, I found it hard to put words to my thoughts. I was also aware that anything I said might seem like I was trying to change him from being Christian to my own beliefs. This is hardly the case, as my aim has always been to provide Christians with a deeper understanding of their position in order to strengthen their faith, by peaceful discussion. However, his subconscious reaction may be that I am trying to “deconvert” him, as he knows I don’t ascribe to Christianity as the final word.

    I described this series to him and he seems intrigued. After watching Bill Maher’s “Religilous” documentary, his aversion to the accusatory, insulting, belittling form of atheism that so many Christians come up against had only hardened. Although Maher’s documentary has some interesting moments, it comes from a judgemental place and he lacks the patience to properly comprehend his opponent’s argument.

    This is the complete opposite to your lovingly respectful and polite discussion that does not try to change anyone, but only relates your story and the information you gathered along the way. You present the tools by which someone can explore the evidence and arrive at their own interpretation. It is the most intelligent and refreshing account of atheism that I have ever come across. It helped me reflect on my own journey and acknowledge that I am still somewhere between the pantheistic and completely atheist worldview. And I am ok with that… for now of course!

    My own deconversion follows. It’s long-winded and probably boring so if you’re short on time, stop here. ^_^

    I was enthralled with your series from the start, as I too was an extraordinarily devout Catholic child, and would turn down the option to go to Sunday School as it cut into actual Mass. Our Sunday School was held during the Mass, unlike other systems that I have heard off, and mostly consisted of colouring in. I didn’t want to do childish things; I wanted to hear from the Bible, wanted to hear the priest’s interpretation, and I used to talk with God and Mary quite often and quite seriously. I knew more about the Bible and the tenets of the faith than any one my own age and more than a fair few adults. This often made me wonder if they really understood God the way they said they did, but I assumed God must be calling me to be a nun or a martyr fighting wrong doing in the world, which was why I had such connection to the Spirit.

    It wasn’t until I was fourteen, in Year Nine, and our Religious Education teacher set us an assignment to do a presentation on one of the world religions, other than Christianity, that things changed rapidly.

    I chose Buddhism and became entranced with what I was reading. So many of the moral messages and concepts lined up with the teachings of Jesus and modern Christianity. The impermanence of worldly things, having a loving attitude to others, accepting life with its ups and downs and moving forward with hope and benevolence, all matched up with the core Christian morals. Even the Eightfold Path seemed oddly
    reminiscent of a mix of the Ten Commandments and the New Commandments of the New Testament.

    So I was struck by the idea that the morality that informed these religions came not from some Godhead that lead a Church, but either from some sense of intrinsic right and wrong, good and bad, or from a Divine source that spoke through more than just Christianity. It spoke through other faiths, and maybe through things outside of faith. I was reading some old texts like the Iliad at the time, in my spare time, and it seemed that morality
    existed perfectly fine amongst older civilizations that didn’t have a Christian or Jewish religion as a basis, so obviously it was possible to be good without the guidance of God from the Church.

    Couple this with a “girl meets girl” complication I had started feeling, realising that the God of my church, my family, my school, my friends, would not approve of my improper desires, I started to wonder how a loving God could possible work through so much hate in the system around me? I started to read up on other religions with passion and saw the same patterns everywhere.

    During this time I had Athene, Greek Goddess of Wisdom, take the place of the Christian God in my heart. I asked her to show me more about the world and lead me to a true understanding of the world around me. Now I do not need Athene to be my symbol any more, and can instead engage with the world one on one, but it sure did help having the message of Wisdom as my motto, as my impetus to keep questioning, keep exploring, always with respect and an open mind.

    As a lover of history, philosophy and etymology, I have a great fondness even still for reading and learning about religions. They show us so much about our human tendencies and our instinctual reactions to the world, and give a historical framework for what people have said about the world, across the planet. Religion, for all its detriments to society, has undeniably shaped society and history, and for that reason I think we can always learn from the example of religions, be it lessons on what to do or what not to do.

    Perhaps it will never die out completely, but hopefully more and more people can increasing comprehend the merit of understanding someone else’s position and thoughts about the world. Fingers crossed.

    Thank you for the huge part you are playing in providing a balanced, patient, and understanding perspective and argument.

    A lot of atheists could learn from your morally sound approach.

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