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Atheist Vs Christian Online Debates Fruitful?

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Hi guys! first post.. So im active on a board for fitness and in the non-sense board there is a Christian debate going on. I have posted two replies and im wondering if its worth it.

In person you can talk to a person and see them, and you are not arguing vs who is better at googling answers etc.

At the same time, just like hearing someing cussing and using Gods name, watching these threads just drive me mental at the ignorance about what "christians believe".


What do you think?

Boards like this between christians learning and sharpening theology I love... but the debate vs an atheist.. fruitful?

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I nearly had a coC man convert. I had been posting on a board for quite some time, debates got quite heated after some RCC members invaded that old yahoo Baptist message board.

 

I got in a heated discussion with a coC member who was from Nashville, TN, he was a life long members for his parents raised him in the coC,, & he had married a none coC woman but converted her to the coC. More times than not if a coC marries outside of the coC, the one they marry generally converts.

 

I manged to get him really thinking about how one is really saved, & he nearly accepted the grace by faith not of self, not of works, its a gift. I believe he started thinking about the coming out from among them, & separating from his coC family, & the consequences. We had gone from the board to personal emails. Them one day I got an email from him saying do not ever email me again, i will never have any contact with you again, them my emails started bouncing, & he left that yahoo Baptist message board.

 

I think if it has been in person & we had that conversation face to face the outcome might have been different. After that I stopped that approach.

 

Yet, I'm not saying its wrong, a person just has to feel it out & try their best to do what they think our Lord would approve of. Sometimes it would be right, perhaps many times it would be wrong.

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What do you think?

Boards like this between christians learning and sharpening theology I love... but the debate vs an atheist.. fruitful?

 

 

I think for the most part its a waste of time.

 

I learned this the hard way debating politics and later the things of God with the lost.  Really, you never know if your efforts have born fruit.  Unless you're able to contact that person some time later and see how they're doing.  Then again, someone passing by or not actively engaged in the discussion may begin to think about their desperate condition and begin listening more about the things of God until finally they come to repentance.  We can't rightly know.  You'll never know if someone's life was save because of what you wrote, but God will.  What ultimately stopped me was Romans 10:17.

 

Remember Isaiah 55:11 and 1 Corinthians 3:6 and Romans 10:17 

 

 

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."  

 

"I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase."

 

"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God."

Edited by swathdiver

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I disagree with many of these.  Like Swath said, someone may be following the debate, hanging in the balance, and truth needs to be known.  We ought always to stand for Truth, although others believe they are also standing for Truth, and it seems endless, at least when we stand before God we won't have that to answer to.

 

1Pe 3:15  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1Pe 3:16  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

 

Always be ready/willing to stand for what's right.
 

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I guess I'm a late bloomer, but I just very recently realized it's pointless to debate online with atheists as well as people who claim they are Christians, but follow progressive ideology. Both deny the Bible as the inherent, inspired Word of God and its authority. Both deny eternal damnation. Both deny creation of the world. Both deny that there in only one way to God. Both deny that people are born with a sin nature and need to crucify the flesh daily. Both make a sport of mocking and belittling Bible believing Christians. 

 

That is why, whenever someone who is a non-christian (and I will be so bold as to include "liberal Christians" in that group), is obviously solely interested in seeing believers de-convert thanks to their needling and "shining logic and reason" I ignore them. It's very discouraging to be a Christian online and have people openly ridicule your beliefs. I've never had a single debate with non-christians online in which the person said, "you know, you've given me a lot to think about". It typically devolves into, "you're clearly a brainwashed moron, so I'm done". 

 

Just recently I was on a knitting forum and my avatar is of a man kneeling to pray. No less than five people derailed the conversation we were having about dinner party advice to make childish implications that my avatar looked like a man doing something dirty. When I very politely clarified what the image was, it encouraged them to make even more jokes. They are truly doing the enemy's work via the internet. He's playing them like puppets on strings.

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Will you be able to convince the active board members on the atheist forums?  Absolutely not.

There is a (small) chance you may be able to persuade the bystanders who watch the debates from a distance.

I was involved on a Non-KJVO non-Baptist forum for awhile, and it helped ME personally in my own study, understanding, and dissemination of what I believe.  It really forced me to go beyond "what I learned at school" type mentality, and dig deeper into scripture to find solid foundations for my doctrinal positions.  So it was helpful to ME, and that help had a direct impact on my preaching and teaching abilities.

I have debated some atheists on a few forums in the past, and again I personally gained a lot - I learned alot about their positions, I learned how to counter many of their attacks with simple verses, and gained a lot of insight into many things.  I seriously doubt my debates had any impact on the audience, but it was edifying to me personally and helped gain a better handle on Scripture. 

 

So if you want to go at it from that angle, it could be useful.  If you are trying to persuade them, forget it.

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I visit very few boards - this one and two 4wd boards are the only ones I regularly visit. I simply do not have the time to be on line all day every day. On the 4wd boards they all know I am a Pastor.
Sometimes there are discussions about faith and belief, or evolution, creation, and science.
I am selective in which discussions I participate in, and how and how long I do so.
Some are clearly baiting "calling me out" so to speak. I rarely join in them - partly because I know it frustrates them.....;)
Sometimes it is appropriate but later gets derailed - I jump ship at that point.
I do not hide who I am, but I am there for 4wd help, advice, and information.
So the majority of my interaction is in that context.
I guess what I am saying is that it depends on the setting, purpose, and attitudes of the discussion as to whether it is worth it.

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Hi Gorship. Perhaps wading into a conversation seems a folly, but we are told to be fools for Christ's sake. At the same time, we don't have to ensure we always have the last word (Matthew 10:14) or spend all of our time wading into every discussion (Matthew 7:6). As Irishman and Swathdiver have pointed out, we don't know how God might using our speaking up to convict someone in even years to come.

 

I've always liked the line in the poem Deserted Village: "...fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray."

 

Btw I came to this forum an atheist with plans to argue with people, so take heart! :icon_smile:

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Hi Gorship. Perhaps wading into a conversation seems a folly, but we are told to be fools for Christ's sake. At the same time, we don't have to ensure we always have the last word (Matthew 10:14) or spend all of our time wading into every discussion (Matthew 7:6). As Irishman and Swathdiver have pointed out, we don't know how God might using our speaking up to convict someone in even years to come.

 

I've always liked the line in the poem Deserted Village: "...fools, who came to scoff, remained to pray."

 

Btw I came to this forum an atheist with plans to argue with people, so take heart! :icon_smile:

 

Sometimes we should, sometimes we should not. This is something that cannot be written in stone. Each situation is different! We just have to the best of our ability hope to make a wise decision when to enter into it, & when not to.

 

And when we do we surely need to pray to our Lord:

 

Col 4:3 Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in bonds:
Col 4:4 That I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
Col 4:5 ¶ Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time.
Col 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

 

That we would have the proper words to say.

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What would Jesus do?  if the Holy Spirit can use something we say, or give us some sort of influence with them, He can convert them.  I can't believe the people that just give up because "there is no hope" of reaching them.  At one time, there was no hope for me either.

 

Not many will readily admit that you influenced them for good, but they do have something to think about upon their beds, when alone and all is quiet.  It's like giving out tracts, they may act as if they are offended (and some will be, of course), but many have read the tract later, and given their life to the Lord.  I, for one, will argue or debate, whatever you call it, for the glory of God.  If he has given me a bit of insight, it would be wrong for me to ignore it.

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There is the old saying...(Author unknown)

"Don't wrestle with a pig, you'll both get dirty, and the pig likes it."

 

From this web site...

When it gets to this point (see Luke 8:5), the birds/people begin eating up the contradiction to God's word and turning away from God, I would be prayerful about how the Lord wants you to proceed.

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Too many times we attempt to predict how things we say will be taken.  This thinking can hinder soul winning, and leaves out the power of the Holy Ghost working through His Word. 

 

I guess there are a lot of differences of opinion on this matter, One thing is for sure, they need to hear the Gospel whether they accept the Bible as true or not.  My sister was one of those who always questioned, and I witnessed to her any way, right after she attempted suicide.

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Our calling from the Lord is to sow the seed.  He waters.  As we are led by Him in obedience we should follow through and witness.  

 

Many times our ego gets in the way and we may respond in battle mode to "prove" the truth in our might, not His leading.   Then we get in the middle of a debate which is not glorifying or pleasing to him.

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I hope no one would disagree with sowing the seed, watering, or sowing and watering. It's when the discussion begins to trample the word or our Lord in the mud we may need to consider withdrawal. God's word may cause rejection, that is one of the outcomes possible from freewill. So, yes give it with the right spirit and leave with the right spirit.

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The Lord knew there would be a time to walk away.

Mat 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

There comes a time when it is useless to go further.
Trick is figuring out when that is.

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Our calling from the Lord is to sow the seed.  He waters.  As we are led by Him in obedience we should follow through and witness.  

 

Many times our ego gets in the way and we may respond in battle mode to "prove" the truth in our might, not His leading.   Then we get in the middle of a debate which is not glorifying or pleasing to him.

 

That is so true, & that is why we need to be careful, in the heat of the moment we can do more damage than good, & that's not good. So this is something we need to be very careful about, & be sure to use wisdom from above, & not our own.

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The Lord knew there would be a time to walk away.

Mat 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

There comes a time when it is useless to go further.
Trick is figuring out when that is.

1 Corinthians 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

 

I think the Holy Spirit will help us.

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I enjoy debating with atheists because it challenges me to develop my usage of Bible teaching and philosophy.   I believe that we can have an impact of sowing seeds for the Word of God by being skillful in answering atheistic methodologies.   I think a large part of why our culture and the whole world has become increasingly ungodly is due to Christians throwing their hands up in the air and withdrawing from the discussions.  Public schools, popular music, television, gaming, movies....all have been relentless in promoting the pleasures of sin and the appeal of pride to be independent from God.   Christians have for the most part relented.  Far too many Christians are attending Charles Dickens Christmas plays when they should be focusing on loving the Lord with all of their hearts, strength, mind, and soul.  Christians have become friends of the world rather than occupiers in enemy territory trying to pull people back from the gates of Hell.

Atheism is taught boldly to little children, with poisoning statements promoting prideful hatred against God and I think it's a shame that most Christians today are incapable of standing toe to toe with them in a debate.  Most atheists are incapable of standing toe to toe in a debate and resort to verbal abuse trying to provoke an emotional fistfight.  (Actually, they are incapable of standing toe to toe in debate with a child of God even if they are well mannered and eloquent enough to continue until one or the other drops in death, because the atheist falls into Hell in eternal death to be cast into the Lake of Fire, while the Christian stands in eternal life)  I will engage them for the sake of others who are listening and always believing it is possible that saying the right thing, the right way, at the right time will trigger something to flip that light switch for the Lord so they can see the truth of the gospel and repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved from Hell and know it.

Any fruit is from God, and I believe He has rewards for all who work in His fields trying to sow seeds for Him.  

I type these things prayerfully for any unbelievers who might happen to read them.

Edited by Saintnow

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It sounds to me like a lot of Christians are tired of the battle.  Does it bother anybody other than me that I can't walk down the sidewalks in the city any more without having dirty sin glorifying  atheism pumped into my ears through the music broadcast from speakers posted throughout the downtown area on the tops of the buildings?  They pump that dirty sin glorifying and promoting garbage into my ears, put it in my face with their pornography spirited advertisements, and out of the hundreds of people who pass by me I can't tell if there is one Christian in the crowd because none of them show any sign of discomfort in the dunghill of the world.  When is the last time I heard anybody other than  myself say "wicked" at the glorifying of sin in public?....it's been a couple weeks at least, and that other person would have been a member of my church or one of the missionary visitors.

Edited by Saintnow

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I can understand Christians wanting to avoid the public debates when Nero is using them for Roman Candles to light his garden at night after he's tired of watching them being fed to the lions all day...but in a land where we are supposed to have freedom of speech, the big mouth atheists have pretty much drowned out the voices of Christians.

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