I have been patiently following the numerous, heated atheist vs Christian debates on N24, seeing the same points repeated endlessly by both sides, varying from reasonable to extremist. News24 happily promotes this pointless exercise, as it is guaranteed to generate many comments, which presumably aids them in circulation boasts. I was reminded of pastor Cobus van Rooyen in Volksrust, when I was still fresh in the ranks of the informal scorned-upon “Boskerk”, having been dramatically “saved” right out of one of the mainstream churches, where I spent 30 years as a lifeless religious zombie. (Long story, Sakkie, but we leave that for another post.) In approx. 1994 he preached a sermon “A man with an experience, is NEVER at the mercy of a man with an argument.” I did not really grasp it at the time, but now, having been “saved” for 21 years, it makes perfect sense.
Simple example: I now live in Canada with my family. Regular winter temperatures vary from minus 7 to minus 17 degrees, so, when we have a bergwind coming over the Rockies, it goes up to minus three for a day or two, and we have a glorious braai outside. All my SA friends will argue with frost-biting facts and statistics that this is impossible, and I am simply bluffing myself into a false sense of enjoyment, but I know what I know, and no argument will ever persuade me otherwise. Same with belief in God – we cannot prove God exists, we cannot explain God’s logic, but I have seen and experienced so much, that it is impossible to make me stop believing, irrespective how many biblical errors you show me, and how many times you throw me with Dawkins’s book.
Miracles – seen plenty. No, can’t show you any healed amputees, as one commenter repeatedly requests, but I know a lady whose bad eyesight (real thick Coke-bottle-bottom lenses) was healed during a faith-healing session when she was six years old, and she went without glasses until she was 45. However, at the same session, her sister with a brain deficiency was NOT healed. Why? We do not understand either. Some seriously bad sinners manage to get saved on their death-beds, and get the same reward in heaven as the model Christian who spent 50 years denying himself the sinful pleasures available. It seems unfair to us, but not for us to make the call. I have some atheist friends who live their lives more according to Christian values than many Christians, but are they doomed to hell? I personally hope they get forgiven as special cases, but according to the only guideline we have (The Bible), that is the unfortunate result of their free choice. I have seen the skin on my own son heal after a small cracker exploded in his hand before he could throw it. My (atheist) brother-in-law was miraculously saved when sleeping in the back of a car that rolled at 120km/h, and he was thrown out the back window, through some thorn-trees, ended in a concrete water trench – every inch on his body full of scrapes and thorns and bruises, but nothing broken. Even he admits it was a miracle, but not enough to convince him. There are countless others, if anyone is interested, I can do a further post on the subject.
Why do we always bug the atheists? Sorry guys, but that is our job here on earth. We were not instructed to start holy wars, but we have been commissioned to get the message of peace and love to all nations and languages. (Note, Sakkie, not convert them all, just get the message out there. Each person makes his own choice.) We bring the message, the Holy Spirit does the rest. And a note to my fellow Christians here: I have not seen any converts as a result of these N24 debates, so maybe consider directing your energy and prayers to another ministry field, like helping Irukandji with those people in Mozambique or Lesotho.
False prophets – yes, I agree, there are a few of these televangelists that make us feel uncomfortable as well, but I have had the privilege to spend time with Peter Pollock (snr), Soekie (Radikids), Bennie Mostert, Dirkie van der Spuy, the late Pierre Spies (snr), and you can literally feel the love oozing from these people. Listen to the testimonies of Francois Wolfaardt, (No, Sakkie, he was a famous horse-racing radio commentator years ago, before TV came to SA. Yes, we actually listened to the Durban July, and even cricket, on the radio!), Peter Pollock, Louis Malherbe, and hundreds more, before you laugh Christianity off permanently. Also this one by Mark Anderson, ex-decathlon athlete for USA - http://www.focusonthefamily.com/radio.aspx?ID=%7B821F985A-FF2B-4842-93C6-D6462A8AA2AD%7D
Could they all be lying to make themselves look better? Not impossible, but unlikely. Hundreds of people, with real experiences of God working in their lives, and no intellectual argument will ever convince them or myself otherwise. I know what I have experienced.
(Credit to Irukandji for having Sakkie over as a visitor.)