How do Christian apologists make converted believers feel better about themselves? Christianity is all about how a person is unworthy, how they are inherently sinful. How they must stop sinning and atone for things that they may not consider sinful at all like pre-marital sex and homosexuality. My primary complaint about Christian apologists are that they shame people into thinking that somehow their thoughts and actions are somehow immoral and against God’s law and how they need to be saved and forgiven from their supposed sins against God.
That’s true, but Christianity also says that we are all made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) even if that image is distorted by sin. Despite our sinfulness, God still loves us so much that he has provided a “free gift of righteousness” (Romans 5:17) in the form of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. By accepting this gift from God, we belong to Jesus and no longer to Adam. We become justified in the sight of God - we are no longer considered unworthy and sinful. Christians are called to stop sinning, but it’s recognized that that’s not something people can normally do by their own effort. Instead, God works in us to allow us to become transformed into better people: “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19).
But sin is an imaginary construct. Who gets to define what sin is? What you consider sinful another person does not.
Sin is literally defined as a transgression against God’s laws. So it is defined by God. And while there are certainly some disagreements even among Christians about whether certain things are sin, Christians are also in agreement that many things are clearly sin.
oh, that’s really helpful. Sin is a transgression against God’s law. And where can one find God’s laws?
If they are God’s law, why is there disagreement among Christians, Muslims, and Jews as to what are God’s laws? If they are God’s laws, shouldn’t they be universal and unchanging with time?
God’s laws are most fully revealed in Scripture, the Bible.
The existence of disagreements about what X is doesn’t mean that X doesn’t exist, nor that it is not universal and unchanging. For example, it’s taken us a long time to fully understand the laws of nature, and we still don’t fully understand what they are, but we would not then say that they are not universal and unchanging.
So breeding mules, companion planting and poly-cotton are all literally sinful? (Leviticus 19:19)
Not for us in the New Testament era, who are no longer living under the Old Testament ceremonial laws. Those laws were true for the time of Israel, but not for all time.
This is also why an example of why one must read the Bible in its entirety as a coherent picture of God’s revelation, not just bits and pieces.
A post was merged into an existing topic: New Atheism: The Godlessness That Failed
and not the Koran? And what Bible are you referring to? The Torah? The KJV? or the Jehovah Witness Bible? There are so many bibles out there, which one is has the official God’s laws?
Where in the NT does it state that? That seems to be contradicted by: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” – Matthew 5:17
Also I would point out that Christians, especially Evangelicals, frequently cite Leviticus against homosexuality.
So now I can eat pork and homosexuality is not a sin because the NT says we are no longer under OT ceremonial law?
Believers are consumed by doubt about Christianity, though they will often deny that doubt. Apologetics is there to reassure them and assuage that doubt.
That’s a pretty broad generalization. Certainly some believers doubt and deny that they do so. But there are also believers who admit that they doubt - and there are believers who are genuinely confident in the truth of their faith.
And yes, much of apologetics is about helping those who are already believers move more into that third category. (I don’t see anything wrong with that, as long as it remains guided by truth and reason.)
As accounted in Acts 15, the first council of the church at Jerusalem dealt with just this issue: whether new Gentile converts to Christianity should be circumcised (and keep other Jewish ceremonial laws). This is James speaking for the council:
“It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.”
Acts 15:19-21, NIV
Thus, we have to interpret Jesus’ statement that he fulfilled the law in a different light. He is not saying that Christians have to keep Jewish ceremonial laws. Instead, Jesus is the Messiah that has been prophesied for Israel.
There are different translations of the Bible from its original language of Greek and Hebrew, and none of them are “official” in the sense that only one translation is the inspired Word of God. You can read almost any of the reputable translations (KJV, ASV, NIV, ESV, RSV, etc.) to encounter God’s Word including his laws, commands, and promises. The different translations don’t contradict each other on any major points of doctrine.
When asked about the greatest commandments, Jesus said:
Matthew 22:36-40 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the great and foremost commandment. 39 The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
If we all would focus upon these two, there would be no questions. No controversy. There, in fact, would be no time to be concerned with these other details. And so much joy.
I wish all Christians would do that all the time. The world would be a better place.