Believing in Your Heart II
The below item is part of my "Conversations" series.
An atheist and a Christian finishing lunch on a park picnic table
Lauren: I was reading in the paper this morning about a Muslim guy that the police picked up for plotting to burn a synagogue. This guy said Allah had told him to do it, and it reminded me of the other day when you were saying that God spoke to you.
Madeline: Don’t worry — it’s an entirely different thing. I don’t hear voices or anything. I have the feeling of God in my heart is all.
Lauren: I’m not saying you’re delusional, I’m just wondering if maybe the Muslim guy had the feeling of Allah in his heart and that’s why he felt so strongly that he had to start the fire.
Madeline: If he thinks that, then he’s being deceived. That happens all the time. People say that they feel God or they just “know” something’s true, but what’s happening is that they’re either fooling themselves or being fooled by Satan.
Lauren: How do you tell someone who’s being deceived from someone who is getting a message from God?
Madeline: Someone whose beliefs conflict with reality or don’t make sense is being deceived.
Lauren: So you wouldn’t trust your own feelings if they didn’t make objective sense?
Lauren: So why don’t you accept it when I say that I know in my heart that God doesn’t exist? Can you prove I’m objectively wrong?
Madeline: You’re wrong because you don’t know that God doesn’t exists. Rather, you reject Him.
Lauren: I can’t reject something I don’t believe in.
Madeline: You believe in your heart that God exists.
Lauren: No I don’t.
Madeline: Yes you do. You’re just fooling yourself.
Lauren: How can you tell I’m fooling myself?
Madeline: Because everyone knows God exists. It says so in the Bible.* If you don’t believe that, then you’re being deceived.
Lauren: Who says I’m the one being deceived? Maybe my feelings are right and yours are wrong.
Madeline: If I was wrong, then you could show that my knowledge of God is incorrect or illogical.
Lauren: I can. The world can be completely explained by material things so there’s no need for the supernatural. That means that God isn’t necessary.
Madeline: If that’s true, then I only feel God exists because I’m being deceived, right?
Madeline: But if I’m being deceived, something must be deceiving me. That would have to be a supernatural thing. So you end up having to believe in supernatural things either way.
Lauren: No, you could be being deceived by our culture, by false religious teachings, or by your own need for religion.
Madeline: Those things might lead me to false conclusions, but they couldn’t make me feel God in my heart.
Lauren: Sure they could! If you have enough false information and need, you can end up deeply feeling something false. It’s like Stockholm syndrome or falling in love with an abusive guy who promises he’ll do better.
Madeline: You’re being insulting.
Madeline: Religion isn’t insanity, or insecurity, or a cry for help. It’s a wonderful window into reality.
Lauren: If I’m being insulting, then aren’t you being insulting by saying that I don’t really feel that God doesn’t exist?
Madeline: That’s different.
Madeline: Because you’re wrong and I’m not.
Laugen: Wow. I’ve got to stop talking to you about the news. It turns you into a jerk.
*Romans 1:18-20, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”
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