Apologetics for the Masses #256

Bible Christian Society

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General Comments

Hey folks,

Yes, I made a mistake in the last issue of the newsletter.  The guy's name is Michael, as I correctly stated in the Introduction, but then in the body of the newsletter, I kept calling him Matthew.  That's what happens when you are in a hurry to get a newsletter out in time to be able to take your 10-yr. old to baseball practice.  I didn't double check what I had written.  However, that has been rectified in the copy that is now archived on the "Newsletter" page of the website (www.biblechristiansociety.com).  So, if you want a corrected copy of that newsletter, just click on that issue on the website, scroll down to the bottom, and you can send yourself a corrected copy.  By they way, you can send yourself, or anyone else for that matter, a copy of any newsletter by just clicking on an issue, scrolling to the bottom, and then clicking on the "Forward this issue" link.


In this issue, I am going to begin an adventure into the world of online atheism.  You will see how a number of atheists think and act.  If any of you have ever run into atheists online - and they knew you were Christian - you probably know that they can get pretty nasty pretty quickly.  I've come across them on Facebook (FB), on Twitter, and in a few comboxes of atheist blogs.  You'll be able to read their arguments and my responses to them.  I'm going to start out slow by sharing with you an exchange I am just beginning with an atheist named Jules Pere, who sought me out on the FB page for the Bible Christian Society.  Judging from the pictures on his FB page, he appears to be around 16-18 yrs. old, but those pictures could just be a screen for his real identity.  But, I'm going to assume he's a teenager until I find out otherwise. He also seems to be European and a native French speaker, although he is very capable in English.  Now, before anyone says, "John, that's not fair to go after a teen," I will say three things: 1) I'm not absolutely sure he is a teen; 2) He came after me; and 3) His thinking is in line with a lot of teens and young adults these days, so if you have any of your own, you might be able to find something of use here.

I will post his comments, followed by mine, and then my strategy - why I said what I said.


Jules Pere
"F---ing idiot.  God is a childish delusion passed down to you by your parents.  There is no proof for anything said in the bible.  There is no such thing as a talking bush.  Gay people are not evil.  If you deny evolution you are no less than a clattered mong."  (And he did indeed have that first word spelled out.)

John Martignoni
“F---ing idiot.” Very nice 1st post - you are obviously a gentleman and a scholar...

"God is a childish delusion passed down to you by your parents" - how do you know what my parents did or did not pass down to me?  Do I know you?

"There is no proof for anything said in the Bible."  Really? A Jewish historian and a Roman historian both mention Jesus. Pontius Pilate is confirmed by other sources. The existence of John and some of the other Apostles are confirmed by non-biblical sources. So, you are obviously wrong as I have just shown. You might want to check your facts before you make such wide-ranging, unsupportable, and rather ignorant statements.

"There is no such thing as a talking bush."  I agree.

"Gay people are not evil."   Do you know all gay people?  If so, not a single one of them is evil?

“If you deny evolution you are no less than a clattered mong."  Don't know what a "clattered mong" is, but where have I ever denied evolution?  You know, before you make an absolute jackass out of yourself by saying things about people who you know nothing about, you ought to do a little research, don't you think?

Notice how he starts off?  Real class act.  There are a whole lot of atheists out there whose attitude towards Christians can be summed up in his first two words.  They often fancy themselves as “enlightened humanists” or as “good people” and they view themselves as maybe at least one rung up the evolutionary ladder from us feeble-minded Christians.  Yet, they are often rude, crude, boorish, arrogant, and downright nasty at times.  So much for the “higher” order of nature...

So, I immediately let him know that a scholar and a gentleman he was not.  And then I address each of his points, but not in the way he wanted me to.  He obviously thought he was yanking my chain and was waiting for me to spend a good deal of time responding with arguments to all of his points - which he would then shoot down with his brilliant mind - but I don’t play that game.  I’m not going to argue with someone just for the sake of arguing.  Before I put in any time, I want to know if it will be time well spent.  So, after my initial response, I’m going to stick it to him, as you will see in a moment, to see how he responds.  Then, based on his come back to that, I’ll decide whether or not to continue the conversation.  

No matter who it is you are talking to - atheists, Protestants, cafeteria Catholics...whoever - you have to first decide if they are willing to listen to you or not.  If they’re not, then shake the dust from your sandals and move on.  I have no problem dealing with even someone who hates me, or hates my faith, as long as they are willing to listen and truly consider what it is I have to say.  But if they are just trying to get a rise out of me so that they can laugh with their buddies at the blankety-blank idiot Christian, they are not going to get any of my time or energy.    

So, I answered his questions, just not in the way he thought I would, and in those answers, I asked him a few questions that were designed to put him a bit off of his game.  How does he know what I do or don’t believe?  How does he know what my parents did or didn’t teach me?  How does he know what I think about “gay people”?  He’s making a whole lot of unsubstantiated assumptions about me, so let’s get those out of the way first, before we ever start talking about God and evolution and such.  And you should do the same in your conversations with non-Catholics.  Respond in ways that they may not be expecting.  Before giving a direct answer to a question, make sure you’ve addressed the inaccurate assumptions that quite often accompany the questions.


Jules Pere
“Jesus existed, I didn't deny that.”  Do you think evolution is real or not?”

John Martignoni
I'll tell you what I think. I think you have not earned the right to have me answer your questions. I think you're a 15-yr. old who thinks he's hot stuff so he comes on FB and cusses at people and says idiotic things that he has no clue as to whether or not they're true, but he thinks that makes him a man. If you're serious about having a conversation, I will be happy to have one with you and enlighten you about a few things. But, before that happens, you will 1st apologize for your obscenity. After that, I will answer your question, and then ask you one of my own. Otherwise, I'll call the folks I know at FB and have them remove your account...

So, he admits Jesus existed, which a lot of atheists will not do - and to which I will come back to in the future if this conversation goes more than a round or two, but I’ll just save it for now.  Notice, though, that he didn’t make any kind of direct response to my questions.  So, I gave him  answers to his questions right off the bat - even though they were not the kind of answers he was expecting - but he did not give a response to a single question I asked him.  So, this is where I stick it to him a bit to test him and see how he will respond.   

Jules Pere
Fair enough, I apologise for unnecessarily swearing.  Aye so can we make discussion?


John Martignoni
Very good.  I accept your apology and I thank you for making it.  That is the sign of a mature personality and, to be honest, I wasn’t expecting it.  So, yes, we can have a discussion.  You want to know if I think evolution is real or not, eh?  I will give you a direct answer, and then I will explain that answer.  The answer is, no, I do not believe in evolution.  At least, not in the sense of macro-evolution, or inter-species evolution - one species evolving into a completely separate and different type of species.  I do indeed believe in micro-evolution, or intra-species evolution - where a species can evolve adaptations given different environments or different factors within an environment.  

However, and this is key, my belief in God has nothing to do with whether or not I believe in evolution.  I know that’s not what you’re expecting, but that is indeed a fact.  My faith allows me to believe in evolution or not believe in evolution.  There are Catholics who believe in evolution and those who don't.  Each is in good standing with the Church, since the Church has no definitive teaching on that particular subject.  After all, that is a matter of science, not religion. The reason, therefore, that I do not believe in evolution is because I have not yet seen enough scientific evidence to convince me of it.  Oh, there is some evidence, but not enough to adequately explain the questions that I have about it.  But, I’m open to being convinced, if the evidence presents itself.   

For example: Here’s just one question for you to ponder that gives me pause about accepting evolution: An animal can either see, or it can’t see.  There is no in-between.  So, how did animals that can see, evolve from animals that cannot see?  I mean, you can’t see without an eye, but why would an eye evolve in an animal that can’t see?  Makes no sense.  So, at some point in the process, a non-seeing parent would have to give birth to a seeing offspring.  That would be, in and of itself, a huge evolutionary leap.  That’s not hundreds of small changes over millions of years, that’s a radical change from one generation to the next.  But, that’s not how evolution supposedly works.  So it’s questions like that which keep me from accepting the consistency of evolutionary theory.  Now, if there is an intelligence behind evolution that has, in a sense, programmed evolution into nature’s genetic structure, I can accept that.  But, blind random evolution, without any guide behind it, without any purpose behind it, I just don’t see how that could be possible.

Now, my question for you.  The theory of evolution presumes the existence of matter.  Where did matter come from?  And, what scientific evidence can you give me to back up your answer?  

I truly was surprised at his apology.  So, I have to give him credit for that.  There is a glimmer of hope here for a worthwhile conversation.  So, I answer his question, directly and succinctly, and then give the reasoning behind my answer - and actually ask him a question or two in the explanation of my answer.  Then I ask my own question.  And, I will not move off of this question until he answers it.  Where matter came from, when there is no God to bring it into existence, is one of the basic problems of atheism.  They just assume matter.  It literally is just...there.  It’s kind of like asking a Sola Scriptura person where their Bible came from, since there is no list in the Bible of which books should be in the Bible.  Also, notice that I emphasize that my belief, or lack thereof, in evolution, has nothing at all to do with my faith.  This is a crucial area of misunderstanding and ignorance among atheists.  They assume, because that’s the caricature that much of the media portrays, that all Christians are basically fundamentalists who read the Bible in a literalist manner.  They cannot fathom that a Christian could believe in Christianity and evolution at the same time.  Their thought process is that it is either Adam and Eve or evolution for the Christian - but it can’t be both.  Well, that may be the way it is for Fundamentalists and such, but reconciling the two is not a problem for Catholics.  So that tends to leave the atheists a bit surprised. They simply have no clue when it comes to Catholic teaching. We’ll see how Mr. Jules Pere reacts to that.  

Lastly, what I just mentioned about atheists thinking it is either Adam and Eve or evolution but cannot be both - that is actually a problem with a lot of kids in our Catholic schools.  They are being taught about Adam and Eve in theology class, and then they are being taught about evolution in science class, but no one is reconciling science and religion for them.  So, they come out of Catholic schooling thinking that there is a tension between theology and science - either the theology is true, or the science is true, but it can’t be both.  Well, what happens is, most of them come down on the side of science which causes them to lose their faith because they think it is an either-or proposition, when it’s not.  Our Catholic schools are doing a horrible job, in many instances, of integrating faith and reason in a way that prepares our kids to adequately respond to the atheist/materialist challenges that our teens, college students, and young adults are facing out there. 


I hope all of you have a great week.  I'll be in Chattanooga on Saturday, but it's for my daughter's volleyball tournament, not to give a talk...say a prayer that she can play well!


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Apologetics for the Masses