The following is fiction, but loosely based on actual correspondences between a Born Again Christian and an Agnostic. The Born Again Christian is adamant about her/his beliefs, but the Agnostic, being true to form, has many doubts about what s/he believes. In this dialogue, I have named the Born Again Christian, Bac and the Agnostic, Ag. My intention with the post is to present a civil dialogue between two different thinking systems about God and religion. There is no intention for this to be a debate in which there is a “winner.” Enjoy the dialogue and please feel free to comment.
Bac – I have been contemplating for a long time how to confront you and at the same time, be true to who I am.
Ag – Though my friends often disagree with me, I think telling the truth and being forthright is the correct policy for me and any relationships that I have. Bac, you are a “new” relationship for me. Since I first started corresponding with you, I must admit that I have been extremely sensitive regarding our correspondences.
Bac – So, you’re concerned about this new relationship with a person who you just met and that has caused you to be extremely sensitive regarding our correspondences? I don’t think you should be.
Ag – Ok, now let me add one more of my “concerns.” I assume you are very religious. I base that thinking on your signature at the end of each e-mail, along with what you have said and written about your work with your church.
Bac – Well, I am a Born Again Christian. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. John 3:3-7 from the New Testament of the Bible tells a story of a Pharisee named Nicodemus who came to Jesus at night. Nicodemus stated, “we know that thou art a teacher come from God, for no man can do these miracles that thou doest except that God be with him.” Jesus interrupted the conversation and said unto him, “Verily, verily I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
Ag – Now, unlike you, I have over the years, gone from religious to NOT. I have always had a spiritual seeking aspect to my being. When I was 12, I converted to Catholicism on my own. In fact, I “shopped” for a religion and decided, by myself, to become Catholic. Then, during my freshman year in college, after taking a philosophy course and having long late night debates with many of my friends, I became a “fallen-away” Catholic. Oh, I would still list Catholic as my religion, but I really didn’t practice.
Bac – I believe in the scriptures and attempt to live my life by the truths of the Holy Bible. I am not perfect, but Jesus offers forgiveness of sins each time I come to Him confessing my wrong doings. My faith is based on the fact that God loves all of us and sent His Son to die on the cross for our sins and raised Him in three days. This, in a nutshell, is the Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. I believe that God loves us with an everlasting love as shown in John 3: 16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whatsoever believeth on Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
Ag – Why do you rely so heavily on the Bible when you are corresponding with me?
Bac – The Bible has stood the test of time. It is made up of 66 different books (editor’s note: Christian bibles can range from 66 to 81 books) written by many different authors that were inspired by God and it all fits together, without error. Ag, if you purchased a very complicated piece of equipment, included with the equipment would be an instruction manual. Without that manual, you would not be able to use or operate the equipment. The Bible is my instruction manual and teaches me how to live my life and have fellowship with God.
Ag – Wow, thanks for explaining. I never thought of the Bible as being an instruction manual. When I converted to Catholicism, I studied the Catholic Catechism and the Bible. When I was 32, I became Greek Orthodox, basically because my wife belongs and it made the spiritual part of my life more fulfilling. I’m telling you this so you can understand a little of my past and present thinking about the Bible and God. I really don’t consider myself to be a “good” Greek Orthodox member. Most likely, I should be classified as agnostic. I have so many questions and find belief and faith without knowing to be extremely problematic.
Bac – I can see that you have done some studying of the Bible and have been a member of different organized religions. But, why are you telling me all of this?
Ag – Well, I have had many religious “friends,” over the years, that have the attitude of, It’s my way or the highway! They want little or nothing to do with me because I don’t believe what they believe. They have conditions for whom they relate with and their main condition is, “think like me or don’t relate.”
Bac – Well, that’s not my attitude. But, how different is your thinking from mine and how would I have known the differences?
Ag – I thought, that since you have had some time to peruse my blog, maybe you read:
Ag – All of these posts deal in some way with my thoughts regarding religion, faith and/or belief in God. I can imagine, from your point of view, I do look lost – don’t I?”
Ag – I think we will have an interesting conversation regarding religion and especially, why you believe what you believe. How did you come to believing it? What is God? Is everything the work of God?
The next post (published on January 13, 2011) has part (B) of this dialogue. Please check it out for the rest of the dialogue and, if you haven’t already, please click on the five URLs above to get a little deeper understanding of Ag‘s point of view.