This was posted in Gentlemen Atheists, by a man who is a member of both this group and that one. *STFU* - aimed at Christians - was in several responses.
Went to New Orleans for a 4 day weekend trip. Had a blast. Always a great trip through history, plus night time becomes a wonderful adults trip. Seriously, night time on Bourbon is for adults. It is adult themed, there are adult beverages, I love it.
What I hate, and really set me off Friday night is Jesus freaks with their giant crosses, yelling and preaching about how we are all sinners. They were out again Saturday night. Always one guy screaming crap out, then 10 more handing out placards. Stood right in front of them cowering them down Friday until my wife was told by a cop to have me move on, then Saturday I told several to just drop dead.
In a nutshell, f*** you. This is my place to be me, this is a place where I am relaxed, where I cleanse my own soul of all teh s*** life throws at me. I don't go to your church and tell you that you are an idiot for following your religion. I don't tell you that your rules are stupid in your group areas. I let you babble the f*** on about how Christians are so downtrodden because someone says Holiday rather then Christmas. I drive by your 200 ft tall eyesore crosses. The laws in my state are all messed up because your religion made them that way. I have two days off a week, and I can't buy liquor or a car because of that stupid, stupid s***. It just never ends with the stuff they think we have to have. And that doesn't even touch the non stop insults that because you aren't a christian, that you are leading to teh destruction of the country and pretty much all humanity.
Christians, from all of us, shut the f*** up. You aren't persecuted, you aren't that special. We've heard your BS and have intelligently thought it through and said no thank you. Leave us the f*** alone. I don't preach my views on Facebook, I don't preach my views at your church, I don't preach my views to your kids. I couldn't imagine going a week without Facebook or this place or anywhere else having a single christian NOT preach some crap.
Sorry guys, had to rant again.
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I'm quite sure the OP is man enough to step forward and claim ownership, so I won't disclose his name. I did not join GA because I'm not an atheist. I DO think we who say we love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, are washed in the Blood of the Lamb, and filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, should love our neighbor as ourselves, as hard as it is, sometimes. The OP, by virtue of his membership in AoM and in Christian Men, is our neighbor. Therefore we should love him as Christ does. We should step out of our comfort zones, and do our part to form relationships with nonbelievers.
Christian Men - Who will join me in committing to pray for this man?
Good advice! I'm going to try to remember that.
WOW! I really don't want my "I'll pray for you" to come across as "Bless your heart (which is "southern speak" for, "you're so stupid!"). I'm going to just do it, from now on, and not say that I am.
Joined the group just to comment on this. For me, when I see/hear "I'll pray for you," especially when it is directed at non-Christians it often at least appears to carry the undertone of "Bless your heart." It also often seems to carry the smug undertones of "I'll pray for you (because your lack of faith means you clearly need this more than me and therefore I can self-righteously extol my own virtue by publicly declaring my goodwill on your unfortunate soul)."
I'm going to just do it, from now on, and not say that I am.
Ok then. I do have a few questions.
1. When you pray for an atheist you have been speaking with. What is your prayer for? Their general well being? Or that God help them see the error of their ways? If the latter, do you see how that comes across as conceited?
It is no different than me saying, "well, I'm still going to hope that you come to your senses, but I'm just not going to say it."
2. Do you believe that intercessory prayer works? That is to say, that God would not have tried to change their hearts until you prayed on their behalf? Is this true as well for healings, etc. Is god's "plan" dependent on whether or not you pray (or is he willing to change his mind, because you are on good terms with him?). Side note - why has there never been a re-grown limb as a result of prayer?
1) I do not know if a person I meet, has the relationship with God that God wants them to have with Him, or not. Only God knows that. If a person has said to me, "I'm an atheist" then I will consider them so, but only because that person said s/he was. Therefore, when I pray for someone, I ask God to make Himself known to that person in a way that that person will know beyond any shadow of doubt that there IS a God, and that He loves them, OR that God will supply their greatest need. I pray that they come in contact with Christians. I pray for the Christians that are members of his or her family. I've prayed that people who are involved in illegal activity be caught. (My wife prays a lot, also. Several years ago, a female coworker began making advances towards me. I didn't have any intention of doing anything other than ignoring her. I told my wife. She and her friends prayed. Within 2 weeks the female coworker was gone, having been offered another job.)
God is not my personal genie who grants me whatever I so desire. If, for example, I pray that a shoplifter be caught, that doesn't mean they will be. God knows everything there is to know about every situation. It may be very harmful to that shoplifter to be caught, or it might have a devastating effect on a family member. God always does what is best for all concerned, even when it does not appear so, to us.
We've all done things of which we are ashamed, and regret doing. Never mind what is and what is not a sin. We've all broken the first commandment: "Thou shalt not have any other gods before Me." Very few people have kept the Sabbath as it is supposed to be kept. I don't know of anyone who has honored their parents, 100% of the time. If one has broken one commandment, one is just as guilty before God as one who has broken all of them.
God will forgive anyone of anything. (For the record, being forgiven of one's sins does not mean one will not have to deal with the consequences of one's actions.) For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would not want to take advantage of the chance to stand before God, clear of any record of their failures and mistakes.
2) I believe prayer works. God is not willing that anyone should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). God WANTS to forgive everyone of every single sin they have done! If one does not go to Heaven when one dies, it will not be because God didn't work in that person's heart, and do everything that could possibly be done, to reach that person. I don't have any doubt that God works through as many people as possible to reach someone. God will even work through atheists, if that's what is required. Everyone who wants to have what God wants to give them, can (John 6:47 & Romans 10:14). God is certainly not going to wait on me to pray, to work in someone's heart.
On the subject of healings: We all have an appointed time at which we will die. Sometimes people are not healed because it is their time, and the illness is the contributing factor. That means that sometimes babies die and senior citizens are healed. It IS every Christian's responsibility to pray, and allow the Holy Spirit to work in their heart, to tell them for whom to pray and what to ask. Christians who fail to pray, and then act, will be held accountable (Ezekiel 3:18-19 & 33:8-9). If a person does not ask to be born again (John 3:3 & 16), and I was called upon to pray for that person, and then speak to them about Christ, but did not, I have committed a very terrible sin. God will deal with me for it. My prayers may or may not have been the thing that turned that person's heart, but that's not the point. That person is responsible for his or her own relationship with God, and their response to the question, "Who is Jesus?" If they say (figuratively and/or literally) "I don't give a rat's ass!" - I'm not held responsible for that, but I am held accountable for whether I did what I was asked to do.
Can God regrow a limb? Yes. Why hasn't He? If I had the answer, I'd write a book, and go on the lecture circuit. I have heard a testimony about someone in a Caribbean nation being brought back to life. According to the report, the gentleman was in a terrible car accident. He was driving; the car did not have an air bag. He hit the steering wheel, and died upon impact. His wife prayed, and asked God to bring him back to life. According to the report, the man's body was in a refrigerator in the mortuary for 3 days, before his spirit came back to his body.
Nowhere in the Bible does God say we are required to understand Him, or why He does some things one way with one group of people, differently with others, and not at all with a third group. We are only asked to trust Him.