One of the game atheists play the most is accusing Christians of game playing. This is the ploy used on a Blog called Godless in Dixie, the article, "the Games Christians Play: Three Common Examples..." This article is making the rounds of message boards and blogs, being quoted quite a bit. Perfect example of how they brain wash. They give their guys this model to go by so whenever they see a Christian arguing this way, they know it's game playing thus they are brain washed with the inoculation not to pay attention to Christian arguments. It's another version of poisoning the well.
He (apparently just goes by sceen name "godless") begins by inoculating the atheist catechumens in avoiding Christian arguments by referencing "confirmation bias." Becuase there is a psychological tendency to conform our views all atemptes of the enemy to affirm their view are just this rationalization called "confirmation bias." Of course that's not true of atheist evidence, that's valid scinece.
Confirmation bias happens when we preselect for our attention only those data which support the beliefs we had before we even began our quest to find the truth. As long as we can find quick and easy ways to dismiss and ignore all data which contradict our preconceived ideas, we will find that the remaining “evidence” perfectly supports whatever we thought from the very beginning.sound advice. That's why he's going to give you three examples of Christian game playing. Hey that's not his confirmation bias. That's true scientific fact that Christians play games. Of cousre atheists don't play games they just expose Christian games. So the first example:
Claim 1: If you pray for X, it will happen.
Anyone who teaches you that, if you pray for X, X must happen, is an idiot. I find it hard to believe that anyone says that. I never heard anyone brash enough to make that actual claim. Even people I know who claim to have miracles coming out their ears, people who have miracles happen every day they get of bed in the morning don't say that. No one says "if you pay it must happen."
I was taught to inform the critics of my faith that you can’t view God like he’s Santa Claus, beholden to each of us who asks for a pony, for a raise, or for whatever our selfish little hearts desire. For shame! I was taught to make people feel guilty for thinking they can ask God for things. The only thing is: That’s exactly what the New Testament tells us to do. Jesus instructed his followers to ask for things. He didn’t guilt them for suggesting such; in fact, it was his idea. But Christians quickly forget that and rush to bury that fact under a plethora of qualifications and ad hoc provisions.What he's saying is Christians soft peddle the hard core faith statements of the Bible so you wont be disappointed. Then that's a betrail of the Bible while the Bible is BS becuase it betrays reality becasue there are no answers to prayer. Of cousre that doesn't make the Chrsitians wise to soft peddle those statements it makes them game players. What's obviously happening is that he just can't understand balanced teaching. Most atheists are not subtle thinkers. He's not doing this to find truth, he doesn't give a rat's ass what the truth is. He's doing this to beat the enemy whom he hates. He doesn't care what they really mean by it. The point is balanced teaching is to be preferred and that's the only fair way to think about it. That's not game playing it's just trying to moderate with wisdom the understanding of texts form foreign time, culture, language.
I've seen miracles. I've had miracles, I wouldn't be a Christian today if it wasn't for a miracle based conversion experience. Yet I also know from experience that God will not answer all prayers all the time. In fact James tells us that. Of course "godless" does tell us all of this in a snide fashion like a good little hate monger. He claims that James and Jesus "unequivocally tell us that if we pray for the sick, they will be healed." What it says is:
14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.
James 5:14-15New International Version (NIV)
"They forgot to supply the requisite "fine print," is his own poster where they stuck on a bunch of clichés Chrsitians use to soften the blow of not getting prayers answered very often. Of cousre what's so dishoenst about this is James is also the one who tells us that our prayers aren't answered and why. In James Chapter 4:3 he says "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." So he's actually telling us the fine print but this guy is too much the propaganda merchant to admit that. Reflecting balanced teaching fairly would not get him a prize. It would not be effective propaganda. he summarizes the point:
Once you take into consideration this arrangement of excuses, you see that it is impossible to falsify the claim that praying for X will make it happen. Over the centuries this claim has come to be flanked by rationalizations which ensure that this promise can never be proven false. Whenever what Jesus and James promised fails to occur, you can simply fall back on one of the following:
- Your motives were imperfect.
- It wasn’t God’s will.
- His answer was “yes, but not yet.”
- You didn’t believe hard enough.
- There’s a life lesson you have to learn from this suffering.
- Shame on you for expecting God to jump through your hoops and perform for you!
We don't have to falsify it. It's faith it's not science. We are not running an experiment to black mail God into doing our bidding. He's using the atheist fortress of facts mentality and their illusion of technique gambit to create the illusion that science explains away prayer. He's saying prayer stuff doesn't make good science. No it doesn't not if you seeks answers to prayer. You can be a scientist latter in other issues but if you are going to seek God's power in your life you can't constantly subject it to testing. That's double minded, it's not trust and it's doubt. He's trying to cast a negative poll over prayer because it's not scientific. There are scientifically based indications of healing. That is not the same thing as getting a prayer answered. You have to choose. You can choose again tomorrow. you can turn around and be scientific tomorrow. Now if you want answers to prayer put the science away for now and have faith. you are not trying to falsify prayer.
Claim 2: God will never forsake you.
Here is where he says one of the stupidest things I've ever heard anyone said:
Once you’ve established that even the worst imaginable injustice, tragedy, or loss may be God’s will for your life, this promise that he will never forsake you becomes utterly devoid of meaning or substance. The ultimate emptiness of this promise never stops people from feeling that it should somehow comfort them, but for the life of me I cannot see why. No matter what awful thing you can think of, it can be argued that this, too, is God’s will for you. So the claim is meaningless.What did this really say? It actually says whatever doubt you find to not believe God is on your side that must be the case because you thought of it. At that rate no one would be a Christian more than one day. This is the most foolish lie of the pit since Papa Bush: "read my lips no new taxes." Why would it be the case that if you doubt God's good will for your life then the doubt must be true? The nature of doubt is to cross the mind at the most inopportune moment. All this means is that if you find an occasion to doubt God having the doubt proved God is not there. I guess the rationalization is "if God was really for you he would not let you have this doubt." That's of covered in what it means by "having faith." Trust God, that's Christian life 101. They are trying to poison the well and make it seem untenable by teaching you to fear any BS lie that crosses your mind about God's love and support.
Then he fleshes out his argument in a way that makes it seem a bit more substantial. What he's saying after shifting his argument is that whatever exampel of the worst injustice you come up with other Christians will say it's not true and God doesn't want that. No circumstances could ever be thought of under which God would really forsake you. Because other Christians might suggest that God has a reason to go through it justifies and dismisses the fact that God has abandoned you. This is really rich (meaning stupid) becuase all he's saying is people's encouragement can be taken as proof that God will really abandon.. He's mixing with the falsifiability thing. How can I really know that he wont when anything that happens will be rationalized as god's will for the good? So this unanswerable problem is opened to make you always doubt god. The answer is very simple. It's all based upon a bait and switch he substitutes his own version of God's promise for God's promise
We are not doing the falsification thing while we are doing spiritual warfare. The science thing can wait, if our relationship with God is on the line that's time for faith not for making useless scientific hypothesis tests that we dont' need to make. We do not need scientific proof if we have miracles and God's power in our lives. Make your choice which you want. You don't have to give up science, just don't make it a condition of faith. That is just causing you to sour the deal on faith in the name of science. Decide which matters more being scientifically correct of knowing God. That's one bait and switch, substituting scientific falsifiability for real faith. The he is also re-writing God's promises.
It is absolutely true that God will never forsake you. There is no promise that it wont appear that God has forsaken you. Sorry to break it to you but there are times when it will appear so. It's not a promise that it will always be sunny. You have to take the long term view. God has not forsaken you, it just looks as though he has. In the long term God is there and you see he's there. He will be there when you need him even if you don't know it, but some day you will know he was there. He will get you though and you will be with him in eternity. I just happen know something about thinking God has abandoned you. I had damn good reason to think it: My parents died of heart attack and Alzheimer's, I lost my house. I lost my career and I couldn't make a living, the mentally ill brother that I cared for went more mental because of my parents deaths. I had a real reason to think God left me. I even went around saying God has cursed me. I began driving around looking for jobs finally stopped looking and began shouting "YOU ARE A LIAR!" Latter I realized god was there I was a foolish child I felt real embarrassed but I knew I was forgiven and saw the idiocy I sunck to. I undestand that I just gave in to doubt and fear. That's what this guy is urging you to do. Give in to doubt and fear and become cuncial.
read about my Second Testimony and see what happened.
The first "game" he points out:
Claim 3: The Holy Spirit can mold a person’s character and empower him to live a virtuous life.
Here he's going to turn sin nature against the believer and hook the unwary by their self knowledge that they can't make it in their own strength. In back of that is the implication that "You don't want to be one of those celibate tyes. come on you want to get liaid, you know you are going to do it anyway." He's planting seeds of ratioanlization. Talk about game playing!
As a Christian, I was taught that all virtue comes from God. I was taught that people are naturally awful and despicable and that the only thing that can enable them to be virtuous is the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Both of these ideas come from the Bible, not from some later perversion of Christian tradition. But like the other two, this claim becomes meaningless once you read the disclaimers in the fine print. Besides the numerous promises that this inner presence will produce a laundry list of virtues (love being chief among them), at one point the Bible even goes on to say things like:What's illogical about that? It makes perfect sense that if God is real he wont be the cause of our down fall. We don't want to pridefully say "I did this myself becasue I'm so good." Of course he harps upon the self esteem issue: belief in sin is really saying you are no good. Since the studies prove that self esteem is a major factor in atheism he's triggering the self esteem issue. People with low self esteem cant' be honest about their own weakness without berating themselves. Could he really think it would make sense to really believe in God and say "that stupid old God I'm stronger than he is. He can't help me but I can be good in my own?" Does that really make sense? We also don't accept it as "I'm' not good, I'm a piece of shit and I can't do anything on my own." They are always opposed to balanced teaching.
God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.Watch how easily promises like this become meaningless: When a Christian exemplifies virtuous behavior, they say it was because “Jesus lives inside her.” But then whenever a Christian displays poor judgment or moral turpitude, this cannot be a failure of God to deliver on his promise.
James 1: NASB
12 Blessed is a man who perseveres under trial; for once he has [m]been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him. 13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted [n]by God”; for God cannot be tempted [o]by evil, and He Himself does not tempt anyone. 14 But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. 15 Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin [p]is accomplished, it brings forth death. 16 Do not be [q]deceived, my beloved brethren. 17 Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or [r]shifting shadow. 18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be [s]a kind of first fruits [t]among His creatures
This whole article is an attempt to indoctrinate the atheist into doubting God and throwing away faith by giving into psychological traps of low self esteem. One knows at the outset that accuzations of game playing usually come from game playing. He is not seeking truth he's seeking to plant seeds of doubt that will produce rotten fruit and result in the root of bitterness of which Hebrews warns.
Hebrews 12: NIV
14Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal.…
Selling the birthrate is very appropriate. Esu was sensual and oriented toward the body and the sense and he felt at the moment. He was hungry, thirsty, worn out, and so he gave his birth rite for some beans. This guy would have you give up your place in the kingdom of God and be cast into eternal darkness  because at some moment you fear that God is not really on your side. So he wants those seeds to grow in you until they produce a root of bitterness that chokes out the good seed of the word.
Let us remember the advice of Barny Fife: Nip it in the bud. Don't allow seeds of atheist dout to destroy your relationship with God.
 I don't believe in hell as eternal conscoius torment. I use eternal darkness as a metaphor for cessation of existence. I also think that before we cease to exist we are judged and we understand why we are outside the kingdom (because we are at enmity with God). Please read my four page article on the subject (see the link above, or here: http://www.doxa.ws/Theology/hell.html