I never took a formal class in debate in school. I grew up in a family of seven children, and you learn quickly how to state your case and defend your thoughts even as a kid. So, as an adult now, I love it when I am questioned about my faith or given a chance to explain what I believe. I never claim to be the brightest theologian or the most accomplished scholar, but I do know something about history and church life and the Bible on my own.
I was reading a blog from an atheist friend of mine. He quotes the "babble of unbelief" from others. That would be like me quoting every preacher and theologian without using my own process of digging for truth. Yes, I will quote others, but only after I have completed my personal investigation of facts and relevant issues. This friend, and I will refer to him as "Cynical Sam," copied comments from a web site debunking the authorship of the gospels, making statements impossible to prove about Biblical transcription errors and changes and texts.
Cynical Sam, like others who refuse to believe the authority and power of Scripture, simply categorize the Bible with other secular writings. If the Bible has no credibility, there would be no reason to rail against it. For those writings that I feel unworthy and useless for my belief system, I simply ignore them. They bring no hope, they hold no importance for me, and therefore I need not read nor comment on them. It really is because the Bible is so true and redemptive that those who oppose it must be so adamant and condemning.
Cynical Sam, my good friend, also quoted from a web site that advocates Earth as a spiritual home for all in a pantheistic viewpoint. The question is raised about feeling a sense of peace and belonging and wonder in the midst of nature - in a forest, by the ocean or on a mountain top. Are you speechless with awe when you look up at the sky on a clear moonless night and see the stars or look down at the breakers crashing on a rocky shore? Cynical Sam says, "If you answered yes to these questions, then you will feel thoroughly at home in the World Panthiest Movement."
No, I feel at home knowing a God who created all that I see, feel and hear. Yes, I have been on the rocky ledges overlooking majestic ocean waves. I have viewed the awesomeness of the Grand Canyon. I have traveled the world with eyes taking in the beauty of nature in places that are more than even imaginable. And it brings me back to the realization that this cosmos did not come into being on its own. The thought that this earth just appeared randomly takes more than faith in a belief system that cannot be proved. It takes a refusal to understand the very nature of life. The life journey of an atheist does not change with its "no god" belief system, as the life of an atheist just marches on into nothingness. There is nothing that brings meaning or hope or purpose in atheism.
On the other hand, my faith has proof. My life is living proof. My life has been changed. I am different. I do have meaning and hope and purpose. I will take my path of life anytime over one without Jesus. I am not into "religion," as Cynical Sam so desperately hammers against. I agree with Cynical Sam on the fact that "religion" has no value. Religion is not the key. Jesus is the answer and hope for eternity. You can take that to the bank!