Religious Turing Test: You Vote!

In lieu of my Weekend Reading list, I bring you the Religious Turing Test edition.  Leah Libresco, over at the blog “Unequally Yoked,” has posted the first segment of her Religious Turing Test.  This is a fascinating study, and I’m really excited to read the results.  In the first segment, she’s testing 15 different people, some atheists, and some Christians.

turingtest

This, of course, is modeled after the Turing Test, in which a human is asked to decide whether they are having a conversation with a human or a machine.  In this case, we’re being asked to judge whether the answers are from a true atheist or not.

All contestants are asked to answer four questions as an atheist would.  The atheists, of course, answer honestly, and the Christians answer as if they were an atheist.

And the readers are asked to judge.  Who is a true atheist?  And who is an imposter?

I highly recommend that you participate in the judging.  The judging is open until Sunday night.  Here are the 15 entries:

Answer 1
Answer 2
Answer 3
Answer 4
Answer 5
Answer 6
Answer 7
Answer 8
Answer 9
Answer 10
Answer 11
Answer 12
Answer 13
Answer 14
Answer 15

And here is a link to the judging entry.  Happy judging!

Questions: Tell me about your experience?  How did you judge the entries?  You can leave your comments by clicking here.

  • Anonymous

    ‘Just curious, what do you hope to establish with this “test”? 

    • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

      This isn’t my test. It was an interesting test that I found on another
      (atheist) website. So, you’ll have to ask her this question.

      • Anonymous

        Robert,

        You chose to post this article on your blog.  boomSLANG asked you what you hope to establish by doing so.  You must have had some reason for posting this.

      • Anonymous

        Let me frame the question another way:

         What do you think was accomplished or intended to be accomplished?

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Well, the original Turing test was meant to determine whether or not a
          computer had evolved to the point where a human could no longer tell the
          difference (in conversation) between a human and a computer.

          Similarly, I would think that the purpose of this first test is to determine
          whether or not Christians can adequately state the positions of atheism so
          that no one can tell the difference between an atheist and a Christian. In
          other words, do Christians know atheistic arguments?

          I believe that Leah is also planning the reverse test–the same group of
          people answering questions about Christianity–to determine whether atheists
          know Christian arguments.

          That’s what I would think is the purpose of this test.

          I don’t know if you’ve followed this whole string of posts or not, but it
          was first suggested by economist Bryan Caplan as an ideological Turing to
          determine whether or not liberals and conservatives could articulate the
          other’s arguments. Leah adapted it for her website’s audience.

          • Anonymous

            Fair enough. I think the reverse test will yield answers that will be harder to tell apart, simply because many Atheists used to be believers in Christianity, and thus, they were convinced for the many of the same reasons Christians remain convinced.

          • Anonymous

            boomSLANG,

            I don’t think Robert accepts the premise that true Christians can ever become ex-Christians.  You might ask him that directly, but I doubt you will get a direct answer.  However, it seems pretty clear from his church’s declaration of doctrine that they don’t believe that true Christians can fall away from the faith and never return.  I fully suspect that Robert either believes you and I were never true Christians or that we will be gathered back into the flock at some point.  I think the real fascination Robert has with this sort of test is he wants to improve his ability to counter the arguments made by Atheists.  That is what Christians apologists do.  I think that is the real purpose for his visiting the ex-Christian website and for publishing his series of articles re. exploring Christianity.  He wants to sharpen the faith of his fellow believers as iron sharpens iron:

            Proverbs 27:17
            New International Version (NIV)

            (17) As iron sharpens iron,  so one person sharpens another.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            This Turing test is interesting, because it not only is testing the people who are writing their answers, but it’s also testing the audience/judges.  For instance, if a judge believes that Christians understand the atheistic arguments, then they will vote one way; if they believe that Christians have no idea what atheists believe, then they will vote another way.

            It’s the same in reverse.  As boom stated, it will probably be harder to decipher between the respondents in the reverse test.  This shows an underlying belief about the participants: that atheists are more informed about Christianity than Christians are about atheism.  This Turing test is a perfect time to test this hypothesis.

            I wrote down my vote for each answer, so I can compare (when the results come out), and see how accurate I was.  This will help me to judge my own biases in this regard.

          • Anonymous

            Hey, Sid.

            Yeah, I get your drift, and if you’ll notice, I chose my words very carefully—-I said,  many Atheists used to be believers in Christianity, as opposed to merely saying, used to be Christians. As you and I both have learned, many if not all Christians think there is some sort “litmus test” to being a “True Believer”, when in fact, putting the modifier “True” in front of “Believer” is unnecessary, irrelevant, redundant nonsense. If there are such things as  “True Believers”, that then suggests that there are false Believers, and no sane person if going to believe something they know is false, right? Right.

            But like you pointed out, yes, certain Christians want their theological cake and eat it, too. That is, on the one hand, they want and need “freewill” in the equation, but on the other hand, they want to say once you are a “TRUE Believer” you cannot change your mind(or that you will never, ever, ever want to change your mind, which is indistinguishable from the former)

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Personally, I have no problem with people calling themselves “Ex-Christians,” and I don’t think that Christians themselves should distinguish between “Christians” and “true Christians.”  I think it’s a vain exercise to determine who’s saved and who’s not.  From a theological standpoint, I don’t think that one can determine whether someone was saved, and then wasn’t; or whether someone was saved, and will always be; or whether an indicator that someone is saved is that they persevere to the end.

            It’s a theoretical theological concept that, in my mind, doesn’t have practical application.

          • Anonymous

            “I think it’s a vain exercise to determine who’s saved and who’s not.”

            Agreed. Wait…did I just say thAT?

            In any case, in a previous article here, a religious figure-head of some sort was quoting a mission statement and used the term “True Believers”. And if memory serves, he was citing qualifying criteria for something called “assurance of Salvation”, pretending that he could know who is “saved” and who is not.

          • Anonymous

            “I think it’s a vain exercise to determine who’s saved and who’s not.”

            Agreed. Wait…did I just say thAT?

            In any case, in a previous article here, a religious figure-head of some sort was quoting a mission statement and used the term “True Believers”. And if memory serves, he was citing qualifying criteria for something called “assurance of Salvation”, pretending that he could know who is “saved” and who is not.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sid, if I accepted your premise that true Christians can become ex-Christians, what would that lead to?  What does that premise lead to, other than itself?  What are the implications of such a premise?

            I ask, because you’ve brought this up before in the comments, and it seems to be an issue for you with me.  Are you saying that, if I believe this, then I’m saying you were never a Christian, and that somehow that negates or denigrates what you believe now?

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            Do you accept the premise?  Yes or no?  Be crystal clear.  Please don’t respond by asking me another question.  

            <<>>

            If you accept the possibility that true Christians can leave the fold and never return, it would give me some degree of confidence that you are sincere in your spiritual journey.  In my mind, it would give you some “street cred”.  Otherwise, based upon my observations, I am left to believe that you are a zealous apologist looking to strike down the arguments of your adversaries.   

            I once believed and sincerely practiced my faith for 35+ years.  I was raised as a Southern Baptist, though I also regularly attended a PCA Church.  I was about as conservative a person (and a Christian) as it gets.  I read the Bible (my Criswell Study Bible with all its footnotes and reference material) cover-to-cover multiple times.  I immersed myself in the writings of notable Christian apologists of every stripe.  I was regarded by many to be as sincere a Christian as any layperson they knew.  Now,  after spending the last 5 years carefully considering the evidence,  I decided I could no longer believe.
             I no longer have sufficient evidence to believe.  I did not leave the faith because of some traumatic event.  Nobody deeply offended me or attacked me.  I simply do not believe the claims of Christianity.  I want to know how you would classify me?  Are you prepared to tell me you think I was never a true Christian?  It won’t offend me in the slightest if that is what you believe.  I have heard it before from people I once considered to be close friends.

            Robert, I believe you are married and have children (please correct me if I am wrong).  You certainly appear to hold a position of leadership in your church and in your community.  Christians follow your blog and look to you as a leader and a power of example.  Are you prepared to tell us you are REALLY open to the possibility that your faith is unsubstantiated and that you would walk away if the evidence were convincing enough to lead you away?   Are you remotely prepared to embrace the fallout from what would happen if you told your fellow believers that you no longer believed?  

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sid, as I said to boom above, “I think it’s a vain exercise to determine who’s saved and who’s not.  From a theological standpoint, I don’t think that one can determine whether someone was saved, and then wasn’t; or whether someone was saved, and will always be; or whether an indicator that someone is saved is that they persevere to the end.  It’s a theoretical theological concept that, in my mind, doesn’t have practical application.”

          • Anonymous

            Robert,

            You have succeeded in not answering a single direct question I put to you in my previous post.

            This is your church’s doctrinal statement:

            http://www.gracechurchofdupage.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/doctrinal_statement.pdf

            excerpts:

            <<>>

            <<>>

            I am going to assume that you believe these are true statements.  Be comforted that you don’t have to dance around my questions re. this subject again since I won’t bother to ask you again.  I feel relatively certain re. what you believe.  Since I believe that you believe these planks of your church’s doctrinal statement are true, I can only conclude that your spiritual journey is an exercise in self-confirmation and your series of articles are a façade.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Sid, I think you can safely say that I believe everything that’s in my church’s doctrinal statement. However, what I’m saying is that you’re misunderstanding the doctrine. Those people that persevere in their faith to the end are saved. Those that don’t persevere will not be saved.

            You’re saying that I believe that once one is “saved,” there’s no way to not be “saved.” In other words, there’s no way for someone to “fall away.” This I don’t believe.

            Here’s what I think you’re saying (correct me if I’m wrong): Bob believes that, since he’s been saved, there’s no way that he could possibly give up his faith, no matter how much he “investigates.”

            If this is what you think, you are wrong.

          • Anonymous

            “Here’s what I think you’re saying (correct me if I’m wrong): Bob believes that, since he’s been saved, there’s no way that he could possibly give up his faith, no matter how much he ‘investigates’.

            If this is what you think, you are wrong.”
             
            From Grace Church doctrinal statement:

            “We teach that election is the act of God by which, before the foundation of the world, He chose in Christ those whom He graciously regenerates, saves, and sanctifies” [bold added]

            “We teach that all the redeemed, once, saved are kept by God’s power and are thus secure in Christ forever”” [bold added]

            As best, one can, according to your own doctrine, be under the illusion that they’ve given up their faith, but they’ll be back, and “God” knows it, and knew it “before the foundation of the world”.

          • Anonymous

            Nice post.

            Young Robert is not going to navigate his way around this.  His church’s doctrine is abundantly clear.  

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Full response below.

          • Anonymous

            Robert,

            I believe this statement from your doctrinal statement is abundantly clear:

            <<>>

            Robert, if God has foreordained someone to receive eternal life, you can not possibly expect me to believe that you believe Satan could then wantonly snatch that person away from God’s loving and protective hand via temptation.  If you believe that, Robert, your view is completely at odds with the following passages from your own doctrinal statement:

            —————————————-
            And finally, there is another powerful blessing we come to understand as the wonder of itall begins to sink in. Paul says in Philippians 1:6:

            “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”

            “He who began a good work in you.” What God begins in the life of His elect He secures for eternity until we come face to face with Christ. What peace and comfort every believer should know first-hand as he realizes that his eternal security rests not upon anything he has done or will do, but completely upon the decree and character of Almighty God, Himself. We should begin to sense a “peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension” as we identify, personally, with what Paul speaks of in Romans 8:38-40:
             
            “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
            ————————————

            There it is.  Crystal clear.  Black and white.  Not much room for misunderstanding.

          • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

            Response below.

  • Anonymous

    Nice post.

    Young Robert is not going to navigate his way around this.  His church’s doctrine is abundantly clear.    

  • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

    Right.  Since I believe in the perseverance of the saints, here are the four scenarios that I can foresee:

    1. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I am, and I won’t fall away.
    2. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I’m not, and I will fall away.
    3. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I am, and I’m wrong about perseverance of the saints, and I won’t fall away.
    4. I believe I’m a true Christaian, and I’m not, and I’m wrong about perseverance of the saints, and I will fall away.

    In any one of these cases, the belief in the doctrine does not have a bearing on whether one is a Christian or not, and has no bearing on whether I can be an “objective” person in my series (as you are trying to use this doctrine, Sid).

    If you’re interested in reading about perseverance of the saints, here’s a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perseverance_of_the_saints

    Here’s a restatement of the doctrine: God elects people to salvation.  If God elects them, then they will be saved.  There are those who become “Christians” that aren’t elect (whether it’s through demographics or psychology or whatever), but these will fall away.  If God elects someone to salvation, then they will not fall away (not permanently, anyway).

    However, humans are not the arbiters or who is elect and who is not.  That’s why the doctrine has, in its name, “perseverance.”  We don’t know who is elect until the end.

    So, my belief in the perseverance of the saints has no practical bearing on what I’m doing today, or on how I treat you.  You’ve given up God; I’m not going to say that you’re going to eventually come back to God, or that you won’t. 

    This doctrine has no practical application, as I said before; it’s purely theoretical.

    And, since this is a post about the Turing test, I think that you guys have pretty well proven that you don’t have a good grasp of Christian doctrine, and have thus failed the test (if you were even trying to pass).  This would be a point against your earlier assumption, boomSLANG, that atheists know Christian doctrine as good as Christians do.

    If you would like to use my doctrine against me, it would be to your advantage to actually know the doctrine that you’re attacking.

    • Anonymous

      Young Robert,

      I am well acquainted with the Five points of Calvinism (commonly known as TULIP).  The “P” in TULIP is the subject of discussion here.  I don’t need a refresher course from you on the subject.  I was fully acquainted with this teaching when you were in diapers.

      ———–
      1. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I am, and I won’t fall away.
      2. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I’m not, and I will fall away.
      3. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I am, and I’m wrong about perseverance of the saints, and I won’t fall away.
      4. I believe I’m a true Christian, and I’m not, and I’m wrong about perseverance of the saints, and I will fall away.
      ———–

      This is absolute bollocks.  You appear to be suggesting that YOU believe that as a believer YOU can have NO assurance of salvation during your mortal life.  Your own doctrine clearly asserts that the Holy Spirit gives you inner witness of your own salvation.  It is TOTALLY disingenuous of you to assert that you are really open-minded when you absolutely believe that you are saved and that God will not allow Satan to eternally remove you from God’s loving hand.      

      From your doctrinal statement:

      <<>>

      I, for one, believe you have clearly and repeatedly demonstrated that you are not truly open to the possibility of your own deconversion.  It is obvious to the casual observer that your series of articles exploring Christianity have been drafted for the purpose of striking down the arguments of your adversaries.  You are an apologist and an evangelist.  Go to your duty.  Please just stop being disingenuous with those of us who have walked this spiritual path before you.

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        Young Sid,
         
        Three things are clear to me:
         
        1. You have no reply to me but “bollocks.”  It’s fun to see you twist and turn what I believe into something that you want to say, and then tell me that you’ve “clearly and repeated demonstrated” something about me that you’ve not demonstrated.
        2. You’re very condescending (“I was fully acquainted with this teaching when you were in diapers”), while clearly not having a good understanding of this doctrine.
        3. I have made it clear, in other strings on this same topic, that I’m open to the “possibility of my own deconversion,” but you seem not to care, or believe that this is true.
         
        Let me quote from a key paragraph from the link I referred you to earlier, that might shed some light on what I believe:  “[A]ll who are truly born again are kept by God the Father for Jesus Christ, and can neither totally nor finally fall from the state of grace, but will persevere in their faith to the end, and be eternally saved. While Reformed theologists acknowledge that true believers at times will fall into sin, they maintain that a real believer in Jesus Christ cannot abandon one’s own personal faith to the dominion of sin… The person who has truly been made righteous in Jesus Christ did not simply have faith at some point in life, but continues to live in that faith (‘the righteous will live by faith.’ This view understands that the security of believers is inseparable from their perseverance in the faith.”
         
        So, if someone does NOT persevere in their faith, then that is evidence that they were not among the elect.  If they do “fall away” at some point in their life, then that means that they either (a) will at some point come back, or (b) they will not persevere (thus showing that they were not amont the elect).  If I were to come to the conclusion, in this series, that Christ is not the way, then I would fall away, and show that I was not among the elect.

        • Anonymous

          Robert,

          For starters, you are the one who typed this statement:

          <<>>

          Gee, Robert, that sounds rather condescending to me.  Further, Robert,  I do believe I have a firmer grasp of Reformed Theology than you do.  Also, since I am certain I am a decade (or two) older than you, I suspect I really did embrace Reformed Theology when you were in diapers.  That is not an insult.  It is most likely the literal truth.  Don’t take it badly.

          Here is another gem from you:

          <<>>

          This is circular reasoning, Robert, and it is not worthy of intellectual discussion.

          Robert, the 4 scenarios you collectively listed above in NO WAY present the clearly defined position within Reformed Theology that the Holy Spirit indwells each believer and serves as an infallible inner witness that provides believers with assurance of their own salvation.  You are wasting your time arguing this point with me any further.  Drop it.  Your 4 scenarios are a canard. If you feel otherwise, please contact Dr. Luder Whitlock directly and discuss the issue with him. He is widely regarded as an authority on Reformed Theology.

    • Anonymous

      “We don’t know who is elect until the end.” ~ R. Ewoldt

      Then posting articles and/or excerpts of your doctrinal position that talk about things like “assurance of Salvation” are utterly pointless. 

      “You’ve given up God; I’m not going to say that you’re going to eventually come back to God, or that you won’t.” ~ R. Ewoldt

      You talk about Atheists not knowing the Christian’s doctrinal position, and yet, you demonstrate over and over that you don’t have a grasp of the non-believer’s position. Atheists have NOT “given up on God” anymore than you’ve “given up on” Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, or an over grown bunny wabbit that lays chocolate eggs. Robert, neither you nor I have  “given up” on those characters;  we’ve simply changed our minds about them and no longer believe in them, as have Atheists changed their minds about an invisible man who is purported to live in people’s cardiovascular organs. 

      And, since this is a post about the Turing test, I think that you guys have pretty well proven that you don’t have a good grasp of Christian doctrine” ~ R. Ewoldt

      whAT? Of  “Christian doctrine”, you say? What….like there’s only ONE? Please, the last I checked there are upwards of 4000 different interpretations of “Christian doctrine”. And please don’t tell me that you possess the One True Interpretation and all others have it wrong, because EVERY Christian believes that. 

      “This would be a point against your earlier assumption, boomSLANG, that atheists know Christian doctrine as good as Christians do.” ~ R. Ewoldt

      Please observe….

      – “God” has prescience, or “God” does not have prescience. It’s binary. (Notice, I’m NOT claiming one or the other; I’m letting YOU choose, according to YOUR “doctrine”)

      – if “God” has prescience, then “God” knows the future set of events(fact)

      – if “God” knows the future set of events, then all his own choices are fixed and unchangeable, including, who he “elects”(fact)

      So, now we have two kinds of people: 

      1) Those whom “God” pre-elected

      2) The balance of 1

      If those whom “God” elects in advance  “Cross Examine” their faith and fall away from it, that falling away is an illusion at best, a lie, at worst, because basic logic says they’ll come back to the faith, simply because if they don’t come back, then “God” obviously did not/does not have prescience after all. 

      If those whom “God” did NOT elect “Cross Examine” their faith and fall away from it, it’s a moot point, because “God” did not choose them to begin with.

      Notice, again, I am NOT claiming to know your “doctine”, but instead, offering a logical dichotomy of which one of two scenarios MUST be true, regardless of which “doctrine” is under the microscope. Thus, when you say…..

      “If you would like to use my doctrine against me, it would be to your advantage to actually know the doctrine that you’re attacking.”

      …you don’t have a grasp on my argument. Questions?

      • Anonymous

        Excellent post.

        <<>>

        However, I do claim to know this doctrine.  I was heavily involved in Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) in college and beyond (I am from the southeastern United States where RUF started).  I was personally acquainted with Dr. Luder Whitlock, and I personally sponsored (financially) numerous ministerial interns throughout their college internships as they prepared for a life in ministry within the PCA denomination.  I have been acquainted with Reformed Theology for decades.

        http://www.ttf.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=328:luder-whitlock&catid=43&Itemid=113

        Robert’s suggestion that believers (like him) can have no assurance of their own salvation is absolutely at odds with Reformed Theology.  His list of 4 possible scenarios above are a canard, and I am certain he does not believe his own salvation will ever be forfeited.

        • Anonymous

          “However, I do claim familiarity with this doctrine.” ~ Sid

          Yeah, I’m familiar with Calvinism, too…. but I wanted to frame my argument in such a way that he couldn’t come back and say, “See!….you don’t know my doctrine!”, hence, he why gets to choose from two scenarios, of which, one MUST be true. In other words—-giving him enough rope to hang himself, since both scenarios are damning to his “faith”. And really, it should be no shock to anyone that the ignorant, Bronze-aged fisherman who redacted the bible botched it up miserably by not thinking things through to their logical end. Now modern-day Christians are left trying to repair the irreparable.  Poor guys.

          • Anonymous

            <<>>

            I know you are.  You conduct yourself with more modesty and diplomacy than I do.  ;->

            Watching a faithful apologist jump from position to position to defend their faith is something to behold.  I am at much greater ease in life since I removed that heavy yoke from myself.  Defending the indefensible is akin to being in the predicament of Sisyphus.  Poor Sisyphus.

        • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

          Sid, you say that you’ve read the Westminster Confession of Faith, yet here’s a quote from there:

          “…infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance…”

          Hmmmm… seems like you have not read it as closely as you should have.

          • Anonymous

            See my reply above:

            Robert, the 4 scenarios you collectively listed above in NO WAY present the clearly defined position within Reformed Theology that the Holy Spirit indwells each believer and serves as an infallible inner witness that provides believers with assurance of their own salvation. You are wasting your time arguing this point with me any further.  Drop it.

          • Anonymous

            “..infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it:”[bold added] 

            As long as men of the cloth continue using shady tactics, one of which is trying to make a distinction between “believer”, and “true believer”(which is utterly ridiculous, since one either believes, or they don’t; no one knowingly believes something that is false), they will keep coming across as disingenuous. And note, this is just a general comment. The doctrine of pre-election is soundly and easily refuted. (see below)

      • http://bobewoldt.com Robert Ewoldt

        boomSLANG,

        You say, “Then posting articles and/or excerpts of your doctrinal position that talk about things like “assurance of Salvation” are utterly pointless, especially those that attempt to make a distinction between a ‘True Believer’ and your average joe ‘believer.'”Response: I agree with you, and we established before that I agree with you. 

        You say, “we’ve simply changed our minds about them and no longer believe in them.”

        Response: Again, I agree with you.  We are using different language to say the same thing.  You say, “changed our minds,” I say, “given up on God.”  You’re pointing out a semantic difference.

        To your last point, which you didn’t summarize…

        Response: Here’s what I think you’re stating (you’re not claiming this or saying that I believe this):

        1. God is prescient (having knowledge of something before it takes place).
        2. God elects certain people (we don’t know who).
        3. Those elect who fall away (from the faith) will come back eventually.
        4. Those who are not elect will necessarily fall away, because they are not elect.

        If this is what you’re stating, then I agree with the statement, but I disagree with your conclusion that there’s some “logical dichotomy” (i.e. a division or contrast between two things that are represented as being opposed or entirely different).  Question: are you saying that there’s a dichotomy between God’s prescience and people that fall away?  If so, I’d like you to expound on that statement.

        • Anonymous

          <<>>

          According to Reformed Theology, the Holy Spirit indwells each believer and serves as an infallible inner witness to assure them of their own salvation:

          This is YOUR own church doctrine:

          <<>>

          Time for you to drop your argument on this subject and move on, Robert.  I look forward to reading your next article.

        • Anonymous

          “We are using different language to say the same thing.  You say, ‘changed our minds’, I say, ‘given up on God.’  You’re pointing out a semantic difference.”

          Not exactly. To give up on something or someone highly suggests that said thing or person exists..e.g….”you’ve given up on the lotto”; “you’ve given up on your abusive spouse”, etc. It would be ridiculous for me to say, “I changed my mind about the existence of my abusive spouse”, etc. 

           So, since you believe in the existence of “God”, you are implicitly projecting that belief onto Atheists like me, when/if you say, “You’ve given up on God”. 

          “1. God is prescient (having knowledge of something before it takes place).”

          Yes

          2. God elects certain people (we don’t know who).

          Yes

          3. Those elect who fall away (from the faith) will come back eventually.

          Yes, logic says they must.

          4. Those who are not elect will necessarily fall away, because they are not elect.

          No. See 2, above. You said, “we don’t know who”. If we don’t know/can’t know who is elect, then someone might spend their entire life hoping and believing that they are elect, or they might fall way. Neither one is “necessarily” true. IOW, we still retain the illusion of free will, even if 1 is true.

          If this is what you’re stating, then I agree with the statement, but I disagree with your conclusion that there’s some ‘logical dichotomy’ (i.e. a division or contrast between two things that are represented as being opposed or entirely different).  Question: are you saying that there’s a dichotomy between God’s prescience and people that fall away?  If so, I’d like you to expound on that statement.”

          The dichotomy is that either “God” has prescience, or “God” does not have “prescience”. It doesn’t matter which doctrine one’s faith is based on. If you are a Theist who believes in a personal “God”, then one or the other is true about your “God”, both of which are damning to the Theist’s premise.