A couple of weeks ago I posted a video by professed Christian-turned-Atheist Chris Redford, along with my arguments there is no evidence he ever was a Christian. After some email correspondence with Mr. Redford, he agreed to answer some questions for this site. Because of the length of his responses I have decided to give each question and answer a separate post, otherwise I give each of his answers in complete form without interruption. I will give my response only at the end of each question. I think this is the only fair way to let the man have his say.
One note of clarification. He chose to answer each question “as a Christian” and “as an Atheist”. I did not ask him to answer that way. Because this is a very bizarre way to think, in my opinion, let me warn you in advance that things are not as they appear. Please be patient; I will explain what I mean after his answers.
“…I am not a Christian now. I am an atheist. So my answers as an atheist and the answers I would have given you as a Christian are very different. As such, I will answer all of your questions both as I would have as a Christian and as I would now as an atheist.
Before we could ever agree whether you were a Christian or not, we must define what a Christian is.
What is your understanding of the meaning of Christian?
Chris as a Christian:
I’m a little wary of Christians who claim to know the one “correct” definition of what a Christian is and that Christians who do not fit their definition are not “true Christians”. The only being who can really decide whether someone is a true Christian is God. And the only person who truly knows whether you are a Christian is God. God is the final judge of your Christianity, alpha and omega. It does not matter what other men say to you or how other men judge you. God knows the truth that is in your heart and He is the ultimate judge.
Also, Jesus made it clear that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand (Mark 3:24). Alienating other Christians because they do not fit our personal ideas of what a Christian is hurts our cause. As long as a person has asked Christ to forgive them of their sins, sincerely professes faith in Christ, and sincerely wishes to do the will of God, they are a Christian in my eyes.
Chris as an Atheist:
I basically agree with what I would have said as a Christian: anyone who sincerely professes faith in Christ and sincerely wishes to do the will of God, is a Christian, regardless of denomination or personal beliefs about the Bible and what exactly the will of God is. In short, I believe the dictionary definition is appropriate: “A believer of in Jesus Christ and his teachings”.
With that said, I suspect that the primary purpose of these questions is to invalidate the definition of Christianity I used as a Christian by showing that it doesn’t match your own personal definition of Christianity (based on your own personal selections of verses and your own personal interpretations of those verses from your preferred version of the Bible). Given that there are 40,000 different Protestant denominations alone, which gives 40,000 different definitions of what faith in Christ means, the probability that we disagreed on something is quite high (99.9975% to be exact).
Given the vast diversity of opinions, as an atheist, I see definitions of “true Christianity” as entirely subjective to the individual denomination and sometimes to the individual Christian. As proponents of a “true Christianity” almost always do, I imagine you will respond that your personal definition of “true Christianity” is the right one, you will say that it is objectively based on the Bible, and you will quote verses that you believe objectively support your definition. I doubt you will be able to persuade me that this definition is any more objective than the others, however.
My Answer to Chris:
When Chris the says “I’m a little wary of Christians who claim to know the one “correct” definition of what a Christian is” shouldn’t we be even more skeptical of an atheist who claims the ability to define what a Christian is? Where can we find the meaning then? It is in the Bible, for all to read.
The whole problem with the play-acting thing is that Christians might be tempted to confuse the fake Chris with the wrong Chris, which seems to be his end game.
Let’s put it this way: His answers as a Christian are worthless (even when he stumbles upon a true idea) because they are not based upon a belief in what the Bible teaches, but rather his current disbelief. Again, when he claims that he was a “genuine Christian” he is not to be believed. A true Christian is not just someone who has done something, it is someone whom God has saved. Christ really died for them. He was raised from the dead. He has given them new life, they are born again. How can an atheist say “God saved me”? Who was that again that saved you?
Chris might be a fine fellow, but his approach is fundamentally as two-faced as his attempts to answer the way he did. He wants you to think he was a genuine Christian but it is a lie. If he were honest, he would always put the word “genuine” in quotation marks meaning it is not to be taken in its generally accepted meaning.
This whole thing can be compared to someone who said they once had cancer. They got their cancer treated. They saw pictures. They felt better afterward. But now they don’t believe there is any such thing as cancer. But they also want to say they genuinely had cancer. And everybody else who claims to have cancer is just like him.
Chris the Atheist wrote: “I suspect that the primary purpose of these questions is to invalidate the definition of Christianity I used as a Christian by showing that it doesn’t match your own personal definition of Christianity (based on your own personal selections of verses and your own personal interpretations of those verses from your preferred version of the Bible).”
But my “personal definition” is irrelevant. The Bible is clear and beyond dispute. God saves people. Without God, there is no salvation. Therefore, if there is no God, then you were not saved. Come clean, Chris. You were never saved. Say it. Be honest. You only say you were because you are seducing some young people into believing you are just like them, which may be true. But if a true God didn’t save you, you were not a Christian.
There is a true God, however, and He supernaturally rescues people from their unbelief. Even atheists. Even former Assembly of God ministers and their sons, like mine.