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Ask An Orthodox Christian: Who forces nonbelievers to disbelieve?


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By Nicholas Damascus

What would you like to know about the Eastern Orthodox Christian faith? Submit your question.

Who forces nonbelievers to disbelieve?

easternorthodoxI believe the simplest answer to your question would be that no one forces a non-believer to do anything unless the non-believer gives their permission. Perhaps you may be looking for reasons why an unbeliever continues their life of unbelief rather than becoming a Christian since you did ask an Eastern Orthodox Christian. In this case, we can only assume what may or may not influence a non-believer to disbelieve.

The most obvious reason a non-believer continues in their disbelief is the observance of how inconsistent most Christians believers live. They hear Christians that profess to believe in the Scriptures, yet live what appears to be a life of contradiction and hypocrisy.

What most non-believers don’t understand is that most Christians are a work in progress.  They are on a journey and many times falling short to acquire some semblance of sanctification, falling victim to sin. One does not achieve, as they journey through life, what they profess to believe, without struggle a falling and getting back up. From a Christian perspective, the non-believer as well, may lead a life of sinful behavior, probably unbeknownst to them. As Saint Paul so eloquently put:

Romans 7:15 For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

The more detailed version of what Saint Paul can be found in Romans 7: 7-20 is listed as follows:

 7 What shall we say then?  Is the law sin?  Certainly not!  On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law.  For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”

8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire.  For apart from the law sin was dead.

9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death.

11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

13 Has then what is good become death to me?  Certainly not!  But sin, that it might appear sin was producing death in me through what is good, so that sin through the commandment might become exceedingly sinful.

14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

15 For what I am doing, I do not understand.  For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.

16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good.

17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh), nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

19 For the good that I will to do, I do not do, but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.

20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.

Believers are on a journey and this may take a lifetime of successes and failures along the way, a journey that involves a falling and getting back up; a falling and getting back up; and a following and getting back up. So this life of belief is not perfect and is a struggle to do good and to do your best to get it right. Whenever one is courageous enough to believe, then one could recognize their full potential, intention, and purpose for their existence. In almost anything, we do there is a struggle and sacrifice to endure to achieve the means.

It could be said that non-believers are looking for an excuse not to believe. The whole concept of Christianity is not to compare one-self with your neighbor or to stand in judgment of your neighbor.  Ideally, Christianity is to strive to improve one-self by attempting to acquire the presence of the Holy Spirit of God within one-self.

The aim of Christian belief would be to attempt to live with a sense of morality by way of sanctification, and in the synergy with the love of God to journey into holiness.  Christians would say the basis for morality is in the inclusion of God (Who is holiness, where the sense of right and wrong comes from).  1 Peter 1:16 because it is written, “Be holy for I AM holy.”

Some statements and questions that Christians might ask of non-believers could be the following: Do non-believers maintain a state of disbelief for fear of the scrutiny of others? Do they find it hard to trust in what others might say about them? Might they find comfort in their lifestyles and a sense of security not having to justify their behavior?  To what end is the denial of belief?

Presuming to become his own lord, the non-believer in reality might be a victim of  his own slavery.  Here offers a different way to think about human freedom: The human person is free only if he is free also from himself and from others.  Christ (Christianity) did not come to enslave humankind, but to free us from the bondage of sin, to free us from ourselves.

Nicholas Damascus
Nicholas Damascus
As an infant, I was baptized as an Eastern Orthodox Christian. However, I would say that becoming a Christian is a work in progress, and I often wonder would there be enough evidence to convict me of becoming a Christian. The Orthodox Church is the ancient Church that Christ and the Apostles established. It is not a religion but rather a way of life. It is not about rules and regulations but rather guide posts to make choices to transition to what we were designed to become. Becoming Orthodox is not a conversion but more so a transformation of self. It’s not about being right: it is about “right being.” In John 14:6, Christ says I am the Way (to love and serve one another), the Truth (there is only one reality), and the Life (that life source is love). I invite you to submit any topics or questions to “Ask An Eastern Orthodox Christian” on the website. Join me in finding our way back home to the original teachings of the Church. When you change the way you look at things, things change the way they look.

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9 years ago

It’s a ridiculous question. Everyone is a non-believe in most religions. Who forces Christians to desbelive in Vishnu? Who forces Catholics to disbelieve in the Book of Mormon?

Speaking for myself, I disbelieve because I find no evidence to believe. Simple as that. I would wager its the same for most non-believers.

Isn’t this a better question to ask the Ask an Atheist, anyway? We non-believers are right here, wouldn’t it be simpler to ask us?

9 years ago
Reply to  Steven

Exactly. Why is a Christian speaking on what informs and motivates non-believers?

9 years ago
Reply to  Lars

Someone submitted the question to his column, so he responded.

9 years ago

He’s just responding to a scriptural question. Unfortunately, the scriptural part was left out making it more of a question for an unbeliever. Nice post Nick.

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