Me ~ Organized religion is that what Jesus wanted? Is participating in organized religion what saves you? Can you not 'go to church'?
John ~ First answer - No. Second answer - organized religion does not save you. Third answer - First, let's say that you can go to church as a social commitment whereby there is a worshiping God with fellow Christians. You see, you can belong to an organized church and yet be a member of the true church. It is the motivation in your heart that separates the tears and the wheat. If you go for other reasons other than celebrating the Lord than you are not who you say you are... a Christian. Jesus was always more concerned with the heart of people than appearances.
Me ~ How is religion Satan's greatest trap and why make that statement?
John ~ Religion is a replacement for a true relationship with God. Religion is based on human works to achieve salvation. The other is based on God's works to give us the gift of salvation.
Me ~ Agree, but is Satan actually using the church? How is it his trap?
John ~ A trap is where you think you are safe 'saved' but really in danger. Anything that you achieve salvation through your works or through tradition or ceremony is a lie. One can become comfortable with the lie and think that it is truth.
Me ~ Why do people become or claim to be atheist?
John ~ I have heard from atheists own mouths is that they want to have complete sexual freedom. For them, God cannot judge them for their sexuality. After all, sexual desire is 'natural'. What they don't understand is that there is a world of the flesh and a world of the spirit. The Bible, the Word of God, tells us that one cannot live in both worlds. If you live and pursue the world of the flesh you will not be filled with the Holy Spirit there just won't be, let us say, room for Him in you. The Bible reminds us that the flesh will die but the spirit will be eternal. Yet, if one does not get to know or train for godliness with the "eternal" Holy Spirit, they will not know what it means to expect let alone receive the promise of eternal life.
Me ~ Can atheists want to have their cake and eat it too?
John ~ They do not realize that such an indulgence is not possible. If you want to be a marathon distance runner, you have to make sacrifices if you want to make it to the finish line let alone win. "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one gets the prize. Run in such a way as to get the prize." 1 COR 9:24.
If I were to debate an atheist, I would apply what Paul reminded us earlier on in 1 COR 9, which was that I would have to imagine being an atheist. When Paul said that in order to argue for Christ he had to become as a Jew when with Jews, and become like one under the law when around those under the law, and become like those not having the law when around them, and become like the weak when around those who are weak. Paul instructed us to relate to people where they are... we can imagine that Paul would have instructed us to become as an atheist and argue for Christ from that point.
If I were an atheist who had a problem of existence, then I would have to ask myself "what is more rational that the universe and man was created by an alien, a random event or a Creator who in His creativity has purpose in all that He designs?" As a logical atheist person, I would have to choose a Creator as I see evidence of God, and recognize that something cannot come from nothing. Things do not appear on their own, a purely logical assumption.
Then, of course, as an atheist if it is a problem of evil I would have to ask "why do bad things happen?" In a created universe where there is a Creator who has a purpose for His design, all creation would be given free will in order that they themselves choose Him. In not choosing Him, evil is enabled. Then of course, I would ask but why did so- and-so get killed in a car accident or die from cancer? They were nice. Well, no they were not nice. We as creations having free will are not nice and always potentially able to do evil. There is not a yard stick for it... gossip is just as evil as murder in the mind of an all perfect and omnipotent Creator.
This is not comfortable to deal with. Hence, as an atheist, I might give up. It is easy to think I am nice and that I am or can get away with all my choices as long as I am willing to recognize that being nice is relative. But, as an atheist, who is not yet ready to give up sensing the purpose of absolute truth, I might consider that there is a need for absolute truth in that it is logical to have it in mind. Thus, I can fully understand, concerning the problem of evil in the world, that though I am in the world, I am not of it.