"So how do you explain the verses in Matthew 10:34-35 where Jesus says that 'Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man against his father and the daughter against her mother and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.' How does this square with 'honor your father and mother' in the Ten Commandments?'" Happy Humanist. If a Mafia boss reforms and becomes a police officer, then returns to his criminal friends and tells them that they should stop their life of crime because there is going to be a big bust, he's not going to be Mr. Popular. Some may listen to him, but the majority are going to see him as a threat to their lucrative means of livelihood. They will hate him and may even kill him. They don't hate him personally, but the badge for which he stands. They hate the law and anyone who seeks to uphold it.
The Christian is nothing but a criminal who has turned from his sins, and seeks to warn his fellow criminals that there is going to be a big bust. Judgment Day is coming. Jesus warned His followers that they would be hated because they belonged to Him. He warned that people will kill them, thinking that they are doing God a favor. This happened during history, and especially during the Spanish Inquisition, when the Catholic church (in the name of God) tortured and killed Christians ("The Inquisition, which the Catholic sovereigns had been empowered to establish by Sixtus IV in 1478, had, despite unjustifiable cruelties, failed of its purpose, chiefly for want of centralisation. In 1483 the pope appointed Torquemada, who had been an assistant inquisitor since 11 February 1482, Grand Inquisitor of Castile, and on 17 October extended his jurisdiction over Aragon." (The Catholic Encyclopedia--http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14783a.htm).
Jesus said that the world would hate Him because He testified of their deeds, that they were evil. This is why I keep saying that the issue with the atheist isn't intellectual, it is moral. It's not that the atheist "can't" find God. It's that he "won't" (see Psalm 10:4), because he loves the darkness and hates the light (see John 3:19-20). The professing atheist sees Christianity as a threat to his pleasure-filled and sinful lifestyle. The book of Romans says that his "carnal mind" (the rebellious mind of man) is in a place of hostility towards God. Then Scripture pin-points where the hostility is directed--at the moral Law (see Romans 8:7). Sinful man hates the Law of God. That's why it's easy for me to love those who mock and hate me. It's because I know that they don't hate me personally, but what I stand for--I wear the badge of the moral Law.
It is this hatred for God and His Law that brings a "sword" (division and hostility) between the Christian and this sinful world. This sharp sword of separation even happens in families. Almost every Christian I know has experienced this. But the greatest way I can love and honor my parents is to tell them how to avoid the reality of Hell, and find everlasting life that is alone in Jesus Christ.
We are fortunate that in this country the sword that comes between us and our families is merely figurative. In some Islamic countries if a family member becomes a Christian, they see it as their God-given duty to put them to death as an "honor" killing.
The time may come when that sword will turn towards the Christian in the United States, as the country becomes more godless, and consequently hate-filled towards God. This is because resistance to abortion, gambling, drinking, pornography, gay marriage, drug legalization, fornication, etc., comes mainly from the Christian community. We are a very real threat to the world's lucrative lawlessness. If that day comes, may God give us the courage to love not our lives unto death. After all, we are fighting the "good" fight of faith, and this sinful world can't kill a soldier of Christ. They merely promote him to Headquarters.
An atheist's question about the cross "[God] sacrificed Himself to Himself so that he would not violate His perception of justice. He gets mad when we don't accept His sacrifice of Himself to Himself. This sounds believable to people?"
Let's put it differently so that it sounds believable. God is just and holy. That means that He is a like a good judge who sees a devious criminal who has viciously murdered eight innocent young girls. If the judge is good, he is going to be mad at the criminal and throw the book at him. That makes sense.
God is extremely mad at sinners (see Romans 2:5-6), and because He is good the Day is coming when He will throw the Book at every criminal who has violated His Law. Yet, this same wrath-filled judge is rich in mercy and became a human being in Jesus of Nazareth so that we could be forgiven. We broke God's Law. Jesus paid our fine. That means that God can legally dismiss our case and give us everlasting life. That makes it believable.
What is unbelievable, is anyone refusing such an incredible gift.