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Author Topic: doubting faith?
Starlight
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Do you ever have any doubts? I mean serious doubts.

I've been having some recently. They're getting worse than I've had in the past. Normally, if I were the one giving advice to someone else with doubts, I would attempt to answer the questions they're having, in addition giving them a gentle, understanding pat on the back, and the simple encouragement to remain faithful. But I don't know what to do now in my own case. Encouragement to remain faithful just doesn't feel all that encouraging, since I've been doubting the concept of faith itself. I mean, I'm wondering why I should have faith in the truth of one religion over another, or even faith in the truth of any religion at all, for that matter.

Any ideas? I'm at a loss here. [Frown] My faith in the truth of Christianity really isn't something I want to lose. It has been an important element in making me who I am.

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"but test everything; hold fast to what is good;" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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Bat Elohim
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i find i doubt a lot when i'm not praying and reading my bible like i should.

I was raised Atheist and often my mind goes back to those things that kept me from Christianity in the first place. But i find when i really try to read and pray and worship Him anyway, He always shows up and lets me know that He's there.

I hope that HelpforHomeSchoolers will respond to you. Wow has she got Faith! and an awesome testimony. as do many others here!

Also... when i start doubting the most and come closest to walking away... there's always a major breakthrough right around the corner that I never see til i let God show me and bring me to that place.

Have faith... hold on. pray and press in. Worship even when you don't feel like it!!!

oh... one guy that Jesus talked to didn't have enough faith, but he prayed/said... help me in my unbelief. pray for faith!!

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Numbers 6:24 May ADONAI bless you and keep you. 25 May ADONAI make his face shine on you and show you his favor. 26 May ADONAI lift up his face toward you and give you peace.

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TEXASGRANDMA
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We are all tormeted by doubts at times. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to go about this from a compeletly different angle. Instead of focusing on our doubts, talk to God about our feelings. Sometimes, our doubts are a way of letting us know we need to stop and spend some quality time of mediation and prayer with God. We talk a good talk about God being our friend but we would not treat our human friends the way we treat God, sometimes. We need to take time to communion with Him on a personal one on one bases.
Take some time for spiritual rest with your Bible and prayer with God. Just as our physical bodies can become tired and worn out so can our spiritual bodies. Take a walk in a park our around the neighborhood. Getting out and enjoying God's handy work is a good way to be remdinded of His love for us. Spend time praying for others. I read of a lady that was so depressed. She began to walk around her block everyday. As she passed each house she would pray about the people inside. Within a year, God had provided a way for her to have a prayer group in her home. Many of those strangers she prayed for became a part of her prayer group.
Most of all don't give up. God loves you and so do I.
betty

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Luk 21:28 And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.
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DavidPT
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Starlight:

I know what you mean!!

I recetnly started a thread about a very stubborn sin I have, and often the more I pray, the worse things seem to get.

We just have to trust in the Lord and not lean to our own understanding as the Word ofGod says.

God Bless You as you deal with the satan filled doubts and PM if you need more direct help.

In His love,
DavidPT

PS: Just keep The Word on you at all times, even when you sleep. That will keep Satan away. My very best wishes to you my brother in Christ.

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"The LORD gives strength to his people." Psalm 29:11

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Bat Elohim
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you know what i've been trying to do... and i do this when the doubts become really bad and i find that i can't seem to pray or read my bible like i want to.... i play soft worship music while i sleep at night and while i'm getting ready for work... i put it on repeat and turn it on when i get home and turn it off when i leave for work.

i find myself singing to it and worshiping and throughout the day at work those words come back to me and i worship. the desire grows in me to pray and read my bible and the doubts begin to fade.

i've just started to do this again. it helps me, maybe it will help you?

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Numbers 6:24 May ADONAI bless you and keep you. 25 May ADONAI make his face shine on you and show you his favor. 26 May ADONAI lift up his face toward you and give you peace.

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DavidPT
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Starlight:

Have you ever tried reading Josh MacDowell? I know at times when my faith has not been terrific that his books helped me a lot.

I read a lot more than people would think. Just cause I'm a personal trainer doesn't mean I can't think! Anyway, just thought I would recommend Josh MacD.

Hope you're doing better with those doubts.

In His Light and Love,
DavidPT

PS: Listening to good Christian music does help. That was good advice.

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"The LORD gives strength to his people." Psalm 29:11

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HisGrace
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I've heard of this procedure called "praying the scriptures" where you take a certain portion of scripture and dwell and meditate on it and utilize it as a prayer to God. This way you are communicating with Him and give him an opportunity to communicate with you.

I lifted up scriptures before the Lord, but have never dwelt on them as a prayer. It would be a great tool to elimate all doubt.

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DavidPT
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I hope Starlight is doing Okay. I know that I haven't had such a good day myself (see stubborn sin thread).

Anyway, let's just try to praise the Lord ANYWAY.

In His Light and Love,
DavidPT

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"The LORD gives strength to his people." Psalm 29:11

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susan/fl
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Oh boy does this ever ring true for me. Just this week I woke up and felt there was no God at all. I was so depressed in my spirit. I asked God what was wrong? I am attending church and reading the scriptures and trusting and then all of a sudden it was gone! It was terrifying but I held on, stood fast and spoke my doubts to God all day. I was afraid the Holy Spirit would leave me if I asked such unholy questions as I did but I decided to trust God because He knows my heart and my mind! Well, I survived that day and woke up the next day with a new understanding of Christ and his resurrection, of his power and his love. The closer I get to Jesus the harder satan fights. Believe it or not but I had a major battle with satan in the parking lot of my church. He tried to keep me from going in by using my doubts, my shyness, and trying to make me feel like a fool. So yes, I doubt and I doubt but He brings me through to His glory. I hold to the scripture that "He will never leave me or forsake me". Amen.
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Starlight
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Thanks everyone, for your replies and ideas and encouragement. And TexasGrandma, I love your avatar! It's so adorable. [Smile]

Perhaps a little background is in order... I grew up as one of those garden variety Christians who was a Christian because it felt really comforting in Jesus' embrace. I only got really serious about studying the Bible once I got to college, and took an OT class for fun. It started out fine, but the more I read and thought about it, the more damage my beliefs took. I don't know, I thought my faith was pretty strong, but maybe it wasn't quite strong enough going into that class. Maybe my classmates weren't bothered by the stuff I was because they had stronger faith.

That was a few years ago. Shortly thereafter, I borrowed a few apologetics books from friends, including one by Josh McDowell - "More Than a Carpenter," IIRC. I've also been guided by one of McDowell's statements: "A heart cannot rejoice in what the mind rejects."

That's the way I'm feeling right now. My heart desperately wants to rejoice in the God's love, but my mind is starting to reject the Bible. It's a miserable position to be in, as bad as unrequited love. I'm stuck in this "no man's land," caught between the belief that once brought me so much comfort, and that unfamiliar territory of unbelief.

And I'm left wondering, Why? Why should I try to have faith in my heart at the expense of what my mind thinks? I mean, there are thousands of religions out there, and if I sang their songs and read their texts enough, maybe I could beat some faith into my heart for them, too. But that wouldn't be any better than beating faith in Jesus back into myself.

Unless I have serious cranial trauma sometime in the future, I can't just unlearn what I've learned. Pandora refuses to be stuffed back into her box. That's the other thing... The first apologetic book I read (one of Lee Strobel's "Case" books, IIRC) helped shore up some doubt. So I was feeling a little better for awhile. I figured, what they hey, if Christianity is true, it should surely check out fine, even under harsh attack. So, taking 1 Thessalonians 5:21 to heart, I took on the part of devil's advocate (figuratively, not literally!), and started more heavily scrutinizing my beliefs and the apologetics books I was reading, and I tried to become better informed about both sides of the issues, instead of just taking my own side for granted. I wish I could say I was surprised to find my worst fears confirmed, but after my experience in the OT class, I wasn't all that surprised. I was just distraught and disappointed. Talk about a punch to the gut!

Not long after, though, something much better (at least temporarily better) hit me. I realized that the reason we have faith to begin with is because we can't make a truly reasonable case for belief. Our beliefs aren't fully justified by the evidence or arguments. If they were, we could just skip the whole faith thing, and go straight to the evidence and arguments when asked why we believe! We need faith to bridge the gap between the short distance that the evidence and arguments take us, so we can get all the way to belief and trust in Jesus.

Well, that thinking lasted me for a little while. It was the last time I felt comforted by anything much to do with Christianity. Nowadays, my thinking has been more along the lines of Why believe anything for which a reasonable case cannot be made - especially something with such bold claims as a religion? And even if I'm going to believe a religion on faith, how should I go about fairly evaluating them to choose the right one?

I'll keep praying. It's been feeling like a one way conversation for about a year or so. Still, that hurts less than some of the things I stumble across sometimes when I leaf through my Bible. It feels a bit weird praying to someone whose existence I'm doubting so much. I miss that warm, cozy feeling I got when I prayed as a kid, when I was just sure God was talking with me. Nowadays I wonder if it has just been in my head the whole time.

Hmmm... music. I've never really been into the typical praise music (that's another thread [Razz] ), but I may set some Creed or Celldweller on repeat. Thanks for the idea, Bat. [Smile]

Sorry for rambling on so long. I hope I made some sense in my writing. Thanks again, everyone, for your replies and caring support.

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"but test everything; hold fast to what is good;" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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Caretaker
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The focal point of a Believer's faith is in Christ Jesus. In Him is the fulfillment of God's plan of redemption. In Christ Jesus is the validation of God's Word. Christ Jesus is the WORD, manifest in the flesh, breaking the chains of bondage and setting His children free.

In the Word we see God reveling Himself to man and declaring His precepts. In the Word God creates man, and because of man's rebellion, God establishes the criteria for man's redemption. God spoke Moses wrote.

In the secular study of religion man declares that as man ascended from primates, that his perception constructed an ever more complex conception of "god" in ever more intricate religious practices. Myths and legends were eventually solidified into written form as the itinerate tribal-gatherer society evolved into an agraian-urban society. Man created "god".

The Word declares that the preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those who perish. The filtration of Biblical perception through secular-humanism has undermined the faith of so many children in the unhallowed halls of "higher" academia. One needs to turn their focus upon Christ Jesus, and through Him is the Word revealed, inspired, and illuminated in our hearts and in our lives.

1Co 1:18 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 1:21 - For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1Co 1:23 - But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1Co 1:25 - Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Co 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1Co 3:19 - For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

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A Servant of Christ,
Drew

1 Tim. 3:
16: And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh..

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DavidPT
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OH man Starlight, dude.

Satan is hitting you with one of his biggest weapons: DOUBT!!!

You have just got to trust in the Lord and just keep reading all the facts out there by very trusted people.

And you also have to just keep praying, man. I know sometimes I feel like my prayers are just hitting the ceiling, but then something happens which PROVES me wrong.

I've been having a real tought time lately with a certain sin, and just when I was ready to turn away from the Lord and give up, the Lord led me to this site and everyone has helped me so much here. Praise the Lord!

You have got to understand that your doubts are coming from Satan and he will not stop until you stop believing in God and how He answers our prayers.

Hang on there, and we will pray you through this.

In His Light and Love,
DavidPT

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"The LORD gives strength to his people." Psalm 29:11

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Glassnobody
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People believe in God for any number of reasons… but the really strong Christians have an unshakable faith in God because they can sit down and point to where God interacted with them in someway in their life. If you sit down, can you point your finger anywhere? If so, then is this not reason enough? If not, then wouldn’t you agree that your faith is somewhat moot when the ultimate goal is to interact and have a relationship with God?

I say this as someone who has been in “no man’s land” for some time now rather agnostic about most things. My mind won’t let me believe in the Bible as a whole anymore but at this point, I’m ok with that.

I guess what I am saying is that doubt is there for a reason… it is to keep you from easily embracing fallacy. I am willing to bet that most everyone here would greatly encourage you to doubt your beliefs if you said you had leanings towards Islam or Hinduism, so why should you not doubt Christianity just the same?

There is something to be said about having the courage to step away from ones traditional beliefs, however comforting, in search for the truth, or personal revelation/interaction from God, or both. I just hope you don’t find yourself stuck in a dead end for as long as I was.

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helpforhomeschoolers
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Wow, I wish I had read this thread a few days ago; Starlite, I hope that you are still around. It was funny to me to read what my sister Bat Elohim said about me. Wow, she has fatih.

I do have faith but it is nothing praiseworthy of me, it is of God and no one else. I was thinking on this because by Faith I have walked through some unbelievable things, things that without faith I could not have walked through.

What I feel led to say to you is hard. First let me tell you that I do have faith, faith that sometimes stands me on my head and makes me wonder where it came from and when this happens I know that it is not of me but of him. But do not let that fool you because the enemy still tries to sit on my shoulder and whisper words of doubt of agnosticism and all kinds of evil things. That is warfare. When this happens even to me I have to fall back on that which faith comes from... hearing... and hearing comes by the word.

Satan is above trying to deceive no one. Think about it; Do you think Satan did not know Jesus was the Son of God? Jesus was there when Satan was cast down. Satan knows Jesus. Satan still tempted Jesus. You have to bind the strong man before you can take the spoils from his house and Satan who thought nothing of tempting Jesus thinks nothing of tempting us.

But, why? Why does God allow us to be tempted? That is the question. God never tempts us, Satan tempts us, but Satan does nothing that god does not allow him to do. God then uses that which was meant for evil and works it for good in the lives of those who are called according to his purpose. You see in the life of the believer, Satan cannot win because every thing he does God uses against him; Satan is a defeated foe.

The scripture says that none of us will be tempted past what we can bear:

1 Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

So, what of your being tempted with doubt?

One of two things...and this is the hard part for me to say, but I think that it needs to be said:

The scripture says that faith comes by hearing and hearing comes by the word of God. There is a parable that says that these are the things that happen when the word is sown in the hearts of men....
(You can read this parable in Matthew 12:50, but I am going to sumarize here)

1.)Sometimes the word that is sown, falls by the wayside. We do not understand what we hear and pretty soon, Satan comes and steals that seed from us and carries it off. It cannot produce roots of God in us because it did not mix with the faith in the soil of our hearts and take root. It is taken from us. If this happens to you, and you can see it, then seek out the word; get someone to sow more of it in you; this is why we need fellowship with the faithful.


2.) Now sometimes when the seed falls in the soil of our heart, it falls on rocks; and there is not much dirt in some of us, our hearts ore filled with rocks. This is why the OT scripture says guard your heart with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. Stones in our heart's soil can be many things... unforgiveness, pain, hatred, hurt, rejection, anger, pride, self love, arrogance... all kinds of ugly things that are not of God that make us hard hearted. When these things clog up the field of our heart, it makes it hard for the sown seed of the word to produce roots, and while we can actually spout a plant and a look like we are going to Grow in Christ for a time, eventually that plant withers and dies because it had not roots. These peopel are particularly susceptable to withering because of persecutions that come upon them because of the word. They have no roots to stand firm in thier soil during high winds and raging water and trampling feet.

I have always seen this as believing with your head and not your heart. If your heart is full of stones that have not allowed the word to take root, then you need to take those things to GOD. The scripture WHOSOEVER shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We can call out to God... Father hear me; Jesus save me, take away these rocks from my heart and make me whole, give me rich soil with which to grow faith... the faith in and of Christ! And HE will answer and He will heal you and He will take the rocks out of your soil. Please note that you cannot take the rocks out of your soil; you are soil, you are not a tiller of soil.

3.)Now, some people have weeds in their garden. And when the word is sown these weeds do what weeds do they coke out the good plant. The scriptures say that these weeds are the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches. We see this often today, we see people who persue the things of the world... wealth, cars, homes, all kinds of lusts of the flesh, we see good people who put earning a living over their relationship with God. We see people who claim to be Christ's but their god is not GOD, it is mammon. And this plant grows among the weeds, but it has no fruit, it is sickly and thin. Have you ever seen a plant that grows with the weeds; the weeds consume all the nutrients out of the soil and the plant does not prosper.

In all of these cases so far, we see the word sown and some plants do not sprout and some plants that sprout, but they do not have a good solid root structure that forms and they do not make it or they make it but they make it in vain because they do not have that which it needs to produce fruit.

Jesus said we must be born again. When we are born again, we become new creatures. We are branches of God... He is our root, His Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life in us, it is the sap that courses through our branches and keeps us alive and produces fruit of HIS spirit in us.

The 4th case is this one... the one who is born again, in his heart the word falls and takes root and the plant that grows cannot fail because GOD is the root and the word that starts as a small seed grows and grows and become a great bush. Like the mustard seed.

So, I will say this too you. Look at your heart. Do you see yourself in any of these cases? Is your heart full of stones or weeds? Did the word that was sown in you fall by the wayside and you did not have understanding? If any of these is true then call on God and HE will answer, ask HIM to remove your stones and your weeds and place you in a field where the word is continually being sown that you may sprout and bloom as a new creature in Christ.

If you already know that you are born again, then do what the word says to do.... Do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove (demonstrate) what is the perfect will of God. You do this by washing in the word. The worlds yuk is washed from us by the renewing of our mind with the word.

You temptation to doubt is no doubt from Satan. What is important for you to know is that God is trying to do something with it... either to get you to undestand that you need to be born again, or to get you to understand that you need to put on the spiritual armor of your salvation that will help you to stand and resist the devil until he flees and get into the word that you can build faith that you can answer all the doubts that he throws at you with what is written.

Either way, you have cause for rejoicing because if the enemy is causing you to doubt that means that God has already sown something in you that the devil wants to take and that means that means that God is calling you to HIM... or else the devil would have no interest in creating doubt in you.

Call on GOD and HE WILL ANSWER; SEEK first HIS kingdom and HIS righteousness and all else will be given to you!

God bless you and keep you and draw you to him.

Love In Christ,
Linda

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Christs disciple
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I have been having some doubts myself, lately. I've been studying evolution, Satanism, deadism, atheism, and such, to witness to people who believe them, and those "weed seeds" have taken some of my faith. I have since stopped studying them until I get stronger. You might not want to read the rest of this if you are having trouble with faith, too. I don't think that would be wise if it were me.

What I'm having trouble with is determinism, and the non-existent "Problem of Evil," used to trouble me, so I will inform you, that you might help others.

In case you aren't familiar with it, determinism is the religious or secular belief that all things will happen as they will happen, no matter what. Secular determinism states that we are just bundles of chemical reactions, and science determines all. Religious determinism is the one I'm having trouble with. It says that since God, Allah, or whatever deity you worship (false or not), knows all that will happen, and so us having a choice of two or more options is contrary to that deity's knowledge, and they are thus not omnipotent (all-knowing). So, according to our foolish reasoning, either we have free will or God has omnipotence.

I talked to my pastor about the Problem of Evil, and I don't really have a problem with it anymore. It claims that if you put God all together (omnipotent (all-knowing), omniscient (everywhere), omnibenevolent (all-good), and all-powerful), and place Him in coexistence with evil, He falls apart. The false idea is that, being all-good and all-powerful, God cannot coexist with evil; He would supposedly destroy it. I now believe that the solution is this (tell me if you have a better one): All-good means both perfectly just and perfectly loving, and maybe more. He loves us and *wants* (here's where the problem comes in) love back by free will, so He allows evil to exist. The existence of evil, temptation, and sin in our life are there so He will have companionship that pleases His heart. But this also allows for the possibility of some that will not choose Him. He is offering eternal holy companionship to those who choose Him, so for the others He must balance things out to be all-just, so He creates hell. Does that make any sense to anyone else, or is it a poor explanation? I was debating this on another Internet forum (which I now know was dumb, but I escaped by saying basically that it was not to be debated, but believed), and when I concluded it, my opponent had decided upon God having "good intentions."

This same person was somehow "forsaken" as a Christian, and now is not against God, in their words, but thinks that God is not the only source of joy and true happiness. They believe in a "gray area." Can anyone help me know how to help them know to get back on the right track? I could really use some help with this person.

If you have anything from the Bible (preferably not that we can't understand God's ways; I've already read those) on this, please tell me.

1 Corinthians 1:25
For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. - www.biblegateway.com

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The Rock ROCKS!!!

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helpforhomeschoolers
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quote:
have been having some doubts myself, lately. I've been studying evolution, Satanism, deadism, atheism, and such, to witness to people who believe them, and those "weed seeds" have taken some of my faith. I have since stopped studying them until I get stronger. You might not want to read the rest of this if you are having trouble with faith, too. I don't think that would be wise if it were me.

I am glad you have stopped; The scripture tells us NOT to learn the ways of the heathen. It is not necessary for you to learn of these things to witness Christ, and in fact God forbids it. Believe me that I speak from experience when I tell you that God has raised up enough of us that already know these things from having been delivered out of them, to minister to those who might need to be ministered to by someone who knows these things. (I hope that made sense)

Jeremiah 10:2 Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.

2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,

The truth of Christ is power enough all by itself to save any whom God has called. You do not need to know about the occult to save the one lost in it; You only need to know of Christ.

Paul said of the very Pagan Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

I can't help you much with your determinism problem because I do not believe that man has free will and the scriptures clearly show that God choses us. We do not chose him.

I do not believe in free will; I believe there is that which is God's will and there is that which is not God's will. I believe that God reveals himself to man to be God and when man realizes that God is God and man is not, man because he was born with intelligence given by God submits to God's will because God being God, man can do nothing less.

Further, I believe that the will that is in us that is not God's will, but man's will, carnal will, is not our will but the will of the enemy that exhalts himself against the will of God and is born in us as we are born in the image of Adam, norn in the flesh, but when we are re-born in Spirit, we are become new creatures with the mind of Christ and the will of the Spirit of God.

quote:
All-good means both perfectly just and perfectly loving, and maybe more. He loves us and *wants* (here's where the problem comes in) love back by free will,
There is nothing in the scriptures that says that God wants us to love him by our free will.

The scriptures say that GOD loved us first. The scriptures say that God chose a people to be HIS people and to them, HE commanded that they LOVE the Lord their God will all their heart, soul, mind, flesh. This was not a request it was a command. Thou Shalt..


quote:
so He allows evil to exist. The existence of evil, temptation, and sin in our life are there so He will have companionship that pleases His heart.
The exisitance of evil in our lives is because we live in a world on an earth that was cursed by God for man's sake and the life we live we live in bodies that are born of sin flesh.

quote:
But this also allows for the possibility of some that will not choose Him..
The scriptures say that HE has chosen us. Our self doe not like this because part of our sinful flesh wants to be in control of our self and so we think we choose God, but the scripture says that He choses us.


quote:
He is offering eternal holy companionship to those who choose Him, so for the others He must balance things out to be all-just, so He creates hell.
No, the scripture says that he is offering eternal life with HIM to those who Believe. Believe what? That HIS word is true... That He is GOD...a rewarder of those who seek and that he sent his only begotten son born of a virgin but really GOD himself, manifest in the image of sinful flesh, and that the SON died, shedding his own blood to pay the wages of sin for all the world that whosowever should believe on HIM might have life eternal. And then He by the power of HIS Spirit raised HIS dead son from the grave that we would have hope of also raising. And He sealed us who do believe with the Holy Spirit unto the judgement.

You are right God is Just; but his justness means that he cannot hold us accountable for the sins that Jesus died to pay the price of, and so by confessing our sins and confessing Christ died for them, God because he is faithful forgives our sins.

But also because God is Just, God cannot allow those who do not believe that Jesus is the proptiation for our sins to receive reward and blessing. They must die because the wages of sin are death. Not being receoncilled to God, when they die they must go somewhere. They go to hell.

Hell is the place where those who are not reconcilled to God go.

Hell is a kind of holding or waiting place where the dead who are not reconcilled to God go to await judgement. It is a place of punishment and torment

As for the person you are witnessing to. God has not forsaken them. God does not forsake anyone; he is not capable of forsaking. God is Faithful and GOD is Love and these are the antithesis of forsaking. If your friend feels forsaken by God it is because your friend fails to see God's hand in the situation and likely because the enemy has deceived him/her. I would love to talk with your friend. Is there a place I could go to meet up with this person?

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Glassnobody
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quote:
Originally posted by Christs disciple:
Religious determinism is the one I'm having trouble with.

I don’t think it is religious determinism that you should be worried about but secular determinism. The problem with the argument for religious determinism the premise that you stated:

”and so us having a choice of two or more options is contrary to that deity's knowledge”

I believe this to be a good example of correlation not implying causation. It is not necessary that a deity’s knowledge is dependant on a human have two choices. It could just as easily be the case that our choice is dependant on the deity’s knowledge or that both are dependant on a third unmentioned entity/force. My point is that it is easy enough to believe this premise to be false and thus making the argument invalid.

Secular determinism on the other hand, in my opinion, is much more devastating to Christianity. If it is true, then we do not really have free will and therefore physically not choose to believe in Christ. This annihilates any concept of fairness or justice in an eternal punishment for people who do not believe. And unlike religious determinism which is purely grounded in metaphycics and philosophy, secular determinism has much observable and repeatable evidence in a number of fields of science to support it.

quote:
Originally posted by helpforhomeschoolers:
I can't help you much with your determinism problem because I do not believe that man has free will and the scriptures clearly show that God choses us. We do not chose him.

If a person dies without being saved, then God did not choose him or her… and that makes God kind of depressing.
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helpforhomeschoolers
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Hi Glassnobody:

I feel like the scripture teaches that God gave us this life and he gave it for his purpose not ours. It does not bother me that God is Sovereign.

Romans 9:21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

God did not desire man to sin but man did. All men are therefore born condemned. I believe that it is true that some have been Chosen to Be God's people.

This is his right as he has created us for his purpose.

Still God is just, and and God does not will that any should perish and so the scriptures I believe show that God has given to each person a measure of faith.... a talent

Additionally, Christ died for the sin of the whole world. Not just ours who are chosen.

I also believe that all men will hear of Christ, either by preacher or By HIS spirit or by angel. The Gospel was preached even to the dead.

The Gospel is the power unto salvation when mixed with faith, but some will place there faith in self, and some in other gods that cannot save, and some will bury it.

I do not believe that God allows any life to pass from the earth without having the opportunity to hear the Gospel which is the power unto salvation when mixed with faith and even those who are not chosen have the opportunity to receive blessing by blessing and not cursing Abraham.

I believe that the parable of the talent in Matthew 25 shows this.

So, I see that God is just and that he has made ever effort to reveal himself to man and to save man... all men not just the chosen. But all men will not be saved, because while I do not believe that we have the ability to Chose God, I do believe that we all have the ability to chose life, blessing or cursing in this life. I realize though that I am probably the only person here who believes in an election and thinks that an election is ok.

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Christs disciple
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Okay.. I'm not really getting it. If we have no free will, then everything we will do is determined already, right? And since this is true and God is just, how can He create people He knows will go to hell without giving them a choice? Is it a sin if you have no choice? I'm not arguing this view-point; I'm just trying to fit what you're saying with the facts.

Here are some Bible verses having to do with decisions, including yours: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=chose%20choose%20choice&version1=31&searchtype=any&wholewordsonly=yes

I found that person who was "forsaken" (their words not mine) at http://p201.ezboard.com/bthemonkeyring You'll have to register to post, like here.

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Glassnobody
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quote:
Originally posted by Christs disciple:
Okay.. I'm not really getting it. If we have no free will, then everything we will do is determined already, right? And since this is true and God is just, how can He create people He knows will go to hell without giving them a choice?

Based on our notions and definition of justice, God could not create people that would go to hell without being given a choice and still be considered just.

If you believe this, then it is not possible for humans to be both determined (secularly, not religiously) and for God to be just. Only one or the other or neither can be true at any given time.

For me personally, it is very easy for me to observe deterministic behavior in humans. I could easily list a bunch of examples. On the other hand, it is very difficult for me to observe justice in this world of religious wars, ethnic cleansings, raping and pillaging… let alone observe an intangible God’s justice. Because of this I’m much more inclined to believe in determinism over God’s justice and hence me “doubting faith”.

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helpforhomeschoolers
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I never said we dont have choices. We have hords of choices.

This scripture is about choices in this life:

Deuteronomy 30:19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:

What I said was that we dont choose God; he chooses us.

John 15:16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.

I also never said we dont have will, we do. I said will is not free. There is God's will and there is not God's will. Man's will is not God's will and man's will will cost him eternity. That is not free. God's will cost Jesus his life on the cross and that was not free. When we are born again, we surrender our will for God's will. And we surrender our eternity in Hell for Jesus's blood bought eternity with God.

So when you talk about excercising your "free' will to chose God what you say is that you can chose to believe or not to believe.

Let me ask you something; Can you think of one thing that you believe in.. I mean really believe that you chose to believe and could just as easily chose to deny?

I mean seriously if belief is a choice then disbelief must also be a choice right?

For example Gravity... you know that gravity exisits do you not? Gravity has revealed itself to you. Do you have to ability to deny gravity? You can change you location in space and time and go to where gravity is not, but that does not make Gravity fail to exisit. So can you realy chose to deny gravity?

You also know that if you hold your hand over a flame long enough your skin is going to burn. Do you have the ability to deny that?

Some people have the ability to control their minds and thus their body's response to stimli and so some people can walk on hot coals and not burn their feet, but you cannot place a flame beneath your hand and leave it there indefinetly and not get burned can you? You therefor have no choice but to believe that fire burns.

Belief in God is not a choice; it is what happens when God reveals himself to you and you cannot deny him because he is God.

God is in the process of revealing himself to all men, through Christ Jesus but some will believe now and some later.

The ones who believe now will be saved; the ones who believe last will not. But the scriptures tell us that eventually every knee will bow; even Satan. Why? because God is God and we must bow because HE is worthy, Holy, He is God, and we are not, so we bow.

Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

So the question becomes: What determines when we believe?

The scripture tells us that we believe by faith.
God who is just has given every man a measure of faith.

Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.

God has also provided that we can get more faith by hearing and we can get hearing by the word of God.

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

The word of God has been available to man for 6k years, throuh his prophets, and his saints, through his creation, it is spoken by angels it is testified of by His Spirit, it is written in every language and it is spread through his church.


So, what determines when we believe?

I believe that there are 2 factors or variables and I believe that the choices we make in life affect these factors:

1. Rocks in our garden. Rocks are areas of hardhardedness caused by sin we choose to do and by the sin that others in our lives do against us. Rocks cause us to place our faith... the faith God has given us in other gods, and in our selves or in other people.

2. Weeds in our garden. Weeds are worldly cares, lifestyle choices; money matters these kinds of things; weeds **** the life and our faith right out of the soil of our hearts and choke out any new faith that might grow.

Lastly, I believe that there is a 3rd factor that we do not control and that is God's calling and choosing.

The scripture says that many not all but many are called but few are chosen.

I believe that many are called and the choices they make in life over the things that they have choices over determine when they hear, but still HE keeps calling and eventually they will hear and will be saved.

I believe that some are chosen and that they are the ones who come at the first calling for lack of a better way to put it.

I believe that those who are neither called nor chosen are also given the opportunity to be saved by the fact that they too were given a measure of fatih and if they so choose they can invest it in God's Mercy bank by blessing the decendants of Abraham. In which case if they do chose to do this, to bless Abraham, then they will be given a Chance to learn the oracles of God and follow them and be saved.

I am not saying I have this all right; I am just saying that this is how I see the harmony of the scriptures that deal with these issues. This is what I believe about these things. I like all of you am a work in progress.

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Christs disciple
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Sure, I think I could convince myself that gravity isn't true, but I have no reason to. I would have to go crazy in the process, but I could do it. It's different with God, though. Satan isn't constantly trying to tell us that gravity doesn't exist.

So, do you have a Bible verse that mentions how we get our free will?

I don't get your whole chosen, called, and not called but saved thing, but I don't think that's the problem I'm having, really. See, my faith in God is secure, because I see no other way for anything, but since I believe in God, I'm having to fight off this idea of lack of free will, and I can't find anything but different forms of the word "choose" in the Bible. It says we choose, but it also says God knows what we will choose, and this is really putting pressure on my faith in what the Bible says.

If this were anything but God, I would have no problem believing in it, because of some minor miracles I have had happen to me. But since it is God, Satan is fighting me hard. The good thing is that I know Satan is fighting me, but with anything else, I would think it was my own reasoning. Now that you have given me that verse, I know it was foolish of me to study those things, but it is now all said and done, and I want to believe in free will. I don't want to believe in some cruel maniac ruling everything everywhere. That I feel want helps me.

Glassnobody, read those Bible verses I gave. Several times both we and God have made choices. If you don't believe the Bible, why are you here? The idea of an unjust God is very depressing.. to me, at least. Also, can't you feel free will? And why would God have even made us if we were going to just be puppets on strings? You have come to help me, but I think I can help you.

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Christs disciple
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Glassnobody, I forgot to mention that I did all my doubting before I was saved. Now that I'm saved, I fight doubt.

I think doubt is there for a reason,too: to make us stronger and encourage us to interpret the Bible correctly. Here are some verses that basically say our logic and standards are folly: I believe God is perfectly just. Perfect justice includes casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, putting people in hell that choose not to believe in Him (I'll understand that one some day. For now I'm going on the idea of balance between good and evil.), creating free will, and creating everything to praise Him. Since He is all-powerful, He can create free will and know what the choice can be. Someone else asked me if He could create a square with 55-degree angles. Well, if He had chosen to make a world in those dimensions, I suppose so. We certainly can't imagine it, but hey, He's God!

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The Rock ROCKS!!!

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Christs disciple
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Sorry staff! Glassnobody, here are the verses: http://www.biblegateway.com/keyword/?search=folly%20foolishness%20wisdom%20strength%20weakness&version1=31&searchtype=any&wholewordsonly=yes

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helpforhomeschoolers
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quote:
Perfect justice includes casting Adam and Eve out of the Garden of Eden, putting people in hell that choose not to believe in Him (I'll understand that one some day.
I was listening to your struggle. about free will.

You are right that God is perfectly just. But do you think God was mean putting them out of the garden?

God put them out of the Garden out of love, so that they would not eat of the tree of life and live forever to eternity apart from him because of sin. Then he preserved the way back to the garden for them and of course that way is Christ.


The creation story is an amazinly wonderful story of God's love and provision and rest. Every thing that God desired for mankind is found in Genesis. Fellowship with him, work that was not toil; all that we needed for life and comfort; fellowship...a helpmeet that was the perfect complement (as in complete ment) of man. etc...

Also, God does not send people to hell for not choosing to believe in HIM. This would make him mean at best and a maniacal control freak at worst. God is neither!

Sin is sending man to hell; sin has condemned each of us that is born not in the image of God but in the image of Adam.... in the image of sinful flesh to hell. Sinful man has been procreating sinful man for 6k years, and this body of sin must die because of sin.

But God has provided ALL we need to be reborn in Spirit that we may live with HIM in the Garden in the perfect 7th day of HIS rest forever.


We cannot chose to not believe in him. And he couldnt send us to hell for it and remain just if we could.

This is because sin has rendered us in our un-born again state unable to know God or the things of God and so how could we in that position chose rightly?

John 6:44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

It is the spirit of God working in us that causes us to know God and his ways and the things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

God choses us from before we are knited together in our mothers womb. Look what God said to Jeramiah:

Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

God is not a respector of persons; You are chosen of God!

Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

2 Thessalonians 2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Acts 22:14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.


He reveals himself and when he is revealed to us we believe because HE IS God and we cant know that and deny it.

The carnal man... the natural man, the man of sin that we are born as... does not seek God.

If God did not call, none would be saved...not because God is cruel, but because sin has bound us for hell the day we are born.

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Starlight
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Wow, there seems to be quite a discussion brewing since I last checked in! Sorry I don't have more time to participate, but I do check in when possible. [Smile] Add to my limited time the fact that I'm dyslexic and a slow typist, and you can probably understand why I seem quite slow to respond at times. [Big Grin]

Anyway, some of you have hit on some of the major issues I've had. For one thing, right now I believe libertarian free will is a metaphysical impossibility, even for God. My reasons for believing this are quite different from anyone else's reasons that I've heard so far, here or elsewhere. I'm not quite a hard determinist, though. But I suppose that discussion can have it's own thread when I have more time. Before I do that, I'm going to have to read over people's ideas in this thread a few times to make sure I'm understanding those ideas correctly.

Another issue I have (the first major issue that popped up, actually) is that as I read the Bible, the picture I got of God was not that of a loving, just god. Quite the opposite. I know there are verses that say "God is perfectly good and wonderful and just, etc." But, as they say, actions speak louder than words. Well, that's yet another topic for another thread when I have some time to get into it.

Well, anyway, just popping in to let you all know that I haven't given up completely on God and Christianity yet, and I haven't left you guys hanging, either. [Wink] Right now, I'm still seeking God. I haven't felt like I've found Him, but I'll keep seeking until my questions have been satisfactorily answered one way or the other. ("One way" would be in favor of Christianity, and "the other" could be in favor of anything else, I'm thinking most likely atheism.) And if it turns out that I end up going with "the other," and God actually exists, He still has the option of contacting me. I mean, if He exists, surely He knows how to get ahold of me at my apartment or on the phone or whatever. [Razz] I just don't want to waste my entire finite life searching for God if He's not really there. If He's not there, you know, I've got better things I could be doing. If this is the only life I have, I certainly don't want to waste it on wild goose chases and snipe hunting expeditions!

Yeah, so anyway, I'll have to read through everyone's comments again before I can post an actual meaningful response. There's a lot here to take in! [Smile] Thanks everyone!

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"but test everything; hold fast to what is good;" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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Refugee
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you guys probably dont see me post anything much but this topic is exactly what i have been going threw for the past few days and i hate it i want to pray then i have the feeling of doing it later and i never do cause i get caught up in something but when i have the chance to read the bible and praise God i always say i will do that befor i go to sleep then i am to tired to do it and then fall asleep trying to pray I need you guys to pray for me as well because i am going threw some tough times In church today when we were going to pray before and after the lesson I said no and i need you guys to pray for me i got it bad i would also like to thank you all for the awsome advice i will listen to music before i sleep and another question to Star Light where would you find celldweller at because i been wanting to get some of there music but dont know where to look
Thanx

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helpforhomeschoolers
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Hi Refugee: I used to have that problem...wanting to pray and putting it off.

Paul talks about praying contenuously and I have learned this. We tend to think that prayer is something that we have to go into a closet to do or in the silence of our room before bed. But God wants a fellowship with us, he wants to walk with us in the garden as he did with Adam & Eve.

I have learned to pray in a room full of people while talking to someone else with my mouth.

I guess what I am trying to say is this... we all have thoughts in our head all the time. No matter what you are doing you are thinking on something. Try thinking instead on HIM; I talk to him while washing dishes, while cooking, while driving, while vacuming, while showering, while dressing, I talk to him when my eyes first open and as they fall asleep. This is not hard, it really requires no effort. We don't need to be all proper to talk to God..to pray.

You do have to be careful though cause sometimes you find yourself talking outloud and not realizing it and others may think this is a little strange.

Just talk to him... he will direct even your prayers if you just talk to him. And also listen. It is important to shut up talking and let him get a word in too.

The more you do it the easier it becomes and before you know it you are praying continuously.

This skill is especially helpful when you have to talk with someone that you might not want to talk to or when you find yourself in an argument..you can talk to him right in the middle of the argument.

Sometimes when I argue with my daughter and yes I do argue with my daughter from time to time and she is saying something that could really push my buttons, HE keeps them from being pushed, because while she is ranting I am saying thank you father for patience, thank you for keeping me from decking this girl right here and now, Father God you are glorious, wonderful and worthy of praise. Thank you father for the grace that is about to come out of my mouth as I speak response to her.

ha ha ha it is great. She usually gets frustrated cause she cant rile me and she doesnt know why. I know why... continual prayer!

Try it... You'll like it.

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Starlight
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quote:
Originally posted by Refugee:
where would you find celldweller at because i been wanting to get some of there music but dont know where to look

I got the album from the iTunes Store. It's also at Amazon, and probably at Best Buy.

To everyone: Have a wonderful Easter! I'll check back in with my tough questions and ideas after the holiday. [Wink] [wave3]

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"but test everything; hold fast to what is good;" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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Starlight
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quote:
Originally posted by Glassnobody:
People believe in God for any number of reasons… but the really strong Christians have an unshakable faith in God because they can sit down and point to where God interacted with them in someway in their life. If you sit down, can you point your finger anywhere? If so, then is this not reason enough? If not, then wouldn’t you agree that your faith is somewhat moot when the ultimate goal is to interact and have a relationship with God?

Those really strong Christians with unshakeable faith, you speak of... IMO, that's not faith that they have (in the Hebrews 11:1 sense, which is the topic of this thread). That's evidence. Faith is belief in something, in the absence of enough evidence to warrant belief, and even sometimes in the presence of contrary evidence.

Well, personally, I don't have any supporting evidence that I can point to for God's existence, but I do have contrary evidence, which I found in the Bible itself, ironically enough. I used to think I had supporting evidence, but that evaporated upon reevaluation. For example, one time when I was a kid, my dad was out of work for quite a long while. He would have had to declare bankruptcy, but then a new job landed in his lap basically out of nowhere, just in the nick of time. And it happened after much prayer, so naturally, I thought God had helped out. But now when I look back at that and similar happenings, I realize that nothing ever required the hand of God to happen. People get new jobs all the time, whether they pray about it or not. IMO, the simpler (and therfore preferable) explanation is the natural one.

quote:
I say this as someone who has been in “no man’s land” for some time now rather agnostic about most things. My mind won’t let me believe in the Bible as a whole anymore but at this point, I’m ok with that.
Hmmm, I must say that's a rather curious position. How did you arrive at it, and why do you consider it viable? Personally, I would very much like to get back to that wonderful feeling I had back when I felt like God was actually there for me. But I won't go back there if it's going to cost me my intellectual integrity. In fact, I can't go back there at the cost of my intellectual integrity. That would require that I be able to choose my beliefs, regardless of evidence and arguments. Maybe other people are capable of choosing their beliefs, but I'm not. I'm at the mercy of wherever the evidence and arguments lead me.

To borrow a popular analogy... If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck, it's probably a duck. When I read the Bible, I see something that looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and sounds like a duck. But then some verse tells me that I just have to have faith that it's a cow instead. And I'm wondering to myself, Why should I just have faith that it's a cow, when all indications are that it's a duck?

quote:
I guess what I am saying is that doubt is there for a reason… it is to keep you from easily embracing fallacy. I am willing to bet that most everyone here would greatly encourage you to doubt your beliefs if you said you had leanings towards Islam or Hinduism, so why should you not doubt Christianity just the same?
I totally agree. I despise double standards, and do my best not to hold them myself.

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"but test everything; hold fast to what is good;" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

Posts: 11 | From: KS | Registered: Mar 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Starlight
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quote:
Originally posted by Caretaker:
In the secular study of religion man declares that as man ascended from primates, that his perception constructed an ever more complex conception of "god" in ever more intricate religious practices. Myths and legends were eventually solidified into written form as the itinerate tribal-gatherer society evolved into an agraian-urban society. Man created "god".

That would sure explain why there are so many religions, and why they have evolved over the centuries. It's been awhile since I've read much about the history of world religions. IIRC, I read that Christianity was an evolution of Judaism and some contemporary mystery cults, like Mithraism. Judaism, in turn, was loosely based on Zoroastrianism (or maybe was it some Babylonian polytheistic religion; I can't remember now). I haven't studied it enough to come to an informed conclusion about the merits of each side's case, though.

quote:
The Word declares that the preaching of the Cross is foolishness to those who perish. The filtration of Biblical perception through secular-humanism has undermined the faith of so many children in the unhallowed halls of "higher" academia. One needs to turn their focus upon Christ Jesus, and through Him is the Word revealed, inspired, and illuminated in our hearts and in our lives.

1Co 1:18 - For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

1Co 1:21 - For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

1Co 1:23 - But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;

1Co 1:25 - Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

1Co 2:14 - But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

1Co 3:19 - For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.

I was kinda hoping for something that would avoid begging the question. Those verses are only persuasive to people who already believe them. They assume the existence of God and the truth of the Bible. (In fact, the entire Bible assumes the existence of God. The closest it comes to explicating arguments or evidence for His existence is Paul's half-hearted attempt in Romans 1.) Any book could make the claim that it is the true and infallible word of whatever god(s), but that doesn't make it so. Why should I have faith that some particular book actually is the infallible word of its purported god(s)?


I hope I'm not coming across to anyone as too harsh or stubborn with my questions and comments. I'm just trying to follow the verse in my signature. [Wink]

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"but test everything; hold fast to what is good;" - 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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Glassnobody
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quote:
Originally posted by Starlight:
But now when I look back at that and similar happenings, I realize that nothing ever required the hand of God to happen. People get new jobs all the time, whether they pray about it or not. IMO, the simpler (and therfore preferable) explanation is the natural one.

I agree with you in that both seemingly miraculous and terrible things happen to people all over the planet regardless of their faith. The thing with Occam’s Razor though is that it only gives preferable explanations and does not necessitate that it be the correct explanation. In that sense, there is always room for faith the fill the cracks of our knowledge and understanding if one desires it.

quote:
Originally posted by Starlight:
Hmmm, I must say that's a rather curious position. How did you arrive at it, and why do you consider it viable?

I arrived at this position have constantly coming across numerous serious questions and seeming contradictions in doctrine and not being able to reconcile them despite years of trying. It also did not help that I did not have the “touchy-feely” emotional interaction with God that so many others seem to exhibit. Last summer, it finally occurred to me that I don’t really know God at all… that I only know what people have been trying to convince me to believe in faith for the last 18 or so years of my life. I decided that change was in order, but without any direction to learn towards, it was very easy to become agnostic.

I consider it a viable (although not optimal) position for a number of reasons. One is that I am at peace a lot more as I don’t have to worry about things like most everyone I know and love (and most everyone in the world for that matter) going to hell… I also don’t have to worry about vein attempts to convert people or to explain and defend what I believe in the face of scientific observation and even common sense. It is also a great relief to not have to sit around and feel guilty about all the little sins that come associated with simply being a human being. I’ve accepted that I’m human and am bound to do certain things that aren’t always the best… but it’s just a fact of life for everyone and not worth beating yourself up over as it can’t really be changed (I’ve yet to meet the sinless Christian).

My outlook on life also improved a lot. For me personally it was too easy to neglect all the good and beautiful things in life when the sole focus of your beliefs is the afterlife. Because of this I was depressed (among other reasons) growing up. Along the same lines, it is very easy for people to take “apart from me you can do nothing” to heart. When people believe this, they neglect to consider that many problems in life can be solved if people take confidence in themselves and take measures to fix things… as mothers like to say: “you can do anything if you set your mind to it”. Of course, like most things in life, there is a happy medium that needs to be found between reliance in faith and oneself, but that’s a medium I never noticed until I walked away from the reliance on God.

As a Christian I also found myself being judgmental and categorizing people by their sins and wrongdoings. It’s very hard not to do this when your sole focus is on how to change these people to make them more like what you think they should be. Now it is much easier to focus on the good in people regardless of what Christians might consider to be overly bad sins (being gay for instance). This has lead to a lot of good friendships which overall has allowed me to be a much happier person.

At the end of the day, what it really comes down to though is that ‘position’ of mine is simply the best I can manage at this point in my life. It is the lesser of all evils in the pursuit of truth so to speak. Sure it would be great to feel that I know all the answers to life’s big questions, to know that God is there for me as you say, but right now that simply isn’t a viable option. Standing here also allows me to keep an open mind and to not be overly quick to judge so that if God does finally reach me in some way, I can follow that path without having to worry about ingrained indoctrination.

I heard an interesting quote a few days ago from an episode of B5 (hooray for bad sci-fi): “Faith and reason are the shoes on your feet. You can travel further with both than you can with just one”. I believe there is some truth to this… the trick is just finding something worth believing in that doesn’t contradict reason.

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Adrian
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Wow! I am so happy that I have found this message board! I have been a Christian for a year, and I was just recently going through a period of doubting. However, there is much help within the Scriptures.

I would direct any of you that have doubts or have suffered with doubts regarding salvation to listen to Pastor John MacArthur's sermons this week at http://www.oneplace.com/ministries/grace_to_you/ His series right now is called "Myths About Salvation", and it is extremely good so far! I think any Christian will benefit from these sermons.

I hope this helps!

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