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Losing my faith

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by wsgqapu_ap, Dec 4, 2010.

  1. wsgqapu_ap

    wsgqapu_ap Guest

    Hi,
    I've been losing my faith over these past several months. Last night, I wrote this because I feel the need to tell someone, and not hold it all in, and so I'm posting it on here this morning:


    In my attempt to be honest to myself and my own experiences with God, I’ve come to doubt my faith more than I ever have before.

    When people around me so certainly heard God tell them things or move in their lives, and those things seemed all too often aligned with their own views and opinions - I committed myself to only saying things that I was sure was from God. I didn’t want to confuse my own thoughts with those of God. While I’d never felt something before that felt undeniably like a divine message, I kept faith that I might hear something. But I never did.

    When I read in the Bible where it said to have a reason for believing, I took that as finding a rational proof. I kept looking, and thought I found something, only to find the flaws in it. I’ve since kept looking, but whenever I find an answer, it only opens up more questions. In the process of looking for rational reasons to convince others, I’ve come to the point where I’ve failed to convince myself.

    When I was told that during prayer we should not just say things to God, but spend time listening as well, I listened. I cleared my mind and listened for a message. But apart from the non-sensible mental static in my mind, I heard nothing that I could honestly say I thought was from God.

    I’ve seen those who said they were led by God ignore the suffering of the least in society and drive some of them over the edge. Yes, I know we’re all fallen people, and Christians don’t have it right, but why do so many Christians get things so spectacularly wrong?

    I have so many questions, and so many doubts. At first, I ignored them; my faith was enough, and I had faith there would be answers. But there’s only so many unanswered questions you can have about something before you begin to question the entire thing itself.

    I know what many Christians will tell me, and what many of you may feel compelled to tell me: unbelief offers no hope. That a world without believing in a God who cares about the world and works to do good in it is not something they’d want to believe in. I feel the same way. I’m terrified of the idea that after you die nothing happens. But I’m at the uncomfortable point of adhering to a belief system that offers more questions than answers for me and that I’m hanging on to for fear of missing heaven or going to hell. I don’t feel like I’m being honest with myself and what actually seems to be the case in the world.

    It’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve been through a lot with my faith. Years of torment from religious OCD over false concepts of Christianity and then getting over that, just to deal with another faith-related crisis. It’s been exhausting. These past couples years though I’ve finally had the clarity and sanity of mind to really understand Christianity and be able to try out being a Christian. And I’ve tried so hard, and I keep asking myself, how did I end up where I’m at? I’d like nothing more than to be a devout believer, but I can’t force myself to fully devote myself to something I have serious doubts about.

    I haven’t personally had any bad experiences with Christians. I’m not trying to ‘abandon Christianity’ to justify some sin or to switch to moral relativism. I’m a strong believer in objective morality. I don’t think I’m losing my faith for many of the reasons other people my age do. I haven’t slowly drifted away due to disinterest, or the lack of any churches with free coffee and candles everywhere - I’d go to any church if they could give satisfying answers to my questions. I feel like I’ve fought for every square inch of my faith, but have still managed to somehow lose.

    I’m not sure exactly what I’m trying to accomplish with this post. Every other time I’ve had a faith crisis, I’ve written out a list of solid points or questions and looked for answers from other Christians, but haven't always gotten satisfying answers. I think this time, I’m just tired of looking and in a way, I’ve stopped looking for answers, but I’m also tired of holding this all in. I don’t expect to get any answers that will make me feel any less confused or conflicted. I think I just needed to tell someone how I’ve been feeling and thinking.

    Thanks for reading this,
    Adam
     
  2. The writer

    The writer New Member

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    Hi Adam,

    I love you
     
  3. joey_downunder

    joey_downunder big sister

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    Yes I went through what you're describing after I had brain surgery that stopped all feelings of "feeling God's love" whether spontaneously or in any type of worship and prayer.

    I understand what you're saying. It took me years to return back to God.
     
  4. salida

    salida Veteran

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    Unfortunately many christians say, oh, God said this or that. They say this too loosely. Please don't let other christians hurt your faith. Everyone is at different levels at different times. And many christians don't even know what their bible says in the U.S. because our country is filled with lukewarm christians.

    Re 3:16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth. (what christ thinks about lukewarm christians).


    Maybe your questions can be answered using the below.
    www.TheBibleProofBook.com, (you will need acrobat reader for this), read The Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh McDowell a former agnostic- (its overwhelming circumstantial evidence of bible) and Examine the Evidence by Muncaster a former athiest/The Case for Christ and The Real Jesus by Lee Strobel a former athiest. www.equip.org (articles), http://www.gotquestions.org/,
    http://christiananswers.net/

    Feel free to email me, if you have any questions. I prayed for you.




    1Co 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
     
  5. razeontherock

    razeontherock New Member

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    Hi Adam, and welcome to CF!

    I snipped out some good and very powerful things you wrote, and ended with the bolded part. Do you see the problem??

    1. Where were you looking for your "rational answers?" the bible itself is the likely spot, but creation itself is another "book" G-d wrote. Human society is a jumbled mess, being a fallen species and all.

    2. We all need to sort through the apparent contradictions in the Bible, and as long as we're seeing any not kid ourselves that we really know what any of it means. IMHO.

    3. We need OUR OWN answers. These will never suffice for another! Some of our answers may help another along the way ...

    Not to speak ill of the Church as a whole, nor of any individual cell of the Body, but what you're looking for can't be provided by the Church. Christianity is a personal relationship, w/ Jesus Himself. This is a deeper level of the law vs grace thing, like so:

    "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? [shall] tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Romans 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us."

    Not sure if you can see how this addresses your situation, but I say this is your wound that needs to be bandaged up. :groupray: Praying for oil and wine ...
     
  6. laurine

    laurine Daughter of Zion

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    God loves us all unconditionally.
     
  7. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid ...striving to be the Real McCoy!

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    Adam, I know what you're going through. You sound like me in my experiences. The reason you are going through this is because you're a 'thinker,' and a part of your personality type feels best by reasoning until a sense of cognitive closure has been reached. Unfortunately, no form of religious belief, including faith in Christ, can give us rational closure, it's not in the structure of our humanity. In other words, we are finite beings who cannot acquire all of the knowledge that we crave.

    This is all I'll say at this point, because to go further would then track off into a formal discussion of philosophy, apologetics, history, psychology, etc, and I know that is not what you need at this moment.

    I just want to say that you're not alone in feeling the way you do.
     
  8. texastig

    texastig The diablo is in the phone booth dialing 911

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  9. Lukaris

    Lukaris Orthodox Christian

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    It is a sorrowful & fallen world which many often wonder what all of this is about. This is where we may be closer to the Lord than we realize because our capacity to yearn for His command to love God & our neighbor as ourself with all our heart, soul, & mind seems at its greatest. We cannot change it but can only find ways to help it. How you do this is between God and yourself & whatever is done for the good should be done also with interior prayer for the salvation of whoever one is called to help (so for ex. if you donate to a food bank pray that those who receive your charity also have salvation for instance & leave the rest to God). We are not saved by works but by grace for good works (Ephesians 2:8-10).

    I am a sinner who always needs to repent & not the most happy person & may even have slight depression but also have thanksgiving in the hope of the salvation that Jesus Christ has given us & praying that others have it (who? God knows, I just pray). We are called to pray for all (1 Timothy 2:1). An atheist may say well you have probably helped produce a chemically induced placebo effect in your brain to offset your melancholy and for your purpose this is good. No, this is a small instance of God giving me His grace & then a scientific explanation of this can then suffice. I also better show some gratitude, give thanks, & share the grace given to me. I see my home town deteriorating as murder & other crimes increase. One may wonder how the Lord sorrowed as an infant as a fiend murdered the infants of Bethlehem (Matthew 3:16).

    Remember as the Lord Jesus Christ tells us that we will have tribulation in this world but to be of good cheer since He has overcome it (see John 16:33). God bless.
     
  10. carmelsnowcone

    carmelsnowcone Newbie

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    I'm not the warm and fuzziest person but I'll try my best.

    First I would ask why you have faith in the first place and isolate the source of it. Look at where it comes from and how it has affected your life. If you have a /to you is the important part/ legitimate reason for having faith in a god then by all means return to religion. If your having trouble with fully believing in something that is never going to give you proof / and it isn't/ then maybe you need to rexamine what your beliefs are and maybe give the other side of the arugment more than a passing glance. I don't usually try to 'deconvert' people so to speak, but I was in your exact situation once, trying desperatly to believe and hating myself when I couldn't force it or fake it. Remeber be honsest with yourself and the answer must some from you.

    Hope this helps and best wishes!
     
  11. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    And what about what God has revealed of Himself to us in His Word, the Bible? Why were you straining to hear a "voice from heaven" when God has said all that you need to hear from Him in Scripture? (2 Ti. 3:16) Too often Christians mystify their walk with God. It isn't enough that they have His Word, they must have more, they must have a special divine message just for them from God. I gotta' tell you, though, these same Christians typically aren't being careful to heed all that God has already communciated to them in the Bible! I would urge you not to be one of them.

    It is because Christians aren't hearing and acting upon the truth and wisdom God has set out in the Scripture that they are so often frantically searching for a special message from God. What God has intended through His Word would secure His children in their faith and guide them through the many crossroads of life has been largley ignored by many of His children. Consequently, these same children of God flounder about spiritually wondering why their faith in God is so vacillating and their sense of God's presence is so weak. In an attempt to bring some reality to their walk with God, to justify and validate their faith in Him, they begin to look for some mystical experience of God. They concentrate their attention on impressions, or a voice in their head, or an unusual confluence of circumstances and interpet these things to be God speaking. Of course, when you ask them to define precisely and concretely how they know that they have heard from God in these ways, they usually respond by saying, "I just know" (which is neither precise nor concrete).

    The Bible says to have a reason for believing, but it also says to anchor those reasons to what God has revealed of Himself and His purposes in Scripture. "So then faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God." (Ro. 10:17)

    Rational reasons for belief in God will only take you so far. "The just shall live by faith," (He. 10:38) the Bible says, and "Without faith it is impossible to please God." (He. 11:6) It is vital to have good reasons for your faith, but God has so ordained things that one cannot walk with Him without the exercise of faith.

    :doh:Ugh. Look, you want to hear from God? Just open your Bible and read it.

    I think you're painting with too broad a brush here. I know many Christian who have got it right.

    You know, the funny thing about doubt is that the more you focus on it, the greater it becomes. This is why Olympic athletes don't tape doubts to their bathroom mirrors but statements like, "I will win!" or "I'm the best!" You can bet they wouldn't reach the levels of excellence they do if they were continually focusing on their doubts. In the same way, you can be giving your doubts more ground in your thinking than they deserve simply by dwelling upon them. Don't ignore your doubts, but don't let them railroad you into agnosticism, either.

    Imagine walking to your car and wondering, "You know, I have no certain guarantee that my car will start." You approach your car and think, "In fact, any number of things could go wrong to prevent the car from starting." You reach the door of your car and hesitate as you reach for the door handle. You muse within yourself, "The battery could be dead. A wire could be loose. The ignition could be worn. Man, there are so many things that could cause my car not to start!" The next thing you know, you're standing at the bus stop watching a bus approach. You wonder to yourself, "How do I know for certain the bus will take me where I want to go?"

    You see how doubt unfettered quickly runs out of control? Now, the above example is exaggerated, of course - but only to more strongly make my point. The expansion of doubt is usually much more subtle, but just as powerful in leading us to wrong conclusions.

    You appear to have utterly missed the point of being a Christian. And why would you fear missing heaven or going to hell if God doesn't exist?

    It sounds like it! By the way, what is "religious OCD"?

    Well, what are you questions? Maybe we can answer some of them, or put you onto those who can!

    Here's a few sites you might want to peruse in your search for answers:

    Stand to Reason: Stand to Reason: Equipping Christian Ambassadors with Knowledge, Wisdom, and Character.
    Reasonable Faith:
    Welcome to Ravi Zacharias International Ministries

    Selah.
     
  12. sb81

    sb81 Newbie

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    Hello Adam, I believe doubt is pretty common in us all and we must handle these doubts in a way that will not disrupt our walk with Christ. I would like to give you some pointers that help me out. You did not list many details on what issues have been bothering you, so I apologize if some of these points do not apply to your situation.

    - Do not let what you don't know, unsettle what you do know. Do you believe Jesus Christ was here on Earth, was crucified, buried and rose up in resurrection on the third day to redeem mankind of their sins and whoever truly believes this will have eternal life? There is substantial evidence for this. My point here is if you DO believe Jesus was who he said he was, then do not let some other smaller details shake the foundations of your faith. Let Jesus be the foundation for your faith and seek rest and peace in him.

    - Be weary of anyone who claims to have perfect interpretation of Scripture, including yourself. This means that you accept you do not have all the answers and understanding of Scripture and that you will run into bumps in the road that will cause doubt to arise. Try to get comfortable with this idea and be patient for answers that may come years down the road, or not at all rather than letting it shake the foundations of your faith.

    - Be careful what you read and keep in mind every human has innate bias and beliefs. Five people will be looking at the same thing, and their testimony will vary depending on their believes and bias. I'm referring mainly to writings/documentaries about Christianity here. There are scholars that are conservative Christian, or agnostics, etc. Do not let another person mold your perception too much and figure out where they are coming from and what their bias/agenda is.

    - To go with the above point, I would personally stick with conservative Christian material and the Bible. Dr. Vernon Mcgee has been very inspirational for me. While naturally I do not agree with everything he has to say, he seems very sincere in giving the word of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ out. If interested you can google Thru the Bible radio and download his MP3s. He had a 5 year radio program that went through all the books of the Bible. You can also look up William Lane Craig for some excellent philosophy & apologetics at reasonable faith.org

    - When your faith really gets in the gutter I personally found myself at a spot where I took a step back and "started over" with the original question, "Does God Exist?" At that time, in that shape, I still could not believe that God does not exist, and that we are the result of a series of successful trillion sided dice rolls with no purpose.

    Best of luck to you and I hope you find peace and rest, preferably in Jesus Christ. :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  13. wsgqapu_ap

    wsgqapu_ap Guest

    Hi,

    First of all, I wanted to say thanks for all of the responses. I'll try to respond a bit to some of the posts without making my reply too lengthy.


    @ razeontherock:

    I really agree with you on when you say creation is another book God wrote - that's been something I've believed for a while, especially since I'm scientifically minded. There have been some things though with science that seem to bring up some philosophical questions though, which have led to my doubt (problem of natural evil; evidence for pre-fall death), and there's a hard time finding answers for some of these questions. I agree also that I need to find answers for myself, which is definitely what I've been looking for. I may have worded that wrong - I meant to say what started off as an attempt at constructing rational arguments to convince others led me to ask questions I couldn't find answers for myself for. I agree too that the Church can't provide the answer I'm looking for - I think I've been trying to figure out exactly what a relationship with Jesus feels and looks like (and how to determine that from what might be my own thinking where Jesus may not be involved), and so maybe I've been looking to other Christians (not just a few ones, of course - I realize many Christians get it wrong), but many Christians to see what I might be doing wrong. I hope that makes sense.


    @ philovoid


    Thanks for what you said - it really resonated with me. If I may ask, how did you manage to regain your faith? I'm looking for ways, but am struggling. Thanks :)


    @carmelsnowcone:

    That's one thing I've been doing is trying to isolate where my faith came from and how I originally had faith, and it's been difficult to pinpoint what it was. I think there were several complicated factors, too much to go into here. I really do want to be honest with myself and not force anything as well, and that's one thing I'm going to try to keep doing as I go into the future. Thanks for your reply :)


    @ aiki:

    There's a lot I want to reply to here, so I'm going to address things point by point, so I don't ramble into one huge text blob, which I tend to do. Also, thanks for your thorough response :)

    One of my issues I've had is doubting the inerrancy of the Bible. There seem to be some contradictions and there are big questions I have about how it fits together, and even after I've researched them, I've still been left confused and without any satisfying answers. Many verses seem to be able to be taken so many ways, as looking across this website easily shows. I could list all of my questions, but that would take hours and I've done it before. Plus, as I've come to doubt God, I've also come to naturally doubt the divine inspiration of the Bible.


    Also, I think if I were to fully regain my faith, ideally I'd want a relationship with God that while based on the Bible also involved being led to certain things or certain ways by the Holy Spirit. I'm not talking about Charismatic theology here, or some Emergent Church stuff which is focused a lot on feeling and not so much on Scripture study. If I were solely basing my faith on feeling, I may have abandoned it years ago. I'm not waiting for God to send me a clear message in my head; but it seems like God should be nudging people or leading them in certain directions - for example, getting a strong feeling after reading a Bible passage to do something or change something that I could say for quite certain was God and not just a product of my own thinking. I'd like to experience at least a nudge like that.



    I think you've addressed on of my biggest questions here: if we believe by faith, and we have to make a leap of faith, then how do we know we've 'leaped in the right direction' by becoming Christians? People end up following other religions by faith. The typical answer I've gotten involves quotes of Bible verses used to prove God exists and the claims of Christianity, but then when you ask how we know the Bible is true, God is invoked. Ultimately, circular logic is involved (Christianity is true because the Bible says so -> The Bible is true because God has inspired it -> And Christianity is true because the Bible says so -> and so on). It seems this happens with other religions and belief systems as well, and I think I'm looking for a way to determine which circle of logic is the right one to jump into. I need something to lead me into the circle of logic, so to speak.




    I wouldn't disagree with you there. Many Christians do get it right, wonderfully, and I've met some of them. My question was why do so many Christians also get things really wrong as well? People from other belief systems also get things really right and really wrong as well. Of course, there isn't a real objective way to measure this, but it seems to me the "wrong to right" ratio doesn't seem extremely skewed to the 'right' side of things when compared to people of other groups of religious people.



    I agree, but my questions and doubts have undoubtedly grown. What started off as a small list of questions and issues has grown to a very long list. When it took me a while to scroll to the beginning of the word document, it's hard not second guess the whole thing. Your point definitely holds for focusing on a few doubts and blowing them out of proportion, but the proportion of my doubts and questions aren't small. If anything, I've tried to shrink them, but there's always the nagging voice in the back of my head, that makes me feel I'm being dishonest if I don't admit I have such doubts.





    I totally realize and agree avoiding hell is not the point of being a Christian. It's just, that's what's helping me stay one at the moment. My fear of hell has decreased as my doubts have increased, but my fear is still substantial, primarily due to my OCD, which you can't really rationalize with (it's faulty brain chemistry).





    It's also known as scrupulosity. If you go to the OCD forum in the mental health section on this website and read some posts by some sufferers, you can get a good idea of what it's like. Luckily, I've managed to get it under control, but it's still a significant factor in my thought patterns.



    @sb81:


    Thanks for your kind reply and I appreciate your points. I apologize for not listing any solid explanations of the issues I've had. That's what I typically do, but this post was more emotional than anything I've really posted before (asking solid questions tends to get you a solid answers, and I think maybe I needed to write out how I was feeling emotionally, since I'd never really done that.)


    I think at this point, I've come to realize that everyone has a bias, whether non-Christian or Christian, and I've tried to find a bias-free way to find a way into faith. It's been hard and like I've mentioned, I've ended up with more questions and few satisfying answers. One issue is that I can't really go to the Bible and get a faith refresher since I've come to doubt the inerrancy of the Bible (partially due to the circular logic thing I mentioned in my reply to aiki). I'm trying to find a way back in, but it's difficult.


    Thanks again for all your responses, and sorry for not replying to all of them. I do appreciate everything you've written.

    Hope you all have a nice day :)
     
  14. HooHaa

    HooHaa New Member

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    I was just wondering why Gods unconditional love has so many conditions? ... You cant be gay ... you cant worship other gods ... you cant be an adulterer ... He doesnt want cripples or people who wear glasses into church ...The list of conditions goes on and on ...Havent you read Leviticus? ... If Gods love were unconditional ... why then ... according to the belief ... are so many people supposed to be in Hell ... The God of the Bible has many conditions and the main one is ... Love Him or Else ...
     
  15. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

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    I wonder where you've been looking for answers. Did you check out the sites I listed in my last post? Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason, in particular, has some good information on the Bible.

    Analysis of the tens of thousands of extant ancient manuscripts of the Bible reveal copyist errors of various sorts and possible later additions to the original text of the Scripture. But even when all of these errors in copying and possible additions are taken into account, the fundamental doctrines of the Scripture remain absolutely unaffected. And, of course, biblical scholars are aware of errors in copying and account for them in modern translations.

    Almost always biblical contradictions can be reconciled reasonably. Many seem at first glance to be rather glaring contradictions, but upon careful examination they turn out not to be contradictions at all. I have been challenged many times by atheists in this regard and as yet have never actually encountered a legitimate contradiction. Even if I did, it would be reasonable to allow time and the expansion of knowledge to increase before proclaiming a true contradiction. In a number of instances, as archaelogical research has advanced and facets of ancient biblical cultures have been uncovered apparent Bible contradictions have been resolved. In light of this, it seems perfectly legitimate to give the Scripture the benefit of the doubt.

    Don't confuse the fact that a single verse may have many applications with the idea that it can be made to say anything. In fact, it can't. Not all interpretations of a verse are equal - especially on this site. Basic hermeneutic principles eliminate many of the "interpretations" offered here on Christianforums. So don't be thrown by the many different ways verses may be used by Christians here. As often as not, the verse is being misused. Mind you, as I said, a verse may have a variety of applications, which you should be careful to distinguish from interpretations.



    Naturally, indeed!

    And why do you think you have never had such "divine nudging"?

    Hold on a sec'. We are called by God to walk with Him by faith, but this doesn't preclude having rational reasons for being willing to do so. In fact, God gives us plenty of reason to trust Him and to be confident that He is the One in whom we should trust.

    Well, maybe you ought to take a look at Christians like William Lane Craig, or Alvin Plantinga, or Ravi Zacharias, or John Lennox, or J.P. Moreland (to name just a few). None of these prominent Christian apologists (all of whom hold Phd.s) argue for the Christian faith as you have just described.

    It may be involved in the method of argument of some Christians, but it doesn't have to be. There are many powerful, non-circular arguments in favor of God's existence and His revelation of Himself to humanity in the person of Jesus Christ. If you want to examine some of them, pick up Dr. W.L. Craig's book "On Guard."



    Well, you will be relieved to know, then, that Christianity doesn't rely on such logic in defense of itself. Christians may employ that kind of reasoning, but it is neither necessary, nor convincing.



    Like you said, its very hard to judge over-all how Christians stack up against other faith groups in their success in moral living. People tend to go with their prejudices in this matter - sometimes way too far. Keep in mind that not everyone calling himself a Christian actually is. As Christ said, "By their fruit you shall know them." In other words, someone who claims to be a Christian but doesn't live like it deserves to have their claim received very skeptically. I think, actually, that the majority of people who call themselves Christians these days really aren't saved.

    Yes, I know something of OCD behaviour. You don't think your tendency to obsess could be a factor in the growth of your doubts?

    Selah.
     
  16. oi_antz

    oi_antz Indiscreetly honest. Ask at your own risk. Supporter

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    It's important to remember what the Bible is meant for and learn to use it the right way. It is not meant to be a list of laws instructing us how to live life in a way that pleases God, in actuality it is a documented history of God's people, which is meant for the purpose of stimulating us to consider who God really is. I think if you are struggling with a doubt of faith, it is probably quite likely you have forgotten who God truly is, or the reality of God exists only in your memory and not in your day-to-day life.

    I think if the Bible can show us something to consider about someone whose faith has truly been challenged, it's Job. We've been studying Job recently at men's group and just last week we covered the chapters 33-42, where Job is discussing his plight with his friends, who were incidentally unable to help him in any way. The suffering and seeming injustice of his predicament had turned him into a very bitter person, this radiates quite vividly through the previous 5 chapters. Eventually when everyone had exhausted their rebuttals, God appeared to them and spoke to Job. The four whole chapters of God speaking in 38 to 41 is basically what you seem to have forgotten about God, and when the time comes that God becomes real to you again, you'll find yourself returning to full faith with a split-second decision just as Job did in 42:4-5 and just as any wayward Christian does when they suddenly come to realise the reality of God that they had forgotten.

    I'm not sure just how you can revive the reality of God in your life, or even if it's within your control, but certainly at this point when your faith is under attack, it would be prudent to get active in prayer and worship and not fall into the state of being lukewarm in such a state you drift through life without any real direction or hope. Are you able to pray? I spoke to someone the other day who said the enemy had attacked him and prevented him from praying, in that case you should seek the prayers of a fellow believer who can plead on your behalf to bring you back to God's grace.
     
  17. Pure760

    Pure760 New Member

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    Have faith that infinate joy beyond comprehension is waiting for you. All it takes is to surrender yourself, all you think you are and have, all your judgments projected on the world are fleeting. Give up everything you would not keep for enternity until all that is left is the eternal love of God.
     
  18. wsgqapu_ap

    wsgqapu_ap Guest

    Hi,
    Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you. This is actually the third reply I've written - this forum keeps signing me out, so when I go to post it, it loses my post. Talk about frustrating!

    Unfortunately, I haven't had the time to check out the links you sent, but I'm thinking about checking out some of the authors you mentioned. Time is limited for me right now, so I understandably don't have the time to read a book and respond to it here now, but hopefully I'll have more time in the coming weeks.

    While minor contradictions have contributed to my doubt to some extent, they're not the major reason I'm doubting the Bible. I realize many of the minor contradictions can be explained away and that even if the few contradictions that can't be explained, like the number of Aramean charioteers that David killed, don't impact the overall message.

    Rather, what is causing me to doubt are more fundamental issues about the Christian faith. For example, I found the big difference in morality in the Old Testament and the New Testament to be troubling. If there's one thing about Christianity I really felt drawn to, it was the objective moral standard (I am not a fan of moral relativism by any means), but when you look at the Old Testament and the New Testament, the differences seem rather striking. In one, killing women and children in war is condoned and parents are commanded to stone their disobedient children, while in the other, love of enemies is preached and mercy is placed before punishment. I've heard many Christians give explanations about this: God had a special covenant with the Israelites, Jesus fulfilled the law but didn't change it, God related to people in their cultural context, but none of them are satisfying to me. In the end, God commanded children be stoned to death; in the other, a radically different approach is taken. I can't get over that difference.

    I hope that didn't come off as combative by any means - this is just the kind of stream of consciousness thinking I've been doing about this stuff and I've been wondering about for a long while. I'm very eager to hear any explanations that could help explain my questions and help me strengthen my faith.

    I don't know. I really wish I knew, but for now, it's an open question for me.


    I've looked into what many Christians who take the rational route have said, since it's the only way I think I could have faith and feel comfortable about it. I've read some books by theologian John Polkinghorne, who does a really good job on issues about science and religion and offers the best explanation for the problem of natural evil that I've heard. I have also listened to a couple lectures and read some writings by Plantinga, for example about his Ontological argument for God and an argument he made against naturalism. In addition, I've listened to many debates between Christians and non-believers. I haven't read anything by any of the other authors you mentioned, but I think I might check some of them out and see if they have different answers than what I've so far heard.




    I have no doubt that my OCD has contributed to my ability to intensely focus on things. In many cases, it's the upside to having a horrible mental disorder, though it can be a downside as well. Such intense focus though isn't OCD itself , but rather a byproduct of having OCD brain chemistry. My doubts now aren't OCD - I've had such OCD about doubts before, and I know exactly what that feels like.


    Thanks for taking the time to reply to my posts :)
     
  19. sb81

    sb81 Newbie

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    I understand you are in sort of a religious limbo right now, so it is unlikely to be the focal point in your life; however, it will be challenging to have a close relationship with Jesus Christ when he is seen as just another activity towards the back of your queue.

    Ultimately for the Christian, every thought, activity, etc should be done with him in mind. Please do not take this as a claim that I am there yet, as I am not. :)

    One thing you should keep in mind is the Old Testament is mainly aimed towards the nation Israel. Please do not misunderstand me in thinking I'm saying the OT does not apply to gentiles or Christians; however, much of the OT is God's law and commands for governing a nation, namely the nation of Israel. Harsh laws are required to keep a little leaven from spoiling the whole batch. It also includes much warfare between nations which there is none in the NT. Much of the instruction in the NT is for the follower of Jesus Christ. Christians are not called to regulate and govern a nation like the Children of Israel were in the OT.

    Furthermore, many people like to quote the friendly love verses in the NT and make it seem like that is all there is in the NT. The Lord Jesus had some of the strongest words in the entire Bible and will be the Judge at the end of the age throwing unbelievers into the Lake of Fire.

    Also, try to keep in mind, God's omniscience. We have a hard time with our limited mental capacity understanding an infinite God. Even though I may not understand it, I try not to question his actions and commands when he orders the extermination of a nation, including their children. However, I believe if you delve deeper into this you will see how evil some of these people were that God chose to destroy. IE - Sodom and Gomorrah.

    Futher, further more... I would suggest getting a strong foundation in Jesus before investigating these other "issues" that may be cleared up in the future when your faith is stronger. An objective look at the evidence of Jesus Christ should point you towards Jesus unless one is overly skeptical.

    Best Regards
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2010
  20. leftrightleftrightleft

    leftrightleftrightleft Inclined to Christianity

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    I'm in basically the exact position as Adam and have been for about 4 months now. I am scientifically-minded and value logic and reason. Similarily I am struggling with the idea of what "faith" is and why Christians hold faith as such a virtue. Faith as virtue seems like one of the basic tenets that you need to value in order to be a Christian. I find that in order to have faith, you have to have faith.

    I also didn't like what aiki wrote because it implies that, in order to be a Christian, you can't have free thought. The word "doubt" has a negative connotation when in reality, "searching", "seeking" or simply "freely thinking" are less-loaded terms for the same thing. I find that, in order to be a Christian, you can't actually freely think because you're ultimately constrained by the fact that you must pre-suppose the Bible's truthfulness and therefore cannot actively analyze the Bible from a different viewpoint.

    So if I go off "seeking", I'm not "supposed" to. Its viewed as a "bad" thing in Christian circles. And if I value free-thought and want to understand the Bible more fully, isn't it necessary to look at it from the perspective that it was a culturally-motivated, mythologized set of ancient writings no different than other mythologized books?

    Aiki's analogy to olympic athletes also falls apart when you replace Adam's "doubt" with "spiritual exploration". Spiritual exploration shouldn't be a bad thing, should it?

    Also, olympic athletes don't WANT to fail and are HIGHLY motivated to succeed in their sport. But with me (and perhaps Adam) I am finding it harder and harder to be MOTIVATED to think the happy, supportive thoughts that would "strengthen" my faith. Its been exhausting, as Adam said.

    Also, aiki finishes off the paragraph saying that we shouldn't ignore doubts...but the rest of her post seems to imply that we should ignore doubts because they lead you down a bad road. If doubt (aka free thought) leads you down a bad road, then maybe you're just being ignorant of the fallaciousness of Christianity?