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Having a hard time with my faith since what seems like forever :-)

Discussion in 'Introduce Yourself' started by Urs, Sep 28, 2020.

  1. Urs

    Urs New Member

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    Hey!

    Just dropping a few lines on a whim after lurking around the boards for quite some time. I'm 39 years old from Stuttgart, Germany and currently "studying" nursing (technically it's an apprenticeship in Germany) having worked in the IT sector for more than ten years.

    I was brought up in a largely atheist or at least sceptical home. But since a mate of mine took me along to confirmation class when I was around 14 years old, I became interested in religion. For much of my life however I've been rather confused about what to believe in. When I was 22 I officially joined the local Lutheran church. In the following years I grew somewhat disenchanted with the faith, read lots of critical literature (Dawkins, Hitchens) and subsequently identified as a (fairly stout) atheist. Fast forward a few years I faced some personal challenges, health problems mainly. This reignited my interest in (or maybe need for) spirituality. It was then that I finally stumbled across a religious tradition that made complete sense to me and somthing that I could completely identify with, namely Buddhism. More specifically I studied and practised Vipassana meditation in the context of the Theravada tradition. This is something that helped me immensely and I still have a very close connection and deeply felt gratitude for this philosophy and spiritual practice.

    Yet, I feel like something is missing and have been feeling this way for a few years now. As many things of my personal issues and spiritual needs Buddhism answers, there is always the ultimate question of God that it doesn't resolve or even address. And this is a source of dissatisfaction that has been nagging at me for quite a while.

    I still feel connected to protestantism and Methodism espacially so (I have read lots of books about the history of the United Methodist Church, Arminian theology and John Wesley). But there is a major obstacle that I don't really know how to deal with: I feel like I don't really believe in Jesus. I think I have an unwavering conviction that God exists but when it comes to Jesus and the trinity I just don't seem to be able to fully and unquestioningly believe. I don't know why this is but it's giving me a hard time. The hospital I work at has got a beautiful chapel that I visit regularly and pray for faith and guidance but I'm afraid that I will never be able to fully accept Jesus as Christ and Saviour. The Christian faith and Methodism appeals to me, but more in terms of philosophy, doctrine (e.g. the holiness movement) and aesthetics, yet I deeply long for a steadfast belief.

    I know that John Wesley was plagued by doubt about the genuineness of his faith throughout his life and changed some of his once dearly held convictions over the course of his work. Is it possible to accept Christ without fully believing in him and working towards a fuller and truer belief from there? Is it possible to say "I do not, at the moment, completely believe with my heart but I choose to believe in you with my mind and implore you, Jesus, to have mercy on me and to give me a more genuine, heartfelt belief in you!" I often pray something along these lines when I stop by the chapel.

    Is this something that others here struggle with, too? How do you deal with those feelings of uncertainty and maybe inadequacy?

    This has got rather long, much longer than intended. So, thanks to all those who took the time to read my ramblings! :)
     
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  2. Brightmoon

    Brightmoon Apes and humans are all in family Hominidae.

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    I don’t really struggle with my faith as I had an overwhelming experience of God’s love at a time I needed it badly. My bigger issue is that I just dont accept some commonly believed dogmas as I think either they’re not true or they’re destructive and cruel. 1 I’m not a creationist as I’ve got a science degree and I think that creationists are just scientifically illiterate. 2 I am not homophobic and am not going to get my panties in a twist over something that’s none of my business 3 I don’t accept that women should be submissive to men as it has a tendency to lead to domestic violence issues. The only other issue is that I wish I could experience that overwhelmingly love again without having a problem.
     
  3. QvQ

    QvQ Member

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    I was raised atheist, was strongly attracted to and studied Buddhism.
    The same "incompleteness" of Buddhism troubled me. I had the same problem with Islam and other religious traditions.
    What I finally realized the absolute core of Christianity is the Resurrection. Did I believe in the Resurrection?
    Buddhism has the concept of "karma" and reincarnation. I reject Karma based on the argument in the Book of Job that Job was innocent. The misfortunes that befell Job were not Job's "Karma" either in this life or in some other.
    Once I understood the Resurrection, I accepted the creation of man, the original sin and Christ as the Truth. (John 3:16)
    If you believe the Resurrection, then it naturally follows that however unworthy a person may be, that person is still able to receive Christ, the gift of eternal life and the Love of God.
     
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2020
  4. Brightmoon

    Brightmoon Apes and humans are all in family Hominidae.

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    That’s so funny my youngest is a Buddhist! I don’t have a problem with it. Healthy behavior has always been more acceptable to me than dogma
     
  5. Amittai

    Amittai monitor evaluator

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    Holy Trinity is space for the other other. St Paul wishes we will gain more ample salvation than himself. When we trade our talents with our brothers, the crown they gain (that stands them in good stead on a bad day) will be imputed as our crown.

    This is the work that the boy with the loaves and fishes, and the disciples who brought him forward, did for the thousands, who in turn spared something for yet others. We mainly do this with our prayers for our fellows (and for just government).

    Holy Spirit fuelled works are not burdensome to do and don't require moralising to manipulate us into doing. Our God's pyramid scheme is the only reliable one and is sadly the only one so many Christians don't buy into.

    Prov 21: 10-31, the epistle of James, Is 55, 58, 61 are on this theme. This is the deeper meaning of caring for widows and orphans, which is we who are adopted. To blaspheme / quench / grieve Holy Spirit is when church leaders stunt the growth of little people in the church.

    Kingdom of God is about being faithful in a little and being entrusted with more = our tents are enlarged. When a scribe enters the Kingdom of heaven he is like a householder who produces from his storehouse things both old and new (the two Testaments).
     
  6. ananda

    ananda Early Buddhist

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    Thank you for sharing. I went from Protestantism to Theravada Buddhism myself.

    For myself, I found in Theravada Buddhism all the answers to the questions I was asking and did not find that it was incomplete. I realized that my own prior search for God was 1. born out of a desire to have someone care for me, so I would not have to ultimately take care of myself, and 2. that I wasn't really ultimately searching for God, but what he/she/it seemed to promise to give: eternal happiness, aka nibbana. That's just my own experience, at least.

    Welcome!
     
  7. Carl Emerson

    Carl Emerson Well-Known Member

    +4,042
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    Welcome to CF...

    I also went East for a bit and felt like I was watching the wrong show...

    I have been blessed by several encounters with God and Jesus and this along with Scripture has been the key to my restoration and healing - it took seven years but I was a complete mess. I chased every bit of prayer I could find - the parables referring to the treasure apply - you have to totally prioritise gaining Jesus above all else - JESUS IS GOD. Stay totally honest and committed to truth and you cant miss. I spent 5 years reading nothing but scripture prayerfully. This was very healing.
     
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  8. Deade

    Deade Well-Known Member Staff Member Trainee Supporter

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    Anything is possible when you are truly seeking. Most people do not understand God's makeup, nor what He is doing with our world/universe. Nevertheless, many of us are saved, or have the promise of immortality and we evangelize as the Spirit gives lead. Once God communicates with you on a regular basis, you are then His elect. BYW: Welcome to CF. :)
     
  9. Monksailor

    Monksailor Adopted child of God. Supporter

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    Welcome, Urs. I have been over there a couple of times. Once in the black forest but we received our vehicles and staged in Stuttgart in 1973 for the 8th Army Re-forger in the fall (Octoberfest time) and again as I was medi-vaced back from OIF (Iraq) in 2007. The second time I was not able to venture out but in 1973 I had a day off and I went to Nuremberg and walked the streets visiting little quaint shops. I had a lot of fun sharing with several shop owners. They loved classical music and as I was an oboist there was a mutual respect and honor exchanged. I had one of those famous bottles of beer and sat along the Rhine. I am not a beer drinker but I thought I'd try. Nope, even one of the best beers in the world did not impress me. But that is just me. I do not like its appearance or taste. It must be the inherent flavor of hops or whatever beer is made of. But I will never forget how the bottle opened. It had a wire with a porcelain lid and a rubber washer very much like a Mason jar. You could seal it and finish later if you wanted and probably keep it fresh.
     
  10. sunshineforJesus

    sunshineforJesus is so in love with God CF Ambassadors Supporter

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    Hi and welcome here.
     
  11. kingsdaughter85

    kingsdaughter85 Well-Known Member CF Ambassadors

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    Welcome to cf and have a good day❤️
     
  12. Froggymom101

    Froggymom101 New Member

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    The answer is yes. Remember our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the rulers, authorities and powers of this dark world etc... I have days where I am elated with the grace of God and my faith is firm and then I have days where I must pray all the harder because my faith is faltering. Scripture tells us to pray constantly and that is what we must do. Satan never rests. Nourish your faith with prayer, fasting and learning. "Our faith should not rest on the wisdom of men but on the power of God". Our feelings should not be the measure of our belief. Keep up the struggle until you finish the race. I will keep you in my prayers.
     
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  13. Urs

    Urs New Member

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    Thanks so much for your replies all of you! I am going to answer in greater detail tomorrow or the day after at the latest. I'm not too well right now, writing this on my smartphone, lying in bed. :sleep: I would just like to let you know that I really appreciate your answers!
     
  14. Tolworth John

    Tolworth John Well-Known Member Supporter

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    What do you mean by ' accept Christ' ?

    John 3:16-18 and John 14:6 make it very clear that there isn't a multi choice option but that it is all or nothing.

    So may I ask do you believe Jesus rose from the dead, by that his tomb was known to be empty?
     
  15. QvQ

    QvQ Member

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    That was the reason I finally admitted that Jesus was the "Way, the Truth and the Life."
    Jesus, the man, was a humble carpenter. Jesus the rabbi teacher was a wise man.
    Jesus Resurrected was Christ, Eternal.
    People were confused about God and God's Law. People created an onerous burden of law and made it seem as if no ordinary man could possibly obey God.
    Christ showed mankind exactly what God wanted. Christ walked the walk and talked the talk. He revealed God's love and mercy when, after He lived, suffered and died like a man, He was resurrected.
    He showed that God's law could be obeyed, was just and merciful and the Kingdom come.
    Christ revealed the purpose and plan of God's Will. And it is shown plainly in the Resurrection.
     
  16. Manu7

    Manu7 New Member

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