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I never thought I'd be posting something like this, but...

Discussion in 'Struggles by Non-Christians' started by Saramae, Sep 2, 2017.

  1. Saramae

    Saramae New Member

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    I'll try to keep it reasonably brief, since I know people don't like reading a wall of text. I was raised protestant Christian, and invited Jesus into my heart during Bible camp at age 9. I was part of a Christian group in my high school at age 14. Around age 16, I started to doubt. There was no event that triggered this; I just finally started thinking for myself, which is something I realized I'd never done previously. By 17 or 18, I decided that not only was there reason to doubt, but there was actually no verifiable evidence that God existed. Since then, much to the disappointment of my parents, I've called myself an atheist. I'm now 29.

    Over the years, I've become far and far less "militant", for lack of a better word. A decade ago, I would've been the angry atheist poster on various forums, writing mean and belittling posts about Christians (or religions in general) and accusing people that raised their children in their beliefs as brainwashers. As each year went on, I more or less settled into an uneasy peace with religion, acknowledging that it was never going away, and that it was not all bad, and that it was as with any other group -- both good and bad people exist within Christianity, and both good and bad things have been done in its name.

    So, without going into much more detail, long story short is that my anger towards Christianity as a whole is pretty much gone, but I still do not believe any of it. I don't believe in any sort of supernatural phenomena; I have an undergraduate degree in biology and a doctorate level degree in a health care profession; I've taken courses regarding analyzing data and what constitutes "verifiable, objective evidence" of something, and nothing I've heard regarding God seems to fit.

    Most people that "know" God exists tell me this is so because of personal experience. Personal experience is certainly not objective, verifiable evidence. They may think they have experienced God, but they cannot possibly know this for a fact. I remember reading a study a while back about how scientists were stimulating different areas of the brain in patients and they found a particular area that, when stimulated, made the person think they were experiencing God's presence. How does everyone who has had an alleged personal experience know what it is that they were experiencing?

    I don't know....I just would very much like to believe in God and come back to Christianity, but I can't truly believe something in my heart if I think there is no proof that God is real. I have a very strong sense of right and wrong and I always have, and I more or less live my life the way the Bible teaches, just because most of it resonates with me and the lessons I learned when I was a kid have stuck with me, I suppose. But I can't get past this huge hurdle, which is believing in something supernatural. I believe that everything has a logical, rational, scientific explanation -- we just may not know it yet.
     
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  2. “Paisios”

    “Paisios” Unworthy servant of God Supporter

    +4,240
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    I don't know that there is definitive objective proof that God exists, but for me, there are sufficient proofs pointing towards it, combined with some of those personal experiences (which may not prove it for the reasons you give, but make it easier for me to believe), that I am convinced. I found CS Lewis' Mere Christianity, and The Abolition of Man helpful in my walk towards faith, but I hope that you get responses from some of those here who have a greater knowledge and background in apologetics who might give you a better answer.
     
  3. Beorh

    Beorh Writer of Dark Literature

    162
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    Hi Saramae.

    I'm a new member here too, but have been walking with Jesus--sometimes less and sometimes more--since 1970. The only real answer to your heartfelt question is Belief. We are blind here. We need Belief (Old English, "Faith") in order to continue joyfully down the long road of Hope to the Source of Love, which is God. Maybe it would help for you to reconsider God being supernatural or somehow external to what is happening with us. If God is supernatural, then so are we, and then there is no more natural. Make sense? Stark, raw, harsh Belief is required. Ever read any Kierkegaard? You may like Fear and Trembling. If you want something a bit less heady, try Story of a Soul, written by a young woman not yet 25 years--Therese Martin--who was already dying of tuberculosis and did leave us just after she finished the manuscript. She endured inundating thoughts of atheism on her deathbed.
     
  4. paul1149

    paul1149 that your faith might rest in the power of God Supporter

    +4,007
    United States
    Christian
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    US-Republican
    Hi @Saramae. Interesting post. I'm not terribly strong on the science end of things, and probably cannot help much. I do know that arguments can be made for the existence of God, and they are as persuasive as atheist arguments, and in my mind, more so. We can also say that we have only limited knowledge, and that God might exist in that realm we don't know about - but I think you're already there.

    Faith and reason do not conflict, so long as reason is not exalted to the level of faith, as many today do, unawares. They complement and help explain each other.

    There's a principle is science whereby something that has a probability that is ridiculously small can be assumed will never happen. I think that when we examine the evidence of creation, and calculate the probability of it occurring on its own, we reach that tipping point. If we reach that point, the question becomes, not is there a God who made everything, but rather, who is He?

    I'm sure someone more versed in this will come along, but in the mean I stumbled across this just last night, and found it had some novel insights.

     
  5. NothingIsImpossible

    NothingIsImpossible Well-Known Member

    +3,007
    Christian
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    Well its good to hear you have at least came back down to a peaceful level when it comes to religion in general.

    As you said though people base things on personal experience. Even atheists do it too. They say there is no good because science says this or that. So they are to some degree basing it on what others say. Can I prove to you God exists? Well if you want proof as in showing you Himself in person. I can't do that. He is not a physical object we can see. He is beyond that. For example we know gravity exists based on various factors. Though we don't actually see it as an object. Aire exists, we can feel it, but we don't see it. I try to tell non-believers/former ones to think of God as being maybe in a dimension we cannot see with our eyes.

    I also could point out miracles that have happened to me. Or signs of God through the beauty of the universe, the beauty of whats around us, the complexity of just a human alone. But again thats not proof that is accepted.

    I can only tell you its your choice in what to believe. The fact you are at this stage shows somewhere deep down you may have some feeling that He is possibly real. But what the world has taught you as a adult still is mainly in focus in your mind and mostly preventing you from accepting anything christian related. Not saying that in a mean way of course.

    I'd also say if God was visible to us in the flesh or even otherwise, what would be the point of faith? Everyone would be a christian because it would obvious He was real. We would have no reason to trust Him since its obvious He was real. We would have no need for prayer or anything else really. I don't want to say this is all a test for us. But to some degree it is. Even in the past God was never really visible per say. the burning bush was one of the times we got to see Him, not so much in the flesh of course.

    Can I say a burning bush that talks makes sense? No. With a human brain it makes zero sense. Its like saying my fridge sometimes turns blue and talks to me. However in the case of the burning bush I accept it was God because He is limitless with power. Actually there are many video games that have put players in the role of "god" where they can crack open land, have meteors rain down on earth, create new land, create/destroy people...etc. Black and White is one game like that. So you could sort of think of God like that. You can't see Him (per say), but He is there.

    I think the biggest problem for people is the fact that bad things happen and they don't understand why He doesn't seem to do anything. Which really is because of things like movies, games...etc that come up with fictional Gods who interact with people, aliens...etc. So we tend to think God must not be real since He doesn't do what fictional gods do. But thats another long post.
     
  6. mukk_in

    mukk_in Yankees Fan Supporter

    +3,554
    India
    Christian
    Celibate
    The only proof that God Almighty offers and that you'll ever need is the historic Person, Jesus of Nazareth. He was alive, was murdered and rose again. Since you've already received Him into your life, get alone with Him Child and ask for His Holy Spirit. There's no substitute to personal intimacy with the blessed Lord. You may doubt any number of facts and writings about a person, but when He becomes real to you everything else becomes irrelevant. God bless :).
     
  7. Hidden In Him

    Hidden In Him Well-Known Member Supporter

    +2,368
    Christian
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    Greetings, Saramae. This is the problem with Christianity in its current form, especially in the West. We have largely separated ourselves from God's power to do objectively-observable miracles though us because we have ceased to give ourselves over to intensive and incessant corporate and personal prayer.

    This will NOT be the case forever. It is prophesied that the true church will eventually give herself back to these things and that eventually greater miracles will be done in Jesus' Name than have been done in the history of mankind.

    But for now, you may simply have to ask yourself if you believe in the New Testament record, and the Old Testament record for that matter (i.e. such as concerning men like Elijah). I realize you may be in a place where you still don't buy it. But I would suggest you overcome the deficiencies set before you. Nearly all of us here at this Forum have come to faith without having seen such objective proofs. So at the risk of offending you, ultimately you will be without excuse. You will be held accountable for believing without seeing, in light of the present circumstances and the times in which we live.
     
  8. xianghua

    xianghua Well-Known Member

    +539
    Judaism
    Single
    as a starting point, what do you think about my argument here?:

    My favorite argument for the existence of God

    also, as a biologist, what do you think about the evidence for evolution?

    have a nice day
     
  9. JIMINZ

    JIMINZ Well-Known Member

    +1,740
    United States
    Charismatic
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    .
    Hi Sara

    It isn't a matter of Believing in God, but it is a matter of Believing in Jesus.

    God sent Jesus to die for your sins, and thereby to Reconcile you to God.

    John 6:44
    (NO MAN CAN COME TO ME),
    (EXCEPT THE FATHER WHICH SENT ME DRAW HIM)
    and I will raise him up at the last day.

    Luke 10:22
    All things are delivered to me of my Father: and
    (NO MAN KNOWETH WHO THE SON IS, BUT THE FATHER) and
    (WHO THE FATHER IS, BUT THE SON), and
    (HE TO WHOM THE SON WILL REVEAL HIM)

    If you really are serious about BELIEVING, then get to know the Son Jesus, by doing so, He will reveal HIS Father to you.

    There is no reason to read any other book except the Bible, all other books are what men say they know about God, you are in a search for what your understanding of God is.

    Read one of the Gospels, then maybe another, until you have read all four.

    There all the same story, but you need to learn of Jesus, and build your Faith in Him First.

    Don't worry about any of the other Books of the Bible.

    Like the verses above have said, we can only come to Jesus, when we are drawn by God, and it appears as though that has/is, in the process of happening.

    Get to know who Jesus was to mankind, and what He IS to you personally.
    When you know these things, then Jesus will reveal the Father to you as He said He would.

    Jesus said.
    Mat. 7:7,8
    7) Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:
    8) For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.

    Rev. 3:20
    Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

    Seek the Man Jesus.
     
  10. 2PhiloVoid

    2PhiloVoid Fire for the Earth! (Luke 12:49) Supporter

    +5,762
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    Just adding to what others have already stated here, I think it's wonderful that you've come back around to re-encounter the possibility of faith in Christ. However, what might be holding you back, at least partially, is the philosophical notion that everything has a logical, rational, scientific explanation. The thing is, this isn't really how humans fully interact with the world; think relativity and quantum mechanics here.

    What I found to be helpful in ameliorating various aspects of this conceptual hold back is to study philosophy related to the status of human knowledge and the nature of truth, as well as to the philosophy of science. This is just a suggestion. Of course, I wouldn't want anything to replace God's Word or God's Work, but being familiar with some of the underlying issues that affect our perceptions of the world can be helpful to growing in the faith, without at the same time feeling that one has to adopt some kind of 'magical' thinking in relation to God in order to move ahead.

    Peace,
    2PhiloVoid
     
  11. Dirk1540

    Dirk1540 Well-Known Member Supporter

    +13,496
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    Non-Denom
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    I know without question that what happened to me one time had nothing to do with that scientific study about the different regions of the brain. However it's like you say, it really sucks that it is without question not objective verifiable evidence (other than to myself/the person it happens to). Lately I've mentioned it to a few people in here but I realize that I'm overrating it because they'd have to take my word for it. But I know it's beyond that study.

    I'm starting to become a hung jury on human common descent, evolution itself is undeniable it happens right in front of us. The funny thing is that the more I start questioning common descent being true the more that I start realizing that if it is true it would mean absolutely nothing to Biblical creation. I have quite a few books and commentaries on Genesis. I've almost reached a point where I don't even bother reading about all the disputes on early chapters of Genesis anymore. It seems like the difficulty level with pinning down the proper context & genre increases significantly when the chapters in question are pre-Abraham.

    So what exactly are we talking about with God creating man in his own image? What if I throw the Bible away and just look at biology and history? Biology tells me that humans are 99% physiologically identical to chimps. History tells us that you'd have to have your head examined if you think humans are identical to chimps. If common descent is true I could almost imagine God saying to us "How much verifiable evidence did I possibly have to give to you in order to prove that physiological similarity means absolutely nothing!!??"

    But I'm a hung jury on common descent because I'm just not great with science. I'm at a point where I think I'm hearing good arguments on both sides of it.
     
  12. Seraphin29

    Seraphin29 Member

    69
    +65
    United Kingdom
    Christian
    Married
    As a child we ask open questions all the time, as adults we condition ourselves not to! Learn to ask open questions again, especially ,'why?''. See where it takes you!
    Why does the world exist?
    Why do I have a conscience and where does it come from?
    Why am I here?
    Why am I asking these questions?

    As scientists we always like to close down questions with definitive answers, but question the bits we leave unanswered! For example we may answer questions about how the world came about with the big bang theory. But why did the big bang then happen? What happened to align all the things needed to make this happen before that? What was there before?

    Hope that helps & gives some food for thought!
     
  13. aiki

    aiki Regular Member

    +3,039
    Canada
    Baptist
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    CA-Conservatives
    www.reasonablefaith.org
    www.crossexamined.org
    www.str.org

     
  14. zephcom

    zephcom Well-Known Member

    +1,622
    United States
    Deist
    Married

    I have a good friend who says he is a 'Charismatic' Christian. He goes on and on about all the things the 'Holy Spirit' tells him. I once told him that just because one hears voices in one's head that it doesn't mean it is God talking to one. Without a pause, he said, "Yes it does".

    So far the voices in his head haven't told him to do dangerous things so maybe he is right. The point to this is that one simply can not rely on personal 'testimony' from anyone.

    Each of us have our own perception of the world. Our mind creates a point of view that can only apply to each of us.

    I list myself as a Deist. I believe God is real but that he doesn't interact with the physical realm beyond the laws of physics which control everything in the world. I hold onto hope that one day science will abandon this 'hands off' attitude in regard to religion and actually apply the scientific methods in a serious search for God.

    I don't think of God as being 'super natural'. Rather I think of God as being natural and discoverable by science.

    I fought with myself over the issue of God until one time when it occurred to me that it wasn't important. The existence of God is comforting to me so I accept it. It makes my life function better.

    I find the teachings of Jesus to be profound and I've used them in my life. I feel my life has been a good one. I have friendships that have lasted over forty years and friendships that are just months long. I've been married to the same woman for 49 years.

    It was the teachings of Jesus which made these things possible. Whether God is 'real' or not doesn't make any difference. Real or not, God is not going to move a bridge footing so your car will miss it in a wreck. How one lives one's life is the only thing that is important.

    Paul said it well when he said, "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

    If you have loved well in this life nothing else matters.
     
  15. Soyeong

    Soyeong Well-Known Member

    +3,063
    Messianic
    Single
    Hello,

    I have a similar background where I started to doubt in my teens. I figured if Christianity is true, then it should be able to stand up under criticisms, so I took to Internet forums, and so far it has withstood the criticisms.

    Glad to hear it.

    How can evidence be objective when it is always subjectively interpreted? It seems to me that the only way to establish evidence as being objective is if it is established that it is impossible to be wrongly interpreted, but I see no way of doing that because it is always possible to misinterpret evidence. Verifying evidence makes us more confident that we have correctly interpreted it, but still doesn't make it impossible to be wrong. It is of course preferable for there to be corroborating evidence, but we do believe things all the time that have not been verified.

    Personal experience tends not to be the most convincing form of evidence. However, I find that what you want to believe about our origins is very difficult to believe. I mean, if you believe Evolution is true, then you are taking some guy's word for what happened over the course of billions of years that no one was around to observe. It's never been demonstrated that it is possible for life to come from non-life, so you are stuck believing something that is a miracle in its own right. I find it absurd to believe that everything came from nothing, that order came from chaos, or that we can get the immaterial from material matter. I find it difficult to believe that Jesus rose from the dead, but I find it even more difficult to believe that Christianity survived its infancy without his resurrection considering that there were many good reasons why it shouldn't have survived without a resurrected Savior.

    God of the gaps reasoning is just as problematic as Naturalism of the Gaps reasoning. While science is a very useful tool for telling us information for things that are observable, measurable, and repeatable, it doesn't tell us anything about whether it is possible for something to exist that is not observable, measurable, and verifiable, and it would be unreasonable to demand a scientific explanation for those things. Instead of arguing from what we don't know, we should argue from what we do know. For example, if matter and energy have a beginning, then they have a cause. The cause of matter and energy couldn't itself be composed out of matter and energy, so it must be immaterial, and immateriality is an attribute of the God of classical theism, so if you accept the premise, then I have just established that there is a being that had one of the attributes of the God of classical theism. If I can establish that this being has all the other attributes of the God of classical theism, then it it would be reasonable to refer to this being as God.
     
  16. DreamerOfTheHeart

    DreamerOfTheHeart I Am What I Am

    +387
    United States
    Christian
    Married
    I think that the gospels are ample evidence for the truth of God, however, for whatever reason, it seems human beings are incapable of natively accepting this as a fact.

    No one else has defined good as Jesus did.

    Turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, be wary of self-righteousness and displays of religion (or politics or atheism or whatever), love your enemies, do not judge by appearances, and so on.

    Never even mind the intensity and the purity of the text, which I find is only well attacked when folks take out matters as far out as context as possible.

    Problem in your case, I think, is you got a church and a religion. For one. This is a common problem, extremely common, and usually what is found in the background of every militant atheist.

    That is very usually growing up in a non-Christian "Christian" group, where you are told just about the opposite of everything taught. Bizarrely. It is extremely common, and there are countless "Christians" who have no idea that they were actually... never believers.

    But, then, Scripture its' self well teaches this very principle.


    Anyway, as for me, I do and have had substantial evidence of God all my life. I am acutely aware of the fact that "God hides", and that evidence of God is not given to everyone at this time. Quite the reverse, God seems to have set up and run the world in a manner which makes it appear that He does not exist.

    Why is not my story front page news? Or, anyone else like me? Personally, in my own situation, God has made me aware that He is setting up the framework for a massive disclosure, quite simply. So, until that time, it remains as a secret.

    For whatever reason "the world" and "Heaven" are as oil and water, until that time.

    When I interact with the world, it is as a secondary layer of reality for me. It is the "not real" reality, even though, in "the world" it is reality.


    But, ultimately, anyone who does get evidence (at this time), is not after trying to get back in that rotten church they went to as kids. Quite frankly.

    It is for those who are seeking the real truth behind everything. A better place. And immortality.

    Many are only aware of and only want the world. Including very, very many who are "religious" -- of whatever religion. Or politics. Or atheism.

    They have no care that their life can be summed up in a very few verbs around basic needs and human desires. They are amply satisfied with whatever is already here.

    They want the Real Truth. They want to find that hidden world. They want and need more to life, then just eating and bowel movements and procreation and some work that ultimately regardless of how much praise one gets for it... means nothing after one is dead.

    They want something better.

    That want and need, though is not something anyone has, unless God has shown them it actually exists.
     
  17. AservantofGodandthelordJC

    AservantofGodandthelordJC Member

    220
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    US-Republican
    I see your point, I don't know whose been telling you they have experience with the real God because I find it highly unlikely. However, I have proven God's existence to myself by experiencing real miracles of healing and physical manifestation. The closer you get to God, the closer God gets to you. I find it unlikely that others have done what I have because it goes against human nature. Can you forgive anyone for anything, can you forgive your worst enemy or the worst person imaginable.. instantly without question? Only when you can answer yes to that question confidently will you be able to know God as it is a requirement. But there will be no need to answer that when the time comes because all your questions would have then been answered in that moment.
     
  18. DarkSoul999

    DarkSoul999 Active Member

    437
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    You might win that argument. The best scientists often wonder if some entity fine-tuned this universe.

    Albert Einstein and Paul Dirac had a strong suspicion that something made this place but they DID NOT believe in a personal God. Dirac in particular was disgusted by religious beliefs that make people passive in the face of injustice....I can't blame him there!

    It is incredibly difficult to believe that God loves us when the world is in a fallen state. Anyone who says that this is easy is lying to others, themselves, or both. The world is an obvious mess and only a very strong relationship with God can overcome the sense of dread.
     
  19. Instrument150

    Instrument150 Active Member

    339
    +157
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    Do you believe that Yeshua (Jesus) of Israel was a real, flesh and blood man?
     
  20. Chrisem

    Chrisem New Member

    13
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    Australia
    Christian
    Single
    Hello Saramae

    Without true spirituality we are only left with the physical. Science lacks the ability for answering many existential questions about the meaning and purpose of life.

    This is what religion aims to do, the question is then. Which religion answers those questions adequately.
     
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