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Featured Why do Christians lose faith?

Discussion in 'Christian Apologetics' started by cloudyday2, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    @ThorinSmolderingshield , created a thread in Exploring Christianity that made me think. Here is the thread ( http://www.christianforums.com/threads/why-do-you-believe-in-god.7929064/ ).

    I recently saw a sermon by Dr. Charles Stanley on Trinity Broadcasting Network called "Walking Away from God". (Sorry, I can't find a link to the video, but maybe somebody else can post one.)

    So here is the thought (partly just paraphrasing Stanley's sermon): Christians believe that God has a purpose in their lives. Sometimes there are events or conditions that seem to be inconsistent with the Christian's understanding of God's purpose in their life. St. Paul had the mysterious "thorn" that he asked God to remove without success. People can also have addictions, tragedies, etc. The Christian cannot see how these things are consistent with God's purpose in their lives.

    According to Stanley, many Christians walk away from God when confronted with these adversities (that is what happened to me several times). However, other Christians trust that these adversities are part of God's purpose - even though they can't understand at that time. Those Christians grow in maturity.

    Atheists often chuckle about Christians telling them that they rejected God because "they wanted to sin", but I think there is some truth to the broader idea that some atheists rejected God because events and circumstances in their lives seemed inconsistent with belief in a God that had a purpose for them. Speaking for myself, losing faith in the purpose of your life is not healthy psychologically.

    I'm not sure if this thread fits the SOP for this forum. It seems to me that belief and disbelief have a psychological ingredient that is often overlooked in apologetics. Sometimes the apologetics arguments presented by both Christians and atheists are only rationalizations of a belief that has been reached for psychological reasons.

    EDIT: Another thing that comes to mind is the teachings of Jesus. The Lord's Prayer says "Thy will be done". The night before Jesus was crucified He asked God to find another way if possible, but he concluded with something like "Thy will be done". So Christians facing adversity need to trust that God's will is good - even if they can't understand. Sometimes people understand later in life. Sometimes it remains a mystery. But atheists face the same problem. Everybody needs to have faith that life has purpose - no matter the source of that purpose.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  2. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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  3. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    That is a wonderful question. But before I attempt to answer it, I would like to ask you "do you believe "belief" is a choice?".
     
  4. razzelflabben

    razzelflabben Contributor

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    Personally, I think the only answer we need is straight out of scripture....Matthew 13, the parable of the sower. I think way to often we try to "psychoanalyze" what God plainly tells us in scripture instead of just learning to accept what scripture says as the authority on the matter. Just my two cents
     
  5. BeStill&Know

    BeStill&Know Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I think our primary purpose is to love God with all your heart mind and soul and love our neighbors as ourselves. when we do these two things with
     
  6. BeStill&Know

    BeStill&Know Well-Known Member Supporter

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    with God's help then our other purposes in life will reveal themselves. By the way you're one of the few atheist I actually like
     
  7. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    Thanks @AV1611VET , those are the videos. I'm not sure which one I saw, but I thought it was very insightful.
     
  8. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    The problem with words like "belief", "faith", etc. is that they mean different things to different people and in different contexts. These language differences cause people to argue when they actually agree, or they cause people to argue over the wrong issues.

    Let's use some more exact words:
    - hypothesis
    - confidence level in a particular hypothesis
    - wager

    A person might have several hypothesis. In my case, one hypothesis is metaphysical naturalism. Another hypothesis is a nebulous pantheistic God. Another hypothesis is a more Gnostic Christian God. Another hypothesis is some sort of impersonal ESP-like force. (Those are the primary hypotheses that I consider currently, but there are many more possibilities.)

    A person's confidence level varies with each hypothesis he/she considers. A person who labels as a Christian might have 90% confidence in Christianity and 10% confidence in atheism.

    A wager is an action that person takes at a particular moment. That person's brain considers various rewards depending on which hypothesis might actually be true and weights those rewards according to the confidence level. These wagers happen almost continuously. For example, somebody asks me a question, and I consider various replies and the likely outcomes, and then I say something. (Often I should consider more and say less ;) )

    This is simply a model of human behavior. Obviously the human brain is much more complicated.

    When I write a post, hopefully it creates new hypotheses in the minds of the readers and changes their confidence levels in existing hypotheses. These changes in their decision-making parameters then cause changes in their behavior. In some ways the "free will" of each person depends on their exposure to new ideas and experiences.

    To answer your question: "is belief a choice?" - probably not
     
  9. (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ)

    (° ͡ ͜ ͡ʖ ͡ °) (ᵔᴥᵔʋ) Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree.
     
  10. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    If one is satisfied with the purpose, that is fine.
    I was not satisfied with any purpose except the one I found in Christianity.
     
  11. juvenissun

    juvenissun ... and God saw that it was good.

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    I chose to believe. You chose not to.
    They ARE choices.

    Why do I choose to believe? What made me to choose?
    Don't think too much. They are not the questions.
     
  12. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    Let's say you are going to the animal shelter to adopt a cat. What you are doing is reacting to your environment. One cat looks particularly needy, and you might think "that's the cat for me". If we could replay the scene, you would adopt the same cat every time. Your brain simply reacts to stimuli, and that results in a happy new cat owner. :) There is no choice. The same is true of our beliefs. We believe differently because we are different people who have had different experiences.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  13. cloudyday2

    cloudyday2 Generic Theist Supporter

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    Getting back to the OP, how many people lose faith solely as a result of philosophical arguments versus rationalizing a belief that resulted from emotions about personal circumstances? I know that in my case, I simply could not see enough evidence that God cared about my life, so I lost faith. Some Christians trust that God cares even though they cannot see the evidence.
     
  14. Nihilist Virus

    Nihilist Virus Infectious idea

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    I lost my faith because of contradictions in the Bible. I was an inerrantist. I then realized that either God cannot or will not preserve the Bible, and I found neither to be acceptable.
     
  15. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    But scientists contradicting each other doesn't bother you, does it?

    Not to mention science having to update itself constantly because they found out they were wrong?
     
  16. Ana the Ist

    Ana the Ist Aggressively serene!

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    Admitting mistakes and making corrections is an advantage when searching for truth. If one must hold to the same faulty idea in the face of new evidence....that one simply moves further and further from the truth over time.
     
  17. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    Doesn't it get old after awhile?

    If not, then why not apply the same standard to the Bible?

    If you think It contradicts Itself somewhere, then fix It yourself if you have to and move on.
     
  18. Ana the Ist

    Ana the Ist Aggressively serene!

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    How does one "fix" the word of god? Should I simply ignore which parts I don't agree with?

    I'm certain that you're not suggesting I change it.

    To answer your question, no it doesn't get "old" lol.
     
  19. AV1611VET

    AV1611VET SCIENCE CAN TAKE A HIKE Supporter

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    I would assume it would depend on what the "contradiction" is.

    If one loses his faith because the Bible says in one place a man was healed, and in another place two men were healed ... and that person isn't willing to take context and other hermeneutics into account to resolve this "discrepancy," then I submit his faith was shallow in the first place.

    On the other hand, if another says to himself, "Okay, here It says 'one man' and here It says 'two men.' I'm going to go with 'two men' until this gets resolved."

    Then I submit this man's faith is strong.
     
  20. Ana the Ist

    Ana the Ist Aggressively serene!

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    Could be...however, I sincerely doubt these are the sorts of problems that cause some to lose faith. I think, generally speaking, the problem comes from not being able to reconcile what's said in the bible with what they observe around themselves or in the world in general.

    The way the OP describes it....

    "trust that God's will is good - even if they can't understand. Sometimes people understand later in life. Sometimes it remains a mystery."

    ...will simply never be a reason to believe for some. It's not enough for some to accept that "such and such is true...it's a mystery....but just believe in it anyway". Even worse as another poster here put it...

    "Don't think too much. They are not the questions"

    ...again, it's not going to be enough for some to believe in an explanation.
     
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