So...he was born again because he got the warm-fuzzies. Then never left the infancy of his beliefs and in return lost them. What a shocker. <-Sarcasm by the way.
Irish Farmer, I was thinking of you when I wrote this post. The way you respond to us at DC shows you do not understand the problems and therefore cannot respond to them directly. You're under 25 and certain about what you believe. The only reason you think you are in fact responding to them is because of the way you "see" things. But if a B or an A Christian reads what you wrote he would probably agree with my assessment of you. Keep growing and learning though! I commend you for trying to make sense of your faith. Cheers to you.
Hi John,thanks for the link."Either you have the gift of faith or you don't. It's not a choice. It can't be willed into existence. And there's no faking it if you're honest about the state of your soul."I think that sums it up quite elegantly and explains a lot.
I looked at him with envy. Where he found comfort, I was finding emptiness.This is what caught my eye in addition to what Lee said. I have to wonder if the reason this happens is because people get too comfortable and dependent on other people to explain God and to provide religion.I have to agree with Irishfarmer who, I think, hit the nail on the head. He pointed out that this man thought he experienced something that made him feel good and then instead of diving into God, he started going to church and forming his opinions about God based on what he was being taught. That is not faith, that is voluntary brainwashing.I don't knock anyone for losing faith but I have to wonder if their faith was based on a relationship with God or on the teachings of another man. To quote an old friend, "People are looking for Jesus with skin on." I think any pastor would agree that his congregation does just that when it comes to him.
It is also sickening to think of the history of parts of the Church with sexual abuse, infanticide, the dogma associated with suicide, the control etc...a person who consistently participates in acts of that nature cannot know God and remain unrepentant.
Hi Jennifer, IrishFarmer,He pointed out that this man thought he experienced something that made him feel good and then instead of diving into God, he started going to church and forming his opinions about God based on what he was being taught. That is not faith, that is voluntary brainwashing.How was he supposed to know what the right way to worship was? The holy spirit didn't seem to be any help. Or do you also want to speculate that in addition to 'not doing it right' he wasn't paying attention to it? Or wasn't going to the right church, or didn't have the right preacher, or didn't have the right attitude or didn't [fill in the blank]. Any excuse is a good one.
Lee,I am not saying he didn't "do it right". I'm not trying to criticize him and make it seem as if he should have done something more.I could be totally wrong about this, but I wonder if things would have been different for him if instead of finding a church and being taught what to think right off the bat he had instead gone off by himself or devoted much time to seeking God without books or the influence of others. I just think that a belief has to be something from within that can be confirmed, but not formed by outside influences.What I am trying to convey is; if God is really there, one should not need to read the Bible to find Him, or any other book. He stands as He is and cannot be understood solely by reading about Him. I think I've said this repetetively. I was not meaning to be glib about the loss of, or rejection of faith. From what I read from you all, it sounds like a sad and emotionally painful process but then you felt freedom at the end even if there is still a part of you that remembers some good times in the old life. This is a conundrum for me...I'm just wondering if there IS an answer or if some people really cannot meet God no matter how hard they try. Then I wonder how hard they have actually tried, or how honestly they only searched for God Himself without relying on books and the opinions of people.
Uhh......What?It sounds like you are saying this all comes down to personal revelation if one cannot seek the writings or teachings of another. Then I guess all roads do lead to Rome right Jennifer?This guy tried as hard as he knew how. And like others have said could not find God no matter how hard he tried and how badly he wanted to. Despite his willingness to be led by the holy spirit, it apparently only led him to a place of doubt.This guy poured his heart into his work and made every attempt to calm his doubts and fears. I would venture to say that there is more to the story than what he printed and these are merely tips of the proverbial icebergs. You have immediately assumed he didn't try hard enough because of what has worked for you. Jennifer, do you play music? Do you play sports? Have you ever encountered someone who had no hope at being proficient in one of those arenas, despite their diligent attempts to do so.
" Irish Farmer, I was thinking of you when I wrote this post."Phew! It wasn't just me being an egotistical d-bag, then. :)"The way you respond to us at DC shows you do not understand the problems and therefore cannot respond to them directly."I'm sure. The thing is, I keep getting responses along this line. People telling me that I need to see the argument the way they do, or telling me that I'm not addressing the problem.What's interesting is that besides all of those differing "assessment"s, as you called them, I haven't actually received a response that directly contradicts the logic I've applied to the problem. I'm willing to admit that I might be wrong about my little logical solution to the problem of evil, but if I am, no atheist has pointed out how. I'm all ears, by the way. If I'm wrong, I want to find a way to "sharpen" my argument, so to speak. "You're under 25 and certain about what you believe."If teenagers are old enough to think they know everything, but young enough not to actually know much. I'm at the awkward stage where I'm too young to know much, but I at least know as much as that. Perhaps you feel differently in our exchanges, but to be honest with you I got quite a distinct impression from you (and other atheists) as well: You get yourself stuck in certain mindframes, as in you formulate a problem in your head, and regardless of its validity, you stick with it. That must mean you're old enough to be stubborn. :p"Keep growing and learning though! I commend you for trying to make sense of your faith. "I don't have faith. At least not in the sense that you probably mean. I believe because I know the validity of Christianity, not because I'm just anxiously hoping its true. Evidence, sir, is the true foundation of faith. As always, John, its good talking to you, though I miss seeing you around my blog.
That must mean you're old enough to be stubborn. :pTouche' my friend. ;-)
Hi jennifer,What I am trying to convey is; if God is really there, one should not need to read the Bible to find Him, or any other book. He stands as He is and cannot be understood solely by reading about Him. I think I've said this repetetively.I'll stipulate for a moment that you are correct. Now the question is, how was he supposed to know this? And I'll tell you, It didn't work for me. My road to atheism started with a prayer, when the idea popped into my head that God was a euphemism for luck.Another question, by your method, you minimize the only thing that describes the christian god. If you don't use the bible as your 'god gage' how do you know you have tapped into the christian god? You may have inadvertantly tapped into Islam, Brahma or having tapped into the REAL truth, you may be the next prophet.
Jennifer:Your idea of a person 'going off and letting God find him,' is, I'm afraid, totally impractical. We exist in a culture, and continually get information from it, much unconsciously. And our culture is perfused with both religious and skeptical ideas in all their wide varieties. Long before a person could make such a choice, he has gone through years of growing up, and every single day he has heard mention of both religion and skepticism, in music, art, on television, in books, frequently in surprising ways. (Agatha Christie may not have been religious, or may have been, but Hercule Poirot frequently mentions 'le bon dieu')In fact, just before I first read this, i had been watching a LAW AND ORDER repeat, certainly a program you would think would rarely touch on religion except as a plot point. But it included a conversatuion between the two DAs, McCoy and Southerlyn, where Southerlyn was reminiscing about attending Christmas services at St. Bart's (a famous NYC church) and how the one thing she remembered was walking hoping wishing she could have been 'like the other people who believed the words they were singing.' She says how she wished she could see things in black and white, with simple answers like those people -- in this case simply condemning the death penalty as wrong.McCoy responds that 'its up to us heathens ton deal with a world that has shades of gray.'In fact, I suppose it would be possible to imagine totally isolating some child from and religious (or irreligious, or differently religious) ideas growing up, but to do so would be as cruel as isolating him in a Skinner box. No religious music, or architecture, no writings using religious or skeptical imagery (no Chesterton!!! or Asimov), no religious jokes, or jewelry. In fact, an isolation stricter than that enforced by the strictest Wahabist Muslim on the women in his family.Would God find that person? Perhaps, were he to exist, but how crippled a person would he find?
Jennifer said: "I have to agree with Irishfarmer who, I think, hit the nail on the head. He pointed out that this man thought he experienced something that made him feel good and then instead of diving into God, he started going to church and forming his opinions about God based on what he was being taught. That is not faith, that is voluntary brainwashing."I have a question for Jennifer (or IrishFarmer): Are you saying that the reporter's faith was not genuine, that he was never really saved to begin with?In my experience, this is a last-ditch argument to try to explain why a Christian who is so on-fire for God ends up falling away from him altogether. Some will say it was the Devil. Others will say that he was never among the elect to begin with. That seems like a copout to me. I mean, is it so hard to accept that this guy found something he considered entirely real and wholeheartedly embraced it? It seemed he demonstrated all the normal attributes of a genuine believer--fruits of the Spirit and all. However, through the process of his experiences and observations he saw the need to give Christianity and the idea of God an honest, critical examination. The most touching part of the story to me is that he didn't really want to loose his faith in God. He found himself envying those who could believe, despite everything. It seemed to me he really was trying to give God a fair chance.
Michael,Yes, in a nushell. I think it does come down to personal revelation but then is confirmed through a trail of others who have had personal revelation. It's too much to type out here, but that's it in a nutshell.I see your point about ability levels, but I think all people, if encouraged to think for themselves, will acknowlege there is a sense of wonder and mystery that surrounds us and we either try to explain it or find that ultimate reality beyond us. I fall into the second category but try to test myself in the first.Lee,I do use the Bible as a "god-guage" but that came after meeting God. I found the character of the Being I met in the pages of that book and see shadows of Him in other writings..but I do believe the Bible is the most complete revelation of God...which is opening a can of worms :0Prup,Isn't that one of the great problems with our culture? I have a frame on my wall with this written in it: "Take time for the quiet moments, for God whispers and the world is loud."I think it's sad that we are so busy, self induced for the most part, that we miss the center of our being and I think that is where we find God, or at least the desire to search for Him.Jospeh,No, I can't pretend to know if his faith was real or not and I can't judge his salvation. I am simply wondering if he actually met God or if he jumped into the pool before understanding the properties of the water.Please understand I am not judging him or his experience. I just think it is sad that most people spend their time immersing themselves in activities and systems that they forget to listen to the internal voice and explore that reality. I wish I could help him find God.He said he thinks he started to lose faith when he stopped going to church and that seems like an indicator that his faith was based more on his experiences at church than in the Being of God. I could be wrong. In my experience..and that's all it is..my faith is sometimes more shaky when I GO to worship in church.
Jennifer, I can totally agree with you that many churches are faith quenchers. While I think this man's initial disappointment started with the church, the final blow was that list of questions he had for the pastor. He just couldn't get past certain intellectual barriers. You said, "I am simply wondering if he actually met God or if he jumped into the pool before understanding the properties of the water." I think the vast majority of Christians conversions consist of jumping in the deep end of the pool. They don't necessarily understand the properties of the faith they are adhering to. In fact, people are cautioned against thinking about it too hard. "Just accept Jesus as your personal Savior and everything will fall into place," "You may not live to see tomorrow--where will your soul be then?" In other words, emotional pleas. Then, once a person has left all to follow Christ, joined a church, made changes in lifestyle, and changed her circles of friends, it becomes much harder to walk away from faith. There is more to lose now than there was before. So, I am convinced that there are many like the reporter who sit in silent doubt in the pews or, worse yet, in willful ignorance.
Jospeh,Then, once a person has left all to follow Christ, joined a church, made changes in lifestyle, and changed her circles of friends, it becomes much harder to walk away from faith. There is more to lose now than there was before. So, I am convinced that there are many like the reporter who sit in silent doubt in the pews or, worse yet, in willful ignorance.I agree..very sad. I think that is what God meant when He said He would rather have us hot or cold.It seems, from the Bible anyway, that God has more sympathy with someone who is cold and I believe He is a fair judge so if someone says they cannot believe I'm not sure He would not give them an opportunity to hear what He has to say in a way that they can understand before being judged. That's not orthodox, but I'm not sure orthodox is synonomous with perfectly right, and I think I can show this using the Bible.My heart goes out to you, Jospeh, I know this is a challenging time for you.
Jennifer, out of curiosity, what is your religious affiliation, if any? I was just curious as to where you were coming from.
Well, I'm not sure. I was raised in a Free Methodist church and have gone to a wide range of other denominations through moving around and trying to find the "right" church.The story of how I came to believe in Jesus is long with much time spent investigating other religions and even with despair that almost led to unbelief.I think I am landing along the lines of a Christian Mystic...not entirely, but I'd have to say that I feel and think more along those lines. This is a site that explains more about what that means. I also have much in common with the Orthodox Church but can't get past the worship of Mary and am not sure what to think of some levels of clergy not being able to marry.The most recent fellowship I was a part of was Conservative Baptist, which is an affiliation and not considered a denomination. The most loving people in the world are there and truly an example of the way the New Testament Christians might have been.I just noticed today, it may have taken me a while..that the top of the site now has Evangelical Christianity in bold letters. I'm not sure what that exact definintion is, but I do like to tell others about Jesus.
And..if you do look at the link, there are some things I am not sure of that sound a bit far reaching for me. Just a caveat!
Thanks for sharing.
I have tithed for 17 years and never have I been poorer. Always in financial toubles, unable to meet my bills. It is hell on earth. Never able to afford to go out. What the pastors say about tithing and giving is complete rubbish.
George, since tithing is for the poor, and your not so well off yourself, put your 10% in your own savings account.
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