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Thread: Need guidance on how to believe!

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaney777 View Post
    Hello everyone,

    I've posted here in the past a time or two, but I have something slightly different on my mind this time around. I am currently a soft agnostic-atheist (basically a truth seeker living as an atheist would), and I would like to start off my truth seeking with Christianity. It seems good to start here (as a religion) since I know more about the faith than any other, it's the world's largest, and it seems to have some wonderful, respected philosophers backing it. I should say my MAIN reason for this endeavor is not to know the truth; it's to avoid a "hell."

    My question to you all is this: How (or by what way) am I supposed to come to intellectual belief in Christ? How is this normally done?

    For me, examining the evidence won't work since I don't feel intelligent enough to sift through what has caused top intellectuals to disagree with each other. If the world's smartest disagree on how to assess the evidence, there's no way I am going to come to a conclusion that way. All that reading apologetic works does is leave me more skeptical. God is essentially hidden.

    Since He seems to be hidden, the only option I can think of is testing Him somehow, or there being some way that He will reveal himself to me such that it brings me to an intellectual belief. But will He reveal Himself to me if I ask in prayer (God supposedly doesn't hear prayers of the unsaved though)? Is that even Biblical? And the MAIN issue for me is that if He does reveal himself, I might attribute it to "wishful thinking" or "coincidence" or some other psychological process - as in if we are looking for something to be true, our mind will play tricks and we will "see" what we expect or want to see, although it may not actually signify anything out of the ordinary. Belief eludes me.

    And the "sensus divinitatis" doesn't seem to be a thing since I feel that God's presence isn't obvious.

    Another idea is the He is hiding himself from me because of my sin. So what, I am supposed to live like a saint and see if He comes closer?

    I seriously don't understand how we are supposed to come to belief. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on my predicament.
    Without getting to philosophical: “Something has had to always existed since it is illogical to think something comes from nothing. Now some atheists have try to get around this by saying nothing is really “something” and there is no such thing as really “nothing”. The bottom line is there has always been something. Now did that something at least include intelligence or was it just mass/energy/time/space? The problem with “excluding” intelligence is there appears to be a huge amount of intelligence that went into the design of this universe and life that makes it virtually impossible to happen by random “luck”. If there is one thing we have learned it is: “the more we know the more we realize we do not know”, so that means an ever increasing complex universe and the more complex it is the more random chances you need to make the right conditions without intelligence and the more likely scenario is there was intelligence involved.



    If there is this eternal intelligence it would be at the epitome of the best it could be and not in the process of improvement. It would be the ultimate bad or good but not somewhere in-between. Why be bad when He can be good just as easily? The ultimate “good” would be what is called Godly type Love (to be defined later) and is totally unselfish type Love. Since this God would be able to direct our thinking, why would He have us think of him as being totally bad, when He could make us think bad was good and thus He would be worthy of praise? If God were bad and we praise a “Good God” than we are not praising Him.

    Why would God have a totally unselfish type of Love, since He personally would not get anything out of it? If God’s “Love” is some kind of knee jerk reaction, then it is really meaningless (something like; gravity which is nice to have, but everyone automatically has it). God Loves us in spite of what we have done, who we are or what we will do, so it has to be by His choice.

    If there is this Creator of the universe out there, His “creations” could not really “do” anything for Him, so this Creator would have to be seen as a Giver (Unselfish Lover) and not trying to “get” something from His creation.

    So God would create the right universe for the sake of the individuals that will accept His gift (the most powerful force in all universes that compels even God to do all He does) and become like He is (the greatest gift He could give).

    What keeps the all powerful Creator from just giving whatever He wants to his creation?

    There are just something even an all-powerful Creator cannot do (there are things impossible to do), the big inability for us is create humans with instinctive Godly type Love, since Godly type Love is not instinctive. Godly type love has to be the result of a free will decision by the being, to make it the person’s Love apart from God. In other words: If the Love was in a human from the human’s creation it would be a robotic type love and not a Godly type Love. Also if God “forces” this Love on a person (Kind a like a shotgun wedding) it would not be “loving” on God’s part and the love forced on the person would not be Godly type love. This Love has to be the result of a free will moral choice with real alternatives (for humans those alternatives include the perceived pleasures of sin for a season.)

    This Love is way beyond anything humans could develop, obtain, learn, earn, pay back or even deserve, so it must be the result of a gift that is accepted or rejected (a free will choice).

    An unselfish God would be doing all He can to help willing individuals to make that free will decision to accept His Love. Again, since God will not be forcing these individuals, they have to be willing (it is their choice) and God cannot “make” them willing since that is robotic action. God can only at best make them free will agent (like God is) and capable of make the right decision without the selection being worthy of anything (it is a gift of pure charity).

    This “Love” is much more than just an emotional feeling; it is God Himself (God is Love). If you see this Love you see God.

    Let me just give you an example of How God works to help willing individuals.

    All mature adults do stuff that hurts others (this is called sin) these transgressions weigh on them burden them to the point the individual seeks relief (at least early on before they allow their hearts to be hardened). Lots of “alternatives” can be tried for relief, but the only true relief comes from God with forgiveness (this forgiveness is pure charity [grace/mercy/Love]). The correct humble acceptance of this Forgiveness (Charity) automatically will result in Love (we are taught by Jesus and our own experience “…he that is forgiven much will Love much…”). Sin is thus made hugely significant, so there will be an unbelievable huge debt to be forgiven of and thus result in an unbelievable huge “Love” (Godly type Love).

    If the nonbeliever had knowledge of God's existence that person would not need faith in God's existence, but faith is needed for humility and humility is needed to humbly accept pure charity and the only way to get Godly type Love is through accepting it as pure charity in the form of forgiveness.

  2. Amen princesa, seer, Shaney777 amen'd this post.
  3. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Or just find an "o"rthodox church even.

    I think for most people who come to faith in Christ, it's by seeing how God has interacted with others, and seeing the change in their lives: the love, the joy, and the peace that passess all understanding.

    As for doubt and skepticism, a good dose of skepticism is healthy, and everyone experiences periods of doubt. Everyone ought to ask themselves, "why do I believe what I believe". But you can also make yourself crazy endlessly questioning everything. At some point you have to weigh the evidence, and step out. And besides seeking people who can help you on your way, I advise you to take another look at apologetics. I wouldn't bother with apologetics online, but pick yourself up a few books. You can't go wrong with the classics like CS Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton. For something more modern, and entry level, I don't see much wrong with The Case For... series. If you're comparing religions, maybe check out Ravi Zacharias' book Jesus Among Other Gods or his Jesus Talks With... series, where he imagines Jesus in conversation with other religious and historical figures.
    Yep, good sources. I'd also recommend David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite.
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  4. Amen Adrift, Shaney777 amen'd this post.
  5. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by princesa View Post
    I really appreciate your question. I always labeled myself a Christian since childhood and used to pray all the time until the end of my teen years. The decade of my twenties I didn't think 'much' about God. I was raising children and busy. Somewhere late twenties early thirties I found myself with 'life questions' (much like your post reminds me of). That's when I started seeking information and answers. I sought knowledge much like you through forums and books. I also prayed for understanding. The first few years I had a sort of cynical attitude. That was my anger at what I couldn't understand. I would say there was not much growth during those years. I wasn't letting knowledge in. It was a journey of forums, reading, praying, crying, praying angrily, praying desperately, reading more....I read many books about the Bible before actually reading scripture. It was like I wanted to prepare myself (soul and mind) beforehand. That was a few years. Media killed my soul with bad news as I tried to reconcile my faith with evil. More years of seeking God’s wisdom has helped me with this in particular.
    It's only now, I would say probably 8 years later that I can see the huge change all this search for truth had on me. I am not the same person AT ALL. I have changed so much and still will, even though now my learning is not one of desperation but I love to learn more of God, my heart is no longer pained. (another gift I just realized) I believe a lot of the spiritual understanding is the gift of the promise of Mathew 7:7. If I didn't purposefully think back on how I used to be, on a bad day I could be misled into thinking I didn't change at all. Now, I'm very much at peace. wow. I can't even believe it. For me, this journey took about a decade. For others, it can be much shorter or much longer. That doesn’t matter as long as you keep searching. Have hope when you do. That’s important. Some people (I know these people) are just born with this beautiful faith that they grow up with and take with them wherever they go up until adulthood.

    You thought about these things in your head first and by posting you are taking the step of seeking. And that’s how you start. I once visited a church different from my denomination years ago when I first moved into my new neighborhood about 7 yrs ago and loved it, I only went 2 or 3 times but a few years later when I went back I didn’t feel at home at all. My church was home and how could I have liked this church was the thought that occurred to me. I would suggest praying as God will see your intent to seek Him and as you move along in your journey you will notice the gift of spiritual knowledge you've received and down the line as you continue learning and praying and seeking these things will be revealed to you and you will say 'wow, I am such a different person than I was a year or 2 ago'. And your life will be a beautiful journey of purpose finding filled with hope.

    It happened to both me and my husband who are now in our forties and we've seen the change in each other the past decade or so. The change in our marriage is because of Christ in our lives. He actually didn't search for almost a decade for answers like I did (which brought me the peace of today thanks to Gods mercy and grace) but for my husband it was COMPLETELY different, no books, no forums, he just got down on his knees and enough was enough and it was almost instantaneous the change I saw. He's a big man but it's only when he fell on his knees and asked God to take over that made him change. And this wasn't recent, this has lasted several years, both of us have real change in our lives. We still have bad days, but we don't have horrible despairing days. That's a huge difference for us. We have joy (wow, this was a big deal for me, and I say it now and feel emotional because I remember the years of despair). But that's over, and it's all because I sought knowledge with prayer and was consistent about it. Don't stop seeking and you'll keep learning and the promise is you shall find. And you will.
    “Ask, and it shall be given you: seek, and you shall find: knock, and it shall be opened to you. (Matthew 7:7).” His promises are true.
    Thank you so much for taking the time to write this personal message. I am grateful for the encouragement! Bless you!

  6. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Or just find an "o"rthodox church even.

    I think for most people who come to faith in Christ, it's by seeing how God has interacted with others, and seeing the change in their lives: the love, the joy, and the peace that passess all understanding.

    As for doubt and skepticism, a good dose of skepticism is healthy, and everyone experiences periods of doubt. Everyone ought to ask themselves, "why do I believe what I believe". But you can also make yourself crazy endlessly questioning everything. At some point you have to weigh the evidence, and step out. And besides seeking people who can help you on your way, I advise you to take another look at apologetics. I wouldn't bother with apologetics online, but pick yourself up a few books. You can't go wrong with the classics like CS Lewis, and G.K. Chesterton. For something more modern, and entry level, I don't see much wrong with The Case For... series. If you're comparing religions, maybe check out Ravi Zacharias' book Jesus Among Other Gods or his Jesus Talks With... series, where he imagines Jesus in conversation with other religious and historical figures.
    I appreciate your suggestions! Someone I trust recently recommended that I read "Mere Christianity" by C.S. Lewis, so I'll probably give that a go. Thank you for commenting!

  7. Amen Adrift, TheWall amen'd this post.
  8. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by bling View Post
    Without getting to philosophical: “Something has had to always existed since it is illogical to think something comes from nothing. Now some atheists have try to get around this by saying nothing is really “something” and there is no such thing as really “nothing”. The bottom line is there has always been something. Now did that something at least include intelligence or was it just mass/energy/time/space? The problem with “excluding” intelligence is there appears to be a huge amount of intelligence that went into the design of this universe and life that makes it virtually impossible to happen by random “luck”. If there is one thing we have learned it is: “the more we know the more we realize we do not know”, so that means an ever increasing complex universe and the more complex it is the more random chances you need to make the right conditions without intelligence and the more likely scenario is there was intelligence involved.



    If there is this eternal intelligence it would be at the epitome of the best it could be and not in the process of improvement. It would be the ultimate bad or good but not somewhere in-between. Why be bad when He can be good just as easily? The ultimate “good” would be what is called Godly type Love (to be defined later) and is totally unselfish type Love. Since this God would be able to direct our thinking, why would He have us think of him as being totally bad, when He could make us think bad was good and thus He would be worthy of praise? If God were bad and we praise a “Good God” than we are not praising Him.

    Why would God have a totally unselfish type of Love, since He personally would not get anything out of it? If God’s “Love” is some kind of knee jerk reaction, then it is really meaningless (something like; gravity which is nice to have, but everyone automatically has it). God Loves us in spite of what we have done, who we are or what we will do, so it has to be by His choice.

    If there is this Creator of the universe out there, His “creations” could not really “do” anything for Him, so this Creator would have to be seen as a Giver (Unselfish Lover) and not trying to “get” something from His creation.

    So God would create the right universe for the sake of the individuals that will accept His gift (the most powerful force in all universes that compels even God to do all He does) and become like He is (the greatest gift He could give).

    What keeps the all powerful Creator from just giving whatever He wants to his creation?

    There are just something even an all-powerful Creator cannot do (there are things impossible to do), the big inability for us is create humans with instinctive Godly type Love, since Godly type Love is not instinctive. Godly type love has to be the result of a free will decision by the being, to make it the person’s Love apart from God. In other words: If the Love was in a human from the human’s creation it would be a robotic type love and not a Godly type Love. Also if God “forces” this Love on a person (Kind a like a shotgun wedding) it would not be “loving” on God’s part and the love forced on the person would not be Godly type love. This Love has to be the result of a free will moral choice with real alternatives (for humans those alternatives include the perceived pleasures of sin for a season.)

    This Love is way beyond anything humans could develop, obtain, learn, earn, pay back or even deserve, so it must be the result of a gift that is accepted or rejected (a free will choice).

    An unselfish God would be doing all He can to help willing individuals to make that free will decision to accept His Love. Again, since God will not be forcing these individuals, they have to be willing (it is their choice) and God cannot “make” them willing since that is robotic action. God can only at best make them free will agent (like God is) and capable of make the right decision without the selection being worthy of anything (it is a gift of pure charity).

    This “Love” is much more than just an emotional feeling; it is God Himself (God is Love). If you see this Love you see God.

    Let me just give you an example of How God works to help willing individuals.

    All mature adults do stuff that hurts others (this is called sin) these transgressions weigh on them burden them to the point the individual seeks relief (at least early on before they allow their hearts to be hardened). Lots of “alternatives” can be tried for relief, but the only true relief comes from God with forgiveness (this forgiveness is pure charity [grace/mercy/Love]). The correct humble acceptance of this Forgiveness (Charity) automatically will result in Love (we are taught by Jesus and our own experience “…he that is forgiven much will Love much…”). Sin is thus made hugely significant, so there will be an unbelievable huge debt to be forgiven of and thus result in an unbelievable huge “Love” (Godly type Love).

    If the nonbeliever had knowledge of God's existence that person would not need faith in God's existence, but faith is needed for humility and humility is needed to humbly accept pure charity and the only way to get Godly type Love is through accepting it as pure charity in the form of forgiveness.
    I really like this, and I understand your point. You did a great job of teaching it in a way that I could follow. I'll need to study it a little more, though. I'm thankful for your response!

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    Quote Originally Posted by One Bad Pig View Post
    Yep, good sources. I'd also recommend David Bentley Hart's The Beauty of the Infinite.
    Thank you for commenting!

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    Thank you for reading it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bling View Post
    Without getting to philosophical: “Something has had to always existed since it is illogical to think something comes from nothing. Now some atheists have try to get around this by saying nothing is really “something” and there is no such thing as really “nothing”. The bottom line is there has always been something. Now did that something at least include intelligence or was it just mass/energy/time/space? The problem with “excluding” intelligence is there appears to be a huge amount of intelligence that went into the design of this universe and life that makes it virtually impossible to happen by random “luck”. If there is one thing we have learned it is: “the more we know the more we realize we do not know”, so that means an ever increasing complex universe and the more complex it is the more random chances you need to make the right conditions without intelligence and the more likely scenario is there was intelligence involved.



    If there is this eternal intelligence it would be at the epitome of the best it could be and not in the process of improvement. It would be the ultimate bad or good but not somewhere in-between. Why be bad when He can be good just as easily? The ultimate “good” would be what is called Godly type Love (to be defined later) and is totally unselfish type Love. Since this God would be able to direct our thinking, why would He have us think of him as being totally bad, when He could make us think bad was good and thus He would be worthy of praise? If God were bad and we praise a “Good God” than we are not praising Him.

    Why would God have a totally unselfish type of Love, since He personally would not get anything out of it? If God’s “Love” is some kind of knee jerk reaction, then it is really meaningless (something like; gravity which is nice to have, but everyone automatically has it). God Loves us in spite of what we have done, who we are or what we will do, so it has to be by His choice.

    If there is this Creator of the universe out there, His “creations” could not really “do” anything for Him, so this Creator would have to be seen as a Giver (Unselfish Lover) and not trying to “get” something from His creation.

    So God would create the right universe for the sake of the individuals that will accept His gift (the most powerful force in all universes that compels even God to do all He does) and become like He is (the greatest gift He could give).

    What keeps the all powerful Creator from just giving whatever He wants to his creation?

    There are just something even an all-powerful Creator cannot do (there are things impossible to do), the big inability for us is create humans with instinctive Godly type Love, since Godly type Love is not instinctive. Godly type love has to be the result of a free will decision by the being, to make it the person’s Love apart from God. In other words: If the Love was in a human from the human’s creation it would be a robotic type love and not a Godly type Love. Also if God “forces” this Love on a person (Kind a like a shotgun wedding) it would not be “loving” on God’s part and the love forced on the person would not be Godly type love. This Love has to be the result of a free will moral choice with real alternatives (for humans those alternatives include the perceived pleasures of sin for a season.)

    This Love is way beyond anything humans could develop, obtain, learn, earn, pay back or even deserve, so it must be the result of a gift that is accepted or rejected (a free will choice).

    An unselfish God would be doing all He can to help willing individuals to make that free will decision to accept His Love. Again, since God will not be forcing these individuals, they have to be willing (it is their choice) and God cannot “make” them willing since that is robotic action. God can only at best make them free will agent (like God is) and capable of make the right decision without the selection being worthy of anything (it is a gift of pure charity).

    This “Love” is much more than just an emotional feeling; it is God Himself (God is Love). If you see this Love you see God.

    Let me just give you an example of How God works to help willing individuals.

    All mature adults do stuff that hurts others (this is called sin) these transgressions weigh on them burden them to the point the individual seeks relief (at least early on before they allow their hearts to be hardened). Lots of “alternatives” can be tried for relief, but the only true relief comes from God with forgiveness (this forgiveness is pure charity [grace/mercy/Love]). The correct humble acceptance of this Forgiveness (Charity) automatically will result in Love (we are taught by Jesus and our own experience “…he that is forgiven much will Love much…”). Sin is thus made hugely significant, so there will be an unbelievable huge debt to be forgiven of and thus result in an unbelievable huge “Love” (Godly type Love).

    If the nonbeliever had knowledge of God's existence that person would not need faith in God's existence, but faith is needed for humility and humility is needed to humbly accept pure charity and the only way to get Godly type Love is through accepting it as pure charity in the form of forgiveness.
    So according to your post, I need to just have faith (blind trust I guess) to see results, as in God showing Himself to me?

  12. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by bling View Post
    There are just something even an all-powerful Creator cannot do (there are things impossible to do), the big inability for us is create humans with instinctive Godly type Love, since Godly type Love is not instinctive. Godly type love has to be the result of a free will decision by the being, to make it the person’s Love apart from God. In other words: If the Love was in a human from the human’s creation it would be a robotic type love and not a Godly type Love. Also if God “forces” this Love on a person (Kind a like a shotgun wedding) it would not be “loving” on God’s part and the love forced on the person would not be Godly type love. This Love has to be the result of a free will moral choice with real alternatives (for humans those alternatives include the perceived pleasures of sin for a season.)
    No, because God chose to do things a certain way does not in any way limit what He could do.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Shaney777 View Post
    So according to your post, I need to just have faith (blind trust I guess) to see results, as in God showing Himself to me?
    I am not sure quite how you got that from bling's post, but a blind faith is not what is described in the Bible. It is my personal belief that if you are sincere in wanting to know what the Truth of the matter is, God will reach you. Faith is being convinced of what you believe based on what you can find out. Trusting God is done because He has shown himself to be worthy of trust. Blind trust is just silliness.
    Micah 6:8 He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?

  14. Amen Bill the Cat, Sparko, Shaney777, LostSheep amen'd this post.

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