Page 3 of 5 FirstFirst 12345 LastLast
Results 21 to 30 of 41

Thread: How Do We Know that God Exists?

  1. #21
    tWebber lee_merrill's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Location
    Durham, NC
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    316
    Amen (Given)
    128
    Amen (Received)
    83
    But God argues for his own existence!

    Source: Is 46:9–10

    Remember the former things, those of long ago;
    I am God, and there is no other;
    I am God, and there is none like me.
    I make known the end from the beginning,
    from ancient times, what is still to come.
    I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
    and I will do all that I please.’

    © Copyright Original Source


    God makes known his presence through fulfilled prophecy, through making known what would be impossible for ordinary people to know.

    Source: Is 43:9–13

    Which of their gods foretold this
    and proclaimed to us the former things?
    Let them bring in their witnesses to prove they were right,
    so that others may hear and say, “It is true.”
    “You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
    so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
    Before me no god was formed,
    nor will there be one after me.
    I, even I, am the LORD,
    and apart from me there is no savior.
    I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
    I, and not some foreign god among you.
    You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.”

    © Copyright Original Source



    Blessings,
    Lee
    "What I pray of you is, to keep your eye upon Him, for that is everything. Do you say, 'How am I to keep my eye on Him?' I reply, keep your eye off everything else, and you will soon see Him. All depends on the eye of faith being kept on Him. How simple it is!" (J.B. Stoney)

  2. #22
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    787
    Amen (Given)
    241
    Amen (Received)
    258
    I have to admit that this question has been taxing me lately.

    I have found myself actually being angry that we cannot know with certainty. To be honest, I am jealous of those that feel certainty in their faith.

    I know that faith is the expression of trust and love but it is hard for me at times.

  3. #23
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    7,664
    Amen (Given)
    6213
    Amen (Received)
    5994
    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    I have to admit that this question has been taxing me lately.

    I have found myself actually being angry that we cannot know with certainty. To be honest, I am jealous of those that feel certainty in their faith.

    I know that faith is the expression of trust and love but it is hard for me at times.
    If memory serves, you've been struggling with this for years. What are your major roadblocks? Are there particular people or events that are preventing you from bridging the gap? The fact that you've been struggling with this for so long makes me think that there's more to the story than simple intellectual assent.

  4. Amen element771 amen'd this post.
  5. #24
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    787
    Amen (Given)
    241
    Amen (Received)
    258
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    If memory serves, you've been struggling with this for years. What are your major roadblocks? Are there particular people or events that are preventing you from bridging the gap? The fact that you've been struggling with this for so long makes me think that there's more to the story than simple intellectual assent.
    Hi Adrift,

    Thanks for the question. I will now go a bit into my history.

    Soon after my daughter was born, I had a minor health scare that sent me down a path of pretty severe anxiety. I was Catholic all of my life and had not really studied anything to be frank. I didn't know why I believed what I did. I decided to start reading and learning, as well as seeking counseling for the anxiety. I read everything that I could get my hands on. I didn't want to bias my search so I read about all aspects of theology, atheism, etc. After many months, I settled my anxiety through a mixture of counseling and medication. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, mild OCD, and potentially ADD. I continued to study and realized that there were real, tangible arguments for believing in God. That was about 10 years ago give or take when this started. I relapsed once after debating one of the atheists here (I think it was Tass) and I was thrown down to rabbit hole once again. But after that, I just accepted that I believed and continued to learn as much as I could. I debated with atheist colleagues of mine for a while after that and I was steadfast in my faith.

    I then obtained a faculty position and all of my mental energy went to building my lab and obtaining funding. My anxiety reared its head again about 3 years ago and I went back to counseling.

    Fast forward till last year. I finally obtained funding (Thanks be to God) and everything was going great. I was a member of a church here and am currently an elder in that Church. Then suddenly on New Years day...I felt uneasy. I had been going through a cycle of unrest before this for quite some time but I didn't know what to make of it. I even had reduced my meds because I thought I had it all figured out...professionally, spiritually, and personally. I never thought that I would be plagued with doubts again, then it hit me like a shovel in the face. My anxiety came roaring back and the doubts started flooding in. Questions like: What if I am wrong? What if life is meaningless? Is Christianity too good to be true? (basically a lot of emotional doubt).

    When I went through my first crisis of faith, I came out with a much stronger faith and a commitment to becoming a scientist (as I thought that is what I was called to do). I have to admit that going through it this time, I am puzzled as to what the lesson is this time. Honestly, I am just scared that I am deluding myself. I wonder if I shouldn't have become a scientist because it is hard to not apply science to everything (something that I know that you can't do). My job is to continually question everything and some times that spills over into my spiritual life at times.
    Last edited by element771; 01-19-2018 at 03:34 PM.

  6. Amen Adrift amen'd this post.
  7. #25
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    37,742
    Amen (Given)
    3444
    Amen (Received)
    17995
    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    Hi Adrift,

    Thanks for the question. I will now go a bit into my history.

    Soon after my daughter was born, I had a minor health scare that sent me down a path of pretty severe anxiety. I was Catholic all of my life and had not really studied anything to be frank. I didn't know why I believed what I did. I decided to start reading and learning, as well as seeking counseling for the anxiety. I read everything that I could get my hands on. I didn't want to bias my search so I read about all aspects of theology, atheism, etc. After many months, I settled my anxiety through a mixture of counseling and medication. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, mild OCD, and potentially ADD. I continued to study and realized that there were real, tangible arguments for believing in God. That was about 10 years ago give or take when this started. I relapsed once after debating one of the atheists here (I think it was Tass) and I was thrown down to rabbit hole once again. But after that, I just accepted that I believed and continued to learn as much as I could. I debated with atheist colleagues of mine for a while after that and I was steadfast in my faith.

    I then obtained a faculty position and all of my mental energy went to building my lab and obtaining funding. My anxiety reared its head again about 3 years ago and I went back to counseling.

    Fast forward till last year. I finally obtained funding (Thanks be to God) and everything was going great. I was a member of a church here and am currently an elder in that Church. Then suddenly on New Years day...I felt uneasy. I had been going through a cycle of unrest before this for quite some time but I didn't know what to make of it. I even had reduced my meds because I thought I had it all figured out...professionally, spiritually, and personally. I never thought that I would be plagued with doubts again, then it hit me like a shovel in the face. My anxiety came roaring back and the doubts started flooding in. Questions like: What if I am wrong? What if life is meaningless? Is Christianity too good to be true? (basically a lot of emotional doubt).

    When I went through my first crisis of faith, I came out with a much stronger faith and a commitment to becoming a scientist (as I thought that is what I was called to do). I have to admit that going through it this time, I am puzzled as to what the lesson is this time. Honestly, I am just scared that I am deluding myself. I wonder if I shouldn't have become a scientist because it is hard to not apply science to everything (something that I know that you can't do). My job is to continually question everything and some times that spills over into my spiritual life at times.
    Here is my take. What if I am wrong and there is no God?

    Then I would not change a thing. My life is much better and I am a better person now then when I was not a believer. Others have also benefited from my being a believer because I have been a more generous person, kinder, more loving, than I was before. If I die and there is no God, I have left the world a better place than I would have otherwise. And I would not even know that I was wrong because I would not exist to know it. So I believe. If I am wrong so what?

  8. Amen element771, Thoughtful Monk, Teallaura amen'd this post.
  9. #26
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    787
    Amen (Given)
    241
    Amen (Received)
    258
    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    Here is my take. What if I am wrong and there is no God?

    Then I would not change a thing. My life is much better and I am a better person now then when I was not a believer. Others have also benefited from my being a believer because I have been a more generous person, kinder, more loving, than I was before. If I die and there is no God, I have left the world a better place than I would have otherwise. And I would not even know that I was wrong because I would not exist to know it. So I believe. If I am wrong so what?
    I guess my ultimate fear is the existential terror that comes with nihilism.

  10. #27
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    37,742
    Amen (Given)
    3444
    Amen (Received)
    17995
    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    I guess my ultimate fear is the existential terror that comes with nihilism.
    That nothing has meaning if there is no God? The meaning is what you put into it. To you your family has meaning. You love them, they love you, your children will grow up and love others and have children. The meaning is intrinsic in how they spend their lives. If we spend our lives doing what God wants, then we are accomplishing his goals, even if we find out he doesn't exist.

  11. #28
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    37,742
    Amen (Given)
    3444
    Amen (Received)
    17995
    ultimately you can't know God doesn't exist so live your life as though he does. It will be better both for yourself and those around you.
    Last edited by Sparko; 01-19-2018 at 05:08 PM.

  12. #29
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    7,664
    Amen (Given)
    6213
    Amen (Received)
    5994
    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    Hi Adrift,

    Thanks for the question. I will now go a bit into my history.

    Soon after my daughter was born, I had a minor health scare that sent me down a path of pretty severe anxiety. I was Catholic all of my life and had not really studied anything to be frank. I didn't know why I believed what I did. I decided to start reading and learning, as well as seeking counseling for the anxiety. I read everything that I could get my hands on. I didn't want to bias my search so I read about all aspects of theology, atheism, etc. After many months, I settled my anxiety through a mixture of counseling and medication. I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, mild OCD, and potentially ADD. I continued to study and realized that there were real, tangible arguments for believing in God. That was about 10 years ago give or take when this started. I relapsed once after debating one of the atheists here (I think it was Tass) and I was thrown down to rabbit hole once again. But after that, I just accepted that I believed and continued to learn as much as I could. I debated with atheist colleagues of mine for a while after that and I was steadfast in my faith.

    I then obtained a faculty position and all of my mental energy went to building my lab and obtaining funding. My anxiety reared its head again about 3 years ago and I went back to counseling.

    Fast forward till last year. I finally obtained funding (Thanks be to God) and everything was going great. I was a member of a church here and am currently an elder in that Church. Then suddenly on New Years day...I felt uneasy. I had been going through a cycle of unrest before this for quite some time but I didn't know what to make of it. I even had reduced my meds because I thought I had it all figured out...professionally, spiritually, and personally. I never thought that I would be plagued with doubts again, then it hit me like a shovel in the face. My anxiety came roaring back and the doubts started flooding in. Questions like: What if I am wrong? What if life is meaningless? Is Christianity too good to be true? (basically a lot of emotional doubt).

    When I went through my first crisis of faith, I came out with a much stronger faith and a commitment to becoming a scientist (as I thought that is what I was called to do). I have to admit that going through it this time, I am puzzled as to what the lesson is this time. Honestly, I am just scared that I am deluding myself. I wonder if I shouldn't have become a scientist because it is hard to not apply science to everything (something that I know that you can't do). My job is to continually question everything and some times that spills over into my spiritual life at times.
    Ok, this puts some things into perspective. Thanks!

    Yeah, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions. As I'm sure you know, unlike many religions/ideologies, Christianity openly invites question asking, and keep in memory that it was because of Christianity's view of nature as a celebration of God's glory that led directly to scientific inquiry, and the sciences as we appreciate them today. There's a great book on this by James Hannam called God's Philosophers that you might be interested in. I do think though, that there is a point where question asking can become unhealthy. Where you ask questions until you've started to question your own sanity and the very world around you. That's not healthy no matter what your worldview is. There are some things that you're just going to have to put on a burner, and say, "okay, I'll get back to that when I can". I've often found that those sorts of questions do eventually get answered, and usually in the most unexpected ways.

    As I've advised you several times in the past, though, there has to come a point in your life when you've just decided to commit to something, or else you'll drive yourself insane. Again, this is true for all sorts of things, not just belief in God. Do you marry the woman you love and have been dating for 5 years, or should you continue getting to know her? Will she ever really love you as much as you love her? What if she doesn't love you and is just saying she is? What if you don't really love her, and you're being selfish because you just want to be wanted? What if she's not the right one, and there's a perfect woman out there someplace just waiting for you to bump into her? Etc., etc., etc. At some point you just make the point to commit, or else choose to worry and frustrate yourself indefinitely and find yourself alone forever. That doesn't mean you just jump into any serious situation, circumstance, or decision without really taking the time to consider it, nor does it mean that you'll never occasionally have a little doubt or ask "what if I had made another choice", but that's different than years of serious back and forth where the foundation of the whole thing is in jeopardy. Though rarely effective in daily evangelical apologetics (in my opinion), perhaps here is where something like Pascal's Wager can be used to effect...the idea that, all things being relatively equal, if you're stuck between accepting that the Christian God exists, or does not exist, what have you got to gain, what have you got to lose?

    At any rate, in my opinion, this is not really something posters at a webforum are really equipped to handle. Brother, I love you, and if I could break off a chunk of my faith and give it to you I would, but this is really where you need to get with your pastor and/or a church counselor, and your church family and really hammer things out there with people who can talk to you eye to eye, and who know you, or can get to know you in a much more intimate and personable way. There's just far too much anonymity in an online message forum to be able to impart the type of encouragement and building up that you need, and if you're not getting that sort of treatment at your current church, perhaps you need to think of finding another place.

    Also, let me repeat, in times of doubt, Christian/atheist debate forums are definitely not the place to be. Too many times I've seen people who are shaky in their faith come to places like this, and then allow skeptical arguments seep into their core, and completely frustrate them to the point of apostasy. It's not that those skeptical arguments are that great, most of them are incredibly simplistic and easily answered, but when you're already in a sort of fearful and desperate mental state, you're unconsciously giving them purchase. Skeptical arguments, even the bad ones, are intended to chip away at your faith, and you expose yourself to that sort of nonsense long enough, they'll do just that. Look, we're not fighting a battle of flesh and blood here, there is a spiritual adversary in this world whose primary goal it is to fill people with despair, and to frustrate our relationship with our creator. Don't tempt the adversary by giving him purchase; Fight him with the tools that Paul tells us that God has given us in Ephesians 6.

    You are more than a conqueror. You can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you. Your God is a mighty God, and his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You know where to find answers to hard questions, be anxious for nothing and step out in faith knowing that God has proven himself over and over again to be trustworthy.
    Last edited by Adrift; 01-19-2018 at 04:54 PM.

  13. Amen Teallaura amen'd this post.
  14. #30
    tWebber
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Faith
    Christian
    Gender
    Male
    Posts
    787
    Amen (Given)
    241
    Amen (Received)
    258
    Quote Originally Posted by Adrift View Post
    Ok, this puts some things into perspective. Thanks!

    Yeah, there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking questions. As I'm sure you know, unlike many religions/ideologies, Christianity openly invites question asking, and keep in memory that it was because of Christianity's view of nature as a celebration of God's glory that led directly to scientific inquiry, and the sciences as we appreciate them today. There's a great book on this by James Hannam called God's Philosophers that you might be interested in. I do think though, that there is a point where question asking can become unhealthy. Where you ask questions until you've started to question your own sanity and the very world around you. That's not healthy no matter what your worldview is. There are some things that you're just going to have to put on a burner, and say, "okay, I'll get back to that when I can". I've often found that those sorts of questions do eventually get answered, and usually in the most unexpected ways.

    As I've advised you several times in the past, though, there has to come a point in your life when you've just decided to commit to something, or else you'll drive yourself insane. Again, this is true for all sorts of things, not just belief in God. Do you marry the woman you love and have been dating for 5 years, or should you continue getting to know her? Will she ever really love you as much as you love her? What if she doesn't love you and is just saying she is? What if you don't really love her, and you're being selfish because you just want to be wanted? What if she's not the right one, and there's a perfect woman out there someplace just waiting for you to bump into her? Etc., etc., etc. At some point you just make the point to commit, or else choose to worry and frustrate yourself indefinitely and find yourself alone forever. That doesn't mean you just jump into any serious situation, circumstance, or decision without really taking the time to consider it, nor does it mean that you'll never occasionally have a little doubt or ask "what if I had made another choice", but that's different than years of serious back and forth where the foundation of the whole thing is in jeopardy. Though rarely effective in daily evangelical apologetics (in my opinion), perhaps here is where something like Pascal's Wager can be used to effect...the idea that, all things being relatively equal, if you're stuck between accepting that the Christian God exists, or does not exist, what have you got to gain, what have you got to lose?

    At any rate, in my opinion, this is not really something posters at a webforum are really equipped to handle. Brother, I love you, and if I could break off a chunk of my faith and give it to you I would, but this is really where you need to get with your pastor and/or a church counselor, and your church family and really hammer things out there with people who can talk to you eye to eye, and who know you, or can get to know you in a much more intimate and personable way. There's just far too much anonymity in an online message forum to be able to impart the type of encouragement and building up that you need, and if you're not getting that sort of treatment at your current church, perhaps you need to think of finding another place.

    Also, let me repeat, in times of doubt, Christian/atheist debate forums are definitely not the place to be. Too many times I've seen people who are shaky in their faith come to places like this, and then allow skeptical arguments seep into their core, and completely frustrate them to the point of apostasy. It's not that those skeptical arguments are that great, most of them are incredibly simplistic and easily answered, but when you're already in a sort of fearful and desperate mental state, you're unconsciously giving them purchase. Skeptical arguments, even the bad ones, are intended to chip away at your faith, and you expose yourself to that sort of nonsense long enough, they'll do just that. Look, we're not fighting a battle of flesh and blood here, there is a spiritual adversary in this world whose primary goal it is to fill people with despair, and to frustrate our relationship with our creator. Don't tempt the adversary by giving him purchase; Fight him with the tools that Paul tells us that God has given us in Ephesians 6.

    You are more than a conqueror. You can do all things through Christ Jesus who strengthens you. Your God is a mighty God, and his will will be done on earth as it is in heaven. You know where to find answers to hard questions, be anxious for nothing and step out in faith knowing that God has proven himself over and over again to be trustworthy.
    Thanks for the words of encouragement and the love goes both ways. I agree that all of this attempts at certainty are foolish and are certainly not Biblical. I am trying to bend God to my will as opposed to bending to his.

    Believe me when I say this....I wish that I could accept a chunk of your faith, I would take it in a heart beat.

    I have spoken to my pastor but I have to admit that I am not sure it helped. I think I may be more familiar with the apologetical literature than he is. I have taken to watching youtube videos of NT Wright, Keller, WLC, etc as a way to mitigate my doubts. I have also purchased several books on doubt to read.

  15. Amen Adrift, Teallaura amen'd this post.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •