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Thread: Dark Night of the Soul

  1. #21
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    yeah I know exactly what you mean and feel. I have times of that kind of doubt too. I could never give up my faith, but I do wonder what if I am wrong? I think everyone does. That is why it is called "faith" and not "knowledge" - we can never know 100% but we trust that God is real and we will be saved. That is why I was talking earlier about contemplating nature and reading apologetic books, because they help to dispel those kind of doubts. To me just looking at all of those billions of stars in the sky and all of the complexity of life just makes me go, "no way that all just happened by accident - someone is behind it all"
    I became a scientist because of this very reason. I never understood how people think that science leads to atheism.

    I took an advanced immunology class. The complexity was mind boggling...and that is just one of many systems in the body. I am a theistic evolutionist (full disclosure) and have always thought....Why would the universe have laws that would even allow a bunch of carbon atoms to evolve into something that can contemplate its own existence?

    To me, this is why I couldn't fall away. Every fiber in my being thinks that our life giving universe is a lot more than a "happy accident".

  2. Amen Sparko, Thoughtful Monk amen'd this post.
  3. #22
    See, the Thing is... Cow Poke's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    I became a scientist because of this very reason. I never understood how people think that science leads to atheism.

    I took an advanced immunology class. The complexity was mind boggling...and that is just one of many systems in the body. I am a theistic evolutionist (full disclosure) and have always thought....Why would the universe have laws that would even allow a bunch of carbon atoms to evolve into something that can contemplate its own existence?

    To me, this is why I couldn't fall away. Every fiber in my being thinks that our life giving universe is a lot more than a "happy accident".
    Interesting - that's worth its own thread.

    1 Tim 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

  4. #23
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Hey element! Good to see you as always. While I think the intellectual aspects of faith help us get to a certain line, and continue to help us as we mature and grow in Christ, you can't rely on intellectual fulfillment alone to convince you that Christianity is true. True faith doesn't come through mere intellectual assent, but through trust. Trust that Christ is who he says he is, and that God will do what he says he will do for those who have made Jesus Lord. You can go your entire life playing this game of stop and go, worrying, and wondering from time to time if you're wrong, or if you've made the right choice, or if you're wasting all your time on this God stuff, or you can instead walk out in faith in boldness that God is powerfully real, that Jesus is risen, that he has the power to change lives, including your own, and that there is something momentus and glorious awaiting us all. Life really does have meaning and purpose; It really does. And that purpose is found in Christ.

    When you go through these periods of doubt, turn off all of that silly theist vs. atheist debate nonsense. Unplug from the internet, and even message forums like this. They're not going to encourage you. All they're going to do is make you feel more anxious. Be anxious for nothing. Fill your thoughts with works that are uplifting. Read some N.T. Wright, C.S. Lewis, John Lennox, Ravi Zacharias, and the like. Start getting into some praise and worship music, and get involved in your church. CP's advice to make what you know practical by helping others is fantastic. Often times it's when left to our own devices that we allow those thoughts, fears and concerns of this world system into our head. Getting involved and helping others is a good cure for that, and often help us find the comfort and answers we ourselves were looking for.

  5. Amen One Bad Pig, element771 amen'd this post.
  6. #24
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    I became a scientist because of this very reason. I never understood how people think that science leads to atheism.

    I took an advanced immunology class. The complexity was mind boggling...and that is just one of many systems in the body. I am a theistic evolutionist (full disclosure) and have always thought....Why would the universe have laws that would even allow a bunch of carbon atoms to evolve into something that can contemplate its own existence?

    To me, this is why I couldn't fall away. Every fiber in my being thinks that our life giving universe is a lot more than a "happy accident".
    exactly from the galactic scale and how everything worked out to create stars, fusion, gravity etc down to seeing how complex a living cell is, then down to the quantum level and how all that works, it seems impossible for it all to have arose simply by accident over time. I would expect pure chaos as a result, or nothing at all. Even if you believe in evolution, you can't believe that all of those 'accidents' just lined up in a row and produced what we have today. Something had to guide it. Someone.

  7. #25
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    Thanks everyone for their suggestions and kinds words. This is honestly eating me up inside and I can't seem to shake it.

    Does it bother anyone else that unbelief is on the rise and that secularization is continually expanding? I realize that the net population of believers is increasing but it seems like secularization is inevitable (see Europe, US).

    The reason I ask is I sometimes wonder if religion is just a growth period of modernity and that after it has served its use, it will be discarded.
    It doesn't bother me that much. I mean, I wish it were otherwise, but truth isn't based on majority rule. God is still as powerful as he has always been, and his Will will be accomplished whether anyone wants it to be or not. I have trust that He knows what He's doing. Furthermore, this isn't the first time Christianity has gone through this. If the early Christians could live, and even flourish under Roman rule and persecution for the first 300 years, we'll do fine. Continued secularization is simply separating the chaff from the wheat. Nominal Christianity has been a huge issue in the church for ages...probably since the 4th century. We're finally seeing people's real stripes. As faithful Christians continue to show Christ in the way they live, and how they treat others, people will naturally be attracted to our light. I'm already beginning to see a sort of fatigue in a lot of Millenials who want something more than the naturalist and hedonist philosophies they've been taught to embrace in their social circles, academia, and popular media. Nature hates a vacuum, and they're ready for something to fill that God shaped void in their hearts. If it's not Christianity it'll be some other sort of religion or spiritualism. We just need to be there when that happens so that we can plant a seed, and God can see the increase.

  8. #26
    tWebber Adrift's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    Some times this serves to be a source of doubt for me.

    I have no idea why since popular opinion doesn't have anything to do with truth.

    I guess I just wonder if religion is just a phase that societies go through and nothing beyond that.
    Our battle is not one of flesh and blood. We're in spiritual warfare. Satan's tactics might have changed a bit, but there's nothing really new under the sun. I'd rather things be right in the open, rather than people pretending to go along with it, and yet not really be that interested. I don't know how many people I knew years back would tell me when asked "yeah, I'm a Christian," and by that they meant that "yeah, I was raised to say I was a Christian," but not know much more about Jesus than that he was a guy with a beard that lived in heaven, and that if you were really good, he would check your name off on a list like Santa Claus admitting you to heaven to live in the clouds with your dead relatives. Concepts like faith, sacrifice, grace, salvation, righteousness, the resurrection, the Kingdom of Heaven, and the like were completely lost on them. Now they're just more obvious about it. You ask them if they're a Christian, and you get a straight "no", or "I don't care about all of that spiritual stuff that much".

  9. Amen Cow Poke amen'd this post.
  10. #27
    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    I am an elder at our current Church and try to do as much as I can.
    That sounds like a problem with me back in the 1970s. less than a decade after I had become a Christian. I was in a sound Bible teaching church, strong on teaching and getting involved. I was getting involved in a lot, and many people looked up to me as an example of a spiritual Christian because I was doing so much.

    I was heavily into the Bible, but it was like a bad diet of good food. I was heavy into history and doctrine, but not reading it as God's love letter to me. It was just like reading a college textbook.
    Eventually I realized that I was spiritually weak because of that. I fit well into the description Jesus gave to the Church of Ephesus,

    "'I know your deeds and your toil and perseverance, and that you cannot tolerate evil men, and you put to the test those who call themselves apostles, and they are not, and you found them to be false; and you have perseverance and have endured for My name's sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Therefore remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first; or else I am coming to you and will remove your lampstand out of its place--unless you repent.'" (Rev 2:2-5)
    Jesus's solution was "...remember from where you have fallen, and repent and do the deeds you did at first.'" (Rev 2:2-5)

    In ten days from now it will be exactly fifty years ago that I received the Lord Jesus. I remember fighting it for months, then finally I gave in, sat down on this wire-framed chair with a table top that had a telephone, called a classmate and she led me to the Lord. (In fact, I found her address on the internet, clear across the other side of the country, and mailed her a thank you card.) But I remember years later, when I was under a heavy burden, there was that table in the attic at my parents' home. I sat down on it and poured my heart out to the Lord. It really worked.

    I remember a sermon by John R. Rice, "Come Back to Betel." It described Jacob's first encounter with God at Bethel, and how he left a stone there as a memorial to his experience. It was many decades later, that God called him to return to that place where he first experienced God.

    Maybe this works.

  11. Amen Adrift, LostSheep amen'd this post.
  12. #28
    Theologyweb's Official Grandfather Jedidiah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    About a week ago, I just had an uneasy feeling. I kept thinking...what if I am wrong? How can I really believe this stuff? This is too good to be true.
    Consider 1 Corinthians 1:25 - "For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. " While Christianity is rather foolish, it is far above the alternative that this just happens to be what is.
    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?

  13. #29
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cow Poke View Post
    My best advice from personal experience is stop focusing so much on yourself, and employ that simple little mnemonic / acronym "JOY" - Jesus, Others, You....

    It sounds like you're attempting to get plenty of "input" (remember Johnny 5? ) but there needs to be outflow... somewhere you put your learning and "input" to use.

    In a field next to my former Church is what we used to call "scum pond" -- it lay in a low area, and had several inlets of water when it rained, but there was nowhere for the water to go, so it sat there and stagnated. Over time, it built up a layer of scum over it, and was just a black cesspool.

    I think our lives can become like that -- we keep "taking in" but we don't do so good "giving out". Be involved in actual ministry - teach a Bible study - volunteer in a soup kitchen - be the hands and feet of Jesus.

    And - people laugh at me when I say this - but read the Bible out loud. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". Seriously, when you read out loud, you're employing more of your brain and senses, and you'll get more from it.

    Be not hearers of the Word only, but be a doer.

    Would love to follow up on this.
    I agree with the Poker of Cows. I get frustrated when I can't find a way to out flow to others. Its something I'm working on now.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

  14. #30
    tWebber Thoughtful Monk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by element771 View Post
    Thanks everyone for their suggestions and kinds words. This is honestly eating me up inside and I can't seem to shake it.

    Does it bother anyone else that unbelief is on the rise and that secularization is continually expanding? I realize that the net population of believers is increasing but it seems like secularization is inevitable (see Europe, US).

    The reason I ask is I sometimes wonder if religion is just a growth period of modernity and that after it has served its use, it will be discarded.
    You have described today's world very well. I have found reflecting on the ups and downs as recorded in the book of Judges helps. The idea that religion will fade away is certainly not new. Certainly it would seem that revivals can't occur in periods of strong religious beliefs. Unfortunately, we are living in a down slope period which admittedly is no fun. It will change.

    "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." - Ecclesiastes 1:9. Some knowledge of history does help give perspective on this.
    "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings." Hosea 6:6

    My time to be on TWeb is unpredictable. It may take a few days for me to see your post and respond.

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