Help! I'm struggling with my faith

I grew up VERY young earth creationist. My parents even taught me that dinosaurs never existed, and that they were made up. Fast forward over 30 years and I’m aware of the overwhelming evidence for evolution and old earth. At first I was done with religion and was ready to walk away. I told my wife as much. The same day I told her, I found BioLogos and it has helped immensely.

The problem I need help with is that I still struggle frequently, most days I’m quite sure that I have been wrong my whole life, and God doesn’t exist. But that is punctuated by days that I long for God to be real. I feel like if I can find reliable evidence of the resurrection of Jesus, that it would really help. Does anybody know of any extra-biblical contemporary accounts of the resurrection? I am aware of some from the 3rd century, but am struggling to find any contemporary accounts.

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Hi Jeremy,
Welcome to the forum, and thank you for sharing about your experiences. I and several others here were raised very YEC too (though I was at least taught that dinosaurs existed), and many here have also gone through crises of faith and/or seen their faith evolve into something different than it was when they were younger. I know how scary it can be to realize that if people you trusted were so wrong about things, what else were they wrong about?

I’m not quite sure what you mean by “contemporary accounts” of the resurrection. As in, things that have been vetted by modern scholars?

Anyway, if it’s any help, one thing I’ve had to really think about is the difference between what I can know scientifically and what I simply accept by faith. I have really enjoyed the process of gaining more confidence in science, but have still had to remember that science is not the be-all-end-all of learning or decision-making. Faith incorporates evidence, but ultimately requires us to believe in something we can’t quantify with our senses.

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You are not alone in your struggles. I hope you can give yourself some time to work through your questions without chucking the whole thing in frustration.

I think the most cited account in reference to Jesus is Josephus.

There are also valid reasons to consider the Gospel accounts historical, and you can find these in lay-level books like The Case for Christ. Academic books like How God Became Jesus address claims by people like Erhman.

However, no amount of establishing the historicity of Jesus or even the historicity of Jesus’ resurrection gets you to “Jesus was God and his death and resurrection takes away my sin, unites me to God and gives me eternal life.” So, there’s that. People who are convinced of those truth claims are relying on experience with God for their knowledge, not historical facts.

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By “contemporary accounts” I mean accounts that were written as the event was happening. In other words, written by people who have first hand knowledge of the event.

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Josephus was who I was referring to, though I got the century wrong. It still seems clear that he had no first hand knowledge of the resurrection, due to it being almost 100 years later. There’s also argument that he was a propagandist, not a historian. This may be untrue, but it is the struggle in my mind right now.

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There were no objective historians in the modern sense at that time, as far as I know.

I understand the self-doubt that comes with a realization that you have been indoctrinated. I grew up in a Christian home and I have the same issues sometimes. What if this a just a game we all play because of our culture and socialization? So, it is compelling to me that many people who were raised in other cultures and ideologies come to faith in Jesus as adults, sometimes at a social and cultural cost. There are countless testimonies of people raised in Islam who have dreamed about the risen Jesus and allegedly been divinely directed to believers for more insight. There are people like @Sy_Garte who are scientists who were raised in militantly atheist environments who encounter Christ as adults and it has a transformative effect on their worldview. So, it is certainly not true that every Christian is simply living out a delusion they inherited from their parents or community. People opt in on a regular basis, all around the world, coming from innumerable different contexts and worldviews, yet citing similar experiences with God. To me that is more compelling than a missing alternative historical document any day.

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It might help to think of the accounts we have of the resurrection as separate documents.

The Bible did not exist in the first century. The Bible did not exist until the fourth century,

So we have multiple accounts that were later compiled into one book.

John the Apostle, a witness, wrote an account.
Mark, quoting Peter, wrote an account.
Luke interviewed many witnesses and recorded the account.
Peter wrote an account himself in a letter.
James, the brother of Jesus, became a believer because of the resurrection.

So we have multiple witnesses, multiple accounts.

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By the way, I was raised a young earth creationist too.

A couple of things helped me move away from that and still keep my faith.

One is that I notice there are two creation stories with different orders and methods of creation. The first is in Genesis 1.1-2.4a. The second starts in Genesis 2.4b. They both can’t be literal history, since they are literally different.

Then I noticed 2 Samuel 22 (Psalm 18), the poetic telling of David’s rescue from Saul. I saw that David wrote the story of his rescue in a way that was far less literal than the events described in the rest of the Bible. This is an indication that the Jews did not mind writing stories very different from reality, even when the real history was known.

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I can well understand how hard it is when you find that a lot of what you were taught in an authoritarian manner turns out to be incorrect. It seems like the whole rug has been pulled out – for if some of the things are wrong then does that mean they are all wrong? No it does not.

I was raised in an opposite manner to you by non-believers and nothing but criticism of Christianity. It is the scientific worldview which I took for granted. And so it is to science first which I went for the truth. But I was interested in more questions than science was asking, so I turned to philosophy and religion for that to see if there was anything there which would fit with the scientific worldview.

And so I came to Christianity with no intention of buying a prepared package by some religion. I considered every theological question separately on its own merits and made my own decision on every one of them. The result is that I came to conclusions that not only fell well within the bounds of the whole spectrum of Christianity but one which is orthodox to a remarkable degree considering. To give you an approximate idea… I am liberal evangelical who leans toward the Eastern Orthodox on some theological issues and to open theism on others.

So my suggestion is for you to toss the authoritarian prepared package approach (which after all is a leave your brains at the door kind of thing) and consider each theological question separately for yourself. Ask yourself what make sense to you and what does not. Can you read support for that in the Bible as I did, or do you have to toss the thing (or at least take what it says not quite so literally).

Finally, I would suggest to you that this is between you and God. There is ONE mediator between God and man and that is Jesus. Some church doesn’t come into that at all.

No. Don’t believe there is any such thing and I doubt there could be, because I don’t think this was an objective scientifically measurable event. It was spiritual and that is what I see being taught by Paul in 1 Cor 15 - physical in the sense of bodily but not physical in the sense of the laws of nature and the stuff of the earth.

1 Cor 15:42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. 43 It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. 44 It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. 48 As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. 49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. 50 I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

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That would sure make this all a lot simpler. A layperson level book that helped me was Cold Case Christianity by J Warner Wallace. He is a homicide detective that treats it like a crime scene. While it wasn’t a slam dunk I now know it’s true. It did make me start to think the level of proof I required might be impossible.

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Welcome Jeremy and welcome to the World! : ) Of cult survivors. Me too.

And no there is nothing out there. It’s entirely up to you.

What do you fancy?

Yeah… ultimately it is a choice for you to make – not only what to believe but more importantly, who you want to be.

For me ultimately all roads ends in fog where only faith allows me to walk through it. Douglas Jacoby and NT Wright has various things that overlap with these in their books.

One thing to help is to look at all the people they do believe in that existed 2,000 years ago and scrutinize the evidence for them. Then think of the majority lost to time.

Thanks for the replies. It’s a busy week for me, so I can’t respond to everyone, but I am reading all of the replies.

Part of my struggle is, I’m having a hard time going to church and listening to them continuously babble on about how much of an idiot you have to be to believe in evolution. It wouldn’t bother me much except it’s a pretty new wound and I feel like I’m continually ripping off the scab instead of letting the hurt of being lied to heal.

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I realize leaving a church is hard, but there are plenty of churches out there, even many Evangelical ones, that never mention evolution at all. I have never heard evolution talked about in a sermon at my Baptist church. It just is not a first order issue for many pastors.

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I don’t know that it is a conscious lie for most, if any, YECs, but for adamant YECs and YEC activists (that may be redundant), it is certainly misconceived priorities coupled with a very large dose of hubris.

Finding a good fit with a church can be difficult. I am currently unsuccessful in that, since the church I was going to closed down. But it sure is a good feeling when you succeed.

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Yes, going to church shouldn’t be so hard for so many Christians.

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They’re not lying Jeremy. They are perfectly sincere, innocent. They can’t help it and it cannot be helped. Lonely are the brave my friend. Do they all do that? Are you a long term member? This is a huge part of your life? Friends, neighbours, family?

They may not be lying in the commission sense, but the affect of their untruths has taken a great toll on me. I’ve been in this organization for my whole life… 36 years. I’ve lost many friends over this…

It is brought up at least monthly. The comments have been Ad Hominem in nature, mostly. Stuff like, “You’re an idiot if you believe in evolution.”, “If you don’t believe this, why are you even here?”, “You cannot believe in evolution and God at the same time.”, “You’re being used of the devil.”, “There’s something wrong with your Holy Ghost.”

Naturally, after hearing this for the last 2 years, I’m tired.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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