Not sure where to go


(Emily) #1

Hello everyone,

I am new here and love BioLogos and it’s mission. To prove that evolution and the Bible are compatible. I share this view and believe in Evolution because the evidence is massive. That God was behind it is the only option that makes sense to me. By just ignoring it I would be lying to myself.

I also accepted Christ as my savior but God and I have always had a close relationship.

As a Christian, I feel painfully lonely in my position. I’ve tried to find fellowship with many Christians (mainly online) but they are all staunch YECs, believe Evolution is a lie, etc. I can’t express my beliefs honestly without them jumping down my throat saying I am not a true Christian or how deluded I am. Their lack of understand, and fear of science is baffling. Often times I want to do a face-palm.

Over time, I’ve started to think that God doesn’t love me unless I shove my head in the sand rather than use the brain He gave me. I can’t live my life in black-and-white. Plus God is bigger than everything.

I believe the Bible is God’s word, although I don’t interpret scripture literally. I believe He created everything. How long it took Him, when He did it, how He did it, I think is irrelevant. A big thing that’s bugging me is evangelical’s all or nothing thinking. To me a psychologically damaging way of thinking. That the only belief in the Bible I can have is literal.

I don’t like YEC’s “methods” or those used like Ken Ham or Ray Comfort. Especially since it’s shown that they lie and misinterpret information. God says don’t lie. They preach about bringing people to God even though they’re doing something God said not to. Hypocritical much? And I believe that their “mission” is having the opposite effect on bringing people to Christ. I believe, because of their rigid thinking, they making people turn away from God.

And I am scared that God will some how change me by dumbing me down when I get closer to Him. Yes, I am actually scared of being a Christian. who wants to know the Truth. That God leads me to based on evidence through Nature, and actually using the brain He gave me. Not lies disguised as “truth.”

How can I pray about this? If you’ve had similar struggles, how did God help you?


(Thomas) #2

The sad reality is that the World is becoming increasingly more withdrawn. If you look around you will see that most people are squatting in their own, little corners and refuse to leave them. They only ever emerge to hiss and swipe at anyone that comes near who may be a threat to their World-view. Truth is swept aside in favour of what people WANT to hear and believe. And anyone who disagrees with another is almost always labelled a bigot. You cannot change a mind that is already made-up. This is increasingly more apparent on the internet, my advice is to be very careful what sites and people you interact with when using it.

Being a Christian and also an intellectual is a lonely road. I have yet to find any Church group in my region that thinks as I do. Like you said, majority are YEC subscribers and refuse to hear you out. You cannot talk to them which makes new relationships almost impossible to form and your own growth suffers as a result. I am not afraid to state the fact that most Christians are weak-minded. They refuse to learn about the real World and anything that may cause them to question their beliefs. It is their right to remain ignorant of course. But at the same time they try to warp our understanding of the World to suit themselves based on incorrect interpretations of scripture. They run from knowledge and never ask questions yet they act like they have all the answers and spread their mis-guided, non-biblical nonsense to others who then collectively make Christianity look insane. These types of people are only damaging Christianity and are in direct opposition to Christ’s prayer for the Church.

When it comes to the existence of God, the World is full of people following the loudest voices. They take no pains to learn or understand anything for themselves. They ask questions but do not care to know the answers. They ask only to accuse the answer of being incorrect. Their minds are already made up before they even ask! They never question the voices they follow. As long as the voice confirms their position. They are blind to bias, to twisting, to lies. Nothing useful can be learned from them. They cannot be reasoned with. They are a furnace, blowing intense heat to burn any who come near in the genuine pursuit of knowledge.

Atheists and Christians alike are guilty of this.

Atheists love to mock us and throw around the names of Gods as if it cannot be known which one is responsible for the World around us. But if they only stopped their arrogant attacks and thought for a moment, they would see the answer. Ultimately there is only one, true reality and we seek it earnestly. But sadly, for some topics, it cannot be found at this time. This is where faith comes into the mix.
Facts are discovered via evidence. But faith can also be discovered via evidence.
Nothing should be accepted or believed without evidence. But evidence does not always lead to fact. Evidence can lead outside the regular scientific methods of discerning facts, this is where philosophers and theologians come in. This is where faith comes in.
Faith is believing in something that cannot be proven at the time. It is by no means a certainty. The nature of faith is agnostic. Yet it is still a rational conclusion to come to when following the evidence.
Anything can be believed in. But not everything can be rationally believed in, a final, faith-based conclusion must still be accompanied by evidence. What conclusion fits with the evidence? At this point, beliefs are tried and tested until they are discredited by the evidence and only one remains which fits with what is shown. For the rational person considering religious faiths, it is Christianity that is the only one that fits with the evidence. All others have been discredited yet are still clung to by the irrational. As the late Antony Flew admitted… “Christianity is the one to beat”.

As for following God but also using your brain, the Bible encourages it! It teaches you to test everything (1 Thessalonians 5:21), to always have an answer for why you believe (1 Peter 3:15) and to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
That last one is important. Because it IS scary, especially if your faith is small. the World can fill you with doubt and it can become a maze to work through all the available knowledge and come to a conclusion that unites your faith with the facts. It has taken me Ten years to get to the point I am currently at, and I still find troubles everyday, questions that take a great deal of time and effort to answer. Anxieties that I may be wrong and living a lie. This is all normal. And as far as I know it never really goes away for as long as you seek to know how things truly are. This is why it is easier for most people to hide their heads in the sand, to have their faith and ignore anything that makes them question it. Sure they may be right in their core belief that God exists and Jesus Christ rose from the dead, but they can’t provide an answer for their faith, they cannot help others with questions and they become easy targets for the World. Then others see all that and decide that Christianity is not worth their time.

As for how God helps me, He provides me with the burning desire to search and learn, but also the means to find my answers, like the Biologos website and a myriad of other apologetic works I never would have known existed had I decided to stick my head in the sand, He doesn’t let me give Him up and go on my way, not a day goes by where I don’t have Him on my mind. I am unable to ignore his knocking. And in the end, my faith grows even stronger than it was before and I can even help others with their struggles. God knows what you require, so just pray how you have been taught and listen to the inner voice that tugs.

Hope I was able to help.


(George Brooks) #3

There are Evangelical denominations that either take no position on Evolution … or that openly accept Evolution.

Your profile name is “Celtic roots” - - Do you have any interest in Catholic traditions? There are some Catholic groups that are strongly evangelical. There are Episcopal congregations that might suit you (they vary quite a bit depending on what part of the country you are in).

At the very least, you should be able to share your faith ONLINE with fellow Christians who accept evolution; this group is mostly British - - but there must be some American supporters as well!

Christians-in-Science


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #6

dcs, [edited to fix your initials :slight_smile: ]

Respectfully: There’s a time and place for everything. Celticroots didn’t ask people to debate the facts of evolution, which are obvious to Celticroots and to many of the rest of us. As a pastoral matter, please consider “sitting this one out” and letting others respond who can empathize (as many of us can!) with Celticroots’s very real challenges. It’s not my place to ask you that, of course, but … it’s just a humble request as your brother in Christ.

Blessings to you —
Andrew


(Henry Stoddard) #7

@Celticroots,

I am Celtic and Anglo-Saxon. I wish to welcome you, and I hope I can also say that for the others. We do not always agree with each other; however, some very fine conversations occur here. I am happy to know that you are “born from above.” That is what Jesus actually said to Nicodemus in John 3. The universe as God’s creation is a wonderful thing to think about and study. May you have a Merry Christmas and a glorious New Year.


(Henry Stoddard) #8

Good morning, Andrew. It was nice of you to welcome our new friend and fellow scholar. I feel rather jolly today; however, my wife was not feeling well today. I must be an understanding husband.


(Roger A. Sawtelle) #9

@Celticroots

Welcome to BioLogos, Emily.

I am not an official greeter, but I consider myself a part of this community, as well as other communities that I belong to.

I think that you are in the right place to explore and build your faith. To be a good member of BioLogos you need not subscribe to a particular faith view or scientific view, but be willing to discuss with and learn from others. You seem to fit this profile very well.

Of course you need to be a member of more than an online community. You should be a part of a church community. The my best advice here is to be open minded and explore. Even if you still consider yourself evangelical, explore non-evangelical churches. There are many churches in this world and I am sure that there is one or more right for you, particularly if you are open and not picky. Just look for one which are more interested in you than pushing some theological point of view.

God speed.


(Christy Hemphill) #10

I’ve never been afraid that drawing closer to God will make me dumber, but as a woman who has generally attended Baptist churches, I have often felt like I was supposed to act dumber than I actually am because some people there are threatened by women who read more books than they do. You tend to get a lot more social validation for your brownies than for intelligent discussion. So, here are some things that have been really helpful for me:

I read lots of theology books by Christian professors. It’s like taking a college class without having to write the papers. I have learned way more with inter-library loan than I have learned from sermons and Sunday School.

I work for a Christian non-profit that doesn’t limit what women can do and doesn’t make an issue of origins views. I get to work with other Christians doing something I love and am pretty good at.

I read articles by smart women from a range of theological positions. I like CTs Her.meneutics, especially the writers Rachel Marie Stone, Karen Swallow Prior, Amy Julia Becker, Caryn Rivadeniera, Laura Ortberg Turner, and Katelyn Beatty. Sometimes the comment boards there have great discussions. (Other times not, so much.)

I come discuss my random theological musings here on this forum and I usually learn something in the process.

I’m glad you stopped by and I hope you stick around and find some kindred spirits to encourage you,


(Emily) #11

Thank you for the replies you guys. My fear is due to the fundamentalist all or nothing thinking regarding the Bible. I am afraid I am not a Christian because I don’t take the Bible literally. I am afraid that God will not accept me the way I am because I like looking at/finding evidence to figure things out. Or that He takes the view of those literalists of "If you’re not with us you’re against us."
I am not into believing things because “The Bible says so!” I want to know why I believe what I do.


(Brad Kramer) #12

Hi @Celticroots,

Thanks so much for sharing your story here. I see you’ve already heard from a lot of people and gotten a lot of good advice from them. This a path that many of us in this community have traveled, myself included. I almost lost my faith in High School for the reasons you describe.

The funny thing about the mentality you’re describing is that I don’t find it much in the Bible. All throughout the Bible, people are asking tough questions about God. There’a lot of doubt expressed. But these are the people whom the Bible ultimately praises. That to me says that what really matters is our trust, not our answers. If we honestly pursue truth and trust that God is Lord, he will bless the effort.

Being a Christian means following Christ, and trusting in him for our salvation and eternal destiny. That’s what the Creeds say. There’s nothing in the creeds about the correct way to read every difficult passage in the Bible. And there’s also nothing there about when or how creation happened. Besides, there are many faithful Christians who have had non-literal perspectives on Genesis. A short list would include Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, and Tim Keller. Genesis is really difficult to interpret and understand, especially from a modern perspective. This is especially true of the early chapters. People have come to very different conclusions about it. And Christians have also consistently affirmed that good science should not be rejected just because it disagrees with our interpretation of Scripture.

Two recommendations for you:

  1. Read through our Common Questions pages to help you think through these issues and converse with your Christian friends.

  2. I strongly recommend the book In the Beginning…We Misunderstood, as well as The Lost World of Genesis One. Both do a great job of explaining why a “modern scientific” reading of Genesis doesn’t work, which is a great first step in the conversation.

Feel free to stay in touch.

Brad


(Emily) #13

Thanks Brad for your message. It helped :slight_smile: All the answers did. I will definitely take a look at the common questions section. How did God help you with your doubts?


(Brad Kramer) #14

First of all, he put thoughtful and wise Christians in my life who helped me see things differently. My freshman Bible teacher in college was a big influence. I also met Francis Collins (founder of BioLogos) in college, as well as Pastor Tim Keller. All three of them really encouraged me to get beyond the common dichotomies that Christians accept and investigate the issues for myself. When I did that, I found that the “literalist” beliefs that had caused these doubts in the first place were unnecessary and even unhelpful. In fact, they don’t do justice to the Bible’s actual message.

I also went to a great seminary that helped me process these questions even more. I met even more people there who were faithful Christians but not literalists.

To be really honest, I still struggle with a lot of doubts. I have a lot of dark moments when it feels like I don’t know what to believe. But the Lord shows himself to be present and faithful in many ways, especially through fellow Christians. Sometimes, I have to pray, “Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.” I have faith that God will honor that.


#15

@Celticroots

Hello Emily,

That you found BioLogos and have become part of this amazing community simply suggests to me that God has personally directed you here. This only reinforces your statement that you have accepted Christ as your savior and that God, and yourself, have always had a close relationship. You have hearkened to your inner voice and will be immensely blessed with the scholarly blog posts and discussions we have here. BioLogos is the place to be—make yourself comfortable, interact, and enjoy the show.

Your story has touched inside me, Emily, because I have experienced similar ordeals in expressing my beliefs in online communities—having some jumping down my throat saying I am not a true Christian and how deluded I am. The lack of understanding and fear of science that some portray in science-spirituality venues is indeed baffling. Individuals in these online communities, as in the real world, may be testing us, may feel threatened by our different views, or, perhaps, don’t want certain issues to be discussed. For instance, Jehovah’s Witnesses disfellowship and officially shun certain members of their cult if they discuss certain doctrines that are not part of their teachings—other protestant denominations have similar policies. Thankfully, here at BioLogos we can speak our mind, as two of the Core Commitments on the About Us page state;

"We seek truth, ever learning as we study the natural world and the Bible.

We strive for humility and gracious dialogue with those who hold other views."

P.S. You will feel relieved if you go to the About Us page and read through the rest of the Core Commitments and What We Believe points. As true Christians we must be ever strong and never forget “that” close relationship with God (the inner voice) we have. Don’t forget… you can speak your mind here, and God does love you without shoving your head in the sand.

Tony


(system) #16

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