At different times almost everyone faces doubt to the point they are considering walking away from their faith. But when those moments of crisis comes there is often some experience, or fact, that keeps you secured. At the same time, even when things are going good there are these random pangs of doubt that just kicks up. So my question is what are those two things. Regardless of how insignificant or weird we think others may believe about it.
For me ironically it’s the same thing. Prayer.
I think I shared my conversion before but I’ll add it here in a shorter story. But the way I became a Christian is why I just can’t shake faith. Why it’s always there.
When I was 18 I believed I was a Christian. I believed in God and I sometimes went to church. But , and I’ll leave out why , I don’t believe I was a Christian. But besides that I was seeking God and I was living with my then wife thousands of miles away from any friends or family. I was very lonely and wanting friends. I would go into work, a garden center, even on my day off for a few hours just to interact with others and walk around and see if anyone needed help. I went well over a year without hanging out with anyone outside of my then wife and her family. I was so tired of it.
So I prayed to Gos that he could send some Christian guy into my life that enjoyed working out, knew a lot about God and the word, and even went as far as asking about them even liking metal music. My ex heard my prayer and said I hope he answers it. I then left and went to subway to get her a sandwich and when I was there I saw this guy making the sandwich for free for a homeless lady and telling her about Jesus. I also noticed that he was very athletic and clearly worked out. But I felt too stupid to just be like ,” hey I just prayed for a friend do you want to be friends” and so I said nothing and got my food and left. As soon as I got back to my condo a few minutes into eating my ex could tell something was wrong and asked me and I told her everything. She basically pointed out she never seen a prayer answered that fast and I should go right back down there.
So o went back to subway immediately and noticed the guy was gone. I mentioned what he looked like to the girl working there and she said his name was Josh and he just left. I asked when would he be back and she said it was actually his last day and she does not know how to contact him. I left angry at myself.
The next day, and this was in Washington state near Portland, I went to a Starbucks. When I went in immediately I heard about 4-5 men talking about God and saying a prayer. They were doing a Bible study with someone. I felt like God just answered my prayers again but once more, I felt stupid. As I was trying to build up courage some guys in the Starbucks begin yelling at them telling them to shut up and some other stuff. Then someone threw a coffee across the room at them. I immediately knew that I was not going over and knew I was spitting on gods gifts to me.
So I got my coffee and headed to the door. I got to the door and had it partly opened and one foot out literally. As I was completing my exit I heard someone running towards me yelling “ hey dude or hey guy” and I turn thinking someone was about to attack or something and when I turn I realize it’s the same guy from subway the day before. The first thing out of his mouth was something along the lines of “ I know this sounds crazy but I felt like God wanted me to talk to you yesterday and I felt ashamed for not doing it because I felt stupid”.
I then begin to study the Bible with them and after four months decided to accept Christ as my lord and savior and got baptized into him. I understand that there is a coincidental statistic that it could have happened without any divine influence. But the fact that we both thought the same thing and the fact that out of millions of people we both ran into each other in different places unrelated to one another a the same time is just something to amazing to me to just say it was by chance.
So when I’m struggling, especially with the next part, I remember this and feel peace and confidence. Now what I struggle with is prayers. Only a few prayers have ever been answered in my life. So often it seems like they just don’t ever work. My prayers are simple. I don’t pray for riches, or anything like that. I pray multiple times a day for my friends , family and pets to be safe. Yet it seems like it never works. Pets keep dying. Friends keep dying. Family is dying. Many lost to suicide, violent deaths and easily preventable deaths.
It’s silly because we know that eventually everything dies. So it’s almost like a useless prayer. But I also feel like surely this God could intervene and keep them safe longer. Or at least give you time. Then things like I’ll spend a weekend helping two people for free fix their vehicles spending hours and hours doing it. Then the next day a gasket gets blown, or a tire goes out or a spark plug messes up and I’m stranded on the side of the road having to fix it by myself. So often it just seems like there is no god even remotely looking out for me. But I always cling to the few times where my prayers were answered and feel secure.
SkovandOfMitaze,what a great story of an answer to prayer. And a great question!
There are many things I come back to in moments of doubt, God has done amazing things in my life. But the main thing I come back to is the time when I was a teenager and the Lord healed me of an addiction.
I was raised by beautiful Christian parents, had given my life to Jesus three years earlier, but had fallen into a sexual addiction I was incredibly embarrassed about. I knew God didn’t want me to sin, so I would pray to Him to help me give this thing up.
Months later, I was still struggling with the same sin and was finally undone. I yelled out to Him between tears, “God, I can’t do this! It’s absolutely impossible! If you want me not to do it, you are going to have to fix it!” Right after I yelled this out, I felt this incredible sense that I would never struggle with it again.
Sure enough, I never struggled with it again. The desire for it was completely gone and is gone to this day. That was the moment I really learned I couldn’t fight sin on my own. God wants to help me fight sin and provides the way out.
The thing that has caused me to historically doubt the most was when awful things happened. But it doesn’t rock my faith much at all these days since having a better understanding of His Word. Solid Bible study in the good times really helps you get through the bad times.
One of the strongest evidences I see is the birth of The Universe itself. I know this gives us the God of Thomas Paine at the very least, but that piece is immediately followed by Christ’s death and resurrection.
One of the strongest sources of my doubt comes from the development of Israelite religion. In fact, I find this to be the strongest argument against Christianity that doesn’t directly confront The Resurrection! While I still believe at heart that the loyal Yahwist was a monolatrist and I understand that some of the biggest names in that field of study are practicing Christians (Mark S. Smith and John Day), sometimes I’ll lie awake at night wondering why God wasn’t more direct with His people and why He allowed the pagan Persians and Greeks to refine their thinking and theology after literal centuries of idolatrous blasphemy? The Zoroastrians especially terrify me; it’s as if they reached the truth before the chosen people, as if it is they who are correct! I guess this could be filed under doubts of Divine Hiddenness.
The number one thing is my desire for Jesus to be God incarnate. I wish there were more. Hence the doubt. Either way, His morality is transcendently perfect. And relating to Him and our Father as if they were, I have recently discovered, is still worth it; having someone to be accountably rational to. AA’s greater power.
The problem of natural evil and the contradictions in the Old Testament make me doubt.
It is generally self-evident in my life. My worldview and entire though process is grounded in belief. The world and life makes no sense without it to me. To quote Lewis, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” The Gospel is not a truth amongst other truths. It is the Truth by which all other claims are judged. Its the door, not the hinge. The Holy Spirit is presumably important here as well.
Natural evil is a problem.
Half the Bible not actually being true as written and most commonly understood today and by the church throughout history is another.
Like @Klax It’s Jesus. He is the difference. Without the incarnation, without Jesus, I wouldn’t care less about all the theological babble in the Old or New Testament. It would all just be a pile of rubbish to my skeptical scientific mind, just another drop of primitive religious mythology in an ocean of it.
I guess it would depend on exactly what does someone mean by natural evil. Most often by natural evil what I hear about is
- Animals killing and being killed.
- Things like hurricanes.
- Things like cancer.
But to me none of those things are evil because to me evil is the intent to be evil for the sake of being evil. Bad things can happen and that’s the way I typically phrase it because as mentioned in other places language can shape your thinking processes.
It’s sad that animals kill other animals. But it also helps drive natural selection which results the beautiful evolution of everything we have. The world is a better place with carnivores. Cats are my favorite pets and without death these slinkies with claws would not exist. To me it’s a push for evolution which is a creation that keeps on creating.
Hurricanes and other natural disasters are important. The comet that hit earth helping the volcanoes to take out the dinosaurs opened up the doorway for us. When a hurricane comes through it helps to knock done some of the larger trees and opens up new spaces for sunlight to reach down BDO the next generation of plants can pop up. Normally allowing the “mother tree” to send out its help on its “ dying breath” through the fungi to help other plants giving them a good start. As it begins to decompose it becomes a house for many animals and eventually turns into hosts for mushrooms and then composts in place enriching the soul food web with what it needs. Similar things happens because of floods, fires and ice storms. They all help create specific ecological layers.
Anything bad that happens within “natural evil” dims in comparison to the beauty it brings into the world. Especially when considering the hope in our resurrection into a restored world.
I am writing this in front of a wooden table. It is perhaps the most fascinating miracle I have seen. It exists - why do matter/energy exist? Why do living things like trees exist?
It does not prove God but makes Creator a rational alternative, even more rational than claims that everything just popped out of nothing. Nothing is different than void as even void is something that exists.
What makes me believe in Jesus, Father and the Holy Spirit is my experiences in the relationship with Him, especially the answers to prayers. As a young and very active believer, I got many practical answers to prayers and saw how the prayers of others were answered. I guess I had very little understanding but the faith of a child and God was merciful and showed that He cared. One or two answers could have been just good luck but the combination of all was too much to be just good luck.
In some cases I felt like He would have given advice and even argued with Him because the advice seemed so impossible. I was also very ashamed after doing what was told because the advices were perfectly correct. Maybe these were learning practices that I would learn to trust Him.
Later, after I became inactive and maybe did not desperately need help, rapid answers to prayers became rare. I had to go through some difficult periods and the apparent lack of answers made me doubt whether I had just misunderstood the previous experiences. I made errors because I did not understand and I questioned God for these - I would have selected another way if He had told me to do so but He seemed to be far away and quiet. This and the suffering I saw in the life of others made me doubt whether He truly exist.
Now that is history and my faith has renewed. I do not understand the reasons why God allowed all this and I feel that I understand almost nothing about God’s grand plans. Yet, I believe.
I’ve been struggling much with this lately and would appreciate any advice you can give. Some of the reasons I’ve come not to put my full faith behind the Gospels include:
*Genealogy differences between Matthew and Luke
- the description of the census that brought Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem doesn’t make sense in its historical context of how censuses were run nor having any records of it.
*the simple disagreement in the number of angels/men at the tomb between the Gospels.
*there are more I can’t recall at the moment.
I would also love to have good answers for atheists like this: https://youtu.be/YMufkaxs2Go
Nothing really. Lost my faith months ago. Not really a reason to believe something exists out there. But then again nkt a good reason not to. So im in the middle
Mike. I don’t need any atheist to make me doubt. There is nothing they can say. Just as no apologetic works, no counter-apologetic does. I doubt for my own reasons. I want to believe that Jesus is the best case God incarnate. Who wouldn’t? For your sake I’ll watch and respond. But I bet the apologetics are useless, desperate, arrogant empty claims. We’ll see.
One of the reasons for differences is that the gospels are the work of journalism. It’s someone, or “someones”going out and interviewing people. They are writing up a report based off of what they’ve heard being told. If you hired three people to all individually go out and record an event then each one would be different. May focus on different things.
Let’s say the event is the fictional radio drama that struck fear into a town xo convinced an alien invasion was happening such as with Orson Wells 1938 “ war of the worlds”. One person is writing a story to present to a horror magazine company. One is writing up an article to submit to Facebook staff on how technology can affect a nation and the last one was presenting a paper to a college on the subconscious fear of immigrants by conservative America through the lens of how quickly they swallowed an alien invasion. Different reports would include different info and be presented in a different way.
Groan. Six minutes in. It’s worse than I thought. 8 minutes. Mr. Red Pen B. Pathetic. I mean really, really 4th rate. But Paulogia is just shooting fish in a barrel. 12 mins. in. I mean, so what? 19 mins. If I was a defendant in court I’d really, really want Paulogia as my defence attorney. Especially if I was guilty.
It is just so easy to cast rational, forensic doubt on the gospel accounts, i.e. the Marcan account, it doesn’t interest me. Because of the magnitude of the claim and the human frailty but not impossibility of the account. Even if it was all natural. The account, shorn of supernatural truth, but not supernatural claims, works. It still works. Even if there is no God it works. I can make it work. With goodwill. Even if it is completely manufactured decades after the alleged events, it still works : ) As a belief story. Especially as the Church was up and running and thriving over the entire eastern Mediterranean as far as and including Rome. Before the gospels. Something vastly significant happened in Jewish culture, transforming it, subverting it, in the background, decades before the gospels and Acts were written. How do we know that? The seven consensual letters of Paul. Who at the very least had had a nervous breakdown from trying to stop it. Deal with that. The gospel(s) and Acts are entirely secondary to it. What explains the Church? Paulogia doesn’t. Unless he gets better. Does he? I doubt it. He’s up there with OJ’s lawyer, Johnnie Lee Cochran Jr., tho’, no doubt. And everyone knows OJ or his boy did it.
Hi Mike, it looks like you are new to the forum and it sounds like your questions are sincere. It may be worth starting a new thread for your questions, as they may get a bit lost in here and I think your questions require serious consideration.
I had a quick look at the video you posted, but don’t have time to really look into it at the moment. I’m going to be pretty flat out for the next few hours, but will try to get on and see what I can do to help you with your questions regarding the gospel accounts. The questions you have asked are some that I have had in the past, too.
Welcome to the forum, Mike @Mike_Grygus
I can understand your questions. To me, they come about because of some concepts about Biblical inerrancy that I have found wanting. The gospels were written 35-50 years later, and all are from the collective memory of stories handed down orally for years, with perhaps some written sources that no longer exist. The only one that is relatively certain to be eye witness is John, and it is unabashedly theological. Geneologies are discussed elsewhere, but their meaning is to link Jesus with the House of David, not be an exact rendering of his ancestors. Ultimately, we have to look for the spiritual message in scripture, and not treat them as a historical document, even though they may contain history. Think of it as a Chik Fil ‘A sandwich. It has chicken in it, but it is not a chicken.
Hey Mike! I watched a good chunk of this video. Thanks for sharing.
As a reasonable sounding person, I assume during the pandemic you have heard a lot of faulty credentialed scientists and doctors talking about how vaccines cause all these deadly side-effects. Apparently VAERS deaths are all caused by the vaccines, you’re going to become magnetic if you get the vaccine, and the list goes on. It’s probably obvious to you, as a person who thinks reasonably and scientifically, why most of these scientists and doctors are wrong.
As a Christian who knows the Bible fairly well, it seems pretty obvious that Paulogia didn’t really know his Bible very well during his apparent time as a Christian. It’s pretty obvious he is saying quite a lot of nonsense. Though, if you don’t know your Bible and ancient Jewish culture very well you could very easily consider what he is saying to be compelling.
I would definitely suggest watching the video by Mike Winger that Paulogia was critiquing. The evidence he provides in his video is actually very compelling. If you understand how incredibly dedicated to the law the religious leaders were at the time of Jesus’ life on earth, the fact that their Torah commanded them not to leave a corpse hanging on a cross overnight, but to bury it (or the land would be defiled) is pretty much evidence enough for me that there would have most certainly been plenty of crucified bodies buried within Israel at the time. They were ridiculously pious at keeping every letter of their law. Mike Winger goes into more of the details.
I really respect Mike Winger, he does a pretty good job of keeping balanced on Christian issues and coming to some very respectable conclusions. I have never watched this video before, though, but I’m glad I just did because my confidence in the burial of Christ just went up a whole lot!
Great question, one I have had in the past. Hopefully this can help.
Generally if there are a few separate accounts and they have differences, it is not considered a reason to believe there is some sort of disagreement. Different people simply remember events in different ways.
I have a birthday party. After the party, I am talking to my friend and recall, “I had a great birthday party today. We had a big chocolate cake. My friends Rachel, Sally and Bob were celebrating with me.”
My friend Rachel recalls, “I really enjoyed my friend’s birthday party! We had vanilla cupcakes and I was able to see Bob, Paul and Mike.”
Is there a disagreement here? Was it a big chocolate cake or was it vanilla cupcakes? And were the guests named Rachel, Sally and Bob, or were they named Bob, Paul and Mike?
In actual fact, the full story is:
At my birthday party there was a big chocolate cake, vanilla cupcakes, and a fruit platter. There were a total of 20 guests, five of whom were Rachel, Bob, Paul, Sally and Mike.
There is no disagreement here, it is simply being told from two different perspectives and not every detail was included in each.
Hope this helps with that particular question you have.
Hello @Mike_Grygus ! I’m someone who really appreciates the questions that Paulogia and other deconverted YouTubers pose, because I have had the same questions and doubts at some point or other, and I struggled with them because I didn’t feel like church was a safe place to bring them, when it should be THE place to discuss them. In my experience, church is where you bury those questions and do what it takes to fit the status quo. And therefore question and suffer alone. However, it’s problematic for the church to neglect the issues we actually face if we only see atheists addressing those questions, biblically, scientifically, or whatever they are regarding God and truth. God is thankfully not like us, He’s not afraid of our questions and doesn’t lose power if we have doubts and questions. Being honest with the questions and carrying them with this perspective gives me peace and I’ve found that what is communicated in the Bible as all the richer for it. For a start, when these questions are asked, I think, “Why do I have faith then? Who or what is it actually in?” What the Word says is that faith is by grace, not proof through apologetics or my righteousness, it can only be this gift from God. I can’t make myself believe but I want to believe, and I think there’s a reason why I want to believe and for me it’s about Jesus Christ. I thought my faith was founded on the right things, but it wasn’t actually founded on what the Word says it is. Only faith in Jesus Christ by grace from God. That’s kind of how questioning brings me to what the Word actually communicates. For me, BioLogos has been an excellent resource for addressing questions all over the sciences and theology.
A couple of quotes I like that I consider for questions I have for God in general and not just science:
(Our favorite quotes are often disproven so feel free to fact check me if these were incorrectly stated.)
“The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you.”
“Little science takes you away from God but more of it takes you to Him.”
Read the Book of Job or Lamentations