What is the number one thing that makes you believe in God, and doubt them

This is sad. I do not think that the unwillingness to face questions is caused by doctrinal issues. It is a problem that stems from the attitudes, feelings and vulnerable ego of the local leaders and other influential persons - mainly fear. A fear that something may not hold if someone tries to shake the building. A fear that other members might start to question the teachings of the leaders and be lead away from the path the leaders think is correct. A lack of faith and trust in God and/or a feeling that their leadership or worldview is somehow threatened.

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Yes, it is sad, and I agree with you. Thankfully, it’s not the only experience to be had among the church.

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That’s good. I have had the luck(?) to be in a local church lead by mature Christians and trained pastors who are not afraid of questions and differing interpretations among believers. When the leaders have this attitude, other members adopt a similar kind of thinking.
Diving deeper into the teachings in the biblical scriptures has helped to guide believers to the same direction. I hope that many have found similar type of local churches.

Truth is something that can defend itself and speak convincingly to the heart of the listeners.

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I hope our new church (which we had to seek since we moved across the country) allows for this kind of discussion. While their doctrines seem pretty conservative, there’s also an attitude that other perspectives would be welcome since the goal is genuinely seeking the truth.

Truth is something that can defend itself and speak convincingly to the heart of the listeners.

Totally agree.

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A historian friend of mine was discussing this with me just last night, and offered up an observation that ever since the Reformation, both Protestant and Catholic traditions have become much more restrictive in their stances and attitudes toward anything outside of whatever particular tradition is held by that particular group. Prior to that, there had been many different orders in the Catholic church which would freely squabble with each other about important understandings, but who nonetheless all had their place within the larger catholic tradition. But now with the Reformation and the counter-Reformation, both sides have felt compelled to “double down” on a now-perceived importance of “being right” about everything, and attempting to compel unity around “correct beliefs”. I’ve been hearing this from other sources too, so my friend’s observations are insightful, I think. He quoted somebody to this effect: “Knowing history will liberate you from the tyranny of the present.”

I think and hope there is a movement today toward trying to recognize and acknowledge the necessary places and offerings coming from wider varieties of traditions, with less concern that all such things need to be sorted into ‘authentic’ or ‘true’ vs. ‘inauthentic’ or ‘false’. There is some observation to be had among teachers that it is among their more “post-modern-minded” students that the greatest receptivity is found for this needed critique of modernism, and an epistemic humility that comes then with more openness and attentiveness to what a wider variety of traditions may have to offer. Whereas the more traditionally “let’s be faithful to the one truth” pupils have already decided that their own tradition has the important understandings all nailed down, and they are much less teachable, much less willing to tolerate any challenges that might come from any other tradition outside their own. For them, learning is more an exercise in bolstering and better organizing their apologetic. They tend to be the ‘A’ students, at least in the primary and secondary levels of teaching - conscientious and faithful - studying all the right answers to a fault, but also very proud. They would typically struggle to offer or live by grace (except as just another ‘right answer’ to certain questions.) There seems to be little doubt as to which niches these two contrasting attitudes would occupy were they transported back among the sinners and religious authorities operative in Jesus’ day.

[Added note. This isn’t to say that teaching of correctness/objective truth/concern to ‘get it right’ doesn’t have it’s very necessary place - especially in early education. I like Rohr’s way of putting all this that we all need to start out in the ‘first box’ called ‘order’ where we are able to take root and have a stabilizing hold on some basic truths, even if many of them are naive or even turn out to be in need of nuance if not outright correction later. We do eventually need to grow up and embark on that obligatory tour of duty into the 2nd box, ‘disorder’, where we meet headon with the messy, very real world and look back with critical eyes at all our naive, early-adopted ‘certainties’. Many liberals stay stuck in this box for life, and disastrously try to start their own young kids out in this ‘disorder’ box. But there is life beyond in the ‘3rd box’ that Rohr calls ‘Re-order’, where all of life’s experiences with the 1st two boxes can be drawn up into a wisdom that is willing to invest into an ordering of life that is no longer naively clamoring for ‘certitude in everything’ nor ‘deconstruction of everything’. I think this may be a very helpful perspective.]

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Thanks for the responses all; I’m not sure if it’s good etiquette to reply to everyone but I’ll say my thanks and a few thoughts. I think apologetics is very important, probably only behind a personal relationship with Christ and bible reading. Otherwise, how can you share Christ with someone else or know that it’s more than wishful thinking? God’s greatest commandment calls for us to love him with all our minds. Do you just stop that because someone has difficult questions to answer? I know atheists can sometimes be snotty and Paulogia certainly adds theatrics to his videos. But I hope we can pray for folks like him to find what he needs to come back to God (and probably bring many with him)…. And yes, Mike Winger is great. Thanks for sharing that video, I previously missed it.
Blessings to all.

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The one event I have never doubted is the resurrection of Jesus. There are many theological statements I doubt. Theologians need to be more humble. How can anyone believe we can in human language accurately describe the Infinite for whom there is no before and after?

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