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Old 02-27-2013, 21:57   #1
Lone Wolf8634
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An Open Question About Faith, or the lack of.....

Some of the responses in another thread reminded me of a question that's floated around my head for a very long time. I've never actually found an answer.

Its about faith. And it's about lack of faith.

Some of the devout here show an amazing (to me) amount of faith in their chosen belief. Viewed from my perspective you seem to be able to rationalize almost any argument put to you that calls into question the validity of any part of your religion. Almost no rational, logical (to me) argument is ever conceded, never have I seen a theist here back off or say "yeah, that's definitely a problem".

JBnTX wrote:

Quote:
Originally Posted by JBnTX View Post
I don't require, or even want, proof.
I believe based on faith, not proof.

Did you ever think that maybe God designed it that way for a purpose?
Maybe it's his way of separating the wheat from the chaff?

..
which seems to indicate certain beliefs to me:

1. People who believe are somehow better than those that don't. (Wheat)

2. That those who do not believe are flawed, rebellious, childish, obstinate or just plain evil. (Chaff)

3. That there is a way to, for want of a better way to phrase it, "trick" yourself into believing. (turn chaff into wheat)

I tried. I really did. I went to church, I spoke to Pastors and peers. I prayed, I sang the hymns and was baptized. For more than a few years I tried.

I felt like a fraud.

So I spoke again to anyone whom thought they could help. I told of my lack of faith. I explained to them that from the beginning I hadn't believed, that my mind would simply not allow me to. I told them how awful it feels to be fooling them all by mouthing the words and trying to find that peace I had been promised. I told them of the self recrimination, on one hand, I want to believe in God, on the other, my head will not let me and IF there is a God he knows that I'm not truly doing what has been asked of me. So no matter how hard I try, a God I really don't believe in still knows I do not believe. And as far as I could tell, "Fake it till you make it" really isn't an option.

I was told that Satan placed those doubts in my mind, that all people have doubts and placing my faith in God would remove them.

Great! Back to square one.

I tried again, later in life.......with the same results. I came to the conclusion that I was simply not wired to have an unshakeable faith in anything. Which led to the conclusion that I was somehow flawed. Broken.

Patience, I'm rambling I know. This is kinda a flow of thought post.

Anyway, For more than a few years I simply accepted as fact that there was something wrong with me, that I was less than other people. That even though I belonged to the same species, I wasn't really a person. At the time, I had never known anyone who claimed Atheism. I knew what it is, I knew that I, by definition, was one. But I considered it a problem with me.

Some while back I quit that. I realized few things.

If, I told myself, God did exist, and had caused me to exist, than he made me this way. Even if he didn't actively say "I'm gonna wire Lone Wolf's brain so he is physiologically incapable of believing in me." he allowed me to be born and live an existence that virtually guarantees that outcome.

That caused me to question his existence on more than a surface level, before, I had simply not been able to accept for fact that he existed. A passive disbelief if you will. Now I guess you would say, that because of all the ruminating I've done on the subject (18 years in the cab of a truck on lonely, dark roads will make you do some introspection) that I have a more active disbelief.

So, I'm gonna get to my question since all the other thoughts in my head would be taken offensively.

In your opinion.

Are those of us unable to believe.... broken? If we honestly are just unable to accept what others so easily embrace are we doomed? If our minds simply work in ways that will not allow us to have a "come to Jesus" moment, are we condemned?

I'm not asking what the church says, I don't wanna know what you think you should say, I wanna know your thoughts, keeping in mind what I said before. That there are people (many more than will admit it) that simply cannot accept any religion.

Hope this made sense. I'm recovering from my first experience with a (possible) migraine.
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Old 02-27-2013, 22:18   #2
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Well the religious are obviously going to say the devil has tricked you. I don't agree with that.

You won't believe something for which you've never seen any evidence. That doesn't sound broken to me.


ao nguc paltal ao lot nam dep chau tam cho be thoi trang cong so vay lien cong so cho thue trang phuc chup anh
On the headache, I take 4 excedrin migraine, 2 advil, and a pepsi.
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Old 02-27-2013, 22:40   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Syclone538 View Post
Well the religious are obviously going to say the devil has tricked you. I don't agree with that.

You won't believe something for which you've never seen any evidence. That doesn't sound broken to me.



On the headache, I take 4 excedrin migraine, 2 advil, and a pepsi.
Well, I'm actually trying to get them to look at it from the viewpoint that some are incapable of believing and what they think the fate of those folks are.



I actually scheduled a Dr.'s app. because of the headache. The med staff at work thinks it was a TIA. I think they're FOS. I'm only 45. But I will do anything to make sure I never, ever get that headache again. So be sure I will try your remedy if I need too!
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Old 02-28-2013, 06:55   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lone Wolf8634 View Post
Some of the responses in another thread reminded me of a question that's floated around my head for a very long time. I've never actually found an answer.

Its about faith. And it's about lack of faith.

I tried again, later in life.......with the same results. I came to the conclusion that I was simply not wired to have an unshakeable faith in anything. Which led to the conclusion that I was somehow flawed. Broken.

Patience, I'm rambling I know. This is kinda a flow of thought post.

Anyway, For more than a few years I simply accepted as fact that there was something wrong with me, that I was less than other people. That even though I belonged to the same species, I wasn't really a person. At the time, I had never known anyone who claimed Atheism. I knew what it is, I knew that I, by definition, was one. But I considered it a problem with me.

Some while back I quit that. I realized few things.

If, I told myself, God did exist, and had caused me to exist, than he made me this way. Even if he didn't actively say "I'm gonna wire Lone Wolf's brain so he is physiologically incapable of believing in me." he allowed me to be born and live an existence that virtually guarantees that outcome.

That caused me to question his existence on more than a surface level, before, I had simply not been able to accept for fact that he existed. A passive disbelief if you will. Now I guess you would say, that because of all the ruminating I've done on the subject (18 years in the cab of a truck on lonely, dark roads will make you do some introspection) that I have a more active disbelief.

So, I'm gonna get to my question since all the other thoughts in my head would be taken offensively.

In your opinion.

Are those of us unable to believe.... broken? If we honestly are just unable to accept what others so easily embrace are we doomed? If our minds simply work in ways that will not allow us to have a "come to Jesus" moment, are we condemned?

I'm not asking what the church says, I don't wanna know what you think you should say, I wanna know your thoughts, keeping in mind what I said before. That there are people (many more than will admit it) that simply cannot accept any religion.

Hope this made sense. I'm recovering from my first experience with a (possible) migraine.
You have reached some very good conclusions. You are not any more broken than anyone else. You have discovered that you are a sinner and you are unable to fix it yourself. You have discovered that you need a Savior.

It is important to keep an open mind while you are in search of Truth. Jesus is the Truth. To actually find Jesus requires an open mind to understand what His message to you is.

True faith is not having every question answered. It is not having absolute proof presented to you.

True faith is a decision. There are facts upon which to make that decision to believe and facts upon which you can make a decision to disbelieve.

True faith in Jesus is a based upon a decision to follow Him and His teachings. Do you want to be that type of person who holds goodness and morality in high esteem or do you wish to join others wallowing aimlessly in the gutter?

With that in mind, do you see that Jesus is asking for that decision I write about?

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:13   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
You have reached some very good conclusions. You are not any more broken than anyone else. You have discovered that you are a sinner and you are unable to fix it yourself. You have discovered that you need a Savior.

It is important to keep an open mind while you are in search of Truth. Jesus is the Truth. To actually find Jesus requires an open mind to understand what His message to you is.

True faith is not having every question answered. It is not having absolute proof presented to you.

True faith is a decision. There are facts upon which to make that decision to believe and facts upon which you can make a decision to disbelieve.

True faith in Jesus is a based upon a decision to follow Him and His teachings. Do you want to be that type of person who holds goodness and morality in high esteem or do you wish to join others wallowing aimlessly in the gutter?

With that in mind, do you see that Jesus is asking for that decision I write about?

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

Well Said!...
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:21   #6
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Originally Posted by Lone Wolf8634 View Post

...Are those of us unable to believe.... broken? If we honestly are just unable to accept what others so easily embrace are we doomed? If our minds simply work in ways that will not allow us to have a "come to Jesus" moment, are we condemned?
In God's eyes, no one is broken, doomed or condemned.

Forget the church and what others think or believe.
Read the Bible.

Read the Bible everyday. Buy a study guide to help you through it.

Don't get lost in the details, but look at the bigger picture that the Bible teaches.

All your answers are in the Bible.
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Old 02-28-2013, 07:24   #7
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Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
You have reached some very good conclusions. You are not any more broken than anyone else. You have discovered that you are a sinner and you are unable to fix it yourself. You have discovered that you need a Savior.
You are correct in that I discovered that I am not not any more broken than anyone else. The second and third parts.....not so much. Your projecting your own opinion onto me.

Part of what I've discovered is that I'm not a sinner. The term is irrelevant. I'm human and make mistakes, sure. Sometimes I don't live up to my own expectations, sure. In my younger days I was even known to do things I knew were wrong. I aint proud of it, but there it is.

None of this makes a sinner. It just makes me normal.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
It is important to keep an open mind while you are in search of Truth. Jesus is the Truth. To actually find Jesus requires an open mind to understand what His message to you is.
In my journey to now, there were times my mind was so open that you coulda driven a truck thru it and not touched on either side. Like I said in my OP, I WANTED to find what I thought everyone else had found. Which brings me back to my premise. There are people who simply are not wired to accept that which you find so easy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
True faith is not having every question answered. It is not having absolute proof presented to you.
Yes. That defines faith rather well. Again, what about those who require it, who cannot simply believe without it? (proof, Evidence.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
True faith is a decision. There are facts upon which to make that decision to believe and facts upon which you can make a decision to disbelieve.
This I disagree with. I tried to make a conscious decision to believe. I willed myself to believe. I am not lying or exaggerating when I say I wanted to. It would have made much of my childhood easier if I could have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
True faith in Jesus is a based upon a decision to follow Him and His teachings. Do you want to be that type of person who holds goodness and morality in high esteem or do you wish to join others wallowing aimlessly in the gutter?
This is just offensive. I am an Atheist. As far as I can tell, barring the second coming, I'll be one till I die. And I can assure you, I do not, nor have I ever...Wallowed aimlessly in the gutter....literally or figuratively.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vic Hays View Post
With that in mind, do you see that Jesus is asking for that decision I write about?

Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

I remember, many times, being told this or something similar.

It didn't answer my question then, nor does it now.

I do not mean to be offensive, but understand that I'm not looking anymore. I'm satisfied with my position on the subject and with my decisions about it. There will be no "Come to Jesus" moment for me.

I wish I was better at expressing myself.

The point of my story was that I think there are people out there who just cannot do what you do, and I'm one of them. It doesn't work.

Some , like myself, reject it outright.

Others, well, they are probably people you know and consider Christians, or whatever your denomination may be. They would never say it out loud in a locked, soundproofed room on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, but even though they go to church, mouth the words, tithe and pray in front of all, they don't believe. And it kills them a bit each day I'd wager.

Still others just give up on the entire subject, throw their hands in the air and say "I dunno, I dunno what I believe but I got other things to do so I'll figure it out.....later"
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:22   #8
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Originally Posted by Lone Wolf8634 View Post

None of this makes a sinner. It just makes me normal.



In my journey to now, there were times my mind was so open that you coulda driven a truck thru it and not touched on either side. Like I said in my OP, I WANTED to find what I thought everyone else had found. Which brings me back to my premise. There are people who simply are not wired to accept that which you find so easy.



Yes. That defines faith rather well. Again, what about those who require it, who cannot simply believe without it? (proof, Evidence.)
Three points

1. You are normal compared to what standard? A broken humanity? Do you want to be whole?

2. It is not so easy for me. I struggle. I have found evidence to believe. My main struggle is with my own fallen humanity.

3. There is evidence if you are willing to be open minded about it. The Bible contains objective insight into human (my behavior), my real needs, what I need to know about God, the battle between good and evil, prophetic insight that has proven correct in the past and continues to illuminate the future.
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:56   #9
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Originally Posted by JBnTX View Post
In God's eyes, no one is broken, doomed or condemned.

Forget the church and what others think or believe.
Read the Bible.

Read the Bible everyday. Buy a study guide to help you through it.

Don't get lost in the details, but look at the bigger picture that the Bible teaches.

All your answers are in the Bible.

Studying The Bible made me an Atheist in less than 3 weeks.


.....
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Old 02-28-2013, 08:59   #10
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Studying The Bible made me an Atheist in less than 3 weeks.

.....
I seriously doubt that's the reason you became one of those.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:02   #11
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Thomas jefferson said god gave us the intellect to think...if he had wanted mindless drones that is what he would have made.
That being said...the worst choices made in the world are the ones where no thought or questions are asked. That said...I believe like my forefathers did...bible to me just left me with tons more questions. Id rather try not understand god and what he wants ...and just be the person I feel is best. In the end...every religion says you'll answer for your own actions. So that is my trick...make sure I am OK with every day I leave.

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Old 02-28-2013, 09:21   #12
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One of the things that struck me during my exit from christianity was the hollow and juvenile nature of the bible. I had no problem with the concept of faith per se. I had accepted the idea that god did not want people to believe out of fear, but out of love. However, the bible was always held up as the perfect and infallible word of god. The "word" was supposed to be god's gift to us to give us hope, strengthen our faith and let us know he was really there (by recognizing the wisdom contained within).

When I finally began serious study of the bible, all of that was washed away. I saw the many contradictions, I saw the marginal (sometimes flat out self-defeating) advice, and I saw all the petty machinations of ancient politics. In short, I found no sign of god in the bible at all, just the same flawed people that walk the earth today (and that includes jesus). That's when I arrived at the same conclusion as the OP, to claim that I believed that the bible was the infallible word of god was essentially fraudulent. I could not believe it no matter how hard I tried.

There is no way to go back now even if I wanted to. I know to much about how the fables presented in the bible are actually rehashed myths from earlier cultures. I know that it has been subject to nefarious editing for political purposes. I know that it does not offer any real wisdom (at best it offers a few universal truisms). In short, the bible is just another example of human frailty and weakness (i.e. the status quo).

So, to answer the OP's question, I feel that now that I am free of faith, I am no longer broken. I feel that when I was a believer I was trapped in chain of circular reasoning that prevented me from seeing the world as it really is. I now feel sorry for those ensnared in a worldview that gives false hope and was essentially engineered by the powers that be (men, not god) to train obedient subjects and keep them docile.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:24   #13
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I seriously doubt that's the reason you became one of those.
I spent a year studying the bible at a christian university. That's how I became an atheist.
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Old 02-28-2013, 09:34   #14
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Originally Posted by Lone Wolf8634 View Post


Are those of us unable to believe.... broken? If we honestly are just unable to accept what others so easily embrace are we doomed? If our minds simply work in ways that will not allow us to have a "come to Jesus" moment, are we condemned?

I'm not asking what the church says, I don't wanna know what you think you should say, I wanna know your thoughts, keeping in mind what I said before. That there are people (many more than will admit it) that simply cannot accept any religion.

Hope this made sense. I'm recovering from my first experience with a (possible) migraine.
I was Christian for over 30 years. I believed some of the things others did, but found my own way of thinking things. Eventually I unraveled the Christian knot in my mind.

I had to get past some taboo thoughts and statements. Statements are doctrines that are believed. I had to unfaith myself and replace the statements with knew ones.

My biggest problem with Christianity is that it is tribal. God chose us.........this tribe.

Much like you said about the wheat and chafe. The good and the bad. Dualistic. There is always a fight when it comes to dualistic thinking. This is why Christians are so damned militaristic and warlike. If you don't fit in with their particular slant, you are flawed and in cahoots with the enemy. It is freeing to reject this form or spirituality.

Love is still a spiritual concept. It is not owned by any religion. Faith is a spiritual concept not owned by any religion. Working through your own spirituality is the human experience. You are not flawed. You are an individual. Embrace that.

.
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Old 02-28-2013, 10:07   #15
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Originally Posted by Lone Wolf8634 View Post
Some of the responses in another thread reminded me of a question that's floated around my head for a very long time. I've never actually found an answer.

Its about faith. And it's about lack of faith.

Some of the devout here show an amazing (to me) amount of faith in their chosen belief. Viewed from my perspective you seem to be able to rationalize almost any argument put to you that calls into question the validity of any part of your religion. Almost no rational, logical (to me) argument is ever conceded, never have I seen a theist here back off or say "yeah, that's definitely a problem".

JBnTX wrote:



which seems to indicate certain beliefs to me:

1. People who believe are somehow better than those that don't. (Wheat)

2. That those who do not believe are flawed, rebellious, childish, obstinate or just plain evil. (Chaff)

3. That there is a way to, for want of a better way to phrase it, "trick" yourself into believing. (turn chaff into wheat)

I tried. I really did. I went to church, I spoke to Pastors and peers. I prayed, I sang the hymns and was baptized. For more than a few years I tried.

I felt like a fraud.

So I spoke again to anyone whom thought they could help. I told of my lack of faith. I explained to them that from the beginning I hadn't believed, that my mind would simply not allow me to. I told them how awful it feels to be fooling them all by mouthing the words and trying to find that peace I had been promised. I told them of the self recrimination, on one hand, I want to believe in God, on the other, my head will not let me and IF there is a God he knows that I'm not truly doing what has been asked of me. So no matter how hard I try, a God I really don't believe in still knows I do not believe. And as far as I could tell, "Fake it till you make it" really isn't an option.

I was told that Satan placed those doubts in my mind, that all people have doubts and placing my faith in God would remove them.

Great! Back to square one.

I tried again, later in life.......with the same results. I came to the conclusion that I was simply not wired to have an unshakeable faith in anything. Which led to the conclusion that I was somehow flawed. Broken.

Patience, I'm rambling I know. This is kinda a flow of thought post.

Anyway, For more than a few years I simply accepted as fact that there was something wrong with me, that I was less than other people. That even though I belonged to the same species, I wasn't really a person. At the time, I had never known anyone who claimed Atheism. I knew what it is, I knew that I, by definition, was one. But I considered it a problem with me.

Some while back I quit that. I realized few things.

If, I told myself, God did exist, and had caused me to exist, than he made me this way. Even if he didn't actively say "I'm gonna wire Lone Wolf's brain so he is physiologically incapable of believing in me." he allowed me to be born and live an existence that virtually guarantees that outcome.

That caused me to question his existence on more than a surface level, before, I had simply not been able to accept for fact that he existed. A passive disbelief if you will. Now I guess you would say, that because of all the ruminating I've done on the subject (18 years in the cab of a truck on lonely, dark roads will make you do some introspection) that I have a more active disbelief.

So, I'm gonna get to my question since all the other thoughts in my head would be taken offensively.

In your opinion.

Are those of us unable to believe.... broken? If we honestly are just unable to accept what others so easily embrace are we doomed? If our minds simply work in ways that will not allow us to have a "come to Jesus" moment, are we condemned?

I'm not asking what the church says, I don't wanna know what you think you should say, I wanna know your thoughts, keeping in mind what I said before. That there are people (many more than will admit it) that simply cannot accept any religion.

Hope this made sense. I'm recovering from my first experience with a (possible) migraine.
You just described me to the theeth five years ago. I could fill this response with all the scriptures of the bible, But I know it will not answer your question. So I'm just going to be blunt and to the point. You do not choose God; God chooses you. Think hard on that statement. you are right in many things you say about God making you this way. In His time, He will call you and reveal His plan to you. On the meantime, just continue your life as God intended. Which is what you are doing right now. i know it sounds unorthodox of what others have already advised, but trust me when I say this " the spiritual realm if full of paradoxes". That is why no one on this board will ever be able to explain to a non-believer, the "science" behind God. God knows you have tried to come to him, and he will reward you for that. When He calls you, you will know. Some times is thru a life changing event, and sometime is just out of the blue. He knows you even before you were physically born, so he knows how to get your attention. On the meantime, do not despair and try to be the best human you can with what you have. I will see you on the other side!
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Old 02-28-2013, 11:40   #16
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Believing the impossible might have evolutionary advantages from time to time, but in the long run it is clearly a failing. So you are not broken.

Something around 20 to 30% of people don't really believe in God or simply disbelieve in God. The other 70 to80% or so do believe in God and so there is a great psychological pressure to believe with them. You only have to think of many third world societies, and Muslim ones in particular, to understand how dangerous it is to disbelieve in God. In most places it is likely to get you killed and in those places survivors believe or pretend very successfully to believe. So there has been a selective pressure to believe in things without evidence. This is in competition with the need to understand the real world in order to design strategies and devices that work within it. In that situation, believing things without evidence is a great disadvantage and since the advance of civilization is based, to a great extent, on the advance of technology, this has been a major selective factor in human evolution. We are animals that think and gain survival benefits from thinking productively. So we have this unfortunate mix of believers in nonsense and deniers of nonsense. It is impossible to say where it will end up but in the foreseeable future it will remain the same and we have to live with one another.

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Old 02-28-2013, 18:48   #17
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You're just going to have to leave it in God's hands, Wolfe. He'll call you when He knows you're ready.
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Old 02-28-2013, 22:19   #18
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After thinking about your posts I think I know what your problem is. You are expecting a feeling of faith and what you really feel the need for is peace of mind.

Those who have settled into the Truth that Jesus died for them and will save them have that peace of mind.


2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2 Timothy 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2 Timothy 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2 Timothy 1:10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
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Old 03-01-2013, 02:51   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBnTX View Post
I seriously doubt that's the reason you became one of those.

What, you don't believe me? Realizing that god did not exist was the biggest shock of my life, so far.


.....
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Old 03-01-2013, 05:24   #20
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The interesting thing is that this happens on both sides. Its not a 100% rule applicable to all, but there have been several atheists that I've conversed with here that react in the same way if any tenets of atheism are questioned.

Faith is a firm belief without proof. Regardless of what that belief is, many will cling to it arduously and reject the consideration of any possible inconsistency. It's not a problem isolated to theists.
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