Why Do You Believe?

…or not??

This is testimony time. You get a chance to share why you believe what you believe. I am presuming that most that visit here are Christians, so I want to know why it is that you have come to the faith that you have in Christ.

And if you aren’t a Christian, then share that as well.

But you have to keep it short… 250 words or less…

This isn’t a trick question and it shouldn’t be that hard… so I expect…NO, I DEMAND a lot of comments on this one. So much so, that I am allowing the infamous ANONYMOUS to comment for this post… so no excuses!

Go!

59 thoughts on “Why Do You Believe?”

  1. I don’t believe in the Christian god, because there is no LOGICAL reason to believe in him – simply put, Christianity’s claims doesn’t add up – i.e. the evidence is nil. Or as someone else eloquently said:Christianity is the belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a rib-woman was convinced by a talking snake to eat from a magical tree…The second reason I don’t believe in the Christian god, is because he is a cruel, sadistic, sexist, homophobic and egotistical monster. I page through the Bible and find his character repugnant to say the least. I honestly don’t know how I lost my mind in such a grand way to ever praise his unholy name ever. He is not worthy of me!

  2. <><> And if I’m not mistaken, God always aforded these people the oportunity to obey him first. Their deaths were the consequenses of their discisions.<><>Yeah, I think you are mistaken. A god who sanctions the wholesale slaughter of innocent babies, who had NO opportunity to obey him *first* is barbarism of the worst kind. It’s alarming that you would justify such a god/position, and I bet you would be the first to throw your finger at him, had he committed those acts to your kids. It’s not a matter of obedience, but it IS a matter of preaching what you practice. If this god is as kind and merciful as you say peddle him to be, then where is his kindness and mercy?

  3. I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. I believe this because it is reasonable to believe it, given the following:(a) the limits of human reason and knowledge, which are imperfect even at their best; (b) the fact that in some way or another, I have to accept the authority of competent witnesses in every other area of life; (b’) the martyrdom of people who claimed to have witnessed Jesus alive; (c) the same witnesses’ reports of Jesus’ compelling moral teachings and example, which have been often imitated but never superseded; and(c’) the fact that I am less of a jerk when living according to <>c<>, suggesting validity.

  4. 1. I began to believe despite being raised as an atheist when I went to college and met several Christians in the Intervarsity group. They had a love and joy and peace and community life that seemed attractive to my needs.2. I settled on my faith after an entire summer reading the Bible, Quran, Buddhist writings, Mormon writings, and some others I no longer recall. The Bible resonated with a narrative truth that I found compelling. I find relating to God through Jesus fulfilling.3. I continue in my faith despite many doubts due to a few personal intense experiences of God’s presence, the witness of several other believers of similar and different experiences (like miracles), the witness of near-death experiencers I’ve known and more I’ve read, and the result of my investigation into the medical miracles at Lourdes, France and other publicized miracles. I’ve also found the faith to be a stabilizing influence on my development and my family.

  5. I believe in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob revealed in Jesus who lived, died and rose again and presence is here for all who believe today.I don’t believe in an inerrant Bible or perfect church but I do believe in Jesus.However, I do believe the Bible is inspired and reveals Jesus and that the church as the community of all believers and connected. I believe in God’s unconditional love for all people.I do not denounce science, history or logic but I acknowledge there are mysteries that cannot be explained. You cannot put faith or God under a microscope.

  6. What I believe by Cutty Sark (YHWH forgive me…):I do not believe God is a father who made heaven and earth in six days. If he is a father, then he’s kind that gets drunk at Christmas, hits the kids, feels bad then gives them 20 bucks to buy themselves something nice. I do not believe in a heaven somewhere up in the sky.I believe in Jesus of Nazareth, human son of Mary and Joseph who was conceived by natural conception like every other human – not some magical ghost semen that entered Mary without breaking her sacred hymen.I believe Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, he died, and was buried – likely in a common unmarked grave like criminals of the times. I do not believe he descended into hell (because this idea is not even Biblical). I do not believe he physically rose again on the third day. I believe that this idea of a physical resurrection was not believed by the earliest followers of Jesus anyway – this idea arose much later.I hope that Jesus does not sit at the right hand of God, the father almighty. I hope he will not judge the quick, and the dead because then I’m in trouble.I do not believe in the third person of the Trinity. I do not believe in the Holy Catholic Church – although I support all the social justice they do all over the world. I do not believe in a communion of saints. I believe that the idea of Jeusus’ blood and atonement were not genuine to the teaching of Jesus or the first Jesus movements – that this dogma developed much later and helped Christianity spread throughout the world. I do not believe in the physical resurrection of the body. I can only hope there is a life everlasting.

  7. This is by far my favorite post to date. Thank you for this one ,Steve, I have truly enjoyed reading the comments, it has been enlightening to say the least. Why Do You Believe?Well, the simple answer is: I believe in God because I know Him personaly. I talk to Him and He talks to me back. I spend time with Him when no words are spoken and we enjoy each others company. How can I not believe in Him?

  8. I believe because I must. I have experienced so many things, not just airy fairy “churchy” stuff, but real guidance and love, that it has placed me in a position where I can’t BUT believe.The difference I have come to recently though, is a realisation that I am free in belief. I don’t have to believe something that doesn’t gel with me just because I’m told to.As the name of my blog (‘A Deconstructed Christian’) suggests, I have stripped back all of those churchy things that I had accepted as true and necessary, and gone back to the gospels and what Jesus actually said and did. It’s been a very liberating experience. I had unknowingly hung so many religious bits and pieces on myself that I was almost unrecognisable under it all. It’s a process I’m still going through, and it’s so far pulled me inside out and torn me apart, but through it all I still believe. I couldn’t imagine not believing. My belief is part of me.

  9. I believe because that is my inclination.It’s empiricism or skepticism or whatever you’d care to call it; you can even call it willful ignorance, if you like. But the fact is, even if I were to reach my full potential in terms of personal experiences, I could not find personal evidence for or against the existence of a supernatural entity, e.g. the Judeo-Christian God. Or any other, for that matter. I can’t even prove my own birthdate; for all I know, I’m a year older or younger. For all I know, my family lied because they needed a Taurus. Who am I to demand evidence for something as grand as the creation of the universe?…people believe want they want to believe, either out of convenience or conviction. Mine, it seems, is the former.….what a way to half-ass it.

  10. Mr. Bear,If there is an omnipotent and omniscient being that has “the whole world in his hands,” then free will cannot not exist. My beliefs are in his control as well. Who I am and what I believe is the sum of my experiences in this world.I could not make myself believe if I wanted to. Hopefully this excuse will be enough if I awake one day to find myself awaiting divine judgment and am being condemned to spend eternity in hell.

  11. krabbs – i hear what you’re saying, but I think it’s a question of context. To simply take those events and transport them onto current times and culture doesn’t make any sense. Remember, these are pre-Christ times, many of the spiritual freedoms we enjoy today simply didn’t exsist. And if I’m not mistaken, God always aforded these people the oportunity to obey him first. Their deaths were the consequenses of their discisions.Personally, I prefer a consequencial God who sticks to his promises and dishes out wrath where it is due. The alternative ‘hippy-like-whatever-dude’ God, just doesn’t cut it for me…but hey, that’s just one sinners opinion.…and I wholeheartedly agree: No, it’s not easy. But then, if it was, would we really be bothering?

  12. I do not believe because of the Bible, or because of the Church or because of the Rules of the Elders. These are all good reasons to abandon belief. Yet at the same time The Bible is religious mythology to explain the human experience of God; the Church is a collection of people who have experienced God; And the Rules of the Elders are an attempt at providing guidelines to sustain and encourage the faithful. So these are all part of the spiritual journey. I believe because I have personal experience of God that has transformed my life from selfish egotisn to a more uncomfortable awareness of those who struggle/suffer in life.

  13. I’m a Christian because I believe I was called to be one. I grew up in the Protestant church, I’ve been told I was raised Evangelical Free, don’t remember. When I was 15 or so I couldn’t reconciile the idea of an all-loving God with the condition the world was in, so I stopped believing. A few years later I was feeling empty so I took a look at some other religions. Let’s see, I was into Wicca for a time, Shamanism for a time, New Age stuff for a time, crystals, Tarot Cards, guided meditation, etc. I was into Buddhism for a while. I read the Satanic Bible a couple of times, never did any of the rituals and I did not sell my soul to Satan as outlined on page 55.But it all left me feeling empty and alone. It never gave me peace or satisfaction. So I was just about to give up on this whole religion thing altogether and turned it over to fate. Then I saw a local tv preacher who had a public access show on cable, who seemed to know what he was talking about and the answers he gave to commonly raised objections seemed logical to me. So out of curioisity I went to his church, and everything just seemed to finally make sense, when it hadn’t in the past. I believe that was an act of the Holy Spirit removing the scales from my eyes. I think the thing that really convinced me that Christianity was true at that time was that Jesus was the only religious figure who was not in His grave. Muhammad, Buddha, etc. all dead and buried. Not Jesus. I became a believer shortly thereafter and have been one ever since. That was 1995.

  14. Sorry this is it. I just thought of a much better way to put this. Romans 9:6-24 (Election is based on Gods just will. He will not be in error in what He wills. And He is not required to explain His will to us.)

  15. bb – I don’t remember refering to anyones supposed post-death residence. I happen to believe that babies and young children (I refuse to get into a debate as to what age a child is held spiritually accountable by God…because I don’t know!!) will not suffer in hell, because they can not yet be held accountable for their actions. And you know what…if I’m wrong, then so be it: God created all of this, and who am I to question what he does with what he has made?As far as the predestination deal goes, I think it’s a bit simple to think of this concept from a human timline perpective. The omniscient God is beyond our two demensional understanding of time. Therefore, though he may know what will be (or already is?), does that mean that we are not involved in the cause and effect process? Again, questions that will never be completely understood, but I think when we come to better understand God’s relational desires for us, we might begin to grasp what freedoms he has awarded us in the name of love.

  16. I believe that there are deep, resonating truths out there that truly result in a better life for everyone around us. I believe Jesus was someone who tapped into those, and so long as we are willing to look and struggle we can understand them, too.I don’t believe in living life with a constant, unwavering faith; it’s impossible. I do believe that doubt is part of life, and only when we question the status quo do we truly grow and understand the world around us, even if our struggles lead us back to the same place.I believe I don’t have all the answers, and I never will. I take comfort in those things I know well, let opportunity provide learning and growth experiences, and let go those things I cannot control.I am a Christian, but I hate it when people speak “Christian-ese” and use tired phrases. There is nothing you cannot accomplish using normal language that everyone understands, adding insider or exclusivist language just creates barriers and complicates matters.I believe these things, because I have lived these things. I have found many resonating truths that inspire me to live a better life, and I have doubted many times everything Christian (including the existence of God)… but I somewhere along the way, I usually find my way back to a place of understanding and faith in God — even if I can’t prove God exists.

  17. OK. This is tough. I am a Christian and I guess I have always “believed”. Once I got old enough, I gave my heart to the Lord at the age of 12. SOme visitors from a Church had stopped by. My mom lead me through the sinners prayer. I actually did feel different and had a spiritual awareness that I never had before. I guess that is the moment I became a Christian. My beliefs have changed and gone wacky but the core belief of what it means to be a CHristian is still the same. I guess I learned it from my mom. Relearned it in Church. Unlearned a bunch in the world but the core remains and that is what is true. No matter how many times I read the Bible and get more confused the core belief that Jesus is the way stays. I am no longer sure if the act of “accepting Jesus into your heart” is all their is now. THat is kind of like a marriage proposal. If you propose and walk away, youa rent married. Just like if you accept Christ and walk away, you probably arent really a Christian. Being a Christian is about following Christ not just accepting him. However, you do gotta start somewhere and I still think I got the real deal. Though the more I am around stupid church people (the people not the blog. No pun intended) the more I wonder what Americanized modern Christianity has to do with being a CHristian.Wow. My longest post everWeird. The word verification is wwjbvu is that what would Jesus be vor u.

  18. best answer: dunno. currently it’s ingrained in me; a conditioning, if you will. still trying to hash it out, myself.

  19. I just realized that I answered ‘what’ rather than ‘why’ I believe. Having shed much of my previous beliefs, I’m still unwilling to completely let go into unbelief. I guess there’s a sense of an undercurrent of the divine in nature that I perceive to be present. There’s the richness of the universe that we only know so little about. And probably a little hope that there is a ‘heaven’, at least life beyond this life.

  20. I believe in God, first and foremost, because I have the freedom to, but furthermore, because I find all other alternatives to be unacceptable. Eddief has eloquently pointed out all of his negatively perceived qualities of God as one of his reasons. If these things are true, and I accept that in his perception they are, than what does he believe? Many “God-disprovers” spend and inordinate amount of time explaining their versions of God’s non-existence, but what then DO they believe in? Everyone believes in something. And this is precisely what leads me TO God. If there is no God, than I must accept that all of this is the result of some kind of freak accident, and just by chance the universe (or at the very least our galaxy) is in perfect alignment, and all life on earth hangs in a delicate balance. For me, I must look no further than the human body, or even simpler: music. They are unquestionably perfect by their very design. And that’s the key: design. For anyone to claim that our world, by its very core and make-up, is not the product of SOME kind of design is simply ignorant. And since I choose to believe that there is design and order behind it all, then I must also accept that there is an author.Think about the one tangible connection that we DO have to God: the bible. If it is all in fact some kind of hoax, scam or ‘fill-in-the-blank’ human reason, I can not think of one. Considering the time span involved in the making, not to speak of the torture and suffering this book has caused those writers, what possible selfish motivation could they have had? Of course, there have been those throughout history who have taken the perfection of its virtuous content and warped it for their own selfish gain, but this still doesn’t explain why it was made in the first place, other than by God. Where are the Mormon or Scientology-like monetary profits that one would expect to find with a similar rip-off?Bottom line is this. If you REALLY read the bible, and follow its teachings and examples, there is only good that can come from it, both for yourself, as well as those around you. Please don’t mistake this for ‘health and wealth’ preaching, I’m talking about the kind of good that is long-lasting (eternal?) and meaningful. If you can claim the same sort of satisfaction and fulfillment from a life void of God, I would love to hear about it.(more than 250 words…sorry steve!)

  21. mrkrabbs (is that really something you should be sharing? *kidding*)I’m rather surprised that you would actually use penn and tellers bible bullshit episode as viable reference. It seems obvious to me that their sensational delivery is aimed at doing no more than supporting their point of view. In other words, they were unable to take a non-biased (sometimes referred to as: scientific) point of view whilst impartially weighing up the data. Any one can take exerpts from a litterary work and pick it apart.A number of you have claimed a belief in God, be it through personal encounters or the wonders of nature, but seem to stop short at his word. If you were God, how would you convey that to the world? Does proof trump faith? In the end, isn’t proof (go ahead and attach the word ‘scientific’ if you need it) just perceived reality in the end? And before any attempts to label me a “non-scientist”, I put a great deal of ‘faith’ in science, but let us not forget how brittle/changing and disputed much of modern science is.Faith = perceived reality.’nuff said.

  22. i believe because there is a love that will not let me go.i totally see the fact that i could be deluded. and wrong. there is an old song that says “i’ve come too far love means too much to me”and also the words of peter. damn cant find it but basically peter said, “where else do i have to go?”my faith reminds me of a muslim i met in malta. he said to me “if you could read one word of the koran, you would love allah with all your heart” i was on an evagelism trip. and he had what i had. he had god. i rarely meet people that make me think god is real. he did.

  23. Your systematic theology is showing. hehe.Why is it that you never meet anyone who believes in predestination who thinks <>they’re<> elected for destruction?

  24. Argh, what a question! Haven’t tried to “share my testimony” for a long time…I am a very confused Christian who is not sure what she believes. I come from a background of a moderately charismatic “family” type church, I’ve been through crises of faith, I’ve given up church, taken up church, and since moving away from home have both attended a very typical large charismatic evangelical church and a little alt. worship semi-emergent church, and settled in the latter, though I have Quaker leanings.In all this I’ve questioned everything I believe but come to the conclusion that Jesus is too good not to be taken seriously, and that I also need to be honest to myself (and by extension, to God) and I can’t force myself to believe in something which is just plain illogical… So right now I am not sure if it is honest to call myself a Christian (I am toying with “Christian Agnostic”) but I’m trying to live more like Jesus and to seek God.

  25. I’m an atheist because I see no evidence that God exists, and lots of evidence that people make up stuff all the time.One advantage of being an atheist is that one needn’t try to explain how a loving omnipotent God jibes with evil, suffering, and free will.One disadvantage of being an atheist is having to say “I don’t know” a lot, about questions like the origin of the Universe.In any case- nice atmosphere here. My main interest is peaceful coexistence of all faiths and non-faiths. If any of you ever come to Vienna, drop me a line, and I’ll treat you to a coffee (or beer, or whatever). Cheers, zilch

  26. I believe that Jesus was a Calvinist and that Paul had reformed theology 🙂I believe that God chose me, that there are somethings He allows me to choose and some things (including my eternal disposition) that He doesn’t. It’s a mystery I’m looking forward to exploring when I meet Him face to face. I believe that God made it clear in the Scriptures that His ways are not our ways and that the wisdom of God would be foolishness to men.All I know was that I was miserable and empty before I learned about a God that is love…I now have purpose and experience Him in ways that are undeniable to those who know me…I also believe that the Church is proof that we must have some sort of free will because God would never create the Western Christendom we seem to perpetuate. I also believe He promised that only a “remnant” would ever truly resonate with Him and I am grateful that He has included me…

  27. I want to add something to the above. I think I covered what I believe and how long. Kind of the impromptu give your testimony. I also stated that I still believe. Here is the why. Like I said before, There is the biblical evidence but why believe that.I believe because in my heart I know it to be true. Not the they Churchianity bullshit but what I called the core.Also I have been in a lot of situations that should have gone a lot worse and it has been obvious that God was looking out for me. I feel his presence and hear his voice, More out in the woods or on the beach than in Church. Though I have had good Church experiences.I believe because God is real to me. That doesnt have to make sense to anyone else

  28. I’m a theist because, despite a lifetime of secular education(/brainwashing?), naturalistic attempts to explain the universe & the life within it just don’t seem as plausable as a supernatural one. Whenever I feel my faith waning, a quick walk in the Lake District or an evening gazing at the stars does more than a month of sermons or scripture reading.I became a Christian because (1) the events of the gospels ring true to me, (2) the meta-narrative of the whole of scripture seems so amazingly interwoven that it seems easier to believe that it’s inspired by a divine author than not to, (3) it’s description and prognosis of my own state of being seems more accurate than any other that I’ve ever encountered. I needed a saviour and that offered by Jesus and described throughout scripture all made sense.I remain a Christian because (1) I’m that ‘far in’ I just can’t ever imagine what life would be like outside of it, like a fish being told to live outside of water! (2) Because people still keep becoming Christians and their stories remind me of how powerful and radically life changing the gospel is (3) scriptures desription of the human condition and world affairs seems more accurate than any other I’ve come across.

  29. Bottom line – I believe that God sent his only son to die for me. His name is Jesus Christ. He was cruxified on a cross, rose from the dead so we can have eternal life. I am a Christian because I accepted Christ into my heart and into my life. It is very supernatual and natural all at the same time. God sends his Holy Spirit to touch others. I believe that God’s spirit touched me. I have experienced some great things and not great things, but deep in my heart I know I have a faith to believe in Him. I will only know 110% that He is real when I die and meet Him in heaven. I am very happy with these odds. I have a deep relationship with Him. So does my wife and children. It’s wonderful to see faith grown in my children. Christ mentioned in his teachings that “we must be like children” in order to enter the kingdom of God. I believe he was refereing to the childlike faith. As adults we are try to find truth and physical proof. Our pride sometimes gets in the way. All I can say is that I only have to look around me to see living proof. Have I every seen God? I can honestly say no, but I experience God daily. I don’t care what critisms or science books or great philosophers say, I believe what I believe. I don’t care if the bible says some crazy things and can be violent at times and talk about unicorns and other stuff that so many people get hung up on. I believe what I believe. Anything, anyone says to me will never get me to change what I believe. More than 250 words. Hope you can keep it.

  30. I used to be a good Jew. I used to believe in a theistic god who knew my people personally and cared about my life. I used to believe that my prayers could intercede on the behalf of myself and others. I’m not so sure anymore…I believe there is something more to life than what science can explain. I believe that I have seen beauty in the world, and I hope that this points to a true beauty beyond myself. I have experienced love in my life; therefore, I hope that there is a source of love somewhere. I am open to the possiblity that truth may exist; I just don’t know if we are able to find it…

  31. Ninjanun,Are you really a goddess worshipping atheist? I somehow doubt that. You have a sense of humor though thats good.

  32. Because what Jesus (not church) preaches and teaches is not only the best way to live, it is the most logical, it has some fringe benefits like heaven and joy and contentment and all that, but I’m not in it for those things…lovin being in his kingdom, damn this is some party!!

  33. Well, the Bible isn’t exactly an unbiased source, either. 😉 Even the writer of the Gospel of John states as its purpose: “These things are written so that you believe….” Everything is biased, and the Grand Narrative written by the Hebrews that they are God’s chosen people (how convenient, eh?) is no different. Of course, I’m not trying to get into a debate about the Bible; just pointing out that it was written from an oral tradition and in a time when literary standards and historical critical analysis were different.But don’t take my word for it. I’m just a goddess-worshiping atheist with a “nasty” view of scripture!

  34. You mean the parents who told you that if you don’t stop doing that, you’ll go blind?<>(Then can I just do it ’til I need glasses?)<> hehe

  35. I believe because I am a part of the elect. I did nothing and deserve nothing but was given everything. In the end, belief can often be more about something that happens to you than something you rationalize. If I offered you a suitcase with a million dollars in it to be given over to you as soon as you could make yourself believe you had the ability to fly… you couldn’t do it. You might be able to lie and say that you believe you can fly, but you wouldn’t really believe it. You might be able to twist my words around and argue semantics or claim that riding in an airplane should count on some technicality, but you still wouldn’t believe it. You might even be able to muster up enough guts to jump off of a two story building in order to convince me that you believed you could fly… but no matter what, you just wouldn’t believe it and no amount of reasoning could ever convince you otherwise. Sometimes the strength behind your belief is based on knowledge. It is something that evolves as you reason it out over time. It is something that forms out of your experiences or impressions and something that comes from mere happenstance (like being born in a primarily Christian-friendly country or into the “right” family), but other times the impetus of your belief is not rational; not circumstantial, is perfectly satisfied with the “evidence” it sees and it just needs no further convincing. This belief just is. I am this person. I suppose I see “evidence” as well and could give other reasons but these things do not make up the nucleus of my faith. So I guess it is just plain and simple… I believe, or perhaps better said – belief is upon me.

  36. kohen – my only explination/defense (and i reiterate my ‘lack of proof disclaimer’) is that God is in fact SO almighty, that he has chosen to handicap/ignore/supress (whatever word is less offensive and more appropriate to your understanding of God) his powers/abilities in this certain area, to allow for true joy to spring from our free willingness to choose him over the alternative.As I’ve come to know and understand God/Love, it does not line up with a theory that life is a series of predermined events, over which we have no control (and I use that term loosely).Bottom line: I believe that you (personally) will be enjoying eternity with God, believing you ulimately had little/nothing to do with your life path, just as I will with my understanding of him. So, on this particular matter, right and wrong does not apply. That’s the beauty of why true christianity is not a religion. It is a personal commitment/relationship where we can have multiple oposing/differentiating views on the ‘understanding’ of God’s character, as long as we have submitted ourselves to him, and are continually striving to strengthen our relationship to him and others (i know i am repeating myself!).

  37. So you didn’t read the verses I posted then huh? It is extreamly clear. By the way algernon, “Catholic” means unifed. So in the Apostles Creed we say that we beleive in the unity of the Church.

  38. I am hijacking this thread for a second!I am continually amazed by the lack of understanding people have on this issue. Though we might be able to debate on some minor issues Election is not one of them. It is a biblical reality and has been historically seen more clearly than even the Trinity (The actual word appears no less than 20 times in the bible and is one of the major motifs in both Testaments). Both Calvin and Armenian believed in Divine Election. The only difference between the two has been just why this election occurs. For Calvin God’s elect were chosen by God’s own perfect will. For Arminius God also choose certain individuals to salvation before the foundation of the world. The only difference in belief here is that Arminius believed that this choosing was done as a result of Gods foreknowledge (This is Arminius Point 2 – Conditional Election). Predestination and Election is undeniable. Even if free will exists the way that many believe it does and we have complete control over ourselves in every way (ignoring the reality of all outside stimuli – including such things as, if we were born into a Christian family or not and ignoring the fact that claiming to have power over God makes us all idol worshipers) than it was God who gave humanity that will to begin with. Ergo even free will was chosen for us… ergo God still chose whom he might save simply by granting free will all the while knowing who would ultimately choose Him and who would deny him. (Even Arminius understood this – Why must his followers go so far beyond what he would have allowed?)You Can Not Escape This Reasoning! Either God Is All Powerful Or He Is Not!

  39. Bastard, you’re talking hard determinism (of which predestination is a part). In other words, “I’m not responsible, it’s all on God.” <>Then the man who had received the one talent came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’ Matthew 25:24-25 <>You can read further to see what happened to the guy who ran from his responsiblity.

  40. M’kay, here goes:Until I turned 40, it never occurred to me to consider that there might not be a God. I was raised in a pentecostal church, heard old ladies speak in tongues and watched ’em run around in circles and flop on the floor like fishes. When I was a teen, I pretty well turned my back on the whole thing (you still had to earn God’s love back in those days, and I just couldn’t be good). Fast-forward to age 25, when I came down with a high fever that lasted for several days and wasn’t responding to medication. My father called the church elders to come to my bedside together to pray for me. They stood around me, hands on my head, shoulders and arms, and prayed for me. The prayer lasted about a minute, but as they prayed, I began to weep (still not sure why), and felt my fever break. Within a half-hour, I was showered and ready to go out, completely well.I don’t have a big theology to wrap around it, but I know that it happened. There have been a few moments when I wanted to disbelieve, but I cannot deny that experience.

  41. to continue this little sidebar (until steve shuts us down of course), I find it interresting that it’s always the poor suffering children (not to steal from a spirited discussion over on josh’s side) who ‘fall victim’ to God. If they are indeed in the ‘innocence’ category, than that would put them under the care of their parent/guardian, and it is usually them who are directly responsible for Gods reactive wrath (as described in the OT, not many examples of that in the NT or later…). The loss of the children is a direct consequence of adult choices. Does that make it ‘fair’ or ‘just’? Well, that depends on how much responsibility we (the adults) are willing to take over our actions and the consequences there of. As the spirited bear above noted, the God i am attempting to describe and better understand has so much love/faith in/for us, that he has bestowed us with the amazing responsibility to govern and manage all life on earth…ALL. This also means we have the “God given right” to do whatever the hell we want…but what then? It’s the consequences we so rarely wish to deal with…And so, if you do not believe in such a loving God, what care/responsibility drives you to such passionate plees for these unfortunate souls (both past and present)? You see, if God isn’t love, and love is what connects everything/everyone, then all we do is for selfish gain…that includes sympathy/empathy for others.I’m not attacking, just postulating. Being a christian/believer isn’t about “having all the answers”. It’s about getting to know God better, which in turn will help illuminate who i am. And wether you’re on the first step of that journey, or the well beaten path, your very desire to streangthen the relationship between you and him is all he ever asks of any of us.

  42. steve – so when do we get to start mercilessly ripping eachothers belief sysytems appart?!!?! *kidding*are you going to way in, or are you just bargain shopping?also, though I understand the sentiment behind allowing the anonymous author, doesn’t that pretty much defeat the purpose of a testimony…well, good times!!

  43. I believe, but now without serious doubt.Like spiritbear, there are quite a few situations I placed myself in that could have gone much worse without an interveining Power. I also believe based on the ontological argument – God exists because we have a need for Him. Of all of the people I could quote, I’ll offer up something Rick Warren said, and it really stuck with me. He was talking about the success of his “Purpose-Driven Life” book. He commented that he didn’t think much of it, but what struck him was the response to the book. People are dying for a purpose beyond themselves.Having said that, I do wonder why God ordered some of the things He did such as all of the OT massacres, and why such drastic action was required against wayward children and homosexuals.If you haven’t seen Penn And Teller’s Bullshit show on the Bible, I strongly encourage you to check it out on video.google.com

  44. I find it interesting that so many people answered the question <>Why<> they believe with <>what<> they believe.Even the answers along the lines of “because I have a Personal Relationship with Jesus™ needs to have a reason. <>Why<> do you believe that you have a personal relationship with him?

  45. Spiritbear, the idea of election is that God chooses to save those he wishes to save. Without Him we are already in Hell (separated from Him). If you want me to explain the intricacies of the mind of God… sorry I cannot. I can only say that in the Bible, God is both Love and also Judgment. But even if all humanity holds within its figures pure unadulterated free will, God still chose to create people knowing that some would fall. So while your question is valid, the same question still applies to those who advocate free will. “How could a loving God create people knowing full well that they would choose to reject him and therefore be condemned to Hell?” It is precisely because His will is in question that we cannot answer. But then again that is the point. It is His will and not ours. But on a lighter note… God is said to like the smell of scarifies as they burn on the alter and I personally like my marshmallows burnt. Now this is important – I should point out that while the election of some into God’s Kingdom is a basic theme of the Bible, the election of the reprobate for Hell is not so clear. This part of the argument is only a logical conclusion. While the bible does talk about things like the hardening of Pharaohs heart so that he would not believe, it does not speak explicitly (in my view) on election for damnation. By the way Dorsey, you said “Why is it that you never meet anyone who believes in predestination who thinks they’re elected for destruction?” Answer: Romans 8:29-30 “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”Steve, very sorry for stealing your thread. I’ll stop here.

  46. wilson, i had a philosophy professor that agreed with you about christianity…if it made you a better person, then the truth claims had some validity.lowed, the Bullshit show on the Bible did raise an interesting point: if we claim the Bible as a guide for morality, how do we account for God telling the Israelites to massacre all of those occupying the promised land, or God via Moses saying it was permissable to sell your daughter into slavery (although with some restrictions), or threating the nation of Israel with marauding armies that would slice open pregnant women and kill both mother and baby? There are pro-life atheists that really cringe at those passages.I believe, but it’s not easy.

  47. I love Eugene Peterson’s interpretation of that last section kohen sited: “If each grain of sand on the seashore were numbered and the sum labeled “chosen of God,” They’d be numbers still, not names; salvation comes by personal selection. God doesn’t count us; he calls us by name. Arithmetic is not his focus.”i’m droppin this too steve…

  48. I feel somewhat uncomfortable identifying myself as a Christian these days, though I’m not yet ready to completely abandon my faith. As reflected in my blog, I’ve made significant shifts in my thinking (and this is really all about the way we think). I believe the Bible is a work of men who were influenced by their cultural mythologies. Jesus is probably the most misunderstood figure in history – I’d say he’s not God, just someone who in many ways well represented God. As for the nature of God, I’m a bit stuck right now. I think of him/her/it more as the Source, operating behind and beyond everything – but I have no way to prove this. God reality is so beyond our experience that the only word that works for me is ‘mystery’.

  49. <>The problem is people have freewill and he doesnt override it.<>I disagree. “Your Kingdom come, YOUR WILL BE DONE on/in Earth as it is in Heaven”. (Excerpt from The Lord’s Prayer) Throughout the Bible, God always did what he wanted and (IMO) still does. In Romans, it says that man (in general) has been brought up in stubbornness to, ultimately, be shown mercy and grace.* * * * *To answer Steve’s initial question…Like Helen Louise, I’m more in the “confused Christian” department, still sorting things out. That said, I don’t know how not to believe in a God (no, “just stop believing” isn’t an answer, IMO). My perceptions of him have changed over the years.My full story would take more than 250 words, though.

  50. You know this reminds me of a post on my blog. I dont believe in that Calvanistic predestination BS. I believe God doesnt want ANYONE to be lost. The problem is people have freewill and he doesnt override it. Otherwise we would all be robots and robots cannot love. Only a cruel God would make people with the intent of making them into roasted marshmellows for the fun of it. What kind of sicko God is that? Not the one I find in the Bible. And dont go throwing bible bombs at me. You can take scripture out of context and prove anything

  51. Why do I believe? There are a lot of reasons that have lead me here. Ultimately, though, I believe in God — I believe that Jesus is who he said he is — because I love him and I trust him. I can’t prove that my wife loves me, but I love her so much and I see the way she loves me back, and I <>know<>. There’s no “proof” for that, but I’m more certain of it than anything. My relationship with the Lord is the same. I love Him, He loves me, and I live that in my heart and my life just like I do my life with my wife.Supporting this, I’m reminded of something I read recently in James 5 (< HREF="http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=James%205:13-6:1;&version=77;" REL="nofollow">verse 13 through the end<>). James talks about how we should pray when people are suffering, sing praises when we’re happy, and confess our sins when we fall. The striking thing about the section, though, is that he says it like God cares. We’re supposed to pray and expect healing. We’re supposed to sing His praises like He hears them and loves it, and like we’re in love with Him and can’t help it. We’re supposed to confess our sins because sin matters and so does healing from it. God is very real, and James’ verses put it into words so well.(I was actually < HREF="http://o-shaughnessy.blogspot.com/2007/02/trump-card-in-christianity.html" REL="nofollow">thinking about Steve’s question a month or two ago<>, which is when I stumbled on that section of James.)

  52. “Does that make it ‘fair’ or ‘just’? Well, that depends on how much responsibility we (the adults) are willing to take over our actions and the consequences there of.” So if I’m a fuck-up, my kids will suffer eternal damnation? That’s bullshit. If we try to keep free will in the mix, we end up mixing an ancient middle eastern understanding of sin with complicated “what-if” scenarios… A pre-destination stance is best. If god exists, it’s up to him if he wants to send some babies to heaven and some to hell. Is it so hard for you people to believe that your god can do whatever he wants? Don’t try to make excuses for him. He’s god. He doesn’t need you to defend him.

  53. Algernon,God loves you and I believe he chose you and everyone else in the world. All are called ifyou want to call it that. I dont believe ANYONE is destined for destruction by God. They destine themselves for it by their choices.Sorry if I offended anyone and got way off. I just get so offended by anyone who could believe that God would intentionally make someone with the intent of sending them to hell. He may have known what they would choose and made them anyway, but he would not want any to perish. That is all I really been trying to say.God Bless you. All the chosen ones.

  54. Who’s to say that God doesn’t set certain events into motion (ie. creation) and then allows them to unfold as they may? Or for that matter, if one is elected, does that automatically mean they’ve received their “golden ticket” regardless of their supposed will or external circumstances? God’s knowledge of a future/present/past event does not necessarily equate his directing it. But again, we are thinking in linear terms that do not apply to God’s existance. Our only ‘sure’ way of securing our eternal fate is to accept and love Christ as our savior.Here’s my own crazy way of making it real for me (and I have no real way of backing this up, so…). I actually believe that God loves us soooo much, that he has chosen not to interfere with our free will, and therefore is able to rejoice when we do choose to love him. God’s rejoicing is biblical…how can someone rejoice about something they already have prior knowledge of?I think the less time we spend trying to figure out these mind twisters, and the more we focus on the quality of our relationship with God and others, the happier we will be in the end…God too.

  55. Dorsey, you make me smile… Lowendaction, I’m sorry but you are a little off here. “Who is to say that God doesn’t set certain events into motion (ie. creation) and then allows them to unfold as they may?” It is the “as they may” that is wrong. If God is all knowing then “as they may” cannot exist. If He knows exactly how something will unfold and then He starts the process (not only knowing every possible way that it could end up but also knowing the exact way that it will end) how can you think of the known and unavoidable conclusion as anything other than providence? It is under His complete control. If it were not – He would cease to be God Almighty. He would only be God – Sort of Mighty.

  56. What do I believe?I don’t know anymore. I can’t factually prove anything.Can you?All I know is that I love my wife, my family and friends and would do pretty much anything for them. Life is great.

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