Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Why...


When I got to Faulkner I had never met so many people that I felt had been handed their faith on a silver platter. I was shocked.

The question very seldom was raised without controversy and censure that you must be a sinner to even question if there is a God.
I spent the better half of my life into the early 90’s questioning this idea of God. At FU it was blasphemous to even think it. I have a theory as to why this was the case and it revolves around people not having an answer for “why” they believe what they believe.

It’s difficult to explain an abstract against someone who places no credit in the Bible.

In discussing this topic Sunday Jules told me that her faith was more solid before I started asking her why she believed what she believed. Admittedly, her faith was built on her grandparents and parents expectations and indoctrination to the subject.

So class, tell me why do you believe in God? Your answer can not include because I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God, because Christ died for me or because he lives in my heart.

I just want to know if there was an experience or something else that has guided you to your own faith.

76 comments:

Jamison said...

Off the top of my head, I've prayed for things to happen that, deep down inside, I did not want to happen. BUT I knew that if this prayer was answered, my spiritual life and my chances of getting to heaven would increase...

those prayers were answered.

Also, when I pray for something, and the opposite happens, months or years later, I see why. So I beleive in God because of the prayers He didnt answer as well.

In all honesty, belief in God should not have a "why" attached to it. It is nice when it does though, sure. If there was need for a "Why", then there would be no such thing as nor a need for faith. And since we can not see, touch, feel, smell, or hear God in the physical sense, then we must have faith. If you feel you need a "Why" to justify your faith, you have no faith at all...

The Rich Man begged to become a ghost and tell his brothers to obey God, but he was told "They had Moses and the prophets. If they didnt beleive them, then they wont beleive a ghost."

Likewise, we have the Bible, and faith. If you dont believe in God with that stuff, then seeing a mirable probably wont convince you either.

bigsip said...

I found my faith at Faulkner, but not in the way you think.

You all know my Dad's a preacher.

When I left home and went to Faulkner, I didn't go to church at all for almost a year.

I was surrounded by people my age going to church and I felt no desire to accompany them.

Why?

I had grown up on my parents' faith and they weren't there to make me have it any more.

So, I began (whether consciously or not) to systematically dismantle my faith, or lack thereof.

I tore down my faith to nothing and started over.

I asked questions, I went to denmoinational services. I read my Bible all the way from cover to cover.

This all happened before any of you guys started at FU. I was there a full year before any of you arrived and this is what happened. That's why none of you've heard about it till now.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, "I've taken a journey, seen faith from different angles, and made the decisions for myself."

During that period, I also partook of some vices and found them to be either counter-productive to my life or just didn't improve it.

In a way, I was trying the same approach Solomon took, although I didn't know it at the time. What I found out, by observing closely, that each stage of this spiritual replanting offered another question and challenge.

And yes, I still look for answers and truth, but I handle questions about whether God exists with the facts.

I CANNOT PROVE THAT GOD EXISTS!

That's what faith is, "The SUBSTANCE of things HOPED for, the EVIDENCE of things NOT SEEN."

But, every question, study, search, etc. points rigt to God in my mind. The universe is designed, man! It runs like clockwork and is so far beyond our human intellect that we have to apply "chaos theory" to it to make sense of it all.

How silly is that?

Anyway, there's my spiel.

mullinz8 said...

Both of those are awesome. I can’t explain a why either. I met a blind kid on a VBS trip once and his faith made me consider there is something more to these kooks than I gave them credit for.

I read and read everything from Joseph Campbell and Buddhist writings to the Bible and everything still pointed to “something” else putting all these phenomenal pieces together.

I don’t think that anyone can prove there is a God in the from of some being chilling out on a cloud and I can’t explain my awe staring into those clouds, stars and heavens but I feel something purposefully spinning us into infinity.

How about this, what put God over Buddha, Mohammed, Zeus or another “deity?”

Jamison said...

stars are awesome... if i have to go outside to bring the garbage can in, and it is a clear night, ill come in like 10 minutes later and larissa has to ask why it took me so long...

how about this...

The Bible talks about other gods like they really exist... anyone else thought about this? Are there other gods? Like, the ones we should nto put above God?

I dont like the "anything-you-put-before-God-is-a-god" answer... i mean, i wonder if there really are other gods, that would make God so jealous...?

bigsip said...

this is where you have to start bringing in the Bible.

as far as setting apart one God from other gods, the Bible is the only thing we can point to.

it doesn't contradict itself, but was written over thousands of years by several people.

no other "holy book" can come even close to claiming that.

the other gods in the Bible are mentioned as being of stone and wood, indicating that they weren't real like the "one true God".

bigsip said...

oh yeah, there's also the fact that historical accounts prove Jesus was here and there's an empty tomb...that's a biggie, too.

no other religion has Jesus.

Jamison said...

another topic that was swimming in my head that I was too afraid to ask anyone else...

Have you every sent an email that you regreted later? Have you ever done anything that you regreted doing? But others saw you do it, and 10 years later they still remember that awful thing you did?

Do you ever think that Jesus may have had a tiny bit of regret from over turning the tables in teh temple?

Sunday nights sermon was great, but the speaker mentioned that Jesus never did anythign violent (He was trying to make a point, so I wont bash the guy) but the first thing I thought of was the scene in the temple...

I mean, Jesus saw what was going on, right? So he goes out and MAKES a whip. He doesnt go and find one or buy one, he takes time to MAKE one. Then he drives all the money changers out with it.

Now, today, we all use THAT example as an excuse to say "It is okay to get angry, as long as you dont sin when you are angry, I mean, look at Jesus in the temple..."

Sometimes when I hear that, I see Jesus in Heaven slapping His forhead with his hand as if to say "Why did I do that?"

I hope what I am asking is not sinful... just a thought, since that is the only record of Jesus doing that... and now days people use it to justify being angry...

Diana said...

I guess if forced to give a concrete answer, I would say because I've explored other avenues and, I feel, God himself led me here.

Rachel and I had a lovely conversation about an ex boyfriend of mine and how he was Wiccan (now he's an athiest, as was Taylor, my maid of honor). What I did not tell Rachel is I myself was Wiccan for a brief period. But you know what, a lot of stuff in it didn't make since. Like they say witchcraft only works if it was meant to happen, but if it doesn't than it wasn't meant to happen. Then why bother??? If it's going to happen, it will.

Of course you can compare that to prayer, but prayer is more letting God know you trust his judgement. And thanking him for it.
In my opinion, anyway.

Like one of you said, other religeons contradict themselfs and Christianity does not. An example of this would be Muslim. They say that the Koran is direct inspiration from Gabriel, not God.

I guess if you examine my life and the hurtful things I've had to go through, the only thing that makes since is to say that someone had a direct hand in turning my life to Myrtle Beach.

If my parents had never gotten a divorce then my Dad would have never met Cynthia, if we never moved to Myrtle Beach I'd be in Tennessee, if Cynthia didn't have her issues I would have never ran away, I would have never gotten a job at Blockbuster, I would have never met Charlie (who to me is direct evidence God exists), and never would've became a Christian.

A lot of people say that God doesn't hear a sinners prayer, but I think that is taken out of context in the Bible. I specifically praying when I was a senior in high school (March 13, 2002) that I would do whatever God wanted me to do. At lunch, Taylor told me I was going home with her....

Another issue I have with the whole "God doesn't hear a sinners prayer thing" is that I refuse to believe that I, an innocent child, was alone all those years I was hiding from my stepmother. I just feel like one of the only reasons I got through it was because someone was with me, protecting me, reminding me it would all be over at 8:30 when Dad got home.

Diana said...

I meant to say Islam.. sorry.
If I said anything blaphemous please correct me. I got a little passionate there.

Jamison said...

Di was a wiccan!
You know, I am scared of witches...
I stirred up a bees nest in an aol forum like 8 years ago blasting sitches and stuff... i was so afraid for like a year that I was going to have a hex put on me. Mullins calmed me down though.

innocent children arent sinners... children are sinless, therfore, i suppose, God hears their prayers.

Diana said...

That was nice of Mullins.
What about when I was a teenager, though? Charlie and I examined the passage one night because it REALLY bothered me. When we read the whole chapter, a pharasee was saying it, not Jesus, not an apostle...

And besides if God doesn't hear sinners than how can anyone ask for forgiveness???

Jamison said...

you are thinking already my dear...
i cant answer that, but it is a good one

bigsip said...

God's only ever regretted one thing according to the Bible; creating us.

That being said, He has used every avenue, even sending His only Son to die, to reconcile us to him.

Jesus made the whip and drove the money changers out for a greater example and it was not the only time he showed anger, either. He yelled "you hypocrites" plenty of times. He said himself to "be angry and sin not", so the money-changers thing isn't really a good example, i think.

had he tied the money-changers down and beaten them within an inch of their lives, I'd say he had done something violent. Jesus was angry and had every right to drive people out of an area where money and idolatry didn't belong.

Di, God was watching over you.

I don't believe God hears the prayers of those who don't follow Jesus. But, Christians pray for "sinners" as a world-wide body very often.

Di, we were praying for you. Other Christians were praying for you then. We all have prayed that Charlie would find a wonderful, good person and he has.

While your prayers might have been answered (and who knows for sure if God heard them or not) so were the countless prayers of many, many Christians.

Take comfort in that. We all can!

bigsip said...

When someone comes forward and asks for forgiveness of sins, someone prays for them.

God hears the "effectual, fervent prayers of the righteous".

But, there's plenty more to study about!

Diana said...

True.

The whole age of accountablilty thing is relative, so who knows.
I know that before and after my wicca stage I tried to read my Bible but didn't understand all of it. I didn't know you had to be baptized and when I lived at home my stepmother didn't allow me to go to church with my friends.
And even if I had figured out I needed to be baptized, I couldn't have done it myself and she probably wouldn't have let me ...

So if I had died in a car accident when I still lived at home would I be held accountable for my sins....?

I guess it doesn't matter because I'm a Christian now, but the idea of God not hearing my prayers all those years just really makes me sad.

And angry.

Diana said...

I mean, I tried to be Christian. I didn't know any better.

bigsip said...

Don't fret over the past.

Like I said, we were all praying for you.

I still pray that all who hear the Gospel of Christ will believe and be baptized and follow Jesus.

You weren't praying for that because you didn't know, but others were.

Now, you can do the same for people you don't know and unbelievers everywhere!

How aawesome!

Diana said...

Like I said, though, I think the verse is taken out of context. Unless you know another one.

bigsip said...

Di, I don't know what verse you're talking about, but I don't think the overarching idea of prayer is based on one passage.

There are many areas of scripture that talk about prayer and it's really hard to present them all here, so I'll try to post a couple.

John 17:7-9 show Jesus praying for those God has given Him (his followers). We pray in "Jesus name" as believers. Only believers who are "of Christ" can pray to God, because we can only reach God through Jesus.

Matt 6:7 says, "In praying, don't use vain repetitions, as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking." Gentiles were unbelievers whose prayers were in vain.

Simon the Sorceror asked this in Acts 8:24, Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that none of the things which you have spoken happen to me." This was after he had been rebuked by the Apostles for trying to buy the Holy Spirit. He knew he was in sin and would not be heard.

Finally, John 9:31 is the verse you mentioned. "We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshipper of God, and does his will, he listens to him."

The man whwo said this was the blind man who Jesus healed, not the Pharisees. He was proclaiming a truth before the Pharisees, using this example to show that Jesus was not a sinner and could heal because God heard his prayers.

But, again, you shouldn't feel bad about this. God loves people and He loves you and he heard and hears prayers for all mankind from His faithful followers.

mullinz8 said...

A couple of points

Let ye who is with out sin case the first stone. I would like the person who is without sin on this blog to please come forward. We’re all sinners, everyday, all day, all the time. Once you start to realize the whole right from wrong thing then you’ve got some accountability to deal with.

I think God hears all of us no matter our situation and relationship with him. God has a plan for all of our lives and you have come to him through a wonderfully intricate web of events. Those events were not mere happenstance, those events I feel needed to happen so that you can now begin to appreciate the vastness of God’s love in your life. Freedom never looks better than the first day we’re out of jail. Christ’s blood washes us anew and removes those bars of sin everyday.

I don’t know what the root languages is between the passages you are listing are but in modern language we should all understand there is a difference between simply listening and hearing someone.

I can’t pretend to know the will or heart of God outside of Biblical text but I know there is a lot more to the guy than what’s in that book. We have what we need to be concerned about. I think he hear you and watched you and prepared you for who you are today.

I studied Wicca for a while too, though never an active practitioner I had more than a passing fancy, especially after I found a witchcraft book my father had which had been dog eared and highlighted from cover to cover. I had a lot of the baggage for a while. Here is the thing to remember: “I had” that baggage.

As for Jesus being ticked off, there is a passage that mentions how there is no way for all of Jesus’ works to be contained within books, being too numerous to count. I don’t have any reason to speculate that all of those works were all happy-go-lucky-lets-all-be-friend sermons. Jesus was smart and could be cynical along with being sympathetic. He obviously could be provoked too.

BTW Islam, Judaism and Christianity all share the same roots.

bigsip said...

Islam has never shared roots with either. It ain't even close.

Modern-day Judaism isn't close to what it started as. They add new stuff all the time.

mullinz8 said...

The Torah is the same collection of books that make up the Pentateuch or the OT’s first five books. What modern day Judaism is or represents I’ve got no clue but it’s roots are out of those same five books.

Islam as it was explained by a very Islamic lady I used to work with, with the whole head dress and all, is based out of Abraham’s acceptance of Sarah’s “rejection” of Ishmael and her mother the literal barer of A's first born for Isaac. Abraham is considered to be one of Islam’s most important prophets and his first born the rightful heir to Abraham’s blessings.

I still have the diagram the lady drew for me explaining the whole thing.

I’m not sure how that’s not connected to modern Christianity unless all that Old Testament stuff is crap and Jesus was just making up all those old quotes.

bigsip said...

Ishmael was A's son and that's about as far as it goes.

Islam makes many claims to try to make itself seem more reliigously viable.

Judaism was originally based solely on the Penteteuch (Torah) but expanded from there, including numerous rabbinical writings in 2 other encyclopedic collections, one called the Mishnah. I can't remember the other name.

Anyway, it's more about the other volumes than the Torah now.

Butt, yes, as far as patriarchs are concerned, the "roots" are the same. But as far as religions go, they're as far from Christ as east is from west.

Brewster said...

you guys are killing me. By the time I get to these posts, you've already beat the subject to death.

I'd say questioning your faith is dangerous, but also essentially to a strong faith.

I believe with the exception of Diana, we all grew up either completely immersed in the cof or at least very near its presense.

Most of us grew up with our parents faith. If you don't question it, how will you know it is the right one?

Honestly would we all be cofc had we been born into a baptist, catholic or buddhist family?

Who was it that continued to deconstruct his thinking all the way down until he finally said, I think therefore I am.

Basically, I know I must exist because I am able to have thoughts.

A faith that is completely blind, that never questions why it believes what it believes is no faith at all.

The problem with questioning your faith is that it can lead to some unsettling times. During that year that Sipper was deconstructing his own faith, had he died would he have been saved? I dont know. However, once he deconstructed he was able to build it back up. He is a stronger person, has a stronger faith because of it.

Diana said...

Josh mentioned a lot of stuff about Jesus hearing the prayers of believers. At that time, I was a believer, but not an obeyer.

I mean, it's just hard to say, oh yeah, all those years I thought God was at my side?? Nope, I really was all alone.

bigsip said...

I don't "know" for sure that God was not listening to you, Di.

All I can do is show what the Bible says.

From a personal standpoint, I hope that God listens to prayers from all people, but from a philosophical/intellectual standpoint, I don't see how He would.

But, dwelling on the past is meaningless either way. God is with you now and that's all that matters.

Jamison said...

Di, you had something in commmon with Jesus then. When Jesus was on teh cross, He was alone and God was not with him.
It is the only time in the life of Jesus that Hwas alone, seperated from God. Of course, it wasnt because he was sinning or not a beleiver.

It is very "feel good religion" to think that God will never leave anyone alone or that God will not hear everyones prayer. God is a very specific god, and we have to either do things His way or He aint gonna listen to us.

I am with Josh... who cares?
I mean, as far as I can tell, you have a one way ticket to heaven right now. You have nothing to worry about. Your past is your past, and if God didnt listen to your prayers then, I am certain He does now...

bigsip said...

It's true.

God also left Job when Satan was hurting him.

God left Jesus on the cross because Jesus took on the sins of mankind, from beginning to end. God couldn't look on all that sin and turned away to let Jesus have the victory over it.

Jesus has the victory!

bigsip said...

This also raises a question I've been through before.

Does God sometimes allow Satan to test us?

I think He does.

He allowed Satan to test Job and Jesus (in the wilderness), and may have allowed Satan to test other figures like Paul (see "thorn in the flesh").

When this does happen, we are made stronger as a result.

Interesting study.

Jamison said...

...and beleive it or not, God has the ability to hate...

check out proverbs 6

(paraphrasing here)He hates those who think they can do things without Him.
He hates people who lie
He hates those who shed innocent blood (abortions maybe?)
He hates those who think about wicked things.
He hates those folks who are always quick to get into bad situations.
He hates A liar (Again, mentioned twice...)
And he hates those who try to stir up a church and cause it to split in a way...

So, beleive it or not, despite all those "God Loves EVERYTHING" sermons we may hear on TV, God does hate...

mullinz8 said...

Lets all hear a big whoop whoop for JC on the cross, baby!

Brew hit on a topic that got passed over when I mentioned it, sort of. It was more or less diverted. Somewhere there is a conversation going on between Pentecostals telling each other they are right for believing what they believe because that’s what they have found in the Bible to support what they believe, copy that…

Beyond other fundamentalist faiths had we all been raised in Jewish families or in an Islamic culture could we honestly access that we would have studied enough of the Christian theology to determine they are right?

Outside of Jesus being one of the most recorded and documented physical persons of that historical time I don’t know that I’d put much merit in some peasant actually walking on water or healing people on the street and everybody was crucified in those days.

Every “great” myth has creation, flood and even resurrection stories…

bigsip said...

We're blessed to be born into church backgounds.

So, we have that much more reason to spread the Gospel.

Openmindedness (my word) is not something taught in many religions. In fact, Judaism and Islam and most other non-Christian religions are far more staunch about teaching not to be open.

So, naturally, it's not gonna happen.

All we can do is tell the Good News. God opens the doors and people have to decide for themselves whether or not to walk through.

Diana said...

Thanks guys. I feel better now. I guess I just need to look at it as "it had to happen." I'm not usually bitter about the whole situation, so I'm surprised now to be evaluating myself on the matter. I'm going to look at it differently from now on. I had to be alone, just like Jesus had to be alone. It's not neccesarily a bad thing.

I really do feel better. Thanks.

Today I was talking to a classmate who admitted to me she was angry with God. She had a kidney transplant last year. I told her everything happens for a reason, even if we don't know it.

Maybe I should follow my own advice.

bigsip said...

Di, you are sweet!

God loves you and always has!

Diana said...

tee hee

mullinz8 said...

Yeah just remember though he never cared enough to hear you until you were baptized.

Ok this not meant to be a jerk or anything like that but Sipper how do you say “God loves you and always has” while still saying “God never cared to hear you even when you at one time cried out to him?”

Is asking for help not a pretense to confession? Is the road not guarded until you reach the castle?

Back track to second glazed over topic. Yes, Islam and Judaism are much stricter than many forms of Christianity; this does not answer the question I asked. If we as non-Christians have done for centuries and still do today snuck to study its word what makes our faith more right than another.
Had it not been for migrations and the crossing of various oceans and seas decades ago we could well be sitting here arguing about those ridicules Christians and their silly Jesus on a tree?

I find that fascinating…

bigsip said...

Um, Mullins, are you ok?

God has rejected Judaism and Islam.

Seems pretty plain to me.

Show of hands:

How many of you have read the Bible all the way through at least 3 times?

Just curious.

mullinz8 said...

I know how God feels about those other religions and I’m not supporting them.

I just don’t think it could be argued that had we been brought up in environments that nurtured those theologies there is a much better chance of following those over our chosen faith.

Had we been raised in the rural pre-civil war south we all would have had a house boy named Toby.

The crux of this is to decipher the argument of choosing one of the big three “religions” over the others. I’ve made my choice but there is a world of people who haven’t, why would they want to choose a potential eternity in hell over celestial bliss and Nirvana.

Once you call it apologetics you begin by defining arguing points based on scripture. If someone doesn’t care about BCV those arguments are useless.

Emotion must sway the argument, not assumed (from their pov) facts.

Jamison said...

read the bible all the way through probably 6 or 7 times...

Brewster said...

>I mean, it's just hard to say, oh >yeah, all those years I thought God >was at my side?? Nope, I really was >all alone.

In some ways, we are all alone.

God was always there, God always loved you.

I think you have to seperate definitions between God hearing and listening. Or between God actually, physically hearing the words you said, and God doing something about it.

Simplistically think about having a child. You give that child a set of rules to obey. Let's say the kid has to pick up his toys. Kid disobeys so as punishment you don't let him watch his favorite TV show.

Kid cries out in great anguish that he wants to watch Mighty Morphin Power Ranger or he'll die. and truly believes it.

As a parent you hear child, you may even be sympathetic, but because the child was disobedient you do not give the child what he wants.

That's a very simplistic example. But ultimately, when we are not obeying God's law, God does not fulfill what we think are our needs.

You cried to God that you needed a better family, you wailed in anguish because people hurt you. You asked God to bring you what you thought you needed.

God, silenty, whispered for you to obey his will and that you would get everything you truly needed.

Now you've heard the call

Brewster said...

>Beyond other fundamentalist faiths >had we all been raised in Jewish >families or in an Islamic culture >could we honestly access that we >would have studied enough of the >Christian theology to determine they >are right?

I think about this a lot, actually. Can I honestly say that had I been raised Jewish, Muslim, Baptist, etc, would I be a Christian? I don't know.

Somewhere in the world a group of Baptists are discussing this. One guy is saying he has read the Bible three times through and knows the Baptist doctrine is the right one.

Somewhere a Muslim is saying he has read the bible, and the koran is better.

There are lots of bright, intelligent people who are truly seeking the Truth, but are misled by false doctrine.

If we accept our faith blindly, we are not much better. If we question what we have been taught, then we can find true faith.

To me, those questions began with, Is there a God? And moved on fromthere.

Brewster said...

>Openmindedness (my word) is not >something taught in many religions. >In fact, Judaism and Islam and most >other non-Christian religions are far >more staunch about teaching not to be >open.

I think a lot of people would argue that christianity doesn't allow for openmindedness.

Sometimes, I'd have to agree. Watch all the arguments against reading somebodys book about the Bible, or going to a "liberals" meeting.

Brewster said...

>Show of hands:How many of you have >read the Bible all the way through at >least 3 times?

Did you read these:

1 Corinthians 5:6
Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough?

Matthew 23:12
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

Sorry, but that post sounded way to prideful to me. Whether you have never read the bible or read it 12 times through, there is still much to learn

Brewster said...

>Emotion must sway the argument, not >assumed (from their pov) facts.

Definitely to someone who doesn't believe in the Bible, quoting scripture isn't going to sway them.

I'm not sure emotion is the proper way to sway though. There is non BCV factual information that can sway. Heck Chuck works for a joint that says a lot about Christian evidences that aren't necessarily BCV kind of stuff.

bigsip said...

I wasn't referring to myself, Brew.

I was just wondering since it seemed there were many questions that could be answered by just knowing some scripture.

I also believe that people don't read their Bibles enough. I know I don't. I've read it through enough times to lose count, but I don't read it every day like I should.

So true there is much to learn.

As far as getting people to believe, I still believe in telling the "Good News".

Jesus gave the "Great Commission" after all.

That being said, if you get questions after that, you can try to argue with some outside stuff, but even so, it goes back to the "soil" from which a person is comprised.

If someone has "good soil" they'll ask more and want to know more. If they don't you probably will hit a brick wall.

Not that you shouldn't try, it's just gonna be harder to plant the "seed" and for it to take root.

mullinz8 said...

Brewster, master Blogger.

For me it’s not about how many times you’ve read the Bible cover to cover, MB great find on the yeast verse. It’s about sharing the word which I would guess we all encourage. In my situation at work there are a few folks I’d like to talk to but their foundation is one of being very open, to the point of not much in any book can be proved making most of them little more than great science fiction, not quite L.R. Hubbard but Sci-fi none the less.

Again as Jamison wisely stated “facts” have little to do with the act of having faith. I think that’s where a lot of perhaps overly-analytical minds get off the train asking “how does one have faith based on nothing else but some old stories.”

It’s a balancing act between BCV and heart strings. My first real pull into faith was emotional and for as factual as things can be, compelling one to act requires a motivating force in many instances.

I’ve been confronted with the whole, “What makes Christianity any different that Buddhism or Islam” question and as soon as I state facts of “Jesus said” this and that, they’re lost.

bigsip said...

If you don't read the Word and write it on your heart, you won't be able to share it.

That's why I asked the question.

Sorry if y'all thought I was trying to one-up y'all or something. I am in no way trying to compete, here.

But, read your Bibles, guys. You'll learn a lot more than if you don't read them.

Deut 6:6-9

These words, which I command you this day, shall be on your heart;

and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up.

You shall bind them for a sign on your hand, and they shall be for symbols between your eyes. You shall write them on the door posts of your house, and on your gates.

mullinz8 said...

Dude, I am…
Just wrapped Hebrews and started James last night (I've read each before).

Not… my… point…

Discussing three main religious ideas with people who don’t read their Bibles. Trying to convince them using some BCV and emotion that one is better than the other.

bigsip said...

I was trying to make a different point and it was well-taken, except for one thing...

The person has to have good soil for the information to take root.

You can talk emotion and apologetics till you're blue in the face and go in circles.

If someone really wants to know, you'll know they want to know, you know?

Again, that doesn't mean you shouldn't try. BUT, it does mean that when they start asking the Biblical questions (and they will if their heart is right) you have the answers.

Remember: Give diligence to present yourself approved by God, a workman who doesn't need to be ashamed, properly handling the Word of Truth. 2 Tim 2:15

bigsip said...

BTW, I'm proud of you for studying, Mullins.

I know you take a different line toward stuff than I do, but I love to talk about the Bible.

Knowing my pals want to know more makes me feel better because we can all discuss the Word.

Sorry if you guys inferred a prideful attack on y'all about Biblical knowledge. I'm just trying to find out how y'all go about looking at scripture.

I'm in just as much need (if not more) of study as anyone.

mullinz8 said...

Sipper it fills me with to the edge of tears that I have a group of friends that are my friends because we share common interests and times but also because they are so knowledgeable about the word of God!!!

I never meant to rebuke your knowledge, sorry if I did, I was trying to pry out a POV.

If I’m looking at Mr. Jon Q. Agnostic and he wants to learn about spirituality how should/could/would I sway him into one current verses another if to him they are all the same.

In a lot of apologetic discussions you have to establish a list of facts before you move on so as to not assume what your audience knows. THIS however is that first meeting.
“God has done this and that for me and I feel this way because my faith included eternal salvation from a redeeming God.
Jon Q. Agnostic: “Yes but if I were raised in Iraq my chances are better that I’d feel the same way about Islam.”
Me: “Yes but I feel this way because…”

That “…” is what I’m looking for people’s perspective on. Testimony for lack of a better term.

For as much as our backgrounds are different so are our approaches to the Bible and how we share its words.

Josh I love you and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the ups, downs, swoops, and banks of this discussion.

bigsip said...

Me too, Matt!

I love you and always enjoy these discussions.

I see exactly what you mean.

You probably all know this already, but CS Lewis was an atheist at one time and taught himself out of atheism.

He is still held to be one of the great christian writers of the 20th century.

I think if people really want to know the truth, they'll find it.

But, indeed it's difficult to talk to those whwo probably would rather maintain the status quo.

That takes a great deal of prying, no doubt!

mullinz8 said...

Lee Strobel’s book Case for Christ began as an exercise to deconstruct Christianity to it’s core lies once and for all. Some time later Lee is a dedicated Christian. The more research the guy did the more he confirmed for himself that God was who he said hw was and Christ did what they said he did.

He set out to find an answer one way or another. Some people want to find the answer but need to get shoved out the door first.

bigsip said...

yessir...

it's funny how truth finds us most of the time instead of us finding the truth.

Brewster said...

Sorry sip. didn't mean to be mean. You did come off a little uppity to me so I thought I'd slam you down a notch. I'm a little pissy too in the morning.

We should definitely read the Bible. I have no idea how many times I've read. I don't read cover to cover. I've tried it, but frankly I always get bored somewhere in Numbers.

One thing I didn't mention in the whole questioning subject is that I think its a good idea that if you are going to start questioning things, do it with one side of yourself. Then allow the other side to continue to study the bible.

Brewster said...

>The person has to have good soil >for the information to take root.

Right, but it isn't always easy to tell. Take my uncle for example. He has been married to a christian for 30 odd years. Goes to church every sunday. Never had any interest in christianity. Studied with my pop several years ago and it went nowhere fast. Started studying again a few months ago and was baptized a few weeks back.

That's bad soil for a long time suddenly fertilized. Many would have written him off ages ago.

>You can talk emotion and >apologetics till you're blue in the >face and go in circles.

You can also talk Bible until you are blue in the face and get nowhere. Each person is different, and you have to start with where they are at. Paul did this. You can talk baptism, if a person doesn't believe in God.

>If someone really wants to know, >you'll know they want to know, you >know?

I'm not sure I always know. Some people seem interested but in the end are only interested in a little ego stroking. Some don't seem interested, but may be the best soil of all.

bigsip said...

Exactly...

You can't tell what the soil's like.

All we can do is spread the word. God tills, waters, brings light, etc.

Your uncle probably had really hard, dry ground to start, but over many years of God working on his heart, he turned from a wilderness to a nice, sandy loam on a plain in Sharon.

That's where the Rose grows.

Diana said...

I'm very impressed with Brewster right now.

I still wonder what would have happened had I died young.
Or other abused teens for that matter who have it worse than I did.

Which goes back to the old Aboriginies (sp?) thing.

Brewster said...

>I'm very impressed with Brewster ?right now.

Ooh, Oooh, what I say? Can you tell my wife your impressed? She seems kind of bored with me these days.

An interesting aside to this discussion is how emotions play in our own faith. Most of us would tell stories about how our parents play a huge part in our lives and our faith. Their love for us was the first sign of Gods love.

Others, like Diana can lean on a husband and know that it was their love that cared them through to faith.

We can talk apologetics, Bible verses all day and all night long, but when it comes to it you'll never show anyone anything unless they can see you care.

I think in the CofC we get so bogged down in BCV, in making sure our doctrine is right, that we forget to show a little kindness to our fellow man.

bigsip said...

Yep, love and caring count for much in the Christian life.

I'm afraid that y'all probably think that I carry a big ole KJV Bible around, hitting people with it.

I don't.

I only discuss doctrine, scripture, and hermeneutics with you guys.

I believe in just being friendly, personable, and kind as an example to non-Christians.

I believe in the same with Christians, but we have to have open, honest, and sometimes hsiry discussions about the deep-down stuff or we'll never know where we stand.

Di, you're a new Christian and you hear many different povs here. Sometimes they get "animated".

But, at the end of the conversation, we all love each other more than when we began!

I think that is important. Christians can disagree, discuss, and even argue, but still stay friends and grow together.

I love you people.

bigsip said...

Di, there are some things that only God can judge.

God knows the hearts of people.

If you're innocent, He knows. If you're accountable, He knows (and so do you).

I'm sure there are many emotionally, mentally, and most of all spiritually stunted, abused people out there who are searching for God.

God loves them. Does He hear their prayers? I don't know.

No one can account for God, especially for the endless permutations this life holds.

But, I believe that God cares for the innocent, the downtrodden, the oppressed.

The only reason I said anything about Him not listening to sinners was to give the scriptural side of the whole matter for consideration.

But, the Bible also says that God cares for the innocent and children are not accountable.

I've enjoyed the debate, but the fact is, there are so many sides to this issue that only really looking deeply at scripture and getting the "big picture" will adequately settle anyone's mind.

Let's never stop searching!

mullinz8 said...

Ooh, I’m telling Sipper backtracked.

First Di gets put in her place because God hasn’t been listening to her, even when she asked him for a sign (which according to her she was given) with scripture to back up his general avoidance of her and all the while Brew uncle has been tilled and planted like a good little seed.

Just ribbing you Sipper I know the point you’re making. At least I think I do…

I think, as we’ve discussed, that the c.o.C is too bogged down in the mire of NOT being emotional for fear of taking away the seriousness of ones faith.

I love every bit the AP stuff I read but my only complaint, Chuck I hope you’re reading this, is that it’s all so dry. I’ve not come across one inkling of compassion in anything. I know their job it to state the “facts.” They do that better than many but I’d love to see one article that tells you how to talk to someone. I think that’s what they are missing; I think it’s called a human touch.

I think the reason no one has responded to the question I asked is because it’s personal and emotional and is nothing that can be found in scripture. If you’re born into an Islamic country what are the odds you’d be Muslim and not Christian. This pov negates all arguments from scripture and throws the black and white, “The Bible says this..” idea out the window. “And what no one has anything to say about the house boy Toby comment?” Too rude or to close to target.

I don’t know about Brews uncle or Di’s prayer but I know that God loves us and has challenged us to be true to his commandments.

bigsip said...

We discussed slavery before.

WE might all have slaves if it were still legal and normal today. The Bible even gives instructions on how to treat slaves (see Philemon).

I haven't been avoiding the "born into religion" question as much as I've been answering others.

My take is that people born into predominantly Muslim, Jewish, etc. cultures are exposed to the idea of Christianity by their very culture. Their rabbis, clerics, etc. tell them "not to speak to the dirty, unbelieving Christians who will rape your women and eat your children".

We're told to do the opposite. That's why missionaries go out.

I guess the real question is, "It isn't the child's fault if he/she is born into this culture/religion...why, if they grow up that way, do we think they'd do any idfferent? Would we?"

It all comes down to "What kind of person are you?"

Do you seek for truth?

If yes, then you'll find it or it'll find you.

Is truth relative? I don't think so.

It's very complicated and yet very simple.

Ask and it'll be given. Seek and you'll find. Knock and the door'll be opened.

If a Muslim really wants to know the truth, he'll find it. Many who were born Muslim have.

Same goes for anyone who softens their heart and seeks diligently for truth.

Just because you're born into a situations doesn't mean you must stay there.

mullinz8 said...

When truth is sought truth is found.

bigsip said...

Well said, my friend.

Jamison said...

66 comments and going strong, I think Mullins holds the record for posting a blog that got the most comments...
albeit, the comments have gotten a bit off topic...

bigsip said...

I don't think we should count 66 or 67, personally

bigsip said...

...68, either.

mullinz8 said...

Off topic! We’ve covered a lot of ground and still we’re discussing the nature of one finding faith. I’ll admit that we’ve had some wide arcs but I think the course has been fairly well dead reckoned.

I think there is a lot more that could be added from the perspective of a new Christian finding faith and the dynamics of this one over another. I mean obviously Caz is c.o.C thanks (in part at least) to his folks. What or are there any questions about why he believes what he believes that are yet unresolved?

Chuck is, to me at least, you too Sipp, are sort of old trees in this garden. Chuck’s input from working with guys whose jobs are to figure this stuff out. What is their perspective on the whole nature vs. nurture idea of finding faith.

Brew and Jamison always have fantastic views that round out subjects.

I’ve been devils advocate and think that I might have only scratched the surface in some ways.

Stubbs (Caz) is obviously dead, as always…

mullinz8 said...

Wined and dined...
Tag! I'm 70 too.

Diana said...

I'll have to get Charlie on here. I've often wondered myself what made him believe.

Brewster said...

>Di, you're a new Christian and you >hear many different povs here. >Sometimes they get "animated".

Indeed we do. And definitely dont' let it bug ya, Diana. Some of us also like to throw out different points of view to take the argument elsewhere.

We've been friends forever, ya know. So there is a deep companionship amongst all the arguing.

Brewster said...

>WE might all have slaves if it were >still legal and normal today. The >Bible even gives instructions on >how to treat slaves (see Philemon).

That's a whole other subject. There is a lot of apologizing these day for those passages and a lot of redefining the terms. Were slaves of the Bible the kind of slaves we think about now?

>Their rabbis, clerics, etc. tell >them "not to speak to the dirty, >unbelieving Christians who will >rape your women and eat your ?hildren".

Of course we do the same. Not to that extreme, but we distance ourselves from nonchristians to a degree.

>I guess the real question is, "It >isn't the child's fault if he/she >is born into this >culture/religion...why, if they >grow up that way, do we think >they'd do any idfferent? Would we?"

well, that is the question. If we were brought up differently would we be here?

>If yes, then you'll find it or >it'll find you.

I have trouble with this. The bible certainly says those who seek shall find. And while I won't argue with that, I also wonder how literal it is. There are an awful lot of people in this world. Are we really saying that only those of the church of christ are the ones searching for the truth? I think there are an awful lot of people who are truly looking for the truth, but get misled. They look, but some false teacher finds them first and blinds their eyes.

I think this is actually an indictment for us. The world is full of seekers, but if we are not there to find them, someone else will.

>Is truth relative? I don't think so.


I don't think so either, but its kind of ilusive. Or rather complicated when we toss people into it.

Rachel said...

I agree,Brew.

We are to seek and save the lost.

The lost seek as well. If we all seek and find, something'll happen eventually.

I don't think the coCers are the only ones going to Heaven.

in fact, there'll be quite a few going elsewhere.

in any case, i'm glad we all discuss together. we're heklping each other get there as a result.

Diana said...

So is that Josh or Rachel??
J/K
I agree with you, love.

bigsip said...

It was Josh, btw.