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stillseeking

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  1. stillseeking

    I'm an atheist

    This thread is now 22 pages long, so apologies if someone's already brought these points forward, but having used to have been an atheist myself, here are some of the points that really got me thinking: The universe is so finely tuned, to the point where mathematicians have dubbed the utter improbability of a number of speeds, distances, sizes, etc. to be mathematically impossible, that a designer at work makes more sense than assuming random happenstance The arguments that the sources about Jesus are supposedly unreliable don't make sense, once you understand that we have even fewer sources for most other events and persons from ancient history. For example, the sources we have on Jesus are closer to his life and greater in number than Tiberius Caesar or Alexander the Great. Mainstream scholars recognize a number of facts about the historical person of Jesus. These include that he died by crucifixion, that his followers and others claimed to have seen him in body, that Christianity began because of such claims, that the followers of Jesus believed he had risen to the point they were willing to die for their beliefs, that the resurrection story and message began to spread almost immediately after the crucifixion, that Jesus' own unbelieving brother James became a Christian because of his experience with the resurrected Christ, that there was no body in the tomb following the resurrection event, and that the Jewish leaders and Roman authorities who wanted to squash the new movement also admitted there was no body in that they themselves ended up trying to explain it away. Jesus fulfilled all the prophecies about him, many of which he had no reasonable control over, such as where he'd be born, how he'd be betrayed, how the betrayal reward money would be spent, and how he would die.
  2. I'm a believer, but haven't been one for long. To be honest, these are questions that believers can struggle with as well. I'll add a few (and apologies in advance if I've accidentally duplicated someone's previous question): How can we be sure of the exact nature of salvation, when the new testament seems to be full of a thousand ways to accidentally lose it? Why should I believe that God will protect me when he doesn't protect Christians in persecuted countries, allowed the torture/death of countless martyrs, etc. (There absolutely should be a section on there for the historical, scientific, etc. evidence - as these facts are golden and the ONLY things that convinced me to believe...there are many others like me.) I can't really phrase that into one question, though. Why/how can I ever trust a God who doesn't seem to come through for the children he loves? (See question #2) Why do Old Testament laws set double standards for men and women? Maybe for some others, the martyr thing is a reason TO believe, but I don't get it...it's the opposite for me. The fact that God didn't/wouldn't protect them points automatically in my mind to a big reason NOT to trust him. Either he couldn't, or he wouldn't...and either one is a huge problem in my book. A human parent who sees a bully walking down the street and then allows that bully to beat up his young kid is a terrible parent. When God allows these things to happen to Christians, who pray to him for protection, it is VERY hard for me to be trusting. This is something I still struggle with, unfortunately.
  3. stillseeking

    Looking for Resurrection TRUTH

    Even in the days of Polycarp, there was a discrepancy about the proper date to celebrate Easter. Right now, it's thousands of years later, and there are lots of theories out there supporting a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday crucifixion. Spirit-filled Christians believe all any one of them, depending on the individual. On the other hand, though, I'm not sure that God is concerned with which specific days we honor Him, beyond what he's specifically stipulated (controversially perhaps Sabbaths, biblical feasts, etc...and there's disagreement even among these!) He wants us to honor Him either way: Romans 14:4 "Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand. 5One man regards a certain day above the others, while someone else considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. 6He who observes a special day does so to the Lord; he who eats does so to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God"
  4. stillseeking

    Looking for Resurrection TRUTH

    Is this what you're referring to? Still don't see an issue. The Bible doesn't say what day he was or wasn't crucified, so I see no issue with the Bible. Why are you looking for support of a Friday crucifixion?
  5. stillseeking

    Looking for Resurrection TRUTH

    I don't see a discrepancy here. Jewish days began in the evening of what we'd call the previous day. Sabbath began on Friday evening and ended on Saturday evening. Practicing Orthodox Jews and Seventh Day Adventists still use this idea. With that same schedule, the first day of the week, Sunday, actually began on a Saturday evening.
  6. This just hasn't been the case for me. They're either confused or they ignore it, because they "live and let live". I find Christianity to be an extremelely lonely walk, so I'm kind of glad my real friends didn't abandon me.
  7. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    Still no discernment, still no comfort, still only confusion and frustration. I've reached out to people in many forms...and nothing. Everyone has different denominational beliefs to parrot, with no real substance. At this point, I'm becoming more and more convinced by the day that God has abandoned me and I'm a Hebrews 6:4 / Matthew 7:21 victim. I feel like Christianity is one of the worst things that's happened to me...and that's saying a lot for anyone that knows some of the things I've suffered. I don't want to abandon this faith...but if God has abandoned me, it would be futile for me to hold on. I wish I would have accepted God earlier in my life so that he wouldn't have given up on me now.
  8. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    All letters should be read in proper context. There is a lot of uncertainty about what the context is, on a lot of letters. One only need read a handful of Bible commentaries by different authors to find this out. Usually after doing this myself, I walk away thinking, "Wow, I still don't know. I sure wish God would answer that prayer for discernment." Christianity is unique among religions in that it uses letters and histories as a window into what God wants from us--not some supposedly inspired revelation that some sole person had in a vision one day. Thus, we have the additional complication of needing to understand the context in order to properly understand what is being said. The trouble is that no one quite agrees on what that is. Sure, this was written to the Jews, but they are not the only ones capable of hearing the truth of God, being given reason to believe it, and then rejecting it. I believe this might have happened to me. It sure would explain why God doesn't seem to answer any of my prayers.
  9. stillseeking

    Will God answer the prayer, "I want to see You."?

    I wish I could find this encouraging, but I find it discouraging. As long as this goes unfulfilled in our lives, it's an unfulfilled promise. There is no comfort in that. Furthermore, there are those who are crushed and broken-hearted and even die that way.
  10. Regarding the idea of remarriage after a divorce: It was allowed in Old Testament times, even though it wasn't the ideal. A remarried woman should stay with her new husband. Deuteronomy 24:1 "“When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens [a]that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house, 2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3 and if the latter husband [b]turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the Lord, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the Lord your God gives you as an inheritance." Regarding the validity of the second marriage: The biblical definition of marriage, echoed by Jesus in the new testament, is this: Genesis 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh." Note the lack of any specifics regarding ceremonies or licensing. In fact, government registrations of marriages (as an additional requirement BEYOND a regular marriage) didn't even exist until very recently. Even church marriages didn't exist for hundreds of years in the early church.
  11. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    The question still remains, though: What is the meaning of 'do the will of the Father' in Matt. 7:21 whereby those in verse 23 are, to their surprise, rejected on judgement day? Until we can understand the exclusionary conditions pertaining to salvation, we cannot properly understand if we are saved, if we are walking on the right path, etc. Personally, this is the source of a lot of Christianity-induced anxiety and depression. Beyond that, lack of discernment inhibits one's ability to share about salvation with others. Without discernment, if someone directly asked me about salvation, I'd have to give some sort of wishy-washy answer that includes a bunch of precautions about secret potential exclusionary conditions which might bite even the most sincere believer in the back some day. I know there are Christians who can support their biblical interpretations with logic and reason...but to be honest, I'm not finding a whole lot of that here. I find https://christianity.stackexchange.com/ to be a useful resource, where questions are examined and taken seriously. Currently, I am spending more time there than here, for that exact reason. I would love to continue discussing this topic but probably won't check it much unless someone responds further.
  12. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    Incorrect on all counts. Repeating something doesn't make it true. Shame on you for accusing me of these things, especially when I've openly expressed my appreciation and been very patient when people come on here and accuse me of thoughts and motives I simply do not have, as you are doing now. I have questions, and no one can give me any better answer than 'this is my interpretation, just trust God that it is'. Such answers are non-answers, so naturally, I still have questions. We should all be asking questions and seeking, constantly examining ourselves like the Bible suggests instead of assuming we've got it right. You did? If so, apologies, and I missed it. You would also be incorrect to assume I'm looking for a "last word" (although I certainly detect some anger in your post about your own not having one :P) The irony here is thick. I don't care at all who has the "last word". I just want answers...and actually, that means that the last word will, in an ideal world, go to someone else. I want answers, I'm plagued by the uncertainties, and I will continue seeking. And even if you discourage me by continuing to falsely accuse me of motives and ideas which I do not have, I will continue to seek answers, because I do know that God wants at least THAT of me.
  13. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    According to your logic, we all 'rely on our own understanding' due to the fact that all knowledge we receive comes in through the filter of our own perception. That aside, no, there isn't a contradiction. What I'm expressing here in these statements (taken out of context, I'd add) is that I do my best to avoid bias by questioning everything before arriving at a conclusion. Being scientific in my approach to everything is the best way to weed out as much human bias as possible. Most people who accepted something 'on faith' or 'from God' believe different things. Obviously, we have a large number of people who are listening to their own human perspectives, not God, and accepting their very own thoughts as 'God's' when they're not. If only they would question everything, this wouldn't happen so much. I fail to understand the issue you or anyone could possibly have with using the best methods for avoiding bias. Really? How? You seem to enjoy repeating this, but belief in God isn't the issue here; it's a specific of theology. There is no basis for this statement here. Please break YOUR circle. We're not talking about belief here. We're talking about a specific interpretation of a specific verse...one that no one I've talked to quite agrees on. I'm not stuck in a loop at all. I'm waiting here with the very same questions I started with because I haven't gotten any good answers. I'll repeat the summary of the remaining question for clarity: What is the meaning of 'do the will of the Father' in Matt. 7:21 whereby those in verse 23 are, to their surprise, rejected on judgement day? You could say I'm "stuck" there due to not having any clear answers, but there's no reason to state the obvious. Of course I'm stuck here; no answer has been supported by evidence to be better than the others. It's kind of an important issue, since Jesus is talking about people who THINK they're saved and aren't. It's extra important that we don't make assumptions here. I've prayed for discernment, and God hasn't provided any. Not in the form of experience, evidence for one explanation over another, nothing. So I'm not really sure what you're faulting me for at this point, but this accusation of being stuck in a loop isn't helpful; either help answer the question or don't. Good, we're on the same page. I never even said I had OCD. I once used a phrase similar to 'my OCD style repentence prayers' and from then on, you've assumed I officially have OCD. Whether I do or don't is unknown. No. I'm self-examining and changing all the time, not that you're owed this information. It's very funny to me that you, like so many people I've talked to, start talking this way as soon as I don't accept YOUR perspective as the truth immediately. THAT is the real pattern here: 1) I have a question 2) Someone poses an answer 3) I, like the Bereans, question the validity of the answer 4) Questions never get answered, and I remain skeptical 5) Person who provided the answer starts indirectly accusing me of being 'too intellectual' or 'stubborn' or in your case, 'trusting in my own understanding' because they can't accept the fact that the answer they provided was poorly supported or incorrect My question remains because it hasn't been answered: I have many answers, and no idea which is correct. God doesn't provide any guidance or direction on this. In fact, compound this with all the other potential exclusionary conditions to salvation, and I'm fairly certain that God has rejected me like those described in Hebrews 6:4. One would think that a God who wants each of us to be saved would be eager to help out when someone is seeking an answer like this, yet this is not what I observe. I observe that God appears to be ignoring me completely in this regard. All I get is multiple explanations and zero clarity.
  14. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    This isn't a logical conclusion unless one also exempts himself from the teaching of 1 & 2 Corinthians because he's not a resident of Corinth, or from the contents of Ephesians because he does not live there, or from any of the letters of the New Testament because we are not the original audience. Were your assumption true, our new testament would be significantly shorter.
  15. stillseeking

    Reluctant new believer with some challenges

    I don't expect God to be a computer. Scriptures are unclear and are interpreted differently by everyone I talk to. I have no idea what is correct. If God won't let me know what he wants, then I'm not exactly sure how I can even do my best at trying to do it. Many early Christians were binitarian. Many today still are. Christians disagree on this just like they disagree on everything in the Bible. Thanks for reminding me of yet another point of doctrine on which the Bible is unclear and on which Christians disagree. I find that the opposite is true thus far. This has CAUSED more worries and depression. I'm a little confused. You asked if I'm being judgemental against them and then presented two possibilities, which would potentially require the prerequisite of having made a judgement call. Define what you mean by judgemental, and I'll do my best to assess whether I think my reaction to these churches falls into that category. Since I was a young child, I've had a very strong ability to spot a bad apple. My parents even knew it. As far as the answer to your question, I generally choose the words I choose with purpose. By "hypocrites", I mean the dictionary definition of such. There's no direct commandment to attend church. I don't lean on my own understanding, and I question everything...but ironically, exactly because of this, people tell me I don't "trust God". I don't trust myself to even know if God is speaking. I don't have any clear discernment about the definition of "the will of the Father", and because I don't trust myself or any specific person, I STILL don't know the answer. Various people get frustrated with me and claim they've "given me the truth", and yet what they're really asking me to do is trust THEM...and they never realize it. Praying and seeking God and his wisdom largely goes nowhere. Thus, the continued frustration. Thus, the feeling that God has given up on me as in Hebrews 6:4. Really? How diverse is the group of Christians you talk to? I've found the opposite to be true. Ask 5 different Christians what a verse means, and they'll give you 5 different answers. Each person, of course, believes his or interpretation is God-breathed. Unlikely. This seems rather obvious to me, though, and it's one reason Christianity is so miserable and depressing. We're forced to keep ourselves constrained inside a path where perfection is the goal, which is psychologically damaging, and where we can absolutely never feel good about ourselves no matter what. Why? In anything, we may have even unknowingly sinned, and we wouldn't really be repenting if we didn't focus on doing so constantly. Constantly focusing on one's shortcomings is also a recipe for psychological disaster. This way of life is miserable and frustrating, but if it is how God wants me to live, then so be it. I'd rather live a frustrating and miserable life than end up in hell. My understanding is generally along these lines. However, it does appear that there is an emotional component, which I can't seem to grasp. We're supposed to love with all our being. I try to make my choices go along with this, and it's miserable. I always feel like God is some angry task master hanging the threat of hell over my head. I'm not sure how you can choose to love someone, especially someone who refuses to communicate intelligibly or make himself clear. I can choose to try, but that's not quite the same. Emotions or not, though, I still have no way to determine whether or not the exclusionary conditions for salvation describe me. Until I can determine that they do not, I really can't move forward at all. I can't 'do the will of the Father' unless I know what it is. I can't know what to tell others about salvation if I still have no idea about the specifics of the conditions under which one is NOT saved. I'm paralyzed by depression and feelings of abandonment the longer that the complete lack of clarity on these things permeates my emotions from the time I wake to the time I sleep.
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