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  1. It is the most beautiful campus I've seen, but I haven't really seen any other Ivy League schools or been to Europe, which I imagine has stunning places that are even more ancient! One day I will travel more, but for now I have to finish grad school first. The nature is great there, as well as the architecture. I can walk around there for hours, and I feel very blissful to be surrounded by such beauty both of nature and of the art.
  2. No. The acknowledgment of evil has helped to turn me towards God and follow the path of Jesus Christ. I'm not special, something similar happened to Paul, for instance. The devil may win battles, but he will not win the war. The war is mostly spiritual, and although the devil may win a lot of battles on earth (but not all, or even most IMO), the devil cannot win the spiritual war. That is because the Good & the True are Eternal. The evil and the lie are temporary and unsustainable.
  3. I live close to Princeton, NJ, and I often go to the chapel on the university's campus. The stained glass there is incredible! It's a great spot to go for prayer, reflection, and meditation. There is something special that happens when inspired architecture meets inspired art. I would love to go there for a choir performance some day, as I would imagine the acoustics of the place are incredible. If anybody is in central NJ (or even somewhat close), I'd recommend it greatly.
  4. I've been doing intermittent fasting lately, admittedly for the health benefits and increased energy levels. These improvements have helped me spiritually, but I would like to go further and try a fast for spiritual benefits. What would one recommend? I'd like to at least have water, but would having tea and/or coffee be a cop out? I would be grateful to have some input/guidance, as I am new to Christianity and I was thinking about fasting for Spirit lately, so seeing this thread was a nice surprise.
  5. That is interesting - I never even heard of most of them besides escatology and theology. Thanks for sharing!
  6. That's beautiful, thank you for sharing your experience.
  7. Good passages! I have been thinking about "building" a lot lately. It is a good metaphor for living a good, meaningful life under God and under Jesus Christ. It takes lots of time and energy to build a house.... we need a foundation (which I take as faith & wisdom), we need help from our friends who represent the different trades. The house will give us shelter and warmth.
  8. True. The best propaganda is the most subtle. If somebody is obviously deceptive, we can ignore the message. However, when it is so subtle, it can be hard to notice. Especially for children and teenagers. I think the very fact that so many people in Hollywood, the media, and politics are against Christianity (despite what they may claim) is proof that there is something true in it. Why fight something you know is false? People only fight what they know is true, whether the thing they are fighting is good or evil. It is not the rich vs. the poor, or Democrats vs. Conservatives -- as I once naively believed. It is the Good, the Beautiful, and the True against the Evil, the Ugly, and the False. Christ vs. Satan. Love vs. hatred. Selflessness vs. selfishness. That is the real battle on earth.
  9. Sure thing- Long story short, I was working for someone who I thought was a friend. I saw him be dishonest with other people and live a lifestyle that was far from wholesome, although he was always nice to me and there was benefits to our friendship and work partnership. Then, I caught him in a few lies and I had to write off the friendship. I couldn't tolerate him being deceptive and I felt he had something of a sociopathic personality type. Around that same time, I broke up with my girlfriend, which was a good thing but still painful. I loved her deeply and I still do in a platonic way, but she was very unstable and it rubbed off on me. For instance, she once had a dream that I cheated on her (which I never did although I did flirt with other girls, something I regret) and then hit me in the face. It didn't hurt much physically but it did emotionally & spiritually. I decided to move back home. I was on my own since graduating college, and I had a somewhat bohemian lifestyle. I worked on farms and other odd jobs to make money and then I would travel, either to countries with good exchange rates (I could live on $10-20 a day), or bumming around in the U.S., camping in the woods or couchsurfing. The "friend" I mentioned was the manager of one of the farms. After I parted ways with him, I was out of work, and my relationship fell south... since traveling I lost touch with many of my other friends. Around the same time I came in the realization that I was not as good of a person as I previously thought. I didn't think I was terrible or anything, but I no longer saw myself through rose-colored glasses.... I saw my sin, I saw my darkness, I knew that I had much inner work to do. When I was feeling in the darkest moment of that time, I was already agnostic about Christ, though I believed in God (not the Christian God then, I just felt there was a conscious, creative source of reality, it seems more unlikely it could have all happened randomly, not only something out of nothing, but everything out of nothing... it doesn't make sense [that was Parmenides argument, that what is cannot come from that what is not]). So I decided to ask for Christ for guidance, more as an experiment than out of faith. This happened in a hostel while I was waiting to fly back to my parents' home, to live for a bit while I figured things out. I felt a reassurance. I don't really know how to describe it... it wasn't a voice but just a feeling of my spirit being safe. It was like finding a campfire after wandering around lost on a dark night. I wouldn't say I was healed totally, or that I went from feeling bad to feeling amazing, but I felt a reassurance and peace that wasn't there even before my life started to fall apart. I started reading some of Jesus' sayings and passages from the Bible, especially the first 4 books of the New Testament and Psalms (I still need to read the whole thing, just doing bit by bit). Within a few months, I was able to build a new foundation and get a fresh start. I do not believe I could have done it alone. That was my experience, but leading up to that experience was the acknowledgement of evil as a real force in the material and spiritual world. In my past, I was interested in Buddhism and Taoism, and I still find much of these teachings helpful. The Buddha found truth in this world through a brilliant psychological-spiritual system. The Taoists found ways to work with their energy to find good health, harmony with nature, and tranquility. Much of the Taoists believe their work could lead to a positive re-birth. Christianity however, dealt more with the afterlife, and deals directly with the problem of evil. At this time, I was seeing evil all around me, whether darkness within myself, addictions of friends and family, or the disgusting lifestyles of Hollywood and the elites of the world. When I saw that evil, it became more clear to me what is good.... and that aligned with my becoming Christian. In many ways I am still inspired by Buddhism and Taoism, but Christianity was able to speak to a different part of me that the former two did not. So, it was that combination of 1) My personal life going through a dark stage, and 2) Being more aware of the problem of evil, and 3) Meeting and listening to some inspiring Christians, that initiated my experience/experiment. I have my moments of doubt and skepticism still, but I have a foundation of faith built out of my understanding of the world based on my personal experiences. In a way, I feel that I stumbled into Christianity rather than was raised into it. Not that I think this is better, but it is my path and was appropriate for me. I guess that wasn't very short, haha, but that about sums it up. I will be going back in the fall for grad school to be a school psychologist, and I am hoping to make a positive impact on the students that I come across. I am trying to live healthier, be more positive, grow with wisdom and faith. I hope one day I will meet the right woman and start a family. God and Christ have always been there, but I was turned away for much of my life and it took some shock to wake me up and take a different path.
  10. Welcome Michael, I am new here and also named Michael That is a powerful passage -- thanks for sharing it brother. God bless -Logos_Rising
  11. Thank you all for the warm welcomes!
  12. Hi there folks, For the last 10 years or so, I've believed in God, but only in the last 6 months or so have I accepted Jesus Christ in my heart as lord and king. I was agnostic in my teens, but I eventually found a pull towards believing in God that was both logical and intuitive. Just in the sense that a house cannot create itself, I didn't think this universe could come into being without an intelligent creative force. In college, I tried things like meditation and tai chi, which really helped me find peace in my body, clarity in my mind -- but they did not give me that deep spiritual satisfaction I was craving. Being spiritual but not a Christian I was able to improve my life in many ways. I got into better shape, was able to date some pretty women, worked fairly hard. Yet, I always felt a bit disappointed with myself, that I am not living up to my potential. Looking back, I know I was sinning in many ways but rationalizing my sins. I smoked cannabis every day, but I rationalized it because I was sober most the day and I knew people who smoked more. I experimented with harder drugs, mostly psychedelics and MDMA, since they fulfilled my spiritual cravings... temporarily. I looked at porn and rationalized it that I just needed a sexual release and it was a normal and healthy thing to do. I liked some things about Christianity, but when I was younger, I felt much of it was nonsense. I think this had to do with some of the ways the media presents Christians as arrogant, stupid, etc. like Ned Flanders of The Simpsons. I don't like to admit my conditioning, but I am happy I see it now. After seeking the truth, wanting to do good in world, I inevitably found many good Christians who made me reconsider the Christian perspective and Jesus Christ. Some of these were people I met in person, others were those like Owen Benjamin, Vox Day, and E Michael Jones, who do lots of good work. I decided I would be agnostic about Jesus, give him a chance, and see how that resonated. It was a good approach for someone like me, who is a bit skeptical. I was going through a hard period at that time, one of the hardest in my life, and I felt this presence of Christ as the messenger from God. He gave me a peace not just in this world-- but that I would be saved in the next world. However, he did make it clear to me that I would have to work harder and face my sins. I realized that porn was messing me up, for instance if I was in a relationship with a woman and still looked at porn, that is basically cheating on them. Though I never cheated physically, looking at porn was cheating morally, yet I rationalized my sin. Not only that, but porn drains male vitality and creates a warped view on women and the world. I quit smoking cannabis and I do drink alcohol sometimes, but very rarely and never in excess when I do. I am going to go back to school in the fall to pursue a career in School Psychology and I really hope I can make a positive impact on teens. I am reading the Bible, looking for a good church in my area, trying to connect with other Christians and the message & spirit of Jesus Christ. I stumbled on this forum from doing a Google search. I look forward to chatting with some of you and hope being here will enrich my understanding of Christianity. I have made a lot of progress, but I still struggle in ways. I have faith that if I keep it up, I will eventually get to a place where I will be truly and deeply happy with myself and my life, and that I can share the blessings I feel with those around me. I have faith I'll meet the right woman one day and have a beautiful family. Thank you for reading this. God bless all of you. -Logos_Rising
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