Saturday, April 01, 2006

Losing My Faith


As long as I can remember, I have wanted to understand how the world around me works. My faith was an important part of that; it was not just for my comfort or pleasure (although it brought these), but more importantly it enabled me to understand the unseen parts of this world and the next. The Bible revealed much that I could not obtain elsewhere. I believed the Christian message about my sin, God's forgiveness and gaining salvation through Jesus. I read my Bible daily, went to church and fellowship and small-group meetings. I was strongly involved in evangelism and sought to bring my friends and others into a right understanding of God and the world and their need for forgiveness so they could gain salvation too.

There were two significant events and a few lines of thought that lead to a crumbling of this faith. The first event was a discussion over dinner with two people I had met from the International Church of Christ: a sect of Christianity that thinks it is the true church. We were discussing our faiths. Tim, the more experienced of the two, was a strong believer and active in his church and spreading the faith. There was a lot I had in common with him, and to some extent I saw myself in him. But we had some disagreements. He took some passages in the New Testament about making disciples as implying we had to be actively evangelizing every day, otherwise our faith was void. We discussed it in length and I tried to show Tim that his belief was ludicrous. But he was absolutely convinced that his interpretation was correct and that those of us who disagreed were wrong and going to hell. And that is how our discussion ended, with no progress. As I thought back over our discussion I was amazed that someone who seemed so reasonable and strong in faith was so confident in a belief that was so obviously false. The disturbing question it raised for me was this: might I be like Tim, confident in beliefs that if I were more objective I would see were clearly false? I concluded that confidence in a belief is not good evidence that it is true. Rather such confidence, where evidence is weak such as in spiritual things and knowing God's will and as often showed by Christian leaders, is most likely a mask for ignorance.

The second event was actually a semester long course on creation and evolution that I taught to the youth at a Southern Baptist church I attended. I wanted it to be as fair a presentation of all the evidence and views involved, so I did a lot of research into the creation-evolution debate. Whether evolution is true or not, I didn’t know. What surprised me, though, were the arguments used by Christian organizations to counter evolution. Arguments like: the decay of the earth’s magnetic field indicates that the earth can’t be older than 10 thousand years old. This and a number of the other arguments (which I had learned when I was young) had long since been shown to be false, and yet they were still being printed without disclaimers and included in curricula for students. How could Christians, who were claiming to be spreading the truth, be using falsehoods to achieve this goal? Perhaps what was more important than truth of the message, was simply convincing people of the message. This, of course, is not restricted to the creation-evolution debate. There are many beliefs Christians seek to convince others of; but are Christians scrupulous to use only truthful arguments for these? I began to wonder if that were so. As I thought back over various evangelism efforts I was familiar with, I realized indeed making converts was the goal, and the truth of the message or the arguments did not matter. Even the Biblical authors are guilty of this. There are numerous times in the New Testament where anyone who disagrees with and disbelieves the author is labeled an evildoer and described in horrible language (for example Romans 1:18-32). Clearly there are many morally good unbelievers who reject the gospel message (I'm not saying they are perfect), but it is convenient and rhetorically powerful to ignore this fact. This is another example of truth being discarded for the sake of making converts. Should I really have faith in a message that is so casual about truth?

Ask a Christian why he believes, and he will have a reason, especially if he is involved in evangelism. But are these reasons for faith really reasons for the truth of the belief? Of course I can’t evaluate all the reasons here, but the surprising thing is that most of the reasons most people give aren’t actually reasons for the truth of the message. For example, people believe because they were healed from something when they prayed, or because faith gives them great joy and hope and peace, or because they at last feel forgiveness, or because they want to go to heaven in the afterlife, and so forth. But none of these speak to the truth of the belief. One can be miraculously healed without the gospel message being true (see my post: What do miracles prove?), one can gain great joy, hope, peace and forgiveness simply through having a belief, without the belief being true, and one can be confident that one is going to heaven without that being true. What I found as I thought more carefully, listen to sermons, read apologetics books and read the arguments in the Bible, was that despite finding many “reasons” for faith, there are very few reasons or evidence for the truth of the gospel message. But I only want to believe a message if it is true.

My last line of reasoning is probably the most important for me, and one that I have considered on and off for a number of years. Christianity depends on divine authority for its message which it proclaims with with no uncertainty. The natural question this poses is: How can one know if a message is from God? The common answer is: Find it in the Bible. But that just pushes the question back one step: How do we know the Bible is a divine message to us? That’s a hard question, and it compels a similarly difficult question: How did the original writers or prophets know that their message was from God? Say one of the prophets heard a voice; How is he to know if it is from God? Or maybe he saw an angel; Does that mean that what he heard was from God? Who knows what spiritual things exist outside our experience; if one of them appears and claims to be from God, why should we believe it? How can one we sure that it is speaking the truth or that it is trying to deceive the prophet? (The simple tests sometimes proposed assume these creatures are idiots -- one must assume they are at least as smart and knowledgeable as any human and so could easily deceive any human.) In addition, how can anyone who hears the prophet know that he got his message from God? One might say, well if he does signs and wonders then one should believe. But if there are powers out there, then it could be any power doing the signs and wonders. Another answer is: One knows through spiritual insight. That is to say, one feels it is from God so it is from God, or equivalently one feels it is true so it is true. That is a statement of ultimate subjectivity and not surprisingly there is a plethora of contradictory feelings as to what is from God. Luckily the scientific approach has moved us beyond that dead end of pure subjectivity. Another answer is: Listen to what Jesus said. But if Jesus was a human, he would have similar difficulties as we in determining what the divine message was – just like we can’t know for sure, he wouldn’t know for sure. Doing great works and rising from the dead aren’t a demonstration that he was right in his message. So we are stuck, unable to be sure of anything about the spiritual world that lies outside our realm of experience. Nevertheless there are religions that claim to know all about the spiritual world without a shadow of a doubt. It seems clear to me that there is a lot of bluffing and deception going on.

The conclusion that I have drawn is that while Christianity claims to speak the truth with divine inspiration, the evidence for this is completely lacking. None of the reasons or evidences I have seen proposed actually justify it. Moreover, the confidence in which the message is stated actually counts against its likelihood, since the speakers refuse to accept the inherent uncertainty in any such pronouncement. Indeed there is plenty of evidence of Christianity from the begining being more concerned about making and keeping converts than preserving the truth. My goal is to find the truth, and if I am to be honest in that search I have to move on from my faith in infallible claims of divine pronouncements.

131 comments:

  1. Daniel, you rule out the possibility of the supernatural; that is, that 1)there is such a thing as the Holy Spirit and 2) that He leads a person to choosing to believe God and accepting Jesus' sacrifice on his behalf. You seem to think that a person must logically reason himself to a saving faith if that faith is worth anything. But if it's merely a man's research and contemplation involved to lead him into eternal salvation, then that is salvation by works, salvation by oneself, not by God's grace. Are you completely closed to the idea that there are powers at work beyond the scope of man, both good powers and evil powers?

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  2. I think your reaction is interesting. From my perspective, your description of why you lost your faith doesn't have to lead to a loss of faith. Most of the points you describe are really your dissatisfaction with CHRISTIANS. It is possible for many believers to be wrong about certain points (and even to be intentionally misleading, as your creation and evolution story points out) but for the faith itself to be true. We are all humans and all make mistakes in interpretation. But is that a reason to cause someone to lose faith altogether?

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  3. Tanya, let me ask this: Do you want a supernatural being causing you to believe something? (What does "to lead" mean if not "to cause"?) For me, I will believe something if I'm sure it is true, but I can only be sure something is true is I can see strong evidence in support of it. There are lots of seductive ideas or religions that I could believe in, but I think that it is my responsibility as a human to critically analyze them and only believe them if they are highly likely to be true.

    As for supernatural beings, are there good reasons to believe they exist? Considering Occam's razor: is there anything that requires the supernatural for explanation? Otherwise it seems much simpler to find natural explanations for events in this world.

    Daniel

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  4. To anonymous: True, those are dissatisfactions with Christians or people. But everything we know of Christianity (except our own experiences) is from other people. People had the experiences recorded in the Bible, and wrote the Bible and wrote interpretations of it and those have become the foundation of the faith. It is probably right to put more weight in judging those people and their experiences. But also, as Jesus said, you can judge them by their fruits, and I think this applies to the Christian faith itself -- does it do good or bad or both? I see quite a bit of both.

    Daniel

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  5. Could you expand a little about how you see both good and bad in the Christian faith?

    Thank you.

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  6. Can we really do good things away from God's understanding of good and evil which is based on the commandments?

    The Islamic faith believes the killing of infidels and polygamy are "good things." Where is common sense in their belief system? Can common sense exist away from the commandments? The evidence seems to contradict this assumption.

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  7. To Daniel,

    It's evident that in our times, we can no longer discern between good and bad.

    I believe that Christians will do both good and bad things depending on how good they practice their faith.

    Nonetheless, good and bad has become a matter of opinion in contrast to how it used to be in the past.

    We used to know that it is wrong to use drugs, to get drunk, to have an abortion, to DUI, to rape, to have sex with animals and/or and to have sex with other human beings of the same sex.

    We can no longer see the cruelty of these actions, their nocive effects, and their anti-natural origins.

    Our motto has become "if it Feels good,then it Must Be Good".

    If a Christian engages in any of the above mentioned conducts, he knows that he has sinned and needs to repent in order to be in communion with God again.

    But if a fallen away Christian engages in these practices, he sometimes chooses to convince himself that God does not exist and that heaven and hell are only figments of his imagination instead of changing his misconduct.

    It's easier to say as the prodigal son did, probably weeping with sorrow, "Father, I have sinned against Heaven and against You and I am no longer worthy to be called Your son..."

    The Father, seeing his son still far away in the distance, runs to his encounter, has him dressed him with the finest garments and prepares a feast in his honor. Now, THAT is the God whom I love!!!!

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  8. I don't see how this is relevant to my post. I'm not primarily asking for a moral system. A loving system is nice, but not sufficient. Rather I am looking for a system that honestly respects and values truth.

    Daniel

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  9. Truth...quid est Veritas? (What is Truth?) asked Pilate in M. Gibson's movie, The Passion of The Christ. And his wife answered: "If you do not Listen to it, nobody can tell you."

    When Peter said to Jesus: "You are the Son of the Living God", he was not expressing his opinion but the Truth as it was revealed to him by God. Truth can only be revealed but it can never be imposed. God does not compel us, he invites us.

    The question is whose truth are we willing to follow? Ours, the world's, the devil's, the flesh's, or God's?

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  10. Would I have the courtesy of your reply?

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  11. I don't really care to be preached at. From my observation preaching contains a great lack of truth, even though it speaks with authority. I seek truth through reason and experiment and careful assessment of truth claims. That, I believe, is the best we can do as humans.

    Daniel

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  12. Well, I won't preach at you Daniel. I'm just glad you are asking the questions in such an articulate way. I have many of the same questions, but am unable to voice them quite as coherently as you've one here.

    Thanks for the post.

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  13. I really enjoyed this post which I found when using google. I'm happy to see that you don't use faith, and instead use evidence.

    All in all, I'm happy to see that you are using your head, not your heart. The heart can mislead, and as you noticed yourself, no matter how much you believe something is true or feel something exists, that isn't evidence.

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  14. DM

    I truely hope your search for the truth will bear fruit. I have a question though. I'm not sure if you've already been doing this as you continue your search for the trueth - may I suggest prayer a short daily prayer.

    If God truely exists then He will listen and your prayer

    A word of encouragement regarding prayer - Jesus himself states in Luke 11:9-10
    "So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

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  15. You write: may I suggest prayer a short daily prayer.

    But what should one pray for? Does one pray for evidence? It seems better to look for that on one's own and ask others. Or does one pray for assurance in God's existence? I think this is what Christians usually recommend. But confidence that is not based on evidence is unrelated to its truth. But I want to know the truth. That is I want know what I can know based on evidence and reason, and accept ignorance in what I can't. I think that is much more honest than seeking confidence in something that may not be true.

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  16. Daniel, Isn't it funny how when you start to question your personal faith you begin to see 2 sides of this situation. In doing so you realize how empty, repetitive and prepared your answers from other followers of your faith are, and how they really never answer any of your questions.
    I always get a sick feeling in my stomach, almost like a light- headedness when I find truth somewhere. Generally it's because it contradicts what I have been believing all along. I really don't think I could handle the whole truth spilled on me at one time. I have kind of learned that the more truth I stumble upon, the less support groups there are for me. Truley I say to you, you are one of few in your search for truth. There is no website, church, religion that will 100% give you a satisfactory answer.
    It's frustrating because really, you probably just want to know what God or whatever wants from you and some direction. I look around at the sadness in the world and I see it run by money and power, not compassion. I also see churches running parallel to the world more and more each day. Less eager to help... more eager to gain new members. You won't see new churches going up in poor areas. They are all being constructed around the wealthy communities with their 100 ft steeples and gymnasiums attatched onto the back. There is more and more religious discrimination, less dialog. More and more separation, less understanding. People walk around knowing how to refute any criticism there is against Christianity, and no willingness to listen. I feel you bro, it's why I found my way to this blog. JoooBlooo

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  17. JoooBlooo,

    I like your comments and observations about churches. Yes, winning converts seems to be the measure of success for many of them. Concern about truth is way down at the bottom of the list.

    Daniel

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  18. I really hate to bash the church. There are good people and good values in Christianity. I think, however, that any person on the face of this planet that really wants to seek truth must be willing to question his/her own beliefs. If one is not willing to step out of the box, and look in on thier beliefs and just follow them blindly, then they are not searching no matter what thier religion is.

    This isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some people don't need anything more than a simple guideline to follow. A religion showing enough morality for them to imitate and become a more than good and compassionate person.

    I, however, am a seeker and a questioner of religion and life. I don't like someone telling me that God wants me to live a certain way, when I know it really is for their best interest. A good example is tithing. A pastor in a sermon I heard said "what are you going to tell Jesus in heaven when he sits down next to you and asks why didn't you tithe to me?" When in fact, tithing 10% of your money to church is not anywhere in the bible. Actually, tithing any money is not even in the bible. People say that it is the old law and we must still follow it. Funny, cause even the jews don't tithe, who are very strict on their old laws. It was passed into law by the Catholic church in the year 777 after 4 failed attempts.
    Basically, the pastor was giving his followers a guilt trip based on nothing other than greed for his own benefit. One day I'll tell Jesus "because I was tired of watching pastors driving around in BMW's with meth problems"
    Jesus repeatedly says to give help to the poor. In my city there are more churches than homeless people. If each church helped one homeless person there would be no more. Sadly they sit downtown rummaging through garbage daily, invisible to this "Christian" community.

    I think it's funny that if a muslim, hindu, or buddhist is a kind, compassionate, humble person, the average christian will tell you he is going to hell. They give all these non-biblical reasons that they have heard their whole life. I can easily sit with just about any christian for a lengthy conversation and at the end they will feel misled by the "mainstream" ideals they have been forcefed.

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  19. I'd have to say think about why you believe something. I don't take the Bible literally as far as the earth being flat like a plane. It could be the writer's understanding of the world and how the sun moves before we had technology. I've been studying the beliefs of Fundamentalism/ultra-conservatism, and have to question where the church is going in the future with that approach.

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  20. The opposite of faith is not disbelief or doubt, the opposite of faith is fear. A good church will allow you to have faith and still have doubts.

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  21. I must say losing faith has not resulted in fear, rather the opposite; I've been released from fear of hell for myself and for others I care for.

    But I do suspect that many escape fear of death by embracing faith in something that promises an afterlife. But escaping fear is not a good reason to believe something nor to have faith.

    Daniel

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  22. If you care and value the truth, then look no further, Islam is your answer. Pick a copy of the translation of the Qur'an (Yusuf Ali) from your local bookstore and read. The Qur'an will challenge your intellect by exhorting its use in pursuit of the truth.

    Susan's comments are blatantly false.

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  23. It is strange that people can so easily claim a particular book is the only way to the truth. On what basis can anyone make that claim?

    Surely if one really wants the truth one will read any and every book critically, and not accept claims based on pure authority.

    Daniel

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  24. I know you wrote this post a long time ago, but I just stumbled across it. I am going through a very similar struggle. I won't get into detail, but I have realized that nearly everything I had believed was based on a book; a book with contradictions and confusion. A God of love and a God who commands genocide. A Testament (Old) with no mention of the Christian "devil" or hell and a Testament (New) that continually speaks of the devil and hell in its very short 27 letters. A God that supposedly inspired one of the Bible's writers to say "happy are they that dash thy little ones against the stones" and also said "suffer the children to come to me, and forbid them not". Jesus said that whoever believes in him will do the miracles that he did, or receive anything asked for. Really? When? How? Where? I'm tired of the counter arguments that are so feeble. You take salvation, heaven and hell literally but not the passages that say we can do the things that Jesus did "miracles" and greater things even, if we believe in him. Or that we will get whatever we ask for in his name. Why don't you take that literally? Come on. Wake up. I don't want to lose my faith, but I can't help it. How can I believe it? Someone will say to me "you were never saved in the first place". That's a really nice ignorant response. I was extremely zealous and faithful. I am a deacon and am studying to be a pastor. I have/had real faith. Get smart.

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  25. If I may be so bold. My intentions are for good, not ill.

    In reading many of your articles/thoughts on your blog I was aware of something missing, something incomplete. No one can say that you haven't exercised your mind, however it's like there is a dimension to your writings that is underdeveloped or missing entirely - and I mean that with full respect. I think what is missing is a sense of "heart" or "feeling" or "emotion". I think that some of your frustrations stem from this lack or perhaps divorce of human dimensionality. It's as if you had a "heart" at one time but now you don't trust it so you seek to wall it off and invalidate it.

    Heart - it's what art is made from. Heart - it's music. Heart - it's beauty. Heart - it's love. Heart - it's feelings. Heart - it's non scientific and ethereal. Heart - it can not be proved. But Heart is essential for fleshing out ourselves as fully dimensional human beings. I wonder what is in your heart. What do you feel? Why don't you trust your feelings? Have you stopped your heart out of distrust for your feelings?

    Anyway, it's just an observation. And again I hope I have not been too bold.

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  26. If I were deciding what to believe primarily by my feelings, I'm sure I would still be a Christian. It is a good life being a Christian: one has the ability to talk directly to God, many friends, support, community, confidence that one is going to heaven after death and more. I certainly was very happy being a Christian, even (and perhaps especially) through hardships.

    But wanting to know the truth out-weighs all of the above. I do not want to live a happy but deluded life. I will not conciously delude myself, but also I want to make sure I am not subconciously deluding myself. And my journey away from Christianity has been painful, but it has also been rewarding in the sense that I know I am growing and learning and approaching the truth.

    Daniel

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  27. The truth is, there are mysteries that can not be understood by the mind alone. You can't get there from here without something you have overlooked. But you seem to have invalidated the "there" part because "I will not conciously delude myself" ... "by my feelings" etc.

    Let me illustrate:

    "There be three things which are too wonderful for me,
    yea, four which I know not:

    The way of an eagle in the air;
    the way of a serpent upon a rock;
    the way of a ship in the midst of the sea;
    and the way of a man with a maiden."

    Perhaps science has understood the first three, but the last one...? It's a mystery... So how does DM solve it, or "resolve" it? (rhetorical question)

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  28. Hi Daniel,

    Your experience seems to reflect my present situation very well. I was raised by two christian parents, have attended church since I can remember and I never doubted or questioned the existence of the God of the Bible or the Christian doctrine.

    For me the Bible was the revealed Truth of God. It all made perfect sense. A few years ago I devoted my life to Jesus, having been convicted of my sin and my need for a saviour. Jesus became the most precious person in my life. A heavenly father who loves and cares for me personally and always watches over me was a great comfort, especially in times of trouble.

    I am now 17 years old. For a while, I was able to dismiss the criticisms I heard of Christianity. I would read apologetics websites and satisfy myself that all was well. However, recently I have begun to question whether my faith is genuine, whether the God who I have prayed to for all this years is really just a figment of my imagination. Right now, I really don't know. I want to believe but I don't know that I can go on believing when I have so many doubts. I've had these thoughts for a few weeks now.

    This morning at church, my minister asked me if I would be interested in being baptised. If he'd asked me a few weeks back I would almost certainly have said yes. But right now I know that I can't. It would be wrong to commit myself to something which I now have so many doubt about. If anything my faith taught me to always search for the Truth. It is because of that that I am not willing to commit to something which no longer feels true.

    This evening I intend to speak with my minister and tell him where I am. It may be that this is merely a crisis of faith that I will be able to recover from this and once again commit my life to the God of the Bible. If Christianity is the Truth, I pray that God will leave me in no doubt. I will certainly not close the door to Christianity. For now though I just need some time to take a step back and think.

    My biggest fear is causing my Christian friends distress. I know what it was to be a Christian who believes wholeheartedly in the eternal damnation of those who don't accept Jesus. Earlier when I told my mother about my situation she was understanding but visibly upset and concerned for me. I love her so much and don't want to upset her. But I have to do this for myself. I need to find the truth.

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  29. To Anonymous,

    All the best on your search. My only advice is not to be rushed or pressured into a decision, and to keep up your search for truth. I can understand your concern for what your Christian friends will think as I had similar concerns, but I believe finding truth is a much more important thing.

    Daniel

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  30. As a Catholic convert, I too, was looking for answers to deeper religious questions. Questions like
    How do you know God exists? or Why does one have to believe to be saved when my actions define who I am?
    Many answers to these are self-supporting (God is the truth, therefore believe in God), (Mary betrothed Jesus, so she was still virgin). But none seem to be based on objective truth - as Daniel has implied, the thin line between religion and psychosis is only a
    vision away. I've been turned down
    many times when asking to talk open-minded w/ people who are denominational. It's come down to me asking God to do something I'm not supposed to as a Catholic: give me proof you exist, objectively. Otherwise I can still achieve what many worship God for in the first place: hope for the future in a so-called hopeless world. The Bible is a great book on best-practices living, but I don't need to believe in God to
    use it as a reference.

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  31. Daniel,

    I only today discovered your blog, and having been a Christian for 35 years now, can sympathize with your plight. I too am the man you paint in your initial post and very much struggle with my faith: "Is it real?" "Am I just playing a game?" "How can I be certain?" and similar questions. I offer two suggestions, both of which do not completely satisfy, but are somewhat helpful nonetheless:

    1. What is the alternative to our faith? Nothingness at worst, uncertainty at best. I cannot conceive of the world making sense outside the Christian framework. Of particular concern is the alternative of atheism. If true, if there really is no God, then there is nothing but meaninglessness. There is no good, no evil. There's nothing wrong with murder, because there's no morality to be associated with it, other than that of our own making. If atheism is true, then it's all just "matter in motion"...as meaningless as a chemical reaction. Do we really believe that is the nature of the universe? Something inside us says no, and I along with C. S. Lewis believe that 'something' is from God. So that's the first thing: nothing makes sense apart from God.

    2. Secondly, I've been reading Tim Keller's "The Reason for God." Fascinating. It's a compilation of tough issues/questions he's amassed over the years as a pastor to a diverse inner-city congregation. "Why does God allow evil?" "Isn't Christianity a straitjacket?" What I've learned from him(and this has been VERY helpful) is that just because something doesn't make sense to me, doesn't mean it can't. Keller does a good job of getting us to question our presuppositions. If there is a reason behind everything, what makes me think that such a reason is accessible by my intellect? Just because something seems meaningless to me, that doesn't mean it is. It doesn't seem like I'm spinning around at about 1000mph right now, but I am! He showed me that my doubts are based on a huge faith in my own cognitive powers and ability to reason.

    Again, these two things have helped me a lot. I don't know that we'll ever get to where all doubt is removed(at least thinking people won't get there). But these two things: making sense of a universe without God, and questioning my reliance on my own cognition have caused me to question my doubts and in term, strengthened my faith. I'm not speaking as one with all the answers, just as one who has found some useful things and wants to pass them on to a brother.

    Hope this helps in some way,
    SP

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  32. SP:

    It seems to me that in (2) you have answered (1) partially. Because you don't see meaning/purpose in life without God doesn't mean that there isn't. Actually, I think there is a lot of meaning and purpose to be found in our lives. I find it through family, relationships, work, activities I do and so on. It doesn't matter that they are all temporary, rather that simply increases their value; I only have a short time to live and enjoy them.


    You write: "He showed me that my doubts are based on a huge faith in my own cognitive powers and ability to reason." If you don't trust your cognitive powers, you might as well believe everything anyone tells you; join the cult down the road as perhaps they are right. I say the opposite. If someone makes a claim that doesn't make sense and then insists that it is true and that you should believe it, then it is a good time to be suspicious.

    If you would like an alternative perspective to Keller's, have a look at my review of the book godless. Dan Barker makes the case that atheism has a lot of merit compared to Christianity.

    DM

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  33. I understand what you are saying and sometimes feel the same way. I thought I was the only one in the world that had those thoughts about who really knew the truth. But then I refresh my mind with Jesus's words. "I am the Way the Truth and the Life." I believe some Christians do want others to believe exactly what they believe and how God uses them. Then I look at the stories in the Bible and I see that there is no character in the Bible that God uses the same way as another, not even the angels. God made us different to glorify Himself. It is all about him. He will use which ever human he wants and however he wants to glorify himself. I believe that while God is gaining this glory, I get some attention for being the human he used. I started looking at other Christians as tools God is using to get other peoples attention. The initial message or gospel is used to turn on the switch. Now the soul has been activated and the human begins his personal journey to the glory of God. The journey will never be perfect, because of the virus 'sin' that is in the human network. It is through bits and pieces of information that each human will get a better picture of the puzzle. I for one do not think that life is hard and I am far from having all the luxuries and pleasures that most would consider as having it good. I will not disregard what others have said or preached because I think that God is giving me clues. He cannot feed me with everything or I will either get too pompous or prideful when I see how much I know. I believe pride would be the biggest killer of all. Also, since other humans may not yet be on that level I will most likely be alone. I may be ahead but I can't be too ahead or I may need to go live with the angels and have conversations with them, since no human knows what I know. I look at the criminal on the cross next to Jesus as he hung there and I will have to believe that he was there since Jesus Himself spoke to him. That criminal did not know anything at all about Jesus and just believed in him. He didn't go to church or hear preachers on the corners, yet he was promised eternity that very moment. I know for sure that there is no other way to God but by Jesus. I will discredit all other belief systems as judgmental as it sounds. Only being a Christian puts me in a position to seek out the Lord. He puts me in a position on this planet to communicate with him through my wrong decisions and through the right ones. He always wants to be acknowledged and He will turn up the flames and put me to the furnace of tests so that I can see for myself how much I really love him and what I would be willing to endure for his Imperial Majesty. Then when it pleases Him, He will reward me. God can reward me in two ways. One is that he can give me what I want or he can take my life. Both ways I win. But if I'm still alive and still don't have the desires of my heart, then it is possible that he is not done yet.
    How can I lose my faith in God? He doesn’t even permit me to lose it. How many times I have questioned the way other Christians do things and I find it is all the more that I want to know God. Life is not hard nor is it what we make it. It has already been decided. It is a cosmic picture puzzle where everyone has pieces to come up with the full picture. The ultimate picture is all God. Like any puzzle some parts where the picture gets more complex, the pieces are harder to find in the box and put together. This is a cosmic puzzle and when the last piece has been put in place, God will be revealed in His ultimate return. Then we will see him and it will be good. There are two ways to go through life for the Christian while working on this picture puzzle; the express and the local and there is only one last stop. Some of us get it faster than others and some seem to take forever. I would have to think of this as crowd control but the last stop is Christ Central. Jesus Christ is the only Truth I know. This is for the humans where we feel there is no hope because of their wicked nature. As much as it hurts sometimes when other human beings do things that seem cruel, I’ve been thinking they are technically sick. The virus of sin is in everyone and some of us have been vaccinated while others are not. Depending on how weak their spiritual immune system, some may break down faster than others and sin more while others may sin less. Nonetheless they are all sick. The anti sin virus is Christ, so those that believe in him will not perish but have everlasting life. No man that wants to feel well will purposefully do things that will make him feel bad. Therefore if you are a kind human at heart, it to be more troubling if you try to be unkind. Believe in the name of the Lord and you will be saved. If you have been set free by the Truth (Jesus) then you are free indeed.

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  34. I am curious if you have read Lee Strobel's work and what your thoughts are on that if you have? Thanks.

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  35. I have read the book called "The Case for Christ" (or something like that). I was not impressed at all. He is clearly not an historian, and he ignores how historians judge reliability. He seems to take te gospels as independent accounts, when historians have shown that they are not independent but depend on common source material. Those and similar issues wipe out his case.

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  36. I really relate to this message. When I was young I had an experience of "God's Pressence" while I was reading the Bible and I got very excited for the Christian faith. I decided to start from square one and learn as much as I could about my faith. As I went along my faith slowly broke down, starting with creationism. It's ridiculous I mean there's no substantial proof for anything creationist, and there are truck loads of evidence for evolution. My next discovery was how flawed the Bible was for example in the Old Testament David takes the census of Israel and while Kings says God made him do it Chronicles says the Devil made him do it! Umm you really can't mix up the God and the Devil lol. This resulted in me becoming Roman Catholic which bases it's faith on the Church and not on the Bible and this was awesome for a while but it seems as if being Catholic is less realistic then climbing mount Everest! No sex until marriage, no sex with contraceptives, no sex, no sex, no sex! lol That pretty much sums up Catholic morality in my experience. The result of which was major mistakes and failures in guess what area! Sex! lol. You keep daming up a river and eventually it'll break down and cause more damage then if you just left it alone in the first place. Now I'm in a state of barely hanging on I just started College and listening to people who don't believe I'm finding there far from evil but their just as confused as I am. There willing to believe if someone would just show them what to believe! The Christian on the other hand live in a fantasy land, they close their eyes and ears to the truth and just walk on in ignorance. All I'm left asking is Where is God?

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  37. Westcott: finding truth and wisdom is a difficult endeavor. One thing I am certain of, though: one does not get there through the fear of God.

    Daniel

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  38. Daniel,

    This was a refreshing read for me on so many levels because I too am having a hard time dealing with the truth of Christianity and the discussions people are unwilling to have. My questions are legitamate, but the common, "you just have to have faith" answer is overused and cliche'.

    I began having faith problems while taking seminary classes and reading books where Christians couldn't even decide which doctrine was true. 5 views on apologetics, 4 views on hell. It seems that every issue can be debated. Why is it then that salvation is not up for debate. My questions to the so called experts...

    1. If I am born in America, the chances are that I will hear about Christ dozens and dozens of times in my lifetime, however someone in Africa or China may only hear about Christ once when a missionary roles through. So, how can a loving God send that person to hell if he rejects this once, but allow me into heaven when I accept it after rejecting it hundreds of times.

    2. How can we really rely on the Bible as completely God's Word when we don't have any original copies, the books were chosen by politicians based on the needs of their constiuents of that day, and translations of translations have proven to have inaccuracies in them.

    Truth seems to be something that we may only know in the end, but I think that Christians, and all religions for that matter are allowing themselves to be stifled by their leadership. When we don't know the truth, we become slaves to the lies. Maybe that is why we have such a big problem today.

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  39. Another great article. I'm really digging your blog, dude. I had all the same issues, but I'm more careful or conservative by nature I think. I haven't abandoned Christianity, only opened my mind to other versions of it and other versions of religion, agnosticism and atheism. I would currently describe myself as a conservative agnostic Christian Universalist.

    One thing I've noticed in many accounts of those who lose their faith is this process of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. One reason I appreciate you blog is that you don't stomp on the babies neck after dumping it. You are still engaging Christianity on it's terms with all the intimacy and concern one would normally have with loved ones still inside it.

    I've found that one does not have to be binary in their acceptance or rejection of any particular belief system. I don't think that Truth lies in atheism or theism proper, and just jumping from one side to the other accomplishes little. Because both sides claim knowledge that is epistemologically untenable.

    I applaud your search for Truth above received tradition, but I'd also encourage you to remain open to shades of Truth that you may have hastily discarded in the euphoric rush of post conversion mental spring cleaning. After all, while you can't Know what authority may be correct about any particular idea, you also can't Know that your discernment is the best out there. Embrace your inability to Know and you will learn much.

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  40. Daniel,

    first some info then a question--
    saved age 5,in church every Sun & Sun night and Wed. night entire life, mom Christian School teacher,dad deacon-I married a deacon's daughter,I'm a Christian HS grad,door to door "soulwinner" also attended Christian Univ., big leader in my church,my kids at Christian school...you get the idea....
    I just Googled "loosing my faith" tonight and found this blog.Thank you! I feel like I've found a kindred spirit. I'm SECRETLY losing my faith...the more I study the BASIS of what I believe the more I feel my entire life crumbling...my entire foundation is falling beneath my feet...and I can't talk to anyone about it--all my friends are Christians-they wouldn't understand-they have never studied what I have-they would never consider it as truth anyway...there are always answers.
    Question: did you experience any feelings of being overwhelmed by the loss of your religion? I do...
    I mean-what is truth now? What happens when I die?-Is this all there is?-this life? what Do you believe now....I've only read this one blog and started writing...Sorry if I'm asking stuff you've already answered...I'm struggling...my world is changing in ways I never dreamed....

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  41. Anonymous,

    Your background point-for-point sounds very much like my own. And indeed I can relate to the feelings you express now. For me it probably took about 8 years of soul-searching to move from strong-believer to comfortable non-theist. And of those years the first half were filled with sadness and worries such as you express: what if I go to hell because of my doubts and so forth.

    One thing that helped was that I was convinced that if God is good, then he wouldn't punish me for being fully honest, even if it meant I was a doubter. And if God isn't good, then why was I believing in him anyway?

    And it certainly is a difficult process socially too; to lose the support and communion with Christian friends at church. But I have found other non-Christian friends now.

    For me, eventually the pain and doubt turned into relief and a feeling of liberation. I no longer have to try and believe something that has so many flaws. Since this short life is all we have, let's make the most of it; let's enjoy it and make it beautiful with acts of goodness and great accomplishments.

    A book you might enjoy is Dan Barker's "Godless" (which I review in one of my later blog posts). He was an enthusiastic pastor who gave up his faith.

    Well, all the best on your search,
    Daniel

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  42. Daniel,

    Again-thank you...I sat in Life Group last night among a group of very close Christian friends as they discussed the Bible and God. I sat quietly and listened. Life is so different now. My head is swirling with questions which I know could have been answered by them -but those answers will not satisfy. I want to believe. I want to be wrong, misguided, uneducated but i am none of these things.

    Thanks for the thought "if God is good..." that makes perfect sense
    and thank you for the book suggestion--I read your review-

    Keep up what you do....your words are kind and helpful...you don't come across as an atheist or non-theist but then again,I don't think I would have ever listened before now-because I perceived them as bad people-you understand that. Now, I'll be reading your entire blog.

    So my journey begins
    ...and I really don't even want to go

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    Replies
    1. hello. Responding to your post of Oct 31, 2009
      I see below that you posted last year,(2013) and seem to have arrived at a peaceful place. I am exactly where you describe yourself here: believing the bible for your whole life, and then sitting quietly in BS while everyone else discusses and digs into something that you no longer believe is true.
      I don't want to lose my faith. Deep inside me, I feel that God is present, and in fact, I've had ongoing talks with God, without a sense of disapproval or fear, only love and even peace...until I think about the bible. That wrecks me, and I have sat in tears for the past day, full of doubts and in deep pain.
      I already know the god of the bible is not who I believe in. But then, who? It is very scary.
      I don't know if you are up to it, but I'd love to dialogue with someone who is going thru, or has been thru, this journey.

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  43. ulestI had a strict Roman Catholic
    upbringing. I'm 54; lost my faith
    30 years ago. It's just a natural development of adult consciousness
    I'd say. The psychologist Gould claims that as we grow we abandon the fictions that make for security in childhood. Seems to me belief in god is one such.

    Best wishes all,
    Jim

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  44. Interesting thought Jim thanks!

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  45. Daniel,
    The very definition of faith is believing something you have not seen or cannot prove. You are probably familiar with the verse Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see." And Romans 8:24 "For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he already has?" I know this may seem like a copout to you, but it does mean there is no evidence. It means there is no absolutely conclusive proof. If that were the case, everyone would be forced to believe in God and free will would not exist. As it is, there is always an argument against faith and for it. The choice depends on the individual. C.S. Lewis discusses this in his book "Miracles."
    Concerning evolution, you are right! It is sad and true that too many Christians are afraid to go on an honest voyage for truth that includes encountering and addressing the sincere claims of the opposition! It is easier for Christians to create a script and repeat it, just as it is easier for non-Christians to dismiss the claims of Christianity as ignorance or foolishness. Philip E. Johnson addresses this issue in his book "Reason in the Balance."
    A study of the Church of Christ reveals that the cultic tendencies of Alexander Campbell were rejected by mainstream evangelicalism as erroneous. Although convinced of their position, it cannot logically correspond with faith based Christianity because it adds works. If Christianity is actually Christ-centered, human efforts are meritless, whether the efforts involve baptism, commandment observance or other works. This is true for every other religion as well - they are human centered in that they are based on man's efforts to achieve something.
    It is great that you are willing to be vulnerable on these issues and discuss them.

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  46. Daniel,

    very interesting blog. To many christians here, I would represent the 'counter' belief, I am western but converted to Islam some 2 years ago. I did this because to me it represents monotheism at best. Like a lot of people on this blog I started out reading reading reading and discovering so much about my faith. I found much inspiration in it, and unlike some people on this blog think it isnt about killing infidels or mistreating women at all. I see it as bringing back people to the original message of monotheism. But... then my doubts started. I started to read also about christianity. The Qu'ran basically states that everybody who hears the message of Mohammed pbuh and ignores it, doesnt convert, is destined for hell. In other words, you have the choice of being believer, or unbeliever. Not a very hard choice one would say, seeing that you are promised a good afterlife versus hell, and you are able to praise and thank your creator. But.. the Bible basically states the same: hearing the message of Jesus and not believing in him, will get you to eternal hell. And according to the bible a christian convert to islam would face hell, and according to the qu'ran a christian not converting to islam would face hell. So basically I first was terrified... what to do? How can a human being, who never saw Jesus, never saw Muhammed, even make this choice? Does a good God really want us to make these choices? And why would there be eternal hell? All the apologetics about every belief seem to stress all the good parts about it but ignore the bad parts. They all say their way is the best to praise God but how on earth would I know who is speaking the truth? It more and more is getting me in the direction of loosing faith alltogether and believing faith is something people make up to justify themselves. Basically I just want to be a GOOD person and be confident and live my life loving everybody. I do not want to be judgmental on other people of other faiths. An inner voice is telling me that God exists, but I have absolutely no idea how to serve him.

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  47. That is an interesting experience with conversion to Islam. Some of the criticisms I have heard about Islam by evangelicals include: the God of the Koran is capricious in his judgments, Muslims can never be certain of being saved, Islam is intolerant to other faiths, Mohammed was deceived by an evil spirit, ... etc.

    What I find interesting is that these same criticisms can be leveled against Christianity. (For instance, see the first post on this blog, Is God Good? http://myspeculation.blogspot.com/2004/12/is-god-good.html). It is an indication that the two religions are quite similar. Perhaps Islam is an amplification of aspects of Christianity that many Christians are uncomfortable with.

    Now it is always much easier to find faults in an opposing belief system, and so Christians and Muslims have an easy time finding faults with each other's beliefs. At the same time they are unable to see that many of these same faults belong to their own belief systems.

    Here is an analogy: Two quarreling siblings in a lifeboat at sea arguing about which way to row to safety while ignoring water rapidly coming in a hole in the bottom.

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  48. well Daniel exactly... I read christian's comments on Islam telling that God is not forgiving in Islam, but yes! There are so many ways to ask for forgiveness and many hadith (traditions) telling about things you can do that can 'guarantee' you paradise, well that is of course, God willing - since in Islam yes we are all dependent on God. So basically its the same as in Christianity. There is even a hadith about a guy who kills 99 persons and after it he sincerely regrets his deeds and sets out to find God, while on his way he dies and he is forgiven, not having said even a single prayer in the islamic way! In Christianity from what I understand your name has to be in the book of life, and the only way it can be there is if you trust in Jesus as your saviour and sincerely follow God. And what will make you trust him? It's the same theological discussion you find in both faiths, on free will versus will of God. And like you say, meanwhile when I am thinking and thinking and discussing and discussing all of this, I am letting my precious life slip away in fear. I just want to do good to everybody and feel that religion is preventing this.

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  49. Hey DM,

    I came across this post today and I had been going through the exact same thing. I had gotten into a heated debate over religion today and all the other person could counter-argue was bible passages, no concrete evidence; even going so far as to call scientific evidence the work of evil (paraphrased).

    I have been a practicing catholic for all of my life and this person had the gall to say that because I chose to follow an objective analysis of situations that I had no faith. Somewhere deep inside, I'm finding that these followers who do not question a path whatsoever are being brainwashed whether or not they believe so. Sometimes, it's scary.

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  50. DM,

    Like others, I also found your blog here (I have only read this page so far) when I typed "losing my faith" into Goggle. I have found this subject very disturbing, and I sometimes type my topics of rumination into Google to see what comes up.

    I grew up finding my way in a highly self-directed Christian faith (I don't know why but I wanted to be good from my earliest memories - even if not all the time). I was homeschooled by parents who came to faith during my childhood, and I spent much of my own time studying it and learned a lot. My family was made up of several deep-thinkers and much philosophizing took place (ad nauseum at times). I didn't hesitate to ask questions and argue about ideas, but did think it was essential to arrive back at an understanding how the world fit into the Christian world-view. You could say I was the religious zealot of the family! I would have thought that as a result of this, my faith would by now have a stronger foundation in thought and reason than the vast majority of western Christians. In fact, I credit my intense interest in Christian philosophy and understanding for my development of fairly high levels of reading comprehension, vocabulary, critical thinking skills, and a tendency towards compassionate empathy (you can contest that if you want, but people tell me that I am good at those things often enough for me to believe it most of the time – I’m not trying to be arrogant. Also, I hear those things in your words as well, and I am appreciative and respect you for it!).

    Unfortunately, the fact that I already asked so many hard questions about my faith, and studied it so much, has actually worsened my current problem of keeping my faith. I don't want to lose my faith, but it seems that I have heard all the Christian answers to my questions (and some of them are very well thought out and pretty good – like Tim Keller) many times over but ultimately have found them all wanting. I used to believe some of them, but now what I used to think was logical and objective just seems to be inductive reasoning based on the pre-assumption of Christianity. All those given reasons don't really point to Christianity, they fit the world into the box of Christianity, or they show what would logically follow in the world or a person's life if Christianity were true. The process uses reason, it’s just not objective.
    Another part of my problem was that I read the Bible, listened to teachers, believed it the best that I could, followed it, and ended up with addictive behaviors and a bankrupt life (as far as I could see – pre-suicidal is not good). The funny thing was, the solution I was given for my problems was to do better at all the things I had spent my life working to do (including resting in God's grace), but that had not helped me enough in the past. It was like my life was the opposite of others. Some people try life without God and when it doesn't work, they seek God, get better, and attribute their prior failure to the absence of God in their life. I lived with God, failed at life, and concluded that more God was not what I needed (or that I was just incompatible with an impossible God). If he exists, he doesn’t make sense and therefore I can’t follow him in the tradition of absolute truth.

    to be continued...

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  51. Continued...

    Then, in my search for a better life, I spent time with recovery groups (my addiction is an eating disorder) and there learned about rationalization (hint, it does not mean to think logically). I thought the word meant the process of making logical judgments about truth-claims based on evidence using reason: a way of uncovering the truth. Instead, it means starting with a desired outcome (in the case of recovery, it is usually justifying whatever destructive behavior you are exhibiting) and making up a "reasonable" (cause and effect) process to "show" why it is reasonable. Essentially, it is a tool for denial, delusion, and wishful thinking based on feelings and desires that often feel more real than objective reality. At recovery group I was also told to entrust my life to God. However, it didn't take me long to start recognizing the patterns of rationalization in many sermons and almost every time I read a Christian (scholarly or not) explanation of some seemingly moral failure of God recorded in the Bible, or other "contradiction." The Bible itself also seems to be full of rationalization and punitive claims (a confusing subject for another time). So... recovery group ended up leading me away from God.

    That is my sad story (it is heartbreaking to me, because what I want most in life is to restore that relationship with God that I once thought I had). I don't know what to think anymore. I am afraid of Hell. I like Christians and I want to be with them, but I can’t whole heartedly embrace their basic message and I have to pretend around them – not cool. I want the hope and the purpose that my life used to be based on. I moved across the country away from my family to pursue what I thought was God's calling on my life. He used to be the reason I lived.

    I also don't discount yet that there may be a way to have faith (that I can accept and that is not harmful or meaningfully delusional) but with looser restrictions than the Christianity that I knew. I don't want to believe in a hell, and I agree that God is not worthy of worship if he torments people forever for their sins of limited time. I think there can be justice without that. Annihilation would make sense to me. It also doesn't not make sense to me that there is some sort of spiritual God, or a God who created the universe (using evolution is fine). I think ethical codes are essential (but can probably be found apart from God). I like serving some higher purpose, but I don't like having to feel bad about myself or think I’m responsible for evil. There seems to be support for the spiritual need of humans, but I don't necessarily think it has to be satisfied by a God. Maybe it’s just an emotional need. So far, I can't figure out the difference between spiritual and emotional.

    So I'm starting to ramble and I'll bring this to a close. Obviously, I am still not resolved and am still not sure what I want to do with my conclusions. If there is no God, what is wrong with pretending there is, or using the idea to inspire me and motivate me (as long as I don't expect any supernatural intervention and I don't force my schema or life storyline on anyone else)? If there is no God, why does it matter? I think many Christians live their life like this anyway. It's hard to "depend" on a God who doesn't act in a measurable way. I don't know. It is depressing to think about. I will have to find something else (someone else) to love.

    Thanks for listening and talking.

    SM
    (who still feels watched, even while I type this, by the God that I used to know and can’t stop talking to; Yes, I may be certifiably insane, but in the most normal sense)

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  52. SM,

    I enjoyed reading your post. It is interesting to find others who spent many years as dedicated and enthusiastic Christians, and now have deep, unresolved questions in their faith. I know from experience how wrenching this process can be. Now I see this as a testament to how powerful a grip religions have on their adherents, even those who seek to be honest and rational in their beliefs.

    Furthermore, looking back as my belief and faith in Christ and teachings of Christianity, it seems clear to me that I was manipulated. On one hand all kinds of rewards were held up in front of me for maintaining belief, and all kinds of horrible sticks were threatened for those who wouldn't believe, including me. How can someone be honest in his or her seeking for truth with this kind of pressure?

    But, if it is any encouragement, I can attest that truth, satisfaction, happiness and purpose in life can be achieved after leaving faith and Christianity behind. I no longer live with the fear that eternal torment in hell lies in wait for the majority of mankind. Phew, what a relief.

    Daniel

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  53. Faith can be belief not based on proof. If you WANT to have faith, do it. If you don't, don't. Having faith in God is like having faith in science, in humanity, in the news, your existence, etc. There will always be a flaw in proving things to be true. Having faith in Christianity is as wrong as having faith in science.

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  54. Sure, have faith in astrology or Zeus... it's your choice.

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  55. "An inner voice is telling me that God exists, but I have absolutely no idea how to serve him."

    This sums up my feelings also. I'm at that curious place where any thoughts of abandoning Christianity will be met by a lightning bolt any moment! So many questions, so much confusion, so much fear.

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  56. That is a difficult place and can last a long time. My thought: pursue truth. Make sure your voice is leading you in truth.

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  57. Hello. I came across your blog by accident, I realize this was posted years ago but hope you don't mind my .02 cents. (I haven't read all the replies so someone may have already had the same answer).

    I'm struggling with the same thing now. Second-guessing myself all the time. Am I really saved? How do I know I am? Where is the evidence to prove I am? Are my emotions deceiving me? Is my heart? How do I know I'm not deceiving myself?

    Regardless of those thoughts, my gut instinct is that I'm somewhere in the twisted realms of my mind wrestling in the mud for my soul.

    It seems far too easy. Trust Jesus and go to heaven? What's the catch?

    I think the catch is right there. Faith. Faith isn't easy at all (well, at least for me). It's like the air, brushing across our cheek one minute, or the wind blowing down a tree in another. We can't control it. We can't catch it. God wants us to abandon human reason for the freedom of a greater power. Faith is our foundation. Knowledge is a tool. Example: Garden of Eden we were tempted by knowledge and chose knowledge over having faith in God's word.

    But that's where my biggest struggle is. Will I ever have enough strength to say "screw it" give up the control and let the tide carry me where it will? Right now my teeth are on edge as it is.

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  58. It is interesting how faith is easy for some and hard for others. But I would say the first question to answer is this: Is your highest goal to find faith or is it to find truth?

    If it is the latter, then I would say there is a long and difficult road ahead.

    -DM

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  59. Everything in this world will try to prevent you from having faith, or experiencing it's joy. Especially in the process of trying to attain it.

    Ignorance is bliss. If the Garden of Eden means a state of ignorance, I'd much rather be uninformed and happy than burdened by this hellhole of a world we live in.

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  60. I apologize. I didnt see this post.

    "But I would say the first question to answer is this: Is your highest goal to find faith or is it to find truth?

    If it is the latter, then I would say there is a long and difficult road ahead."

    On the contrary, I haven't had to search as long for my truth as my faith. The absolute truth you are seeking is exactly what I'm trying to earn by accomplishing it.

    Much Peace and Love

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  61. "who still feels watched, even while I type this, by the God that I used to know and can’t stop talking to."

    This made me cry. This slow, tormented process of losing my faith is like losing a loved one. I hurt from the loss, but once the questions start, they can't be stopped. At least for me they can't. Yet I cry and and feel like God is crying with me.

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  62. Amy,

    I remember similar feelings. Looking back it amazes me how strong a grip by beliefs had on me and how hard it was to relinquish them.

    DM

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  63. Well, I feel better today. A good cry was cathartic. It has been years of doubt and lingering questions, with big swings one way or the other. But it is interesting, in all those years, I only looked up references to strengthen my belief- the usual "When doubts arise, search for the truth in the Bible, prayer and literature affirming the truth of Christianity." This is the first time I allowed myself to investigate the other side- fervent Christians who have turned from the faith. People like you who understand the culture of Christianity, the good and the bad, and decided against it.

    I don't mind grieving the loss I am now starting to feel. The grief is real. I am losing something I have cherished for a long time. Grieving is normal. But I can't pretend anymore. Something major is changing inside. The band-aids aren't working anymore.

    Thank you so much for your gentle and insightful blog. It is a great resource as I work through what I truly believe.

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  64. Amy's (the author of the previous comment) story has been posted on http://new.exchristian.net/2010/05/weight-of-eternity-has-been-lifted.html

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  65. Amy,

    That is a great story! It reminds me of similar feelings of lightness and relief just reading it.

    It is quite a contrast from the days when we were each seeking the conversion of our friends to save them at all cost from the fiery pit... Years of testimonies and witnessing and prayers and petitions for the salvation of those I knew ... and in the end it turned out I was the lost one. No one's eternal salvation depended on my efforts. For me too, an enormous burden has been lifted.

    DM

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  66. Dear DM,

    I came across your blog after searching "why am i losing my faith" on Google. Your blog was at the top of the results list.

    I was raised a Roman Catholic - Baptism, Sunday School, Communion, Confirmation, etc.

    Despite my firm belief in God when I was young, I never questioned the beliefs of my peers, be it Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or some other denomination of Christianity.
    Perhaps I was being naive and ignorant, but I was never taught to reject the beliefs of others, and I could not bring myself to hate the beliefs of another individual - I still can't.

    It was only after a confrontation with a Protestant that I started questioning my faith.
    How can one be so sure of their own faith at all after an encounter with another individual so utterly convinced of his own beliefs?

    I've never believed that anyone who doesn't belong to the Catholic religion would go to Hell and couldn't understand why others believed to fervently that a non-christian who led a good life would suffer eternal damnation.
    I mean, God didn't just create you to send you to Hell, did He/She?
    (why is it that God needs to be assigned a gender anyway?)

    The bible?
    Isn't that merely a collection of works written, edited, and manipulated by Man, flawed as he is?

    No, I'm definitely not Protestant now and I'm not exactly what you'd call a good Catholic either.

    And I think that at this point it's obvious that I'm ranting without a clear argument.
    I'm sorry.
    DM, I enjoyed reading your post and the comments on it that followed after.
    Yes, I'm losing my faith.
    And it hurts.
    I can't talk to my family or girlfriend about it either because well, I think it's obvious that they're quite religious.

    And how can you actively seek to question their faith and beliefs when you know much it has pained you so much to do so?

    I pray at night still, for God to answer my questions and to give me faith.
    Damn it, I know that there's Someone out there.
    I felt something before!
    Why is it so incredibly difficult to reach out for it now?!

    Thank you once again, DM, for writing this post.
    I know now that I'm not alone in this search.

    Yours Sincerely,
    MY
    (20 y/o)

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  67. Dear DM,

    I forgot to include a link to a youtube video that I watched.

    It's about the our ifinitesimally small place in the universe.

    The words in the video were written and read by Carl Sagan.

    Search up on Pale Blue Dot, a piture of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 spacecraft.

    Here's the link:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnFMrNdj1yY&NR=1

    The study of astronomy expands our horizon inifinitely, I think.

    Yours Sincerely,
    MY

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  68. Dear MY,

    It is curious how difficult it is to talk to believers about one's doubts. I think most believers feel threatened when someone is openly questioning his or her faith. I remember quite a few people being uncomfortable if I confided my doubts with them -- and if my doubts persisted despite their reasoning with me, that sometimes resulted in attacks on me. My conclusion is that most people are insecure about their faith.

    DM

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  69. This post is so interesting to me because 1) I am fascinated by how people think and 2) I am going through something similar. However, it is also different because I come from the complete opposite end of the spectrum - both of my parents are athiest hippies, and might I add, very happily so. They are wonderful people. Religion was never pushed on me, nor was it discouraged; it was simply up to me to decide what I wanted to do if I even wanted to do anything at all.
    I am almost 20 years old and can say that for about 18 years, I was perfectly happy being free from religion. The past couple of years however, I have been asking myself a lot of questions in an attempt to define my spirituality.
    I took several courses at my university that really made me think - analytical writing & persuasive speech with a focus on the argument of science vs religion, introductory philosophy and a lot about metaphysics, and third, an overview of world religions. All three were so interesting and it was helpful to study all of them at the same time because it created a trifecta of intermingled information that gave dimension to the learning experience. Also, each of the professors were excellent at teaching the material because they were so objective!
    Like I said, instead of losing my faith, I am trying to define it. From my studies, I have a base to build from...I consider myself agnostic because I can't deny the existence of something greater than myself - that would be far too arrogant - but I also cannot prove the existence of any such supreme "thing." The conclusion I am coming to, which my Christian boyfriend hates to hear, is that I will create my own little niche, but I am almost certain it will be a long time before I can sensibly describe it. My beliefs are not confined to the boundaries of any of the religions and philosophies and I am open to change :)
    Right now, I like the idea of a universal oneness, I like being close to nature, I like meditating and I like learning. I hope you find at least some of the Truth you are searching for. I just wanted to let you know that I loved reading your post and that Christians and other religious folk are not alone in their struggle to find answers…

    JM

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  70. I know this is an old question, but I was compelled to to answer.
    I used to think like you, analyze God and see if he is real. It does not work that way. If God wanted us to believe him from proof of his existence, he would have sent some old testament signs (thundering mountain, the plagues etc...). The truth is you're trying to put God on your level like he can be analyzed by you or that since you can't find suitable evidence for his existence he can't be real. Many people do this why did God do this?
    why did God do that?
    If I don't agree with God actions then he is wrong I can't be wrong.
    If he did it by my understanding he is wrong and I am right.
    He's God he knows things you and I don't, a great many things. God is the perfect being, something no human could truly comprehend. If you found proof of his existence, you could not have faith in him, it would be impossible. Think about it what kind of love would that be?
    If God wanted shear obedience he would made more angels
    Many people also think they are only person who can con God into showing his powers. This is extremely arrogant and a true waste. A lot of unbelievers pray and write about how their prayers are unanswered and use that as proof, but truth is God is smarter more powerful than them and they refuse to believe that.
    They also waste prayers that could have had effect, but thanks to their arrogance God saw through this mockery.
    As for Evolution vs Creationism
    Their is plenty of evidence for creationism and against evolution.
    At face value of animals and human being it seems like it's true, but on a cellular level it is impossible.
    Do some research on cellular level.
    that is just one.
    In the bible God said he would frustrate the intelligent.
    Also some Christians intentionally and unintentionally like to use the tools of evolutionist to get people to believe indoctrinating people in their belief. Using unproven or dis proven facts to convince people.
    This is wrong, we over step our boundaries when we use these techniques to get someone to believe.
    We are to tell people the gospel and the holy spirit is supposed to convict the person spirit.
    Evolution and creationism should be taught to prepare people who already believe for the real world and school.
    After doing my own studying I found that my faith was reinforced, looking at things critically the evolutionist are running out of excuses for their lack of evidence.
    To the point it is more of an belief than a theory.
    We believe we came from a divine perfect being or the trinity
    Or we came from rocks they can't to this day explain with facts how this happened. They can speculate, but many say we can't actually prove it. But God can't be real and our theory is.
    I could go one forever studied thoroughly before going to college to avoid being tricked and so i could look at things critically.

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  71. Big D,

    Why do you think your concept of God is correct, and other divine concepts from different denominations or religions are wrong? They can't all be right as they contradict each other. Many of them will point to their holy book and miracles etc. as proof of their views, but clearly that is insufficient.

    Daniel

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  72. Hi DM- I just saw my testimony was posted here from exchristian.net

    Thanks for the feedback. What you said about making friends just to save them- this past week I was at my kid's baseball game. The pastor of a neighbouring church, and personal friend, was there with his son. I haven't seen him in a quite a while. He was walking towards me, I smiled and said hi, he smiled and said hi in return and walked right past me to a family that he has been trying to "recruit" to his church.

    I know what he was doing, and it's not the first time this has happened, and I just realized "All that matters is more and more converts!"

    Perhaps my ego was bruised, but I don't think so. I wasn't offended, but an "Aha!" moment happened. A moment where I realized that it is less about being friends and truly caring, and more about growing the church. I only get a phone call from my own pastor if he wants me to do something. Yet he will "casually" visit several people throughout the week who do not go to church .

    I am truly looking forward to a life of good without an agenda attached.

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  73. I'm 36 years old and married with no kids, and my wife and I are going through the same thing. Our Catholic faith is crumbling simply because we are starting to really question things instead of just accepting what we've been told all of our lives. I don't rule out Christianity or God as being the truth but the more I research the more objectively I try to look at things, the more I feel that they are probably not the truth, which is extemely upsetting and confusing. I don't not want to believe in God, but just because something is comforting and "feels" like it might be the truth, doesn't make it the truth, no matter how badly we want it to be. For anyone who would shake their head at this blog think about this: The world is full of all kinds of religions and belief systems each of them thriving because people are convinced that they have discovered the absolute truth and that the other religions are mistaken. If you want to convert these people to what you believe to be the truth you have to get them to start questioning their "mistaken" beliefs. How can you expect this of others if you don't have the stength to do it yourself, to really question and research whether or not what you believe is correct. Once you start doing that "your version" of the truth can start unraveling, which is one of the reasons people cling to what they know instead of really questioning. This journey I've been slowly embarking on is not one I am happy about, it's frightening and upsetting. If this isn't the truth then what is? What happens to the people I love when they die? And when I have children how will I raise them, what will I teach them? Despite my anxiety I don't see how can anyone afford not to take this journey. If God exists and is the God I've been raised to believe in then would He not respect my honesty? Would he not respect it of an atheist looking for the possibilty of His existence? Would He not respect it of a Muslim or a Mormon or a Buddhist, questioning what they've been indoctrinated with as child? I think that if God exists and he is the God I've been raised to believe in, then God is love, and he knows where I am. Thanks Daniel for sharing your journey.

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  74. What an interesting blog. It is obvious, just like almost everyone here, that I found this by searching on google about my faith.
    The more I read, the closer I get to my own truth. Why do I try to be a good person? Why do I struggle with things that happen in my life? Why is God doing this to me? and many more questions.
    I came to the realization that the only way for me to continue living in peace and harmony is to experience the other feelings that come into my life. I learn to appreciate the great moments and the great gift that I have received.
    God or no God, living my life with purpose keeps me going forward. I wrote a note to myself and read it once in a while to strengthen myself. The note is a promise and a guide to help me guide my life with confidence. Among other things, I promised myself to be kind to myself and to others, be able to know when I hurt someone unintentionally and ask for an apology.
    I see we see God in different ways. I see a forgiving God in my life. I was raised Roman Catholic, full of fears. Now I am strong enough to make my own decisions of who my God is and what he wants from me.

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  75. Daniel,

    Interesting post. You seem to be a level headed kind of thinker and have given this quite a lot of thought. In the two years that have passed can I ask what absolute 'truths' have you discovered having set aside your faith? A lot of people who have responded here seem to 'feel' liberated by rejecting their former faith. It seems to me that we cannot possibly prove what happens after death ...Christians choose to believe a text that says there is an accessible afterlife and atheists choose to believe there is not...neither can prove the other is wrong so it comes down to a choice as to where you want to pitch your tent...The writings of the Bible exist and you can not veriviably say they are true or false with 100% certainty. You can have faith that they are true (from my understanding this is all it asks of you). Or you can chose not to have faith and have a conviction they are false (whats such a conviciton would be based on i'm not sure)...both positions are based on uncertainty. You may chose not to believe in the bible because the cliams cannot be validated n(fair enough) but please be mindful that you cannot discredit the claims either (just because you chose not to believe doesn't give any greater authenticity to your assertion - it is no more truthful in this sense) -- you are simply making a choice. Some here seem to consider that science and the bible are at odds with one another. Science asserts above all else a realist empircal view of the world. It makes assertions of the matrial orgaica world which can be verified as truth through tersting, reason and empirical eveidence which supports the assetion. ....If their is an authorship behind creation then science could be considered to be reading the mind of God which put in place the processes through which our phyical world is formed. All can be tested and calculated... evolution therefore is the process through which a design is being formed. People need to consider how life began in the first place (science has theories on this but nothing cxoncrete) - was it by chance in which case the truth you seek is non-existent and life is coincidental, sheer dubm luck and there is no more purpose in you being than that of which you decide to make of it . If it was designed by a greater being then you need to consider why you are here - the bible (whilst you cannot verify it as being true or false it does respond to this question and claims there is a purpose to you life and you need to chose whether you believe it or not). The bible is not a scientific text book and it was not intended to be. Furthermore, a scientific text book will not address why you are here either. It will explain the how of the world but it will not give you a purpose. It will not give you meaning for this is not something which can be tested...it is a subjective as our experience, unique as our personality and ultimately self constructed - whether you chose to be shaped by the bible or by your own reasoning is up to you!!!

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  76. Hi Daniel,

    I've really enjoyed reading you blog. My journey to a complete loss of my faith has been a rather tortuous one. I grew up attending a evangelical parish within Church of England. I was Christened as a baby, confirmed at 16, my school was attached to the church and my family's life revolved around the church and our Christian friends. My first real struggles began when I became to realise that I was gay at around the age of 16-17; I just couldn't get my head around : I had a girlfriend and I was a Christian. What had I done, why was I being punished? I prayed desperately as I knew being gay was wrong and didn't want to go to hell. I told my parents and was sent to see a Christian counsellor to help me be straight. Many gay men I know, rejected Christianity because of the deep pain and toxic shame of rejection that they felt by being condemned: I reasoned just because someone doesn't like something, finds it difficult or painful doesn't make it any way untrue. I was in emotional pain, but I wasn't going to walk away from something that had meant so much to me and was such a foundation in my life without a proper examination of what I could see as the facts. In a way, now I see being gay as a kind of gift in this respect; it gave me the opportunity to suddenly be an outsider looking in on Christianity, no longer part of what I had perceived as my birth-right; a happy, wealthy, heterosexual, married, Christian-life. Anyway, to cut a long story short I went to study Theology at Oxford, by which time I had got to the stage where I was trying to be comfortable with being gay and a Christian.

    Nevertheless, I now had a thirst for trying to discover and understand the truth about Christianity, not just to protect it. I wanted my faith to hold up against the onslaught of theological study, but the more we did, the more my faith became eroded: The study of the historical Jesus and biblical exegesis alone was enough to show me any traditional bible based faith was more about the social taboos and aspirations of the community of the believers. Frequently, the text was unclear and had been so altered and filtered by the church fathers that the original meaning was either obscured or lost. It is also showed me the warped way in which the Christianity has constructed a belief system based on little more than wishful thinking and a desire to convert.

    I then went into the intellectual phase of my Christianity . I no longer had the bible based evangelical faith of my teenage years but still believed in a God on some level, and therefore reasoned that I should continue to express my faith in this God in the religion which defined my traditions and culture, and in which I had grown up. I see now that this was really the beginning of the end of loss of faith: I was going through a difficult and painful grieving process: grieving for my faith, my way of life and my God. Just the pain of having to come to terms with the fact that wasn't anything that didn't know the tiniest facts about me, that didn't know me utterly or love me unconditionally, that didn't understand me completely took an entire year. It took me another five years to get out of the habit of 'turning to god' in a crisis. It was as if I were weaning myself off an addiction.

    It has taken me a long time, but I am happy now in my absence of faith and belief. Am I an atheist? I don't know; I'm not certain there isn't a God. Am I a Christian: No. If I had to tick a box, I probably would go for agnostic-atheist. I now start from the perspective of lack of belief; not the other way around. Today it doesn't fill me with fear and trembling to say " There probably isn't a God; there is no right or wrong ; all we have is shades of grey and shifting moral relativity; life is meaningless; but, isn't it amazing that the world can be as beautiful as it can be and that we're all here anyway?"

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  77. True, it is a curious world. And it certainly is not easy to make sense of for the non-dogmatic. And yet relying on faith or dogma for meaning is like closing our eyes to the wonder of what surrounds us.

    Thanks for your account of escaping faith and dogma.

    DM

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  78. I must say I like Big D's post in that we shouldn't even try to put our thinking on the same level as God's. Trying to find some truth thinking that god is going to just lay it all out there for you. We are all humans and can't even come close to trying to figure out what God is doing or why we have no hard evidence. God isn't going to show himself and say ok now do you believe because this is our test and that would ruin it. He gives us the choice in believing him and in doing so we have free will. If God didn't allow satan to temp Adam and Eve then he wouldn't have gave them free will either. He gave them the choice and gave them free will. Imagine what the world would be like if we had no choice and everything we did was exactly what someone told us to do. Having the hardships of faith is the sacrifice for this. All we have to do is follow ten commandments.

    The real reason I came across this post was not because I was questioning my faith. I googled "evidence that christians are loosing their faith." And finding this post has just added evidence to my truths that I am searching for. I over the last few months have really been disecting the prophecies of the bible (the end of times precisely) and have found all the evidince entriguing.

    Mathew 24:10 "At that time many will fall away and will betray one another and
    hate one another." 90% of these posts in the last four years are about devoted christians "falling away" a sure sign in my opinion that end time bible prophecies are coming true. Just google "end time prophecies and how Jesus describes the end and you will see for youself that these prophecies are coming true. For me this is strengthining my faith because No man that wrote the bible could have predicted all of these unless the words where God inspired. I hope this helps you guys that are searching for answers because I was there too and i found all of this and everyhthing made sense to me then. I believe God gives us clues so that we have something at least to back our faith up. you just have to put the clues together. Sorry not trying to be a bible pusher just offering my opinion.


    Billy

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  79. Wow. As everyone else, I too came across this blog while googling losing my faith. I did not read all the replies (there are far too many). I am going through the same doubt that everyone eventually does. I struggle with it daily right now. I used to feel God's presence and now that seems like a dream. I don't know what to think anymore and am afraid to really know the truth. My biggest fear is this life being a joke. I am not afraid to die, but what I am afraid of more than anything is the thought of absolute nothingness following death. I used to wake at night with a cold sweat and my body shaking with adrenaline from the fear of being nothing, not existing, my life having meant nothing. I can't wrap my head around that feeling. I guess that is why religion is so comforting. What are your thoughts on the afterlife? Are we here by accident? Does life just eventually fizz out to nothing? What about people who tell of having near death experiences? Just curious as to what you think.

    J

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  80. Trying to step back and look at nature, I see that all life is temporary and short. Yet that does not mean it is valueless. A flower can be beautiful for a day or two and then die and be gone forever. Whether or not it leaves seeds, I would not call it meaningless or a joke. Part of the beauty is actually the temporary nature of it. In that way our lives too can be beautiful and meaningful despite being short.

    I think what religion does is create a sense of entitlement for an eternal existence. It is that entitlement that is perverse. It results in all sorts of evil, (although some good too), but is bad mainly because it will never be fulfilled.

    DM

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  81. Thank you for your insight Daniel. It was very helpful to me tonight to goole "you completely lose faith" and find out that I am not alone.
    I miss that wonderful feeling of certainty faith once gave me. I even had a near death experience at 19 and "saw God".
    Without a super long story, I now have no certainty of anything. Certainly not of faith or truth. But I choose not to sacrifice truth to faith and, as my consciousness has grown over the years, I am no longer able to have faith in anything, including science, religion, reason, or otherwise.
    As has been said that does not mean that life is meaningless. Rather, it seems to me, it is a mystery - and that's ok.
    It has been very hard to lose that faith. It was comforting to somehow believe that something greater than me had my best interests at heart no matter what it looked like externally.
    It can be pretty scary to comprehend how little control we have over our fate or lives. That reward/punishment thing - it's so strongly conditioned, or at least it was for me. Belief or faith in God and dogma helps cushion the blows, I think.
    But for me, it just doesn't work anymore.

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  82. DM
    Exactly 10 months ago on Sept. 29,2009 I posted a message to you here(I just re-read it again today). I was scared, confused, worried and had nobody to talk to ....nobody. I just want to thank you so very much for being there.

    Your website helps so many people. I didn't have to register or give you my email address so it was such a safe harbor for me when I was in great need of just such a website. Now...10 months later... I am happy...not worried, confused nor scared-I actually find myself quite relieved....I mean honestly, I don't have to worry about that whole "depart from me I never knew you..." thing...(even after having lived a godly life.)

    To others who are in a similar plight I will tell you that today I find myself happier in my day to day life....even though I will not live forever and my life has no cosmic meaning attached to it...I try to make a difference here and now in a real way with my fellow man. DM, I KNOW you understand this.

    The reason I'm posting this today is that I wish you would put a "support this site" paypal link on your page...or better yet a post office box address(not your home) ....you are there for people in a time in their lives when things are really confusing and your replies are always quite kind regardless of what is posted...I want to have the ability to show you my appreciation....sometimes words simply are not enough....until then THANKS FOR BEING THERE!

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  83. Hello Anonymous,

    Thanks for the appreciation -- I'm glad it has been a helpful blog. It is hard to know what it is like to escape from being a devotee to a faith-system unless one has done it one's self. Even now as I look back, I can abstractly remember the struggles but I no longer feel them, and hence now it seems so strange that I had such difficulty leaving.

    All the best on your new life!

    DM

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  84. Hey Daniel.
    I know it may be too late, and I have not read all the comments that have been posted in response to this, but I have also been struggling with my faith recently, and one of the main reasons I have postulated for this is how hard I have found it to pray and seek, as Christ has called us.

    But I know of an interesting essay by a man named George Macdonald which you may find interesting.

    He denies many evangelical protestant doctrines while claiming to be staunchly Christian. I recommend it to you, as it has helped me in my own struggling faith.

    It is called "The Truths in Jesus". I would be happy to send it to you if you would be willing to read it.

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    Replies
    1. how providential. I happen to be reading a George MacDonald fantasy right now, and also am going through the painful process of discovering the disparities, contradictions, and (frankly) bunk that is in the Bible. It is breaking my heart, and I am afraid, because i don't want to NOT believe in God, but God as portrayed in the bible is not a good being. And who should I believe in, then?

      I know MacDonald was a Christian; his writings influenced CS Lewis tremendously and in fact, he "stars" in Lewis's book "The Great Divorce" as the protagonist's chief interlocutor.

      anyway, thanks for recommending this essay. I will post it to myself and read it at work during free times today. I need a sane, respected mind who DOES love Jesus, but maybe DOESN'T accept the nonsense that is out there claiming to be about him.

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  85. i stummbled apon this blog as one of the many other people who were/are questioning their faith and was surprised to see how many people were also stuck between a rock and a hard place. I really just want to thank you I grew up catholic and have had it forced on me since i new that i didnt want to be catholic. My father became a "born again catholic" before I was born and has told me and my two sisters how we are on the road to hell, I new something was wrong the first time he told this to me because how could someone so in love with god spread so much hate (-side note- he belives he can speak in toungs and has demenstrated it to me 3 times in my life...... yea that was sign number two that something was wrong)...... Some where in my head I have been questioning my faith without even knowing it for a long time and after reading this I can truly say i feel a huge amount of weight lifted off my shoulders I have always felt restless and now i feel in a weird way calmed. I can happily tell you I read every singe response to this blog and it helped me a great deal seeing every side and how many people feel the same way. I am a 19 year old male who just finish Fire fighting school so who knows what my opinion will be in 20 years, but I can say that this blog and all the responses have helped me a great deal so thank you all. I am trying to live a good life and I am not even close to perfect belive me some of the things I have done could raise the hairs on your neck but I will never stop trying to live a good kind life and this is a steping stone on the way. One more time thank you all!!!!!!!:)


    P.S. sorry for all the spelling and gramatical errors

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  86. Doesn't faith mean anything? Faith in God, faith in something greater than us? Faith in God's ability to put forth a word that we are to obey to get to heaven? I too have recently questioned my faith. I am an intellectual person who believes in seeking knowledge. I have stumbled across some stumbling blocks and it is hard to get up. But as another reader has said you describe more of a disbelief and angst toward Christians themselves and how certain Christians go about spreading the word. There are going to be extremist anywhere everyone has to watch out for them. If the faith in God brings you joy, comfort, love and closness with something bigger han our selves then I say don't question it. I am okay with living the Christian life even if there is no God. I don't want to go to Hell because Someone made me lose faith.

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  87. My problems with Christian faith are much more than problems with how Christians act. The biggest problem is how the Christian God acts. If someone held a gun to your head and said: "Have faith in God," would that be a good reason? What if God held the gun to your head? Would that make you want to love him and have faith in him?

    Now the threat of hell for those who don't believe is precisely like holding a gun to your head, if not far worse, see this post: http://myspeculation.blogspot.com/2005/07/god-wants-relationship-with-you-and.html. Is that evidence of a loving God, or the opposite?

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  88. Wow! Thanks for having this blog. Like so many people here, I also have been questioning my faith for about a year now. So far it's definately one of the hardest thing that I've gone through in my short 17 years of life. The hardest part is having to live in an environment where people are so sure of their faith (at least seem to be). What is even more confusing to me is that while I have lost my faith, one of my closest friend seem to have gained faith. She was previously a Roman Catholic who got "saved" and converted to Protestant. Our relationship is certainly different now and I honestly feel uncomfortable around her and some of my other Christian friends because my way of thinking and outlook on life is completely different. However the worst part of this I'd not being able to share this with anyone including my family. I fell hypocritical when I'm at church and I am forced to sing or read things that I don't think I believe in anymore. I am graduating this year and plan on attending a University that is outside of my state, and I am hoping that the time away from my family and friends will permit me to truly understand these emotions and toughts that I am experiencing. Anyways thanks again for this post, it has been almost therapeutical. :)

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  89. Daniel am sorry that you feel God is the man with a gun to your head.

    My coming to belief and faith was from a God who said he loved me and gave his Son up to suffer and die for me. Who since i first believed has allowed me to have an intiate loving relationship with him through the work of his Holy Spirit in my life.

    If fear of hell was your motivation for belief in the first place then i think i can understand why you lost your faith.

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  90. Hi Namanusa,

    That's a good point. There certainly is a message of forgiveness and caring and love in Christianity. However, there are two sides to many of the issues. While God offers to rescue you from sin and death, it was God that put you here in a state of sin and impending death. If he is responsible for the good from his actions, he is also responsible for the bad from his actions. And God's love is not unconditional -- it is contingent on your obedience and belief otherwise it is off to hell with you (see my post: God wants a relationship with you).

    To say you are saved, means you're going to heaven right? But it also means you're not going to hell. Christianity will use the carrot or the stick, whichever is more effective in a given situation. But they are both certainly there.

    Daniel

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  91. Daniel i see the choice as life with your creator and life apart from him. The choice to me is more likened to if you are Toyota choosing a Toyota Authorized garage rather then a non-authorized garage. One just knows how to service you better as they designed you, put you together and carry the genuine parts. Which may come at a premium price. While the other maybe cheaper but the quality of service comes at a price.

    I still see your position as demanding answers from God. If God is to be God then it makes sense that he will remain a mystery to our small human minds. His ask is to have faith and he will answer our questions as we walk with him. Like me and my son. Sometimes he asks me questions which because he does not the base concepts its difficult to explain. But as he grows older these things become clearer to him. Answers may not come at the times and places of your choice but just like me and my Son he asks us to trust that he knows best because he loves us and he will give us full understanding when we are ready to receive it. If you can't operate on faith then its science and there is too much science in God for our limited minds to comprehend. Otherwise again he would not be God but just the most intelligent man amongst us so that knowing as much as him would not be impossible or unreachable. Which would make our demand for answers fair and reasonable request given we have mental capabilities like that man to acquire his level of intelligence.

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  92. I am going through the similar experience, although for different reasons and I am from a different faith group (Muslim).
    I recently read a book by John Humphrys titled "In God We Doubt" and I found it a pretty good read.
    I realised that there are many many people who hang on to their faith by the mere fingertips. I am hanging in there by the skin of my teeth.
    I suggest you find that book. The author is a presenter on BBC Radio 4.
    I know that as a doubter and searcher I am still a believer, although not a very good one perhaps. We search because we think. And it is the most unique gift God has bestowed upon us.

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  93. Hi, I'm a fifty year old woman from Scotland, so probably shouldn't be responding to this blog. However, I feel I share a lot of your fears and would like to share mine.
    There is a God, of that I have no doubt. Also, I have been studying "Creationism" now, for nine years and can honestly say, all the evidence is there for a young earth and I have found it quite mind blowing, how little evidence there is for evolution. Also have been studying "Eternal Hell" and I can now confidently say that, although there will be judgement and punishment, it certainly is NOT eternal. So, two positives!
    Sadly though, something has taken it's toll on my faith this year. The more I read the Bible, the more it seems that it is almost impossible to make it to Heaven. It does not appear to be this simple admission of Jesus and all will be well. I have gave up most of my life for God. My only true love, many years ago. believing I was doing it for the right reasons. (He was a non Christian) Now, thirty years later I feel empty and void. I see God no where in my life and I am still sad that he never blessed my life after giving up the most important human to ever enter it. For the first time I see a harsh God and I wonder why he didn't get my permission before bringing me into this world. It doesn't seem right to me anymore that you have no say in what could end up severe punishment after the judgement.
    Those who know scripture will receive more stripes than the person who never bothered to learn of God. This too seems unfair to me. Also, I worry about introducing people to God, knowing that if they backslide, they too will receive more stripes at the judgement.
    I hope you don't mind me writing all this. I've just discovered these feelings this week and have no one to share them with. Maybe I'm not thinking straight at the minute though. I am struggling to see what "The Good News" really is. Give up your life and still not come up to Gods standards anyway, so you have lost your life, lose your eternal salvation and receive more punishment. It's seems like a no win situation to me.

    Life has been very fearful and hard over the past few weeks, so as I say, maybe I'm not thinking straight but I've been a Christians for 32 years now and never have I seen it in quite this light. Hope I've not cause offence.

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  94. Thanks for your perspective. There is certainly much injustice in this world and also in religion. But what if the good news is the following: There is no heaven or hell, no God or devil. All we have are a few precious years with other mortals on this earth. And with these years we are free to do great things and small thing, find pleasure and give pleasure, make discoveries, help the hurting, and live our lives. Life expectancy used to be 30 years. You likely have many more years left than that and many choices on how to live it.

    Regards,
    DM

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  95. Thank you so much for replying! Much as what you say is a lovely notion and I wish it were correct, I'm afraid there is indeed a God of the Bible. I'm afraid my love for him just isn't strong enough. May you find your way too.

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  96. Daniel,
    Can I share my heart with you?
    Hebrews 11: 1-2
    Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for.

    And I commend you on loosing your religion. According to a definition of faith from Hebrews 11, have you ever had faith? It takes faith for you to go to bed at night and expect that you will awake the next morning, right? You can't see the daylight of the morning until you are present in tomorrow. To put it another way, perhaps you do have faith, infact, you have strong faith. You have faith that Jesus Christ was not who he said that he was, or perhaps that he never even existed and that what is written in the Bible has been entirely made up and is only a literary manifestation of ancient people who were wrongly uneasy with themselves. Perhaps you even have more faith than I! But all I can say is that once your stony heart is pierced by the good news of Jesus Christ and you recieve the GIFT of faith, you will know it. Perhaps you did already, and as you say, you've lost it, but does that mean it is not still there? Is it possible to be given a key to a city that you put away in drawer and somehow when you return and look for it you seem to have lost it, but later find that it was there all along hiding underneath a sock? What may I ask will you do if this happens with your faith in Jesus? I would hope that you not rule this out for the sake of saving face. But I don't want to assume that you've ever had faith.
    Regards
    M.O.

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  97. I have not read all of the comments, seeing as how there area large number of these. But, from the comments I have read, I noticed a few things. You seem to base "Christian" beliefs on what the majority of "Christians" do. Although this seems logical in hindsight, I would recommend that you not do this. Analyze Christian beliefs on the foundation of Christianity instead. You said yourself that you were once a believer, so me telling you that The Bible is the truth and the way should not be new information to you. One comment asked you to pray daily, and although this is an "unoriginal" suggestion, I do believe you should try this. Here's my proposition. Pray for a sign, an answer to your questions. And when I say pray, I REALLY mean pray. Don't just lazily sit comfortably in your chair and look up at the ceiling and say "Show me a sign." REALLY PRAY. Humbly get on your knees and truly ask for what you desire. I believe if you really ask for this guidance and mean it that you will find the answers you are looking for. If you really want an answer, then please be willing to do this for a week. Be humble and truly desire the answer each time. If at the end of the week you feel you have not received a sign then I completely understand if you choose to give up on believing.

    I came across this because I have hit a weak spot with my faith. Summer has made me lazy, along with being pounded by stress due to divorce, family death, and an assortment of other things. I know how it feels to be on this roller coaster ride we call faith. I normally am not a person to comment on something like this or try to persuade someone to believe something. Yes we are called to evangelize, but we personally are not called to make you believe. Our duty is to simply spread the word, how listeners choose to use this information we give them is completely up to them.

    That is all, and thank you for taking the time to make this blog and (hopefully), read my comment.

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  98. Nick,

    Why should one pray for a sign? Presumably either there is sufficient evidence already out there to believe or there isn't. One doesn't need to pray for it, one can simply find it right? Or are you saying one should pray for "personal evidence"? But what exactly is this? How could personal evidence be better than evidence available to everyone?

    I agree one needs to be humble and willing to change one's beliefs. Although, that cuts both ways, and actually I think it is often Christians who are the least humble in their beliefs.

    DM

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  99. All Im saying is that you should try it out. Pray for whatever it is that you specifically want, even if its a million things. You obviously don't have to but I just figured I would offer advice that has helped me. I have been to the point where I was about to give up on faith and simply prayed for a sign and received one instantly. I can't really describe what this was like, it's just something that you have to experience. Again (if you want to), I just ask you to give this whole prayer thing out for a solid week and see what happens

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  100. Let's say I pray for a sign and I get a sign. Is that a good reason for me to believe? There are at least three problems with this:
    1. What about signs that people from other religions get in answers to their prayers. Does this mean their beliefs and gods are true? If so one has a contradiction in beliefs.
    2. Signs are always at least one of the following: ambiguous, subject to interpretation, or explainable by chance or other reasons. The only ones that are clear, are the ones reported by other people that one cannot investigate to see if they happened as they report.
    3. Say one did get a clear and obvious supernatural sign. Does this mean that God exists? No -- maybe there are other supernatural creatures out there tricking you. There is no way you can tell the difference.

    DM

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  101. Yeah, I'm going through the same thing, or at least I'm at the point where I am choosing to stick with faith or abandon it. Haven't decided yet. However here's the thing: If there is no diving purpose or god or what have you, there really is no point. You can say all you want about beauty and how we need to savor our time with our loved ones but really that's just fancy talk for "There is no point." That is something that I think you just have to accept if you are going to choose to reject faith in something higher. Without a fundamental framework of law (other than the natural world) there is no moral difference between murder and charity. It's just the way it is.

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  102. I used to think that without God life had no purpose or value. But at some point I realized that adding God to the equation simply shifted the problem, and didn't solve it. Say one's purpose is to please God or enjoy God. How is this ultimately any different than having a purpose to please/enjoy one's parents or one's spouse? Why is it such a great thing to please or enjoy God as opposed to anyone else? Because God is bigger or lasts forever or something like that? But if something doesn't have purpose or value to start with, then making its object bigger or longer-lasting doesn't suddenly make it have purpose or value.

    Or do we have purpose simply because God created us? The trouble with this is that there is an enormous amount of pointless struggling, pain, suffering and death. There are so many miscarried fetuses, so many children dying in childbirth, so many young children dying of starvation or malaria, and so on and so on. What is God's purpose for all these people or what is the value of their short and miserable lives? I think clearly for most the answer is none, unless one distorts the meaning of "purpose" or one enjoys the suffering of others.

    Nevertheless there is much good in most of our lives. However the value or purpose won't be found by positing some invisible entity, but rather by searching and discovering all the good to be found our world.

    Daniel

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  103. I seem to be following the same route as many of the bloggers here and am no closer to finding the right way forward in my life. I have had experiences that have led me to believe in the Christian God's existence, but have recently had similar experiences whilst exploring routes of recovery from ME.

    My husband has had a tough time from me as I have sought to persuade him to stick with conservative evangelicalism - and now I am experiencing the same honest doubts. My children are honest agnostics with big hearts. I seem to be the one with all the problems now!

    In short, I am stuck! There are so many charlatans who prey on the vulnerable and I don't wish to engage with them either, but I do believe in a spiritual dimension and in the power of redeeming love. Within the church I have experienced true and honest worship - but also bigotry and ignorance. This is a frightening time for me.

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  104. It certainly is tough being in the position of honest questioning. From my experience is hard to find other Christians who take you seriously and remain empathetic. Most at some point get frustrated if you don't give up your questioning and simply believe.

    Well, all the best in your searching.

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  105. Thanks for encouragement to keep asking. It's ironic to be in the position now of potentially hurting folk because of UNbelief... I already went through the reverse process 30 years ago.

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  106. im struggling with belief (too). Here are some of my thoughts. No matter how you answer the questions ask yourself: might I be like Tim, confident in beliefs that if I were more objective I would see were clearly false? and how do you deal with that question that kinda brings you into vicious circle?

    I concluded that confidence in a belief is not good evidence that it is true.
    > Are you/can you be confident of ur conclusion that confidence in a belief is not good evidence that it is true?
    > Are you confident of the belief in evidence as the only way to “know” truth?
    > Are you confident of your new belief?

    But I only want to believe a message if it is true.
    > how do you know something is true?
    > what is truth?
    > Is it philosophically possible to “prove” that god does not exist?

    I don't know...

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  107. Daniel,

    I grew up Protestant. Most of my relatives range from Moderate to Ultra-Conservative. Growing up, I had a sense of a loving God like an extra benevolent parent. Even so, I asked questions which never were answered in any way that seemed to actually address the question. Usually the 'answers' were simply those cut and paste adages about 'leaning not on your own understanding.'

    One of the main stories that horrified me as a child was the story of Abraham and Isaac and the idea that a 'loving God' would ask a father to murder his child to prove loyalty and show that he had his priorities straight. That ALWAYS haunted me, even when I heard 'explanations' about why that request was actually right and good.

    As an adult in a Sunday School class I was attending, a person present was musing on that story and made a comment that if God asked him to do this, he would have to, even though he would hate it. I still shudder. Around that same time, I was in a focused 'Bible study' which was really 'hyped Christian author study of the quarter,' in response to the idea that we are wherever we are because God put us there to learn from it. I had high hopes when I joined, but I found the arguments flawed and even hurtful to the humans they were meant to comfort. The last day I attended, a woman present related a national news headline about a girl who was kidnapped with her brother after seeing her entire family murdered, her brother was molested until murdered, and someone recognized her in the company of the perpetrator and came to her rescue. "I think God put that little girl in that situation to teach other children about stranger danger," she emoted.

    That was it for me, I was done. I couldn't take any more snake oil sales of 'everything happens for a reason.'

    That was the day I really got into the Bible, really started reading it with an analytical eye. There were any number of disturbing stories and I don't need to list them here. Bibles are readily available for those who actually care to look at those stories, not just the ones most-referred to from the pulpit. Not only did I read within the Bible, but consulted other scholarly texts and compared Bible passage to Bible passage from different Bibles. NIV, Revised Standard, Good News, Living Bible, King James...I became obsessed. Painfully obsessed.

    I find it...we'll call it amusing...when people say losing your faith must mean you didn't have it to start with. As many here have posted, it is a painful thing to lose when you have been raised within it and depended upon it for a chunk of your life. It is comforting to believe someone up there 'has got your back.' Has a plan for your life. Is on your side when there are obstacles and adversaries.

    I consider myself agnostic now. I live in a place where religion makes the rules and owns the real estate and job opportunities. It is a constant reminder of the real agenda of religion in my opinion, which is to control. Because I will tell you, I see almost daily wheeling and dealing for God. Converts. Grow the church. Get more power. Ignore separation of church and state, God would want you to. And it is scary to me.

    Thank you Daniel for creating a place where you share your stories with rational rather than emotional argument, and allow others to do the same.

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  108. I remember those days: when being theologically correct was more important than making sense. For a while I was into Calvinism and predestination and everything being determined by God: even an airplane crash that killed many people must have been part of God's plan. How I could really reconcile that with God being good I cannot now understand.

    Now I think faith and religion blind their followers to the ill-effects they are having on them. At least that is how it was for me.

    Daniel

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  109. So glad to stumble upon this.. knowing you aren’t alone is very comforting. I was raised Southern Baptists and SURVIVED… LOL.. I took away what I needed to and that was the core of God and God’s unconditional LOVE. But along the way I lost my “faith” of the ins and outs or the “how to’s of it. When you pick apart your faith, you can’t just keep some of it without examining all of it, and I’ve studied the Bible for YEARS.. and like you am not blind to the account of human influence and error.

    I was brought up to believe in an actual HELL that people go to when they die and thus you must live in fear of every questionable action you perform. Which is exhausting in LA traffic. I could never get this to “jive” with my vision of God.. I just couldn’t believe God would EVER make something only to dispose of it.. I liked to think of God as the ultimate reconcilor. Thus, eventually I found the literal translations and supports in the Bible that totally removed that out of the equation, because a lot of the references in the Bible were in reference to actual PHYSICAL places in the world at that time like“Gehenna” for “Hell” which was a place they actually burned trash and the dead. Also the “eye of a needle” was an actual merchant passage way that traders literally had to unload their camels to fit through. Human error is abundant in the Bible not only in it’s word, but also in it’s translation. Which placed a storm cloud over my old vision of Christianity.

    Ad to that the fact that our civilization has evolved at such a rapid speed, and a lot of leading scientist say TOO FAST, to where our neurological wiring is having trouble keeping up (which may speak volumes about why so many people are on mood altering drugs.) But even through all this doubt and de-mystifying I’ve gone through. I still know there’s SOMETHING… some wonderful LOVING entity somewhere. I no longer no confidentially what happens when we die, I can no longer comfort people and say “they are in a better place” and to be completely honest I have days when I get MAJORLY stressed thinking.. “Someday I will cease to exists and I don’t believe 100% that it’s anything after this” but then I just chuckle to myself and think “that would be one HECK of a waste.”

    I “feel” like my soul has been around longer than my body, but again I don’t have any proof. I “feel” like when I pray to God, it’s heard and I’m comforted and I “feel” like I have a WONDERFUL angel with me always.. but I have no proof… and back in the day I suppose I didn’t really need any.. which is frustrating NOW.. because like you said… In the “old days” I just went on my merrily way believing in what I was told and didn’t really question much of it. I totally believe in Evolution, but I like to believe there is a higher plane of being somewhere in the Universe and it’s somehow tied to this Earth.. and I cling to my belief in God as hard as I can, for even without the hard proof I year for, if nothing else it reminds me to treat others with Love and Kindness and if I die and I’m wrong.. well I guess it won’t matter because I’ll be dead… LOL.. But thanks for keeping up with this post for so many years it’s been great to read.

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  110. DM,

    I. like many others stumbled across your blog. First, I am a Christian but was not raised as such. I am now almost 50. I read most all the posts and your replies. Here is what I observed of you in your quest you say of truth. You have chosen to passively attack any establishment truth another shares, your identified system of belief (established by your own stand on presented material) is relativistic - that being that whatever someone states I will bring imbalance for there is no right or wrong. All I can tell you is that there are a lot of confused people in the world and, in the church. When I first started going to church I learned very quickly that the majority of people there were not really Christian - they did not seek to live by what God established as Truth. The problem is that many look at others instead of God for answers. Much of what we are asked to accept in life is uncertainty. Christianity is not completely different in that respect although He brings understanding and a different priority. There is a contentment on all that is not known balanced with a call to relationship and caring for others. There are certain "truths" that God shares and states why and others he does not. In other words, His word states that He made creation in six days. We are not told how just that - He did. This is similar to how an adult deals with a young child due to understanding. It is a matter of authority. Ironically though, the alternative "evidential path" to creation is weak. Carbon dating and "science" have dated items made in a lab a week earlier as being millions of years old! Real reliable huh? Looking back too, science has been wrong many times yet some look to follow fool's evidence thinking it is more intellectual and factual. Consider though, that moon dust accumulation has scientifically been proven a time constant event yet its accumulation would indicate that the Earth is only about 6000 years old - as the Bible would attest. The Bible is full of evidence. Consider the oil find of Mount Carmel, the temple destruction and rebuild (3rd time before His return) and the Canal built from the Great Sea to the Dead Sea - all late times prophecies that are either just starting to happen or will happen. You may not believe any of this but when you hear of it, remember it from here and that they are prophesies written thousands of years ago. Then, that should lead you to truth just as similar things led C.S. Lewis on a quest similar to your own.

    There were many others not sure of their own beliefs responding to you. The poster before me was confused about the mention of physical places in the Bible as if that detracted from Truth. Of course there were references to actual events. When Jesus mentioned rich people have a hard time getting into heaven he used the event familiar to that of a camel getting through the eye of the needle (a name for the evening gate or small gate) as the poster mention BUT they left out the spiritual meaning with no connection - all their stuff, heavy interests to potentially outweigh a focus on God.

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  111. Let me one of your main points. First I don't believe I consider or present truth as relative. Rather the opposite; if something is true it has to be consistent with all the valid evidence we have. A lot of my criticism and analysis is pushing the consistency of religious claims precisely because I am not treating them as relative.

    Actually your rejection of science and scientific claims is treating truth in a highly relative way: Let's accept science if it helps us design airplanes or medicines, but not if it contradicts our religious beliefs or claims of people from thousands of years ago that we find in the Bible. Have you looked into the evidence for the age of the earth? It is extremely strong -- I think we can be more certain that he earth is billions of years old than we can be of almost any historical event.

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  112. Consider the following in your search for truth. Can a 2 year old understand calculus? Would a 3 year old contemplate a discourse on Obama’s healthcare plan? Look at pictures from the Hubbell telescope that provides us “evidence” of a solar system 100 billion light years from earth. Can you honestly say you understand what that means? As human’s we don’t have the intellectual capacity to understand GOD. Stop trying, is a fruitless effort. That being said, he did tell us, via his word, some basic information on what is right and what is wrong. What is true and what is false. Would it not be possible, that if GOD existed, he could, through divine intervention, or however you want to term it, inspire people (the authors of the Bible) to right down what he wanted to communicate to the human race? Isn’t that is a very plausible and logical argument? So if this was the case, and I know you have read the Bible cover to cover right? And while you are reading it, asked for understanding from him, right? And contemplated what he says right? That what he shares with us via this communiqué is the truth. The truth is like right and wrong. You know what it is and what it is not. If I asked you the question, was Hitler an evil man, what would your answer be? If I asked you about greed, stealing, murder, adultery what would your response be? Are these good things, bad things or are you indifferent to them? In your search for truth, look for what is false, then you will find your truth. False prophets, bait and switch advertising, lying politicians, intentional overcharges on your car repair bill, the list goes on and on. But let me conclude by saying that it’s not easy to understand this world and why he does not intervene with all the atrocities and suffering that is going on. But, he know what he is doing, his ways are far above mine, yours or anyone else. So don’t worry or fret over finding your truth, you already know what it is. God Bless.


    DMC

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  113. It seems what you are saying is: Just believe what your holy book says and what your religious leaders teach you even if they are inconsistent or don't make sense. No matter what the text says, you've got to accept that it is God speaking to you. You cannot trust your judgement to determine if it is a hoax. Just have faith!

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  114. Go back to my first few sentences. You will never figure it out, no one will. It’s not an obtainable intellectual objective. God speaks heart to heart. Do you know when most people start to believe in GOD? It’s usually during the process of death or a great trategy happens in their life. He gives us all the opportunity to know him, you just have to ask, but don’t expect it to be like an ATM, put in the question and outcomes the answer. Whether it is an epiphany or a longer process, the holy sprit (the love of God) will give you the answer your looking for (think conviction) but you need to be open to it. My suggestion would be to read the Bible cover to cover and each time before you read you pray for understanding. Start out with the book(s) of Wisdom and then proceed to the New Testament. If your really motivated I would ask that you also pray the rosary before reading the Bible, this will assist in your quest. There are thousands of documented cases, even some of the worlds most noted philosophers were atheist or agnostic until ---- they read and studied the book. Look it up on the web you will see that this is fact. Now I will also point you to a web site called the – the10proofs, you don’t have to purchase anything, just read some of the free downloads they will give you. Its good food for thought. God Bless DMC

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  115. From a former agnotistic/athiest that was converted by the spirit I believe in God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost.

    My conversion came after my twin boys were born prematurely and died in our arms shortly after. I felt a peace around me. I thought in my head that this would be a perfect time to ask if what I had heard all my life was real. A power came over me and many things in my mind were reconciled. Sciences became witnesses of Gods work, not proof of no God. Prophets made sense to me, the plan of salvation made sense.

    I didn't really think there would be an answer to my question but I can not deny it. I don't necessarily believe in any one religion, I attend two churces of different faiths but both are Christ centered.

    I read and study to understand what God would have me do. If there are "conflicts" I go to the 4 gospels and rely on the words in red.

    Do I want to convert you back? Not really, for you need to know for yourself. But I do want to witness to you that this goes both ways... Christians become athiests and athiests become Christians.

    Good luck on your journey. God Bless.

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  116. Happy New Year all!!! :-)

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  117. Why does the concept of God enter our thoughts anyway…for a solution to the mysteries in our life? Some have asserted that we are predisposed to an awareness of God’s existence and that the “natural law” is associated with that predisposition. The thought that we are hardwired in that association would most certainly impact many of the constructs already stated in this blog. The earliest archeological evidence of man indicate that he recognized a deity. (no academic theological foundations there)
    An earlier statement in this blog said, “If God is good, then he wouldn't punish me for being fully honest, even if it meant I was a doubter. And if God isn't good, then why was I believing in him anyway?” The precise of God being good of bad does not validate or invalidate His existence. As best we understand the possibility of God’s existence, and in that context, we know that He does not “punish”. What we have termed “punishment” is the result of our turning to things that are contrary to what we understand to be “God’s laws”, ergo sin. This is of course an assumption that God’s laws exist because He exists, and on that basis the revelation of these laws become a valid premise.
    As to the proposition of one creating their own god, the advantage would be that he never disagrees with you, as opposed to a God who reveals Himself and His edicts. Then we get to the position of the Theist who believes that God exists, created everything and then left us to our own devices. Although apparently irresponsible on God’s part, not bad for us…no rules, no regs. A priest friend once told me, “It isn’t that you don’t believe, it’s that you don’t understand.” I turned 70 this year and…ah the search goes on.

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  118. To the previous poster, very good words. Although I still feel something missing, and it applies to your quote about not understanding. I too feel my faith sliping away as I research the canonization of the Bible, and for ANYTHING that proves Jesus walked this earth between 4 b.c.e and 30 c.e.
    My problem comes when I find nobody outside of the biblical scriptures seems to have reported that he really existed. You would think that as big of a wave as he was making in the religious realm (as the bible portrays), someone would have written about him at the time. Instead all we see are text written almost a 100 years after his supposed death period.
    Since Jesus is who we are to believe in, I am finding it hard to still believe when it's starting to look like a story made up in the 1st century by the leaders of the church. Nobody can verify the authors of the gospels, Pauls letters (the only non-desputed authentic text of the bible found so far)don't really say he saw Jesus in person. Could the gospels and the new testament been created around Pauls letters to make a complete and tidy story? It's possible since it took them a couple hundred years to complete. That's a lot of time to make sure everything was neat and tidy.

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  119. Anon: those are good points. A good overview of the historical evidence for Jesus is in this book by Robert Price "The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man" (http://www.amazon.com/Incredible-Shrinking-Son-Man-Tradition/dp/1591021219/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1332888958&sr=8-1)

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  120. If the life I live now is all there is and hope in a loving father welcoming me home at the end is just a hope that comes from a deluted self. Who would be with me to call me a fool after I die. How would I hear them and how could I care that I had been so foolish.

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  121. I"m glad I found this post. I'm going through the same thing. It's hard to find one to talk to, seeing that my family is completely merged into the Christian world view and all my surrounding are also people who claim that faith. While it is impossible to know everything because of our limitations as humans, I fear that the same questions will haunt me for the rest of my time here on Earth. I've stopped reading the Christian bible for a month or two and for some reason, i can't seem to pick it up again. also have a fear that I might be subconsciously leading myself astray. The thought of spiritual beings that causes disbelief in humans still comes up, but i'm not even sure how to go about discerning truth in regards to spirituality. I feel like such a hypocrite when I'm still identified as a Christian but my worldview is so drastically different.

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  122. This tool is not allowing me to enter my comment although it is under the character count specified. :^(

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  123. Minister W. Jeff DavisTuesday, September 25, 2012

    Do not try to comprehend God, Something on the inside will make you say " I know that I know that I know. You want have an answer why, you will just know.

    Salvation is not a religious group it is a way of life that is directed by that that you cannot see, but for some reason know its there.

    Even though some of the scriptures have been compromised, God agrees with himself from front to back. Read the first 3 words of Genesis :1"In the Beginning Then read the last word in Revelation 22:21 KJV Amen. In other words if you read it, it would read,In the beginning amen or it would read Amen in the beginning. The book is sufficient until he comes. People who search for the truth will always be those who yearn for it.
    God has a place in us that has no human answer, you just know.

    If Christ is the answer why are you trying to understand that he is the way. It is what it is.

    Amen.

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  124. D-

    Thank you so much. That's me on Oct. 29, 2009. roughly 4 years later I came back to your blog today to reconnect to the beginning of my journey. I was SO happy my post was still visible. You will never understand how much your reply helped me on that day! Just knowing there was someplace I could go and someone I could "talk" to made a WORLD of difference in a very troubling time. Thank you for helping me...

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    1. I'm glad the blog and comments have been helpful. How has your searching progressed in 4 years? I am interested to know where it has lead you?

      DM

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  125. WOW.... I have been struggling with this for years Daniel, and I have given it a lot of thought and will probably continue to do so for the rest of my life, but I have come to the conclusion that I simply cannot and will not follow anything or anyone that claims to be the truth, yet is misleading and full of falsehoods, and if the bible cannot be trusted, who can I trust? an offshoot of a lie?{Islam) or the Torah? the original lie? I have come to the conclusion that as human beings, its much easier to blame the bad influences on a devil, than to say I have an enormous ego which causes me to seek pleasure every chance I get. I have a real problem with the science of the bible, the creation story (which was actually based on the ancient Sumerian's creation story) and the age of the world, but what is really troubling for me is the concept of an ever loving GOD sending me to hell, even though I was a good upstanding moral citizen, a loving father, and a good son etc, simply because I reject the many falsehoods of the Christian faith. I also have a problem with the blood sacrifice aspect of it, but don't get want to get off topic. I believe in the teachings of Jesus Christ, its the gospels and Bible I have a problem with, some of which were written 60-70 years after he was crucified. Many of these manuscripts were written by scribes and I simply don't have faith on their accounts, it seems to me that if I just finished witnessing the resurrection of Christ, I would surely race to write and record every little detail, not wait 60 years, so I can dictate it to someone who wasn't even alive at the time. I am not even going to delve into the catholic church and its doctrine simply for the sake of not offending its believers, after all, I am not recruiting for my beliefs, hell its not easy waking up one day and realizing how incredibly selfish and self-centered we are as humans to depend on a GOD that is involved in every aspect of your life, listens to every prayer, and knows everything in every heart at once.....but not only that....a GOD who already knows where you are destined to spend eternity, and has the power to change it, but won't, that's not my GOD. I know I am going to hear from some that death is the price of sin, but which sin am I dying for? not believing? Well that automatically involves removal of choice, it becomes you will do as I say or die, why not save humanity the gazillions of deaths and suffering and just make us to love him anyways? Its not as if religion gives you a choice anyways. I have found that the more I read, and research, and study the more I rebel against established religions, and that's no accident, the truth DOES set you free, free from bondage, does that mean I am to live a life of sin? No, for me it simply means that I can love without the pressure of HAVING to love, I live or try to live my life by the example of Jesus Christ, but I am not a Christian, I renounce self like Buddha, but I am not a Buddhist, I follow the peaceful teachings of the Dalai Lama, but I am not Buddhist again...I am simply a human trying to make it through this world, and be the most loving helping, caring person I can be, I don't always succeed and make many mistakes, but I carry on and try to learn from my mistakes, if this makes me a bad person, so be it.
    BTW I do believe in a creator, just not the one of the bible, some powerful intelligent force had to create that first superheated dense mass that caused the big-bang, I am just not so egotistical that I believe that we are its greatest or only creation, or that I am important enough that he watches me every second of the day from some far away spot in the universe.....I am not that important!!!! And I hate to tell you, neither are you, live and let live, love, and you will have found the true meaning of life.

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  126. It took me 2 and a half hours but I read every single comment and reply.. I Just like seeing everyone's veiw on the subject. I have 3 questions to ask please 1) Daniel or anyone have you ever expirenced a 'supernatural' feeling or a message that you believe was from a spiratural force? And 2) With all the talk of religion and doubt and philosophy do you all agree with the saying that the more philosophy that you know the more reasons you need to live?..Is being nieve a gift? I feel i have lost my faith ( why I lost my faith is a long complicated story) 3) the past year a lot has happened in my life my relationship with my girlfriend , I became very depressed, my family had to sell our house so we are livin in my aunts house, But I'm starting to get back my life has changed considerably , and I want to change myself for the better come this summer and since having lost my faith I feel that my drive has been lost with my faith has anyone else felt this?..I don't know what to do ( I'm sorry just hope someone could relate I guess I am just a confused teenager).

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  127. Thank you for your questions. I cannot say I am the best one to give advice. Overcoming difficulties like you describe can seem insurmountable especially if one is also depressed. (I went through a period of depression too when everything seemed bleak.) The key, I think, is to realize that those are temporary hardships and beyond them there is opportunity for a good and satisfying life. Imagine a bird's eye view of your life from start to finish: what you are going through now will probably look like a small or large bump on your journey. So, although you cannot see beyond those difficulties now, don't give up and let those difficulties derail you, but rather pursue the good life mostly by studying hard and perhaps by finding a few good friends.

    DM

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  128. Oct. 29th 2009
    That date means little to you... but it marked a monumental change in my life. You provided so much help to me that night- the ability to "cry out" and be answered. For that- I will be eternally grateful. honest. it may seem weird... but like a gravestone, I came back often over the past 5 years to read my post and your reply. DM I cannot thank you enough for "being there' then... and now nearly 5 years later I again thank you for your kind response. Everything you said then was so impactful. The book you recommended and the blog you created were a godsend (pun intended) I wanted to show you my appreciation then and wished you had a "donate" button.... but now I believe money doesn't' motivate you at all. You are that "best friend" everyone wishes they had in their life when they most need them. I just wanted to take a moment and let you know how much it meant to me in my life.

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