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Old 10-30-2005, 11:49 PM   #1
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question about faith

Hey guys I have a question I’m not exactly sure that its on topic but I still wanted to ask it, I hope that’s ok. I’m pretty new around here, but have read some of the other posts and you all normally answer in a thoughtful way so I wanted to get some input on what I’ve been thinking.
Some quick background, I didn’t grow up in a Christian home but in high school I got involved with a church and did youth group and things like that. At that time I thought I believed in God and was “saved”. Looking back on it now nearly ten years later (I’m 25), I question if any of that was ever real, if I ever really believed or if I just thought I did because I wanted to and it filled a need in my life at the time.
Where I am now is that I know that I want to believe in God but I can’t find a way to. I’m talking about literally believe in god’s existence. I feel like I pretty much know what the bible says and what it means to be a Christian so I don’t need help with that. It doesn’t make sense to me that if I know that I want to believe in God and IF he is real that I would have such a heard time with it.
So my questions is this, is it stupid to say that I’m going to pretend (for lack of a better word) like I believe for a month or so and see if that helps? I was thinking about it tonight and what I needed to do to get over all this questioning, because what I have been doing obviously isn’t working because I’m still frustrated. It sounds a little crazy but I was thinking if I give it a time limit and for that time do all the “right” things, like go to church, read the Bible and pray (as if I believe someone is listening) and not allow myself to continually be thinking about if I think its real and doubting everything that maybe by the end of it if god is real than I might know. I haven’t given this much thought myself because I tend to think things to death (possibly why I’m in the situation I’m in now), but if anyone has any thoughts I would like some feedback. Just so you know I’m not asking for pray, what I need is to know for myself weather this is real or not, and if its not I want to be able to let it go and stop obsessing over it.
I hope this make sense to some else but me.
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:10 AM   #2
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My father, a PhD candidate at Brown University, was raised atheist/agnostic. When introduced to the idea of Grace through Jesus, his prayer was, "God, I'll read this book, and I'll do what it says until I find a lie. When that happens, I'm out of here."

31 years later, he's still walking.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Jesus Himself says in John 7:16-17, "I didn't make this up. What I teach comes from the One who sent me. Anyone who wants to do his will can test this teaching and know whether it's from God or whether I'm making it up."

God bless you on your quest!
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Old 10-31-2005, 12:05 PM   #3
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That's a very interesting point, pattip2000.

I've been raised into a catholic house -- especially on my mother side. i used to go to church and all the things that a christian is supposed to do
Then I started having doubts.
A lot of people say they don't believe in God because they look at the worls, see the disgraces, the pain and the suffering so they can't accept the fact that God exists, because they don't see His signs around. They say that, if God was there, there wouldn't be all the mess we're going through on the earth

Some go further and say they don't believe in God because all the things people do in the name of religion are crazy: some use the crusades and the people put on the fire because considered heretical as an example.

Some others say they don't believe in God because they think to WWII and to what men did to the Jews and they can't accept the idea of a god permitting that.
Religious people use to reply that, in that very moment, God was crying for his sons and daughters.

Others wonders how can we be sure we're right believing in God when so many people believe in, for instance, Allah?

All these are good points, and you may agree with all them or with some of them.

I suppose the main point is what you feel?
You feel that there's something above us, with a masterplan and projects on everyone of us?

The way I am not a religion girl is that: I don't feel it.
When I was younger (I'm 21 now) and I went to school, we had religion lessons and we had a teacher who could demonstrate the existance of God in some ways -- of course, dogmas were involved and you would have had to give some things for true.

I made some objections but I was probably too young to make such a conversation.

I am sure that, if there's a God above, he/she won't be happy if we pretend to love him/her.

Your heart and your soul can tell you what you feel about it.
Nothing else. All the words in the world will be useless if you do not feel you have faith inside you

I dunno if this (long) post will help you -- but I really hope that!
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Old 10-31-2005, 03:01 PM   #4
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Was raises Catholic
Don't necessarily agree with Catholism
Don't really consider myself a Christian either
Feel religion was not a choice but chance
The existance and or proof of prophets does not convince me of anything.
Consider myself a good person
Tend to do much more good than harm in this world

Personally, I feel like all the religions have it kind of right and wrong. Somewhere in between all of what can be studied lies the truth. It's possible we were not meant to understand it all.

However, "Faith" may be the keyword here. Do you have faith?

Asking that question of myself was all it took for me to know where I stood on the matter.

When you boil it down to that it might be easier for you to figure out if there is an underlying belief that you are not seeing.

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Old 10-31-2005, 09:59 PM   #5
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I believe that with religion, it can sometimes be good to step away for a while. That's not to say you step away from believing in God, per se, but just away from the common motions of it - that is, going to Church, reading the bible, prayer etc.

Take some time out to revaluate things - what you personally believe, how you perceive the world around you socially, politically and/or religiously (depending on which apply to you). And do it in a 'natural' way - by that, I mean don't automatically view everything from that which a Christian should posess.

You sound like you're stuggling with things, and I really believe that by trying to make yourself believe in something that you doubt, you're just going to find yourself doubting it even more.
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Old 11-08-2005, 08:54 AM   #6
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I can empathize with where you find yourself. I went through something similar and at about the same age. I was raised conservative Christian, my parents are missionaries. I went to a Christian college. But it all came to the point where I asked myself if I was just fooling myself and playing a big game. If all the things I had been raised to believe were true, partially true, false, what?

I was very lucky in that I had the opportunity to go to a wonderful place called L'Abri. A friend of mine had mentioned it to me and when I found myself in the circumstances where answers to the deep questions of life were crucial, and I mean REAL answers, not trite Bible verse answers...I decided to go spend some time studying and thinking. L'Abri was for me a turning point in my life. It's a community where people interact and dialogue and give each other the space to confront the spiritual and theological issues. No one preaches at you, no question or subject is off-limits. We had discussions on theology but also could talk about other things, anywhere from politics to film to the spirituality of U2. It showed me that you can be a Christian and be "real".

Anyways, that's my story and if you have the chance, that's my advice. If you can, take some time out and spend some time at L'Abri. A God that can't stand up to your most difficult doubts and questions, for me, is not a God worth believing in. I have found that it's better to be as brutally honest with yourself and with God as possible. It's not an easy road, but I think it's worth it. Good luck in your journey.
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Old 11-11-2005, 10:12 PM   #7
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Hi Patti, i read your post and am blown away by your honesty. The only advice i can give you is what i have told many others. Just asl God/Jesus to make himself shown to you , somehow someway. My wife did this and was awakened to what she had all along, all her questions about faith and god in her life were answered by meeting and talking with me meaning she had questions that no one could answer until we met. , so what i am saying is this : truly ask god to make himself shown to you and he will. As far as being a christian , many times more often than not , we do not FEEL like a christian but if we have accepted jesus as our savior in our heaet and confressed it with our mouth than the bible says we are regardless of how we feel. So i say go to him in that sweet honesty that you wrote with and he will answer. "seek and ye shall find" and just read as you may have already John 3:3 and Romans 10:9 god bless and best wishes
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Old 11-12-2005, 12:55 AM   #8
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Hi Patti. first of all, the previous posters made really good points, and it's really heartwarming to see so much love and help here on the boards ;]
I hope things are going better for you, but they aren't, that's totally ok.

For me, the concept of faith is knowing that you youself belive in what you choose to believe, even without proven evidence. Like, I have faith in my brother that he will win his next tennis math. I have no idea who he is playing, how good they are, the conditions of the weather, his mood during the day, and many other factors that might influence the outcome of the match. but i still believe he will win. It's really easy to believe something when we have the evidence right in front of us. But without proof, it's much harder, and thus sometimes I thikn it's normal to have doubts, so don't feel too bad. I've had doubts before, too. It's just that all that we see around us, it raises up new questions in our mind when we thought that we were going strong, you know? But putting faith in God is something that YOU know you do not because you have evidence, but you make that effort becuase you believe. Someone suggested to step away for a while and then come back. I think that's a good way to go. Not only will you get fresh perspectives when you come back, but what you learned from being away might strengthen you, too.
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Old 11-28-2005, 01:22 AM   #9
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Hey Patti! Thank you for sharing your situation with us. Whatever your outcome, I am sure you will grow. I'd like to share that most of the saints went through what is called "the dark night of the soul." In other words, after accepting the love of Christ and feeling it (consolation), they went through a period of spiritual emptiness (desolation). C.S. Lewis said, in The Screwtape Letters, that God does this with most Christians: He gives them a faith filled with fire, and then cools things down. It is in this period of uncertainity that one begins to love God in a deeper way. (Just think of your faith as marriage; real love begins when the feelings of the Honeymoon have faded.)
You may want to check out C.S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. Lewis was an atheist who converted to Christianity, and thus has very accessible arguments for the existence of God. Also, in it he says that if you don't love God but want to, act like you do, and sooner or later you actually will. So maybe your idea of believing for a month may help you get out of this funk. Wherever God is guiding you, I am praying for you.
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Old 12-01-2005, 05:51 PM   #10
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I totally understand, Patti. Doubt is a part of the Christian walk for everyone simply because it is not human nature to move toward God. The fact that you started going to church and studying the Bible at all in high school is a testament to God's grace. That's not a natural thing for a fallen human to do. But seeking is natural, so don't get discouraged. Keep talking to people and keep asking questions, but above all, keep reading the Bible. God promises that his Word is "living and active" and "will not return void". These promises remain, Patti, and you will see them the more you look.

Hope this helps...

And you don't have to ask for prayer. I'm praying anyway.
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Old 12-02-2005, 01:32 AM   #11
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So I’ve been meaning to come back here and add an update to my post and to thank everyone for their responses, sorry it’s taken so long. Without boring everyone with all the specific details I think God has answered my questions in a very specific way, actually six times in different ways over the past six months. Basically, I had six pretty small things happen that for whatever reason I couldn’t just ignore. Small things, like a thought that just didn’t seem like it came from me that seemed to carry more weight and truth to it. One was as simple as a mention of U2 in a book, in a way, at a time, on a specific day that struck me as more that a coincidence (I had to mention that time here, because we couldn’t have an entire thread without one mention of u2 right?). Anyway, as these things came up over the past months I always took note of them and held onto them as something “other” but didn’t mention anything to anyone else because I had to figure it out for myself or else I don’t think I would ever trust it. The fifth thing that happened was the loudest and when I pieced it together with the pervious four I was able to finally believe that it wasn’t just wishful thinking on my part and that my wanting and trying to believe wasn’t just grasping at straws, there was something bigger at work. You have no idea how thankful I am for this, in fact my first pray after the last thing happened was “Thank you, thank you, thank you” quickly followed by “please don’t let me doubt this”.
I’m still in sort of a weird place, I had something very special happen and want to be very careful with it to make sure it doesn’t slip away. It’s been about three weeks now and I’m taking very tentative steps, I don’t want to screw this up. And to be honest I can’t say that at this point I trust God, I think that’s something for me that’s going to have to develop over time. In my last post I said I wasn’t asking for prayer, what I really wanted to say was please don’t pray for me. Because for a long I’ve thought it really patronizing when people say they are praying for someone and it kind of pissed me off, didn’t think I could say that without sounding like a jerk. But now I am asking for it, I know I need it, I can’t do this on my own, I don’t know how to, I don’t even know what the next steps I should be taking are. That is my request, if you could pray for me that I will know what my next steps should be, I would really appreciate it. Again, thank you to everyone who responded and to those who prayed for me, even though I didn’t want it, I’m sure the prayers has something to do with this.

Patti
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Old 12-05-2005, 11:08 PM   #12
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Hi Patti,
I'm certainly praying for you! You seem to have taken some huge steps here and wow, I'm impressed. I truely hope some day, b/c of all this you can find faith in Him.

Keep searching, He will answer you.
God bless you
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:38 AM   #13
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Hey Patti, it sounds like you're at a neat point in your life. I'm glad to hear you're seeking God for yourself, and not because people told you you have to or simply because you grew up that way. You're stepping out in faith on a few levels here and I think that's what this is all about. You're "pretending" that God is real is really you acting in faith and putting trust in him. That's what he wants. I would encourage you to also pray. Just call out to him, you know? Ask him to reveal himself to you and he will. I also would encourage you to read the Bible. I know that may sound boring, but it's God's living word. Seriously, as a Christian, if I don't pray and read the Bible in the morning, I'm not at peace the rest of the day. I would check out the Gospel of John or Galatians Psalms . . . anything that interests you. Just check it out. He'll reveal something to you through that. Prayer and reading his word are two of the biggest ways we can get to know God – along with stepping out in faith, which you're already doing.

God bless you. I'm praying for you. Keep us all posted on your walk in faith.
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Old 12-06-2005, 10:46 AM   #14
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OK, I just read your last post. (Sorry I didn't notice it earlier.) That's incredible. You sound like a pretty cool person too. I would just keep praying and again, dig into his word. Also, I didn't mention this earlier, but I should've. I urge you to focus on Christ. Through his words and example recorded in the Gospels, you'll get a feeling for God's nature. In fact, the whole idea of Christ reveals his loving nature. God became one of us to experience what we do and then he died for us, in our place, so we didn't have to pay the penalty of death for our sins. Amazing. Just knowing I can pray to a God who knows suffering from a human perspective is huge for my faith.

Focus on Christ, accept his sacrifice for you, seek forgiveness for your sins and let him take control of your life and it'll never be the same. (Just ask Bono. )
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