Wednesday, May 24, 2006

"I decided to challenge the God of the Bible."

I received a recent email from a lady who has begun to seriously question her faith. She asks many good questions, and brings an interesting perspective to the debate. I share it with you here.

I am a christian who has been struggling with my faith lately. Many of the things mentioned in your site are in some ways similar to what I am going through. First I'd like to say that I have not and will not question the born-again experience that you claim to have had. I know of a few people who were at one time born-again but are no longer. Christians have to come to understand that one can indeed have been on fire for Christ to later no longer believe in what they used to. I think the root of that belief is fear that one can lose their salvation. That is why some believe in the once saved always saved doctrine; which is based on fear. I know of a current pagan who described himself at one time as being a very spiritual christian. So it is indeed
possible to no longer believe.
I started out in a very strict pentecostal church-- no pants, make-up, movies, secular music, etc. I became disillusioned with that group and moved on to another which is much better. What really caused me to begin questioning was not science or the so called pagan influences of christianity (which after personal study, I find to be false), but this whole issue of faith. I just can't take any more of being told to believe for things that aren't going to happen. I'll give you an example: I met a woman whose son was killed in Iraq. She did so much praying for him to come home alive. Unfortunately, he died there. I had a brother who was there twice, and I did not want to "step out on faith", as many christians put it. I'd rather not believe for something and end up disappointed. As it turned out, my brother came back alive. My point is, I had no faith, and I had a great outcome. This woman had faith and her son died.

That isn't the only problem. Just about every woman has a desire to parent. However, I've spoken to many married christian women who have fertility problems. Yet, being a teacher, I see teen girls getting pregnant all the time. I also know of single church going women who have children without being married. Something is wrong with this picture, [quotes Psalm 127:3, "children are an heritage of the LORD"] My point is if children are a reward from God, then why are those who commit fornication rewarded with children while so many who are married do not get such a reward? I thought the wages of sin was death, not a reward. I have also heard about a British study which shows that a woman is more likely to become pregnant by a man who isn't her husband. So if that study is true, a woman is more likely to be rewarded if she commits adultery, another sin. This makes no sense at all. I want to make it clear, that I have not read the study. I have only heard about it on a medical documentary (the Discovery channel).

There is also the issue of tithing. Most churches teach that we will be cursed if we don't tithe. Yet, I have yet to see the windows of heaven open after giving so much to the church (as claimed). I'd have to admit that most people do not know of my feelings. I am known as a good christian woman and others would be shattered to know that I have such questions. I have even had others tell me that they admire my faith and have been led to Christ by my witness. Again, these people do not know that I have been questioning lately. This is only half of my story.

In all honesty, I am not sure where all of this will lead me. I wonder if I simply need a new denomination or a new outlook all together. With that said, I have decided to weigh all of my options. I will study more of the bible "contradictions" as well as other faiths more closely than I have. I even decided to challenge the God of the Bible. If he and his word are all they are claimed to be, it is up to him to prove it. No one should have to spend time debating or proving God. We are only human so it is up to God to prove who he is, not us. My study will lead me one of two ways. Either I'll find that the God of the Bible is a hoax, or my relationship with God will be stronger than ever after my study is over. In fact, all faiths and atheists have to prove their cases. Others may disagree, but I could never align myself with any group without evidence/credibility (whether believers or those who do not believe). Whatever the case, this is something I need to do.

I hope that my email did not bore or confuse you. I just needed to speak about this with someone who will hopefully not be judgmental or harsh.

Thanks for listening.

Yes, it could well be that many refuse to think that a Christian could stop believing, because that would then mean that they too could someday stop believing. If they think that the result of not believing will be horrible torment in hell, then it is hard to bear the thought that they too might someday not believe. So many refuse to think that it can happen.

Many 0f us have found that our observations of the world do not match what faith says it should be. There comes a time when we realize that our observations are not deceiving us, and that faith really does not work as claimed.

It is good that this lady began to study and question. She is on the right track, and can expect an exciting adventure of discovery ahead if she continues this course. I wish her well.


LorMar said...

My apologies, but I really need to clarify a few things about my previous email. About the woman who had "faith" that her son would not be killed in Iraq (but was unfortunately), I should add that she also believed in good luck charms. She never made any claims to having been a Christian (not to me at least). Her son was given a necklace with some type of a figure engraved within it for protection. The reason I am writing this email is because I had a talk with my mother about this after showing her a few blogs I had created about my frustrations with Christianity. I did not have faith that my brother would live because I wanted to maintain a sense of resilience within my relationship with God; I am going to be strong and happy in spite of the horrors/tragedies I may face. It wasn't because I didn't believe in the concept of faith in general. However, my mother maintained that she had much faith in the biblical God. She absolutely refused to believe that God would let him die over there. Also, someone tried to give my brother good luck charms based on what I believe were catholic saints, but he refused. I told him that if he felt he must carry anything, I'd send him a list of bible verses regarding protection. I am pointing out the differences because it is commonly taught in many Christian denominations that such good luck charms are an abomination. The other mom, and her late son from what I was told, believed in those charms in addition to prayer. My mother and brother relied solely on faith in the biblical God. Ironically, my mother is a backslidden Christian who also questions God. My brother believes in God, but dismisses the bible as "phone tag." The strange thing is, he was interested in the bible while in Iraq. None of this means that my frustrations and questions have ceased. I simply wanted to tell the story correctly so as not to mislead. Please do not think that I am not sincere in my questioning christianity. I still have very many to tackle.

Anonymous said...

Hi! I've found a very interesting thread in a forum where ppl are debating abt whether to believe the Bible.

The posts by "domo" are really informative.

TheCrossOver said...

Hello! Greetings!
I believe there is a great misunderstanding about a born again Christian. I would like to share what it really is...

I quote: Jn.3:3 In reply Jesus declared, "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again."

Being born again in this verse does not directly imply salvation but it directly implies "seeing the (spiritual) kingdom." Although salvation is a given, the point is if someone has seen the spiritual kingdom he knows it in himself, not needing external evidence or proof of what he believes. He may have questions, but God has answered the major ones in the believers heart. God does not post His answers on billboards to show evidence. God confirms it within the believer (Romans 8:16). God is spirit and His major work is not external but through His Holy Spirit upon hearts, causing the believer to see what unbelievers can never see.
It's either you see it or you don't. I understand those who speak against biblical Christianity, because I don't expect them to see what born again believers do. It will never really be that clear to them, in fact it would be foolishness to the natural man without the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 2:14).

The key is the Holy Spirit. It never was and never will be the intelligent reasoning, logic, or questioning of men that will make them see the spiritual kingdom.

Even understanding the Bible "mentally" only is not evidence that you see the spiritual kingdom. The Pharisees understood much of it yet missed out on the vital issue of what being born again is as in the case of Nicodemus, a Pharisee and a leader of the Jewish ruling council.

And just in case we misunderstand, not all who claim to be born again are truly born again. But one who has truly experienced the new birth will continue to the end.

Mat 24:10 At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other,
Mat 24:11 and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.
Mat 24:12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
Mat 24:13 but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.