I grew up in a Christian environment. I've been hurt countless times by "Christians". Slowly I lost faith, and I've been an atheist for about 10 years or so. It's repulsive to me when people tell me there is one truth, and it needs to be mine in order for things to work out for me. If trying to force someone to believe like you is part of your religion, I don't find that appealing and don't want to convert. That is to share why I'm not a Christian. I struggle with a disorder, and nothing I've tried helps. Although I don't believe in God yet, I feel willing to see if Christianity can help. But how do I begin to believe something I don't believe? How do I change my thought process? There is a person in my life who is a true Christian (bit crazy about God!) and knowing her helps. However, the question I asked on this site seems overwhelming and impossible. Can you help me?
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"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" I suppose my first question to an atheist would be, "Know anyone who's made any galaxies lately? Seriously, creation itself necessitates that there is someone out there smarter, bigger and more powerful than we are so there is no excuse for denying the existence of God. In our present age God has chosen to speak/communicate to mankind through his written Word, the Bible. It certainly isn't all God knows but all that he has decided we need to know. If you are serious about coming to a saving knowledge of God and his provision to redeem this fallen race of whom we ALL are members, read his Word, the Bible. John 1 would be a good place to start. James 2:19 states: "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." We can easily discern from this passage that simply believing God exists is no great feat, so what? The devils will end up in he'll. God decided that in order to pay for mans' sin God the Son would take on the form of a human, become flesh that he may die for the sins of mankind. It is a matter of substitution, the innocent dying for the guilty. I personally confessed my sin, acknowledged that I was hopelessly and helplessly lost and on the road to hell, guilty as charged. I agreed with God that the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ was the only provision he deemed acceptable as payment for my sin then cried out, Lord, please save me! Praise God he did! Ask God to open your eyes to the truth as you carefully consider the following verses. ALL are guilty before God (Romans 5:12) "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:" Salvation cannot be earned (Ephesians 2:8-9) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Christ has provided the only way (Acts 4:12) "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved." What is required? (Romans 10:9-10) "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Otherwise? "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." (Hebrews 10:31)
Your question indicates to me a sincere desire to believe. I take it that, If you grew up in a Christian environment, you would have been exposed to at least the basics of the faith. One of those basic principles is that, although God (who is holy -- completely without fault) created humans to have perfect eternal fellowship with Him, that fellowship was broken by man's original decision to disobey God -- if by no other means than by going against the dictates of the God-given human conscience (an inborn sense of right and wrong), which is something that every human has, and which is not merely a product of the culture or moral environment in which a person lives, but which is innate within every human. This tendency toward disobedience was then passed on to all subsequent humanity, and has become the source of every negative aspect of human society and behavior, from the smallest offense to the most vile conduct imaginable. No human can be completely free of this tendency, regardless of how hard they may try (and many have tried very hard). Even humans with the best and most sincere intentions are still not (and cannot ever be) perfect (as God is). And if that is true even of the best-intentioned among us, it is even more true of those who (even if they profess to be followers of God) deliberately act in a manner in which they know they should not, and hurt other people by doing so. Some people believe that God should not allow such acts to occur, and lose faith in Him when they do. However, God also gave human beings free will (which is not only what makes it possible for humans to sin, but is also what allows humans to offer genuine, voluntary love to God, rather than "loving" Him only because He compels us to do so -- which would not really be love at all). But people are also accountable to God for their sin -- if not in this life, then in eternity. And because every human sins, we would all be consigned to eternal separation from God. However, in response to this situation, and although God was under no obligation to us to do so, He voluntarily became truly human Himself in the person of Jesus in order to live the life of perfect obedience that no one else could, and then (although Jesus had obeyed God perfectly) to willingly undergo on behalf of all humanity (which He could do because He was God as well as man) the penalty (temporal death and eternal separation from God) demanded by God for our disobedience.. God then attested that this act on Jesus' part had been sufficient in His eyes by raising Jesus from the dead to live eternally. And because Jesus had fully paid that penalty, God could then justly offer eternal life in His presence to anyone who placed their faith in that payment (rather than in their own imperfect righteousness) to make them acceptable in God's sight. This is the real cornerstone of the Christian faith, and what distinguishes it from other human religions, which (although they may differ widely in detail) all subscribe to a system of people achieving ultimate fulfillment through their own efforts -- whether that would be by attaining enlightenment, obedience to a code of laws, or any other human act. These paths ultimately fall short because, as commendable as they may be from a human standpoint, and whatever benefit an individual may derive from following them, they cannot bridge the gap between sinful humanity and an absolutely holy God. That gap could be erased only by God Himself taking the initiative to do so, and it is the factual, historically-based process by which God did so that makes Christianity unique. And because God has forgiven us in this manner, we can then have the strength to forgive others for the wrongs that they have done to us, even if they do not deserve it. I invite you to read the short book Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis at this web address: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/12023017/mere-christianity-c-s-lewispdf
I understand being hurt by others, but that has nothing to do with their being a Christian (or not).. we are people.. we hurt one another.. it's a shame, but also a fact. To turn from God because a person (we're not acting like a CHRIST-ian but a 'person' when we hurt someone else), so to turn from God because of that is like refusing to see a Dr. because some of his patients die... this happens. It's life. My suggestion is talk to GOD... alone... heart to heart... tell Him honestly what's happened in your life (He knows anyway)... tell Him you would like to meet Him, and ask Him to reveal Himself to you... but if you want to meet someone you must seek them... so start reading your Bible... talk & say "God... this is Your Word... I'm asking You to reveal Yourself to me... I truly want to know the TRUTH, and I'm willing to give my heart to You and surrender my life to You if you will reveal Yourself to me, and help my faith grow." God is the author & finisher of our faith, but He will not force anything on you, (unlike us people who try to force our opinions on each other)... God will allow you to walk to Him or away from Him & He will Love you no matter what your decision is. God said 'This day I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses... You must choose. (If we don't choose life, we tend to 'choose' death and negative things (curses) by default). Seek God with all your heart and He will be found by you! Ps 69:32 The humble shall see this and be glad; And you who seek God, your hearts shall live. Deut 4:29 “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul. God is our only answer for the problems in life. I pray you find Him for He IS real, and He loves you!
I was an atheist. I no longer am. What I needed, being an atheist, was the direct experience of God. I believe too many people quote scripture and talk about faith to convert atheists and agnostics. What most atheists need, is the direct experience of The Ultimate Reality. I can say this is true because it happened to me. Ever since experiencing the eternal, I have never once questioned things; I know. Knowledge is difference from faith. I don't believe God exists, I know He/She exists. There are paths to this knowledge. One must seek them. You will see the Bible in a whole new Light once acquiring the right Wisdom.
Looking at other Christians to decide whether you want to become one is a trick the Devil uses to disappoint and discourage people. The life you need to examine is that of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, "Believe in me and come follow me. I will make you into a brand new person because my Spirit will come live inside you. Every day you will think, look and act a little bit more like me. Follow me and I will meet all your needs in this life and give you hope and a future in my Father's kingdom." You can examine Jesus's life by reading the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Many religious people in Jesus time believed in God but they couldn't accept that Jesus was their Messiah. They were looking for a powerful king to free them from Roman tyranny not a suffering servant who taught people to love and forgive each other. What kind of a God are you looking for? Jesus said, "If you have seen me, you have seen my Father (God) in heaven." After Jesus rose from the dead many religious skeptics came to believe when they heard the full gospel message of Jesus life, suffering, death and resurrection and what it meant for them. If you are wondering how to get saved, read the book of Acts and see how people came to faith in Jesus in the early church. If you are an earnest seeker, God will open the eyes of your heart to understand the truth of his gospel and to be able to say "I believe!" Don't expect to have all your questions answered. The Christian life is walking with the Holy Spirit, following Jesus into an abundantly fulfilling and deeply satisfying life that God has prepared for you. It is a great adventure and an amazing journey of faith. May God bless and reward your seeking by granting you his salvation.
All of the above comments are true but I understand from your comment the following: 1) You want to adopt a faith to solve your disorder? 2) What makes Christianity the faith to select (opposed to all the other worldly faith)? My point of view 1) Adopting a faith to solve a disorder is the wrong way around. "Faith" of God's existence, His salvation and an everlasting life in GOD's presence, should be the focus - ONLY if HE (GOD) deems it, will HE assist in the disorder 2) Of all the worldly gods, GOD the SON (Jesus Christ) is the ONLY living God - HE arose from the dead and GOD. Assuming that you have already accepted Jesus as your Savior on a previous occasion (as you are inquiring about it), GOD, the HOLY GHOST (part of the Trinity), is already working in you I recommend you renew your relationship with Jesus Christ your Savior first. Then ask HIM for forgiveness for the disproportionate blame (that other Christians did to you), restore your faith for the right reasons - to accept/believe that Jesus died for your sins on the cross, trust in God your savior in Jesus Christ - and the rest will follow
I would like to make the following observations- 1. God has no problems with anyone having doubts. It is a natural element of the human condition. Christ does not require "blind faith" from his followers. When the disciple Thomas expressed doubts about the resurrection, in so many words saying " I won't believe until I see evidence" Jesus shows him the mark of the crucifixion nails on his hands and feet. 2. No matter how YOU feel about God, or whether you even believe in Him, you can be sure that HE has a deep love for you. That deep love is the reason He sent His Son into the world to conquer sin through His death and resurrection in order that all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord will be saved. 3. You do not say what your condition is, however, neither Christianity or any other religion can guarantee healing in this life. Becoming a Christian does not immediately cure all physical, mental, social, financial or other problems. Being a Christian is primarily about developing a personal relationship with Christ, which will change you in other ways. Incidentally, the reason why many Christians may disappoint you by their words or actions is that they too are n this journey of relationship with Christ, but none of us are perfect - yet. 4. If you already have a Bible, start reading it daily. Commentaries are available with daily reading topics. You will soon note that most of the "heroes" in the Old and New Testaments, like Abraham, Moses, David, Peter and Paul were flawed, sinning humans like us- yet God chose them to fulfil his plan for humanity. If you do not have a Bible, you can download a free phone app from the internet. 5. Seek out a Church in your neighbourhood where you feel welcomed. We are meant to enjoy worshipping God together. There will be Christians there happy to help you 6. Pray! Don't worry about fancy phrases, just find a quiet place and talk to God. Tell Him your hopes, your fears, your disappointments and your aspirations. Then leave space for him to respond. God bless you.
I would say in the most sincere and loving way, stop looking to humans as your guide and truly look towards God. Prayer is the first step. Also your lack of belief is no surprise to God, his closest followers who were in his presence had trouble believing! Don't beat yourself up. Pray get to a Bible teaching church. Attend Bible studies and don't look for answers on social media, there is so much hate and confusion these days. I will pray for guidance for you❤️
Your post sent chills up my spine! I know experiences differ, but I completely relate! I had the same circumstances.. the hatred for Christians due to hurts inflicted... losing my faith.. becoming a devout atheist.. having a "hard core" Christian friend who loved me despite our opposing beliefs... living with a mental illness- with multiple "attempts".. I did NOT want to be a Christian but I didn't know what to do.. seemed it didn't work to live and didn't work to die.. she was always there for me on the dreadful journey. I knew I needed something and her beliefs seemed to help her live a happy life.. What I did was pray "God I don't believe in you, but if you're real help me to believe" -seemed stupid at first because I didn't believe in prayer.. after about a month, I wasn't doing good and my friend invited me to church. I was so desperate I said ok- knowing if I got uncomfortable or angry I could leave. I figured no harm because it couldn't be worse than what I was experiencing! That morning the pastor actually said "God loves atheist" in the sermon! Got saved that day. (Last year) It's been little by little but steadily life changing. When an issue comes up that I don't agree with- I've been told "that's ok, put it on a shelf". I'm just taking it day by day & gradually learning & understanding concepts. I don't understand how I was able to change- just know it had to be God b/c it wasn't me! But it all started with an honest statement/prayer. "I don't believe, help me believe."
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