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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Doubts   Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:06 pm

I have doubts sometimes like I have been recently. 
Please don't freak out. I just would like answers...

How can I know the Bible is trustworthy?
What are spirits? I know from experience that they are real, but are they demons or people? 
How can I know if God created us or if we're here by abiogenesis?

I also do not know if I question these things because of insecurities... I'm the type of person who explores everything. How do people have so much certainty of anything without ignoring other people's views? Everyone makes good points.

I dunno. I'm sorry that I'm such an inconvenience.
I still believe in God I think, but I'm really confused. I was always a terrible Christian, swayed by everything. But how do I know what is true and what is not?
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:07 pm

First of all, you aren't an inconvenience. I think most everyone around here likes you pretty well, including myself. We've all been swayed by things and sometimes it takes a while to decide what you think about something.

I'll also say that you and I think very much alike. I'm very rational and have lots of times doubted God's very existence (which is why I talk about faith not being intellectual assent. You can have faith in something even if in your head you question it.)

As far as your questions, start at the beginning. Which one would help you answer the others? It seems to me that the first one is the one that would bring a lot of clarity to you.

All that being said, I have 2  suggestions.
1. Pray about it. Ask God to show himself to you as you read the Bible.
2. Read some books about the authenticity of the Bible -
-  Letters from a Skeptic (Gregory Boyd) has some fundamentals in it. It's also good for when you have doubts.
-  The Case For Christ (Lee Strobel) has some great stuff in it. From historical documentation to science to archaeology to reliable witnesses... good read.
-  Can We Still Believe the Bible? (Craig Blomberg) is one I've been told is good. I haven't read it but I have read some of Blomberg's stuff. He's considered one of the leading New Testament scholars of the last century. This is in my wish list.

I hope that helps. I have a copy of Letters... and Case for Christ. PM me your address and I'll send them to you.
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Staybrite

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:36 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
-  The Case For Christ (Lee Strobel) has some great stuff in it. From historical documentation to science to archaeology to reliable witnesses... good read.

I read this book as a new Christian and I was rather surprised that it helped cement my belief in Christ and the bible both.

I also notice that the more I read the bible, the less I doubt it's accuracy.  Oh I might doubt that I am a Christian sometimes, but I seldom seem to doubt the existence of God.  As Ishmael suggested, keep praying sister.

Don't worry about being an "inconvenience" to the rest of the members here, because you are not.  If God can put up with our sin, the least we can do as his blind and often selfish children is help each other out...even if  that just means holding each other's hands when we feel weak, scared and unsure.
Smile

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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 14, 2016 4:19 pm

Thanks for the advice and for handling the situation well. ^^

ishmael81 wrote:
1. Pray about it. Ask God to show himself to you as you read the Bible.

How do I know if it's  God or not? I have a very active and desperate mind. How do I know if it's God or me talking to myself?
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:12 pm

An acid test for telling if it is God speaking to you is that He will never contradict Himself or His word.  If He promised to do something in His Word, then He will keep it.  He will not tell you to do something that is completely out of line with the teachings and actions of Jesus Christ or the Apostles.

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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:06 am

I don't know. I'm really confused...

1. How do I know that God hears my prayers?
2. I still don't know how to tell what goes on in my head. What if it's just me who is thinking something and it just happens to agree with the Bible?

I'm sorry if I sound insulting. That is not my intention.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Tue Mar 15, 2016 11:29 am

1. Assuming one believes the Bible to be true:

1 John 5:14
And this is the confidence (the assurance, the privilege of boldness) which we have in Him: [we are sure] that if we ask anything (make any request) according to His will (in agreement with His own plan), He listens to and hears us.

Mark 11:24
For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].

Jeremiah 29:12
Then you will call upon Me, and you will come and pray to Me, and I will hear and heed you.

Jeremiah 33:3
Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand).

Psalm 18:6
In my distress [when seemingly closed in] I called upon the Lord and cried to my God; He heard my voice out of His temple (heavenly dwelling place), and my cry came before Him, into His [very] ears.

That's just a few I found.

2. Chances are if you're thinking something that agrees with the Bible, it's okay, right? You aren't thinking about stealing or murdering or anything that the Bible says is a sin, so really it's the same - you're thinking it but it's because Jesus is speaking through you (to yourself).

Lastly, stop apologizing please. Most if not all of us have had times of doubt and struggle. That's why the Bible talks about working out our salvation - it isn't just a one-and-done kind of situation. We are everyday working out our salvation through relationship with Jesus.
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:49 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
2. Chances are if you're thinking something that agrees with the Bible, it's okay, right? You aren't thinking about stealing or murdering or anything that the Bible says is a sin, so really it's the same - you're thinking it but it's because Jesus is speaking through you (to yourself).

How do I know if it's Jesus or just me though?

I don't know if I can really be certain on anything... Sad
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:15 pm

xenonlion wrote:
ishmael81 wrote:
2. Chances are if you're thinking something that agrees with the Bible, it's okay, right? You aren't thinking about stealing or murdering or anything that the Bible says is a sin, so really it's the same - you're thinking it but it's because Jesus is speaking through you (to yourself).

How do I know if it's Jesus or just me though?

I don't know if I can really be certain on anything... Sad


Maybe I need you to be more specific. Are you talking about Biblical principles and whether you believe them or whether God is telling you to do something or...

What I'm trying to say is this:

If you're praying and you feel led to pray for your aunt (I'm totally making this up), then does it matter if it's you or if it's Jesus? The point is, you're still praying for someone who likely needs it (because who doesn't?). If you feel led to give a homeless guy a sandwich, does it matter if it's you or if it's Jesus? As long as you give him the sandwich with the right intentions, who cares if it was your idea or Jesus prompting you?

But like I said, maybe we need to talk specifics and nail down what you're trying to communicate.
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:59 pm

I guess I do need to be more specific. I guess I'm asking about God's existence and how much He's involved with us in modern days.

Does praying do anything? How do I know that the outcome would be different without prayer?
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:04 pm

I do think it matter a little because it's related to God being involved with us. What if everything is from me?

If I feel led to do something, how do I know if it's me or God? What if things that people feel led to do contradict?
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alldatndensum
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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:15 am

People can be led to do different things than what you are.  Still, the Holy Spirit will not counter God's word.  That would make God to be schizophrenic.

Why would God single you out where only you were excluded?  If that were true, then our God is a sadistic being who likes to torture people like playthings. 

There is no absolute proof, XL.  Part of the journey with the Lord is through FAITH.  We believe it because Jesus and the Apostles taught it.  They were witnesses of the miracles and resurrection.  Ours is the faith most fought against in this world today.  That lends precedence to it.  If Jesus were not Lord of Lords and King Of Kings, why fight against a dead man?

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Candlemass

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Wed Mar 16, 2016 8:28 am

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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Wed Mar 16, 2016 12:08 pm

I don't know. >. <

How do I know if Christianity is right or if other religions are right?  What if none are right, but God still exists?
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Thu Mar 17, 2016 8:39 am

Well Xenonlion,

You stumped us... just kidding.

I think for me, it took a lot of self introspection about what I believed and didn't believe before I arrived at Christianity as being true.

There are lots of arguments out there for it (this is called Apologetics) and I think those are beneficial. But for me, what was most impactful was after I read several books about the validity of the Bible, the chances of Creation without a Creator and the authenticity of the Gospels based on secular historians at the time, I had to just ask Jesus to prove himself to me.

And he did. Nothing mystical or Benny Hinn-like... he just showed up when I needed him.

I say all that to say this: you may have to travel a similar journey. It seems like you left Adventism and now you're wondering what is truth and what is not. This is totally understandable. When I was about 16, I decided that I would keep attending my parent's Baptist church but only to get my privileges (as long as I went to church on Sunday morning I could stay out as late as I wanted on Saturday). In essence, I was no longer Baptist. And I went through what seems to be happening to you - I questioned the very existence of God. I questioned it all. I spent a year of my spare time researching other religions - Islam, Buddhism, Judaism, even some Chinese mystic religions - as well as atheism and agnosticism.

After that year, I arrived at the fact that archaeologically speaking, scientifically speaking, historically speaking and even logically speaking, some kind of supreme Creator exists and those things tended to point to Christianity. And that's when I prayed for Jesus to do something to prove himself if he was real.

All I will say is that he did. I don't want to share how because it's pretty personal but there you go.
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:07 am

This may be starting at a differnet point but:

As we come up on Easter many ask questions about the reliability of the resurrection story. Was it a legend? Did the early church fabricate it? Can we trust what we read in the Bible and what we hear preached? 
Greg has written extensively on this topic. In his best-selling book Letters from a Skeptic, Greg responds to these questions:
____________________________________________

  1. The resurrection event is testified to by five independent sources (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Paul — who referred to the numerous other sources as well, such as Peter and James and first Corinthians 15). …
  2. The location of Jesus’s tomb was well-known by all, so if Jesus had not risen from the dead, if his body were yet in the tomb, this could have been easily checked out. But Jesus’ followers (who would suffer persecution for their faith) and the opponents of Jesus (who would want to falsify the Christian claim) would have a motive for checking this out. But all agree, the tomb was empty. How is this agreement to be explained?
  3. Related to #2, no one disputes that the Christian church began in Jerusalem just a few weeks after Jesus’ crucifixion. It exploded in growth. And the content of the message that causes this explosion was that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lord of all, as was evidenced by his miracles and resurrection from the dead (see Acts 2:22–24). They do not present to their audience some unknown figure in the distant past. They’re talking about one of their audience’s contemporaries! How is this growth to be explained?
  4. The resurrection narratives lack the characteristics common to late legendary narratives, and embody many of the characteristics common to early eyewitness based reports. There is, for example, much detail, much of it being irrelevant to the storyline. To give one illustration, Mark mentions the name of the well-known member of the Sanhedrin (a Jewish councilman) who donated his tomb for Jesus — Joseph of Arimathea. Now if one is going to fabricate an account, one doesn’t create this sort of detail. One certainly doesn’t drop names of such prominent people, people who can easily be cross examined. …
  5. The conversion of Paul is unexplainable except on the basis he himself gives: he confronted the risen Lord (see Acts 9 and 1 Corinthians 15). Here was a man dead set against Christianity, even overseeing the stoning of one of its preachers, and then one moment he’s converted. Similarly, James, the brother of Jesus, was also a nonbeliever in Jesus until the Lord appeared to him (1 Corinthians 15:7). …
  6. Paul gives us an early list of the Resurrection appearances. It’s found in 1 Corinthians 15, written about 15 to 20 years after the resurrection. He is here attempting to convince some Corinthians that the resurrection of Jesus did in fact occur, and to do this he lists Christ’s appearances to the apostles, and to James, and “to more than 500 at the same time, most of whom are still living” (1 Corinthians 15:6). The thrust of noting the larger number of living people who saw Christ resurrected is to say, “If you don’t believe me, the evidence is still around. Go and ask those who saw it.” By the standard of any law court, this must be taken as strong evidence.
  7. There’s no way of accounting for the transformation of the disciples except on the basis of the resurrection, the very basis they themselves give. If you compare the disciples before the death of Jesus with the disciples after the resurrection appearances, you will see a world of difference. One day they are fearful and hiding; the next day they are facing hostile audiences, preaching the resurrection.
  8. Finally, there is no motive for the disciples to fabricate the story. They had nothing to gain and everything to lose. Nor is there anything to lead us to believe that they were disposed to fabricate such a story, or had the sort of characters which would be capable of such an incredible fabrication. Nor is there anything to suggest that they could have successfully pulled such an incredible fabrication off, even if they had wanted to.

In short, the denial of the resurrection has nothing to recommend itself as a historical hypothesis, while the admittance of the resurrection has everything to recommend itself as a historical hypothesis.
- See more at: http://reknew.org/2014/04/8-arguments-for-the-reality-of-the-resurrection/#sthash.UmPsNERj.dpuf

So if you think about this article, and the Resurrection is true, then everything else Jesus said would be true.
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Fri Mar 18, 2016 5:43 pm

What about prayer and miracles?
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:13 pm

What about them specifically?
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Fri Mar 18, 2016 7:46 pm

ishmael81 wrote:
What about them specifically?

Does intercessory prayer work the same way people say it does?
Are miracles even real?
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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Fri Mar 18, 2016 8:45 pm

How do they say it works?


I've seen people's backs straightened.  When I was a kid, there was another kid in our area that got shot in the chest with a BB gun.  The BB lodged in his heart.  Our pastor had a dream that he was in the operating room while doctors removed the BB.  He was holding a plate.  All of a sudden the BB popped out of the boy's chest and landed on the plate.  He took that as a message from the Lord that the kid was going to be all right.


When they performed the surgery, they found the hole that the BB made but couldn't find the BB.  They repaired the damage and sewed him up.  When they cleaned up the operating room, they found the BB on the floor.  I'd say that's a pretty cool miracle!
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Sat Mar 19, 2016 9:41 am

xenonlion wrote:
ishmael81 wrote:
What about them specifically?

Does intercessory prayer work the same way people say it does?
Are miracles even real?
I don't know what they say but intercessory prayer does work the way the Bible says.
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 21, 2016 10:14 am

I have a lot of things I could say or ask. I don't want to cause any debates though. Should we just agree to disagree?
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ishmael81

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 21, 2016 1:52 pm

I don't see much debate and no one has said anything but if you don't feel comfortable, I understand.
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xenonlion

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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 21, 2016 3:36 pm

There isn't a debate. I just don't want things to escalate to one.
I think I've gotten to the point where asking questions won't help. I do have questions, but I realise my view is just different now.
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PostSubject: Re: Doubts   Mon Mar 21, 2016 8:37 pm

Are your doubts fueled by your disdain for your parents' faith and denomination they belong to?  Is it that you truly doubt or are you just throwing out stuff to set up boundaries because of the pain they've caused you with their legalism?

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