Posts Tagged ‘doubt’

Many people don’t want to believe in the Christian faith until they understand everything about it.  This is very understandable – after all you don’t want to buy into something and later find things that shock you or you just can’t believe.  However, the problem with this is that, as humans, we will never be able to understand everything about the Christian faith. As finite beings we will never be able to understand an infinite God and His infinite ways.  It will never be possible.

 

In some respects that is the key.  When you understand that you will never be able to understand something, in some senses, you can stop trying. You can focus your energy on the things you can understand. If you speak to Christians you will find that Christianity hold no bad surprises.  You don’t suddenly discover that behind a front of goodness and love God is really an evil dictator – but because you’ve believed in Him for so long you just continue to believe in some sort of brain washed state.  God is who He says He is right from the start and the only surprising thing that you discover is that He never changes.  If you speak to Christians you will also discover that Christianity doesn’t give you all the answers to life’s questions. It does answer some of them and it puts even more into some sort of context but there will still be questions that we will never have answered. For centuries people, Christians and non-Christians alike, have grappled with the issues of suffering, evil, existence, conscience, love, death, the afterlife and so on. No satisfactory answers have been found and we will all continue to grapple with them. Christianity won’t give you neat, conclusive, simple answers to all of life’s big questions. However, it will give you context.  What I mean by this is that, for example, if you believe in a creator God who loves and wants the best for His creation it helps you to see things in a correct context.  In some respects it may appear to make things more difficult. If God loves His creation why does He allow it to suffer? Again there are no easy answers but we have a context within which to explore.  Is all suffering always bad? Is suffering caused by the freewill of others? Is God causing the suffering or just allowing it? If we see this world as the entirety of our existence does that change our view on suffering? What if we believe that this life is but a minute part of eternity?  If we see suffering as part of a much greater plan does that aid our understanding? If we truly believe that God is GOOD and He truly LOVES His creation how does that affect our view of suffering and God’s part in it? These are questions that Christians still have to work through but in the right context it brings far more meaning and understanding even if nice simple satisfying answers are never achieved. We constantly need to remember that the finite cannot understand the infinite.

It would be really nice to be able to put Christianity in a box, evaluate it, understand it and then decide whether to believe or not to believe. If only life were so simple. However, I do believe that the Christian faith is intellectually viable. To have faith in it is not blind faith. It is a faith worked out using our intellect and our experiences. We don’t have to understand everything about it to believe. Just as you don’t have to know how the engine of a car works in order to drive it. You need to know enough, you need to know what all (or at least most) of the buttons do, which pedal will make you go and which will make you stop.  You need to know what fuel to put in the tank and the fact that a service no and then with help prevent breakdown. However, you don’t need to know how the engine works or how the engine drives the wheels or how the fuel powers the engine in order to bring movement. Yes, the more you know the better it is, especially when things go wrong. If you can strip and engine down and rebuild it – great – but it is not essential to your everyday driving. The same is true with Christianity. You need to know enough but you certainly don’t need to know everything. You can learn more, if you choose to, along the way. That’s why we have churches and vicars and theologians to make up for what we don’t know.

 

However intelligent we are (or would like to believe we are) we will never understand the complexities of God – however hard we try. We can’t put God in a box and study Him. Trying to understand Him fully is a futile exercise which will only lead to frustration and ultimately dissatisfaction. We need to understand enough and ultimately understand that God is infinite and will never be fully understood. When we can understand that it is then that we can get into the car and drive away!

Imagine, if you will, a trip to the Grand Canyon. You arrive and spend a week exploring one of the greatest sites on the planet. You see it from the air as you arrive, you walk down into it and spend the night at the bottom. You visit the North, South and West rims. You visit the gift shops and buy your souvenirs. You see the canyon at sunrise and sunset and every time in between. Finally you head for home. When you arrive home you’re told that the Grand Canyon doesn’t exist. Imagine how you would feel. Imagine your unbelief of what you are being told. You’ve been there, experienced it and now you’re being told that all of that was untrue.

 

I guess this is a little of what I feel when I try to imagine Christianity not being true. I’ve believed it, I’ve stepped out in faith, I’ve experienced it, I’ve found it to be true. I’ve tested it and evaluated it. I have seen God at work in my life and in the lives of others. I have felt His presence and seen answers to my prayers. This is all to say that trying to imagine that Christianity is just a Myth is an extremely difficult things for me to do. I know you can discount the experiences of others but when you’ve experienced something it is hard to discount it.

 

Having said that lets have a look at the bottom line. Belief in God is a leap of faith. However, let’s not confuse that with blind faith. Belief in God is not blind faith. Belief in God is about looking at the available information that you have, evaluating it and then coming to a decision. So belief in God does take faith and therefore isn’t something you can prove. You have to trust that you have based your decisions on correct information, made wise judgements and trusted in something that not only intellectually viable but is also true! So, at the end of the day what if you based your decision on a myth?

 

Now, I know that this whole subject might just seem like a exercise in covering one’s back but what I’m wanting to convey is that a step of faith isn’t such a major thing. It’s not about diving headlong into a gaping chasm, it’s about taking small steps, carefully exploring and finding out wonderful things along the way. If at the end of the day you decide it’s not true you will have lost nothing, even if you live your whole life as a Christian only to discover it was a myth you will have lost nothing. If Christianity is not true, when you die that is it, no judgement, no hell, just nothing!! Your body, mind, spirit, soul is no more. Whatever you believed makes no difference. We will all find ourselves in the same boat.

 

But will you look back with huge regrets? Regrets of living your life for something that’s not true? If I were to get to the end of my life and discover somehow that Christianity were not true I would be gutted, but not because of a life wasted. I believe that so much of the teaching of the Bible is the best way to live. Even if you were to take away the bed-rock of the truth of the Bible, if you were to say that God didn’t exist I would argue that much of the teaching of the Bible, even being man created, gave us the best way to live. Even disregarding the Bible altogether I believe that it is…

 

  • better to love than to hate

 

  • better to pursue peace than war

 

  • better to give than receive

 

  • better to put others first than yourself

 

  • better to faithful than unfaithful or faithless

 

  • better to be sincere than insincere

 

  • better to be truthful than to lie

 

  • better to be selfless rather than be self-seeking

 

  • better to be polite rather than be rude

 

  • better to be satisfied rather than be dis-satisfied

 

  • better to be focussed rather than be aimless

 

  • better to see the good in people rather than the bad

 

  • better to be trusting rather than sceptical

 

  • better to hate injustice rather than embrace it

 

  • better to work for the good rather than evil

 

  • better to help rather than to hinder

 

  • better to build up rather than to destroy

 

  • better to see people as equal rather than superior or inferior

 

  • better to provide rather than withhold

 

  • better to respect rather than disrespect

 

  • better to persevere rather than give up

 

  • better to live in unity rather than in discord

 

  • better to forgive than to hold grudges

 

  • better to seek forgiveness rather than revenge

 

I’m sure the list could go on. Surely a life lived by these principles won’t hold too many regrets. If God does not exist a life lived as if he does exist will not be wasted or full of regrets – it will be a life lived along great principles, for others, with passion and with hope. But hey, I truly believe that you’d have an easier task convincing me that the Grand Canyon didn’t exist than convincing me that God didn’t.

 

 

I doubt it!

Posted: July 21, 2010 by Haelie in What About...
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, I said it…I doubt…do you?

This is a very appropriate subject, in light of the fact that we are currently on a journey to figure out what we believe and why. Are you one of those people who thinks that a “good Christian” does not doubt God, His existence, the Bible, etc….? Are you one of those people who not only doubts all of that, but just out-right doesn’t believe in any of that at all? Either way, doubt in itself is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, denying that you doubt could end up being more harmful to you than doubt itself. WHEN you doubt, not IF, it often can be a good thing, because it forces you to go on a journey to discover why you believe what you think you believe…sound familiar!?!

I thought this one email I got recently was so on-target with this doubt thing.  Max Lucado puts things in a very down-to-earth, easy-to-relate-to perspective. One of his daily emails not long ago was on just this subject. You can click HERE to check it out.

A couple of the things he said that I liked a lot (I really liked it all!) is that Doubt will “tell you not to believe in the invisible yet offer no answer for the inadequacy of the visible…His aim is not to convince you to confuse you. He doesn’t offer solutions, he only raises questions.”

And another thing he said that was oh-so-true is, “If you are more cynical about Christians than sincere about Christ, then guess who came to dinner?” Ouch!!! I think we can all relate to being burnt by Christians…after all, Christians are HUMAN BEINGS…very imperfect just like anyone else. The trick is to realize that our hope is not in people, our hope is in Christ! Yes, He lives inside of Christians, but that doesn’t mean Christians are made perfect on this earth. We still do and say very disrespectful, selfish, rude, hurtful things to fellow believers and non-believers alike. We still have our innate personalities, which when given to God to be used can be used amazingly (He made us the way we are for a reason!), however when we take our eyes off of Him and get too caught up in ourselves and doing things the way we think are best, those God-given personalities can be quite difficult for others to deal with – not to mention difficult to deal with ourselves.

Sooooo, what are you going to do with this?

I doubt (pun intended!) you can go away from this without reconsidering some things in your life, as I am in mine.

Specifically, Why are you avoiding God (if you are)? Are you using excuses that are fed by doubt? Give your doubts and fears and failures and guilt to HIMaccept His love and grace and forgiveness and faithfulness to you and acceptance of you.

Don’t put off getting on the right road with Him (or BACK on it) until you “get some things straight” or “figure it all out” or find a church and/or denomination with which you completely agree and find no “bad” Christians. You will NEVER be satisfied if you are waiting on any of those things! Just come to Him…NOW…NOT LATER…just like you are right now.

Even if you’ve walked away from Him deliberately and feel guilty about it. Even if you think you’ve been just fine and living the “good Christian life”…still take this time to really think about that and re-evaluate it all. He wants to go deeper with you right now…not later! He wants to show you who He is in YOUR life, not just who He is period. I dare you to be real with Him and to trust Him! He will shock your socks off with what He wants to do in YOUR life!!! Hold on…are you ready?

Come to Him now, be real with Him…if you dare!

I doubt it!

Posted: June 7, 2010 by Haelie in What About...
Tags: , , , , ,

Yes, I said it…I doubt…do you?

This is a very appropriate subject, in light of the fact that we are currently on a journey to figure out what we believe and why. Are you one of those people who thinks that a “good Christian” does not doubt God, His existence, the Bible, etc….? Are you one of those people who not only doubts all of that, but just out-right doesn’t believe in any of that at all? Either way, doubt in itself is not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, denying that you doubt could end up being more harmful to you than doubt itself. WHEN you doubt, not IF, it often can be a good thing, because it forces you to go on a journey to discover why you believe what you think you believe…sound familiar!?!

I thought this one email I got was very timely this week. Max Lucado puts things in a very down-to-earth, easy-to-relate-to perspective. One of his daily emails this week was on just this subject. CLICK HERE to check it out.

A couple of the things he said that I liked a lot (I really liked it all!) is that Doubt will “tell you not to believe in the invisible yet offer no answer for the inadequacy of the visible…His aim is not to convince you to confuse you. He doesn’t offer solutions, he only raises questions.”

And another thing he said that was oh-so-true is, “If you are more cynical about Christians than sincere about Christ, then guess who came to dinner?” Ouch!!! I think we can all relate to being burnt by Christians…after all, Christians are HUMAN BEINGS…very imperfect just like anyone else. The trick is to realize that our hope is not in people, our hope is in Christ! Yes, He lives inside of Christians, but that doesn’t mean Christians are made perfect on this earth. We still do and say very disrespectful, selfish, rude, hurtful things to fellow believers and non-believers alike. We still have our innate personalities, which when given to God to be used can be used amazingly (He made us the way we are for a reason!), however when we take our eyes off of Him and get too caught up in ourselves and doing things the way we think are best, those God-given personalities can be quite difficult for others to deal with – not to mention difficult to deal with ourselves.

Sooooo, what are you going to do with this?

I doubt (pun intended!) you can go away from this without reconsidering some things in your life, as I am in mine.

Specifically, Why are you avoiding God (if you are)? Are you using excuses that are fed by doubt? Give your doubts and fears and failures and guilt to HIMaccept His love and grace and forgiveness and faithfulness to you and acceptance of you.

Don’t put off getting on the right road with Him (or BACK on it) until you “get some things straight” or “figure it all out” or find a church and/or denomination with which you completely agree and find no “bad” Christians. You will NEVER be satisfied if you are waiting on any of those things! Just come to Him…NOW…NOT LATER…just like you are right now.

Even if you’ve walked away from Him deliberately and feel guilty about it. Even if you think you’ve been just fine and living the “good Christian life”…still take this time to really think about that and re-evaluate it all. He wants to go deeper with you right now…not later! He wants to show you who He is in YOUR life, not just who He is period. I dare you to be real with Him and to trust Him! He will shock your socks off with what He wants to do in YOUR life!!! Hold on…are you ready?

Come to Him now, be real with Him…if you dare!