Englishguy1988

Faith, God and churches

10 posts in this topic

I think I've mentioned this before but I sort of believe in god... I don't think the world was created by accident... Hence god... But I'm one of those people who find it hard to believe in things without proof, which I guess is why its called having faith :-) so I was wondering how do you have faith in something you can't see or touch or have no physical proof of because this is something I really struggle with... I want to believe but it's just hard for me to rationalise it to myself if that makes sense?

Secondly how do you decide which church is right for you?... I'm leaning towards the catholic church because its in line with some of my core beliefs I.e. I'm compleately against divorce, I don't think marrige can be "undone" you make your wedding vows for life not until you hit a rough patch... I'm compleately against adultry... As I'm sure we all are but I hate it so much I can't stand to even be in the same room as someone who cheats... I am also leaning towards the no contraception as god will only give you the amount of children you and your Spose can cope with belief.

I was baptised (not sure what church as my family aren't religious), I chose to go to Sunday school for a while as a child and also went to a Christian youth group for years (8 years I think) and went to church once a month with the youth group (Methodist church) so what is the difference between all the churches and how did you/do you decide which is best for you?

Thank you for taking the time to read this as I realise its a bit long winded and probably is a bit or a ramble lol

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am preety sure someone else on here has read this before but for those of you who havent I'll post it again.

I wanted to share a piece about where the student argued the point of God vs Science with his professor.

‘Let me explain the problem science has with religion.’

The atheist professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

’Yes sir,’ the student says.

’So you believe in God’

’Absolutely.’

‘Is God good?’

‘Sure! God’s good.’

‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’

‘Yes’

’Are you good or evil?’

‘The Bible says I’m evil.’

The professor grins knowingly.

‘Aha! The Bible!’ He considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you. Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’

‘Yes sir, I would.’

‘So you’re good…!’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’

‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could. But God doesn’t.’

The student does not answer, so the professor continues. ‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him. How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?’

The student remains silent.

‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says. He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’

‘Er…yes,’ the student says.

‘Is Satan good?’

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. ‘No.’

‘Then where does Satan come from?’

The student falters. ‘From God’

‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything, correct?’

‘Yes’

‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’

Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’

The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’

‘So who created them?’

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student. ‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?’

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’

The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you. Have you ever seen Jesus?’

‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’

‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’

‘No, sir, I have not.’

‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelt your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’

‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’

‘Yet you still believe in him?’

‘Yes’

‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’

‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’

‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of His own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’

‘And is there such a thing as cold?’

‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’

‘No sir, there isn’t.’

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested. The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain. ‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’. We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.’

‘Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matter have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation. ‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’

‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to define the word.’

‘In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?’

‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains. ‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.

It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it.’

‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’

‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’

‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’

The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’ The class breaks out into laughter.

‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelt the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’

‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’

‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues. ‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’

Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

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thank you cesar that does help a bit in the fact that it made me realise that by trying to rationalise god (I.e. Find proof) I'm actually missing the point of what faith is... Which is to believe in god without the need of proof and to trust in god and put faith in god to lead me not to doubt his exsistance just because I don't have any physical proof :-)

What are your thoughts on the other questions if you don't mind me asking?

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My two cents' worth: church is like dating... you have to find the one that not only matches your values, but also the one that challenges you, supports you and is good to hang with day-in and day-out.

You sound like many people do when they become aware that they want to reconnect with a church community as part of their lives, but then the struggle of selection jumps in. So my first thought/question for you is to look around your circle of friends and find someone who feels positively about their church relationship... and then go attend a service or two or three (like dating). See how it feels. Do the doctrines seem in line with what you believe? Do the sermons hit chords with you? Do the people seem like people like you?

I think honestly there is a lot in common across the various categorical denominations - and then the fine detail between them can be a bit of interpretation, or one man's faith vs another's, or frankly it can be a bit on you to determine which side of a given issue you fall on... there are really only a few things that each denomination gets pretty black-and-white about. Adultery certainly is one. Divorce is not one (esp since the Old Testament has plenty of divorce and "X left his wife" examples). Contraception is often one - but even there I would suggest that you can choose to disagree with what the church allows or doesn't and still follow that church (there are plenty of Catholics for instance who use contraception, for example).

Joining a church - a specific church - means you feel fully supported in your faith, and that church feels like it will help you grow in your relationship with God and how you practice your faith out in the "real world" every day. Given what you have as a background, you should obviously check out a Catholic Church or two that you like or that friends like; you can also revisit the Methodist church if that's where you started; many people I know shifted from the Catholic Church to the Episcopal Church as close in doctrine and philosophy but different in other practices.

Like many on here, I have wandered from my original church from time to time; and I have even shopped around for churches within my denomination from time to time... listening to the priest/minister/pastor... watching how families are drawn to the church and grow in the church (obviously this was especially true when my wife & I were first married, and then gradually started our family and had kids and raising kids). But it really has to ring true in your heart and in your soul... it doesn't mean it all has to be easy or 100% what you think... but it does mean it has to come from a place that makes you think and continue to grow and feel grounded in your faith.

i don't know if that helps... but for me, it really was a bit like dating and shopping... it has to wear well over time on you and in you, for you to really connect and bond with that church... so ask around a bit... see what your close friends do... and if you really don't have that sort of trusted advisor on that front, then I would suggest starting with big churches first... you'll see "popular ones" by doing that... and then you can try smaller churches where everyone knows everyone... and try that one on too... and of course throughout it... pray thoughtfully for His hand on where to go and how to listen. :-)

Good luck! I applaud your steps.

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Wow what a great way to put it faith was something I also struggled with...God doesn't require a certain amount of faith just give what you have and when you build a relationship with Christ (by reading Gods word) God will direct your path increase your faith and lead you to your purpose you will have the Holy Spirit guiding you each step of the way :) faith is like hope and hope is believing if you have hope that maybe God does exist that small amount of faith can grow it sounds like you have it dont worry

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Hi Ian I might be wrong but doesn't it say somewhere I'm the bible "God hates divorce" I can't remember exactly where as I vaguely remember it from RE (religious education -lesson at school although not a religious school and not just about Christianity)?

I think for me I probably won't go back to Methodist as they seem more easy going if that makes sense and I don't see the point in going to church unless you closely follow (or at least try to follow) the bible as that to me kind of defeats the object. For example (I think?) the catholic church doesn't see you as divorced even if you get divorced unless its under certain circumstances like your husband can't have kids or your wife cheats so they seem more in line with my anti divorce stance and they are also strictly pro life, not saying other churches aren't as I'm still looking into what is the best one for me but it just seems like they take it more seriously I.e you have to learn about catholic teachings before you formally join RCIA(?) where as other churches you just turn up (so both have their advantages here).

For me its a bit harder as none of my friends are religious and none of them believe in god and none of my family are Christians so although I know my family will support me they can't advise me in this if that makes sense hence the questions lol

Thank you yokimono I didn't think of it like that but I'm sure I will be guided to the right church :-)

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Aaron and Ian:

The divorce issue (why it's okay in the Old Testament but not in the New), and the Catholic Church's views on it come from what Christ taught on the issue. Basically, some people asked Him (I'm paraphrasing, btw...):

"Rabbi, what about divorce? Moses said we could divorce our wives if we wrote her a divorce certificate, then sent her away."

Jesus basically told them, "Moses only wrote that law for you because your hearts were hard. But in the beginning, it was not so."

Then He referred to some passages from Genesis: "At the beginning of creation, God made you male and female. So that, when a man leaves his mother and father and cleaves to his wife, they become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate."

Catholics take that to mean that Jesus was referring to God's original plan for marriage in the beginning, as in, before the fall of Adam and Eve and before there was original sin. As in, He wanted marriage to be a permanent, unbreakable vow between a man and a woman.

Christ goes on to tell them, "If a man divorces his wife and marries another woman, then he commits adultery against her. And if a woman divorces her husband and marries again, then she commits adultery against him."

And that's why we don't believe in divorce. We believe that, when you vow "Till death does us part"...then you're promising just that!

(Oh, while I'm here, I found these really great articles about Pope John Paul II and his book "Love and Responsibility". It's not about divorce, but it's a really nice insight into what true friendship and true love is, and there's a little about the Church's teaching on NFP and whatnot. Just thought people would find them interesting. I did!)

http://www.catholice...age/mf0078.html

(That's the first one. There's a little box at the bottom of the page with links to the other ones.)

xxx

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Hey Englishguy1988:

I myself used to be very committed to my faith, I was Christian with the Alliance (Christian and Missionary Alliance). I have since walked away from the church due to politics but I have always believed and will always believe in God. The general argument against God is as you said it, "How do I believe in something I can't see or touch?" well I have a similar question for you. How do you know your girlfriend won't cheat on you when you are not with her? You can't prove she will unless you are with her all the time. The answer is you just have faith that putting control into someone else will have a positive result. That is what I believe it comes down to is giving up control over one's own life to another. I personally believe that the argument of "I don't believe it because I can't see it," is very juvenile. You (not you directly :) but people who say that:) are missing the bigger picture. Having faith in something is part of the risk.

For me, I was raised with Christian values and I have just always believed in God. I have different opinions and ideas about a lot of things within religion, but what matters most to you is, does it feel right? I believe that if you are a genuinely good person who desires to do acts of good versus acts of wickedness, you are on the right track.

As for what church works for you, you may have to experiment. Many different denominations of Christianity or Catholicism are simply the "the same language, being told in a different story." If you choose to be Catholic, there are more rigid rules or accountabilities. Where as other denominations of Christianity may be less intense about certain subjects such as birth control.

At the end of the day, two questions have to be asked: 1) Is this what I want for me? and 2) Am I doing this for the right reason instead of transferring emotions or problems to cover up something else. I personally desired to have a relationship with God because I wanted to, and it gave me solace.

If you learn to quiet your mind, God will speak to you :) Good luck.

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thanks Jegs I will definately check out that website... I'm currently reading "confessions" by st Augustine that someone (a catholic) recomended to me I couldn't find it anywhere but then I went into a second hand book shop to get something to read on the bus and it was in there lol

Stabler... Or unless you borrow her laptop and find she's having an affair with a married man... That's how I found out my ex was cheating... I do however see what you mean if I'm worried about being cheated on how can I truly trust a girlfriend = if I'm worried god isn't real how can I truly let him become a part of my life and serve him if I doubt his very existence?

I try to be a good person but like everyone I'm not infallible.

I kind of like the ridgidness of the catholic church its like it doesn't change itself to fit you, it leads you... Not trys to accomadate you but shows you the right way to go if that makes sense?... Although I'm still looking into other churches as there's things I don't understand about Catholicism and a few things I'm a little unsure of... Contraception being one of the things I'm not sure of... I mean I love kids and I can't wait to be a daddy but what if we have lots of wonderful children how will I support a large family and still be able to have time for my family as well as working to support them?

I do want god in my life dispite the fact that its going to be hard for me... I live with aetheists, none of my friends/family are Christians... Yeah its not going to be easy but the more I look into it the more I realise I want god in my life... And I hope that I am doing this for the right reasons.

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I kind of like the ridgidness of the catholic church its like it doesn't change itself to fit you, it leads you... Not trys to accomadate you but shows you the right way to go if that makes sense?... Although I'm still looking into other churches as there's things I don't understand about Catholicism and a few things I'm a little unsure of...

Well, if there's anything you ever want to ask about the Catholic church, or about the faith, or whatnot, you can always ask me, if you like! I'll do my best to give my perspective/experience/whatnot.

(I say "whatnot" a lot, don't I?)

xxx

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