Non Believer asking questions. How this should really go.

This is a conversation that took place on facebook, between an individual (Main person) and two others (Christian 1, and Christian 2) there are other names mentioned in this but they are omitted.  This conversation is a great example on how Christians should have converstaions with those asking questions and or not agreeing with their belief.  What if we as christians started having un heated debates regarding our beliefs and started speaking life, and truth to those who ask and to those who dont beleive the same.  Instead we treat them as a disease and thus causing the gap to ever grow wider.  Lets start living what we say we beleive and start showing Gods true love and mercy to those who in the distance watch us… Currently all we can seem to do is butcher other believers and do nothing but spit on the name of our God by the way we live when we think no one is watching.  Lets do it right or not do it at all.
Main Person: Serious question, and please don’t give me an answer unless you are sure it has real theological backing, but why is it that in the Old Testament God had a very real and tangible impact and presence in the lives of humans and after OT all the sudden God is all faith and no proof? How do you go from face to face and audible talking and burning bushes and all this to faith?
  • Response:  I don’t know the answer to that but I think the OT God would make it easier for me to accept and believe. Too many questions left unanswered to me.
  • Main Person:  There’s just this HUGE list of differences between OT and NT God. I want it to be real. I do. I mean you are talking about literal Heaven. No suffering. Being reunited with loved ones and what not. But it just doesn’t make sense.
  • Response : Johnny Dollar got me thinking about all of that!
  • Believer 1:  That’s the whole thing…none of it makes sense. That’s not the point. Our love for our loved ones, the daily sacrifices we make or the fact that we would die for them…..it isn’t logical, we are selfish beings yet we do these things. It’s not tangible and I think the faith part is what makes it all so beautiful. To surrender all of are knowledge and understanding of how life functions and to trust that behind it all there is a God. I know that didn’t answer the question you wanted, but I don’t think there is an answer.
  • Main Person: I appreciate your answer Christian 1. Yours is as valid an answer as anyone else could give.
  • Christian 1:  After pondering further, God had to make his presence obvious In the beginning, probably bc we naturally doubt everything, but after obviously revealing himself we have to take a leap of faith. But I must tell you, if you are trying to find logic in the bible/rationalize it, you can’t. And as someone who has asked the same questions it’s hard. But nothing about this faith is easy. It’s a daily sacrifice.
  • Christian 1: And sense it isn’t rational I suppose that’s why there is a common thought that most of us Christians are mindless zombies who don’t have the ability to think outside the box. If you are truly interested you should read some of rob bells stuff. Velvet Elvis approaches this topic, you can borrow it if you like
  • Main Person: I appreciate your offer to borrow that book (I think?) But it is just curiosity. I think I am finally at a point in my life where I’m sure how I feel on the matter of faith, at least so far as the Judeo-Christian god. And so far as rationalizing theBible goes, the difference is that to an Atheist the Bible is not historical fact or for that matter anything more than moral guidance. I do not seek to rationalize it because I know it can not be rationalized. It is itself rife with contradictions. I was just realizing that the sudden switch from OT god to NT god is bigger than I originally thought and it got me to thinking.

  • Christian 2: I have some peeps working on this for you. I could give my imput, but I think that it would be better to get some answers from three people whom I know could weigh in better than I.
  • Christian 2: Just asking. not trying to be facisious. But do you realize that even though God in the OT came down and walked with His children, and was more involved so to speak with the human race because He desperatly wanted to have a relationship with His creation, after the fall of course He was trying to get things right again by saving His creation, the stories about Noah, Abraham, etc. all talk about God finding those who had the heart for him, who believed in Him and though He tested that faith by extreeme means, He knew that the human race was not all a waste. But because of how imperfect we are as humans with our sin nature and us just being us…. we made it so difficult for each other to beable to have that relationship, we put rules and regulations onto what God never intended for us to have. So Jesus Christ was sent down from heaven with the purpose to solely be the final sacrifice for us, to take that sin upon himself and simply bare it all. But then He too left, and told us that there was someone who was coming that could not come if He did not leave, and that was the Holy Spirit. The spirit of God would be in us and guide us, and soem times God speaks through that to us. among other things…but I have some questions for you.Why do we need parents and then can walk it out without them there face to face and them being audible?

    Aren’t they guiding us into what is to come?

    Does it not make life more powerful when we see the revelation of what we were told?

    Like I have always told you when we have talked before… It comes down to wanting to believe and not wanting to believe.

    The Bible as you said is full of contrdictions, of course it is… It was written by real humans in a real time, in a real place…. ITs messy. However despite what the religious folks want to tell everyone…. it was not written “by God” and thus perfect…. it is inspired absolutely, but it did not float down out of Heaven in a sealed container. I have even been wrong in this, but it was because I was taught the other… that it is the infallable non errorsom word of God.

    Check this out sometime…. http://www.facebook.com/l.php…

    robbellcom.tumblr.com

    Part 1. Someone Wrote Something I’ve had a number of conversations recently that somehow led to the Bible. I say somehow because these weren’t conversations with particularly religious friends, and yet what they talked about was their interest in the Bible.
  • Christian 2: I was not finished with my book yo… Look Main Person. Regardless of the outcome. some day I hope that you have peace with this… because I have been where you are, and when I did my research and my reading, I could not find away but to go back to God. I hope that this peace comes sooner than later because this kind of toil on someones heart and soul is not an easy burden. Im not a perfect man, and I will never be one, however I will always answer questions as honestly and to the best of my knowledge obviously finding others who know more than me so that answers given are not based upon opinion.And I hope that you never feel afraid or okward for asking, regardless of the response you get. Because I know that there are those out there who will get pissed at you for asking what you did… and thats such a sad thing.

    I will keep praying for you bro, I have been for awhile. and dont plan on stopping either.

  • Main Person:  These are some of the big hang ups for people like me:1. “It doesn’t have to make sense.” the fact that the subject is supernatural does not therefore mean it has the inherent ability to escape all reason. Not for people like me. That’s an excuse and simply sounds like brainwashing. If something being supernatural means it doesnt have to make sense you can just accept it then the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster (it is real, Google it) makes perfect sense. God is a giant spaghetti monster. Or Cthulu. Or Greek gods. That doesn’t fly for logical people. 2. God’s will. For logical people, God’s will is another excuse. If I didn’t get the job it wasn’t gods will. If I ran over my neighbors kid because I was texting and driving, sorry, gods will. If a stranger rapes my wife, sorry, gods will. It’s a magical loophole for God to escape all blame. He just knows everything and intends for us to be hurt and praise him anyway.

    3. The church in general punishes questioners. Your faith is week and you’re a bad Christian. You aren’t praying enough. You need to change your whole lifestyle. This is why we had hundreds of years of the Dark Ages.

  • Main Person: I appreciate the sentiment of your prayers. Bear in mind I’m not in toil. I have found more answers with what I believe now than when I believed in God. You have the right to believe as you wish, and that’s okay, but I am not inherently suffering as a result of not believing.
  • Christian 2: Yep, I believe in the spaghetti monster, brainwashed zombie here….the real question is if you are content in what you now believe, why are you still asking these questions, bc if it’s not that you truly want to know, it’s that your trying to Start an argument/ put Christians on trial, and to be honest your friends (if you consider them friends at all) don’t deserve that. I would hope that your Christian friends wouldn’t treat you that way, and question your beliefs. Isn’t Buddhism about being at peace (just asking I really have know idea about it)
  • Christian 2: And just FYI, there are mindless Christians who say things like “it’s God’s will”. But educated ones will tell you that He makes all things work for his ppls good, not that he made that situation happen, but if you let him he can turn it in to something good. He helps you deal with what you got, he doesn’t promise life will be easy, in fact the bible says “my yoke is heavy”
  • Main Person: I’m sorry I offended you Christian 1. I didn’t mean to use such harsh and accusatory language. I always hoped you and (name omitted), and me and (name omitted) as a group could hang out more especially since we now live fairly close to each other. I really am sorry.  I continue to ask questions because I am always willing to take further evidence. I won’t ever stop asking questions. Even of Buddhism. And (name omitted) can tell you I question it regularly.
    Ultimately Buddhism is absolutely about peace. With yourself and with others. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone with this. But also Buddhism is about asking questions. A Buddhist should never stop asking questions. About Buddhism or any other subject. I originally asked this question because, though I consider myself above average on bible and faith knowledge, this Is one that stumps me.Christian 2 and I regularly have conversations like this. It is what has strengthened our friendship. I am always willing to field any questions he has on Buddhism, Atheism or even Christianity (from my previous experience.)

  • Christian 2: I for one do not apply Gods will to everything. Meaning… like the whole I just killed someon…oops, Gods will.. I know it was just an example. but Gods will is more a direction for which way He wants our lives to go, however it is our choice to follow that or not… Gods will is that we live our lives for Him, spreading His word, His love, His mercy. Jesus Christ is the prime example. Even though He was Gods Son, He was still a man, He was still given the same option to choose, He didnt pop our of mary and be like what up world my daddy created, Im the Savior! lol. Gods will isnt supposed to be used (I could be wrong bro) but isnt supposed to be used as an escape goat. My understanding is what I just said, and when related to events in our lives… Say if someone dies, to young, from a disease, or just simply slips away in their sleep what ever… We dont know if God was saving them from a life of torment, or something worse. Gods will could be to bring them home instead of them suffering. He has descression and we simply try to understand why… so in the lack of understanding we just throw it around like we know.On question #3… I agree… that is relgion. My church that I go to does not do that. The reason why they dont want people to ask questions is because they either do not know, or they were not taught that in seminary, or their hearts are just in the wrong place. That is the biggest problem with religion… the fact that they treat people as less then them because they dont have degrees hanging onthe wall, or because they dont know hebrew and jewish history… where is the love and mercy in that? Jesus Christ would not have been that way, and the church Main Person… the church has failed you bro. the church isnt what God intended, and places like the one I go to are more true to me than any I have ever been to. but in the end… its up to you and me and other beleivers who say we love God, however its the power in the relationship that makes the difference… Ask God the questions, ask me, ask (name omitted) , I for one wish you would, because that means that your not totally shut off and you are open to God changing your heart.

    There are parts to question #3 that I do have to address… the parts about praying more and changing your lifestyle.

    those both are not something that is bad, nor did you say it was. however… well… lets take praying. praying is not just saying oh God I need more money, my life sucks God, I hate my job God, etc. praying is talking to God.. when crap is going wrong, when crap is going good, when you are just so thankful for your kids, your wife, etc. you talk to Him. Its not just something you do before bed, when you wake up, when you eat, etc. its no different than talking to your wife. Its how you talk to God, how you interact besides worship, and reading HIs word. If you didnt talk to your wife except for when you woke up, when you went to bed, etc. what kinda relationship do you think you would ahve with her?

    And the lifestlye change thing… well that too is not clearly taught to me. They say what you said, and I know they do cause I have heard it. But the lifestyle change does not come because of how good of a christian you are… it comes because of the heart change that occurs, becaues of the realization of what Christ did for you, the understanding of the fact that no matter how much you want to ‘do’ something to repay Him for His sacrifice, you can not, thus the best thing you can do is what God calls you to do, and thats live your life like a daily sacrifice… when you want to cuss out someone at work you dont, when you wnat to watch porn you dont, when you want to be pissed off at your wife or me or someone you dont, when you want ot be selfish you dont, when you want to watch a movie that is just discuting, you dont…. thats lifestyle change… when you drink like a salior or what ever… thats the change its not a forced change its a heart change and a daily sacrifice…when you want to do something you decide not to, however you decide to give up what you want to do to help someone else, or instead of buying that sweet game you buy food for someone, that shte lifestyle change… not the fact htat God wants you to be perfect, dude… He knows you cannt.. He just wants you to try to live your life to the best you can via Jesus Christ as the example.

    and you know what… I SUCK at this… but I try!

  • Christian 2: Here is what a friend of mine said….1. True some of it doesn’t make sense. Everyone puts their faith in something…but with supernatural things in the Text like for example the flood or Jonah in the whale is not the event itself or the veracity of said event but rather what message is being told by that narrative? What was the author trying to communicate about this God? We as westerners get hung on trying to “prove” those kinds of events. I’d argue the truth is less did it actually happen and more what message is the author trying to convey. Rob goes into this specifically the Jonah story.

  • Christian 1: Main Person.. I don’t have a problem with you questioning, bring it on, questioning is good even for Christians, I do it all the time even now with (name omitted), but your comments seem very harsh and judgmental. Just so you know how you come across. There are ways to have a conversation about these things and ask these types of questions without being critical of others opinions. If you don’t like it you don’t have to agree. Bottom line
  • Christian 2: I did not mean to apply that you were suffering… but in my case.. .I was pissed. I knew that all my life I had been told great stories, but who the mess was living it, who was happy about it to boot? no one that I knew. everyone was more pissed off , etc. and basically fake. So it made me question…. if all these people go to church on sundays, and say that God has changed their lives… but yet they sang as if He was dead… they lived their lives like He was not real…. This is the change that I have seen at NLC…. and the difference I have found in my life now as I grow my relationship every day… Still I am not perfect, and I can only try, but the majority example out there is poor.
  • Christian 2: Here is another part of what a friend of mine said.
  • Christian 2: 2. That’s the “either or” Greek Western idea of God’s will. If God knows everything, then He has defacto “let” these things, good and bad, happen. Which calls into question do humans really have free will. The Hebrew Eastern way if understanding is much different. They are comfortable holding two seemingly contradictory truths to be true simultaneously. Greek logic hates this. But to truly understand the Bible it has to be viewed through the context of the author….1st Century and older Jews. It’s not a straight forward answer….it really can never be.

  • Christian 2: Here is another part of what a friend of mine said.
  • Christian 2:  Here is the final part of what my buddie said…3. He’s absolutely correct.The problem is Greek Western thinking views questioning as disrespectful or lack of understanding. The Hebrew Eastern mind embraces questions, it’s a sign of respect. Jesus answers many questions with questions. Moses and Abraham both openly question God, so does David in the Psalms…and he’s a man after Gods own heart. Jesus even sends His followers out in Matthew 28 that had doubts. He doesn’t tell them to get their acti together.

    It’s a major problem of America Evangelical churches….and one of the reasons why I don’t go to church. They blatantly disregard the Text and use that to “punish” those who think. Paul (a Jewish rabbi) even says “question everything hold on to the good”

  • Main Person:  I forget when I write stuff online or in texts that words on the screen can easily be read with a different tone than implied Christian 1. Ideally for me, (name omitted) and I would hang out sometime and maybe even you and (name omitted) or all of us. I love hanging out with (name omitted) outside of work. He’s so much more relaxed. I don’t agree with Christianity so I don’t accept it’s validity. That’s how I feel. I don’t mean to judge you or others.
  • Christian 1: And that’s fine that we don’t share beliefs, I have plenty of friends that don’t believe what I do.
  • Christian 2: This is what is the difference between real christians and people who do not believe the same. This whole entire convo given different people int he mix ( i think Main Person knows who I am talking about) would have been heated, rude, and a waste of time. But its when you get those who truly are living what they preach that you find an adult conversation about things that everyone in the convo feels very strongly about. I appreciate the fact that Main Person is willing to have conversations on the topic and as much as I am sure he would rather scream at the top of his lungs and say ITS NOT REAL… he does not.If converstaions would be more like this amongst others in not just with us, but with other christians and other beliefs I think that God would not be such a flipping pysco to some people. lol

     

     

    This was added after the fact… from another Christian who wanted to give their thoughts on the matter…

    The simplest way I have heard it explained…the difference between the OT and NT is this….God was dealing/teaching his Children in the OT…He had to teach/discipline, show them that He loves them what happens when they go outside of His love/protection. This world would punish them and He to would have to intervene at times and hand out punishment in His own way, much like a loving parent does their own children.

    The OT is the law, it is an absolute of God’s perfection and commitment to keeping this Holiness for not only Him but for us to have security in believing in the future Heaven, and God’s eternal protection that is guarded by His Holiness and unchanging character. And this is illustrated in a very simple form by explaining God’s commandments likened to our own hands (10 fingers – 10 Commandments) cupped together to protect and keep safe whatever we hold on to…He (God) is holding on to us (His children) by keeping us safe as he holds us in His hands, not letting anything dangerous, evil get into his protected area within the cup of his hand. Also, we do not skip out of His protection as we honor his Commandments and not ignore these life principles to a blessed life.

    But, once we ignore, or selfishly disobey God, then a gap opens up and we can slip through unprotected, and sin/evil can get into our own lives via this gap, and we reap un-needed hardships due to our disobedience.

    But, now we have the NT and his Children are now grown up. We have so many examples of the right way and wrong way to live via the OT and have now been given the freedom to choose our own way (we are now free to choose). Daddy (God) does not impede on His now grown up children as much as He did in their childhood/youth. They are left to make their own choices and God becomes more distant the more a child of His decides to ignore His earlier Guidance. Not that God actually becomes farther from His children thru disobedience, but His voice becomes less significant to us, as we busy ourselves with selfish desires that begin to muddy the truth of God’s principles and examples of the OT. We have this same illustration here as parents and children of our own parents. The more we allow this world to take our attention from what our parents taught us (hopefully good and intelligent instruction). We begin to forget or not hear our parents good instruction and then reap the consequences of our bad decisions.

    Another (very important, if not the most important point of the OT) is that we cannot fully please God by ourselves. We continually get it wrong and even a Man after God’s own heart(King David) can make huge mistakes when he focuses on his own will instead of the Holy God. This point is magnified by what the main intention of the NT is…we need someone to be a mediator between our sin/selfish nature and God’s Holiness, so we can be blessed, protected, and know that God really loves us, by sending us this Mediator thru His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. This was the most amazing thing God could ever do to prove His existence. There are over 800 prophesies that are connected specifically to the coming Messiah. And ALL of them were fulfilled by Jesus. (A side note: Mathematicians have calculated Jesus just fulfilling 8 of those to be 1 in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. That in Science speak IS called the “God Factor”. It is impossible by any human standard for Jesus to be in all the prophesied places/events and fulfilling these ancient prophesies of the coming Messiah during His lifetime unless the “God Factor” isn’t applied. God was setting the stage thru the OT, to show us He has everything under control and will be (and has) provided the way/path to Him thru His Son. Jesus would thru His Perfect/Holy life live out the Commandments of the OT and show us the way to God’s eternal love and protection thru the sacrifice of His Son Jesus.

    Now Faith comes into play. God does not want robots. He wants man and woman to love him by choice. Not to be burdened but free. Just like us as parents do not want to burden our own kids with constant instruction, but allow them to make their own decisions. He wants us to love and appreciate Him for all His efforts He has done to express His love thru the lives of the OT and NT to show us He is real and has a plan for His children, a hope to trust in. But, it takes faith. Believing in something that in our present world is needed to trust in Him. This is the biggest thing we as humans can give to any belief that is not tangible. It is the biggest compliment given to anyone that we choose to follow in this world. Take for instance a trained Hiking Guide. They have a path and plan for a hiking trip and we the fellow participants in this journey must trust the guide so we can enjoy the trip the best we can. So, we blindly have faith that the guide knows where to go, where not to go, and we trust that they know best. This is the biggest compliment we can give this guide, is to trust their every word. And this is the same concerning faith in God. It is said in Romans 1:20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” So, since God has proven that he is in control. Now it is up to us to decide, do we trust Him to guide us through this world/life, or do we ignore all the evidences of His ultimate knowledge in how it all works and that His plan for this trip has only one real rule…Faith in the Guide (Jesus).

    I could get into deep doctrinal issues concerning this, but I like to keep it simple. We need a savior so we can have eternal hope prepared by God thru His Son Jesus. And I leave you with this verse….Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. – John 14:6

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