I care about Christians! Are you a little shocked? An Atheist that cares about a religion? I care because I was one. I was seriously all in for a little over ten years. That means something folks. It meant a lot then and it means a lot now. My own personal state of mind based upon the facts and what I truly know is what has changed. I once truly believed until disbelief settled in over a period of many years. That is my story, like it or not.

You must understand that if you want to maintain a charge toward me that says I was led away by sin, I’m going to answer back with a challenge. The Bible has erected an authority structure that deems unbelief itself as a sin. In other words, the unbeliever should just know better! There is ample reason to acknowledge God on this view. Well, is there? It’s a simple question with a not so simple answer.

Think about it this way, let us maintain the idea that there seems to be ample reason to acknowledge the existence of God apart from having a Bible. To take it one step further let us imagine a life that is not informed by the Bible at all. To put it in another way, imagine yourself without access to the Christian faith tradition and its set of sacred texts. What kind of knowledge would you have about the Triune nature of God? What would you know about good and evil? What would you know about Jesus?

You are in essence a blank slate. In such a case how is it that you would gather knowledge about religion? What kind of knowledge would it be? What category would it belong in? Do you think your religion and view of a God or gods may look just a little different in the present? Then ask yourself this question: Is it right for Christians to assume in the present that the God of the Bible would undoubtedly intervene in such a case? Since heaven and hell does seem to correlate to what human beings know within this life, are you confident that you would pass the theology quiz under such conditions?

All I can say is to look at every indigenous tribe throughout the world. Be observant about how much theology and religion differs simply because of the region one lives in. Countless human beings that lack the basic knowledge for salvation that is found in your Bible. Are you still going to assume that an all-powerful God is doing his darndest to be known, truly known, by every human being on this planet?

Here is what I see, I see droves of human beings all throughout history that do not reflect the scenario that is advocated in the Bible. I see one faith tradition that appears to behave and fluctuate much like its two main cousins. I see a species that is simply struggling to stay alive in a disease infested set of present conditions. To just have faith is not a relevant solution to these problems.

23 thoughts on “Just Have Faith?

  1. My faith is not a solution. And again, I am not religious. I’m a Christ follower. There is a difference.
    And I think differently about unbelievers than what you mentioned here. I don’t ask “why don’t they just believe?” 2 Corintthians 4:4 speaks to that. What do I do with unbelievers? Eat with them, swim with them, hang out with them. Because I love them. They’re my friends and family. And there’s no agenda. Just love.

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    1. In other words the Bible indicates that I am blinded in sin. This isn’t due to what I know but rather how poisoned I’ve become? I’m poisoned because I refuse to acknowledge Christ? I have some interesting news for you, I fought to believe this until I no longer could reconcile it with my knowledge. I also spoke of Jesus much in the same way you do! I reveled in what I perceived to be an intimate and outstanding encounter with the living God. After years of evaluation I began to recognize that what I perceived to be the voice of God within my life was in fact just a romance with the New Testament and how I was taught to see Jesus. I was taught that the love of Christ was the power of God. People modeled for me how to love this idea of exaltation and the importance of living this out in every facet of my life. Most of all I was convinced that the Holy Spirit had made himself known to me. I would worship, pray, and read my Bible expecting inspiration and knowledge that could only be gained in the secret place. Yes, all of this eventually impressed upon me that I had deceived my own self. It is because I did not operate from knowledge, but from desire. In essence, I wanted it so bad that it lost its relevance completely.

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  2. I appreciate your kindness, but I am concerned about some of your answers. I say this because I’m curious as to whether you have ever been willing to question what you perceive to be the presence of God in your life? Do you see the value in asking these kinds of questions for your own sake?

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    1. It is not even a sin to be agnostics if you’re honest in your questioning and just are unable to see or understand God. Remember the Bible says “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world” (I John 2:2).

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    1. I’m no expert, but I think so, if they follow their own conscience and do good, I don’t see why God wouldn’t have mercy on them since His mercy is limitless. I think the main point is being sincere, i.e. somebody who seek to do good and avoid evil, even though nobody brought him the Good News about Jesus. But again, I’m not an expert.

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    1. It is not the same question, but I guess it comes back to same of being sincere and following our own conscience, not being just “blind atheist” if you know what I mean. I don’t know what you mean “having no way to validate the claims of Jesus over any other past prophet”. That being said, personally, I don’t understand how you can once believe and in sincere conscience and heart stop, but that’s personal. Also, why would somebody who rejects it care about salvation? It doesn’t make sense to me.

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      1. God introduced salvation to the world through his chosen people, the Jews. God’s revelation to the Jews found its fulfillment in Christ, the Messiah, who established the Catholic Church. The grace necessary for salvation continues to come from Christ, through his Church. Those who innocently do not know and embrace this might still attain salvation but those who knowingly and willingly choose to reject it, reject salvation on God’s terms. See CCC 846.

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  3. I was more curious about your personal perspective on salvation more than anything. I personally don’t claim to know whether a God exists and I also see many reasons to doubt the existence of the Bible’s God.

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    1. All that being said, the reverse is also true. Being in the Church does not mean one is saved. “He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity.” (Lumen Gentium 14)

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      1. Marchanddeboeufs, why would you not value your own input in the pursuit of truth? It seems as if you’ve made an appeal to authority but are you still not the one who judges which authority to trust? I think this is true of every person at the end of the day.

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  4. A routine complaint I hear from counselees who are struggling in doubt is they don’t seem to know enough. Imagine, knowing science is constantly proven wrong a is revised, if we rejected science because we didn’t know enough. That would be a silly reason to reject a discipline that often improves life for humanity.

    I went to a seminary that teaches evidentialism. There is little to no experientialism that’s useful to graduate-level academics there. Fideism (blind faith) is only taught as what not to do. If you paint Christians with a broad, fideistic brush, you’re creating a straw-man.

    Your tone indicates that you are thoughtful, so I hope you will take the criticism positively. It’s perfectly normal for people for people to doubt. If you know what you’ve learned and seen, and make a decision for faith in Christ thereafter, faith is the right choice. I was agnostic for the first 25-years of life. I’m happy to answer questions if I can be of help.

    Be Well!

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    1. I agree. When people go to doctors, they beleive their diagnostics and their solutions, even though they don’t personally know anything about medicine. I don’t understand why it’s so different with faith, just read what the experts wrote when you have doubts and do what they did or suggest to do. That way you will find a personal relationship with God.

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    2. Thanks for your input appliedfaithorg! As you read through my posts you’ll notice a few basic contentions. 1) The Biblical definition of faith is most accurately described as a state of mind, a conviction or form of trust. 2) Faith requires an acceptance of Biblical inspiration. Based on what? Based on nothing other than a word of mouth framework. This is also done among numerous other religions in order to establish authority. My point here is that since divine claims are so varied, numerous, and contradictory this justifies human beings to suspend judgment in the present. Why play favorites? What basis is there to do so?

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      1. You ask an excellent question. Before becoming a Christian, the military chaplains I saw about that very question exposed several world religions to me. Many of them had wise, important life-affirming principles (Jainism really stuck out). Some had preposterous claims of God being an extra-terrestrial (Mormonism, Scientology). I felt like I had done my homework over the 4-years that I felt drawn to God, but before I committed to the Trinity of Christianity.

        When I attended seminary, I took missiology and apologetics which really helped me understand how to think about (1) belief and (2) Christian faith. Contrary to what some may think, my experience in seminary taught me that a good seminary doesn’t try to build up their doctrinal position. I attended Liberty, and can testify that we looked deeply into other faiths and communicated our positions from our thoughts and research. It was enrapturing enough to keep me busy for 96 graduate semester hours, and I want more.

        So that is why I play favorites, and the basis for which I do so. I was an agnostic before I became a Christian. Agreed, there are many religions out there claiming to be the one way to God. After more than 8-years of experiencing other faiths and studying faith deeply and intensely, I find overwhelming basis to do so.

        Thanks for answering!

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      2. Thank you for your answers as well appliedfaithorg. I’d love to continue the discussion with you sometime as I was previously a rather devout Evangelical Christian for ten years! It fascinates me how diverse every person’s path is on the search for the truth. Some people commit to one faith for their entire life, others encounter intense doubts and reevaluate the whole thing. Still others experiment with many different religious ideas and practices. Let me know if you’re ever interested in exploring why I critique faith in the way that I do. I rather enjoy exploring other people’s knowledge in this regard. In other words, what makes people tick and what kind of methodology do others employ when trying to get at the bottom of what knowledge and truth actually is. 🙂

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  5. A third contention that I have is that certainty relates to knowledge not faith. As I’ve surveyed many Christians many of them actually admit that they are not fully certain that a God exists. Since this is the case this is an admission of insufficient knowledge in the case of God. The more honest answer here is that these folks are simply uncertain. Period. Knowledge has stopped and where knowledge stops is where it is more than justified to suspend judgment about any matter. This is the case I am making in the present. I bring in other reasons to doubt in the Biblical depiction of God later on.

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