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Questioning religious faith ......

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

This morning I was reading a devotional in my Bible. It was about life not being fair. The scripture for it was Jonah 4:1-11. One of the additional scripture readings was Romans 9:10-21

10 Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. 11 Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad —in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12 not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.”13 Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated."14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but to me it sounds like my life has already been decided. So if that is true then why should I spend my time reading the Bible, worshiping and trying to be a better Christian? If it is already decided than there is nothing that I can do to change it.

Am I right or wrong? I've been told all of my life to read the Bible and worship God, but to tell the truth I can't tell the differences from when I am dong all the right things and from when I wasn't. So why should it matter? My life isn't easier or harder, it just is.

And the Bible keeps saying how God is a loving father and is just, if that is so then why does He kill and destroy so much? Why is He with this person and not that person?

Maybe my analyzing brain is just being to analyzing. The beginning of this year I decide to read my bible all the way through from Genesis to Revelations. I got to 2 Samuel and could not read anymore. All of the wars and God being with this person and not that person was really getting to me. I started out wanting to be a better Christian. To know more about the Bible and God. To be more faithful. And all it has done is cause more questions and doubts. So I stopped reading and started doing just the devotionals. And I was doing good, but now, between this scripture and the book that I have stopped reading by Max Lucado I'm wondering....... and doubting ....... again.

I can go through the Bible and pick and choose different scriptures that will make everything look all nice and rosy, but what about the ones that don't? I'm I supposed to ignore them? Like Jeremiah 29:11-14 "For I know the plans I have for you ........." that makes everything all rosy. And I can dwell on that and everything will be ok. But that is just one scripture what about the rest ..... I wonder how the people in Jericho felt, or the ones that drowned.

I don't understand and it is all very, very confusing to me. And the more I try to understand and the more I pray and ask God to help me understand, the more I have doubts.

I like my church, but not so much my church family. I feel like they think I am beneath them, so going to anyone there with my questions and doubts would not do me any good. So I'm posting it here. Yes my mom is a Christian, but her answer is you just do and you don't question or doubt and that is that. So no help there.

And please don't tell me this is just the devil working on me. or that if I truly believed I would not doubt. to be honest and blunt ..... neither one of those answers is an answer. that is just a cop out. Just an easy answer that doesn't answer anything. Kind of like "it is because it is" .... what a load of crap! I'm looking for real answers. Real insight. Am I just going to church because I was told that you are suppose to go or am I going because it is the right and responsible thing to do?

Or am I going because I truly believe in God? but if that is the case then why do I doubt and question so much?

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYOWNHERO 8/7/2012 10:29PM

    Many years ago I read a book that helped me with my questions and helped me understand that it is good and healthy to use our minds. God doesn't ask us to be brainless.
The book is "The Christian Agnostic" by the great Leslie D. Weatherhead. It really helped deepen my faith.

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MYOWNHERO 8/7/2012 10:27PM

    Many years ago I read a book that helped me with my questions and helped me understand that it is good and healthy to use our minds. God doesn't ask us to be brainless.
The book is "The Christian Agnostic" by the great Leslie D. Weatherhead. It really helped deepen my faith.

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FRANCES-AGAPE 7/28/2012 1:59AM

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So SORRY that your church family isn't what it SHOULD be

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There is supposed to be a special fellowship there that we cannot get anywhere else.

Worship, preaching, lessons and music are important, but if the emotional closeness and support is not there, it may be time to visit other churchs so you can benefit from the "whole package"

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!! PRAYING FOR YOU !!

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for all you support for me, especially during the last couple of months when the modem got progressively worse
I SOOO APPRECIATE you

Have a Wonderful Weekend

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BLESSINGS!

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SARAJANE_82 7/25/2012 8:13PM

    If you don't like your church, I agree that you should find a place that builds you up with people who love and accept you. Even if you skip some Sundays it is OK.

God may know everything that is going to happen because he knows all but that doesn't mean he isn't letting us decide. We have free will even though God knows everything about us before we were born.

If you ever need to talk feel free to message me. :)

Doubts are normal, they happen.

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ADARKARA 7/25/2012 11:48AM

    Questions like these, and discrepancies in the bible (which was written down by MAN) are why I have chosen to be agnostic. I'm not denying God exists, but I can't say he does either. I think the best thing to do is think for yourself, and make your own decisions based on what you find you can and cannot believe. There is no set in stone way of loving God. In my opinion, if you just try to be a good person, you'll end up okay.

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EDELWEISS33 7/24/2012 9:49PM

    Awesome! I love when I can open up the good book and get something out of it that is meant just for me! God remembers us each and every one!

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RED_DEVIL_APRIL 7/21/2012 4:08AM

    I wish I had answers for you but my thinking is the same as yours. I grew up very religious but after seeing hateful Christians and seeing my life go down the toilet no matter how much I trusted God and tried to do his will while others would get a help out or hand up frustrated me. I now consider myself Agnostic. I know there is a superior being. I just don't believe that all of the Bible is God's word. It was written by man and interpreted by man. How do I know if I am worshiping the true God or if what I have been told is incorrect. I guess we just will have to keep looking and learning and figure out where our heart leads us. Good luck. Thank you for voicing words that I think of often but rarely speak.

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GABIBEAR 7/19/2012 5:16PM

    I believe it is normal to go through times that one begins to question God, His existence and why so many bad things happen in life. The important thing to remember is what you really feel and think - not what everyone else does. Your "church" is inside you. I don't believe you have to go to a physical church to believe in God. I am a Christian and I don't go to "church" every week to validate that I am a believer and I truly believe that I am more of a Christian than many of the people who think that is the "right" thing to do. Don't misunderstand me, I am not knocking any religion or church. I think that the churches to go to are those that you feel good about, get some fellowship or community from, and feel a sense of belonging or inspiration. I know God is in my life, by the circumstances that I have experienced and a feeling of well being after I pray. I know God is watching over us and feel the presence of angels all the time. I have subscribed to a website - GodVine and it has some very inspirational videos and stories. I am enclosing the one story I read today.

Maybe

Here are some beautiful thoughts on life. "Maybe" they will help you in certain areas of your life :)

Maybe God wanted us to meet the wrong people before meeting the right one so that when we finally meet the right person, we will know how to be grateful for that gift.

Maybe when the door of happiness closes, another opens, but often times we look so long at the closed door that we don't see the one which has been opened for us.

Maybe the best kind of friend is the kind you can sit on a porch and swing with, never say a word, and then walk away feeling like it was the best conversation you've ever had.

Maybe it is true that we don't know what we have got until we lose it, but it is also true that we don't know what we have been missing until it arrives.

Giving someone all your love is never an assurance that they will love you back. Don't expect love in return; just wait for it to grow in their heart; but if it does not, be content it grew in yours.

It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone.

Don't go for looks; they can deceive. Don't go for wealth; even that fades away. Go for someone who makes you smile because it takes only a smile to make a dark day seem bright. Find the one that makes your heart smile.

There are moments in life when you miss someone so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams and hug them for real.

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go; be what you want to be, because you have only one life and one chance to do all the things you want to do.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet, enough trials to make you strong, enough sorrow to keep you human, enough hope to make you happy.

Always put yourself in others' shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.

The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything; they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched, and those who have tried, for only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss and ends with a tear.

The brightest future will always be based on a forgotten past, you can't go on well in life until you let go of your past failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone around you was smiling. Live your life so that when you die, you are the one who is smiling and everyone around you is crying.

I hope that the Spirit of God has touched you today, because I know He inspired me to write to you.

God bless you and Good Thoughts. emoticon

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DEBBIE1031 7/19/2012 12:01PM

    I don't have a lot to say, you have been given some really great advice in the previous posts. I too agree that you should think about finding another church. You need to be able to go to the Pastor or someone in your congregation with questions and doubts. Not that coming here for answers is a bad thing but you said there wasn't anyone you could talk to there.

Our Pastor's wife had a miscarriage years ago. He doesn't talk about it a lot but when he does, he always says that he knows it happened so they would be able to encourage others going through the same thing.

In a way, I think your mom's response is a picture of faith. I don't think God expects us to never ask questions. I think He shows us the answers to some of our questions along the way, but maybe not right when we ask them.

Hang in there. Keep reading your Bible and asking God's guidance to His word. I'll be praying He leads you to what you need to have peace.

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LADYDARYA 7/18/2012 7:07PM

    As a survivor of a crime I used to wonder why? I mean, if God loved me then this wouldn't have happened right? I had hate in my heart for some people and it took me a while to understand. I worked with a lady who had been raped, no one had ever talked to her about it or how she felt, etc... because of MY history I was able to sit down and have a long conversation about the reason behind rape and that the act and the results were not her doing or her fault (in so many words, this was a long conversation). She had never heard this before and it changed her - when I saw her next she was different, it was because of what I went through that I have found that I can (and have) made a difference in the lives of others in similar positions. I firmly believe that it boiled down to a few things - it was a matter of choice - the person who hurt me had a choice and yes, they forced that choice on me but it wasn't God's fault or choice, he knew yes, but who am I to know how many different options he gave to this person before they made their final choice. I believe that God cried with me and I believe that God held me through the years and that God allowed me to see this as a way to help others and led me into the paths of others hurting like I had. I don't understand the other's persons choice and I may occasionally cry out why but I also understand that God turned this and used it for his (and mine) good - to help others. I don't understand God but I've learned that things happen and it may take years to understand it but I'll wait.

I do have to admit that I don't go to church either - I've run into so many churches that don't practice what they preach and I've decided when God convicts me he will lead me to the right place...

I don't know if this helped any but I wanted to share what I have learned.

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PYTPUTT07 7/18/2012 6:12PM

    Faith isn't a given, but a gift from God. Offer this up to God and ask for His wisdom and discernment. We were never meant to stand alone, but to lean on each other and God in times of doubt. Remember that God is Love and He loves you and desires you to love Him in return...even when He has frustrated us.

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LUCKYDOGFARM 7/18/2012 5:03PM

    I have to tell you, I have been going through much of the same Bible thoughts as you.
After much thought of this, I finally decided that I am going to believe the Bible because of the end item.Hope.
I even had that as my status recently, "I choose hope ". Without hope life is pretty much meaningless. Empty. Hope on the otherhand is a wonderful thing. So still, I choose hope and I hope that you will too.

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NELLIEC 7/18/2012 4:26PM

    OK, my oldest son has gone through some soul searching as I did when I was younger. A turning point in my life was when I had 3 near-death experiences from very low blood pressure in little over 9 months. Up to that time, when I would get pregnant, I always miscarried within the first 3 months which was very discouraging. However, in the first near death experience which occurred during a blood test for the purposes of adopting, I went up to Heaven and saw Jesus and my dead loved ones. Jesus told me that I had to go back because I was supposed to raise my children for Him. I had this feeling of being totally loved, in spite of my sins and doubt. Shortly after that I became pregnant and had another near death experience shortly after I conceived. The same thing happened. Then once more a few hours after my oldest son was born.

The main thing I recall is that wonderful feeling of being totally loved. It encouraged me to really try to live a Christian life since I knew how much God loved me. And of course, that was the best way to teach my children about Jesus was to live a life dedicated to Him! I'm certainly not perfect, but Jesus is still working in me!

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BEEJAY49 7/18/2012 3:45PM

    The Lord has given man free will and since He knows all things He also knows ahead of time what we will do with our lives. Don't lose faith, do all you can do that is right and you will soon understand. Hugs!

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SIGMA1208 7/18/2012 2:44PM

    I loved really this today. You questions are valid and understandable. But it really starts with a true relationship with God and seeking HIS UNDERSTANDING and not our own. "In all thy ways acknowledge him and he shall direct thy paths". We've all questioned God at some point in our lives and I use to wonder why God would allow so much mess in this world but I had to learn the devil is the ruler of this kingdom and the earth is in judgement due to sin...yes God is loving, kind and true and forgiving but HE IS ALSO A GOD OF JUDGEMENT so that is why so much is allowed.

Seek God's face and continue to ask for understanding the bible says in James that if you lack wisdom just ask of God and He will give it to you liberally all who ask.

I will lift you up in prayer today, Blessings

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67YKCEB 7/18/2012 1:52PM

    thank you all for your wisdom and input. you have helped.
I know the church people are flawed, but the messages brought on Sundays are good and hubby and the kids like it so I guess it's just me.
I can't say that I really have a "religion", growing up went to a non-denominational church, then to a bunch of different ones, mostly southern baptist and now back at a non-denominational.
And I'm pretty opened minded.

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KATIEKAT475 7/18/2012 1:08PM

    Wow, as an analytical person myself, I tend to pick apart everything. Myself included. I have had many of the same exact types of thoughts, questions, doubts that you have! But I know in my heart that God may have the plan all figured out, but we still have free will to choose what choices we make, to do the right thing instead of wrong.

I am in NO way any type of expert, I am truly just a baby Christian, I am far from mature in any place in my life. But I do know that I am hungry to learn and get the answers to my questions. In life we are going to have our doubts, I know that does not make us any less "Christian". The fact that you are being honest and open about your thoughts makes me commend you.

While I can offer no perfect answer, here are a couple scriptures for you:

Hebrews 11:1

New International Version (NIV)
Faith in Action

11 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

2 Tim 1:12b-14 (NIV) I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. What you heard from me, keep as the pattern of sound teaching, with faith and love in Christ Jesus. Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you, guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit that lives in us.


Keep praying, and I will be praying for you.
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AMANDA_C 7/18/2012 1:02PM

    I agree that you should probably go church shopping. I also agree that the Bible has gone through MANY translations & waswritten by humans - who inevitably make mistakes. I don't think that questioning or doubting is a bad thing, however I do think that a good pastor (or religous elder) would help you through those doubts & questions, either through other scripture, other books or personal experience. I'm not sure if I was taught this or came to the conclusion myself but I believe that yes our lives have been pre-planned by God, but that plan is based on a perfect world, which we don't live in. I believe that God does the bast that He can to give us a wonderful & perfect life, but he also allows us to make choices & if we choose to do other than his plan he allows that as well - often times resulting in less than a perfect & wonderful life, but He is there to pick us up & show us someway to get back to wonderful & perfect. I also don't believe that He sends the awful things (war, disease, etc) to specific people so much as we make bad decisions, resulting in these consequences & God is there to help us live with those consequences. Good luck on your journey & keep seeking answers!

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PEPPYPATTI 7/18/2012 12:56PM

    I do not go to church for just that reason. I got tired of all the hypocrites. As Ian Anderson so aptly put "He's not the kind you have to wind up on Sundays". I do not believe that everything is preordained. I believe yes that God does have a plan for us, but he also gave us free will. When we make wrong choices we have to deal with the consequences. I also do not blame God for all the war & strife in the world. That is man's doing, again free will. Twenty people can read the same Bible phrase & will come up with 20 different opinions on what it means. I have been blessed with many miracles which make me have no doubt of his existence. But then again, this is all my opinion-lol!

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TULIPVIC 7/18/2012 12:34PM

    I have questioned a lot of things, too, but I keep reading in hopes of understanding them someday. I think as long as we are human, we are going to have questions and doubts, but that`s okay. Reading my Bible is comforting and the more I read, the more I do get from it. Sounds like you need to go church shopping...it took me a long time to find mine, but I love it.

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HFAYE81 7/18/2012 12:26PM

    If you draw strength from your faith, I think you are doing it right. If your church family acts like that, maybe you should find a new one. Would God want you to worship alongside those that don't love you as He does? It doesn't sound like they are following His will. It seems to me that the message is that you are loved by your creator. Men wrote the Bible, it was only inspired by the word of God. Take from it what helps you be a better person.

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THALIA_RAYNNE 7/18/2012 12:08PM

    Each person I feel needs to follow their hearts than what people tell then what they should or shouldn't follow...but thats my 2 cents

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MAPPLEBUM 7/18/2012 12:01PM

    Your questions are valid, and for most of the Christian community it is very daring of you to ask them. You're getting the attitude from other church members because they're too afraid to ask the questions you are, and while some people are willing to just resign themselves to "faith," for people like us the questions simply won't go away. And we can't ignore these contradictions!

The thing about the Bible, and especially the Old Testament, is that it was written by ill-educated nomads. Now, I know this goes extremely against the "inspired by the word of God" thing but a lot of the arbitrary laws about meat, women, cutting hair, had to do with establishing a community. They're no longer relevant. There are people who are able to take these things -- namely, context -- into consideration without losing their faith. But these people are generally considered "liberal Christian," which, I don't know where you live, but I grew up in a very conservative southern family and community. To us, the liberal Christian was hardly a Christian at all.

But that's not very Christian either, is it? It's like not being able to go to the people in your church with questions and concerns. Aren't you supposed to feel the most safe in your religious community?

When I began questioning many of the same contradictions you are, I began reading voraciously and seeking advice from my religious elders. I remember sitting one day discussing my questions with my pastor and he told me to be careful. That I was reading, basically, dangerous material. That's when I decided, silently, that if what I believed was true, it would be stronger than any non Christian book.

The main thing I have to say to you is don't feel bad about having these questions. Christianity, at its bedrock is about being free from guilt. Don't lose sight of that. You're fine. Questions are healthy. Christians like to make others feel bad. Don't let them. And when you come across new questions, or new doubts, imagine yourself sitting with Jesus, ask him the questions and imagine whether or not he would make you feel bad for them.

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KLONG8 7/18/2012 11:52AM

    I believe that a thinking person will always have doubts. If you pursue what you want (your faith) I think you'll get there. For me? I have come to believe that the Bible was written by prophets, some very educated people, inspired by their belief in God, as we humans know God. It's gone through translations. Parts may have been lost through the centuries. I do not believe that every word of it is true as when human's are involved it seems reasonable that there will be errors.

The old testament seems very full of righteousness and wrath . The new testament is more kind and loving. Of course, then you throw in Revelations! Good luck in your soul-searching. I believe it wil make you stronger.

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