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Posts Tagged ‘doubt’

by Jim Gordon

As I move through life outside the walls of religion, I have found myself being more comfortable with questions about God. Do you do that too?

Growing up in the church, I remember the feeling of having questions but was afraid to ask. I knew people would question my faith or tell me I was back-sliding so I kept my mouth shut. The issue was that as time went on, the questions kept popping up and I finally began to realize that questioning was not wrong.

As Christians, we have been taught that we need to have the answers. Study to show thyself approved meant you must have an answer for everything people come up with so you can prove your beliefs are right.

I truly believe God accepts us, questions and all. I am hoping that one day I will have more answers, mostly for my own sake and not necessarily to defend my beliefs.

I think the modern-day church and religion in general do not like questions, at least not hard questions. Especially questions that make us wonder about the basic beliefs they teach. They like to have all the answers, and answers that fit into their particular belief and doctrine.

In his book ‘Dying to Religion and Empire: Giving up Our Religious Rites and Legal Rights’, Jeremy Myers makes a statement that is oh so true: “And as is the nature with questions, asking hard questions rarely leads to answers, but only to more questions”

I think God is much bigger than what the church makes of him sometimes. They try to fit everything into a box and do not like people asking questions that require out-of-the-box thinking.

It seems to me the spirit within, the spirit of truth, brings up questions that the religious system taught us and we always just accepted. Now, rather than suppressing these questions, I have allowed them to surface and truly seek God for guidance.

A few years back, Mick Mooney posted an article on Facebook, part of which says: “But who has the faith to ask questions with the intention of seeking the answers to them? Who can let their foundation be not a doctrine or dogma that must be defended, but Christ himself who needs no defense? For it is those who have their foundation solely upon Christ, who can walk in their faith without fear of questions, but rather they walk in their faith knowing that God is lighting their path with questions, and it is these very questions that are paving the path that the Spirit of God is guiding them upon”.

If you have been feeling guilty for having questions, I have found it best to put that feeling aside and keep asking the questions. That is the best way to continue growing and learning in our walk with God. Even when we do not get the answers right away, or if ever, we should continue to be asking and seeking the truth from the Spirit who lives within us. There is nothing too difficult for God; there are no questions or doubts that will turn him away from us or keep him from loving us.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

The short answer to my question is no one can know for sure. There may be as many reasons as individuals why some believe there is a God and others don’t. I suppose some may avoid believing in God because they are only interested in pursuing a self-centered life. This isn’t most of my friends. What I do know is that those who are convinced a Creator exists aren’t necessarily more moral than those who don’t believe. Faith is required for either belief.

There are good reasons to not be into God or be on the fence

We can only be as close to God as our mental images of God allow. We may not pursue God more because we assume certain claims made about God are true, or God is like the poor role models we have had who claim to represent God. The God often portrayed by others condemns gay people, shows partiality toward men over women despite the history of men abusing power, and God supposedly created Hell to torture people after death if they believe while here on earth. Don’t make possible false claims the reason to not believe.

What is God really like? 

It is intuitive to think a Creator would love us how we are created to love each other. We only know how to talk about perfect Godly love by comparing to perfect, human love. The Bible even suggests perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). We don’t always know what perfect love entails but we know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly aka am I loving others like our Creator loves. Misunderstanding God often begin when we stray from common moral sense and insist on our interpretation from an inspired Book. 

Reasons to believe if on the fence 

If walking on a dark street and approached by a group of tough looking men, would you be more or less scared if you knew they just attended a bible study? Good religion, as opposed to bad religion, always encourages the golden rule. We have nothing to lose by living by the golden rule, and we will probably experience fewer regrets on our death bed. Personally, the biggest reason for being a God-follower is the inspiration and encouragement from God to be a better human being.

Believing in an afterlife can be a good thing. Should we tell our children there is a heaven after death when we can’t know for sure? We promise our kids all the time we will keep them safe, especially if there has been a recent tragedy. We can’t be sure if danger is around the corner. Belief in a possible God helps to not fear death and to look forward to be reunited with loved ones. And I have no reason to believe a forgiving God stops forgiving after death.

Is God Real? 

Let’s not accuse those who believe in a God as needing a crutch or being delusional, or accuse those who question the reality of an invisible God of being rebellious or not knowing their feelings. Just because you believe in the possibility of God doesn’t mean you don’t have doubts at times whether God really exist. Believing in God doesn’t mean you don’t question how good God really is because of all the evil in the world. If so inclined imagine what a loving God would be like. You may be right!

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

I am talking to the hand! I admit beliefs about God impacts how God-followers treat others. I blog ad nauseum that I think it is important to realize God isn’t a sexist, homophobe, hellish sadist, angry egomaniac, etc. Such beliefs are important but so what if they don’t lead to certain actions. I love my new beliefs about God, but I hate to admit talking/writing is easier than doing.

God doesn’t judge us on beliefs even according to the Bible.

I can’t find where Jesus in the Gospels talked about saying the sinner’s prayer or demanding his listeners accept certain beliefs before following Him. Jesus wanted us not so much to adhere to certain beliefs as much as He simply wanted us to seek God’s help in living out His message in the lives of others. It’s hard to find fault with any of Jesus’ message. God isn’t offended or waiting to check off certain beliefs we better have before engaging in a relationship.

If certain beliefs are required by God, then doubt would be unacceptable.

Can you imagine a loving parent saying “if you doubt me you are toast?” We only want our children to not doubt our wisdom because we believe we have their best interest in mind. But, I rather my kid question or challenge me whether I really care about them. Please doubt me than ignore me! If my wisdom is so valuable then I would have no problem trying to prove my love rather than first requiring certain beliefs. Doubt or challenge God all you want! 

The only thing God may be dogmatic about is taking action.

One main belief irrational is that we shouldn’t love others like we want to be loved. Word to extremists – a loving God who created freedom clearly desires their children freely reciprocate their love as opposed to being forced. Not even God can force true love. A loving God couldn’t possibly want to control or expect certain beliefs or else!

How am I acting?

The encouragement and support I feel from God make me a better man, partner, father, and friend. Deep down I want to treat others like I want to be treated. I sense God’s help when successful and support to not give up when failing. I still find it easier though to write about God than act like God, but I am going to die trying.

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