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Whoofph
Apr 8th 2008, 09:47 PM
What is your opinion on challenging faith? Any biblical context would be much appreciated with your answers.

My question is this: Is it a positive or a negative to listen to people of other faiths talk about them? I am not a Christian, but I am always open to new ideas and I attend a church as well as a Christian club on campus and have for a year now. I have been told that challenging your faith is a positive thing for everyone, and it serves to strengthen faith. I know that if people go out to evangelize if they approach someone who has a different faith, knowing nothing about their history or background, and tell them they have been living a lie this person is less likely to listen to you. I've found that if you approach someone and listen to what their faith is and why they believe it they are more likely to listen to you, and consider what you have to say when it comes to your faith. But what is your opinion on challenging faith, especially in a Christian context?

TEITZY
Apr 8th 2008, 11:11 PM
Hi & welcome to the Boards:)

Being a non-Christian your thread will probably be moved to the Christians Answer Forum but I'm sure they will let you know.

As to your question, yes I think it is important to know what other people believe, however I would say it is more important to first become grounded in your own faith before you go off challenging others about their's. Religion can be very deceptive and adherents can also be very persuasive in their arguments and those young in the faith can easily become confused and fall into heresy. This is particularly true for the many sects and religions that claim to be 'Christian' which appear right or Biblical and may indeed contain much truth, but they also contain enough error to damn people to hell.

1 Pet 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

So for Christians, first and foremost we need to know what we believe and why (the reason) we believe it.

Acts 17:28-29 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.

Paul while he was in Athens addressed the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers and quoted their "own poets" in an effort to convince them that God was not like their lifeless idols but that He was the Creator of all things, including them, and therefore they were also accountable to Him. Obviously the Apostle Paul was no novice when it came to reasoning with others about Christ and the Christian faith, and while we don't have to be Apostles to be effective at this, we certainly need to have a mature faith and some understanding of where the other side is coming from.

Cheers
Leigh

Whoofph
Apr 9th 2008, 01:45 AM
Thank for, you have been very helpful.

Roelof
Apr 9th 2008, 09:00 AM
My question is this: Is it a positive or a negative to listen to people of other faiths talk about them? I am not a Christian, but I am always open to new ideas

I like to listen and discuss religion with other people but stay away from arguing with them, beware of fights as it can ruin friendships.

If you want to give your heart to Jesus, remember this text:

Because if you confess the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. (Rom 10:9)

Whoofph
Apr 9th 2008, 08:52 PM
I am always careful not to argue religion. Arguing religious is akin to eating soup with a fork. Besides, the only victory you could possibly acheive would be a pyrrhic one.

While I am not a Christian, nor do I belong to any specific thiestic religion (I am an agnostic) I would not necessary say I am seeking Christ, but just seeking in general. Right now I give no concept to what an afterlife could be, but the argument that athiests make that there is nothing is not the most appealing, and requires an equal amount of dogma as any religion. I envy those who can be confident in an afterlife, and their pursuit of it. However I am involuntarily stubborn in my ways, and find it difficult to believe something without concrete evidence for it.

Athanasius
Apr 9th 2008, 09:00 PM
What is your opinion on challenging faith? Any biblical context would be much appreciated with your answers.

My question is this: Is it a positive or a negative to listen to people of other faiths talk about them? I am not a Christian, but I am always open to new ideas and I attend a church as well as a Christian club on campus and have for a year now. I have been told that challenging your faith is a positive thing for everyone, and it serves to strengthen faith. I know that if people go out to evangelize if they approach someone who has a different faith, knowing nothing about their history or background, and tell them they have been living a lie this person is less likely to listen to you. I've found that if you approach someone and listen to what their faith is and why they believe it they are more likely to listen to you, and consider what you have to say when it comes to your faith. But what is your opinion on challenging faith, especially in a Christian context?

That's the thing, 'some ones' chosen Christianity but knows nothing of the world's other religions and teaches? I mean, once you know the truth™ you know the truth™, but it makes for bad relations with others. I 'challenge' my faith all the time; I'm constantly learning about things extra-biblical (outside of). The only concern is that doubt and severe doubt can set in. Which is a very hard thing to go through... I've brought it on myself more than once while 'challenging' my faith. Not on purpose, mind you.

Like other's have said, I don't go around arguing with people of different faiths (including atheism). But I do make sure I have answers for any questions, and I do make sure to study other beliefs. You can't show others why Christianity is 'right' if you don't know what makes every other faith 'wrong'.

2 Peter 2:20
Apr 10th 2008, 02:34 AM
However I am involuntarily stubborn in my ways, and find it difficult to believe something without concrete evidence for it.

This is a little off subject but do you believe in evolution or age of the earth (ie 50 million years or something like that)? If you do...how concrete are these beliefs? They have merits, sure...but are they concrete?

Frances
Apr 10th 2008, 05:56 PM
I usually share some part of my testimony - the story of how I came to turst Jesus Christ as my Saviour and Lord and what He has done in my life. What follows depends on whether the person is interested of not. . .

In my experience far too many folk treat religions like products in a supermarket - they take a little of one, a little of that one, a smidgen of another etc. appearing to think they can choose what they like from each religion and it will please God. . . . probably too late they will discover they mistaken. . .

DanDMan64
Apr 10th 2008, 06:52 PM
In my humble opinion, and as I have stated in other threads here where people ask about "why Christianity over other religions or world views?" to me the bottom line is that Christianity is "The truth" and it's all about understanding the message of "the gospel" and it's ultimate goal to bring people back into fellowship with the One true God who created us and the universe around us. That fellowship is something I accept and practice regularly and thus it has taken me beyond the initial phase of mere "blind faith" into the realm of "substantiated faith", and it's all founded on the inerrant and infallible word of God, "The Bible".

In short I do not recommend an approach of studying other faiths just so we can reach them from a "politically correct" point of view that won't offend anybody for believing a lie. Instead just concentrate on studying the truth which is revealed in God's Word with the Holy Spirit as our Teacher, then go out with faith and conviction and let your light shine and speak the truth in love, present the gospel message to all who care to listen, and invite people to accept Jesus Christ as the only mediator between God and man, and have faith that The Holy Spirit will do His part and convince people of the Truth as they listen to your words.

Stay away from religious discussions and concentrate on The Gospel message, stay away from discussions of who God is or is not and speak clearly of the reality of your personal relationship with God, with the conviction of one who knows what he/she is talking about brought about by the reality of your personal experience.

Just speak the truth in love and allow The Spirit to do His part. :cool:

TrustGzus
Apr 10th 2008, 10:40 PM
I am an Evangelical Christian. However, my viewpoint could be wrong. I am a fallible human being and make mistakes and errors in my thinking. I try to find the errors in my thinking and correct them.

That being said, I do investigate worldviews and I am an Evangelical because it seems that Evangelicalism corresponds the most with reality and is comprehensive in scope.

Currently, I have six teenage guys that come over to my house on Tuesdays and we are studying the claims of the Watchtower (Jehovah's Witnesses). Studying other views is very helpful.

Grace & peace to you,

Joe

Whoofph
Apr 10th 2008, 11:54 PM
I do subscribe to evolution as the best answer to explain the origins of species. I believe this because there is evidence given to it that is well supported. This is not to say it is infalliable whatsoever but it does give proper explanation.

I see it this way though, as just a small amount of logical evidence. There is still much more evidence besides this.

Microevolution has been observed in organisms in short periods of time. It is easily done, and can be done repeatedly in the course of 15 minutes in a small lab. It has been observed, and repeatably tested.

We have observed strange genetic mutations within humans as well as animals. There is no denying this as well. These genetic mutations occur when genes are altered at birth. This can make differences in the physiology and psychology of a creature, be it human or not.

Here is an example: Take a world where giraffs have short necks, similar to horses. They reproduce regularly, they do everything like horses. This giraff eats grass. However where they live the concentration of their species is so high that the grass begins to diminish into such a low quantity that it can't support the life of all of the giraffs. If one of the giraffs develops a genetic mutation (The chances of which increase in likelihood given malnutrition or starvation due to the lack of accessable food) in which the neck is freakishly long. This type of mutation is not unknown and has indeed been seen. However this mutation is not necessarily a bad thing. It is merely microevolution, a seen and tested thing. In this case it works for the better. This long necked giraff is able to eat leaves out of a tree that the others couldn't. This long necked gene is either a dominant or a recessive gene. However, when most of the other giraffs die and this one becomes the most suited mate more of them will be created. Eventually the dominant type of giraff will switch into long necked.

That is evolution in action. Taking microevolution, a tested and observed happening, you can apply it to a change in a larger creature such as a giraff. You can see actual changes. During the stage in which a person is in the mothers womb it has been observed that fetus' have visceral gill markings on their developing lungs that are similar to fish gills. However before being born these visceral gills are grown over. They do show possible evidence of having gills at some point in the human lifespan though, the same as if the long necked giraff showed signs of developing a short neck. Whether or not this says anything about evolution to you is up to you, because there is always the possibility that God simply created everything this way. However this set of evidence does give more information and make more sense to my own mind.


Also, when talking about faiths whether they be yours or someone elses questions are bound to come up. When these questions come up aren't you likely to try to answer them in regards to your faith? What if you have a question for someone else's faith that when turned onto your own you have trouble answering, or if someone has a question about your faith you can't answer? Surely you would seek out an answer in the bible or through a preacher or priest. When you discover your answer you have effectively grown closer to God, have you not? That is through challenging faith.

TrustGzus
Apr 11th 2008, 04:50 AM
Greetings Whoofph,

Many, perhaps most, Evangelicals subscribe to micro-evolution, i.e. change within a species. A lot less subscribe to macro-evolution, change from one species to another.

As for the supposed gills, few Evangelicals find Haeckel's recapitulation theory credible. For that matter, secular biologists don't accept it either anymore. Those are not regarded as gills but rather are known as pharyngeal arches and do not carry out the same function as gills (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recapitulation_theory#Haeckel.27s_theory).

Back to your opening post, as you can see, several of us agree that we should read other vantage points. However, this doesn't make all points equal.

Either God exists or God does not exist. Both can't be correct. Either Jesus rose from the dead or he did not rise from the dead. These are important questions to ponder. The truth in answer to these questions has significant consequence either way.

Is there some way that we can assist you or that you can assist us on this journey for truth?

Grace & peace to you,

Joe

ilovemetal
Apr 11th 2008, 05:38 AM
However I am involuntarily stubborn in my ways, and find it difficult to believe something without concrete evidence for it.

i can fully appreciate your view. as far as evidence, it depends on how you view it. you claim to be agnostic, so perhaps there could be a God yes? now what evidence is there of this God....for me just looking at nature is enough. for some it's not even close.

as far as evidence for Jesus, i'm sure many here could recomend awsome books. one which is on my next to read list is 'a case for Christ' by Lee Strobel. Jesus has much evidence if you so choose to believe. again, some people don't.

anyways, good to hear your open minded. you can never know too much i always say.

kev

IPet2_9
Apr 11th 2008, 05:49 AM
I do subscribe to evolution as the best answer to explain the origins of species.

But what explains the ORIGIN of all species?

DanDMan64
Apr 11th 2008, 06:05 AM
... Whether or not this says anything about evolution to you is up to you, because there is always the possibility that God simply created everything this way. However this set of evidence does give more information and make more sense to my own mind.Actually, none of what you have stated here has anything to do with evolution, it does show how natural selection works, which is a scientific concept I have no problem subscribing to as a Christian, because it shows God's wisdom in creating beings that can adapt to their environment and survive.

However The Bible teaches that God created all animals in kinds, all after their kind, and through observational science we can confirm that indeed all animals, though diversely different in shapes and sizes within each distinct animal group, maintain the distinctive attributes that are common within each group or "kind", so that all dogs are canine, all cats are feline, all snakes are reptile, and so on.

That's why I believe that the creationist model is the best answer to explain the origins of species. Unlike evolution which tries to lump all kinds of beings as having formed from one single family of single cell organisms, which is impossible to do based on the evidence of DNA, and thus remains only a theory for lack of evidence that shows that complex and diverse lifeforms could indeed "evolve" from simpler ones, and even more incredibly it claims that fish could become snakes or cats or dogs or even human beings, again the evidence for such claims is just not there.


Also, when talking about faiths whether they be yours or someone elses questions are bound to come up. When these questions come up aren't you likely to try to answer them in regards to your faith? What if you have a question for someone else's faith that when turned onto your own you have trouble answering, or if someone has a question about your faith you can't answer? Surely you would seek out an answer in the bible or through a preacher or priest. When you discover your answer you have effectively grown closer to God, have you not? That is through challenging faith.I don't think of faith in terms of religion, as in the term "faith" equates the term "religion". I rather believe in the Christian faith as being "truth" above all other religions and philosophies including "Christianity the religion", does that make sense? To me there's a difference between True Christianity and merely religious Christianity, and the difference is that True Christianity is a lifestyle whereby you go beyond having faith in a possible God that may or may not be there, and you come to have a 24/7 relationship with the person of The living God through the indwelling of The Holy Spirit of God.

Christianity the religion is just that, a religious set of rules and standards you only follow when it's convenient to do so, mostly on Sunday mornings, but it has no life changing effect because the person does not fully understand and want to yield to the authority of God over their life, and thus they go on "existing" as most other people do, but not really experiencing the Joy and power of the Living God in their lives.

In short, I believe in absolute truth, and I believe The Bible is His revealed will and the answers to all of life's questions are found in it's pages, and I share that truth as a Light house points the way to a safe harbor, and any ships that want to stay out in the darkness can do so if they want to, but I don't see how arguing as to whether my light is real or not, or whether I'm just another ship in the sea and not really a light house, is going to help them any. :rolleyes:

servantsheart
Apr 11th 2008, 06:09 AM
What is your opinion on challenging faith? Any biblical context would be much appreciated with your answers.

My question is this: Is it a positive or a negative to listen to people of other faiths talk about them? I am not a Christian, but I am always open to new ideas and I attend a church as well as a Christian club on campus and have for a year now. I have been told that challenging your faith is a positive thing for everyone, and it serves to strengthen faith. I know that if people go out to evangelize if they approach someone who has a different faith, knowing nothing about their history or background, and tell them they have been living a lie this person is less likely to listen to you. I've found that if you approach someone and listen to what their faith is and why they believe it they are more likely to listen to you, and consider what you have to say when it comes to your faith. But what is your opinion on challenging faith, especially in a Christian context?[CODE]
Hi, Teitzy just gave you wonderful and truth filled advise and scripture to follow it up.
I was just wondering 'why' you attend a church or belong to a Christian club on campus. Is this just to meet people, etc.? If you have been doing this for a while you must have heard the gospel message of Chirst's death on the Cross of Calvary and his horrible death for our sins was accepted by God and God gave His grace to cover the forgiveness of our sins...which Jesus endured ...every sin and disease possible ...to over come them for those who would seek after Him and make Him Lord of their life. Without accepting Jesus into your life and giving your life freely over to Him you will not be saved. To be saved is to spend eternity in heaven with our Lord and Savior. To not be saved is to spend eternity in hell.
If you have not taken this first step towards salvation then church going is just being religious. It will not save you. Without Jesus leading you you have no ground to stand on and question or debate others with.
To get into discussions about 'other' religions is dangerous. As said before, if you are not saved and not grounded in your faith in Jesus you could be easily lead down a dark path that would end in destruction and eternity in hell.
Please search your heart and don't delay in making Jesus the Lord of your life. We never know what tomorrow will bring.

DanDMan64
Apr 11th 2008, 04:01 PM
I do subscribe to evolution as the best answer to explain the origins of species. I believe this because there is evidence given to it that is well supported. This is not to say it is infalliable whatsoever but it does give proper explanation...

... You can see actual changes. During the stage in which a person is in the mothers womb it has been observed that fetus' have visceral gill markings on their developing lungs that are similar to fish gills. However before being born these visceral gills are grown over. They do show possible evidence of having gills at some point in the human lifespan though, ....Hi there friend, last night after I posted my last reply, I was sure I had heard about this supposed "human embryo gills" proof of evolution reference somewhere else in a book I red called "Creation Facts of Life" by Dr. Gary Parker. Here's a direct quote from that book found on page 50-51: "The throat (or pharyngeal) grooves and pouches, falsely called “gill slits,” are not mistakes in human development. They develop into absolutely essential parts of human anatomy. The first pouches form the palatine tonsils that help fight disease. The middle ear canals come from the second pouches, and the parathyroid and thymus glands come from the third and fourth. Without a thymus, we would loose “half” our immune systems. Without the parathyroids, we would be unable to regulate calcium balance and could not even survive. Another pouch, thought to be vestigial by evolutionists until just recently, becomes a gland that assists in calcium balance. Far from being useless evolutionary vestiges, then, these so-called “gill slits” are quite essential for distinctive human development.”

I went to the web site where I had purchased the book (answersingenesis.org) and found an article there about the man who first proposed that argument, a gentleman named Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel, there's an article there about this and other arguments he made, the one that deals with this issue is entitled "The Infamous 'Fish Stage' in Human Embryos".

I highly recommend the article and the answersingenesis.org web site as a resource for clearing-up misconceptions about God and creation in general. The website and the organization is dedicated to show that people such as yourself have been misled into accepting "junk science" as truth, in an effort to discredit The Bible as not being relevant in matters of a scientific nature, when in fact just the opposite is true.

I know this is off-topic, but not in the sense that I think it's important to show that God does exist and can be easily shown to be real by observing His creation through proven scientific methods, with this knowledge Christians can re establish the Bible as the final authority in all matters of life, and thus show why not all roads lead to salvation but only the one The Word of God points to, which is the gospel of Jesus Christ.:saint:

2 Peter 2:20
Apr 11th 2008, 09:55 PM
I do subscribe to evolution as the best answer to explain the origins of species. I believe this because there is evidence given to it that is well supported. This is not to say it is infalliable whatsoever but it does give proper explanation.

I see it this way though, as just a small amount of logical evidence. There is still much more evidence besides this.

Microevolution has been observed in organisms in short periods of time. It is easily done, and can be done repeatedly in the course of 15 minutes in a small lab. It has been observed, and repeatably tested.

We have observed strange genetic mutations within humans as well as animals. There is no denying this as well. These genetic mutations occur when genes are altered at birth. This can make differences in the physiology and psychology of a creature, be it human or not.

Here is an example: Take a world where giraffs have short necks, similar to horses. They reproduce regularly, they do everything like horses. This giraff eats grass. However where they live the concentration of their species is so high that the grass begins to diminish into such a low quantity that it can't support the life of all of the giraffs. If one of the giraffs develops a genetic mutation (The chances of which increase in likelihood given malnutrition or starvation due to the lack of accessable food) in which the neck is freakishly long. This type of mutation is not unknown and has indeed been seen. However this mutation is not necessarily a bad thing. It is merely microevolution, a seen and tested thing. In this case it works for the better. This long necked giraff is able to eat leaves out of a tree that the others couldn't. This long necked gene is either a dominant or a recessive gene. However, when most of the other giraffs die and this one becomes the most suited mate more of them will be created. Eventually the dominant type of giraff will switch into long necked.

That is evolution in action. Taking microevolution, a tested and observed happening, you can apply it to a change in a larger creature such as a giraff. You can see actual changes. During the stage in which a person is in the mothers womb it has been observed that fetus' have visceral gill markings on their developing lungs that are similar to fish gills. However before being born these visceral gills are grown over. They do show possible evidence of having gills at some point in the human lifespan though, the same as if the long necked giraff showed signs of developing a short neck. Whether or not this says anything about evolution to you is up to you, because there is always the possibility that God simply created everything this way. However this set of evidence does give more information and make more sense to my own mind.


Also, when talking about faiths whether they be yours or someone elses questions are bound to come up. When these questions come up aren't you likely to try to answer them in regards to your faith? What if you have a question for someone else's faith that when turned onto your own you have trouble answering, or if someone has a question about your faith you can't answer? Surely you would seek out an answer in the bible or through a preacher or priest. When you discover your answer you have effectively grown closer to God, have you not? That is through challenging faith.

I didn't want to derail the topic by my questions. I just wanted to make the point that these beliefs are not 100% concrete.

theteacherspet
Apr 12th 2008, 07:38 AM
My question is this: Is it a positive or a negative to listen to people of other faiths talk about them?

Unless someone has a very fragile faith that won't hold up to scrutiny at all, being intellectually challenged or asked to listen to an alternative viewpoint won't do any damage. The only reason I can see for avoiding open dialogue or learning about other worldviews is if you are brand new to your faith and want to spend some time learning the doctrine, developing a support system and establishing a relationship with God before getting involved with debating external issues. Otherwise, I don't understand people who prefer to hide from dissent or questions.

I actually really enjoy reading things which provide new viewpoints and require me to do some serious contemplation. I think it's better to build up your beliefs through deep thought, honest inquiry and research than to stay sheltered and end up with a flimsy faith that can't hold up to controversy when you're finally forced to come out of your hole in the ground. There are people who I know who won't touch the books I read because they are terrified that they will become atheists and abandon God. Usually they bluff and say it's beneath them to read such tripe, but the fear is obvious and often admitted in a roundabout way when they tell me not to read that stuff because I'll end up hating God and worshipping Einstein. I always end up wondering: if they are really Christians, why do they think atheism is likely to be more convincing? Also why, if they love God, do they fear they would abandon him after reading a book written by a mortal (or a mammal, as Christopher Hitchens seems to enjoy pointing out quite frequently). If Christianity is true, it is true irregardless of what Richard Dawkins or Sam Harris has to say about it. I think the same is true for reading about other religions.

I guess the short answer would be, it's good. :) If you have the truth, I don't think it's likely you'll be disabused of it; if you don't, you have nothing to lose.

servantsheart
Apr 13th 2008, 01:44 AM
What is your opinion on challenging faith? Any biblical context would be much appreciated with your answers.

My question is this: Is it a positive or a negative to listen to people of other faiths talk about them? I am not a Christian, but I am always open to new ideas and I attend a church as well as a Christian club on campus and have for a year now. I have been told that challenging your faith is a positive thing for everyone, and it serves to strengthen faith. I know that if people go out to evangelize if they approach someone who has a different faith, knowing nothing about their history or background, and tell them they have been living a lie this person is less likely to listen to you. I've found that if you approach someone and listen to what their faith is and why they believe it they are more likely to listen to you, and consider what you have to say when it comes to your faith. But what is your opinion on challenging faith, especially in a Christian context?
I am just a little upset after reading your statement towards believing in evolution. Your original question made it sound like you are actually interested in seeking more knowledge of God.
Since this is the case what is your concern about learning of other world religions?
Since I became a born again Christian I personally find it hard to study other world relitions....Since I know that I know the turth and would never change my mind about God, why do I even need to hear about anything that is not of God. Other things such as evoltion (non-god), or other gods, hold no interest for me.
I have no idea what God thinks when he sees one of his children studying some other form of religion. But I would think it would hurt him deeply.
I liked DanDMan64 statement to you and think you should re-read it if you have not done so already ...along with the other responses.
If you are truly seeking God then you need to leave evolution alone. On the other hand if you are trying a 'back handed' attempt to change any Christian minds over to evolution then you really do not know the power of the Almighty God whom we as Christians love and would give our lives to defend our belief in HIM.
I hope you truly understand that evolution can not offer you hope in any form of life after death....or an eternity in heaven with our heavenly Savior and God the Father. DNA can and has proven evolution beliefs as false.
I pray that your mind will be enlightened and your eyes opened to the truths of God and His mighty Word through this forum and the explinations given by others you have visited with here.