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Thread: Free to choose, free to believe?

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    Free to choose, free to believe?

    Hello all, I'm fairly new here, and I'm hoping to get some answers to a few questions that I have been pondering over. Before that though, I'd like to come out and say that I am an agnostic atheist, i.e. I haven't concluded whether there is or is not a god(s), but the evidence so far would lead me to believe there isn't. I grew up as a southern baptist, but as I got older and began to study the claims of my religion in finer detail I found that I no longer believed. I didn't wake up one day and think to myself, "might as well become an atheist today," it just simply didn't make sense to me.

    Upon this realization, I began my own spiritual journey (about 4 years ago) trying to discern what is and isn't true in the world. I've read books for atheism, by Richard Dawkins and the like, as well as books to the contrary, such as C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. No matter where I turn to in my search, my former religion still makes no sense to me.

    When I was a christian, I used to wonder why people didn't accept Jesus into their lives when it would save them, after all, its such an easy choice to make. I was told by others, and believed it myself for a while, that they had made a choice to reject Jesus and were thus accountable for their choices.

    I find myself in a contradiction to my earlier thoughts, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself believe in my former religion, it doesn't make sense to me on a fundamental level and no amount of "choosing" can make me believe otherwise. Which leads me to my ultimate question, if belief cannot be made through a conscious choice, then what accountability can be assigned to someone who doesn't/can't believe?
    Last edited by zoonswoggle; Sep 2nd 2012 at 03:03 PM.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Greetings zoonswoggle,

    You said a couple times your former religion still makes no sense. You also said you read C.S. Lewis. Did C.S. Lewis not make sense with the arguments he was presenting?

    For example, Lewis made your journey in a sense but came back. He was raised in church (not Southern Baptist), converted to atheism,(though you have not gone as far as him since you are agnostic - I think the title agnostic atheist isn't a good title for anybody - but that's another discussion) then he converted back because he said atheism was too simple. He had to use arguments that need theism as a support system to argue for his atheism, but by rejecting theism, he lost the ground he was standing on since his main argument against God was a moral argument. I find Dawkins making the same kind of argument that Lewis made against God but Lewis saw the problem with the argument while Dawkins doesn't get it.
    Last edited by TrustGzus; Sep 2nd 2012 at 05:02 PM. Reason: typo

    In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

    Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

    If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Your arguments are trying to use logic to determine the supernatural. I can see how there can be a problem with that.

    If you ever get a chance, say via Netflix or another movie provider, search for videos that have been produced that illustrate the wonders of our world and how there is no way the the theory of evolution could have produced what is in existence today. You should become very much aware that there is a marvelous creator at work.

    Once you see that there is no logic that can be applied to the wonders of our world, then may I suggest that you get a good book on apologetics - especially one that shows the wonders displayed in the bible long before science was ever aware of those details - and figure out how the scriptures could know things that science didn't know until thousands of years later. See if the bible actually appears to be a supernatural thing.

    I can tell you that once you accept the wonder of the content of scripture, if you start actually reading a version you understand, you may well just marvel at the wisdom of the writers and see how their understanding surpasses man's intellect today.

    None of these things can be possible without God. That is a logic that is impossible to to dispute unless one wants very badly not to accept it. When one turns his life over to God, the wonders that happen after that are even better. However, it is not an "easy choice." It is a serious one that starts a journey that lasts a lifetime.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Hi Zoonswoggle

    Welcome.

    I have to back Boo's posting. From the little you have said of yourself, you sound quite educated, so you will know that science as we know it is based on observations. These observations are the laws we use in physics. I am an airline pilot of 42 years of flying and use these laws every day, and they never fail, otherwise I wouldn't be here posting this. One of the observations that we humans have made is that something can never come out of nothing. If you have a total void and you wait 1 year, 100 years or a trillion years, you will still have a total void. Now as a reader you can easily ascertain, by your own research, how much matter and how much different matter there is around you. Without even trying to comprehend a galaxy like ours, let alone a billion galaxies, you cannot but be impressed with how much matter there is in this small earth of ours. Then add the energy of the sun, and end up with the intricacies of the laws of gravity, heat and then life itself, and you, as an intelligent person, must come to the conclusion that there is a creator. Any other conclusion would defy your observations.

    Now if there is a Creator, you are part of His creation. If you possess intelligence and the power to decide, you must decide if you are going to, (1) acknowledge this Creator, (2) seek this Creator, and/or (3) take the responsibility of your decision. You have certainly observed that defiance of the laws of nature has consequences. Even a short fall from a ladder can have dire consequences, for gravity never fails. Thus, I think a reasonable man would call on his creator to reveal Himself, to reveal His purpose with the creature, and reveal His purpose with you.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Mod Note : Welcome zoonswoggle, I moved your thread to a more suitable forum. This is where non Christians can ask questions.
    My soul does GLORIFY the LORD, my spirit REJOICES in GOD MY SAVIOUR
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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Have you looked at any of the other Christian denominations? If I thought the Southern Baptists were my only choice, I might be an atheist too.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoonswoggle View Post
    Hello all, I'm fairly new here, and I'm hoping to get some answers to a few questions that I have been pondering over. Before that though, I'd like to come out and say that I am an agnostic atheist, i.e. I haven't concluded whether there is or is not a god(s), but the evidence so far would lead me to believe there isn't. I grew up as a southern baptist, but as I got older and began to study the claims of my religion in finer detail I found that I no longer believed. I didn't wake up one day and think to myself, "might as well become an atheist today," it just simply didn't make sense to me.

    Upon this realization, I began my own spiritual journey (about 4 years ago) trying to discern what is and isn't true in the world. I've read books for atheism, by Richard Dawkins and the like, as well as books to the contrary, such as C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. No matter where I turn to in my search, my former religion still makes no sense to me.

    When I was a christian, I used to wonder why people didn't accept Jesus into their lives when it would save them, after all, its such an easy choice to make. I was told by others, and believed it myself for a while, that they had made a choice to reject Jesus and were thus accountable for their choices.

    I find myself in a contradiction to my earlier thoughts, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself believe in my former religion, it doesn't make sense to me on a fundamental level and no amount of "choosing" can make me believe otherwise. Which leads me to my ultimate question, if belief cannot be made through a conscious choice, then what accountability can be assigned to someone who doesn't/can't believe?
    Hello and welcome.

    I believe in free will, the ability to choose eternal life, or death. That's really you're only choices, but everything you do in life is a choice that is based off of that one principal. Is what I am doing, good or bad? It doesn't necessarily have to be good or bad with regards to the bible, because people who don't believe in God make "good or bad" decisions all the time. The difference is, a person without God makes "good or bad" decisions, on how it relates to themselves, or some other person. Never do they think, "Is what I am doing, good for God?" -- Because God isn't on their minds, and if He is, they try to twist scripture in order to justify their sinful behavior. The real question is, can anyone that is "saved", sin? Because free will leads to that question.

    The flip-side of that in the "holier than thou" crowd says that you were either chosen by God to live forever or die in the lake of fire. You had no choice in what you do, ever. Which is why you are evil, and they are good. You never had any faith, which is why you doubt God's word, to them.

    Does that mean that doubting the Word of God is "okay" to do? No, but getting the right answers is all that matters.

    "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children." - Hosea 4:6.

    So instead of just plainly asking God for guidance in things that are spiritual, we make it all up on our own, and decide who are the good guys and who are the bad guys. Funny how every church labels each other as "the bad guys", while solely claiming to be the "only good guys around"? I think so. Anyone knows, you can twist the scripture to say whatever you want! As long as it is used out of context, that is. But who is determining the context? Once again, we should always turn to God when we ask these questions.

    Just know that if you don't get an answer right away, just trust God that you WILL get the answer. You don't need to make up anything as you go along. Our God is a LIVING God for a reason: He interacts with us. You'll know it when He does! He isn't "too busy" for you! He's God, and He can take care of you and your questions.

    All good things come to those who wait! You already have answers, you just don't know it yet.
    John 10 (KJV)
    27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
    28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
    29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    My journey is a little bit similar. I didn't grow up in an especially religious house, but my parents made me go to Sunday school from time to time. I guess they thought it would be good for my moral development. As a teen I was agnostic to occasionally atheist. I conceded the possibility that a god existed, mainly because I thought this universe, and the life on earth, was just too amazing to be purely an accident.

    I believed that if god did exist, he would be so far beyond our measly brains that we could never understand or relate to this god. Sort of like some far away cosmic consciousness. Oddly enough, there was one time I would pray - every time I stepped on an airplane. (Being an aerospace engineer, when we learn aircraft design, we focus mainly on everything that could possibly go wrong). So I figured that trying to relate to this god would be about like teaching quantum physics to an ant.

    But here's what I never considered: the possibility that this God might just want to relate to us. That this God may have revealed his nature to us. That this God might actually care about us.

    As an engineer I live on data, experimentation, and analysis. But faith doesn't come that way. One does not get faith by study and rational deliberation. Since you seem to be seeking, there is probably something inside of you telling you that there is much more to this universe than appears to the eye. God says seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. That's what I would do. I would pray for answers. Tap into that hint of something more. If God is true to His word, answers will come. Perhaps not right away, and possibly when you least expect it as it was for me, but it will come. And you will be amazed; faith is a real and transformative experience.
    In Christ,

    -- Rev

    “To preserve the government we must also preserve morals. Morality rests on religion; if you destroy the foundation, the superstructure must fall. When the public mind becomes vitiated and corrupt, laws are a nullity and constitutions are waste paper.” – Daniel Webster, 4th of July, 1800, Oration at Hanover, N.H.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoonswoggle View Post
    When I was a christian
    Sorry mate but from the way you describe it, you've never been a Christian yet, ever. If you don't know with 100% certainty that Jesus is real and really alive and raised from the dead, how can He be your Master and how can you be His disciple? That's what a Christian is.

    I grew up in church too and walked away. But I wasn't actually born again until I was 25 and was confronted with the idea of Jesus actually being real, alive and available. That is when I became a Christian, and not a second before.

    I feel your struggle, but I'd encourage you to seek out the resurrected Christ because coming to the conclusion that there is a God will simply make you a deist, not a Christian.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

    Also, Zoonswoggle? That's awesomely funny and I couldn't even tell you why.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoonswoggle View Post
    Hello all, I'm fairly new here, and I'm hoping to get some answers to a few questions that I have been pondering over. Before that though, I'd like to come out and say that I am an agnostic atheist, i.e. I haven't concluded whether there is or is not a god(s), but the evidence so far would lead me to believe there isn't. I grew up as a southern baptist, but as I got older and began to study the claims of my religion in finer detail I found that I no longer believed. I didn't wake up one day and think to myself, "might as well become an atheist today," it just simply didn't make sense to me.

    Upon this realization, I began my own spiritual journey (about 4 years ago) trying to discern what is and isn't true in the world. I've read books for atheism, by Richard Dawkins and the like, as well as books to the contrary, such as C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. No matter where I turn to in my search, my former religion still makes no sense to me.

    When I was a christian, I used to wonder why people didn't accept Jesus into their lives when it would save them, after all, its such an easy choice to make. I was told by others, and believed it myself for a while, that they had made a choice to reject Jesus and were thus accountable for their choices.

    I find myself in a contradiction to my earlier thoughts, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself believe in my former religion, it doesn't make sense to me on a fundamental level and no amount of "choosing" can make me believe otherwise. Which leads me to my ultimate question, if belief cannot be made through a conscious choice, then what accountability can be assigned to someone who doesn't/can't believe?
    You don't believe Jesus existed? Or you don't believe Jesus was who he claimed to be?

  11. #11

    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Choice is a mental volition nothing more and nothing less, you say " no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself believe in my former religion, it doesn't make sense to me on a fundamental level and no amount of "choosing" can make me believe otherwise"

    This is slightly redundant, as stated earlier choosing is a mental volition so "choosing" or volition will flow from your beliefs. Belief comes through faith, your faith as atheist cannot be empirically verified as true or even deductively proved by logic. It is faith.

    Knowledge comes by revelation, knowledge is not invented but discovered even new inventions will be the results of new discoveries. The Revelation of God has come by the word of God..Jesus Christ has revealed God to us and now there is only two requests made of man by Him as a result of His sacrifice on the cross for sinners.

    Repent & Believe

    You refuse to change your mind regarding Christ i.e repent... and as a result you will not believe.

    This is sin on your behalf and God is justified in condemning you due to this unpardonable sin. Thats the bad news the good news is there is still time. So i hope you see blaming God for your own mental volition will not stand up in court never mind judgement day. He is Revelation, He is Salvation, He is Truth, He is Light....and He bids you to come to Him, a bruised reed He will not cast out and a smoldering flax He will not quench. Seek Him while He may be found, and He will give you rest from your search of truth, He is Truth it is Him who you are looking for, but you have been given a poor description of Him. Repent and believe the gospel and if you cant them cry out to Him and beg Him to Reveal His Son to you !


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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Wondering if zoonswoggle is reading these replies.

    In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. - Rupertus Meldenius

    Read your Bible and pray every single day. - Pastor Jon Courson

    If your grace ain't greasier than a bucket full of chitlin's and gravy, you might be a legalist - an internet friend.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by TrustGzus View Post
    Wondering if zoonswoggle is reading these replies.
    It's a public forum and surely he/she is not the only person out there with these questions ...

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dani H View Post
    It's a public forum and surely he/she is not the only person out there with these questions ...
    100% agree. The silent ones have questions, too.

    If you find one of our answers helps you, and you have more questions, keep coming back! Stop lurking and join in. Put this one in your favorites.
    John 10 (KJV)
    27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
    28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
    29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.

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    Re: Free to choose, free to believe?

    Quote Originally Posted by zoonswoggle View Post
    Hello all, I'm fairly new here, and I'm hoping to get some answers to a few questions that I have been pondering over. Before that though, I'd like to come out and say that I am an agnostic atheist, i.e. I haven't concluded whether there is or is not a god(s), but the evidence so far would lead me to believe there isn't. I grew up as a southern baptist, but as I got older and began to study the claims of my religion in finer detail I found that I no longer believed. I didn't wake up one day and think to myself, "might as well become an atheist today," it just simply didn't make sense to me.

    Upon this realization, I began my own spiritual journey (about 4 years ago) trying to discern what is and isn't true in the world. I've read books for atheism, by Richard Dawkins and the like, as well as books to the contrary, such as C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity. No matter where I turn to in my search, my former religion still makes no sense to me.

    When I was a christian, I used to wonder why people didn't accept Jesus into their lives when it would save them, after all, its such an easy choice to make. I was told by others, and believed it myself for a while, that they had made a choice to reject Jesus and were thus accountable for their choices.

    I find myself in a contradiction to my earlier thoughts, no matter how hard I try, I cannot make myself believe in my former religion, it doesn't make sense to me on a fundamental level and no amount of "choosing" can make me believe otherwise. Which leads me to my ultimate question, if belief cannot be made through a conscious choice, then what accountability can be assigned to someone who doesn't/can't believe?
    Hello zoonswoggle

    You have stated your position. But you have given nothing for us to go on. No specific reasons for your position?

    So please give us the reason why you have rejected the Message of the Messiah Jesus. And maybe the discussion can progress.


    All Praise The Ancient Of Days

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