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About laverne3

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  1. Great. I will check that out! thanks
  2. I did enjoy this. Thanks for sharing. It seems a lot of Hitchens arguments revolve around his idea of the cruelty of religion. There didn't seem to be a lot of reason behind what he believes but just some few things (usually falsified) that he clings on to. This seems to be a major theme amongst atheists and some agnostics.
  3. As I try and build my faith I inevitably end up trying to defend my faith against those that rely on the sciences as their ultimate source of authority. I often times try to answer as best I can but most of my education on these topics come from either my readings in Christian apologetics from Christian apologists or my memory from what I have learned in school (which isn’t much). The problem I have with the Christian apologetics readings is that they are essentially biased and to people I debate with, the content is very skewed and doesn’t prove any point because it is so biased. The problem though I have with this argument is that any other reading they are doing is also very biased as well. Someone was quoting a lot from Bill Nye, Dawkins and the like. I would like to start furthering my education in the sciences but it seems that anything I read will be biased. How could I go about this with an unbiased view? I mean I would like resources just to give me the blunt facts but they seem to not exist. This has been tough for me because now that I see how biased the material is that I have been reading I am starting to doubt all that I know in terms of why I believe the Christian faith... This isn’t to say that I proved Christianity to myself. That came from somewhere inside myself but the defenses definitely helped me “silence the devil” in a way. I am kinda in a whirlwind of thoughts right now and I feel stuck. Thanks in advance.
  4. I am having some difficulties understanding predestination and election. Ever since coming to Christ, I have never touched on the subject but now that I know of it, it is making feel less loved by God but also, unfortunately, makes me doubt the love of God. I wrote this down in a note so bear with me if it is jumping all over the place. It is understood that all humans are under sin and that we all are deserving of God's righteous and just judgment. Without God's grace, we will not be able to escape His holy wrath. This, however, is not to say that we are incapable of being righteous enough to earn our salvation because God made us that way but because we, from the very beginning with Adam, have freely chosen to live sinfully and against God. God is then not to blame, he didn't make us sin, we freely chose to sin. But then when you get into predestination and God's sovereignty and all-knowing nature things start getting a bit confusing. According to predestination, God had pre-elected some humans to be saved and also some that would be destined to their own devices and thus their own destruction and eternal punishment. I am now familiar also with the notion of Positive/Negative double predestination. This claims that those that are elected God changes, actively, their hearts to have faith and those that God elected to not save he simply "passed over" or just left them to themselves. There is no human accomplishment in following Christ. It is the work of God. He changed the hearts of those who believe in order for them to be able to believe. Otherwise, we would all be in the same boat. If you then delve deeper into the understanding of predestination and God's sovereignty you then also see that God knew of this whole plan even before the creation of the world. It wasn't a surprise to him. It wasn't as if he put Adam and Eve in the garden and said: "Let's see how this turns out." And then seeing that they disobeyed him was like "Shoot, I guess we go to plan B." No, God knew what would happen and that they would choose to disobey him. Not only this, he knew that while putting the tree there that they would eat of it and that would make them perish. He thus knew that many people would be born and would then be spending eternity in damnation and fire. This does seem a bit odd and less loving than I have learned God to be. Couldn't this be compared to putting two children in a room with a ton of toys but also placing a knife in there and then telling the kids: "You can play with all the toys in here but don't play with the knife, otherwise you will die." But during all of this, you knew for some reason that those kids would choose to play with that knife! This does put some blame on you for putting that knife in there in the first place. I am sorry in advance if this sounds ungrateful but this is a very hard concept for me to grasp. I can acknowledge the fact that I am a sinner and that I could never be perfect as God is but trying to understand this is a whole new thing for me. I am just wanting to understand and get over this so I can know more about God and truly believe that He is loving rather than just accepting that he is.
  5. About one year ago I gave myself to Christ. It was a pretty abrupt conversion where I went from being a pretty agnostic person never thinking I would ever be a religious person to becoming very fervent in my studies of the Christian faith. I went from not even knowing what the Bible was about to reading the Bible hours a day, studying theology books, and constantly thinking/praying for God to keep growing my faith. Although I feel that the Holy Spirit has been working in my life and growing my faith and relationship with Christ I have been struggling with on major thing: the Gospel still doesn’t blow me away. I know what that must sound like and it is hard for me to say it because I feel awful saying that the major event, the corner stone of the Christian faith, the glorious plan that God put in motion to save sinners like myself just does not blow me away like the way I read others are getting blown away. I read devotionals, watch video sermons and listen to pastors and they all have a huge thing in common: the gospel has such an impact on their life and they are so marveled by it that they begin to tear up. When I think of the gospel, I don’t have this reaction. I do like to say that I love Christ and that I want him in my life but I constantly doubt if I love Him for the right reasons. Part me of says I don’t actually love Him but that I want to say I love him so I can go to Heaven and live in eternal bliss. I must admit that when I came to be a follower of Christ I was going through a pretty rough patch of my life. I had an extreme panic disorder and was drinking pretty heavily. I kind of sought out Jesus to help me, but not as a sinner but as someone who was broken and needed some help to feel better and to start living a better life. I can’t say that sin had no part in my conversion but it was not the initiator of my conversion. I was not like the character in the Pilgrims Progress that came to Christ because he felt guilt, I came to Christ looking for help and aide in my sorrows/pains. I did come to the realization of my sin as I started to read the Bible but it was more of a “yeah, I guess I can see myself as a sinner in front of a perfect God and I can see that God should be angry at my sin” kind of realization not a “LORD I am a sinful wretched man and I praise you for you sending your son to save a sinners such as myself!” sort of realization. I guess part of me asks couldn’t there have been another way to save sinners? People I read, RC Sproul for example, claims that the Gospel is a story that no man could have made up. I just don’t feel this way. I have been struggling with this for quite some time now and don’t what to do. I have been praying for God to humble myself and to help me realize the full meaning of the Gospel, but not only to help me understand the content but to feel it emotionally as well. I have been reading some of Paul’s epistles where he speaks of a false faith vs a living faith and am worried that me not feeling the extent of what God did through his Son in a way that brings me crazy amounts of joy and makes me praise him all the more shows that my faith is false. I don’t want you all to get the wrong idea, I am just trying to be honest here and express my concerns. I do want Christ in my life I just need help realizing that I do NEED him in my life and why I need him.
  6. As I am studying Romans I am focusing on salvation and how our continuation in sin both in thought and action affects it. As a new Christian I constantly struggle with sinful desires. I am definitely more knowledgeable about them and am aware of how much they control my life. Now, as I have been studying this topic I am getting a bit confused as to what we are supposed to do with our sin. I frequently read that we are saved through faith alone and that faith must be a saving faith (meaning it must show some form of change in our hearts). But isn’t this the same thing as saying that we are saved through faith plus our good works because faith without the good works is not a saving faith and therefore doesn’t save us... what about sinful desires and actions? What must Christians do in regards to these very prominent things? I keep reading in the Bible that when we are turn to Christ we die to sin and have new life in Christ. I definitely don’t feel like I’ve died to sin.... I have sinful desires all the time. But that isn’t to say that I don’t know sin. I definitely am more aware of sin. And if I sin I recognize it and repent. So this begs the question, when the Bible says that we die to sin and that we are no longer enslaved to it does it really mean that we are more aware of it? Does it mean that we are more willing to do what God wants rather than what sin wants us to do? Finally all this brings me back to the beginning question: Are we saved through faith alone or through faith and works? Are we called to stop sinning all together or are we called just to have faith in Christ and if we keep sinning that is okay. Whenever sin comes across my mind I think oh I shouldn’t do that and I try to refrain. But after a bit I’ll give in and my first thought is: “well I am saved through faith alone and if I give in its because I am still in my flesh and I can’t do anything about it. Besides it’s not about what I do.... “ I know this might sound dark but I am just trying to understand all of this. I truly would like to just stop sinning but sometimes it just doesn’t happen and the whole thought of salvation not being based on works just tips me over to the dark side...
  7. I am reading through Acts and have come to the part of Ananias and Sapphira coming to their sudden deaths... This part brings some questions. Did Peter kill these two? Or did they die a sudden death from God? Obviously there are some questions non-believers could raise from these passages. How could I respond to these questions?
  8. I am wanting to be able to learn more about the sciences in order to better defend the faith that is in me. I also am just interested in learning about them but am very aware that there are a lot of false evidence and writings in the popular science communities. Could you point me in the right direction for resources to read and study?
  9. I am a new Christian and am having difficulties getting over the fact that a lot of the Old Testament scripture sounds a bit harsh and non-God inspired. One part in particular in Joshua 11:6 the Lord says: "You shall hamstring their horses and burn their chariots with fire." This sounds a bit more like a person back in the old times would say rather than a all knowing, timeless God. Their are countless other examples, this one just caught my attention and made me want to ask the forums. Why does a lot of the Old Testament scripture sound like something you would see in a movie that portrays depiction of an evil ruler?
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