The doubting Christian

By Jason Boyett I am a Christian. I come from a Christian family and live in the Bible Belt. I’ve … Continued

By Jason Boyett

I am a Christian. I come from a Christian family and live in the Bible Belt. I’ve been a member of the same Southern Baptist church since I learned the words to “Jesus Loves Me” in preschool. I write for Christian magazines, my books get assigned to Amazon’s Religion & Spirituality > Christianity category, and I can rattle off the names of the Old Testament minor prophets faster than I can recall the names of the Kardashians.

But there are some days when I’m not entirely sure I believe in God.

That’s a confession I’ve grown more comfortable making over the last few months, but I do it with fear and trembling. These days, certainty seems as fundamental to evangelical Christianity as the cross. Any admission of its opposite–doubt–still has the power to shock.

Other human weaknesses have gone mainstream. Consider lust, for example. After reading my most recent book about my own struggles to believe, a male college student told me he’d sooner admit a porn addiction to his church than acknowledge he doubted the existence of God.

Like lust, adultery doesn’t surprise us either. It happens to high-profile televangelists like Benny Hinn and it happens to the guy in the next pew. We’ll forgive dishonesty and hypocrisy, too. Ted Haggard fell fast and hard, but he’s back with a new church and ministry.

But doubt is different. In a world of messed-up Christians, you don’t find many admitting it publicly. I’ve heard of Pentecostal churches asking doubters to exit their prayer services, fearing they could limit God’s willingness to act. One reader told me she couldn’t read my book in front of her family members. She worried what they might think.

Why is doubt so taboo? Biblical commands to “believe and not doubt” (James 1:6) are culprits, although it helps to read them alongside the stories of heroes like Abraham, David, and the disciples–who asked direct, honest questions without any smiting-based repercussions.

Another problem is our need to belong. Christianity can be an appearance-driven culture just like high school or the country club. People want to fit in. When you’re around happy, smiling churchgoers who speak of God’s constant activity in their lives, it’s hard to admit you don’t experience quite so personal a deity, and that recent discoveries in neuroscience give you pause, and why doesn’t the problem of evil keep everyone else up at night like it does me?

So we disguise our doubts behind righteous masks. We pretend to have it all together. For a people so committed to Truth-with-a-capital-T, it takes little effort for us to default to this form of dishonesty.

Our mistake is that we view doubt and faith as opposites. I grew up thinking of “faith” as the ability to believe in certain presuppositions–that God exists or that Jesus died for my sins. If I could mentally assent to that checklist, I had faith. If I struggled with those beliefs, then I had doubt. Faith and doubt couldn’t coexist.

I’ve spent three decades learning I was wrong. Doubt is essential to faith. Faith, by definition, requires uncertainty. Answering “I don’t know” to most religious questions isn’t just honest, but humble. These days, if I have faith, it’s in my willingness to follow the teachings of Christ despite my hesitations. Faith, for me, is action.

Deep in this valley of doubt, I still call myself a Christian and try to serve others, love my enemies, and otherwise live like a follower of Jesus…even on the days agnosticism looks inviting. Even on the days I labor to reconcile evolution with the Bible. Even on the days I’m not certain God exists.

I’m a big, fat doubter, and I’m learning to be okay with that.

Jason Boyett is a writer, speaker, and the author of O Me of Little Faith: True Confessions of a Spiritual Weakling. He blogs at www.omeoflittlefaith.com and tweets @jasonboyett. Jason lives in Texas with his wife and two kids.

About

  • eluin

    Your a smart guy because you admit you don’t know everything and you are honest with your questioning uncertainty. Any man who claims to be completely certain about everything may be considered absurd or egotistical. Doubt by itself leads to inaction, but faith requires action. Doubt realizes the mountain you move with faith. I pray that God reveals to you an answer within yourself on how to move this mountain you see and I hope it makes you more confident in your journey ahead. I cant prove to you God exists but I know He has helped me in my life and I thank Him.

  • LiMBsY

    Jason first of all, I completely admire your honesty, and I find that you have such committment and strength to realize the emptiness of an agnostic life and commit yourself to the deepest yearning of the human heart, to Jesus Christ whose name has surpasses all other names, and whose name will never be surpassed. As a brother in Christ who also deals with doubt… honestly… I don’t doubt the existence of God, I doubt whether or not we can know or understand Him at times… certain aspects of God I know I just don’t ever understand, but I sympathize with you. But there are two things I want to say to you:2) Evolution doesn’t bother me at all. Why? Because it’s wrong lol. I ask that you, with your open and humble mind, listen to the new scientists that are coming on the scene that are discovering something, broader going on in the picture of life than Darwinism… I ask that you would please study and get involved in the intelligent design community:www.idthefuture.comTrust me, as a brother. Become familiar and at least sympathize with it. Scientific arrogance and ignorance must end.

  • Potter2

    Welcome to atheism, there is no going back.

  • colonelpanic

    In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus had his doubts.Why can’t we?

  • Martial

    Actually, not having doubts is the real problem, not just with God, but with every thing. After all, has it not ever crossed your mind that, perhaps, we adjudge murder as being wrong for reasons that lack a basis in logic? If you think that odd, consider this: all of us believe in the concept of “reasonable doubt” when it comes to convicting people of murder. No one can really define what reasonable doubt is. Why then do we believe in it?

  • InTheMiddle

    I am a Christian, and I have no doubt that Jesus Christ is who He said He is and that I am saved through His sacrifice for me on the cross. He has revealed Himself and made His love known to me in a thousand ways. In fact, in this world, I ultimately am certain of nothing except Jesus.That said, the Bible makes it clear that 1) People only become believers in Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit revealing Him to them and 2) that in Christian life there is a battle of faith. One at times says at the man who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus said, “Lord, I believe, help me in my unbelief.”

  • lol21045

    Lots of Christians doubt the existence of God … and Jesus’ role … and a lot of other man-created dogma perpetuated under the flag of Christianity. But broaden your vision; read; check out other religions and how they approach the idea of god. It’s easy to do via the Internet. You’ll find much more commonality in what’s really important spiritually than you know, if all you know is Christianity. Think in terms of spirituality, which seems to be part of homo sapien DNA; not religion, per se, which is methodology for pursuing spiritual needs — and methodology that has varied for much of history.

  • Chops2

    InTheMiddle:And u dont name one way he has “revealed” himself. Have u ever seen him? Have u had an audible 1 on 1 conversation with him? What did his voice sound like? what did he look like?If you cant answer these questions you should have doubt.Just remember u too are an athiest or agnostic about every other relision ever known to man. Think of why u do not believe in the other religions and apply that same process to your faith.If you dont have doubts about god then you are simply intellectually dishonest

  • cornbread_r2

    Evolution doesn’t bother me at all. Why? Because it’s wrong lol. I ask that you, with your open and humble mind, listen to the new scientists that are coming on the scene that are discovering something, broader going on in the picture of life than Darwinism… I ask that you would please study and get involved in the intelligent design community: I’ve looked into some of the arguments for intelligent design. While I’ve read lots of philosophical and theological arguments supporting it, I haven’t seen any

  • Chops2

    There is no data cornbread. Its religion disguising itself as science. They cant even prove one basic element of intelligent design.

  • shwineka

    As someone going through a similar time in my life, thank you for this column.

  • johnsopc

    “Faith without doubt is a dead faith.”Wise words from a Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno.

  • gooderich

    I really appreciate the honesty here, and many Christians, indeed, many famous Christians Saints have had more than mere moments of doubts. [Dark Night of the Soul Spanish: La noche oscura del alma) is the title of a poem written by 16th century Spanish poet and Roman Catholic mystic Saint John of the Cross]

  • papafritz571

    I imagine St Peter will have a lot of guards at the Pearly Gates judging by what is preached from the pulpits of every religious organization. Modern religion is based on wealth and power, not love of your neighbor, mercy and kindness to those in need. Especially so here in America, where being poor gets you labeled as lazy and unworthy. Nevermind that thousands of those who are poor have low paying jobs that are essential and vital to all of us. Just like the unGodly politicians who refuse to help those who have lost their jobs, their only whine is that those people are just plain lazy.

  • gooderich

    On a humorous note: F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote the famous line:

  • natecar

    Discussing this Doubt and then hiding behind actions as a sign of Faith? Really???

  • brng

    Not sure I understand your point.You can’t fully comprehend faith without doubt. You wouldn’t even be able to see what faith is, absent a backdrop of doubt. And as well, in some languages, Greek or Latin or some language other language I forget, faith and hope are the same word. And hope always encompasses an element of doubt.

  • alloleo

    “Sort of” believing is like being “sort of” pregnant. I’m weary of soul-searching columns like this that take self-indulgent equivocating and try to portray it as sensitive, aware questioning. Let’s put in it simple terms: either you believe or you don’t. I don’t. Maybe you do. Maybe you want to play some silly game of slopping back and forth between belief and non-belief. If you want to waste your life doing that, fine. Just don’t expect a receptive audience from believers or non-believers.

  • RobertBass1

    Jason,

  • kbtoledo

    Maybe there is a “higher power”, maybe not. Why do nearly all cultures develop some kind of spirituality? It must be more than just crowd control, more than simply following authority or going with the flow.

  • ottowalenski

    Christians tend to conceptialize God. He is the God apart. The God idea. The God elsewhere.God as an idea does not lead to faith, so your struggle is a true struggle because for most their faith is still based on an idea or conceipt of God.That is why I tend toward the Eastern religions where there are actual Realizers, not just believers.Belief can change based on a change of mind. To hang your hat on an idea of God is to look forward to endless doubt.

  • eaglehawkaroundsince1937

    AND JESUS SAID AT THE LAST “FATHER FATHER WHY HAVE YOU ABONDONED ME?” (doubt?) Thank you Jason for helping liberate me from my like feelings. Elenor Roosevelt once said “I am an athiest at least once or twice a year”. I call my God my Creator, that is who – what – it – that created me. Simple. As far as Jesus goes he is a historical figure whose words make him my Hero. GOD hmmm? Jesus sigh. Me thinks that Saint Paul landed on his head when he got knocked off his pony.

  • raw915

    Breaking the bonds of brainwash.Jason, you said it correctly. From the time you were old enough to comprehend, the Bible was drilled into your head. You believe because your brain was intentionally wired by so many to believe. But sometimes, as I have, you can break the bonds of brainwash and have doubts. Many intellectuals are torn between the absurd and reality.It’s all a game. Play it right, or you lose. Long before I knew about Pascal’s Wager, I had those same mind wrenching struggles. For years I agonized over the existence of God. I didn’t believe in God then and I don’t believe in God now. Contrary to Pascal’s thinking, I believed that if God existed, no amount of pretending on my part would save me, because He knows my every thought. So I resigned myself to the fact that I was doomed, regardless of what I believed or professed. Just because my brain is more developed than than the cow’s or the pig’s or the goat’s, does that make me more special in Gods eyes? We are all made of the same material. Do the cows and pigs and goats all believe in God? If they do, then most of us are Cannibles! Clearly God must disapprove of eating any creature who believes in Him. While we’re on the subject, do plants believe in God? If so, then not even vegetarians are safe.God, I hate doing this. Now I probably won’t sleep the rest of the night. Have a nice day.

  • DwightCollins

    if you doubt GOD, then you do not have the faith…

  • johng1

    It can in a transition period while the brainwashing wears off. But those who chose to stay in the transitional state are knuckleheads or cowards.

  • slowe111

    Jason, folks like you might want to explore something new call Progressive Christianity. http://www.progressivechristianity.ca, or even Humanism, or the UUs. or

  • johng1

    slowe111, a friend of min died about 20 years ago and there was no one to arrange a memorial for him. Another friend suggested a guy to lead the “service” who was non-denominational. He dressed in a long cape or gown, looked like Jerry Garcia, and preached a wonderful “sermon” that did not mention any particular god at all. It was very nice ceremony for this atheist and everyone else who attended.

  • graydon_stephenson

    I was an atheist. I became a Christian. I believe now that there is a God, and that the Bible is true.Belief is the most likely conclusion from the evidence, in my view.I hope this helps.

  • willemkraal

    THERE IS NO DOUBT HERE AT ALL. RELIGION IS TOTAL HOKUS/POKUS A FRAUD A TOTAL SCAM.

  • timwaid1

    Mother Theresa once said that not a day goes by that she does not question her faith and the existence of God through Jesus Christ the Redeemer. I feel the same way that she did and billions on Christians feel. That is the struggle of our human path – to doubt but believe and continue our walk of faith. To doubt and to have faith are one in the same.

  • johng1

    Graydon_Stephenson wrote: I was an atheist. I became a Christian. I believe now that there is a God, and that the Bible is true.Belief is the most likely conclusion from the evidence, in my view.———-What evidence do you have man? Share it with the world!

  • jameschirico

    Parts of the Bible are incongruent (Thomas Payne’s Age of Reason), dated (bathing in flowing river waters to cure infection, sacrificing a dove during menstruation), silly or untrue (raining frogs, creationism), morally unacceptable (deuteronomy, Abraham’s sacrifice of his innocent child), prejudicial (gay abomination, blacks the bearer of water argued for slavery), and has caused war (rapture calls for the kingdom of Israel). That said the writer lives by the fantastic good way of life preached by Jesus. Take away the mysticism, the miracles, the untrue, the harmful and you are left with forgiving and redeeming sinners, helping the poor, protecting the green earth, helping your neighbor and seeing the rich as exploiters. Fundamentalists of any religion cannot be swayed by fact, tending to do more harm than good. There are those that protest in front of abortion clinics and those that work at halfway houses for single mothers, I think the writer is part of the latter, good for him.

  • exile_from_virginia

    If you have the time and stamina, you might find it worthwhile to read Dostoevsky’s It’s also useful to keep in mind St. Paul’s observation: “When I was a child, I thought like a child, spoke like a child, and reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.” Too many people fail to give up their childish views of God when they become adults, and so live with either an unreasoning faith or a faithless reason. Neither is the truth.

  • uh_huhh

    What an inane waste of mental energy and newspaper space.Just go bash gays and make yourself holier-than-thou. That usually works for mindless Christians like you.

  • mikepost1

    The Bible even says that “knowledge shall be increased”

  • thebump

    If you take away doubt, what is left is not faith but certainty. Certainty has no need for faith. Doubt makes room for faith. Faith and doubt are inseparable, two sides of one coin.Sometimes believers want to affirm the strength of their faith by claiming to be certain. But when we do that, we’re not really being faithful. Indeed we are diminishing the beauty, power, and mystery of faith.

  • IgnorantHillbilly

    No, you can’t be a genuine Christian and have the level of doubts you have. You have written this post to a good place; you will find many sympathetic ears, but biblical Christianity clearly teaches that a person is supernaturally changed when they receive Christ (hence the term “born-again”) and that person “knows” that the God of the Bible, including Christ and the claims he made, is true. 1 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know the true One. We are in the true One—that is, in His Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

  • thebump

    Comment: You seem to be trying to draw a distinction, but those are the same people.

  • deac14

    I think Jason has got it right. Taking up one’s cross and following Jesus means to “try to serve others, love my enemies, and otherwise live like a follower of Jesus.” No fool would strive to be a disciple without believing. However, struggling with the concept of God shouldn’t be mistaken for belief vs. nonbelief.DwightCollins, what are you that you can sit in judgment and condemn someone because he doubts? The Gospel is not of condemnation, but rather of salvation and redemption – even for sinners and nonbelievers. Surely one like with faith like yours would understand this.

  • ak1967

    What really is surprising that in a free country like ours, people are afraid to express themselves for fear of family, friends and society. Sounds more like what how people feel in Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia. It is a failure of democracy and free speech. By the way, in Eastern religions, generally, there are no repercussion for doubting faith. In fact some places, it is welcome and discussed openly. Certainly, generally there are no consequences from family, friends and the society.

  • IgnorantHillbilly

    Comment: There are those that protest in front of abortion clinics and those that work at halfway houses for single mothers, I think the writer is part of the latter, good for him.In some ways, you have made the fundamentalist’s point. It is actually easier to work with single mothers in half-way houses than it is to protest abortion clinics. If you work with single mothers, you will get the praise of men. If you protest the abortion clinic, all you get is the scorn of men, which implies that those protesters actually believe there is a God, there is a judgment, and there is a life to come.

  • paultaylor1

    Doubt and faith, by nature, coexist. Deep within all “believers,” whether they are aware of it or not, is doubt.In fact, they keep reminding themselves, and others, that “they believe.”

  • kycol2

    I have not read Mr. Boyett’s book and cannot tell from this column whether he has true doubts about the existence of a god or whether he is just fed up with all of the mythological and questionable baggage one must carry in order to call themselves an “evangelical” Christian. If he has merely relieved himself of that burden, then he will most likely become a better person and a better follower of those few fragments of the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth that have survived the many revisions if the Gospels. In this column he is still struggling with those feelings caused by his perception of what other “Christians” would require of him. If he would leave all the baggage behind and face his quest for spirituality with a free mind he would have less difficulty. He should visit the local UU congregation.

  • joncsmith3

    Come on. One can easily be a Christian and an atheist. Just read Thomas Jefferson. His bible omits every reference to the supernatural or paranormal, which he called “bull dung” (today, Penn and Teller would have a juicier description). As far as I can tell the main barrier to Chrisrian atheism is the bias, intolerance, and narrow-mindedness of the church. Christian atheism is the new gay. I articulate this in my new book, “Pseudoscience and Extraoedinary Claims of the Paranormal.”. See http://www.lulu.com/stress.

  • OneWhoSpeaksTruth

    Embrace the Darkness…

  • Adelaida21

    Dear Jason,

  • houstonian

    Doubt is only going along to get along. You want to serve two masters. God and the left. You want salvation and attendance in church from the left. You think, you have found a way to please God and the left. I guess you think you have all bases covered. Right. I’ve seen people like you all my life. They start fantasizing about what makes God tick. They say God never would have done or said that. So they start looking to the human aspect of God. Being the left. You have been so influence by the left, you feel you have to create doubt in order to live in todays world. Either you believe or don’t. There aren’t any gray areas where you go on certain days and say today I have my doubt. Next week I’ll devote it all to God and say I believe and then all will be OK. That’s not the way it works. Doubt is compromise to you.

  • risandy

    Jason (and everyone else) — Get a copy of The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. It is the most honest discussion of the merits of atheism I’ve ever read.

  • altruisticone

    When I was growing up, my parents and my church taught me to believe in God. As I delved deep into scientific thought both personally and through college, graduating in a science, I began to doubt the existence of God. As I have gotten older, and my knowledge of our world has grown through the understanding of quantum mechanics, DNA, nature, and our own solar system and planets history, and how rare and unique the human race is given the constant peril to our existence both from our own actions and natural disasters, I have come to the conclusion that there is something more than we realize to our conscious existence. It is no longer a matter of faith, but a realization and acceptance.

  • jaxas70

    Look. I threw my hands up long ago and dispensed with all of this “faith” nonsense. It is no more than a code word for those who wish to control hearts and minds. If one pursues knowledge and enlightenment instead, those who wish to control the hearts and minds of others for whatever reasons, lose.Thus, in my own frame of thinking, I have thrown out everything that comes to me in the form of certitude based on faith–or belief and opinion. It is not too much to ask of the true believer to provide actual, physical evidence of the existence of God, or miracles, or of Divine interventions. And I mean real, first hand evidence–not the second, third or fourth hand accounts of those who swear that such things exist or such events have occurred.

  • poorman1

    My wife showed me how it’s ok to be angry at God and question him before we were even dating. We both struggle a lot with the problem of evil/pain – it keeps us up many nights. We doubt God and question him directly and honestly about the things that just don’t sit right with us. I think I identify very strongly with John 6:67-68: “‘You do not want to leave too, do you?’ Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.’”

  • Gracian

    Jason -Doubt is a weakening of faith, but not every church sees it as yours does. History is replete with saints who had real doubts but overcame them.Atheists have made these arguments for thousands of years, now. Tertullian wrote the words in the second century:” “The Son of God was born: there is no shame, because it is shameful.Impossible, he wrote. If you think your mind is the highest authority — well, you’re done.So cheer up — you’re really not that special.

  • jaxas70

    Altruisticone, your comments sound reasonable but consider one of the absolutist assertions you just made: That human life is rare and confined to this tiny little planet in this tiny little part of our Galaxy surrounded by countless other Galaxies. We are a recent life form, barely in our infancy. To be sure, we have made great in knowledge, most of it coming in the past two centuries. Yet, we have only just begun to explore our own unimaginably tiny portion of the Universe we inhabit. So, how do you know that human life is rare? The answer is, you don’t. You believe it based on an incomplete set of knowledge bases.We once believed firmly that earth was the center of all Creation. Now we know just how silly that conviction was. Who knows what another 200 years of research and discovery will bring? On an almost daily basis, scientists of all stripe are finding out that previously passionately held certitudes about our origins and place in the cosmos were all incorrect.

  • calexanderbrown

    Kierkeggard discussed this problem, and found a personal solution. I suggest that readers ((and indeed the author read)) his essay on this topic. Somerset Maugham’s novel “The Razor’s Edge” has a wonderful discussion of this problem voiced through a Jesuit Priest’s discussion of the Catholic Church. The book, by the way, is a great read, and I highly recommend it. Finally, the coexistence of Great Doubt and Great Certainty is a tenet of the practice of the Rinzai Zen school of Zen Buddhism. To which I belong.C. ALEXANDER BROWN

  • DrWho2

    So you doubt that mankind has complete knowledge of the unknowable and uncomprehensable. That is wise, in my opinion. Religion is based on other peoples’ interpretations of the spiritual world, and if you don’t doubt them, you are a much more trusting person then I. Take what is good in religion and junk the rest, because the belief in we are right and your interpretation of the unknowable is wrong has led to many truely ‘sinful’ actions on this planet. Faith is believing in something that can’t be proven, but you believe because someone else told you its true. That is why organized religions depend on it and dislike those that would question and doubt. Religions are very imperfect frameworks and attempts to understand the spiritual world and the higher powers that be.

  • stillaliberal

    God exists. But the type of god that Mr. Boyett was taught to believe in – that’s the god that doesn’t exist. And Jesus would have been dismayed to see the type of fear-mongering and blame-the-victim crap that is done in his name by all too many fundamentalist Christians in America today.

  • natecar

    At first I thought this was an absurd argument for how to retain your Christianity while having rational and natural doubt about the increasingly dubious premise of religion.

  • 4blazek

    Religion is the invention of early man in his attempt to make sense of the variables of science in order to facilitate civil human behavior.

  • kitforkat

    So simple, so true. Thank you

  • truthseeker1

    > — George DixonAhh the blusterings and pretensions of the right wing. Since those that rail against homosexuals are often gays themselves, that makes Dixon a more likely homosexual than Heis.

  • ravitchn

    There isn’t an honest believer who can deny he has hAd DOUBTS; AN HONEST ATHEIST OUGHT TO BE EQUALLY HONEST.

  • hitpoints

    I was an “agnostic Christian” for many years. By that, I mean that my doubts were all within the context of the veracity of the divinity of Jesus and the veracity of miraculous things like the resurrection. I didn’t doubt the existence of a god, or even of a god that listened to prayer or interceded or guided in my life. I didn’t doubt the life of Jesus. But the story, the theology, of salvation I did doubt, as well as the insistence that Christian salvation was the one and only way to god. I was raised in a very Christian (Baptist) family. I was baptized at 12 and was a fervent disciple. But by my late teen years I really was unsure, and also rather uninterested in church life. For years I went back and forth, attending church again when I was engaged to be married because it seemed the right thing to do, then lapsing. The way I explained it to believers like my parents was that faith cannot be willed, and to go through the Christian motions without an internal faith in their truthfulness would be akin to wearing a false smile. I felt like I was missing some crucial element that would allow me to believe whole-heartedly. I felt like I _should_ believe, but I just couldn’t really do it.My scientific leanings also interfered with my adoption of faith. I had a background in social anthropology, I was familiar with Joseph Campbell’s writings, and was aware of the similarities between religions. I was an analytical person with a tendency towards skepticism. The fact that many of the hyper-religious try to shut down or dilute scientific thought and investigation (and have done so for millennia) is no doubt because they realize that faith and belief without proof have a hard time coexisting with rational, informed thought (not saying that it’s impossible, but it requires a cognitive disconnect, a suspension of disbelief).By my 30′s, Pauline theology seemed to me like a house of cards, not too well built. Too unbelievable, too contrived. And then I read Sam Harris’ “The End of Faith”. This was monumental for me. It echoed all my doubts and allowed me to free myself from religious doubt. I was like a person straining at a rope that held me, but had been frayed down to a few remaining strands. Harris’ book chopped those last strands clean through, and I was free.Now I might wonder about the nature of existence, or the wonders of the universe, etc., but no longer am I concerned with fables from long ago. It was merely happenstance that I was born into Christian fables, whereas someone else is born into Islamic fables, and so on. All these fables served a purpose, there is a very human reason for why they were created and told. But divine? No, man invented the gods, and it’s all too readily apparent. A lot of us squelch our reasoning side because of fear of the discomfort of leaving the tradition we were raised in, fear of “what if?” And religions encourage these fears all the time. Happily, I am no longer fearful.

  • Zino

    Right in the first paragraph, you describe the path that virtually ALL humans take into any belief:”I am a Christian. I come from a Christian family and live in the Bible Belt. I’ve been a member of the same Southern Baptist church since I learned the words to “Jesus Loves Me” in preschool.”In other words, you were programmed from your earliest experience to accept, unquestioningly, the hook/line/sinker of what is packaged as Christianity in this culture.What chance do any of us have when we’re brainwashed (sorry… I know that’s a harsh term) to “believe” in anything. If you had been introduced to the concepts of Christianity, perhaps alongside the basics of Buddhism, Hinduism etc., at a mature age, after you’d developed a sense of confidence in your OWN deductive reasoning and ability to observe the reality of your life… I’ll just suggest that your outcome would have been different.I don’t claim to have any answers for you. I was in the same boat, but went overboard and swam quickly away when I was about 10 years old. It just became clear that the story and assertions I was hearing were made up. I was being TOLD what to believe, then either offered a bribe (heaven, etc) or threatened (hell) to keep me on the path. Sorry… like Santa Clause (God for kids), the whole thing is just a manipulation of easily-led minds by men who want to control a vast population.The promise of heavenly afterlife is a check written by a bank in the sky that does NOT exist. Heaven and hell are metaphors for an all-too-earthly experience. God is the personification of the very ground of being and consciousness, which is admittedly difficult to sum up in an hour once a week for people who’d rather be out playing golf or shopping.Your doubt is the healthiest thing that could possibly occur in your life. Congratulations!

  • moonandnewyorkcity1981

    I’m a Christian and I love this article, thank you!Reminds me of one of my favorite scriptures: “Lord I believe; help thou my unbelief!”It is clear from that beautifully simple declarative statement – that our faith and our doubt can peacefully co-exist; thank you again!

  • malafry

    All religions are context for experience; if there is no experience then you’re stuck with the theological context, like a door through which you did not walk but sat down and admired. Faith is supposed to be a first not a final step. The experience so often described by ‘mystics’ of union with the spirit of God would not be so mystical if faith and doubt issues were understood only as a first step. Worshiping the door and not entering into the experience, the ‘peace that passes understanding’ is never known. Look a little deeper: There is a vast record over the ages of gnostic experience in all religious backgrounds (including Islam) often persecuted by traditional religious configurations, of those who moved beyond faith to experience the presence of God.

  • bigbrother1

    Doubt is a essential component of faith. Faith without constant, systemic and fundamental doubt is mere superstition.

  • outragex

    As a teen, and today in mid-life, I worry about my doubts in God and Jesus. A great Episcopal priest (thanks Fr. Bob) answered my concerns by teaching me about “Doubting Thomas” who questioned much even though he was an original disciple, and went on to be a church father. If God/Jesus can forgive and empower Thomas, perhaps there is hope for me too? I also like the idea that we can “wrestle” with God as did Jacob. Even Jesus himself had doubts in the garden before his crucifixion, and while on the cross he questioned God: “why have you forsaken me?”In my experience, one the strenghs of progressive Christianity is the frank admission of doubt alongside passionate faith. If you deny doubt you are just not being genuine. Easy and rote answers about our deepest questions can be a way to avoid “wrestling with God.”

  • balt21212

    I wonder how many people continue going to church and otherwise “going through the motions” of being a Christian, long after they acknowledge to themselves that they no longer (or never did) believe.I kept up the charade until I got to college. Then it was far more acceptable to be honest about never having believed in a god.

  • tojby_2000

    Bigbrother1 announced: Doubt is a essential component of faith. Faith without constant, systemic and fundamental doubt is mere superstition.Doubt is the first component of intellectual liberation. When doubt matures through ratiocination to disbelief faith comes to an end. But the existential fear of being fatherless usually stops the process. The article’s author is at this point.Doubt is the cankering worm to the superstition.

  • Emmetrope

    “”"I am a Christian. I come from a Christian family and live in the Bible Belt. I’ve been a member of the same Southern Baptist church since I learned the words to “Jesus Loves Me” in preschool.”"”Cut & Paste Definitions:Indoctrination is the process of inculcating ideas, attitudes, cognitive strategies or a professional methodology (see doctrine).[1] It is often distinguished from education by the fact that the indoctrinated person is expected not to question or critically examine the doctrine they have learned.The Socratic method (or Method of Elenchus or Socratic Debate), named after the Classical Greek philosopher Socrates, is a form of inquiry and debate between individuals with opposing viewpoints based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas.

  • sherm1

    Good for God’s sake, God for Good’s sake, or God for the Big Bang’s sake?The sparseness of Good kind of eliminates the first two. Number three has traction, at least until we can discern the pre-Big Bang realities.Evolution made us king of the jungle, and we do what’s necessary to stay king, but not to eliminate the jungle.

  • paris1969

    We should doubt religion, but to doubt that G-d exists is like doubting that gravity exists.

  • upnorth85

    As one who has two master’s and a Phd my belief in God went down progressively as my knowledge of science and the methods of research increased. Finally I realized that all religions were created by society to ensure some rules or code of conduct where by society could peacefully exist using the lure of heaven and ever lasting life (and in a particular religion, even lust for countless virgins) and fear of hell. The problem though remains that several religion’s have been fighting against followers of each other’s religion leading to social disorder. My own belief is that as a learned person if I can peacefully co-exist with all beings on this planet and not lie, steal or hurt others then I am achieving what most religions were created to do. I can never understand how some one who has studied just one religion can claim THIS is the only path to salvation. That untested hypothesis in itself should create doubt in the scientific mind.

  • rmcazz

    “Let’s put in it simple terms: either you believe or you don’t.”I agree with the Atheist, and very well written I might add! :)Sorry, but you’re going to have to suck it up Jason. Believing in Christ/God and His plan is NOT easy otherwise everyone would be doing it.Just look at Anne Rice for example. Christ is the bridge to God, you can’t believe in one without the other. There’s no other way.Doubt and faith are indeed opposites. When you start doubting things will only start getting worse in your life, it’s like asking Satan to come over for a sleepover. God will never abandon you so don’t abandon Him.- Ray

  • DoTheRightThing

    REALIZE THAT ATHEISM IS A BELIEF SYSTEM, TOO! If your information on proofs for the existence of God is insufficient, search the Web using Google with the two terms “existence” and “atheism”, along with either “Catholic apologetics” or “Thomas Aquinas” or “Stanley Jaki”. You will find lots of detailed, rational narratives explaining why it is reasonable to believe that God exists. Also, always remember that ATHEISM IS A BELIEF SYSTEM, TOO! IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO RATIONALLY PROVE THAT GOD DOES OR DOES NOT EXIST.

  • baj3

    This writer’s problem is that the effort of “believing” things which are obviously absurd seems to be tearing him apart. He knows that it is only an accident of birth that he belongs to superstition A rather than B,C, … Z, but he holds on – possibly to keep the family happy. There is no coherent reason to think A is superior. Junk it all Mt. Boyyet, starting with the “Loving Father of Us All” who invented tsunamis and AIDS and arranged for the latter to be transmitted in the womb to innocent children; also, the rather less loving Allah who loves to see women stoned to death if they step out of their bee-keeper suits, and the Jahweh who grants “biblical” land rights to particular tribes which do not lapse even after hundreds of years.I could go on, but I must attend to a band of rather fierce tomahawk-wielding gentlemen who are asserting title to the land under my apartment building. They say they are Mohawks and they have the haircuts to prove it. I think I know where they got their inspiration, and since their claim is much more recent I am worried that the precedents favor them.

  • mikecatcher50

    This may seem a strange response, but…I am not a Christian, don’t believe in JC, actually don’t believe he ever existed. OTOH, I do believe in God. I just haven’t seen a job description recently. Also, and this is totally off topic…with the recent blackout, we called Pepco to check if their policy of reimbursing people for spoiled food, due to power outages, as had been their policy, in the past. I was told that since it was an “act of God”, there would be no reimbursement. I have two related questions:1. What sort of God provides for periodic, unexpected expenses due to power outages?2. If you are an atheist, and therefore don’t believe in any God, will they reimburse you?

  • central1942

    I am a senior citizen, raised in a home of Believers. I have tried to live according to the basic teachings which are believed to have been those of Jesus. However, I have never joined a church. I have, in years past, visited with many pastors, who invited me to join their church. Our conversations suddenly ended when I ask each one, why they did not have a “question-and-answer” session, at the end of each serman, and that they would not answer any question by “You must just have faith!” I have never received a positive answer. Many claim that they have “talked with God”. If this is true, I wonder if God gave them the same answer?

  • rwcole

    If God is an old man with a grey beard who lives in the sky, impregnated the virgin Mary, and created Adam with his bare hands out of mud 5,000 years ago, then it makes very good sense to doubt that such a God exists.If, on the other hand, God is a timeless, bodiless, pure spirit, invisible and undetectable (as the Bible at times says). then it is no more clear what:People speak of God as a large sized piece of the tangible furniture of the universe only because they have no other way of thinking concerning Him…then the confusion begins:”Where is He?” “What does He look like?” “Can I hear His voice?”etc.

  • spidermean2

    The writer should understand that evolution is a myth.The brain is so intelligent that it controls every functions in our body like our vision, taste, breathing, heartbeat, smell, hearing and a hundred more functions.It performs “multi-tasking” when the word was not even invented yet.A very intelligent “device” must come from a very intelligent maker. Unless you have a DUMB BRAIN, this is not so hard to understand.Sad because a lot of people has self-inflicted DUMB BRAINS. I don’t want to use the word evolve but that is what happened to their brains. It evolved into DUMB BRAINS.Evolutionists mean people with DUMB BRAINS.

  • xconservative

    Christ is the bridge to God, you can’t believe in one without the other. There’s no other way.- RayRay – there is a long history of God BEFORE Christ. It’s called the Jewish Bible, or the “Old” Testament for you Christians.God as an old man with the white beard and white robe; a blue-eyed, blonde Jesus. Christians would do well to lose some of their self-righteous certainty and think for themselves for a change.

  • xconservative

    Evolutionists mean people with DUMB BRAINS.Evolutionists may have DUMB BRAINS, but it’s better than fundamentalist christians who have NO BRAINS.

  • spidermean2

    The only person who has walked on water, calm a storm, turned water into wine, multiplied the fish and bread and was witnessed by thousands doing these wonders said :”No man goes to the Father (God) but by ME”. Sorry folks, all other religions are false if they don’t beleive in Jesus. If you want to counter that, walk on water first.

  • mmurray2

    Doubt is a very normal experience for Christians. Many clergymen experience doubt and it seems to be quite an agonizing experience for them.

  • hitpoints

    Nobody believes your rantings, Spidermean, so I don’t know why you even bother. Is it to give our eyes exercise, as they roll around after reading your silliness?

  • spidermean2

    It’s so simple. A very intelligent brain cannot be formed by non intelligent substances all by themselves UNLESS you have an empty head.The concept that the brain evolved thru time from scratch is not science. It’s called “science” coming from the septic tank.Probably their intestines is connected to their brains.

  • spidermean2

    Doubt is normal to “Christians” who think they are Christians.

  • rwcole

    The catholic church long ago rejected the idea that there is any conflict between evolution and christianity. This is really a dead issue.

  • vismorge

    In the Hindu tradition a persitent doubt could be part of a deep,abiding faith,the former reinforcing the latter.There appears to be no reson why it should not be the same with other faiths such as Christianity.

  • spidermean2

    Faith is a gift from God.If you are doubting, you were not given the GIFT. Ephesians 2:8-10

  • rwcole

    Doubt is pretty normal to all- including Jesus (Lord, Lord, why hast thou forsaken me?”)

  • rwcole

    The old testament has many sections which emphasize an anthropomorphic God- who walks in the cool of the evening through his garden- these are balanced by sections which depict God as “pure spirit”. The more human like God becomes, the more people are interested in Him- the more he fades into the timeless universe as a pure spirit, the less interesting He becomes to humans who just want a new Mercedes Benz and figure He’s the guy to get it for them.

  • Elisa2

    In the ancient text of the Old Testament it says that no one can understand the all the ways of God, that it is beyond their reach.

  • detoqueville

    Faith is the antidote for the cognitive dissonance that all thinking people experience when they come to the realization that the universe is EXACTLY as we would expect it to be if there were no God at all.

  • ShawnDavis1

    Faith isn’t a virtue — it’s an abandonment of critical thinking and reasoning. I think it’s highly complimentary when I hear someone say they still believe in God/religion, but they have their doubts. You’re in good company too — Mother Teresa lived the Christian life to the fullest extent possible, and her writings are riddled with doubts as to God’s existence. The idiots are those who live big, fat comfortable lives and never question anything.

  • physicianexec

    so here’s what we know for certain based upon the accumulated data from leading astrophysicists. all the energy in the universe appeared in quadrillionths of a second from nothing 13 trillion years ago from a point in space with zero dimension and infinite mass. all matter and energy are interconnected. matter is condensed energy. all matter can be broken down into atoms; atoms into sub-atomic particles and those ultimately into quarks. when quarks are split, we make an astonishing discovery, they in turn are composed of nothing but energy. thus, here’s the facts. all the energy in the universe appeared instantly and came from nothing. the universe as we understand it is impossible. this is why most astrophysicists, including Einstein, are / were believers. science, especially physics and religion are careening toward an improbable union. atheists are simply scientifically ignorant.

  • ShawnDavis1

    At least you’re a Christian that a rational person can have a conversation with. Most of the human population is ignorant, and religion works well for them. A few of us try and understand our world and place in it from studying empirical evidence and applying rational thinking and mathematics; sadly most people can’t do this or just unwilling. For them, let them live in their illusion, but some of us require more out of life than to live in fantasies created by our forefathers.

  • street1776

    I agree with you. If the source of all creation is God, then what it the source of God’s creation?

  • gschultens

    What is doubtable is the notion of God being the gaseous vertebae. We humans try to narrow our concept of God down to something that’s easily comprehendable, just like Santa Claus.

  • jeffl4

    “Junk it all Mt. Boyyet, starting with the “Loving Father of Us All” who invented tsunamis and AIDS and arranged for the latter to be transmitted in the womb to innocent children” POSTED BY: BAJ3 | AUGUST 1, 2010 12:05 PMOkay, this is a ridiculous comment. Blaming AID’s on God?? A man stuck it to a monkey which eventually lead to a disease that is spread throughout the world by many questionable activities (mutliple sex partners without protection, sharing needles while using drugs) and you blame God? Clearly AIDs is mans fault. Much could be said about the majority of evil in the world.

  • beargulch

    Funny, I don’t have a battle of faith about questions such as these: that I think, therefore I am; that the sun rises because the earth is round and rotating on its access, that DNA exists and exerts a powerful influence on all living things on earth. I don’t have a battle of faith because these things are true and have been proven over and over.If you are having doubts that God exists in the narrow, limited way dreamed up by organized religion in order to control you and take your money, well, maybe you should listen to them.

  • rwcole

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”Albert Einstein

  • tinyjab40

    Expressions of doubt such as you give here are helpful. They give other doubters of all stripes permission to express their doubts too.

  • tank1906

    God does not exist. Follow your doubts to the truth and you will one day be free of midevil superstition and cultural bondage. Ask yourself how could dinosaurs exist millions of years ago on an earth that was created (accoording to the bible) a few thousand years ago? Ask yourself, if their is a god who created him and so on? Ask yourself honestly, if you’ve ever witnessed a miracle or a prophecy fulfilled? Read the old testament and ask yourself, is this god really merciful? Ask yourelf, why pray for things if my destiny was aready decided by god..These are just a few questions. If given honest logical thought, the only conclusion an honest and logical person can come to is that god does not exist.

  • johng1

    god killed my son at a young age. he loved him though. he even made him suffer horribly for 14 years. thank you god, for nothing. tank1906 says it well!

  • dricha8548

    Christians are people, they have the same doubts, issues and temptations as everyone else. They will eventually fail and sin in their lives – as in, not perfect. Hence the need of all people for a saviour, whom we believe is Christ Jesus, per the Bible.

  • majikthyse02

    One need not be a “christian” to try to serve others, love my enemies, and otherwise live like a follower of Jesus. One needs to be a good member of the human race. Excrept for the part about “live like a follower of Jesus”…they wore sandles and sandles are bad for your feet!

  • baj3

    Thanks to jeffl4 [1.30pm] for putting me straight.I will now stop blaming The Loving Father of Us All for creating the AIDS virus. But whom should I blame? Is there another creator / LFoUA over in the next county?

  • areyousaying

    “Ted Haggard fell fast and hard, but he’s back with a new church and ministry.”…tee, hee

  • areyousaying

    gee, now, you probably won’t pass the GoP “Purity Test” now, you know…..

  • areyousaying

    Jesus is the best example and teacher for creating ones own reality – being responsible for one’s own heaven or hell.Too bad Christians screwed up his messages so.

  • hofbrauhausde

    I can never understand how some one who has studied just one religion can claim THIS is the only path to salvation. That untested hypothesis in itself should create doubt in the scientific mind.==================As someone with three master’s and a Ph.D., it’s easy: who has an empty tomb?

  • Tommypie

    That got to be one of the most idiotic questions I’ve ever heard! Can doubt and faith co-exist? If you doubt you don’t have faith and if you have faith you don’t doubt. Faith is believing in something not yet seen.

  • apspa1

    To what does Christianity aspire, what is its goal?Romans 8:29 says it is God’s plan for each of us that we “be conformed to the likeness of his Son”.2 Corinthians 3:18 tells us even in this life, we “are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory”.At Galations 4:19 Paul labored with them “until Christ is formed in you”.In Ephesians 4:13 Paul told the them that our goal is “attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ”.The history of human activity since the beginnings of Christianity is an undeniable record of near total failure to attain any semblance its goal.That all religions share a similar goal with Christianity it is clear that man’s creation of religion to spiritually elevate mankind to god-like qualities has been humanity’s single greatest failure.Where the Christian church has been successful is in the creation of an organization of unimaginable wealth and political influence that it uses to provide cover for the greedy, the war-makers and the modern-day moneychangers.

  • robertajkaufman3

    where does god exist where can we find him not in a dying earth not in the hearts of men not in the wars and rumours of wars not in the earthquakes the floods the failing economies where does god exist its getting so late that a simple answer eludes

  • momj47

    I had those doubts, many, many years ago, after growing up, like you, in an evangelical church and Christian family. As I got older, though, God made less and less sense. at least in a cosmic sense. I tried going back a couple of times, go see if I could grasp that youthful certainty – but I realized that’s just what it was, uninformed youthful belief, but without a good foundation. I’m very comfortable with my beliefs now. There is no cosmic God, everyone creates a personal god to suit there needs and their current situation (including me, I’m sure). It’s my responsibility, as a human, to make life better, now, for others. Some mythical heaven is of no interest to me, and no help to the poor and oppressed. I think that heaven and hell are ideas developed when the church and state were one and it was a way for the leaders to control the citizens. If you break the law, not only will you be punished now by the government/church, but for eternity, and if you submit to the leadership – who tax every penny you have, treat you worse than the livestock and have a brutal, short life, you will get your reward in “heaven”. We have the great capacity to think and reason and make decisions, for compassion and empathy and kindness and generosity, as well as cruelty and hate. It’s up to us to choose what kind of person we will be.

  • tojby_2000

    paris1969 wrote: … to doubt that G-d exists is like doubting that gravity exists.Using the Allegory Fallacy evacuates all meaning to your statement.

  • mykaneawu

    This is a prayer that I remember from my childhood that I draw upon in times of doubt – “Lord I believe, but help thou my unbelief.”

  • tcement

    For any supposed afterlife, I think it necessary to believe in some god or other. But, what ON EARTH difference does it make whether there are or are not gods?

  • markiejoe

    Even if God exists, as he is presented in the world today by organized religions (all of them), he should be rejected out of hand. Religion is a, if not *the*, root cause of all wars, since organized religion by its very definition must, and does, promote intolerance, hatred of the Other, and violence to do away with those who believe differently. God as represented by the religions of today’s world is the most negative, most destructive, most harmful force in the planet. Without religion, God may be valuable to the planet. Tied to religion, he is not.

  • lufrank1

    Bravo, Mr. Boyett, You have taken the first step. Keep looking into the REAL history of the writing and years of copying of the scriptures. Keep looking at how prevalent current creeds emerged from arguments where the winners lived and the losers were killed or exiled.

  • tianyisun

    Faith requires doubt. In know about the law of gravity, believing in gravity does not require faith anymore than believing that 2 plus 2 equals four. The nature of god in early all religions requires faith, a belief in something we are incapable of knowing. What worries me are “true believers” who have no doubt. Because they by definition believe in a false god. A god that one professes to be capable of knowing is simply replacing yourself in gods place, the truest form of blasphemy.

  • dozas

    Mr. Boyett, you now “know” a little more of what true freedom is; a journey that is really never over. Enjoy the ride.

  • ztcb41

    …”The fool has said in his heart their is no God.” “Yes this Christian Registered Voter/Vet USAF, Graduate Student, Masters Program, Professional Studies, East Tennessee State University…”Because I know my fathers father believed in the Living God, and I believe in him, for it is true my fellow American’s “According to thy faith be it unto you……”And they that know they name will “PUT their “TRUST IN THEE; “For thou Lord, “HAS NOT FORSAKEN THEM WHO SEEK THEE.”–Psalm 9:10—Tom Birchfield

  • brec1

    Jason – I have a suggestion for you based on my own experience. It might be easier to have doubts, if you belonged to a different church. In my case, I was a member of the Episcopalian Church for over 50 years, during which time I moved to the Bible Belt. When I started having doubts recently, I left the Episcopalians (who are fairly liberal to begin with) and began attending a Unitarian church, where it is their second nature to doubt.

  • post_reader1

    Dear Mr Boyett,Having also grown up in the Bible Belt (Oklahoma), I can certainly relate to your challenges with doubt. I spent most of my childhood trying to reconcile the lives people preached with the lives people lived; that proved most difficult with relationships and I had to find my own way. Sadly, Churches where I grew up were great at teaching about marriage but terrible with giving relevant guidance on the dating and relationships that precede marriage. I nearly lost my faith in God altogether when my peers preached abstinence (whilst citing the wrath of hell) but lived sexually active lives. The only conclusion I could draw was that God guided me to the next life but expected me to find my own way (whilst following him) in this life.I saw no future in Oklahoma. I couldn’t breathe and desperately prayed for a new life in another part of the country. Thankfully, i was accepted at an Ivy League university and got my ticket out. Through other difficult life experiences, I found myself re-examining my faith in God altogether and, like you, questioned just what my relationship with God was supposed to look like. In the end, I realised that the beliefs of different denominations (and, one could argue, religions) were simply *interpretations* of God’s will and humankind’s relationship with God. Therefore, the Baptists who preached abstinence and the avoidance of alcohol (on pain of God’s wrath) had one interpretation, while others who allowed these things had another interpretation. St Paul (in Romans 14:14) refers to this when he says that eating non-kosher foods is a sin for one person if he (or she) believes it is sinful, but isn’t a sin for another person who doesn’t hold this belief. The focus here, I believe, is that the *core* essence of Christianity is one’s relationship with God. That, in turn, means focusing on the purpose God has given to each and every one of us. In 2 Timothy 4:1-4, St Paul writes:”Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.The only way we can see the race “marked out for us” is by listening to God–and we can only listen to God when we have a relationship with God.The other point is your concern about faith. Referring to Hebrews 11, I would say that faith is more about a sense of ‘belief’ in a certain outcome. For example, Noah had faith because he believed that God would flood the earth, which led him to build the ark. You might find Soren Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling of interest, as it shows the constant sense of uncertainty (but hope) that comes with faith. More information on this classic 19th century work can be found here:

  • skinfreak

    My mother was brought up as a Catholic. Her eight children followed in the tradition. As we aged and became exposed to different religions, we wanted to explore. But because our mother insisted we attend church every Sunday, we developed a basic understanding of God and his son Jesus Christ. I never have and never doubt Their existence. I consider myself a Christian, although because I’m bed bound, and haven’t been to a church in years, I believe in the Bible. I believe that everyone has to find their God if they believe in Him. The recognition of a higher power helps to keep you humble, tells you that no matter who you are, you answer to someone for actions you take, things you do after your death.

  • asoders22

    Isn’t it a bit cowardly to use semantics to explain away very reasonable doubt? And where does it actually lead you, if you dare finish the thought? If you say that doubt is a natural part of faith because faith is faith and not fact – then you have already checked out of your Christian beliefs. You already know they are not reality.”When you’re around happy, smiling churchgoers who speak of God’s constant activity in their lives, it’s hard to admit you don’t experience quite so personal a deity, and that recent discoveries in neuroscience give you pause, and why doesn’t the problem of evil keep everyone else up at night like it does me?”That problems probably DOES keep the others up at night as well, if they think at all. Much of all that happiness going on is just a sham and a charade, people are not necessarily honest – just like yourself. There is no God, that’s the only logical explanation for the randomness of the world. I never stops to amaze me when people claim that God helped them, or saved them for a purpose, while he let other people – among them innocent children – die painful deaths. No purpose or mercy for them? When you doubt you doubt, when you believe you believe. As simple as that. There is no solution.

  • ceflynline

    In the end, Faith is a choice. Some find the choice easier than others, or put another way, some choose to believe whatever is easy, but we all choose our Faiths in one way or another.Doubt is the state of having not yet chosen.QUESTIONING ones Faith’s teachings is not the same thing as doubt. Questioning ones faith may lead to a better understanding, or to finding a faith you find more acceptable. Having questions about ones Faith is merely the opportunity to examine what we believe to see if it conforms to what we feel our faith out to provide us.

  • mrjames61

    Cultural Anthropology 101:Chapter 1, Paragraph 1: Man is the myth-making animal.All cultures have their deity and creation myths, yet most all or all must be false. Each religion believes the others to be false, and all are correct – ChamfortWhile the alleged fool says in his heart that there is no God, the wise man tells it to the world. Humankind is gradually waking up.

  • johng1

    Elisa2: “We know that energy is entering the known universe from somewhere else. Somewhere outside of our known realm of existence are more answers we need to seek out and find.”———–booga, booga boo. where is energy coming from (a worm hole to another universe?), how did you measure this energy?

  • AIPACiswar

    Ok, you are an indoctrinated fool. If you weren’t, and didn’t have a bevy of indoctrinated fools at your side, you would realize THERE IS NO FAITH WITHOUT DOUBT.You can only have faith in the face of uncertainty. Faith in that which we know to be true is an oxymoron. So to say you have faith the sun will rise tomorrow is to say absolutely NOTHING. Faith requires that that which is held in faith cannot be proven true.I understand, ignorant evangelicals have dumbed the concept of faith down to simplistic & tawdry blind acceptance, which is exactly the kind of childish thinking that you get from people who “believe” the Bible is the unfettered word of some god.

  • post_reader1

    Mr Boyett,I meant to add one more part to my last post:The Bible is very clear that having faith (believing) is NOT the same as having absolute certainty. Thus, doubt is a constant (though hopefully small) element of faith–despite doubt’s presence, having faith means accepting a given belief. This is very clear in the story of Doubting Thomas (see John 20). It was only after Thomas physically touched the wounds of the risen Jesus that he believed. 24Now Thomas (called Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” 28Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”Similar struggles are seen throughout the Bible (most clearly when Jacob wrestled the angel in Genesis (32:22-32)). Faith isn’t easy to have–it’s a long struggle, a journey of perseverence! This is why a worn-out St Paul wrote to Timothy the following (2 Timothy 4:7-8):”I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing”.Do your best to trust in God, continue to seek and strive to fulfil your purpose, and you too will find rest.

  • jailkkhosla

    To assert that God forbids doubt is an insult to God because what it means that God is like a human being, with an ego, who requires to be worshiped and worship requires belief.God does not require us to believe no does He demand or need to be worshiped. God is above it all. Had he required us to believe in Him He would have made periodic appearances at football games so that we would have no doubt about His existence.What God wants us to do is to serve other human beings, be kind to all non-human beings and take care of this earth. If this were not true then God would not be worth worshiping.

  • tank1906

    “Faith” is only credible when it comes to religion. It takes years of indoctrination, cultural programming, weekly reenforcement and dogged social circle jerking to make religious nonsense stick. It upsets me that smart people that I love believe in an invisible skydaddy that can hear what there thinking and guides them through life. They have NO evidence that he exists but take it on “faith”. They never ask the difficult questions like the ones I posed earlier. They never ask why “god” only revealed himself to certain “prophets” in private. It’s moses on a mountain, joseph smith deep in the woods or muhammad riding a white horse up to heaven. I mean WTF!! How can smart people believe this nonsense? These same people will ask more questions of their mechanic but wont ask any questions in regards to their religion. I think most know that it’s probably all bull but don’t wont the social stigma of admitting they don’t believe. These smart people can’t logically view it as being beneficial to pray to a god that promotes rape, slavery, mass murder, animal sacraficing etc. Why wasn’t god more forward thinking? Why could he only come up with midevil things? Doesn’t he know everything? The answer is obvious. A midevil man or group of men wrote the bible and created the characters god and jesus. I truly hope that Americans will wake up like most of Europe and move into the 21st century and leave all the midevil superstition behind. Appreciate and enjoy your life on earth because when you’re dead, you’re dead, period.

  • msftex

    1 Corinthians 2:9 But as it is written,EYE HATH NOT SEEN,NOR EAR HEARD, NEITHER HAVE ENTERED INTO THE HEART OF MAN,THE THINGS WHICH GOD HATH PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM.

  • maryannevans2

    You are using your brain to THINK. That is why God gave it to you ( or made a universe in which such a thing could evolve, or whatever). Good for you. Belief in the absolute truth of every word in the Bible is not just wrong, it’s impossible-full of contradictions and things we know are impossible, like stopping the sun. Relax and serve others and be a good person. Rea the parts of the Bible that are inspiring or poetic and trash the rest. Also, doubt may increase tolerance of differing beliefs, which this modern world desperately needs. If self righteous zombies disapprove of you find a different church.

  • jonswitzer

    When the Son of Man returns, will he find faith on the earth…without faith it is impossible to please God.

  • AlbyVA

    For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • edbyronadams

    “without faith it is impossible to please God.”Your God has ego difficulty and a strange sense of proportion.

  • johng1

    lol edbyronadams! What is with this pleasing thing! Sacrificing, proselytizing, and otherwise kissing some behind of an imaginary overseer! ha ha ha

  • johng1

    ALBYVA: For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.—-Yeah Alby, the almighty is just waiting for you. She can’t wait for you to die so she can reward you for hating the evil overlord Barack Obama, who you complain about day after day. She is going to reward YOU! She has a scrap book with pictures of you growing up.

  • johng1

    tank1906, I try to tell my wife that stuff, but she gets all upset and I always end up giving up. It is difficult to see people waste so much of their lives praying and giving money to evil people. Believe me, I was an atheist well before my beloved son died one year ago tomorrow. How can some loving god let a young person die so horribly. He/she simply wouldn’t. It is all crazy superstitious crap! And I was an alter boy from way back when, served for Bishop Fulton Sheen, knew then Father (retired Cardinal McCarrick – stay away from those Long Island boys father).God is Dead, or at least dying fast. This is good to see before I die. I have some faith in mankind, and this can only help the world when plural societies accept reality.

  • midas20874

    Jason:The problem is that you are a confused soul. You want to please the world of agnostics by writing and selling nonsense about evolution and doubting that God exists. At the same time, you want to claim that you are a Christian. That is so illogical. Jesus Christ claimed in the book of John that He and God the Father are One. So how can you claim that you are a Christian and still doubt the existence of God. It is warped thinking. Why don’t you just make a choice – serve the world and reap the glory given by the world. Alternatively, believe in the existence of God Almighty and in His Son Jesus Christ and inherit eternal life. There is no half way in between. He who has hears, let him hear.

  • johng1

    midas20874: “Alternatively, believe in the existence of God Almighty and in His Son Jesus Christ and inherit eternal life. There is no half way in between. He who has hears, let him hear.”————-Yeah, right (that is a double positive)You are King Midas in reverse. Those you touch turn to dust, and float away!

  • johng1

    In summary, Jason, stop wasting time on this infantile subject of whether there is a god. Come on man, you know deep down this is all hogwash. god is just a vehicle to separate you from either your money, or your sphincter functions. Don’t let them do it to your any longer. Move on and make this world a better place. I say that with the utmost sincerity. Make the RIGHT choice and discard that phony god.

  • toc59

    Religion is the result of some ancient people finding out that making up their religious stories allowed them to control their ignorant contemporaries.That is what it still is, a means for some people to control others. It still uses fear as it’s primary selling point. A reasonable, educated mind cannot honestly believe in religion and, at the same time, the evidence of the world that science has given us. That is what is happening to Mr. Boyett.

  • johng1

    toc59, freeekn A, as we used to say in my day. Everyone who can should be required to study Rutherford, Bohr, Pauli, Moseley, Schrodinger, and Fermi, to name a few.

  • theaz

    Christ said:”Enter by the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it”. Matthew 7:13-14

  • johng1

    theazzz: “Enter by the narrow gate”————–That’s what he said, and it hurt badly. god is bad!

  • klinger1

    “Any admission of its opposite–doubt–still has the power to shock.Other human weaknesses have gone mainstream. Consider lust, for example.”This is a remarkable window into the thought processes of a certain group of Christians, including several who have commented on this thread. Actually thinking about what you believe is apparently considered a weakness!

  • MillPond2

    Mr. Boyett: I think you are one of the most intellectually honest people to ever appear on this forum. I accept the idea that the existence of God is currently not provable by scientific evidence, and that faith is possibly an evolutionary appendix that was relevant early in our development as modern homo sapiens. I disagree that doubt is an example of having one’s cake and also eating it. Healthy skepticism is a primary means in which humans exhibit and advance creative thinking. if in fact God exists, why then did He infuse certain individuals with that characteristic? If God exists, why should His omnipotence be threatened by the doubt of one or more of His sentient beings?I think that religion has nothing to do with God, but it has everything to do with man’s meager and inadequate attempts to explain that which is currently unexplainable.Anyone who claims to have no doubts regarding either God and/or religion is either a fool, a simpleton, self-delusional or a liar.If one doesn’t have a moment of doubt, one is not using the brain that either God or evolution (if evolution is God’s mechanism) bequeathed to him.

  • notweencellphone

    Wow. The extremists on -both- sides have really come out in the comments, which is too bad. I was hoping that the comments might further what the author began: a thoughtful discussion of how someone can continue to believe in God in the face of nagging doubts. I admire that. Isn’t that what faith is?

  • raw915

    Jason, now see what you’ve done; you’ve caused a lot of drivel.

  • sawk75

    The doubting Christian….. you are not alone. Centuries ago there was a man who cried out loud, ‘Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?’ that is, ‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ ” (Matthew 27:45-46). Best of luck on your journey to find truth.

  • jprfrog

    I come from a Jewish background but have been a non-militant atheist for all of my life. I’ve tried to understand this God of the Western World but can’t find any way to convince myself that such a being exists, or if he does, whether he ought to be worshiped. (Based on the Bible, the answer to the second problem is a resounding NO…this God resembles nothing so much as a classical Oriental despot — which is probably where the concept came from.) However, if I take as given the description of God as all-powerful, infinite, etc. then it strikes me that any statement that starts “God is…” or “God wills…” or God wants…” or “God forbids…” as pure blasphemy. Those types of expressions limit what is supposed to be limitless, they are most likely projections of what the speaker, who is all-too-human, wants. (Fred Phelps comes to mind strongly here…whether “God hares fags” is debatable, but there is no doubt that Phelps does.) For how does one who claims that God speaks to him know that it’s God speaking? Ir seems to me that many fundamentalists believe much more strongly in Satan…at least they seem to think that he is lurking everywhere, whereas the supposingly loving God is far away and has to be petitioned in prayer constantly. Since I don’t want to hide behind a screen name, my real name is Jerome Rosen and I live in Jersey City.

  • wantingbalance

    sawk75…In his last moments as a human, hanging on a cross while suffering for the sin of all humanity, Jesus did not say, “God you don’t exist and my death is all for naught.” What he did ask in regards to being forsaken (not the same as not having a God)has long been accepted to signify that instant in time when Jesus accepted the sin of the world and God turned his face from this sin. Jesus actually quotes from the Old Testament and Psalm 22:1-2 is perhaps a better understanding of Jesus’ statement from the cross. But if, as you imply, Jesus had doubts, why then would he have then uttered his last words as a human: “And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said , “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Having said this He breathed His last.” (Luke 23:46). Look, there is nothing wrong with questioning the workings of God. And despite what one poster says, you don’t have to have doubt to have faith. All you have to do is except a fact that is unseen. As I read this article, it appears more that the writer questions his own understanding of God and His will than the existence of God. This is normal but left without an answer, it can lead to questioning whether God exists since He apparently does not act according to our human expectations. God never tells us not to ask why. That’s all a part of understanding His will in our lives.

  • johng1

    Ha ha ha. La la la. God “never tells us not to ask why. That’s all a part of understanding His will in our lives.” Follow follow follow follow follow the yellow brick road. I am so sick of all the stupid “explanations” that are sometime crafted to make just enough sense to read (as in understandable, not necessarily believable), but inevitably are incoherent babble.

  • johng1

    Here’s to you Jonny! I’ll tell the rest to go stick it somewhere.

  • midas20874

    Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.” Come back to your senses as you ought, and stop sinning; for there are some who are ignorant of God.” – I Corinthians 15:43.The American forefathers believed in God to the extent that they declared it on the American currency: “IN GOD WE TRUST.” They believed, they trusted and had faith in God and they bequeathed the greatest nation in the history of mankind to their descendants. But what have many of those ungrateful and perverted minds done? They have forsaken their wise fathers and adopted Satan as their father have turned the country into: a Godless carcass where sin is edified and where vain is glorified. Of them, the book of Psalms wrote “The fool says in his heart, There is no God” (Psalm 53:1). Yes, the Word of God calls all you atheists and agnostics “fools.”The judgement of God is everywhere in America and the fools still cannot see. But how can the words of Prophet Isaiah be fulfilled when he declared “You have seen many things, but have paid no attention; your ears are open, but you hear nothing” (Isaiah 42:20) and God “poured out His burning anger, the violence of war. It enveloped them in flames, yet they did not understand; it consumed them, but they did not take it to heart” (Isaiah 42:25). Who has ears let him hear!

  • chatard

    yeah, Meacham and Quinn, get some lunatics to contribute here. Why not? Atheists rule the other six days of the week.

  • spidermean2

    Faith is a gift from God. It’s either you have it or not. Mr. Boyett don’t have it so what’s the problem?Those who say that the Bible is innacurate don’t know how to read the Bible. The bible uses lots of metaphors.”Destroy this temple and I will raise it again in 3 days”. The idiots didn’t undertand it, did they? They thought the Lord was talking about the stone temple.

  • whatyoutalkinboutman

    I have a hard time believing in a loving and caring God who is always teacing people lessons.My 38 year old male cousin recently died leaving behind and infant daughter and an 8 yr old son. He was in good health and had a heart attack. What’s the lesson to be learned from that?It seems that this loving and caring God picks and chooses who to bless.To hell with that!

  • sawk75

    WANTINGBALANCE, I did not say anything about not believing in God. My point was about doubt and question. So many people questioned his belief before even realizing that without a doubt, there won’t be a question, and without a question, there won’t be an answer. Doubt and question is fundamental to spiritual growth.

  • sarahemccoy

    I too was raised in the Bible belt, and still find myself there. I was born the daughter of a (female) minister, and made my “profession of faith” at the tender age of 5. Although I meant sincerely every hymn I sang at every single evangelical service which I have ever attended, and have not ever doubted the presence of God in my life (note I said evangelical, and we southerners and especially we Baptists are people of the Trinity, so we are wont to say in all seriousness and not bat an eyelash things such as, “I really felt the Holy Spirit in that place just then, ya’ll”) that is certainly not so say that I haven’t had my moments, or my days that God and I weren’t as close as He/She and I were on other days. We evangelicals, too, are also famous for this: we talk about that relationship with the Holy Other like no one else. As such, understand: this relationship, like any other, waxes and wanes. This is *my* fault, understand. After all, being in divinity school I understand that I am the human end of this divine-human relationship, of course – the fallible and non-omnipotent part of this equation. I never ever keep up my end of the bargain. But the author is onto something here. It’s just not something you can talk about – it’s a folkway you just don’t mess with; that sometimes your belief is a bit lacking, but in the words of the great Paul Tillich, “Doubt is not the opposite of faith, it is one element of faith.”

  • midas20874

    whatyoutalkinboutman wrote: My 38 year old male cousin recently died leaving behind and infant daughter and an 8 yr old son. He was in good health and had a heart attack. What’s the lesson to be learned from that?———-My own male cousin who was 30 years just died this past week with no offsprings and it increased my faith and awe in God. You see, the next moment or/and tomorrow is not guaranteed for no one. God is no respecter of persons or positions. He is God and He created us. Paul asks: “But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? ” Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” (Romans 9:20). In short, God is sovereign and supreme. That is all the more reason we beleievers trust in His Son Jesus Christ and in God so that we are not afraid of death but have the assurance of eternal life. That is also why Moses declared in Psalm 90:12 “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” In the Lord Jesus Christ: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (I Corinthians 15:55). Also, “…man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgement” (Hebrews 9:27). Believe in Christ, the only Son of God today and have that victory over death with the assurance of eternal life.

  • davewyman

    How can anyone doubt that people telepathically communicate with a 2000 year told Jewish zombie in order to lift the curse of the first rib-woman, who was tricked by a talking snake into eating a piece of fruit from a magic tree?That Mr. Boyette believes the above demonstrates just how brainwashed since childhood he has been, and why, despite the clear evidence, he can’t break free of irrational beliefs.

  • fblanco

    Jason, I’m disappointed that you do not say why you are not entirely sure you believe in God. So it seems to me you are not really interested in confronting that question honestly to yourself and the public. Instead I see what appears to be a show of feigning disbelief to satisfy your readers.Frank X. White

  • davewyman

    Potter2 wrote: “I ask that you… listen to the new scientists that are coming on the scene that are discovering something, broader going on in the picture of life than Darwinism.”This has been the refrain of brainwashed Christians since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, in 1859. For 151 years, we’ve been promised the evidence that refutes the concept of evolution is just around the corner, just as we’ve been told by for centuries by Christians that the Second Coming will be here soon.

  • spidermean2

    Iam an engineer and what I’ve learned about evoution is that it never uses any valid science. It’s all speculations or in other words a MYTH.No math equationWhat is interesting is that those which the Bible described as FOOLS (atheists) are attracted to this MYTH.If it’s true that Jesus Christ turned water into wine (it’s 100% true), these idiots will fry in hell forever. What a pitiful sight.

  • theduke89

    Jason appears to be a person trading on his lack of faith. Sad but true. Deal with it Jason. When you grow up, get back to us.

  • kuato

    The juxtaposition of faith and doubt is a misleading construct. The use of the word “doubt” presupposes a departure from faith, when in fact there is no reason to use faith as a starting point for this type of question.It makes more sense to start any religious debate from an open-minded position. If any one religious perspective actually has merit, it should easily win out in a fair fight.Start out with an open question. Look for an answer. If (when) you don’t actually find one, just be comfortable admitting that you don’t know. Or, you can just decide to really really believe something as hard as you can. If you have a hard time coming up with something on your own, just jump on board with one of the five majors. If you have a hard time choosing which to go with, just stick with the one that dominates the culture of your specific geographic region.When it comes down to it, choosing a religious affiliation is near impossible from a rational starting point. Thank GOD our parents indoctrinated us before we could think for ourselves.

  • spidermean2

    Jesus said ” I will manifest myself (to prove beyond doubt) unto you” (Jn. 14:21)That he promised to the BELIEVERS. If you guys don’t know Jesus Christ, sorry folks because you were not part of his chosen ones.Probably to dumbed to be chosen in the first place.

  • davewyman

    I am enjoying the comments by spidermean2 tonight. LIke this one:”Jesus said ” I will manifest myself (to prove beyond doubt) unto you” (Jn. 14:21)”That he promised to the BELIEVERS.”This is a god capable only of proving himself only to those who already don’t doubt him? This is one, pathetically weak demi-god.

  • spidermean2

    “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself (to prove BEYOND DOUBT) to him. ” (Jn 14:21)The Bible explains it better than I do.Poor atheists, they seem to have no chance of knowing Jesus because He has no plan of manifesting Himself to them.

  • davewyman

    Spidey wrote:”The Bible explains it better than I do.”Yes, you’re only hurting your cause.”Poor atheists, they seem to have no chance of knowing Jesus because He has no plan of manifesting Himself to them.”I rest my case.

  • spidermean2

    I always believe in God because brains won’t exist without a God. But there were times that I doubted Jesus. But after He manifested Himself to me, Im 100% sure that He is the God who created the universe. NO doubt.From a God believer to a TRUE CHRISTIAN BELIEVER.Mr. Jason Boyett appears to be neither a Christian nor a believer of any God.Bordering on the DUMB category.

  • spidermean2

    John 14:21 explains that Jesus will only manifest Himself to those who love him and keep his commandments.That explains why he can’t manifest Himself to atheists. Atheists neither love him nor believe him.I find it amazing that little children easily believe Jesus as you tell them His story. As they grow older and become become hard core sinners, they become atheists.Guys, check your lifestyles. Try behaving like innocent kids again. Probably, Jesus will have mercy on you if you do that.

  • davewyman

    Spidey wrote:”there were times that I doubted Jesus.”Spidey’s only digging himself in deeper. Certainly he doesn’t know his own bible.”he that loveth me…I will love him, and will manifest myself”But Spidey admits he didn’t believe in Jesus (“I doubted Jesus”), and so he couldn’t have loved Him. Therefore, by Spidey’s own logic, Jesus has never manifested himself, because Spidey didn’t love Jesus.

  • CalP

    Yesterday, around 3:05 p.m. I attempted to post a comment. However, I received a message that it was being sent to the owner of the blog for the decision to print or not. I am quite certain that I did not violate the policies, yet, the comment has not been published. I am aware, and accept that the Post has the right to publish, or not publish; however from what I have read here, I see many opinions where some agree with me. I wonder why my comment was not published? Is it because I do not assign any gender or personality to God; or because I refer to God as whoever, whatever or which Presence is God; or is it because I state that when people say they do not believe in God, they are really saying they do not believe in the Christian concept of God?

  • slowe111

    Posted by: spidermean2Well, someone finally said it! To be a christian we should behave like kids. First of all, why would a mature person WANT to behave like a child? This seems contrary to growing up! Innocence really means ingorance. Why would anyone want to remain or pretend they are ignorant and innocent? It seems embarassing!, immature. This is my big problem with theism and especially Christianity – it advocate childishness and childlike views of the world. Consider the number of parallels between the concept of God, a heavenly FATHER, etc, and that of a child’s view of their parents, mother and father. Believers seem to be trying to return that that infantile period in their lives when they were cared for by an all loving, all powerful, all knowing, all giving, all forgiving…. Mom and Dad! God is just a substitute, suregate parent for adults. Church is a socially acceptible way and place for grownups to pretend they are children….again.

  • Seeker777

    I tried to be an atheist.I have seen too many spiritual phenomenons.Things that can’t be dismissed as mistaken or perceived, or some neurological phenomenon, or wishful religious fervor. Things that even happened before I was believer in the Bible. Things I am ashamed to share because people will think I’m crazy or a liar. If anyone has ever experienced such occurrences, you know its hard to totally dismiss that a spirit world exist, and especially the power of God. But even after all those things, sadly, like Thomas, I too have doubted. How soon we forget.Have faith people, don’t be deceived.

  • ThomasBaum

    CalP You wrote, “Yesterday, around 3:05 p.m. I attempted to post a comment. However, I received a message that it was being sent to the owner of the blog for the decision to print or not. I am quite certain that I did not violate the policies, yet, the comment has not been published.”Chances are that your comment was too long and when this happens to me, I break up my post into parts and send it in that way.This has always worked for me, there is a limit on the number of “characters” allowed on a single post, I have no idea what that number is.If you still have your “post” saved somewhere, try breaking it up and send it in, it should work.By the way, as far as I know, when a post is sent “to the owner of the blog for the decision to print or not”, it is never printed.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • mike785

    “Doubt is essential to faith. Faith, by definition, requires uncertainty.” This is a sad but common misunderstanding. The Bible says the opposite is true: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for, being convinced of what we do not see.” (Hebrews 11:1 NET) Read Hebrews 11. You’ll discover that faith does not imply doubt; rather, faith rescues us from doubt.

  • ThomasBaum

    slowe111You wrote, “This is my big problem with theism and especially Christianity – it advocate childishness and childlike views of the world.”There is a world of difference between “childish” and “childlike”.Christianity does advocate a childlike attitude but it most definitely does not promote a childish attitude.You then wrote, “Church is a socially acceptible way and place for grownups to pretend they are children….again.”Actually, it is not “pretend”, we are all “children of God”, just not all of us know/believe it.We are also brothers and sisters of God since God became One of us and also of each other.Church can also be a place for us to look at life from a difference perspective, whereas we are all equal, not the same but equal, in God’s eyes rather than from some of the worldly perspectives, such as “dog eat dog”, “looking out for number one”, “climbing the ladder of success and slinging off as many as possible in the way”.I am not saying that all of those going to Church look at life from God’s perspective and those that don’t go to Church look at life from some of the “worldly perspectives” that I mentioned, there are overlaps going both ways.As I have said, God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof. There are many that look at the world from a “childish” perspective, the advertising industry thrives on this, and there are both “religious” and “non-religious” people, some very successful, that fit into this category.I would say that all of us have both “childish” and “childlike” qualities to them, in varying proportions.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • davewyman

    thomasbaum wrote: “God is a searcher of hearts and minds, not of religious affiliations or lack thereof.”That would be true if there is a god, but saying there is a god doesn’t make it so. It does allow statements like the one above, however, because when someone starts with an unproven assumption, rather than ending with that assumption after a search for truth, everything is possible. to the believer.So for Mr. Baum, his god searches our hearts and minds (although to what purpose isn’t specified). Others here crow that death is overcome by believing in Jesus, others boast that scientific disproof of the Theory of Evolution is just around the corner, one person claims doubt and faith are the same, one claims doubt and belief are not possible, etc. All of these commenters start with the unfounded belief in a god to validate the way they see the world, through their own eyes. What makes sense is the realization that there is no god, which explains all the unexplainable claims in the world, such as why we have pain, why innocent people die, why animals suffer, why tidal waves and earthquakes kill people, etc.

  • ajwright1

    Hey DaveWyman,

  • jon1234

    You certainly touched a nerve among those who have commented. Your message strikes me as straightforward, honest, and courageous, especially from someone who seems to come from an evangelical background that requires adherence to a creed. Honest reflection will result in doubts about any set of beliefs. Some respond by throwing out religion. Others just ignore the evidence and even become blind to it. Both approaches avoid the struggle with God, which is basic to the human condition, as Jacob learned the night he wrestled with God. In the end, what you profess to believe in is far less important than the faith you hold in your heart.

  • davewyman

    AJWRIGHT1 asks:”Could it be that your belief system is itself a “religion” I suppose it is, in the same way that you have a hobby of not collecting stamps. That is your hobby, right?

  • ThomasBaum

    davewymanYou wrote, “That would be true if there is a god, but saying there is a god doesn’t make it so.”Saying that there is no god doesn’t make that true either but the reason that I have stated that God Is, is because I have met God.You then wrote, “when someone starts with an unproven assumption, rather than ending with that assumption after a search for truth, everything is possible. to the believer.”I guess that I could say that Truth found me or at least “proved” to me that God Is when, one could say, that I took a leap of blind faith with my eyes wide open.You then wrote, “What makes sense is the realization that there is no god,”.This is just coming to an “opinion” which there is no “scientific evidence” to “prove” one way or the other even tho there have been various “studies” undertaken that seem to point in the direction that there is more to life than meets the eye, so to speak.You added, “which explains all the unexplainable claims in the world, such as why we have pain, why innocent people die, why animals suffer, why tidal waves and earthquakes kill people, etc.”Just because God made the entire universe and made the “natural laws” that govern the universe and some do not agree with the way that God made things, does not in any way, prove or disprove, the “fact” that God Is.If one merely look at “this life” as all there is, without any thought whatsoever that there may be more than what is “open” to our “natural senses”, than that is one’s decision but to tell others that they should limit themselves in such a way and then to boast that one knows this is so, is rather arrogant, especially when they point to facts, facts, facts and there is not one single “fact” to prove that there is no God or gods.See you and the rest of humanity in the Kingdom.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • davewyman

    Thomasbaum wrote: “there is not one single “fact” to prove that there is no God or gods.”There is not one single “fact” to prove that there is no unicorn; there is not one single “fact” to prove that a magic teapot isn’t hiding behind the planet Jupiter, which controls our thoughts. You don’t believe in unicorns or magic teapots, despite not being able to disprove they exist. Yet you believe in talking snakes and your ability to communicate with a 2000 year-old zombie.You claim you’ve met your god; others claim the same thing about different gods in which they believe. You deny the reality of these other gods. Why would I or anyone else put any faith in your claim?

  • ajwright1

    Dave,I also find it interesting that you, based on some type of scientific observation I presume, state that I am “dogmatic” and “brainwashed”. At no point in my posts have I stated anything about my belief system. My comments have been focused on questioning why such a high percentage of athiests/agnostics would be commenting on a religious blog when a reputable group like Pew says only 4% of US residents fall into this group. I simply observed that it seems strange that such a group would be interested in religion. I am not sure how that translates into being “dogmatic” and “brainwashed”. Aren’t athiests supposed to be the ones who constantly question? So, I, by questioning why athiests and agnostics would be so interested in a religious blog am somehow dogmatic and brainwashed. Yea… I see. Got it. Makes sense to me….

  • davewyman

    AJWRIGHT1 wrote:”Could it be that you are disturbed that dispite your best efforts that the overwhelming majority of the people in this country, many who are vastly more intelligent than you or I, believe in a supreme being while you and the other 1.6% of the population don’t.”I agree with you that there are many more people in this country vastly more intelligent than you. ;-)By the way, that you left a question mark off the end of the sentence indicates to me that you meant the sentence more as a statement than a question.”I also find it interesting that you, based on some type of scientific observation I presume, state that I am “dogmatic” and “brainwashed”. First, you complain about atheists’ interest in religion (as if all atheists had the same thought processes). Yet here you are, expressing interest in an atheist’s viewpoint. I’ll grant you that you might not be brainwashed. However, if you are brainwashed, denying it is meaningless statement, since those who are brainwashed aren’t, by definition, aware of it. If you believe you communicate telepathically with a 2000 year-old zombie, if you doubt the theory of evolution, if you think a talking snake tricked a rib-woman, then yes, I think you’re brainwashed, and no, I don’t think you’re capable of recognizing it.

  • pmpope68

    Jason, I admire your courage and honesty.

  • ThomasBaum

    davewyman You wrote, “You claim you’ve met your god; others claim the same thing about different gods in which they believe. You deny the reality of these other gods. Why would I or anyone else put any faith in your claim?”Did I ask you or anyone else to “put any faith” in what I said?I was just stating a “fact” when I said that I met God.I know that each and every “atheist” is an individual person but one of the things that some have in common with some “theists” is that they seem to not “listen” or “read” what someone with a differing outlook has.By “listening or reading”, I do not mean agreeing with them but to at least see what they have to say, either written or orally.This seems to be a very human trait, the shutting down of the mind, and this human trait seems especially pronouned when it comes to a belief/non-belief in God.Not all atheists and not all theists adhere to this and do “listen” to what others with differing views have to say.There do seem to be quite a few from both the theists and the atheists that have a smug, condescending attitude.Of course, some seem to look at this “attitude” as a positive trait and very much of human strife that has transpired over the ages has come about from this “attitude” being acted upon.Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • ajwright1

    DaveWyman,

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