Yes, another one. I probably won’t stick around to duke it out. I’m sure it(the thread) will quickly take on a life of its own. But before that, I’ll share my experience. I was born into a secular family and knew nothing about religion most of my life(but thought I did). Life experience and some folk at T-Nation got me interested in learning more. I learned a bit; tried to believe. I still do(try to believe that is). I’m just not very good at it. But I hope my experience doesn’t dissuade anyone else from believing. I envy you. That’s all.
Just to get the ball rolling:
Is nihilism the only logical alternative to faith? I think it is. Either nihilism or some delusion that you have avoided being touched by the void. It leaves its mark upon you. I can see it. And it frightens me. :)[/quote]
While I’m perhaps not in the exact same boat as you, I’m in a similar boat. I really did try to believe, for a while, but it just wasn’t for me.
I’d say that my experience with religion parallels my experience with marijuana:
I suppose I can understand why some people think it’s awesome, and the answer to all the world’s problems, but I didn’t much care for how stupid it made me feel, the feelings of paranoia, hyper-introspection and introversion, nor the gnawing hunger and bad taste it left in my mouth afterwards. I don’t think it’s as harmful as some believe it to be, and I certainly don’t wish to see it eradicated, because I do see that it benefits some people, but I just don’t see the need for it in my life.
I do occasionally envy people who believe in things that I consider to be nonsense. Must be nice to live in a world of filled with magic and miracles and benevolent, sentient gods and angels and the promise of heaven. But it’s just not the one I live in.
When you fellas say that you “tried to believe” do you mean tried to believe in the true God of the Bible?
A. The Knowledge of God
God is an infinite being and is therefore impossible for finite beings to fully comprehend. [1Ki 8:27; Job 9:10; Isa 40:28; 46:9; Joh 1:3; Act 17:24-25; Rom 11:33-36]
However, God is not unknowable. He has purposed to glorify Himself among His people by imparting the fear of God to them; that is, causing them to understand His infinite glory, divine nature, and perfect attributes through the Scriptures. God does not give a knowledge of Himself to some of His regenerate people while withholding that knowledge from the rest, for this would mean that God causes some of His regenerate people to attribute their salvation to themselves, which can never be. [Exo 20:2-6; Psa 40:3; 50:15; Pro 1:7; 2:5; 9:10; Isa 29:23; 38:19; 43:1-13,21; 45:20-25; Mat 13:11-12,16; Joh 8:32; 16:8-11; 17:3,6-7; Rom 6:17-18; 9:23-26; 10:2-4; 2Co 4:3-6; Eph 1:17-19; Phi 3:8; Col 1:4-6; 1Jo 5:20]
In nature, God has revealed enough of His attributes to leave men without excuse for their sin and unbelief. [Psa 19:1-6; Rom 1:18-21,32]
Since God is infinitely holy and righteous, He cannot fellowship with anyone who has less than perfect righteousness. [Exo 20:5; Deu 4:24; 5:9; 27:26; Psa 130:3; Isa 6:5; 28:17; Hab 1:13; Mat 5:20; Rom 3:19; Gal 3:10; Heb 10:28-31]
To His people, God reveals Himself not only as a just, righteous, and holy God, but also as a loving, gracious, and merciful God. [Exo 20:5-6; 34:6-7; Deu 4:24-25; Psa 85:9-11; 89:14; 130:4; Isa 45:21-22; Rom 3:26]
The external means by which God thus reveals Himself to His people are the Bible and the preaching of the gospel. The internal means is the ministry of the Holy Spirit. [Joh 16:8; 17:8; Rom 1:16-17; 10:14-15; 1Co 1:21; Eph 1:13; Jam 1:21]
God is a logical being, and the knowledge that He imparts to His people is logical and noncontradictory. God is not paradoxical or illogical, for God cannot be against Himself. [Num 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; Psa 61:7; 117:2; Isa 65:16; Mal 3:6; Joh 1:1; 1Co 14:7-9; 2Co 1:18-20]
B. The Trinity
God has revealed in His Scriptures that He is a triune being: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each member of the Godhead is eternal and coequal. [Exo 3:14; Psa 110:1; Joh 1:1; 5:18; 8:58; 10:30-33; Act 20:28; 1Co 10:9; 15:47; 2Co 3:17-18; 1Ti 3:16; Tit 2:13; Heb 1:3; 1Pe 1:2; Jud 4,20-21]
Yet Scripture does not teach the existence of three gods, nor one person manifesting himself three different ways, but that there is one God existing in three Persons. [Deu 6:4; Mar 12:29; Gal 3:20]
The Son is eternally begotten by the Father, and the Spirit eternally proceeds from the Father and the Son. [Isa 61:1; Mat 3:16; Luk 4:18; Joh 3:16; 15:26; 17:5; Act 2:17-18; Rom 8:9; 1Co 2:10-14; 3:16; 2Co 3:17; Phi 1:19; 1Jo 4:9]
C. Divine Attributes
God is all-knowing, everywhere present, unchangeable, and not able to be limited. He existed before time began and will exist forever. Because of His infinite holiness, He is infinite in justice, righteousness, love, mercy, and grace. His infinite glory is manifested in these attributes. [Exo 20:5-6; Num 23:19; 1Sa 15:29; 1Ki 8:27; Job 26:6-14; Psa 44:21; 90:2-4; 103:17; 136:1-26; Pro 8:22-31; Isa 6:3; 57:15; Lam 3:22-23; Hab 1:12-13; Mal 3:6; Jam 1:17; 1Jo 4:8]
God created the universe in six days and continues to sovereignly and actively uphold, control, and sustain it. [Gen 1:1-31; 8:22; Exo 20:10-11; 1Sa 2:8; 2Ki 19:15; 1Ch 16:26; Neh 9:6; Job 9:5-9; 26:7-14; 28:24-27; 38:1-41:34; Psa 8:3; 19:1; 24:1-2; 33:6-9; 74:16-17; 89:11-12; 90:2; 95:4-5; 102:25; 104:1-32; 121:2; 124:8; 136:5-9; 146:6; 147:7-9; 148:3-12; Pro 3:19-20; 8:23-31; 30:4; Isa 40:26-28; 42:5; 44:24; 48:13; Jer 10:12-13; 27:5; 31:35; 32:17; 51:15-16; Amo 4:13; 5:8; 9:6; Zec 12:1; Joh 1:1-3; Act 4:24; 14:15; 17:24-28; Rom 1:20; Eph 3:9; Rev 4:11; 10:6; 14:7]
God absolutely controls all actions and events; nothing at all happens by chance or merely by His permission. All actions and events happen because of His sovereign decree, including the sins of men and angels. Contrary to the aspersions of the enemies of God, this doctrine does not attribute sin to God; instead, it provides great comfort for believers. [Gen 50:20; Exo 4:21; 7:3; 9:12; Deu 2:30; 32:39; Jos 11:20; 1Sa 2:6-8,25; 2Sa 17:14; 2Ch 10:15; 11:4; 25:20; 36:22; Job 12:14-25; 23:13-14; 26:7-12; Psa 105:25; 115:3; 135:5-7; Pro16:4,33; 21:1; Isa 40:23-26; 42:9; 43:13; 45:6-7; 46:9-11; Jer 18:6; 52:3; Eze 17:24; Hab 1:6,12; Joh 19:11; Act 2:23; 4:27-28; Eph 1:11; Rev 17:17]
Because God sovereignly orders all things, He is able to keep all His promises. Because God is the God of truth, He is faithful to keep all His promises. [Deu 7:8-10; Jos 21:44-45; 23:14; 2Sa 23:3-5; Psa 89:24-37; 132:11; Isa 45:23; 46:9-11; 54:9-10; Jer 33:20-21,25-26; Act 13:32-33; Rom 15:8-9; 2Co 1:19-20; 1Th 5:24; Tit 1:1-3; Heb 6:13-20; 2Pe 3:9-13]
a. In eternity past, God the Father covenanted with God the Son, Jesus Christ, to glorify Himself by saving a particular, elect people, and those only, from the guilt and defilement of sin, by the atoning blood and imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ. [Psa 89:19-37; Isa 49:5-6; 53:11-12; Luk 22:29; Joh 6:37-40; 10:29; 17:2,9; Gal 3:16-18; 2Ti 1:9]
b. In covenanting with Jesus Christ, God the Father covenanted with all the elect in Jesus Christ, to be their God and to reveal His divine love, mercy, grace, and wisdom to them by saving them through the work of Jesus Christ their Redeemer. [Gen 13:14-16; 17:4-8,19; Deu 4:35; 7:9; 2Sa 23:5; Psa 65:4; 67:2; 105:8-10; 111:9; 132:11; Isa 43:10-12; 55:3-4; 61:6-9; Mat 13:11; Mat 24:22,24,31; Mar 13:20,22,27; Luk 1:68-75; 18:7; Joh 17:2-3; Act 13:48; Rom 8:28-30,33; 9:11-16,23; 11:26-27; Eph 1:4-14; Col 3:12; 2Th 2:13; 2Ti 2:10; Tit 1:1; Heb 6:13-14; 8:6-12; 1Pe 1:1; 2:9]
c. Further, as part of the terms of this covenant, the Father decreed to send the Holy Spirit to indwell His elect people. [Isa 44:3-4; 59:21; Eze 36:27; Gal 4:6; Eph 1:13-14; 1Pe 1:2]
d. When Scripture speaks of God’s covenant, it does not mean a conditional agreement or contract between two parties; rather, it means a bond of friendship and fellowship that is unilaterally enacted by God. [Gen 15:12-21; Lev 26:44-45; Deu 4:31; 7:6-8; Jdg 2:1; 2Ch 13:5; Psa 89:3; Isa 54:10; 55:5; Heb 6:17-18; 8:10]
e. The exact number of the elect is known only to God Himself; it cannot be increased or diminished. The elect of God are scattered among every tribe, nation, and language on earth. [Deu 29:29; Joh 6:37-39; 10:14; 17:9, 2Ti 2:19; Rev 7:9]
f. This election was not owing to any merits in those elected or conditions they would meet, whether foreknown or foreordained, but only to the free grace and goodness of God alone. When Scripture speaks of God’s foreknowledge, it is not speaking of a prior knowledge of men’s actions (although God had such knowledge) but a love for their persons. [Deu 7:7-8; Isa 65:1; Eze 36:22-32; Rom 8:29; 9:11,16; 10:20; 1Co 1:25-29; Eph 1:11; 2Ti 1:9]
a. In eternity past, God (in order to more fully reveal to the elect His saving love towards them) purposed to create a people for displaying His power, wrath, and hatred of sin and unbelief. [Exo 9:14-16; Psa 73:17-18; Pro 16:4; Jer 6:28-30; Hab 1:6-11; Rom 9:17,21-23; 1Pe 2:8]
b. Every person without exception is either a vessel of mercy or a vessel of wrath. There is no one about whom God is undecided. [Isa 45:23; Rom 9:22-23; 14:11]
c. The Father determined to include the elect and the reprobate in one common fall, that they should be equally ruined and undone, equally guilty and defiled, and equally in need of a righteousness that neither could produce on their own. [Rom 3:9-12,23; 5:12-14; Eph 2:3]
d. God actively causes the reprobate to hate His glory, persecute His people, and oppose His gospel, that He may justly punish them. [Exo 7:3; 9:12; Jos 11:20; 1Sa 2:25; Psa 105:25; Rom 9:18; Rev 17:17]
e. God does not have any love toward the reprobate or any desire to save them, for God does not show love at the expense of His justice. The good things that God gives to them in this life lead only to their destruction, increasing their guilt for their thanklessness to God. Jesus Christ did not die for the reprobate in any sense, and they do not benefit in any sense from His death. Scripture, in speaking of God’s love for “all men” and “the world” is not speaking of all men without exception. Rather, these words refer to God’s love for all men without distinction - that is, regardless of their nationality or status. [Psa 2:4-5; 5:5-6; 11:5; 73:11-12; 92:7; Pro 3:32-33; 11:20; 12:2; 16:4-5; 17:15; Joh 3:16; 15:22; 17:9; Rom 9:13; 1Ti 2:4; 1Pe 2:8; 1Jo 2:2; 4:10]
f. God uses the preaching of the gospel as a special means of hardening the reprobate. [Isa 6:9-12; Mat 13:13-15; Mar 4:11-12; 2Co 2:14-16]
g. Contrary to the aspersions of the enemies of God, this doctrine of reprobation does not make believers exalt themselves over other men; instead, it humbles them and causes them to tremble before Almighty God, thankful that He has graciously numbered them among the elect rather than the reprobate. [Rom 9:15-16,23,29; 1Co 4:7; 2Th 2:11-13]
You really are on the wrong page. Quelle odeur.