T Nation

A Thread about Religion


#1

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. :slight_smile:


#2

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
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.


#3

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#4

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
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]

Faith or nihilism is a false dichotomy. Existentialism is solid middle ground.


#5

[quote]pushharder wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

…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.

[/quote]

What makes you think you can decide whether or not you live in that world? You’re simply not powerful enough to make that decision. You’re a mere mortal and wholly incapable of dictating the “nonsense” that says you can be your own god, which is for all practical purposes what you just said by implication.
[/quote]

Using my marijuana metaphor, what you’re essentially saying is:

“Dude, you might think you understand objective reality, but you’re like, totally incapable of seeing how things really are without the aid of mind-altering drugs. And if you don’t use the mind-altering drug that I personally use, then you’re, like, a loser. 'Cuz that’s, like, you know, the way it is.”


#6

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

Is nihilism the only logical alternative to faith? I think it is. [/quote]

Why would logic be of any value in answering a question that is essentially beyond our grasp? One can believe in any god/s of choice and get the emotional satisfaction our species seem to be in need of, but there is nothing logical in it. The dilemma is emotional, not logical. Mr Spock don’t need religion.


#7

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]pushharder wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

…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.

[/quote]

What makes you think you can decide whether or not you live in that world? You’re simply not powerful enough to make that decision. You’re a mere mortal and wholly incapable of dictating the “nonsense” that says you can be your own god, which is for all practical purposes what you just said by implication.
[/quote]

Using my marijuana metaphor, what you’re essentially saying is:

“Dude, you might think you understand objective reality, but you’re like, totally incapable of seeing how things really are without the aid of mind-altering drugs. And if you don’t use the mind-altering drug that I personally use, then you’re, like, a loser. 'Cuz that’s, like, you know, the way it is.”[/quote]

I think St. Thomas Aquinas said " A a man can understand God in the same ways an earthworm can understand man."
I’m Catholic. I think most people outside of the church think that any doubt in God disqualifies them as a believer, when that is not the case. Many of the Saints struggles with faith. Mother Teresa went through bouts of depression and questioning her beliefs.


#8

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

Is nihilism the only logical alternative to faith? I think it is. [/quote]

Why would logic be of any value in answering a question that is essentially beyond our grasp? One can believe in any god/s of choice and get the emotional satisfaction our species seem to be in need of, but there is nothing logical in it. The dilemma is emotional, not logical. Mr Spock don’t need religion.[/quote]

What? You mean you don’t worship Ukko and Tapio and Akras and Lempo? You turn your back on the gods of your fathers?

What kind of Finn are you?!

:wink:


#9

A man can understand God in the same way that a four-year-old can understand Santa Claus.

And for all the same reasons.


#10

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
A man can understand God in the same way that a four-year-old can understand Santa Claus.

And for all the same reasons.[/quote]

That is an assumption that many make. “Those simple minded religious are only faithful in the hopes that they will be repaid in the afterlife, which itself is a fallacy.” But do you really think it’s that simple?


#11

[quote]Alrightmiami19c wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:
A man can understand God in the same way that a four-year-old can understand Santa Claus.

And for all the same reasons.[/quote]

That is an assumption that many make. “Those simple minded religious are only faithful in the hopes that they will be repaid in the afterlife, which itself is a fallacy.” But do you really think it’s that simple?[/quote]

No, and that’s not exactly what I meant.

What does a four-year-old know about Santa Claus?

Why does a four-year-old know anything about Santa Claus?

Who benefits if four-year-olds believe in Santa Claus?

Does Santa Claus care if four-year-olds believe in him? Why or why not?


#12

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#13

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#14

Sorry, been busy. Okay:

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:

Why would logic be of any value in answering a question that is essentially beyond our grasp?

[/quote]

It’s not. That’s what I’m saying. I’m going back to logic to give myself a better grounding in philosophy.

Some perhaps. Some genuinely feel they don’t need any faith in an afterlife. And I believe them. I believe they don’t need it when things are going okay but they may need it when / if things go really bad for them. Deluding oneself into believing things are better or more hopeful than they really are is a universal human trait. My maternal grandfather was a really hard man. Literally the toughest bastard I’ve ever known. But at the end of his death agonies in the final stages of bowel cancer that had spread throughout his body - at the end the pain and misery broke him and became delusional insisting that he wasn’t dying and so on. So yeah, pretty much everyone has a breaking point after which they retreat from reality. Psychiatrists think schizophrenia is biochemical but I believe it’s what happens when some people are overwhelmed with adversity, fear, pain, grief, stress etc etc. That’s my hunch; I’m not insisting I’m correct.

[quote]

The dilemma is emotional, not logical. Mr Spock don’t need religion.[/quote]

A healthy, happy person probably doesn’t either unless their congregation is also their main social circle / neighbours / community / family etc. That’s part of why Christianity has been resilient in much of the U.S. It’s a totally different story elsewhere. Unless you want to go to church was crazies collected by door knocking sects or with some wealthy, Protestant social climbing teetotallers in their 70’s and 80’s. One of my aunties poses as a deeply religious Catholic but she’s a pathetic priest collecting social climber. That’s what religion is to many people. Or a Jesus disco bogey charismatic rave with schizophrenics, bums and socially isolated losers scooped up off the streets. Maybe this might serve as a clue as to why I see religion from a different perspective down here. Neither me nor anyone I know would ever answer the door / speak to a Christian prosetyliser because they are universally regarded as head cases and weirdos here. No offence. I’m specifically talking about certain door knocking and street combing sects(won’t name denominations as I don’t want to cause offence). But of course that’s not how I feel about all Christians as people here know. I did a few units of Greek and Latin way back as part of my BA and our lecturer was a brilliant scholar and also a very serious Christian. I was a bit taken aback at the time because I’d never encountered a Christian like him before.


#15

[quote]pushharder wrote:

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:
One can believe in any god/s of choice and get the emotional satisfaction our species seem to be in need of, but there is nothing logical in it.

[/quote]

Sure there is but your assumptions get in the way of understanding why.[/quote]

There are always assumptions, but which ones are you referring to?


#16

I have tried to “believe” at different points in my life. This discussion, as always will deteriorate fast. I’ll just say that my difficulty grasping why people believe probably feels pretty similar to someone trying to understund why I disbelieve when it is so “clear”


#17

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Sorry, been busy. Okay:

[quote]kaaleppi wrote:

Why would logic be of any value in answering a question that is essentially beyond our grasp?

[/quote]

It’s not. That’s what I’m saying. I’m going back to logic to give myself a better grounding in philosophy.

Some perhaps. Some genuinely feel they don’t need any faith in an afterlife. And I believe them. I believe they don’t need it when things are going okay but they may need it when / if things go really bad for them. Deluding oneself into believing things are better or more hopeful than they really are is a universal human trait. My maternal grandfather was a really hard man. Literally the toughest bastard I’ve ever known. But at the end of his death agonies in the final stages of bowel cancer that had spread throughout his body - at the end the pain and misery broke him and became delusional insisting that he wasn’t dying and so on. So yeah, pretty much everyone has a breaking point after which they retreat from reality. Psychiatrists think schizophrenia is biochemical but I believe it’s what happens when some people are overwhelmed with adversity, fear, pain, grief, stress etc etc. That’s my hunch; I’m not insisting I’m correct.

Thank you for your rich answer. After our last conversation I didn’t really know your position.

Your first anecdote reminded me of a Japanese tale of heaven and hell. A samurai asks a monk about heaven and hell and the monk starts insulting the samurai. He gets infuriated, draws his sword and at at the point of strike the monk yells this is hell. The samurai gets perplexed,sheathes his sword and the monk says this is heaven. They are emotions. They come and go. Weakness is natural human trait and an intimate companion to each and everyone of us. Martin Luther tells us to build a wall/castle of faith. I consider a person that never shows weakness to be a total idiot.

I have been all my life a member of our Lutheran church (as a passive member). I left it just a little over a year ago. I see church as an essential institution, it is needed. But I don’t believe a single word they say. It’s just such drudgery and diminishing of human worth. The sermons are just awful, every time. Yet the community serves a vital function. I don’t know. I don’t have to be a part of it if I don’t want to, have I? It is good for many people, but I’m not of them.

E: I reread your story. It sadly tells how intimately we are bound with flesh. It could be my story, though I’m not that though. It’s my friends story who died of bone cancer ten years ago. Weakness is a part of us and our aversion to it is a problem in itself.


#18

[quote]Varqanir: What? You mean you don’t worship Ukko and Tapio and Akras and Lempo? You turn your back on the gods of your fathers?

What kind of Finn are you?! ;)[/quote]

Actually, as far as I know, some of my forefathers were “norwegian” wikings who sailed north and traveled through Kola Peninsula all the way to Ostrobothnia at the Finnish Gulf. I’m uncertain of which Gods I should actually worship.

E: Yeah, they were idiots, sailing north.


#19

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
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.
[/quote]

When you fellas say that you “tried to believe” do you mean tried to believe in the true God of the Bible?

II. GOD

A. The Knowledge of God

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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]

  4. 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]

  5. 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]

  6. 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]

  7. 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

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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]

  4. 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]

D. Predestination

  1. Election

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]

  1. Reprobation

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]


#20

[quote]opeth7opeth wrote:

[quote]Varqanir wrote:

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
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.
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When you fellas say that you “tried to believe” do you mean tried to believe in the true God of the Bible?

II. GOD

A. The Knowledge of God

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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]

  4. 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]

  5. 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]

  6. 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]

  7. 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

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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

  1. 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]

  2. 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]

  3. 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]

  4. 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]

D. Predestination

  1. Election

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]

  1. Reprobation

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]
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You really are on the wrong page. Quelle odeur.