Click here to subscribe to the RSS feed

The God question: My testimony

with 44 comments

The debate on the god question has come up recently on Facebook between a couple friends of mine, and I thought it might be interesting if I laid out and clarified a few points about my own experiences regarding this matter to attempt to come around to an overall theory. Some family, friends, former church members of mine have probably noticed peculiar postings of mine regarding religion and God, and I thought an explanation was in order. This post took me a couple weeks to write (Thus the reason for no other recent posts), so bear with me. I’m not saying my conclusion won’t or can’t change, but my thoughts right now as they stand are recorded in this post. To borrow a religious term, here is my “testimony:”

First, as I have stated to a couple people in the last year, I set about in Oct. 2008 or so to the task of trying to figure out precisely why I believed what I proclaimed to believe. I will say here that I was raised in the Christian tradition, as most people in the southeastern United States are, and spent many years performing musically and otherwise toward that end. I sang with my grandfather, whom I miss to this day, in more than one Southern gospel group. I played acoustic and electric guitar for seven or more years in a contemporary-style church in Upstate, South Carolina. Until I reached college, I knew little of teachings other than what was in the Bible. Despite taking and passing a philosophy class and many English classes which served to, at least, introduce certain issues that would later challenge my faith, I maintained my core beliefs through college and even through numerous years after college.

Like so many with physical ailments who have wanted desperately to believe in a god who had the power to, not only save souls, but to physically heal, I tried my best to read the Bible and believe. In the years after college, my life was largely dominated by loneliness and despair over various issues, the most immediate of which would be emphysema.

I had heard stories that many people back home prayed me out of certain death when I was a baby hospitalized for 3 1/2 years in New York City, apparently saving me from dying from a critical immune system disorder. I don’t want to discredit or marginalize family members’ and friends’ efforts or concerns back home. They were doing what they thought was best.

So, poof, after much research and after three years of testing and poking and prodding at me, doctors came up with a way to give me an unprecedented unmatched bone marrow transplant to set my immune system on the right course. In the early 1980s, this was no small thing.

Now, I’m wise enough to recognize that science and research saved me in my infancy. I’m wise enough to know that, had I been lying in a crib inside my home in South Carolina, with the same prayers but without the same science and medical treatment, I would be a memory, and would probably not have even made it past my first year. So, at 4 1/2 years old, with medical research providing and setting my path toward adulthood, I set out on a vast world that I had never known cramped inside my little, sterile hospital-world.

And, of course, my parents not only gave me life … but a second life. I was a dead man, but they packed up their things in their early 20s at the time (I’m now 32 and can’t imagine doing such a thing at their age) and moved 900 miles north to a cockroach-ridden Manhattan apartment with their young daughter … all for me. For all my hard-boiled, emotional determinism, the thought of what they went through to keep me alive still brings a lump to my throat … and I’m thankful beyond words.

Back to religion, I decided a year or so back that it would be the most insincere and dishonest thing that I could imagine if I were to continue to lead the people in church worship without believing myself in the words of the songs I was playing (I think even believers can agree with me on that point.) I surmised that it would also be distasteful to not know full well why I believed in what the folks around me were singing, and not be able to articulate what I believed, and why I believed it. I concluded, even before I began questioning faith, that to believe and live my entire life and then die some day without knowing precisely why I believed such and such, without evidence and without a good explanation for any of it, essentially giving my entire life to something, sheepishly, was a most foolish and tragic thing (In fact, the word “tragic” probably represents an understatement).

Believing simply based on a “feeling” that we get on Sunday morning in the presence of nice music and other believers — which is all it is, since there’s not a stitch of evidence for any of it — was not good enough for me, and this was the realization that hit me between the eyes at some point last year. I can, perhaps, pinpoint the precise time. It may have been during a long car ride to Boston with my wife, when I had a fantastically long time to do a lot of thinking.

To catalog a few of the works I’ve studied thus far that have influenced me one way or the other since and before that particular trip:

  • “Christ: A Crisis in the Life of God” by Jack Miles
  • “God: A Biography” by Jack Miles
  • “Mere Christianity” “Surprised by Joy,” “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis
  • “The Case for Christ” and “The Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel
  • “Godless” by Dan Barker
  • “Why I Became An Atheist” by John Loftus
  • “The Age of Reason” by Thomas Paine
  • “The End of Faith” by Sam Harris
  • “The Stranger” and “The Myth of Sisyphus” By Albert Camus
  • “Notes from the Underground” By Fyodor Dostoevsky (To a lesser degree, “The Brothers Karamzov” and “Crime and Punishment”
  • This does not mention, of course, most of the Old and New testaments, numerous Christian commentaries, two decades of Christian teaching from various workshops, sermons and classes, and many of the gospels and texts that did not make it into the “official” King James Bible as pieced together by various church officials centuries ago.

I’m under no illusion that my recent thoughts and studies are crushing to any possibility, or any fraction of a possibility, that I might supernaturally be made better physically some day (For I deny even the possibility of a being capable of such things … nothwithstanding his unwillingness). I dare say no one has called out more to God than I for answers, even for answers about his own existence. No one has pleaded more with God for help. No one has been on their knees more than me. But I’ve heard nothing. Not one thing but my own voice, until eventually I got the impression that my prayers were merely floating to the ceiling and falling back down like stillborn stars. So, I got off my knees and determined, like the human that I am, to find the truth.

Believers will probably question this, saying something like, “Well, you can’t just give up. God is faithful to answer prayer in his time on his watch” or with, “God answers all prayer with either a ‘No,’ ‘Yes,’ or ‘Maybe.’” But those are the only three possible options, aren’t they? We can write off or explain away any unanswered prayer (or perceived answered prayer) by that logic to help God escape an explanation for his own silence.

We have, indeed, for centuries, received nothing at all but silence from the God of the Old Testament, just as we have received no recent word from Jesus or Zeus or Apollo or Allah or Osiris. Thousands of years have passed and not an utterance. Does that not strike anyone else as peculiar? Believers, again, will say the Bible is God’s revealed word or his instruction manual and that he exists in the hearts and minds of those who are filled with the Holy Spirit because they have believed in him. Well, I have believed — I have with all my heart — and other than some hormones jostled around, stimulated by some inspiring tune in the company of believers, have felt or heard nothing but my own voice.

So, I know there will be those to whom these words are very troubling — family, friends, former churchgoers, etc. but please know that I expect none of the same thoughts from any of you and am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I’m merely stating my experiences, and don’t particularly want this to meltdown into a large debate. Again, I did not set out at the start to disprove anything. I set out to find the truth. And these truths we can’t escape: Earth is billions of years old, Earth exists on a spiral arm of our galaxy, an insignificant spot, and not the center of the galaxy as many of our forebearers thought (which, by the way, gave creedance to the argument that we are the special planet, and a special species, in all of creation). The Earth will one day be uninhabited by people once again, not by a rapture, but either by a wayward asteroid or gamma ray burst or by the sun losing power. The truth is the canonical Bible contains many irreparable self-contradictions; condones slavery, mass slaughter, rape, the mutilation or altering of children’s genitalia, among other things; and cannot even get the details straight about the events surrounding Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Again, when I set about my studies, I was not seeking hope or spiritualism or miracles or wishful-thinking, I was seeking the truth, which in the 17th century when John Milton was alive, “a wicked race of deceivers … took the virgin Truth (and) hewed her lovely form into a thousand pieces, and scattered them to the four winds.” But they are not at the four winds anymore. Truth is much closer to us in modern America. So, at least at this juncture, I have concluded that the ancient, contradictory books of the Old and New testaments, written in a time of widespread myth and legend, are not good enough to make me, first, believe, and second, to base my entire life on such things contained therein.

I feel compelled to say that I apologize to certain people (of whom I still hold a great deal of respect) for that statement, whom I know, would want me to conclude differently, but that’s how I feel. The Christian tradition is so embedded in this part of the country (the Southeast), that to say such things, is almost like seceding a second time from the Union. But again, I ask, what’s more important? The truth or wishful thinking? When I set out about this, I resolved to be comfortable with whatever philosophical pathway on which my studies took me down. And that’s what we all must do.

And at some point, all us of have to make a similar choice: Do we want to be complacent in living our lives for a faith that may or may not, in reality, be true, or can we mentally and emotionally handle another possibility: that we are an insignificant dot in a vast, vast universe. As a friend of mine was saying, we need religion. We do indeed. But can’t we be strong enough to move past it and accept our place in the cosmos? As one writer, John Loftus, said that we humans think we are so special that we can’t imagine a fate that would see us go extinct like all the rest of life on Earth. Yet, that is our fate. Our extreme intelligence compels us to think of other worlds or other dimensions like heaven or hell, but our humanity also compels us to surmise that we are on a small planet in an insignificant galaxy, of which, there are millions. It is quite believable to think other species in some undiscovered galaxy thought themselves self-important, like us, and then, saw their own existence come to a crashing hault.

Of course, we may never know 100 percent if there is a god or not and we may never know 100 percent how life began, but I think we can be pretty sure it did not happen as the Bible, with its self-contradictions, recounts. (Note: I do not cite examples of the Bible’s contradictions here because they are well documented and this post is long as is. Search Google for “bible contradictions” and you can view them for yourself.)

For me, the option that we are an insignificant dot in a vast universe, takes much more wherewithall, and frankly, is a quite liberating axiom, to know that we are, at the core, connected and interconnected with the universe, not just Earth, and everything in the universe is quite a beautiful thing, as astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson noted.

Thus, again, I did not seek hope (specifically for my health conditions or otherwise) or karma or spirituality or wishful thinking. I sought the truth. For truth, should we reference the record of science, which says this planet has existed for billions of years and will again be vanquished or a book authored by superstitious people thousands of years ago during a time consumed with myth and legend? I have to side with the former.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

44 Responses to 'The God question: My testimony'

Subscribe to comments with RSS or TrackBack to 'The God question: My testimony'.

  1. Here via the borrowing of an excerpt of your above text found at:

    http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/2009/07

    As a fellow non-believer I applaud you for coming to what I too believe is the correct course: a life without the weakness of religion and belief.

    I only hope you have found this change to be as liberating as did I and that your close friends and loved ones not admonish you for your change.

    forkboy1965

    11 Jul 09 at 9:45 am

  2. Thanks for the post forkboy and the encouragement. I hope the same. I’m sure it will cause a stir, but luckily most of my friends are not heavy churchgoers and are by my side. One just today one of my best friends replied to the post on facebook (I have a feed running from the blog to my facebook account) and he said that is was an eloquent and clear explanation. My parents and family will be the most disheartened, but it had to come out sometime. How did your family and friends take the news?

    Jeremy

    11 Jul 09 at 8:24 pm

  3. Here via the same as forkboy. My parents are disappointed, though only my mother tries to convince me of anything anymore, really. She tries to post things on my Facebook page blah blah blah. I don’t think any of my other family members care, and I’m nearly convinced that my father is actually an atheist who thinks Pascal’s Wager is enough to keep him going. Furthermore, he wouldn’t have a social life at all if it weren’t for going to church, and despite his claims that he dislikes everyone, he actually enjoys going there and playing guitar and what not.

    At this point, I’ve literally taken to snidely remarking on my mother’s silliness, as well as Catholic silliness, and I hope to force them to leave me alone, one way or the other.

    Your post is good. They sound well-thought-out, so I’ll be coming back here from time to time to check up on you. :) Have a good one.

    Kyle P.

    11 Jul 09 at 8:47 pm

  4. Kyle,
    Thanks for writing as well. Yeah I’m not sure how my parents will react. My sister will probably display the strongest reaction because she’s not soft-spoken like my mom and may ask me directly about this post when I see her tomorrow. lol (I’m scheduled to go see them for a b-day party). My mother has asked me numerous times in the last several months if I’m going to church somewhere, and I hinted that I have gone here or there a couple times (which is true), but the last time I just said, “Nah” when she asked if I went to church Sunday. My dad hasn’t had a word to say (but then again, he’s not on facebook) and I don’t know if he reads this blog or not. I guess we’ll see when I visit tomorrow. Fun times. Take care bro. – J.

    Jeremy

    11 Jul 09 at 10:00 pm

  5. My sister is surprisingly quiet. Dunno why. My mom is the blabbermouth of the family though, so we all knew she’d do that.

    By the way, wanted to say that you have no reason to be sorry. That’s the only part of this post that actually annoyed me! There had to be something, because it’s me, but still. Next up, “welp” isn’t a word. :D Peace.

    Kyle P.

    11 Jul 09 at 10:17 pm

  6. You are the second person I’ve come across to be bothered by the “I’m Sorry” line, so I deleted it. I really just meant, not that I was sorry for what I was saying, but sorry that I had not fit the bill or met certain folks expectations. But I see your point, and it was removed. And yes, “Welp” is not a word, but it was a more “relaxed” post to contrast the others, so I thought it was in order. lol

    Jeremy

    11 Jul 09 at 10:46 pm

  7. I “came out”, if you will, when I was 16. This after a growing up in a Catholic family and having attended a small, private Catholic school for K-8.

    I had already been expressing my doubts as early as the age of 12 so when I made the announcement it wasn’t exactly a shocker for my parents or sister.

    Regardless, their reaction was muted and respectful. I’m certain my parents, especially my mother, has never quite understood how I came to this point, but she has never attempted to change my mind, query me about my decision, etc. Both my parents have been neither supportive nor dismissive of my choice, which is best as is a personal choice over which they have no control or say.

    forkboy1965

    12 Jul 09 at 10:48 am

  8. I’m looking forward to (finally) taking the time to chronicle my deconversion experience… as a fellow former believer I’m grateful to those of you who share your stories in such a public forum. Thanks.

    Daniel Holter

    12 Jul 09 at 5:24 pm

  9. Great “testimony” Jeremy. Came to you via “Debunking Christianity”. I, too, have gone through a similar experience to your own. It’s been a long road that included a hell of a lot of reading, but like you, I had to come to a point where I was going to be honest with myself and pursue truth wherever I might find it. I remember the day last year when I finally said to myself, “I am an atheist”, it was like the scene in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, where he has to step out into space not knowing if there’s anything there to step on. But what I found was a profound sense of relief and the lifting of a burden I’d been carrying for years. I can now live life to the full. It also surprises me, now that I have rejected Christianity and become an atheist, just how many of us there are. It’s a growing community.

  10. @ Daniel, let me know when you do. I would like to read it.

    @ Stating the Obvious, Thanks for your comments. It has not been an easy road whatsoever, a hard one in fact, and your analogy about Indiana Jones is similar to what I experienced. Were people in your life upset when they found out?

    Jeremy

    14 Jul 09 at 10:06 am

  11. thanks for this entry, sir. i looked up jack miles, and he sounds interesting – never heard of him before. have you ever heard of bart ehrman (former evangelical)? kenneth miller (i think a current roman catholic, scientist, and evolutionist)? and francis collins (evolutionist, believes in resurrection)….? The range of differences in individual beliefs still fascinates me.

    richard

    15 Jul 09 at 6:03 pm

  12. Jeremy,
    I love you no matter what you currently believe. I will be praying for you. I know life has ben especially difficult for you. I am not going to try and platitude you. I will give you a piece of my testimony to which you can read or not. Zach and I were told that we would never have children ouside of medical help. I prayed (much as you must have) that He would have mercy on us and give us at least one child. After 2 years God sent a message through DQ for Zach and I to pray for others with children and ask God for his will in our life for 7 weeks. We did as instructed. Only to seven weeks after that find out that we were 7 weeks pregnant. If you add all that up that is prophecy and miraculous healing. Now some maytry to debunk it and say that it was just a coincidence. I believe not. I once again started asking God for healing. Zach and I desired another child. Nothing was happening. After choosing to follow God’s leading us to move again, we are now pregnant for a second time. For me this is more than enough proof that God exists and is alive in me. I will pray for you!!!!!! Please call us any time.
    Michelle

    Michelle L

    19 Jul 09 at 8:56 pm

  13. Jeremy, It is so strange to me that a person of your intelligence could be so stupid. I have read your newpaper articles and your blogs and you seem like a person that has been though tough times and at this point you just need someone to love you the way that God loves us – unconditionally. When I think about you and your blog, it just makes me think about how God will use you at a later date to minister to others who are going through hard times as you have. You will be able to show others how low you were and I know God will bring you out of this way of thinking. You don’t have to be a rocket scientists to know that there is a God – look around when you wake up every morning, feel His touch in the rain, the wind blowing, the sunshine on your face. The only reason you were allowed to step out of bed this morning was because God has a future for you and he’s not thru with you yet. I can’t wait to read about what God is going to do in your life. Right now, you are crying out for attention and love and you sure won’t find true love except through God. Know that a band of us are praying for you – God is still in control! J

    J

    20 Jul 09 at 8:16 am

  14. Jeremy, I am astonished that someone would question God’s existence just because they had fallen on hard times. I too have had many times in my life that I have struggled through different things but I knew at that time that my struggles were consquences of choices that I had made not God’s choices. If it weren’t for God’s gift of freewill to man, we would all be like little robots walking the face of the earth. God gave us the abillity to choose so that we could choose him, if not, it would be as if he had forced us all to believe and accept him. (if he made all the decisions for us, what would be our purpose?) We can all look around us and see someone who is in worse shape than we are. I know a man that grew up in Africa in a refugee camp for 29 years who on a daily basis had no more than flour and water for nourishment and never had a pair of shoes, underware, pants or anything. Yet he, praises the Lord today for his freedom and can see how his hard times (29 years worth) is nothing now but a testimony to others going through difficult times. When we question our maker we are doing nothing but asking for God’s wrath upon us. We can see many examples in God’s word were he was displeased with his children’s disbelief. I am concerned at this dangerous position you are taking against your maker who controls every breath you breathe. I am praying for you daily. You need to stand up and be a MAN, take responsibility for your actions, and blame yourself – not GOD. With love, Emily

    Emily

    20 Jul 09 at 8:31 am

  15. Jeremy, So often I look at what people are going through and feel sorry for them. And when I’m going through tough times, I am upset about it. But when I look at Joseph and all he went through, then see where that led, I understand that God has a plan for us in all that happens. If Joseph had not been put in that pit, then sold into slavery, then taken to the rulers, he would not have been in the place to save his family nor the children of Israel. Lord, please help me remember Joseph and his outcome when I’m in the midst of troubles I don’t understand. I pray that mine and Jeremy’s outcome will be a “Joseph outcome,” accomplishing God’s purpose. I am praying for you, Jeremy! A friend in Christ, T

    T

    20 Jul 09 at 9:14 am

  16. @ Michelle, Thanks for your prayers and for the love. That means a lot. Hope you and Zach are well.

    @ Emily, Thanks for taking the time to write. On talking about my physical circumstances, I was just explaining what I have been through and experienced (or not) with regard to prayer. Maybe I should have made it clearer. I didn’t mean to suggest my physical condition was the reason for my doubts. It’s not at all.

    @ J, Thanks for the prayers. Calling me stupid, however, isn’t going to help matters. We have very good reasons why rain falls and why the sun shines. I’m not after attention or love or hope, as I’ve said. I’ve got family and friends who love me, and I hope they will continue to do so no matter what. What I’m after is the truth, or as close to it as I can get. This has proven to be a harder road than anticipated, but at least I’m not being insincere anymore.

    Jeremy

    20 Jul 09 at 9:53 am

  17. I wasn’t calling you stupid! I was just comparing your brilliant work and writings to the way you are thinking right now. To this believer, I don’t see how you can make it one day without God by your side. Again, know I’m praying for you and your future. J

    J

    20 Jul 09 at 10:53 am

  18. Jeremy,

    Your question is do we want to be complacelent in our lives in living a faith that may or may not be true.

    I as a believer in Jesus Christ do not lead a complacent life.. Let me share with you my testimony of what God has done for me and my family! It will be six years ago this year that my mom was diagnosed breast cancer the doctors diagnosed her with stage 4 Cancer. Which very rarely has a good outcome. With the Faith that myself and my family have we immediate got on our knees….. I believe because we prayed to God with a open heart and claiming that he is the only one In the Miracle making business that he could heal my mom. Although it was tough and kept up on our knees for a long time he answered our prayers and healed her not only did he heal he allowed me to help someone all the way in Pennsylvania from South Carolina with the same problem. We had gone on a mission triip the week that my mom had her surgery. This partucular day we were doing a prayer walk … We stumbled across a house a went to the door. A young lady answered and we began talking. Toward the end of the conversation I asked her was there anything that We could pray about with her. She then began sobbing and told us that her mother had just been diagnosed with breast cancer stage 4 and they had little hope. My jaw dropped… God used me that day! He used me to give peace to his hurting child to know that God does allow thing to happen or not to happen for a reason that will benefit his Kingdom. That day she saw Christ for who he was. God uses me everyday. I have been happiness, saddness, anger and many more feelings with God. But that doesnt mean that he doesn’t excist. Mmy mom is proof of that. So to answer your question.. yes I would like to live my life believing in the one who gave me Life ! After all what do I have to lose… Live my whole life believeing that there is a God and find out in the end there is not or Live my whole life believing there not a God and in the end find out there really is a God. And spend a eternity in the Fiery pits of hell.Because one day we will find out 100% if there is a God bacause we don’t live forever, whether He takes us from the earth or chooses to return to bring us all home will will know the truth. I have lots of other stories to testify the truth of my Savior ! I would love to share with you!I will pray for you everyday in hopes that God can show you how he wants to use you. God has plan for you too. Open your heart Jeremy,Please let his planfor you for benefit His kingdom!!

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart , all your soul, and all your mind, Lean not on your own understanding.In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-5

    Proverbs 3:7&8 Do not be wise in your Own eyes:Fear the Lord and shun evil.This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.
    Love in Christ,

    God Loves you Jeremy!!!!!!!

    Krista

    Krista

    20 Jul 09 at 11:39 am

  19. @ J, You kinda did, but I do understand the comparison you were trying to make.

    @ Emily, One more thought. If that’s true about me being in a dangerous situation, I’ve been in it for years. I’m just now getting around to articulating it. Fear, by the way, is probably the worse reason I can think of to believe.

    I’m enjoying the conversation, though, guys. Keep ‘em coming!

    Jeremy

    20 Jul 09 at 11:51 am

  20. Jeremy, have you thought why you were asking these questions regarding the existance of God? You are a well-read man as you referenced numerous authors in your blog. Do some research, but be careful who you read after.
    If you really want to know God go directly to the Author and He will reveal Himself to you. First, you need to understand that all are sinners in need of a Savior because we do not have the ability to pay the debt of our sin and to save our own souls from destruction; then pray asking God to open your heart to understand His Word and then read the Book of John. God promises “if you seek me, you will find me when you search with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
    “. . whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37
    Your questions could be from God wanting you to search for Him until you truly find Him.
    You will be amazed at how the “contradictions” in the Bible, as you mentioned, will be cleared up as you have a better understanding.
    I cannot talk you into believing – that is the work of the Holy Spirit, but I offer you encouragement and hope in Christ Jesus at this time in your life. May God grant you peace in Him alone.

    Sam

    20 Jul 09 at 1:42 pm

  21. Fear is not the reason I believe, however; the one I serve is the giver of life. It is out of reverence that I serve. He is all powerful, all knowing, and wonderful! If you had ever really truly known Him, you would have no doubts either. You have probably as I, been associated with churches that teach shallow lessons on what the Bible has to say. It was not until in my adult life when I began to dig in the word myself that my faith became my own instead of something that my parents taught me to believe. Are you digging in the word and giving it an equal chance just like you are digging in the world? I challenge you! Emily

    Emily

    20 Jul 09 at 2:49 pm

  22. Hi Jeremy,
    I am not an intellectual and would not try to reach you or change your mind by debating science. But I am going to pray for you and tell you what I am praying. :)
    I am praying that the Lord will do a supernatural work that the “intellects” of this world can’t explain! Then I pray that you will be used by the Lord in a mighty way!!! I pray you’ll be able to witness to all the people who read your blog and encourage them in the Lord! You will have such a strong ministry and be able to reach many people after going through this! I pray that the things you learned as a child about God will flood your mind continually so much so that you won’t be able to get away from it! That scripture and hynms fill your every thought! And that after God reveals himself and you turn back to him HE will be glorified that you went through and came out of this season! :)
    If you really truly don’t believe in God, then it won’t bother you at all that I am praying this! I can’t wait to see what the Lord does with you! :)

    Jenn robinson

    20 Jul 09 at 9:05 pm

  23. @ Krista, I dare say that as many people as you can name who have been helped by cancer treatments, or even healed, as many or more haven’t been as lucky. Your mom is an uplifting story, that’s for sure – and so am I, I suppose – but a cancer survivor doesn’t equal proof of God. What would have come of her if she hadn’t lived before cancer treatments were invented? You probably don’t want to think about it, and God wasn’t in the business of healing folks of pneumonia, consumption (tuberculosis), typhoid fever, the black plague or any of the diseases that wrecked mankind in earlier centuries before modern medicine came around. You should count your stars that you are alive in a time when medicine can do much to make people’s live better and even sustain them for longer periods of time, as do I.

    You summon Pascal’s Wager there at the end, which I’ve already written about. To spend an entire life living for something that may not exist, to counter, all that time spent, effort, tithes, all for a false hope, as if to skip over this life, and clamber toward the next without knowing full well that there even is a next. I don’t know that I can be resigned to giving up this life, the only one I’ve known, for a next, which I’ve never known and don’t have any proof at all that it exists in the first place.

    One definition for the world “eternal” reads: “valid or existing at all times : timeless ” from Merriam Webster. If we are eternal beings, it would seem that we might have some level of consciousness before birth as well as after. But I’ve got no memories before birth; do you? This eternal life begins at death? How is that possible if our existence is timeless? How can we be transubstantiated (I understand the Catholic undertones) from an earthly, finite being in life, to an eternal being in death without assuming we were eternal from the start?

    Just some thoughts. I appreciate your posts and keep reading if you like. The debate is a healthy one. Thanks!

    Jeremy

    21 Jul 09 at 12:10 am

  24. @ Sam, Thanks for your reply. I appreciate you taking the time and caring enough to send your thoughts. First, the two passages you referenced have been proven inaccurate by me:

    God promises “if you seek me, you will find me when you search with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13
    “. . whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” John 6:37

    As I noted clearly in this post, I did seek God “with all (my) heart” and received dumb silence. Now, that doesn’t disprove God, but it does, at the least, say he either wasn’t listening, was too busy or not there. I stated numerous times that I’ve called out and got no answer. I was hungry for an answer. Begging for one. And not one single word. I wanted to hear it, tried to create it with my own voice, heard nothing but my own voice and was stymied. My questions can’t be predicated from God. If they are, he best hurry up because I’m losing ground, and he’s getting farther away. lol. Further, the fact that he would let me slip this very far says something about this all-loving father.

    So, you quote Jeremiah 29:13, which says, “if you seek me, you will find me when you search with all your heart.” But I point to Ezek. 34:12, which says, “As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. (KJV)”

    So which is it? Are we to seek God out or the other way around? You just proved my point that the Bible gives contradictory information at different points. Has God rectified that contradiction for you?

    For all my argumentation, I do appreciate you posting and by all means, keep it up!. Thanks. – J.

    Jeremy

    21 Jul 09 at 12:40 am

  25. @ Emily, If there was no hell, fire and brimstone, would you still believe? The one that you believe in also a taker, for he full well has the power to save any life on earth he wished. The power to heal others, and me, physically, and the power to help any number of ills in this world.

    … The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. – Job 1: 20-21 (KJV)

    But indeed, we are forced to scratch, claw and get by in this life on our own volition, while sometimes attributing it to God, and in bad times, asking for his help. By the way, because I mentioned it, the story of Job is the one of the most monstrous tales in the Old Testament.

    Jeremy

    21 Jul 09 at 1:09 am

  26. Jeremy,

    Call it modern medicine if you will but God did save my mom. I know that with all my heart. I know that medicine helped, but God created us and the doctors and the ones with the intellegience to create the medicine, You honestly think that God had nothing to do with creation? Look around too much detail to just poof and he we are… The earth is in such a place that if we were any closer to the sun we burn up or any closer to the moon we would freeze death that doesnt just happen. God placed it there God placed me here and God placed you here. You can believe what you want , but I know that God exist my Faith is stronger than any science could be and My life is better here on earth because Christ is a part of it. So it’s not a waste, Good times or Bad we are made stronger in our faith. When we are saved God never said that he would make everything perfect, he didnt live in a perfect life although he was perfect he was persecuted goodness he was killed for us. So I dont think that anything we go through is half as bad as what Christ endured for us, and I Love Him and thank Him everyday that even life that day may be bad that there is so much to be thankful for. There is so much more to look foward to, because of Him . In your response to J. God doesnt leave us. We leave him we fill our lives with so much sin that WE seperate ourselves from Christ. He is always there. He will always Love us too. He has given you so much obviously you are a very bright person and sounds like you have been blessed with a family that truly loves you!!! I pray that you will see His Love for you in these circumstances.

    Serving Him Always,

    Krista

    Krista

    21 Jul 09 at 9:58 am

  27. Krista,
    Thanks for the reply. Yes, it does seem improbable and miraculous to us that a planet like Earth does exist with conditions so right for life. But as I’ve already noted in the above post, there is no getting around the fact that the earth and our solar system exist in a group of galaxies, in which the Milky Way is just one, in which there are billions in just the observable universe. We exist on a spiral arm of our own galaxy and compared to everything else, this planet is comparable to the size of a speck of sand, or less. Just this week, NASA discovered a recent small mark or indentation on Jupiter which was itself the size of Earth! Anyway, given that billions of galaxies are known to exist, it’s conceivable that through time innumerable “failed” planets have sprung up but could not support life for one reason or another. Given the billions that have come and gone, the likelihood that a planet like earth would form at some point isn’t all that inconceivable. Thanks for the post!

    Jeremy

    21 Jul 09 at 12:24 pm

  28. I’ll be praying for you and your journey!

    Krista

    21 Jul 09 at 1:03 pm

  29. Sorry I hit submit by accident.. I will pray that God will show you through a way that only can be His work!!

    Krista

    21 Jul 09 at 1:06 pm

  30. Thank you, thank you all for your wonderful comments to Jeremy regarding his disbelief in God. I am heartbroken as well as our family about this new revelation of his. We pray for Jeremy every day and pray that someone will say a word or comment that would cause him to believe once again. We pray that God will reveal himself to Jeremy in a mighty and miraculous way. Dear Lord, please bathe Jeremy in the prayers of the saints and show him your love and who you are. We love you, Jeremy, more than words can say!!!!!!

    Mama

    22 Jul 09 at 9:25 am

  31. Jeremy,
    There is on contradiction in the two passages Jeremiah 29:13 and Ezekiel 34:12 – none at all. God seeks his people and draws us to him, making us aware of our need of a Savior. The Holy Spirit works in our hearts to convict us that we need a Savior and we could never pay the sin debt. God provides payment for that debt through Jesus Christ. (“As a shepherd seeketh out his flock. . “) Believers are to search the Word of God to learn how to love God and be obedient him. (“…if you seek me..”)
    Relationships grow through communication. God communes with us through His Word and the Holy Spirit living in us; and we communicate with Him through the study and reading of His Word and in prayer.
    May you find contentment and hope in the Scriptures.

    Sam

    22 Jul 09 at 2:02 pm

  32. @ Sam: The passage in Jeremiah is being spoken by God to the elders of Israel who had been "caused (by God, it's interesting to note) to be carried away from Jerusalem to Babylon." So, yes, you may be right that the verse is addressed to believers (but not believers in Christ since this predates his first coming), but the same apparent contradiction is repeated within that passage, from Jer. 29:10-13.

    After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place.

    So, we have God taking the initiative first of causing the people to return and then in verse 13, "you will seek and find me" when you search with all your heart, and then in verse 14, "I will be found by you." In the context of the story, this seems to make no sense at all. God causes them to be taken captive and then after letting them sweat it out 70 years in Babylon, he initiates the first exchange by visiting the people and causing them to return back to the place wherefrom he caused them to be displaced in the first place. But then he indicates that he "knows the thoughts that I think toward you," presuming that he would again take the initiative to seek them out because those are positive thoughts, but then immediately says, "you will seek and find me" and "I will be found by you." Needless to say, the Holy Spirit has, as of yet, failed to convict me of such a need as you mention that I can't repay the sin debt. Even when I believed, it was out of fear, mostly. I certainly believed in Christ at one time, but essence of that belief was grounded in a fear that had me looking toward the skies daily for the second coming (I must note, I did not want this end to come anytime soon. I had thoughts, in my early life, that I did not want my life to come to an early end via a second coming). So, I dare say, the onus, as you say, is on him, not me, to convict me.

    Jeremy

    22 Jul 09 at 7:26 pm

  33. Jeremy,

    I just wanted to say that I have gone through a remarkably similar set of experiences with similar results. I came to a point in which I had to be honest not only with myself but also with those around me about what I believed or did not believe. I would like to encourage you in your pursuit of the truth and I admire the courage it takes to be willing to stand on your own 2 feet and determine for yourself what you believe to be true based on evidence and reason. It has not been an easy road for me either, but I am glad to be on it. You may lose a few friends along the way as I have, but if you are like me you will discover which of them can be counted on even when something as profound as this is at stake. I am glad you have chosen to be friendly to the well meaning believers on this forum who have made an effort to convince you that you are in error because of your departure from the faith. I have encountered many of these same pleas from my own friends and loved ones and I choose to remain on good terms with any and all of them who are willing to disagree amicably. I do not see the need to offer support for any of the arguments you have presented here as you appear to have deft command of your reasoning faculties. So instead I will just reiterate my support and wish you a long a full life. Cheers.

    Jason

    22 Jul 09 at 11:34 pm

  34. @ Jason, Thanks for taking the time to reply. I would be interested to know more about your experiences along your journey, if you feel comfortable sharing it either here or in my e-mail at styron@hotmail.com. Thanks for the kind words.

    Jeremy

    23 Jul 09 at 12:47 am

  35. I am currently in the process of writing my story which I intend to post on http://www.deconversion.org

    There are a lot of very compelling stories posted on the site by people who have gone through the de-conversion process. Their posts along with yours have inspired me to finally lay out my own story. Everyone who is close to me already knows that I am no longer a Christian, but few of them really know why. What they clearly don’t understand (based upon the content of their pleas for me to return to God) is that it’s not because I’m angry, it’s not because I just want to do whatever I want without accountability nor is it because of a lack of desire to believe. What I would like to convey to them is that I agonized over this. I studied my Bible, I prayed HARD for a long time for God to intervene in ANY way to convince me that he was there. The more I prayed without result, the more I studied, the more evident it became that God (at very least the God as described in the Bible) does not exist. So far, it’s been very cathartic to lay out the entire ordeal into an organized account. I should have it completed and posted in the next few days. If you would like, I will return to your comment section here and link to my story. In the meantime, I would highly recommend that you read some of the stories that can be found at deconversion.org if you have not done so already. Let me link one here that I personally found especially compelling.

    http://de-conversion.com/2009/06/18/irrespective-of-what-you-think-my-de-conversion-story/

    Jason

    23 Jul 09 at 10:24 am

  36. Just a minor correction, the first link should have been.

    http://de-conversion.com/

    Jason

    23 Jul 09 at 10:39 am

  37. Jason,
    I prayed the same type of prayers as you. I look forward to reading your story. Perhaps I will post my own at some point (I have here, but perhaps to that site as well). It brings great comfort to me that I’m not alone in holding the feeling that God has given many of those who have seeked him nothing but abject silence, like the wonderful testimony to which you linked. Best, – J.

    Jeremy

    23 Jul 09 at 10:24 pm

  38. Jeremy,

    What a testimony! I’m glad Jason introduced you to the d-C site, and hope you get something from what you read there. You’re braver than I am in opening yourself up to such criticism and emotional attacks from those you love, but I can’t say you haven’t chosen the better path. I see that you are also being given love and support (sometimes from the same people), and that’s always wonderful to see. You’re not alone in the conclusions you’ve reached, or in the reactions you’ve inspired, for whatever that’s worth. It’s good to see someone taking the search for truth so seriously, and managing to do it without coming to despise the faith one is leaving. I wish you all the best!

    Take care,
    Q.

    Quester

    24 Jul 09 at 12:57 am

  39. Quester,
    Thanks for your comments. Yes, it’s been a hard road and I’m not particularly happy that I’ve upset most everybody in my immediate family, but it had to come out…like a powder keg, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I do indeed find solace in some of the stories at the d-C site, yes, and am glad to know I’m not alone. Heck, as you know, there are pastors who probably believed more fervently than I ever did who have concluded otherwise. Thanks again for your post. My best to you as well.
    Jeremy

    Jeremy

    25 Jul 09 at 11:19 pm

  40. Read James 1: 5-8

    5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do

    J

    28 Jul 09 at 8:03 am

  41. I prayed in all sincerity and in all belief for years for that very thing without a hint of wavering in believing that He would make it so. As I’ve already recounted, I heard or felt not one thing. Either he will come and make himself known to me (because how can this all-loving father bear to see his own children walk themselves into the flames?) or he’s not there. I understand that he’s not (nor should be) a cosmic Santa Claus up there just handing out blessings, and I thanked him for what I did have when I used to pray. But how much should a person be expected to ask for wisdom, his knowledge, truth? God can’t expect us to be on our knees nearly everyday for 10 years, hearing not one utterance, inwardly or outwardly, or compulsion, and then carry on believing as if he’s there without one personal bit of proof to the contrary. Ultimately, if he cares so much, why should we have to try so hard?

    Jeremy

    28 Jul 09 at 10:55 am

  42. Jeremy, when I read this I thought of you. It seems like I’m thinging about you a lot lately. I am praying for you!
    Job 38
    The LORD Speaks
    1 Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:

    2 “Who is this that darkens my counsel
    with words without knowledge?

    3 Brace yourself like a man;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.

    4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
    Tell me, if you understand.

    5 Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
    Who stretched a measuring line across it?

    6 On what were its footings set,
    or who laid its cornerstone-

    7 while the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels [a] shouted for joy?

    8 “Who shut up the sea behind doors
    when it burst forth from the womb,

    9 when I made the clouds its garment
    and wrapped it in thick darkness,

    10 when I fixed limits for it
    and set its doors and bars in place,

    11 when I said, ‘This far you may come and no farther;
    here is where your proud waves halt’?

    12 “Have you ever given orders to the morning,
    or shown the dawn its place,

    13 that it might take the earth by the edges
    and shake the wicked out of it?

    14 The earth takes shape like clay under a seal;
    its features stand out like those of a garment.

    15 The wicked are denied their light,
    and their upraised arm is broken.

    16 “Have you journeyed to the springs of the sea
    or walked in the recesses of the deep?

    17 Have the gates of death been shown to you?
    Have you seen the gates of the shadow of death [b] ?

    18 Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know all this.

    19 “What is the way to the abode of light?
    And where does darkness reside?

    20 Can you take them to their places?
    Do you know the paths to their dwellings?

    21 Surely you know, for you were already born!
    You have lived so many years!

    22 “Have you entered the storehouses of the snow
    or seen the storehouses of the hail,

    23 which I reserve for times of trouble,
    for days of war and battle?

    24 What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
    or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

    25 Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
    and a path for the thunderstorm,

    26 to water a land where no man lives,
    a desert with no one in it,

    27 to satisfy a desolate wasteland
    and make it sprout with grass?

    28 Does the rain have a father?
    Who fathers the drops of dew?

    29 From whose womb comes the ice?
    Who gives birth to the frost from the heavens

    30 when the waters become hard as stone,
    when the surface of the deep is frozen?

    31 “Can you bind the beautiful [c] Pleiades?
    Can you loose the cords of Orion?

    32 Can you bring forth the constellations in their seasons [d]
    or lead out the Bear [e] with its cubs?

    33 Do you know the laws of the heavens?
    Can you set up God’s [f] dominion over the earth?

    34 “Can you raise your voice to the clouds
    and cover yourself with a flood of water?

    35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
    Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?

    36 Who endowed the heart [g] with wisdom
    or gave understanding to the mind [h] ?

    37 Who has the wisdom to count the clouds?
    Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens

    38 when the dust becomes hard
    and the clods of earth stick together?

    39 “Do you hunt the prey for the lioness
    and satisfy the hunger of the lions

    40 when they crouch in their dens
    or lie in wait in a thicket?

    41 Who provides food for the raven
    when its young cry out to God
    and wander about for lack of food?

    Job 39

    1 “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth?
    Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn?

    2 Do you count the months till they bear?
    Do you know the time they give birth?

    3 They crouch down and bring forth their young;
    their labor pains are ended.

    4 Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds;
    they leave and do not return.

    5 “Who let the wild donkey go free?
    Who untied his ropes?

    6 I gave him the wasteland as his home,
    the salt flats as his habitat.

    7 He laughs at the commotion in the town;
    he does not hear a driver’s shout.

    8 He ranges the hills for his pasture
    and searches for any green thing.

    9 “Will the wild ox consent to serve you?
    Will he stay by your manger at night?

    10 Can you hold him to the furrow with a harness?
    Will he till the valleys behind you?

    11 Will you rely on him for his great strength?
    Will you leave your heavy work to him?

    12 Can you trust him to bring in your grain
    and gather it to your threshing floor?

    13 “The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully,
    but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.

    14 She lays her eggs on the ground
    and lets them warm in the sand,

    15 unmindful that a foot may crush them,
    that some wild animal may trample them.

    16 She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers;
    she cares not that her labor was in vain,

    17 for God did not endow her with wisdom
    or give her a share of good sense.

    18 Yet when she spreads her feathers to run,
    she laughs at horse and rider.

    19 “Do you give the horse his strength
    or clothe his neck with a flowing mane?

    20 Do you make him leap like a locust,
    striking terror with his proud snorting?

    21 He paws fiercely, rejoicing in his strength,
    and charges into the fray.

    22 He laughs at fear, afraid of nothing;
    he does not shy away from the sword.

    23 The quiver rattles against his side,
    along with the flashing spear and lance.

    24 In frenzied excitement he eats up the ground;
    he cannot stand still when the trumpet sounds.

    25 At the blast of the trumpet he snorts, ‘Aha!’
    He catches the scent of battle from afar,
    the shout of commanders and the battle cry.

    26 “Does the hawk take flight by your wisdom
    and spread his wings toward the south?

    27 Does the eagle soar at your command
    and build his nest on high?

    28 He dwells on a cliff and stays there at night;
    a rocky crag is his stronghold.

    29 From there he seeks out his food;
    his eyes detect it from afar.

    30 His young ones feast on blood,
    and where the slain are, there is he.”

    Emily

    30 Jul 09 at 12:23 pm

  43. Thanks for your thought and prayers, Emily.

    Jeremy

    30 Jul 09 at 2:44 pm

  44. You have it wrong, Max. People who are required to obey and imitate a madman in all things for all time have no other essence; stray from that pattern and they can be killed by any Muslim with impunity. If their wives or children stray from that pattern, “honor killings” usually follow. According to Islam, the Torah and Gospels have been corrupted, and the only true Jews or Christians are those in compliance with the Koran. To learn of Christian “rights” in an Islamic state, research “The Treaty of Umar.” That’s the law that should be turned on them!

    Kalyn Volmar

    10 Mar 12 at 4:07 am

Leave a Reply

30 queries in 1.131