At what point am I no longer a Christian?

October 15, 2008 at 9:04 am 69 comments

It is common sentiment among Christians that “it’s ok to have doubts.” In fact, I have a friend who is a Presbyterian Minister who told me recently that he sees his faith as a form of agnosticism.

However, the question I’ve always pondered is – how much doubt is too much?

  • I doubt that Jesus was born of a virgin. Is that ok? Am I still a Christian?
  • I doubt that the bible is an accurate representation of events. Is that ok? Am I still a Christian?
  • I doubt that we can really know exactly what Jesus did or said? Am I still a Christian?

I could pretend not to doubt, but I’m not sure that this is enough.

Christians tend to answer this by trying to convince me that I’m wrong.  However, that completely misses the point. Is it ok to doubt or is it not?

If I doubt that Jesus is god, am I a Christian with doubts, or a non-Christian?

- QuestionMonkey

Entry filed under: QuestionMonkey. Tags: , , , .

Book Feature: Christian No More by Jeff Mark De-converts: Are Christians Really as Bad as You Think?

69 Comments Add your own

  • 1. BigHouse  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:37 am

    This is a great question and I’m curious to see if we’ll actually get some good discussion on this, rather than the venom-spewing proseletyzers that seem too frequent these days.

    I was always told in my American Baptist days that once you were saved you couldn’t lose it. Though, I’d imagine that if I unequivocally and publicly denounced my prior “accepting of Jesus into my heart”, I’d probably get the “you were never saved then in the first-place” claptrap.

    So, in short, I don’t have an answer, though I think from my experience, you need to go pretty far to no longer being a Christian.

  • 2. 1minionsopinion  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:40 am

    I think doubt is healthy. It means you’re aware of a discrepancy between what you’ve been told and what might actually be the case. You don’t have to take an authority’s word for something. You can find out for yourself if it’s right, if it’s true enough. Do the research. You can find out for yourself if it’s something you can still believe to be true, or something you should leave behind.

    One of the (many) problems I had with religion was the “don’t question this” mentality. It’s this way because God wants it this way, don’t rock the boat. Don’t use your brain. Don’t look up the history of the stuff we say is true. We don’t want you to get curious about why this faith evolved to have these beliefs because you might quit believing in them once you have more information.

    You’ll have to decide for yourself if you can doubt what you’re told but still hold onto the faith. Learn about the history of the faith you hold. Learn more about the cultures it grew out of, the civilizations that rose and faltered and faded. Other gods in history, other belief systems. There really isn’t one right answer to what a god should be, no matter how much a priest or pastor might insist.

  • 3. The de-Convert  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:41 am

    BigHouse,

    The reality is there are many within the Christian faith who already have labeled most of the rest of Christianity as non-Christians.

    The Bible Answer Man, Hank H., has labeled the entire Word-Faith movement and all their mega-churches as a cult and non-Christian.

    I had Church of Christ friends who labeled me a non-Christian because I didn’t go to their church or participated in communion every Sunday or a variety of other issues.

    Most of Evangelical Christianity label Mormons and JWs as non-Christian.

    Many ultra-pentecostals will label Catholics as non-Christian.

    If those who claim to be Christian have so many issues with others who claim to be Christian, how much more will they have of those who start doubting a few of their “essentials”?

    Paul

  • 4. qmonkey  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:54 am

    I’m hardly to blame for my doubt though am i?

    It’s not something I have control over.
    As noted, I could pretend to myself and others that i think something is true… but an all knowing god would see through that.

    The faith/doubt paradox is fatal to the Christian theology – in my humble opinion.

  • 5. The de-Convert  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:57 am

    James 1:6b-8

    …he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

  • 6. micey  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:58 am

    It is okay to doubt… check this link out… This fella does a whole intelligent presentation on doubt – http://www.rzim.org/USA/Resources/Listen/JustThinking.aspx?archive=1&pid=1211
    Have a great day!

  • 7. qmonkey  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:01 am

    micey… yeah, i know its ok.. as in, its not gonna go to jail for it.

    the point is, i guess. if i doubt that Jesus even existed… can i still be a Christian ?

    hence the post title…

  • 8. ollie  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:03 am

    Interesting.

    A few months ago I took a belief.net quiz on “what kind of Christian are you”. I expected to grade out as “an atheist” as that is what I consider myself (and yes, this was an option).

    I answered the question honestly.

    My score came out as a “liberal Christian; like Hillary Clinton”.

    WFT????

    Well, the reason they called me a Christian is that I believe that Jesus existed and that he did somethings which were given supernatural embellishment by people who came well after him.

    Some of my Christian friends tell me that I am really not an atheist but rather someone who threw away their childhood god.

  • 9. Rover  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:13 am

    QMonkey,

    I can relate to this. I am a very active memeber in a conservative Christian church. I love it. I love serving the people, I enjoy teaching and preaching. But I have many doubts about some doctrines that are dear to this brand of Christianity. If I shared these doubts openly I would be looked at as “dangerous” to the faith. If I actually stated that I believed that some of the tenants of my faith are wrong I would be asked to leave. To be fair, I think that makes sense. You can’t have someone creating dissention in your church. It is not prodcutive and in fact rather destructive to the body. To answer your question more precisely, I think it is ok to doubt, but if you come to conclusions that are at odds with the stated beliefs and purpose of your church you should go elsewhere. If you no longer follow the teachings of Jesus because you don’t believe you can know what they are, then why would you want to call yourself a Christian? Yes we can doubt, but when we make up our minds that we can no longer follow Jesus for whatever reason then I don’t think we should call ourselves Christians. This is just me thinking out loud. I look forward to reading other opinions.

  • 10. qmonkey  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:20 am

    Rover.. interesting

    I think your description is actually what pans out in reality.

    I’m not saying that ‘i want’ to be labelled a Christian, i’m just putting the question… is there a point were its NOT ok to doubt and still be a Christian.

    Then comes the problem that one does not have control over ones doubts (unless we are self deluded)… if i am not convinced by evidence or argument… then its the fault of either the argument or my intelligence. Faith & doubt, I propose shouldn’t come in to it.

  • 11. BigHouse  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:50 am

    Then comes the problem that one does not have control over ones doubts (unless we are self deluded)… if i am not convinced by evidence or argument… then its the fault of either the argument or my intelligence. Faith & doubt, I propose shouldn’t come in to it.

    This is an excellent point and I think what causes many differences in “sect” of Christianity.

    Is it about following “rules” or is it what’s in your heart? And if you sincerely arrive to the conclusion of no God in your heart, are you really punished for it?

    This is indeed a silver bullet for the faith and one that was pretty strong for me.

  • 12. orDover  |  October 15, 2008 at 11:11 am

    I know for certain that when I was a Christian I would have said that as soon as you really doubt that Jesus was god and died for mankind’s sin, then you aren’t a Christian anymore.

    If think about the steps to becoming a Christian, those two points are central. In fact, they are almost all you need to believe in. So I think when you lose faith (or give up faith) in the deity and savior aspects of Jesus then you’ve given up the main tenets of the faith. You could still believe in the idea of “do unto others” and “love your neighbor” and practice Christian charity and compassion, but there are several people who believe in those things and not the deity of Christ. So how are we to tell them apart? What is the difference between being a Christian and a good person? I think it all boils down to what you think of Jesus and how certain or uncertain you are that he died for the sins of man.

  • 13. James McGrath  |  October 15, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    If not believing in the divinity of Jesus makes one not a Christian, then clearly few if any of the earliest Christians were Christians by this definition. If belief in the virgin birth is essential, then Paul wasn’t a Christian.

    I could go on. But it seems to me that the only absolutely essential thing to being a Christian is to seek to follow Jesus. Following him today need not mean doing exactly what his followers have done in the past. And the desire to follow may lead one to investigate matters of history and ultimately reach different conclusions than the majority of Christians today. That doesn’t make one not a Christian (although it will by the standards of some, but the accusation could readily be turned back on those making it).

  • 14. qmonkey  |  October 15, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    So James…

    in essence then you’re saying that one doesn’t even need to be convinced that Jesus actually historically existed… as long as you follow the general teaching – as reported in the bible.

    It certainly gets around the issue of faith/doubt, but it starts to seem a bit meaningless.

  • 15. SnugglyBuffalo  |  October 15, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Some of my Christian friends tell me that I am really not an atheist but rather someone who threw away their childhood god.

    I’d be curious to know what definition of atheist excludes someone who gave up their childhood god. This really sounds to me like it’s a case of Christians treating “atheist” as a dirty word. They don’t want any association with atheism, so they justify their friendships with you by saying that you’re not really an atheist.

  • 16. theshippingnews  |  October 15, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    I believe Jesus was fairly accepting of doubt in his apostle, Thomas. He wanted, of course, to demonstrate the reality of his claims and no doubt would have preferred that Thomas had taken them on faith, but he was still willing to provide evidence when asked.

    More importantly, I think doubt is a natural consequence of faith. It’s hard to imagine being human without some sort of balance between the two, even when we don’t want to admit it. And I think many of the religious would rather die than admit their doubt.

    So I wouldn’t worry about labeling yourself Christian simply because you believe or doubt. I’d be more concerned about being human and allowing yourself to listen to what your brain is telling you.

  • 17. micey  |  October 15, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    I guess if you doubt He existed, you need to search for Him more… unless of course you have no desire to search for Him… I think if you have no desire to search for Him, then you might be in trouble. That sermon spoke of this problem and he said as long as you have a strong desire to believe it’s all true then you just need more information to make sense of it all… that is normal and acceptable doubt… we all want to know and understand more… we don’t want to just have blind faith…

  • 18. qmonkey  |  October 15, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    >>>I guess if you doubt He existed, you need to search for Him more…

    Respectfully… that kinda assumes you’re correct. Does that logic work with …eh… the loch ness monster… or the Unicorn or king arthur.. or whatever?

    >>>That sermon spoke of this problem and he said as long as you have a strong desire to believe it’s all true then you just need more information to make sense of it al

    you don’t see anything weird about that? If you have a ‘strong desire to believe’ you are suseptable to all kinds of nonsense.

  • 19. Rover  |  October 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    I guess it is similiar to the question, “what do you have to believe in order to be a republican or a democrat.” If I don’t believe any of the basic republican principles shouldn’t I migrate to a party that more appropriately reflects my point of view? You can have those who don’t adhere to all of the views of the party, like Rudy or McCain and still consider them Republicans, but certainly Obama could never make it as a Republican. What am I saying? I think to be a Christian one at least has to believe in a Jesus. The level to which you believe he is accurrately presented in the Bible will determine where you fall on the conservative-liberal religious spectrum. If you don’t believe in Jesus at all or that there is nothing we can factually know about him or his teachings then I would say that you are not a Christian. I think labels have to mean something, but I could be wrong.

  • 20. Cereal Man  |  October 15, 2008 at 3:19 pm

    This is one of the best posts that I’ve read here in a long time. De-converting, doubt, unbelief – none of this is either-or. So it is an excellent question.

    Even Christians themselves have many different ways in how they define a Christian.

    Even though I no longer accept most of the orthodox tenets of the Christian faith, I still call myself a Christian (in some cases, I ask people first what they mean when they say “Christian”). I call myself a Christian on the basis that I still consider myself a follower of Jesus.

  • 21. CheezChoc  |  October 15, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    micey,
    The vast majority of folks on this board have spent years or even decades searching but not necessarily finding.
    For many, getting more information and applying critical thinking skills only makes things less clear and more confusing.
    The Baptist church I came from pretty much insisted on blind faith of the unquestioning sort.

    I’m still trying to figure things out, but pat answers and tired cliches don’t do it for me.

  • 22. micey  |  October 15, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    Pardon me, but do you not believe at all? are these rhetorical questions? are you skeptical? maybe I’m not understanding a simple question?

  • 23. Paul H.  |  October 15, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Did Jesus say he was God? Saying he’s one with the Father means he’s a representative, like “power of attorney,” not one identity. Otherwise he would have directly said, “I am the Lord, God,” or something clear to that effect.

  • 24. Stephen P  |  October 15, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    I have lived half my life in a country other than the one whose nationality I have. People sometimes ask me which country I feel I “really” belong to. My answer is that I neither know nor care. I am perfectly bilingual and can switch languages in mid-sentence if I feel like it. Some people think it terribly important to have a box labelled ‘American’ or ‘French’ or ‘Serb’ or ‘Greek’ which they can identify themselves as belonging to. And just as important, it sometimes appears, which they can identify others as not belonging to. I do not feel that need.

    So it is with religions. Some people think it terribly important to have defined boxes to put people into – even though, as some commenters have already noted, there is absolutely no agreement as to where the walls between these boxes lie. But a very noticeable tendency in Europe, which accompanies the general decrease in religion, is a decrease in solid identification with a specific religion or denomination.

    In a nutshell, my reply to the question “am I a Christian with doubts, or a non-Christian?” would be “does having a label really help?” Does it actually matter?

  • 25. BigHouse  |  October 15, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    I agree, the label is largely irrelevant, from a cosmic point of view.

    As such, I pose the question a little differently: At what point does a previously “saved” person get “unsaved”? And what role does doubt play in that process?

  • 26. orDover  |  October 15, 2008 at 5:58 pm

    Did Jesus say he was God? Saying he’s one with the Father means he’s a representative, like “power of attorney,” not one identity. Otherwise he would have directly said, “I am the Lord, God,” or something clear to that effect.

    Jesus said a lot of cryptic things uniting him to “the Father,” such as “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?” (John 14:9). But you could make an argument for pretty much every one of those that either he was indeed being cryptic or referring himself to a sort of God proxy, but not actually God.

    But the Bible does say, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1), which seems to point to the fact that whoever wrote that passage at least considered Jesus as the same thing as God.

  • 27. Joan Ball  |  October 15, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    I love this post and discussion because it touches on a lot of questions I have about the variety of approaches to Christian faith. I am a believer…pretty Orthodox in my faith by many (but not all) standards. There are also many things that I question and don’t understand.Yet,(maybe since I didn’t grow up in church?) I’ve never felt like being unsure about one element or another was a big problem. In fact, I’ve always considered doubt, wonder and uncertainty to be the mother of research and invention and thorough examination of any question. It has, in many ways, informed my journey so far.

    I’m not sure what I believe about this saved/unsaved or doubting Christian vs unbeliever question. And it is a very good one. In addition to my personal blog, I write for a primarily evangelical/kids of evangelical site. I think I’m going to pose some of these questions over there and see what, if any comments come up.

  • 28. Joan Ball  |  October 15, 2008 at 8:41 pm

    I just thought of something. I have a background in addiction recovery and this question made me think about people who are on the cusp. Not yet sober, but not out there actively drinking. These folks might drink one night, not drink for a few nights, then go back ad infinitem. Most people, in my experience, cannot exist in this middle spot forever. It is too hard. Too painful. At some point it is easier to make a decision…I am going to surrender and get sober or I am going to surrender and drink (interestingly both require a sort of surrender). I have met people who were in that middle spot who, despite that fact that they were in and out, were clearly on the road to sobriety. Others who are in and out are clearly on the road back out into drinking without boundaries. Maybe the de-converted (or de-converting) Christian is a lot like those drunks (I say that lovingly as I am one.) Maybe there are doubters who are still on the road toward God and others that are on their way from God. At some point, when the decision is made. When the individual either says…God I will believe despite my doubt or God I no longer believe in you…that line between doubting Christian/former Christian becomes less gray and more certain.

    Just a thought…

  • 29. silentj  |  October 15, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Joan, as much as your analogy was a loving one, you know its going to lead to a number of responses. Why can’t the Christians be the drunks! ;)

  • 30. Religion and Religulous « blueollie  |  October 15, 2008 at 8:57 pm

    [...] of doubt: how much doubt can one have and still call oneself a “Christian”? Follow the link to see this question being [...]

  • 31. societyvs  |  October 15, 2008 at 8:59 pm

    “However, the question I’ve always pondered is – how much doubt is too much?” (Qmonkey)

    I think that is a great question – one I ask myself all the time also. I don’t accept very much of the tenets of orthodoxy (maybe even none as they are written and explained) – yet I consider myself a Christian nonetheless…even if many churches would not. But I have my reasons.

    (a) I doubt many tenets of orthodoxy – but then again how important is it really to believe in a virgin birth or even some specific atonement theory? What does it actually do for you? Those ideas either happened or did not happen – and there is nothing I can do for them or against them. Believing more or believing less changes my behavior how? It doesn’t – so what is the point behind statements of faith bogged down in things that are events – not beliefs? These things seem less important to me (although churches put their focus on these things).

    (b) The Christian faith is concerned with morality – through and through – and each and every teaching is pushing the reader to consider their own actions. The two main teachings given by Jesus for his followers (as stated in the gospels) are (1) Love God, love your neighbor as yourself and (2) treat others the way you want to be treated (the same thing when you look at it). These things Jesus seemed to call ‘the whole of the Torah/Prophets’ and ‘the central tenets of the commandments’. To me, following the teachings is key to identification.

    (c) Christ means Messiah – so Christian is someone that chooses to identify with the person that made the claim to be Christ – via acting out on the teachings given. If you choose to reject that claim (Jesus is the Christ) then you are no longer a Christian. Like I enjoy socialism – I enjoy the policies and try enact the spirit of them if I can – so I am a…? Yes, a socialist. Take that same example and use it for what Jesus taught.

    It’s not that doubt is bad – doubt is normal. If one does not doubt – one does not learn either – and I am pretty sure we all need to continually learn. I guess the real question is – have you gone the opposite way from the teachings of Jesus? When one of the teachings is ‘be poor in spirit’ – do you now exemplify ‘greed’? If the teaching asks ‘I prefer mercy and not sacrifice’ – do you now forgo aspects of mercy for being right? That’s the type of switch that needs to happen in order for one to truly lose any influence these teachings have on them.

  • 32. Joan Ball  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:27 pm

    silentj: Lol. I can add another layer of controversy if you want to go there…I actually got sober 7 years before I became a Christian with the help of a “power greater than myself.” Yeah, I don’t quite fit the mold…

  • 33. john t.  |  October 15, 2008 at 9:55 pm

    Joan

    “Maybe the de-converted (or de-converting) Christian is a lot like those drunks (I say that lovingly as I am one”

    Most addicts are extremists, rarely does the behaviour itself change, but most times the addictions do. Have you ever wondered about your seeminly addictive nature and whether or not your change to christianity was just part of that extremism?

  • 34. john t.  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:00 pm

    Societyvs

    Interesting how you equate being Christian and following Jesus, I thought to be Christian you have to follow the totality of the Bible. So if that is true then arent you following Yahweh(technically Jesus) when he speaks in Numbers 31 and other passages. If not then I guess you cant be considered Christian, can you?

  • 35. Joan Ball  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:09 pm

    Hey Johnt. No doubt that addicts are extremists…and if I had shifted directly from active addiction to Christianity I’d have to look very closely at that possibility. But, in my experience, your observation…”rarely does the behavior itself change”…is not always accurate. Sure, many people replace one addiction for another and never come out the other end. But many others see that trap, dig in and get to the heart of the matter. I was lucky enough to be one of those (although I could have just as easily gone the other way.) All that to say that I was seven years in and my life was more stable than it had ever been when I wound up a Christian.

  • 36. john t.  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:11 pm

    Joan

    Kudos. Hope you continue in your wellness. :)

  • 37. orDover  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    I guess the real question is – have you gone the opposite way from the teachings of Jesus?

    Okay, there seems to be a lot of talk about “just following the teachings of Jesus.” But what about all the other religious teachers and philosophers whose teachings are pretty much the same thing? Buddhism teaches the “do unto others” rule and espouses self-sacrifice and humility. Confucianism teaches that all people should be treated equally and that we are live harmoniously with those around us, yet another “do unto others.” In fact, one of the main tenets of Confucianism is “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others,” and that was written 500 years before Jesus. Jainism tells us to “Have benevolence towards all living beings.” Islam says that “God enjoins justice, kindness, and charity to one’s kindred” and that ” those dearest to God are those who treat His children kindly.” Taoism teaches love and frugality.

    What is there to set apart a believer in Christ from a believer in Buddha, Confucius, Jainism, Taoism, and Muhammad since Jesus’s teachings are in no way unique?

  • 38. orDover  |  October 15, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    What is there to set apart a believer in Christ from a believer in Buddha, Confucius, Jainism, Taoism, and Muhammad since Jesus’s teachings are in no way unique?

    For the sake of discussion, I’ll answer my own question.

    What I was always taught at church and at the Christian school I attended was that two things separated Jesus from another religious philosopher like Buddha or Muhammad: Jesus is God, not just a prophet or a wise man, and Jesus is alive while all the other teachers are dead. He is the only one who is immortal and all-powerful, who was resurrected from the grave who overcame death, etc. If that is the distinction you wish to draw, then it really does require you to believe that Jesus was God and that he died and was resurrected, not just that he was a good teacher.

  • 39. SocietyVs  |  October 15, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    “Interesting how you equate being Christian and following Jesus, I thought to be Christian you have to follow the totality of the Bible. So if that is true then arent you following Yahweh(technically Jesus) when he speaks in Numbers 31 and other passages. If not then I guess you cant be considered Christian, can you?” (John)

    I am equating the obvious – what does ‘Christ’ the concept mean? I can’t really say much more as an exaplantion really – I thought my social-ist idea pretty much summed it up. If I devote my time and efforts to the socialism ideal – the socialism teachings – then one could rightfully label me a ‘social-ist’ (due to my enacting of those policies/teachings).

    The problem here, it seems, is the word association concerning Christ in the term Christian. I merely say if someone follows those teachings – of this person that is proclaimed Christ in the gospels/letters (this is not even in question) – then they are Christ-like/Christ-ian (due to identification and enacting the teachings). I really see that not very problematic.

    As for the Numbers 31 argument – which I find extremely weak in logic – I have debated on this issue – apparently no matter what I say it’s not being considered anyways. So believe what you want about Numbers 31 and some view of God you grasp from that piece of work (usually literal and not very deep) – including the writings also in that if you want. I say for those issues contact a rabbi (an expert in those texts) and that upon reading that Numbers 31 passage – Moses makes the crucial decisions – but it’s not being considered (so it’s a moot point).

    As for Yahweh being Jesus – I don’t actually accept that concept (do you even read my stuff?). I think Jesus was fully human – not fully God (or God at all). Jesus was the messiah – this is my personal belief – but a human rabbinic version (authoritative in the Torah and Prophets). His goal was to teach humanity a deeper knowledge of these teachings and an inclusion into the Abrahamic covenant – through faith.

    Now do my beliefs keep me on the outside of mainstream Christianity – yes. But as rabbi’s have taught in the past ‘popular opinion does not make a view correct’. I view their popular opinion not that convincing (based on orthodoxy started under Constantine’s rulership – to unify the Roman empire under one religion). But does me not fitting into mainstream faith make me not a Christian? No. I believe Jesus was the messiah (Christ) and do my best to live by those teachings – and how can they argue with that? In that obvious sense – I am a Christ-ian – because I am enacting from that messianic teacher.

  • 40. SocietyVs  |  October 15, 2008 at 11:26 pm

    “What is there to set apart a believer in Christ from a believer in Buddha, Confucius, Jainism, Taoism, and Muhammad since Jesus’s teachings are in no way unique?” (Ordover)

    This is a deeper question than you think. I believe Jesus is basing his teachings on Torah (and Prophets – which is based on Torah) – a writing that likely pre-dates all of the works you mention (or around the same time in different regions – they didn’t have internet in those days – info was not being shared there most likely – so who cares what is being taught in Asia as compared to the Middle East – unless they were sharing ideas and this can be proven).

    What makes him unique? His teachings are based on Torah – they are an elaboration on those works – is that unique…somewhat and somewhat not. The uniqueness really comes in the title he is assigned – messiah and his inclusionary message. He is not only saying who he is – but humanity’s treatment is the core of his message – is this true of any of those faiths? Stuff like love, forgiveness, mercy, responsibility, and non-violence being some key aspects. Is it different – in totality of teachings – yes – very different from the other faiths mentioned.

    Fact of the matter is, to compare these teachings from the gospel with those of the variety of faiths you mention would take more than one blog comment – it would take books. Each faith needs to be dealt with individually as compared to the Jesus teachings – whether Confucianism or Siddaharta. But it doesn’t really matter unless we can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt Jesus is influenced by these other faiths – as you claim have the same teachings that pre-date Jesus. I claim the obvious – Jesus got all his info from his own faith tradition/culture – Judaism. To prove that I need to write a book with all the stuff he is teaching on and where we can find that in Torah and Prophets.

    Jesus is extremely unique for his time – extremely unique (although he is similar to the prophets tradition in Judaism). The teachings he espoused are way ahead of their time – so ahead that no generation of time (any society I can find) has quite adopted the full significance of the teachings (like mercy, love, reponsibility, peace, etc). I think things get grabbed from the teachings and used – but the whole piece – no nation on this planet has ever taken that as a serious goal…funny he claims this message is about kingdom from another place. Maybe that’s his real uniqueness.

  • 41. orDover  |  October 16, 2008 at 12:01 am

    He is not only saying who he is – but humanity’s treatment is the core of his message – is this true of any of those faiths? Stuff like love, forgiveness, mercy, responsibility, and non-violence being some key aspects.

    Yes, those things are indeed true of other faiths, especially Buddhism and other forms of Eastern philosophical thought.

    Is it different – in totality of teachings – yes – very different from the other faiths mentioned.

    How? You have yet to present any teachings that are actually different. You’re saying they’re different, but not really saying which ones and different and how they differ, aside from the concept that they’re based on the Torah (and then my question merely changes to “How is the Torah different?”).

    Jesus is extremely unique for his time – extremely unique (although he is similar to the prophets tradition in Judaism). T

    How? I’m looking for something specific here. Not a “maybe” or a guess.

    The teachings he espoused are way ahead of their time – so ahead that no generation of time (any society I can find) has quite adopted the full significance of the teachings (like mercy, love, reponsibility, peace, etc). I think things get grabbed from the teachings and used – but the whole piece – no nation on this planet has ever taken that as a serious goal

    Were they? I’m not so sure about that, since they are echoed by others that both predate and come not long after him (Buddha, Muhammad). Mercy, love, responsibility and peace are all things taught by other faiths as well, and yet still no society has ever fully realized them. That is because they are ideals, not because they are unique to Christianity. I don’t really see what the concept of “nation” has to do with this since nations in history are largely organized secularly. But aside from the fact that no nation has adopted the tenets as a “serious goal,” nearly every religion on earth has.

    funny he claims this message is about kingdom from another place. Maybe that’s his real uniqueness.

    I don’t really see how that is different than talking about nirvana.

  • 42. SocietyVs  |  October 16, 2008 at 12:17 am

    The thing for me Ordover is you are asking questions that are so much bigger than my personal knowledge to answer – and would take some serious time to actually answer. Comparison of religious systems and teachings to Jesus’ teachings would take a Nth amount of time – for me that would be tough to do. I do not know enough about various faiths like Buddhism, Jainism, even Muslim faith in totality. It’s a good question to ask – I am not knocking that – that’s a big question though – if I have to be brutally honest.

    In my personal opinion – if people want to follow other faiths and it helps them raise their moral expectations – helps to improve their lives – I really have no problem with that. I am not one of the people that believes a faith outside Christianity is not useful – it definitely is. I have a friend who is a Muslim now and has changed his personal situation in an awesome way.

    However, the original question that QMonkey asked has everything to do with what makes on a Christ-ian – and I tried my best to answer that. I am not sure it was concerning other faiths in any way (maybe it was?).

    I think Eastern philosophical thought – if it helps someone to direct their lives in a better way – I will be the last one arguing against that. I personally believe, from my personal readings of Jesus’ teachings, God is concerned with humanity and our personal involvement on that level. Now I may choose faith in God through the Christian teachings – but if someone does not and the same desired results are achieved (ie: a healthy balance to the person’s life) – then my faith is not torn down – but bolstered (a piece of humanity has been made more whole).

    I guess I don’t know what the true differences between the faiths and teachings really are – but there definitely are handfuls of ideas that have to be different. What those specific ideas are – well – that’s gonna take some lengthy study. Maybe one day.

  • 43. qmonkey  |  October 16, 2008 at 4:55 am

    Doubt is not something we have control over, unless we decide to block it out
    This is known as faith, but it’s also known as self-delusion depending on the circumstance

    ‘Faith’ greatly opens me up to believing a falsehood. All the non-Christian* religions have arrived at their falsehood through the indulgence in faith.

    If I doubt that something is true, then I can be moved to a position of no longer doubting it by being convinced by the evidence.

    It the subject in question IS actually true but I am still not convinced then there are only two options, either the evidence isn’t good enough or my intelligence isn’t good enough

    Hopefully the question posed in this post highlights the problem with the arbitrary, unfair and viral nature of the idea of ‘Saved by grace through faith’.

    *I submit that Christianity is no different

    My ‘favorite’ response has been…

    as long as you have a strong desire to believe it’s all true then you just need more information to make sense of it all… that is normal and acceptable doubt… we all want to know and understand more… we don’t want to just have blind faith…

    sums the problem up nicely

  • 44. john t.  |  October 16, 2008 at 7:32 am

    As for Yahweh being Jesus – I don’t actually accept that concept (do you even read my stuff?). (Societyvs)

    Actually I do read your stuff. The reason I approached you on here is I wasnt sure how many on here are aware of your position on Christ. I thought you would do a better explanation(lo and behold you did).

    Now as far as the Numbers argument being weak, most people on here seem to have come from a fairly literal concept of Christianity. So I would assume that Yahweh was Jesus back in “their” believing days. For any Christians that do come on here, I would hope they see the same and ask questions not only about a loving Jesus, but some on the nasty aspects of Yahweh. What I find most interesting about your view is that if I follow your logic, and I do believe much of what you say about Jesus and many of the ideas attributed to him, then I could call myself Christian also. I think, so could many of the bloggers on here, as they all seem to believe in Love, mercy, community, morals etc…… Im not so sure Jesus is that unique in those regards. Now if you want to base being Christian on Pauls material, that is another story. It seems to me without him and his letters the odds most of the world knowing about Jesus would be pretty slim.

  • 45. SnugglyBuffalo  |  October 16, 2008 at 8:58 am

    qmonkey-

    My ‘favorite’ response has been…

    as long as you have a strong desire to believe it’s all true then you just need more information to make sense of it all… that is normal and acceptable doubt… we all want to know and understand more… we don’t want to just have blind faith…

    sums the problem up nicely

    Agreed. I had a strong desire to believe, and sought out more information. But the more information I found, the less sense it all made, and the more I doubted. I would say that most fundamentalist Christians are all for you finding more information regarding Christianity, as long as it’s the “right” information…

  • 46. societyvs  |  October 16, 2008 at 11:18 am

    “What I find most interesting about your view is that if I follow your logic, and I do believe much of what you say about Jesus and many of the ideas attributed to him, then I could call myself Christian also.” (John)

    Firstly, sorry about the way my last post came off John – I was watching the presidential debates and for some reason I stayed in that mode in my head when I was writing a response (a little too fiesty in some regards). I have to say sorry about how my tone may be percieved and some of my wording…I think you’re a cool guy.

    Secondly, I was hoping Barack would simply ask John McCain ‘who is the democrat here?’ and blow McCain’s campaign right out of the water.

    Thirdly, for me the dividing line between God and man starts with ‘sin’ (or immoral behavior). If someone wants to go away from God – there is only one way to do that – act in an immoral fashion to your neighbors and loved one’s – it is at this point we all start realizing what we are doing (guilt kicks in and we realize we are also cutting ourselves off from God’s creation – humanity).

    Fourthly, I am aware many people do not want to be associated with Christianity – and for good reason – look at some of the whacko’s that come out of churches. That is also something I consider very closely when I am talking with people – who do not want to carry the label Christian anywhere near them – I am almost one of those people also. But I can see how many people that are opposed to being Christian (as in churchy like) actually are (as in keeping the teachings and living them).

    Lastly, I really enjoyed QMonkey’s questions – they are probably the most common questions floating in Christians heads – who doubt and question the validity and use of some of the doctrines from orthodoxy (including me). I just don’t think hving questions and denying some of the core doctrines of the faith would truly offend God. It’s not like you are doing anything when you reject the virgin birth or even the divinity of Jesus. In the end, the teachings are there to guide – and teachings ask things of us. Events don’t ask things of us – they either happened or didn’t. What’s important is how we react and treat others.

  • 47. Paul H.  |  October 16, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    Forgive my ignorance on this point, but does “the Word” mean Jesus? I grew up in a Christian family, but since adulthood I’ve primarily studied Bhagavad-gita and related scriptures. Scripture shouldn’t be cryptic. In Brahma Samhita, first verse (http://vedabase.net/bs/5/1/en1), Brahma says, “isvarah paramah krishnah sac-cid-ananda-vigrahah,
    anadir adir govindah sarva-karana-karanam” — “Krishna who is known as Govinda is the Supreme Godhead. He has an eternal blissful spiritual body. He is the origin of all. He has no other origin and He is the prime cause of all causes.” This is completely clear.

    In Srimad Bhagavatam, after describing numerous appearances of the Lord in various forms (http://vedabase.net/sb/1/3/28/en1), Suta Gosvami contrasts them with Krishna, saying, “Krsnas tu bhagavan svayam,” — “Lord Sri Krishna is the original Personality of Godhead.” Again, perfectly clear.

    Then there is Bhagavad-gita itself, directly spoken by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna, in which Krishna makes numerous clear and conclusive statements describing His unique position, such as 10.8, (http://vedabase.net/bg/10/en1) (translated) “I am the source of all spiritual and material worlds. Everything emanates from Me. The wise who perfectly know this engage in My devotional service and worship Me with all their hearts.” Arjuna responds with, “You are the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the ultimate abode, the purest, the Absolute Truth. You are the eternal, transcendental, original person, the unborn, the greatest. All the great sages such as Narada, Asita, Devala and Vyasa confirm this truth about You, and now You Yourself are declaring it to me.” In the next chapter (http://vedabase.net/bg/11/en1), Krishna directly revealed His unique position as the Supreme Personality of Godhead to Arjuna, inspiring statements from him such as, “You are the original Personality of Godhead, the oldest, the ultimate sanctuary of this manifested cosmic world. You are the knower of everything, and You are all that is knowable. You are the supreme refuge, above the material modes. O limitless form! This whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by You!”

    Considering these and so many clear statements in the scriptures of the Veda, which directly emanate from the Personality of Godhead, there is really no reason to cling to vague and inconclusive ideas about God. God does exist, and the Bible gives some indication that God is great, but taking a man, even a Divinely inspired man and elevating him to the status of directly God in identity is quite wrong.

    It is good to believe in God, but when God is directly presented, Krishna, one must accept or be an atheist. God is not a post that is subject to our vote. There is a person who is eternally God, and that person is Krishna. He did not become man, suffer, die, and rise again. That is atheism. God never suffers, nor does He die. He does not need to become man to save anyone. Whatever He desires is automatically done. The whole script about God becoming man as Jesus and suffering for everyone’s sins is simply nonsense. Jesus was great devotee of the Lord, but he was never and will never be God Himself.

  • 48. LeoPardus  |  October 16, 2008 at 6:30 pm

    Paul H:

    “The Word” can mean either Jesus or the Bible. You have to differentiate by context.

  • 49. orDover  |  October 16, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    The thing for me Ordover is you are asking questions that are so much bigger than my personal knowledge to answer – and would take some serious time to actually answer. Comparison of religious systems and teachings to Jesus’ teachings would take a Nth amount of time – for me that would be tough to do. I do not know enough about various faiths like Buddhism, Jainism, even Muslim faith in totality. It’s a good question to ask – I am not knocking that – that’s a big question though – if I have to be brutally honest.

    I’m definitely not just putting this question to you, but to all Christian in general. As I mentioned before, the only thing close to an answer I’ve found to this question is the idea that Jesus is a deity, not just a prophet. I bring that up only because it seems to me that, given the similarities between religious creeds, the only way to distinguish a Christian from a nice person or a Buddhist is belief in the deity of Jesus, and thus if you doubt the deity of Jesus there is nothing separating you from a believer in other religious that teach loving-kindness, humility, and self-sacrifice.

  • 50. Jason  |  October 17, 2008 at 3:36 pm

    I think this is my favorite thread yet. This is exactly my issue. I am filled with doubts. Yet I still *want* to believe, if that means anything. But I don’t exactly get to decide what I *believe* in. Knowing that Jesus exists, that He is God, that He died and rose again, and that He sits at the right hand of the Father offering justification for sins; I can *choose* to put my faith into Him to do that very thing. This is what I think it means to Believe in Jesus. I’m all for that, sign me up! I know I am a sinner and I accept mercy! So perhaps desire and choice lead to that kind of faith, but what about having doubts that Jesus really is God. Actually, I have no reason to doubt that, I have accepted it by pure unevidenced faith my entire life and have never been presented with any evidence on the contrary. But the Old Testament, that is a different story. I have now learned and accepted that evolution is a reality, there is so much evidence of that you have to be perverse to deny it. Sadly, I am now being convinced that not just the first 11 chapters but a great deal of the Old Testament is not 21 century history. So the more I read it, the more and more it looks simply like the religious texts of normal people. So while I love Jesus, I love what He did and what He offers, I have doubts since he seems attached and intertwined to a very bizarre and questionable history; one filled with incredible violence and genocide, arbitrary laws, some extremely questionable historical moments, etc.

    I don’t care what others might label me. I want to know what God labels me. For the first 28 years of my life (or at least 6 years old and on), I totally believed, totally accepted, and totally was putting my faith in Jesus for my salvation. No questions at all. But now I am filled with a lot of doubt. Does Jesus unforgive me because now I question whether 3 million people left Eygpt, after completely decimating a country with extensive written records, with a military that was 30 times larger then the Egyptian military at its peak, and then lived 40 years without leaving a single trace of their hapitation, and Egypt failed to mention any of this in its history (like, ALL of the flocks being destroyed, or ALL of the army being destroyed, or a firstborn dead in every family; none of this was ever mentioned). Does God unforgive me because this story seems a bit made up, and not only that but can be fairly convincingly be shown to be two separate sources combined that often tell the story a bit different and sometimes contradict each other.

    So I guess the question becomes, is the faith needed for forgiveness the realization that you are a sinner, in need of forgiveness, and a trust into God to provide such through Jesus. Or is the faith like this, “I am going to give you a set of propositional statements about history. I will provide no evidence and some will outright contradict what evidence you can find. But you must acknowledge to yourself these events happened, or I won’t forgive you”.

    A couple of days ago I declared to God I was going to believe in him despite the lack of evidence, or even with the contrary evidence. But then, I can’t really just decide to do that. I can’t control it. I guess another statement would be, “I am going to believe in you, and I am going to call on your name for salvation, and I am going to continue to rely on your mercy for forgiveness, but I have to be honest that I don’t think some of the Old Testament is historical. Please don’t unforgive me for this.”

  • 51. qmonkey  |  October 17, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    but what about having doubts that Jesus really is God. Actually, I have no reason to doubt that, I have accepted it by pure unevidenced faith my entire life and have never been presented with any evidence on the contrary.

    Have you been presented with any evidence that I am not god? If not, why do you think I am not god?

    So while I love Jesus, I love what He did and what He offers.

    Or… what the bible SAYS he did and what is REPORTED he offered. You don’t doubt that? What happens if you doubt that? what happens if you doubt the quality of the NT reportage… like you doubt the OT reportage?

    A couple of days ago I declared to God I was going to believe in him despite the lack of evidence

    Isn’t that a bit worrying betrayal of reason? Are you willing to declate to me that you believe that im god despite the lack of evidence?

    I think… that deep down you are maybe starting to realise whats what. It’s a tough road. A lot of us on this side have walked it.

  • 52. Jason  |  October 17, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    qmonkey,

    Believe me, as I type that I recognize I have no evidence for that belief that Jesus is God. I don’t have any evidence for your either but I’m sure I can obtain some quite quickly if we went to lunch.

    Yes, if I started to study and was convinced there was a tremendous amount of evidence that the events of the NT did not take place, I would probably cease to be a Christian.

  • 53. qmonkey  |  October 17, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    maybe if we had lunch… i could tell you about my invisible friend Bruce… who answers prayers etc etc.

    Remember… you don’t have to be convinced that the NT is inaccurate… you just have to UNconvinced that it IS accurate. I’m not convinced my the evidence – which isnt my fault really or anyones

    and your ability to determine that is based on your intellect. Doesn’t really ring true or fair does it.

  • 54. orDover  |  October 17, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Yes, if I started to study and was convinced there was a tremendous amount of evidence that the events of the NT did not take place, I would probably cease to be a Christian.

    Like qmonkey, I find it really strange that you can apply this critical eye to the Old Testament. You realize it is largely myth and inaccurate reportage. But why? Is it because there is no records of the exodus from Egypt? Is it because the creation story doesn’t literally make sense? It is because there is no empirical evidence for Noah’s flood?

    The problems with the Old Testament are the same exact problems that crop up in the New. First of all, there are several claims that extraordinary events occurred. The first 4 books are filled with accounts of miracles performed by Jesus, but these miracles are the sort that have never since been seen or proven to be possible. Never has it been proven that a dead man can rise from the grave, but in the NT it happens twice. That contradicts reality every bit as much as the creation story or the flood. Just like the presence of the Israelites in Egypt and the drama of their exodus was never recorded by a literate people, neither were these miracles of Christ, including his resurrection recorded by anyone outside of the Christian faith. The same things that are suspicious about the OT are suspicious about the NT. They both make extraordinary claims that contradict reality and have no supporting evidence outside of themselves.

  • 55. Jason  |  October 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    Like qmonkey, I find it really strange that you can apply this critical eye to the Old Testament. You realize it is largely myth and inaccurate reportage. But why? Is it because there is no records of the exodus from Egypt? Is it because the creation story doesn’t literally make sense? It is because there is no empirical evidence for Noah’s flood?

    Yes, yes, and yes. Well, I might slide about the records of the exodus, maybe they were embarrassed about it or maybe the record was lost. But with regards to creation, I won’t need to convince you that there is substantial evidence the earth is ancient and we share a common descent with other animals. As for the flood, there is obvious evidence that animals were not reduced to a single pair, on one location on earth, just 4 thousand years ago. As for Isrealite history, it just seems readily observed now of the seperate and sometimes contrary sources.

    But let me say, it wasn’t because I simply discounted miraculous events outright, though I have been growing more skeptical over time. I will say though that sadly, some of the miraculous events seem to be those moments where there are two sources which are describing two different events, like the separate J and P stories of the crossing of the Red Sea.

    As for the miracles of the NT, of course you can’t prove they are possible. They wouldn’t be supernatural miracles if they were possible. And I can understand a bit more that they weren’t noticed by others considering they were observed by a small following, most of which probably couldn’t write. But I understand there is no evidence for them, and respect that you approach them with skepticism. I am probably not at a stable position, skeptical of the OT and yet accepting of the NT. Hey, I have only been on this road for about 6-9 months. give me time.

  • 56. Jason  |  October 17, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    The first paragraph is supposed to be a quote. Somehow my tags didn’t work.

  • 57. Ubi Dubium  |  October 17, 2008 at 10:18 pm

    Welcome Jason. I hope the discussion here is helpful to you. For many of us, working through doubts to reach a stable place took quite a bit of time, so take all the time you need.

    Something that was helpful for me was looking into the history behind the NT – actual bible study, not what they teach in sunday school. Finding out how many books could have been included, but weren’t for various reasons. For me to accept the NT as perfectly true, I would have to accept perfect divine inspiration for the authors, their copyists, the committee who made the selection of what would be included, generations of further copyists, and all the translators along the way. We also do not have one authoritative copy of each book, but multiple ancient manuscripts, each slightly different. I have come to the conclusion that it is a thoroughly human book, written by a group of men with an agenda – the spreading of their new mystery religion, which was based on a combination of the teachings of a charismatic wandering Jewish Rabbi, a dose of OT prophesy, a few tall tales, and substantial borrowings from other mystery religions of the time to make it more familiar and palatable. I’ve also found reading the ancient books of other religions helpful for comparison (I’m working on the Qu’ran) and also reading some of the books that might have been in the NT, but didn’t make the cut.

  • 58. VorJack  |  October 18, 2008 at 9:25 am

    also reading some of the books that might have been in the NT, but didn’t make the cut.

    Jason, the best place for this used to be Peter Kirby’s Early Christian Writings, but he lost the domain, then got it back. Now it looks like he’ll be returning to the ‘net with a vengeance, so watch that space.

    For now, Dr. April DeConick over at Rice University has an old collection of links. Go down to “Other Greek Gospels” and look for translations, bearing in mind that half the links are broken.

  • 59. Luke  |  October 18, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    “I doubt that Jesus was born of a virgin. Is that ok? Am I still a Christian?
    I doubt that the bible is an accurate representation of events. Is that ok? Am I still a Christian?
    I doubt that we can really know exactly what Jesus did or said? Am I still a Christian? ” -QM

    I have all of these and i’m in seminary! bring those questions when you come to my future church and we’ll try and figure it out! rawk on!

  • 60. LeoPardus  |  October 18, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Apropos to the original article: I think it’s safe to say that you are no longer a Christian when you don’t believe there is a God. (Unless you’re talking of Christians in the ethnic sense, like they do in Lebanon.)

    I think it might also be safe to say you’re not a Christian when you don’t believe Jesus was really an historical person.

  • 61. Philip  |  October 21, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    How about these? Without necessarily touching either the historicity of Jesus or the existence of god…

    “I doubt the specialness/chosenness/justification/redeemed status of the church (invisible). Am I still a Christian?”

    For those who look at Jesus’ sacrifice as the mode to redemption: “I doubt the efficacy of Jesus’ sacrifice, either for personal or cosmic redemption. Is it OK? Am I still a Christian?”

    For those who look at Jesus’ life as the mode to redemption: “I can see more obviously moral routes through life than the one connected to the Jesus tradition. Is it OK? Am I still a Christian?”

    “I doubt that god can or ever has revealed himself. Is it OK? Am I still a Christian?”

    On a similar line, “I doubt that, even if god has revealed himself, that we’re capable of knowing the content of that revelation. Is it OK? Am I still a Christian?”

    “I believe in god, and that god can reveal himself, but I find the church’s testimony deeply suspect. Is it OK? Can I still be a Christian?”

    “I just can’t see that god really cares about humanity at all, at least not in ways in which humans can care for each other. Is that OK? Can I still be a Christian?”

  • [...] 22, 2008 — 12:15 am by wowy Some people (…) talk as if there was a continuum: atheism –> agnosticism –> deism –> [...]

  • 63. lor...  |  November 10, 2008 at 12:32 am

    Looks like this blog might have gone stale with no new posts in the last bit, but, I just discovered it tonight while trying to help out one of the girls in my youth group and thought I would give it a try and answer your questions, to the best of my ability of course.

    Although, I would love to give you some background on myself first to put into context where I (personally) am coming from on this one.

    I grew up in the church with Christian parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. I always believed whatever I was taught because that is what you’re supposed to do. My mom got diagnosed with breast cancer and that changed everything for me. I started doubting God and hating God. Through those doubts I learnt more about God than I had my whole childhood. My doubts helped me to realize what I believed and to study and question more so I would know not only what I believed but also why I believed it. I went to Bible College for a year and have been a youth leader at my church for 4 years now.

    So…

    “I doubt that Jesus was born of a virgin. Is that ok? Am I still a Christian?”

    I don’t know how somebody wouldn’t doubt this, a virgin giving birth…a little unrealistic if you ask me. But, if you believe anything science has to say, google VIRGIN SHARK BIRTH, not the same as a human birth, but, it does put it into perspective at least a little bit. So, you doubt that, are you still a Christian? I would say YES.

    “I doubt that the bible is an accurate representation of events. Is that ok? Am I still a Christian?”

    The Bible was written by humans (OT was inspired by God, NT was a record of Christ followers) after the events had already occured. Think back tothe last holiday (Canada Day, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving) and tell me what happened that day, from start to finish. It was an important day, you should remember, right? Wrong. You are a human, there’s no way you could ever remember every detail even if you recorded it immediately. So, is the Bible accurate, to the best of a persons memory and bias, yes the Bible is an accurate representation of events. Still don’t believe it, are you still a Christian? I would say, YES

    “I doubt that we can really know exactly what Jesus did or said? Am I still a Christian? ”

    My answer for this question would be the same as above, unless you were there, you can not know exactly what Jesus did or said. Even being there would not neccessarily be enough if you do not know the manner or intonation behind what he said. So, you doubt that. Are you still a Christian? I would say YES.

    “Is it ok to doubt or is it not”

    My opinion based on personal experiance as mentioned above, DOUBT AWAY. But, research, study, ask people from different backgrounds what they believe and why. Ask Christians, Muslims, JV, Mormons, Atheists, anybody and everybody can help you figure out for yourself what you believe. But, make sure you remember to figure out the WHY part as well. It’s the most important.

    “If I doubt that Jesus is God, am I a Christian with doubts, or a non-Christian?”

    How long does your doubt last? What are you doing about the doubt? I think that Jesus being God is a fundemental belief of all Christian denominations (please correct me if I am wrong) which would lead me t make the “non-Christian” assumption. But, it depend so much on the person, on the circumstances that this is a question nobody can answer for you, you must answer on your own. Ask God to reveal himself to you in some way and then be open to it. Write it down. Think it over. Tell people about it. If God is real, he would want you to know it wouldn’t he? the God I know would not want somebody to miss out because he was scared of a little doubt. He will reveal himself to you, just be open. Everytime you feel, or sense God in your life WRITE IT DOWN. You’ll enjoy looking back on it and it shows you how far you’ve come and then the next time you go through a season of doubt, you can look back and see how God has been real in your life and how he has come through for you in the past.

    If you ever want to talk things through and don’t know where to turn, my e-mail address is ******@hotmail.com. I’m not afraid of tough questions but can I warn you in advance I do not have all the answers and I definately never will. Nor will I ever try to convert you or make you believe anything. The Bible says “test everything, keep what is good” I have told all of my girls from youth that they need to test not only what their parents believe and what the pastor says on Sunday morning but also what I tell them. I challenge you to do the same. Please, PLEASE do not just accept what I say, TEST IT. Figure out if it works for you and if it doesn’t, do not dwell on it.

    Good luck with the questioning.

  • 64. SnugglyBuffalo  |  November 10, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    lor…-

    I think that Jesus being God is a fundemental belief of all Christian denominations (please correct me if I am wrong) which would lead me t make the “non-Christian” assumption.

    I believe the Jehova’s Witnesses fall into this category. They believe Jesus is “divine” but he is not God. Of course, most other Christian denominations say that JWs aren’t really Christians, at least in part because of that belief.

  • 65. Amanda  |  December 3, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    My advice to you is to talk to God about this subject. He is really the only one who can set you straight. It is okay to doubt as long as it’s not all the time and as long as you know that they are just doubts and not you actually believing otherwise. Just talk to God about it. If you have a solid relationship with Him then you’re good :)

  • 66. Quester  |  December 3, 2008 at 10:51 pm

    It seems that God’s phone is out of service, or maybe I just have the wrong number (big practical joker, that deity). Either way, I can talk my head off, but there is no response. Got another idea?

  • 67. orDover  |  December 3, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    I just really can’t see the sense in a person telling another person who is doubting to existence of a particular being to just talk to that being about it. If they could just talk to the questionable being, then they wouldn’t be doubting its existence in the first place.

  • 68. orDover  |  December 3, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    Oh, and Quester, no. No, they don’t have any other ideas. They never do. It’s either: a) talk to God, pray to him and work it out, or b) read the Bible. They fail to realize that doing those exact things is what cause us to de-convert in the first place.

  • 69. SnugglyBuffalo  |  December 4, 2008 at 3:01 pm

    Amanda has convinced me of miracles, as she has resurrected this thread from the dead!

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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