Delusion?

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Mariolee
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Delusion?

#1

Post by Mariolee » Thu Apr 05, 2012 10:26 pm

TLDR; How can we know if we aren't just deluding ourselves with Christianity into making ourselves more comfortable and ignore the harsh reality that there is nothing after death and there is no higher spiritual being? In addition to this, how do we know all of these "evidences" that supposedly back up Christianity isn't simply us building something akin to a conspiracy, tying together facts that shouldn't be tied together?

----------------

For those of you who have seen my posts on this board, you may know that I am probably the most doubtful Christian you may have ever known. I designate myself as a Christian but still feel incredibly shaky on my faith. This is probably because I am in my teenage years, and am currently experiencing an influx of differing opinions and knowledge at an enormously quick rate, and do not yet know how to process it all. This is probably what is leading to all of my doubt as well as the skepticism of many teenagers, and I would like to just get that out of the way before I get to the meat of my question.

Relying on faith is a phrase that some might construe as hopeful, while others may see it as delusional, an almost cult-like method of going about your life. The idea that you go throughout life ignoring reality in favor of a fantasy that makes you feel much more at peace and comfortable is what most would argue is detrimental to the state of one's well being. But some of the same people who argue that deluding yourself is preposterous are the same people who believe in major religions. To an atheist or even possibly an agnostic, wouldn't this seem hypocritical? To those who believe religion is just phooey, they also believe naturally that the followers of religion are simply deluding themselves in order to make themselves feel comfortable.

This came up to me as I watched tonight's episode of Awake, in which Detective Michael Britten saves a hospital by letting a schizophrenic bomber indulge in his delusions. The psychiatrist at the end then notes that this is why major religions have afterlives, to make their constituents feel better. Now, don't get the impression that this is the first time I've wrestled with this question, as throughout my short lifetime as of right now I have run into this many times before in arguing with friends and watching religious debates.

It's a hard question to ignore, as it makes you question if you're insane. What if all of these evidences that you interpret as proof of Christ, are actually illusions derived from your preconceived worldviews? How can you interpret evidences objectively and at the same time use it to prove God's existence? As the alien history meme guy would ask, "Is such a thing even possible?"

So then, how can we know if we aren't just deluding ourselves with Christianity into making ourselves more comfortable and ignore the harsh reality that there is nothing after death and there is no higher spiritual being? In addition to this, how do we know all of these "evidences" that supposedly back up Christianity isn't simply us building something akin to a conspiracy, tying together facts that shouldn't be tied together?

This turned out to be well lengthier than I expected haha
How do some people mess up a message about "love" and "forgiveness" so much?!

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Re: Delusion?

#2

Post by pebbleanrock » Fri Apr 06, 2012 12:01 am

The biggest fraud is that each church does not teach the meaning of life. The best they can come up with is " peace, good will amongst men on earth", in which case the 14 billion light years of galaxies are a waste. Romans 8:19>25 says all creation [that would be the universe] groans in anticipation of the birth of the sons of god. deduction........the universe is affected. Rev 2 "those that conquer [sin] will inherit all things." Genesis 32: 12 [and other places, Jer 33: 22 ] says "I will make your descendants as the sand of the sea, which can not be numbered" That's a billion billion billion!!!!! Sinners will not be invited spreading love across the cosmos. Your time on earth is to educate your spirit in how to love. Phil 3:21says you inherit Jesus' glorious body. That would be the body that disappears then appears elsewhere [Luke24:30] walks on water, reads peoples minds, has the 9 gifts of the spirit etc etc [ I could go on_ It is a GREAT BODY] The meaning of this life is to educate your spirit by doing 2 things; Love GOD [which is shown by earnestly attempting tofollow his word, The Bible] and treat your neighbor as yourself. Simple really, do these and you will live FOREVER. y>:D< :amen:

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Re: Delusion?

#3

Post by pebbleanrock » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:07 am

We know it is the spirit that gets educated by Jesus' clarification of the 10 commandments. Regarding adultery, Jesus said, if you THINK it, you have broken that commandment. The same would apply to theft, coveting, lying etc etc

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Re: Delusion?

#4

Post by LongJohn » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:00 pm

Hi Delusion,
If Christianity isn't true, what are we left with?
Pascal a 15/16 centuary mathmatician made a wager:-
'If I live to please God what do I loose when I die? If I live to please God and there is no God, I've lived by the highest moral standard known to man.'

You ask is Christianity true? If it's not true what will you do?
research shows that Christians are more generous with their cash, time and more prepared to get involved then nonchristians.

What sort of society do you want to live in. I'm reminded of C.S.Lewis's book 'the silver chair' have you read it? My favourete bit is where 'puddlegum' turns to the evil queen and tells her " Maybe there is no Narnier, but our childrens dream of Narnier beats your real world hollow and I'll live and die a Narnian."

Christianity is true, but even if it was'nt it beats anything the Devil or his diciples can think of.

John

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Re: Delusion?

#5

Post by RickD » Fri Apr 06, 2012 2:20 pm

1 Corinthians 15:19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.
John 5:24
24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.

Kenny wrote:
"You don’t need faith, logic, reason, proof, or anything else to be atheist, all you need to do is reject what someone told you."



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Re: Delusion?

#6

Post by mum1983 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 4:15 pm

I can sympathize with you completely. You are not the only Christian to feel like this. I often feel like my heart is Christian but my head is agnostic. I'll read a Christian book or read Christian websites to find answers to my questions, and they'll satisfy me for a little while but then my doubts creep in again and again.

I so desperately want to believe completely and have unshakeable faith. To be honest, I think that Christianity seems like the best of a bad bunch and if I didn't believe in Christ, life would feel meaningless. I believe because I'm scared not to. Maybe it's not ideal but that is the truth. I wish that God/Jesus would give me that inner peace and certainty that I'm longing and praying for! I'll pray for the both of us, shall I? :ewink:

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Re: Delusion?

#7

Post by narnia4 » Fri Apr 06, 2012 7:58 pm

A few points, I'll number them.

1. There isn't anything wrong with you for having doubts, but you don't have to hide behind anything. Christianity is the most rationally compelling/satisfying belief system out there imo.

2. Don't be afraid to test yourself with tough questions, but go to the right sources for answers. There are really people out there who would lie and deceive and do anything to make struggling Christians lose their faith. Many skeptical websites are filled with ad hominem attacks and ridicule. If you're trying to find out the truth, avoid "angry" sites. Talk to your pastor, ask questions on here. There are lots of people here who would try to help you.

3. This is something that I've found to be true over and over again- you do NOT abandon your faith in order to find it. Sometimes I see people trying to "save their faith" and while doing so they draw away from the church and God. You might not "feel" anything right away or even for a long time, but if you continually seek Him he will show Himself. Pray, read the Word, don't give up on those things.

4. Don't for a minute assume that Christians are the only people who have presuppositions or believe "because they want to". Everyone has a worldview, everybody takes things for granted. People actively run from God. I and many others could find you actual quotes from secularists saying that they don't WANT there to be a God.

5. In your opening post is an example of something skeptics do all the time, the genetic fallacy. The idea of an afterlife is comforting to "some", but that fact by itself does nothing at all, at ALL, to disprove religion or the idea of an afterlife. And its not just me saying that, its a textbook fallacy. That's like saying "Its nice to believe my parents love me, therefore they don't love me". That's obviously absurd, a child takes comfort in the parents' love and the parent does love him.

6. Repeating 4, but it deserves to be said again. Everyone "can" delude himself, everyone has bias. There is NO reason to assume that atheists are "true seekers" while religious people are delusional.

7. With 6 in mind, I wouldn't be so quick to assume that its an intellectual issue rather than a spiritual and/or emotional issue. I've done it in the past about many things, "freaked out" about things even though intellectually I knew the right answer. People leave Christianity for emotional reasons all the time. Do you have any specific objections to Christianity in mind? Because to be honest to you, this sounds like more of an emotional issue. Talk of "wishful thinking" isn't a real argument, often its a ploy for those who aren't firm in their faith to question themselves without any real basis behind it.

8. Repeating myself a lot, but to summarize. Keep seeking God and build a relationship with Him, don't be afraid of the truth, and watch what content you allow to go into your mind.


Edit to add one more thing, we're encouraged to "test" things in the Scriptures, we can test our own minds. There are ways to tell whether we are thinking fallaciously. We're all going to be biased in our own way, but we can understand and have an "informed bias" so that we can properly discern truth from fiction.
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Re: Delusion?

#8

Post by bippy123 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:48 am

Mariolee, your not the first to go through this and you won't be the last. The good point here as other more qualified posters then me made is that Christianity hashed of good and reasonable evidence. Also remember most of the biggest saints went through life with periods of spiritual dryness. Think of your faith like a muscle going through a workout.

Also remember to be very carefull when watching anything that comes from hollywood. Hollywood is the @@@@@ of Babylon and it's goal is to try to shake your faith. Always have this in the back of your mind.

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Re: Delusion?

#9

Post by bippy123 » Sat Apr 07, 2012 1:00 am

mum1983 wrote:I can sympathize with you completely. You are not the only Christian to feel like this. I often feel like my heart is Christian but my head is agnostic. I'll read a Christian book or read Christian websites to find answers to my questions, and they'll satisfy me for a little while but then my doubts creep in again and again.

I so desperately want to believe completely and have unshakeable faith. To be honest, I think that Christianity seems like the best of a bad bunch and if I didn't believe in Christ, life would feel meaningless. I believe because I'm scared not to. Maybe it's not ideal but that is the truth. I wish that God/Jesus would give me that inner peace and certainty that I'm longing and praying for! I'll pray for the both of us, shall I? :ewink:
Mum remember this phrase " attrition is the first step towards contrition" and also remember that your in good company with many of the great Christians like spurgeon and Bunyan. Remember that Jesus even said that he will not let one of his sheep slip through his hands. Remember these things and one day God will give you what you need , and you will experience the same transformation that the disciples suddenly had after seeing the risen Christ. :)

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Re: Delusion?

#10

Post by Graceismine » Sat Apr 07, 2012 2:39 am

I'm not replying to anyone in particular.

I think that we Christians have become lazy sloths. We do not read or study our bibles enough. Christian books and websites have their place but one needs to be able to discern whether or not these tools are teaching truth.

There is much false teaching within Christian circles and we need to be wary. There is only one antidote for confusion and weak faith and that is to get reading daily God's word. That is our spiritual sustenance and the only way we can grow in Christ. ( I speak to myself too)


Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

1Th 2:13 For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.

This last Scripture confirms the truth of the Bible and how we need to be familiar with it. After all if I wanted to learn about some famous movie star I would READ about him. If I want to know about God I must read about HIM :)

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Re: Delusion?

#11

Post by Echoside » Sat Apr 07, 2012 6:02 am

Mariolee wrote:TLDR; How can we know if we aren't just deluding ourselves with Christianity into making ourselves more comfortable and ignore the harsh reality that there is nothing after death and there is no higher spiritual being? In addition to this, how do we know all of these "evidences" that supposedly back up Christianity isn't simply us building something akin to a conspiracy, tying together facts that shouldn't be tied together?

This line of thinking can be followed both ways.

How can atheists know they aren't just deluding themselves with Atheism in order to make them more comfortable and ignore the harsh reality that there is something after death, and will be judged by a higher being?

I think the ever increasing secular ideas of "let people do whatever they want" is a much bigger delusion to hide behind, that people would rather embrace sins and reject God than be accountable and take the high road.

Just my 2c

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Re: Delusion?

#12

Post by jlay » Sat Apr 07, 2012 12:26 pm

If we are really deluding ourself, then why a God who is infinitely moral?

Relying on faith is a phrase that some might construe as hopeful, while others may see it as delusional, an almost cult-like method of going about your life.
Maybe I'm pickin nits, but Christianity is not about relying on faith. Faith is a reliance. And Christian faith is not blind. Christianity is not faith in faith.

Mariolee,

Let me ask you this. If a friend, relative and stranger came up to you and said, "what's your story?" What would you tell them regarding being a Christian. Could you summerize for us what it personally means to you to be a Christian. Be as detailed as you like.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Delusion?

#13

Post by mandelduke » Mon May 14, 2012 1:51 pm

There is only one way to gain faith, learn the word of GOD, and talk to GOD daily. You have to build a strong foundation! Seek God and you will find him. Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.

Mat.7:24-27: Is Your Foundation Rock Or Sand?

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Re: Delusion?

#14

Post by cheezerrox » Thu May 17, 2012 6:12 pm

Mariolee, I can certainly relate to what you're going through. I have gone and occasionally still go through very similar periods. Doubt creeps in to the point where it's almost overwhelming. How do we know we're not just fooling ourselves? There seems to be so many conflicting opinions and beliefs, so many people convinced of their idealogy as opposed to the other thousands, so many confusing and baffling and even absurd things about life and existence, it just seems to go against this "cozy" Christian worldview that's so simple and straightforward.

One thing I have noticed, though, is that pretty much every single time I've gone through a period like this, I have not been studying the Scriptures regularly at all. I've flooded my thoughts with things contrary to it, and surrounded myself with people, opinions, and voices completely separate from and sometimes against Jesus and G-d in general. Now, since I understand your perspective well, I believe I may be correct in thinking you might say to that, "Well, aren't you simply forcing something down your own throat if you just shove the Bible in your mind and block out the other things? Isn't that just fooling yourself?" And that's a good point. But just try it yourself. Read more. You'll see things MAKE SENSE. And make sense more than anything else out there. We get this idea sometimes that Jesus and the Bible are just really simple, superficial stories or rules, or that they're not deep or intellectual or meaningful enough to satisfy the desires and questions we have in life, the aches in our hearts and minds. But trust me, my friend, G-d's Word truly cuts straight to the spirit. The Scriptures are so deep, so beautiful, so full of wisdom and truth, you'll see why turning to it is no delusion. Simply because something is good does not make it untrue or less possible to be true. I strongly urge you to read more often, my friend, and to pray and pray very often. Jesus said that he who knocks will have the door opened to him. I believe you really want to have faith and to trust G-d. I understand it can be hard. Something that helps me is to pray as the father of the possessed child in Mark 9:24 did. "G-d, I do believe, but please help my unbelief." He won't leave you out to dry. Just trust Him, and have patience. G-d is never early, but He's also never late.

Now, if it's simply the facts and evidence that are causing you to doubt, I would remind you that our faith is a faith rooted in history. Particularly with Jesus, we know for a fact that the Man, Yeshua (Jesus' name in Hebrew and Aramaic, as He was called back in His day) of Natzeret, truly existed and lived in the first century. We know for a fact that He had a close following of a handful of disciples, that He claimed to be the Messiah prophesyed about in the Bible, that He had a large following during His short time of teaching and that He stirred things up a lot. We know for a fact that from the beginning, His followers claimed He was born of a virgin, that He was G-d in the flesh, worshipped Him, followed His teachings we have in the Gospels (no adultery, helping the poor, helping each other, being honest in all one's dealings, etc.). We know for a fact that He was executed by Pontius Pilate during the reign of the Roman emperor Tiberius by crucifixion. We also know for a fact that three days later, His Body was mising from the tomb that was guarded by Roman soldiers, and that it was never found. It was never denied by the Greeks or by the Jews that He didn't perform miracles, or that His Body wasn't missing, they simply tried to come up with explanations (sorcery, body being stolen). That's telling. We also know that He supposedly appeared to many, many people after His death, and Paul attests to the fact that certain people whom he wrote to still had plenty of people who personally saw Jesus after His death and resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:6 "He appeared to more than 500 bretheren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep"). These people and others could easily investigate this and find out if these claims were true.

Also, remember, people died over this. They were tortured, exiled, beaten, mocked, and executed for this. Some of the original disciples were crucified upside down (Peter), pulled apart by a horse tied to each limb, beheaded, stoned, among other things, and this along with the many martyrs who weren't famous. Think about it; what would be the point of this hoax? What was there to gain? Surely not money, as these people not only became poorer, but that gladly; they shared money among themselves and gave generously to the poor. Surely not power, as they were hated and oppressed, and yet their numbers grew extremely rapidly. Surely not to preserve or make better the memory of their long lost friend, Jesus, as who would give up their life, their family, their wealth, their home, and their health to the memory of one friend, and especially to creating a false legacy for Him? And all of these people couldn't be deluded to beleive the same thing if it were not true. Surely ONE of the original 12, or Paul, or some of the members of the early church would realize if things weren't adding up. But people were convinced back then because the evidence was before them, and it was clear. Jesus was the Messiah, in accordance with the prophecies of the Scriptures, and He was crucified and rose again to life. They were facts that were witnessed, and it inspired and strengthened many.

Other religions are falsifiable, such as Islam with claims that Jesus wasn't crucified and didn't claim to be Divine and the Son of G-d in the Qur'an, and some are just not provable and are full of paradoxical philosophy, such as Hinduism with many conflicting beliefs and statements in its own scriptures and its documented change in theology over time, as well as believing in illogical things such as reincarnation.

I hope some of this may help you, brother, and I will make mention of you to our Father. It can be hard sometimes, and it will be dark at times, but hold fast to Christ and His promises. He will not leaves us or forsake us. Trust Him, and He will remind you why you did. Blessings and peace to you, my friend. Also, if you ever want to talk, pm me.
"The prophet is a man who feels fiercely. G-d has thrust a burden upon his soul, and he is bowed and stunned at man's fierce greed. Frightful is the agony of man; no human voice can convey its full terror. Prophecy is the voice that G-d has lent to the silent agony, a voice to the plundered poor, to the profaned riches of the world. It is a form of living, a crossing point of G-d and man."
- Abraham Joshua Heschel

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Re: Delusion?

#15

Post by koopa184 » Thu May 17, 2012 7:52 pm

I couldn't agree more with cheezerrox. Face all of your doubts head on: don't ignore them, because they can come back and hit you all at once. That creates a situation where it can be REALLY detrimental to your faith.

We can't know for certain; however, neither can the opposing side. Here's what I suggest: keep with it, and be watchful. Record all of the times that God has stayed faithful to you in your life, and take some great evidence from your personal experiences! I'd be willing to bet that there'll be lots of stuff that will amaze you about living the Christian life.

Also, don't think I'm just giving this without understanding. :) I'm a teenager as well, into my late teenage years, and I'm really struggling with the same thing. But no worries. God has no plans of leaving us because we doubt. :D

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