Nils wrote: ↑
Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:31 am
Philip wrote the following in another thread. I comment it now:
Philip wrote: ↑
Sun Jun 10, 2018 2:01 pm
Nils, don't know if I've asked you before - but have you ever attempted asking God to reveal Himself to you? Because if the God of the Bible exists, it's clear He wants you to know about Him. No amount of philosophical investigation, pondering or speculation will be as powerful to answer this question for the person who sincerely wants to if He exists. Have you ever done this? And do you truly want to know the answer? Because if you do, why wouldn't you, if only as an experiment, ask God to reveal Himself to you? And because if all you continue is an attempt to prove what you already are apparently convinced of - then that's likely not going to lead to the answer. While the journey of getting to the truth of the matter is different for everyone, it doesn't have to be complicated. As it can actually be quite simple. It's man who often makes what is quite simple, unnecessarily complex.
Over 40 years ago, I came to a point of serious doubt about God's existence, and so it became very important to me to seek Him. It's how I came to faith. And what I've learned since has only greatly re-enforced it. And mine is not a blind faith, but one that is exceptionally rational - and that doesn't mean my faith doesn't ALSO go far beyond being a merely rational one.
Yes, I think you asked once when I was new at this forum and I answered shortly. But there was no discussion so I will elaborate a bit more now. I think the question is of general interest.
I certainly want to know whether God exists or not. I don’t believe that he exists but if he does, I am deluded and I don’t want to be deluded. Knowing that God exists would probably not change my every day life but it would definitely change my intellectual life.
When I was a kid I believed in God like my relatives but I was skeptical, I didn’t see any sign of God. At the age of fourteen I happened to read about Occam's razor and concluded that if there is no sign of God and no need of God why not postulate that he doesn’t exist. I still remember that moment of decision a long time ago. In school and during the confirmation (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmat ... an_Church)
) I was educated in Christianity so I think that I have a reasonable good understanding of the doctrine (even if I haven’t read the whole Bible). When I grew older I got interested in the question how it was possible that I didn’t believe in God when there were so many persons world wide that did. Ever since I have now and then been discussing with Christians to try to find out and during that process I have of course many times been forced to reconsider my opinion but haven’t found any reason to change opinion.
During these discussions I have been asked the same question you ask: Have you tried to ask God to reveal himself. Those times it has been emphasized that I have to do it seriously, it’s not just to ask without really wanting to get an answer. This imposes a problem because if you have no doubt that God doesn’t exist and no desire that he would exist, how can you seriously ask the question? Still I have tried two or three times. I am aware of that it would be foolish not to try. So I tried to contemplate for a while, perhaps five minutes, over the question. I said something like this to myself: “God, you may exist and if you exist I really want to know. Honestly, I don’t believe in you but my knowledge is limited and I may be wrong. So, please, give me some sign.” But nothing happened.
My conclusion was and is that I got further evidence of the claim that if God exists he doesn’t show up and my original idea of referring to Occam was appropriate.
Nils, not only the HOW and WHEN God answers a sincere seeker to the question - not only as to His existence, but also the questions as to WHOM (and which God amongst the asserted gods) He is, and was / is Jesus the (only) God who exists and became a human to teach and die for us? These are all different but related questions. And to echo Hana a bit, while one might suppose that, "if" God exists, He would INSTANTLY answer one asking Him such a question as I suggest, if a voice or clear sign like a sudden lightening bolt is presumptuous that this is how He typically works. It is not. And if you were to ask most Christians about their journey to faith, you'll find that it took considerable time of a particular experience that eventually brought them to faith. But the commonality for most is that their answer to these questions, and thus their faith, BEGAN with the beginning of their truly seeking Him. And their testimonies to how this went down will show a great diversity of experiences and lengths of time (from quite short to lengthy) until a pinnacle moment of belief and faith. And you'll see countless people that were changed (also over time), in incredible ways.
Sometimes, God has purpose in the period of seeking before one has whatever THEY personally need to come to faith - and whatever might be needed can be quite different from person to person. What God tells us is that the person who truly and sincerely seeks Him will "find" Him (God will reveal Himself to them!). All you can do is sincerely seek and be open to answers. And don't presume that How God might show you is they way YOU think He should. He knows best in the how and when. And that doesn't mean you must throw away your great inquisitiveness or intellectual curiosity (and skepticism) to come to faith. God draws many to faith through their sincere intellectual seeking Him.
Consider one of Scriptures famous unbelievers and skeptics who came to faith in Christ. Thomas the disciple watched God in the flesh (Jesus!) right before Him - conversed, shared meals, watched Him do incredible miracles and spoke words philosophers of all stripes have discussed since. But these things weren't enough for Him to believe Jesus was the promised Messiah / God in the flesh, or to believe He had been resurrected. He needed MORE. And as important, God will provide exactly what someone TRULY needs for faith, rather than what they might THINK they need. Some already have more than enough / know all they truly need, but they still don't truly desire to know the truth. Or they have an intellectual belief but they refuse to submit to Christ / truly desire Him in heart and mind. But faith in Christ goes far beyond a mere intellectual understanding. In fact, a mere intellectual belief in the historical Jesus does not save.
Thomas comes to faith!
Nils, I encourage you to CONTINUE to seek God - that's the difference between those who truly want to know the answers and those who merely seek to convince themselves that their present unbelief is justified. I also would encourage you to investigate the many incredible fulfilled and detailed prophecies found across Scripture, including many concerning Jesus.
Ponder what could have possible turned that scared, shocked, post-Crucifixion little band of Jesus' disciples into likewise (post Jesus' Resurrection) risking the very same, horrific fate as that of Christ by boldly claiming the Gospel and that Jesus had risen from the dead. Because they afterward, they certainly KNEW the truth - they either saw Jesus post His resurrection or not. Would all these sane, very sober writing men, have risked such a terrible fate while KNOWING it was a lie - really, does that make any sense.
Lastly, you have a universe of astounding, mathematical precision, interactivity, designs and functionalities - all of which check ever single box that would more than suggest a necessary, massively powerful and intelligent Source. We have no reason to believe blind, random, non-intelligence can produce such a universe. All we have are wild speculations as to how non-intelligent, supposedly eternally existing things could develop things requiring deliberate planning, designing and a sup-Intelligence. There is absolutely no scientifically valid reason to think such is possible.Here's an amazing list!
Do blind, random things have such capabilities? Can they self exist? Can they plan, strategize, recognize and distinguish between advantages and options? NO! What the universe reveals, how it is designed, functions, is interconnected, its interdependencies and cross functionalities - all these many things necessary to for things to function and even the ability for life to exist - these many things all collectively check every know box for what we would consider impossible without an intelligence behind them. Again, speculating upon what we might not yet know or what MIGHT (very unlikely) be otherwise possible is not an answer from science or the data.
So, Nils, I would encourage you to keep pondering, seeking and praying about these many things. And look at the many sober-minded, often very intellectual and scientifically minded / philosophically literate people who have come to faith in Christ and have had their lives transformed in countless powerful ways. No person can simply WILL themselves to such - as it's a change beyond what humans are capable of. And SOMETHING is driving you to make sense of your life, your place in the universe, and your quest to know if there might be something more than the obvious. As well as the questions have satisfactory answers, and if so, do they even matter.