Asking God to reveal himself?

Are you a sincere seeker who has questions about Christianity, or a Christian with doubts about your faith? Post them here to receive a thoughtful response.
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Asking God to reveal himself?

#1

Post by Nils » Sat Jun 16, 2018 4:31 am

Philp 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 sceptical, 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 emphasised 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

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#2

Post by 1over137 » Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:08 pm

Hi Nils,

your story is similar to my own story, only the question I asked was different.
You may find my story on this forum, but here is very short version.

I was born atheist, but always longed for the truth. Also always tried to be honest.
One day missionaries came into my life and after that it took around 10 years to become Christian.
I needed to meet my intelectual needs (www.bethinking.org is a great source). Also, asking God question to reveal himself to me, if he exists, seemed to me kind of weird. For a long time I have not asked that question. Until hard times came into my life and I so desired God to heal me (yes, if He exists) and in several months he did. He came into my life, I know He is real, and this is for around six years now. (am new person - am healed person, He also gives strength and peace)

What I asked for, was not to reveal Himself, to send a sign (no, we cannot test God). If we honestly long for him, we are to ask (and repent too) for him to heal us, since we are sinners.

So Nils, I wish you patience on your journey. Sometimes God is taking time with people. But this may have reason (as C.S Lewis writes - it can do some good).

God does not refuse anyone who long for him.
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Kurieuo (Sun Jun 17, 2018 4:59 pm)
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#3

Post by Philip » Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm

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.

Philip

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#4

Post by Kurieuo » Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:45 pm

1over137 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:08 pm
Hi Nils,

your story is similar to my own story, only the question I asked was different.
You may find my story on this forum, but here is very short version.

I was born atheist, but always longed for the truth. Also always tried to be honest.
One day missionaries came into my life and after that it took around 10 years to become Christian.
I needed to meet my intelectual needs (www.bethinking.org is a great source). Also, asking God question to reveal himself to me, if he exists, seemed to me kind of weird. For a long time I have not asked that question. Until hard times came into my life and I so desired God to heal me (yes, if He exists) and in several months he did. He came into my life, I know He is real, and this is for around six years now. (am new person - am healed person, He also gives strength and peace)

What I asked for, was not to reveal Himself, to send a sign (no, we cannot test God). If we honestly long for him, we are to ask (and repent too) for him to heal us, since we are sinners.

So Nils, I wish you patience on your journey. Sometimes God is taking time with people. But this may have reason (as C.S Lewis writes - it can do some good).

God does not refuse anyone who long for him.
I am coming to see, that it isn't intellect that leads one to God, not that one must "check in" their intellect by the door -- far from such. When I first started in online discussions, I use to think I could convince others of all the great and powerful arguments for God. They just made so much sense, and quickly I became disheartened. ;)

What I'd now encourage, is one also examining the condition of their own heart i.e., self introspection. How do you feel at the mere method of "God"? God judging us for our wrong? How about "Christ"? What reaction does it inspire inside when when you hear some Christian talking, preaching to others about Christ, even if it sounds like an otherwise healthy message. Does it churn something inside, make you defensive, feel a little threatened, make you want to challenge, scoff or laugh, prove them wrong, etc. You see, the reaction conjured up inside us has a strong impact upon our ability see and use our rational faculties.

What I see as more important, as I see, is that one has a heart free from vines, one that can reponds in whatever way God might be trying to work with the person. It seems, Christ went to the broken-hearted for this very reason, for they were the ones able to hear, not the religious leaders of the day who found fulfillment in their laws and rituals. If your heart can't respond, then possibly there are many vines that must first be cut and pruned away. Perhaps a heart's non-responsiveness is true representation of the person's decision and state to bury God... yet, if not, then with the vines cut away, a person can get to a point where they can just be still and "hear" God for themselves, see the truth and receive fresh eyes.

I like Hana's chosen words above: "God does not refuse anyone who long for Him." It is something very inward within a person. Sure an intellectual in-the-head pursuit can be had, but whether or not we truly are honestly pursuing such (and our hearts often deceive even ourselves), an intellectual pursuit will often only bare witness to our heart's true desire -- our longing which either stands for or against God.

For the one who truly longs for God, to know God who I believe is known only via Christ alone, then the door will be opened and He will reveal Himself to such a person.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#5

Post by Philip » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:52 pm

K: I like Hana's chosen words above: "God does not refuse anyone who long for Him." It is something very inward within a person. Sure an intellectual in-the-head pursuit can be had, but whether or not we truly are honestly pursuing such (and our hearts often deceive even ourselves), an intellectual pursuit will often only bare witness to our heart's true desire -- our longing which either stands for or against God.

For the one who truly longs for God, to know God who I believe is known only via Christ alone, then the door will be opened and He will reveal Himself to such a person.
And, Nils, that's really true - this quest to discern God is far more a matter of having a willing and open heart than it is one of some complicated intellectual search. God makes finding Him very simple. It's men who often make it hard and seemingly beyond their grasp. The REAL key to unlocking intellectual understandings related to God's existence is first having an open heart. So don't make your quest needlessly difficult, because it doesn't need to be. A lot of people think they have an intellectual problem in discerning about God, when that's really not their problem. Please don't make that mistake!
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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#6

Post by B. W. » Tue Jun 19, 2018 8:17 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:45 pm

I like Hana's chosen words above: "God does not refuse anyone who long for Him." It is something very inward within a person. Sure an intellectual in-the-head pursuit can be had, but whether or not we truly are honestly pursuing such (and our hearts often deceive even ourselves), an intellectual pursuit will often only bare witness to our heart's true desire -- our longing which either stands for or against God.

For the one who truly longs for God, to know God who I believe is known only via Christ alone, then the door will be opened and He will reveal Himself to such a person.
This verse verifies what Hana and K means by - longing...

Acts 17:26,26, "And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us..." NKJV

Human beings were designed to long after God. When in denial of such longing, we drift into longing for other things that will not fill the deepest need. Recent suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain reveal that that longing was never met in the things they achieved. Only through Jesus will that longing be met. No other way. No other thing. No other lifestyle can fill that longing...

Blessings
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Philip (Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:44 am) • claysmithr (Wed Jun 20, 2018 1:00 pm)
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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#7

Post by claysmithr » Tue Jun 19, 2018 11:35 am

It's funny you mention Occam's Razor, because from my point of view it proves the existence of God, when applied to questions like...

Why do humans have a sense of and desire for Justice or Morality (Good vs Evil)? Why is morality objective?

Why is there life on Earth?

Did the universe appear from nothing and with no purpose or from an eternal un-caused cause ( God ) with purpose?

Why is the universe fine-tuned for life?

Why is the Earth fine-tuned for human life?

Why does the bible exist?

How did Jesus fulfill over 300 bible prophecies?

How did Jesus perform miracles?

What is the meaning of life?

Why does the universe appear to have a design?

How come scientists have yet to out-engineer life? Especially when it supposed to be able to be created spontaneously without any help from chemical soup?

Why does beauty exist?

Why do men desire to live forever?

Why does the paranormal exist? Why so many stories about the supernatural?

Why do the Jewish people exist while other ancient peoples were not preserved?

Why is so much music Satanic?

What's wrong with so many people?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occam%27s_razor#Religion <-- The man who invented it himself was a Christian
https://www.gotquestions.org/Occams-Razor.html

The simplest answers to these questions point to God.

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

That said, if you REALLY want to know if God exists, you have to seek him with all your heart, soul, and mind.

Matthew 7:7

If you feel love in your heart that's God's love for you, you should try to love him back.

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#8

Post by Nils » Tue Jun 19, 2018 2:56 pm

1over137 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:08 pm
Hi Nils,

your story is similar to my own story, only the question I asked was different.
You may find my story on this forum, but here is very short version.

I was born atheist, but always longed for the truth. Also always tried to be honest.
One day missionaries came into my life and after that it took around 10 years to become Christian.
I needed to meet my intelectual needs (www.bethinking.org is a great source). Also, asking God question to reveal himself to me, if he exists, seemed to me kind of weird. For a long time I have not asked that question. Until hard times came into my life and I so desired God to heal me (yes, if He exists) and in several months he did. He came into my life, I know He is real, and this is for around six years now. (am new person - am healed person, He also gives strength and peace)

What I asked for, was not to reveal Himself, to send a sign (no, we cannot test God). If we honestly long for him, we are to ask (and repent too) for him to heal us, since we are sinners.

So Nils, I wish you patience on your journey. Sometimes God is taking time with people. But this may have reason (as C.S Lewis writes - it can do some good).

God does not refuse anyone who long for him.
Hi, 1over137 / Hana

Yes, the question you asked was different. The question I was discussing was the question Philip suggested and other Christians have suggested earlier namely: “Ask God to reveal himself”, and he continued: “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?”. He didn’t speak about longing for him, a thing that I definitely don’t. If you long for something it is much much easier to believe in what you long for than if you don’t long for it.

I don’t criticise you and I have some understanding for your journey, but it doesn’t seem relevant to me. Thanks for the reference but I doubt that it is relevant either. More about this in my answers to Philip and Kurieuo later on.

Nils

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#9

Post by 1over137 » Wed Jun 20, 2018 12:39 pm

Hi Nils,

no problem.
Am now waiting for your answers to P and K, before I post something more.

Have a nice day.
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good.
-- 1 Thessalonians 5:21

For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.
-- Philippians 1:6

#foreverinmyheart

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#10

Post by Nils » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:02 am

Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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.
First to clarify my position. I don’t want to be deluded, so if God exists I want to know. (Being deluded may be risky). I am rather certain that he doesn’t exist and I have no desire, no longing nor wanting that God exists. I just want to know the fact. On the other hand I have no desire, no longing that he doesn’t exist.

Your original question was if I have asked God to reveal himself, and you continued “why wouldn't you, if only as an experiment, ask God to reveal Himself to you?” And further “…. . 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.” That’s also what other said when they asked the same question. It’s because the simplicity I managed to do the experiment a few times, but without any result. Now what you write is far more demanding. I have to “long” for God. But that’s not possible for me. You can’t force yourself to long for something that you don’t long for. Hana and you exemplify with persons that wanted to get faith and laboured for several years to get it. That is out of question to me because I don’t believe in God and don’t long for him, not at all. I can do an experiment that takes minutes. To try an experiment longer than say one hour would require that I think that the probability for success was much higher than I think it is. I can’t motivate me to spend a long time without belief in success.
Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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.
I’m seeking the truth and I’m open to any evidence or argument, but I can’t presume that there is a Christian God and adapt to the doctrine of that religion before I believe in it.
Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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.
What you write here doesn’t seem to be relevant to me. I can’t apply a Christian way of thinking to myself. I don’t believe in Christianity. You seem to forget that all the time.
Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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.
The advice you give me to study other persons way to faith is misguided. I, and probably most thoughtful atheist, are in the position that we have little to learn from emotional arguments. I am open but I'm not actively searching, I am already convinced. If you have to convince a thoughtful atheist you have to use intellectual arguments because the way to come to thoughtful atheism is an intellectual enterprise. (I write about thoughtful atheist because there of course are lot of naive atheist that for instance never thought about religion).
Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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.
I have seen your posts on this issue but I don’t agree. As I have said to Byblos discussing the Principle of Sufficient Reason I don’t find the idea of a God more reasonable or intelligible then some version of brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse).
Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
So, Nils, I would encourage you to keep pondering, seeking and praying about these many things.
But, Philip, please try to see things from my perspective. I did write in the OP that I had no desire to believe in God. How could I pray for something that I don’t want. But I will continue searching for arguments.
Philip wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 12:47 pm
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.

Philip
Sorry, I don’t understand your last sentences.

Nils

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#11

Post by Nils » Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:11 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:45 pm
1over137 wrote:
Sat Jun 16, 2018 10:08 pm
Hi Nils,

your story is similar to my own story, only the question I asked was different.
You may find my story on this forum, but here is very short version.

I was born atheist, but always longed for the truth. Also always tried to be honest.
One day missionaries came into my life and after that it took around 10 years to become Christian.
I needed to meet my intelectual needs (www.bethinking.org is a great source). Also, asking God question to reveal himself to me, if he exists, seemed to me kind of weird. For a long time I have not asked that question. Until hard times came into my life and I so desired God to heal me (yes, if He exists) and in several months he did. He came into my life, I know He is real, and this is for around six years now. (am new person - am healed person, He also gives strength and peace)

What I asked for, was not to reveal Himself, to send a sign (no, we cannot test God). If we honestly long for him, we are to ask (and repent too) for him to heal us, since we are sinners.

So Nils, I wish you patience on your journey. Sometimes God is taking time with people. But this may have reason (as C.S Lewis writes - it can do some good).

God does not refuse anyone who long for him.
I am coming to see, that it isn't intellect that leads one to God, not that one must "check in" their intellect by the door -- far from such. When I first started in online discussions, I use to think I could convince others of all the great and powerful arguments for God. They just made so much sense, and quickly I became disheartened. ;)
Perhaps your arguments wasn’t as good as you thought from an atheists perspective. At least, that’s my opinion. ;)
Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:45 pm
What I'd now encourage, is one also examining the condition of their own heart i.e., self introspection. How do you feel at the mere method of "God"? God judging us for our wrong? How about "Christ"? What reaction does it inspire inside when when you hear some Christian talking, preaching to others about Christ, even if it sounds like an otherwise healthy message. Does it churn something inside, make you defensive, feel a little threatened, make you want to challenge, scoff or laugh, prove them wrong, etc. You see, the reaction conjured up inside us has a strong impact upon our ability see and use our rational faculties.
I have no feelings about God. I don’t think that he exists and it is difficult to relate to something that you think don’t exist. How do you relate to Buddha or Zeus?
I don’t have any special feelings when I hear Christians talk or preach. I very seldom hear something that I don’t have heard before. Sometimes I analyse what is said but my thought are just a repetition of earlier thoughts on the subject. It certainly doesn’t make me defensive, challenged, or churned or emotional in any way. It happens that I get a desire to discuss if the intellectual level is high but it seldom is.

I think there are a few arguments for atheism, a long list of arguments against theism and Christianity. I also think that almost all arguments Christians bring forth aren’t valid. But when I think about the arguments I do it intellectually without any feelings, at least as fas as I know.
Kurieuo wrote:
Sun Jun 17, 2018 7:45 pm
What I see as more important, as I see, is that one has a heart free from vines, one that can reponds in whatever way God might be trying to work with the person. It seems, Christ went to the broken-hearted for this very reason, for they were the ones able to hear, not the religious leaders of the day who found fulfillment in their laws and rituals. If your heart can't respond, then possibly there are many vines that must first be cut and pruned away. Perhaps a heart's non-responsiveness is true representation of the person's decision and state to bury God... yet, if not, then with the vines cut away, a person can get to a point where they can just be still and "hear" God for themselves, see the truth and receive fresh eyes.

I like Hana's chosen words above: "God does not refuse anyone who long for Him." It is something very inward within a person. Sure an intellectual in-the-head pursuit can be had, but whether or not we truly are honestly pursuing such (and our hearts often deceive even ourselves), an intellectual pursuit will often only bare witness to our heart's true desire -- our longing which either stands for or against God.

For the one who truly longs for God, to know God who I believe is known only via Christ alone, then the door will be opened and He will reveal Himself to such a person.
The bottom line is that if you don’t long to believe, God will not reveal himself. If he doesn’t reveal himself I don’t understand how he might help me, and then I can’t long for him. That’s kind of catch 22.

I have no feeling that I have “vines” and if I were such a person what could I do about it? It’s easy to say that a person who doesn’t have the same opinions as you is deluded, has vines etc because the person you accuse has no means to defend himself. If I would be deluded, it doesn’t help saying I know that I’m not deluded. However, when you say that “a heart's non-responsiveness is true representation of the person's decision and state to bury God.” you are actually saying that the person is intellectually dishonest.

And again. If you don’t believe in God it’s not the case that “our longing which either stands for or against God.” It make no sense. It is not possible to be emotionally against something you don’t think exists.

Nils

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#12

Post by Kurieuo » Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:55 am

Re longing, you are confusing cause with causation. Hana didn't long after God, not initially. There is no catch-22. There is no argument here being made to you either, other then telling you (well trying) as it is froma Christian pov. Scripture says none of us seek after God. If true, this means we wilfully deny and bury God if we are rejecting Him. Our mind and reason is clouded due to the nature of our hearts. Yet, it is our response to God's drawing and calling to us, an inner openness, that eventually allows us to truly seek and long for God. No one starts out necessarily longing, but if you reject God until the day you die then it is because you wilfully ignored and buried him whether or not you consciously see that you do.
"Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13)

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#13

Post by Byblos » Thu Jun 21, 2018 6:16 am

Nils wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:02 am
As I have said to Byblos discussing the Principle of Sufficient Reason I don’t find the idea of a God more reasonable or intelligible then some version of brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse).
Then I don't think you understand the PSR argument.

First, there is absolutely nothing incoherent or unintelligible about a self-explained necessary being, unless and until you show otherwise. Proclaiming it so does not make it so. There is, however, incoherence about brute facts since they have no explanation. That's pretty much the definition of incoherence, something that cannot be explained.

And second, as I have shown many times, a mutliverse is no substitute for a necessary reality because a mutliverse is still materially contingent and therefore must require an explanation extrinsic to itself. So you have no choice but to kick the can further back to something beyond the multiverse. And so on and so forth ad infinitum into utter incoherence. Or you can accept the logical conclusion of the PSR, that of a self-explained necessary being.
Let us proclaim the mystery of our faith: Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again.

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.

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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#14

Post by Nils » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:46 am

Byblos wrote:
Nils wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 12:02 am
As I have said to Byblos discussing the Principle of Sufficient Reason I don’t find the idea of a God more reasonable or intelligible then some version of brute fact (e.g. a Multiverse).
Then I don't think you understand the PSR argument.

First, there is absolutely nothing incoherent or unintelligible about a self-explained necessary being, unless and until you show otherwise. Proclaiming it so does not make it so. There is, however, incoherence about brute facts since they have no explanation. That's pretty much the definition of incoherence, something that cannot be explained.

And second, as I have shown many times, a mutliverse is no substitute for a necessary reality because a mutliverse is still materially contingent and therefore must require an explanation extrinsic to itself. So you have no choice but to kick the can further back to something beyond the multiverse. And so on and so forth ad infinitum into utter incoherence. Or you can accept the logical conclusion of the PSR, that of a self-explained necessary being.
I will answer this in the PSR thread viewtopic.php?f=6&t=42449&start=30
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Re: Asking God to reveal himself?

#15

Post by Nils » Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:50 am

Kurieuo wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:55 am
Re longing, you are confusing cause with causation. Hana didn't long after God, not initially. There is no catch-22. There is no argument here being made to you either, other then telling you (well trying) as it is froma Christian pov.
That’s OK if you are clear about it. But if you give an advice what an atheist should do you have to take into account the atheist POV. Only referring to a Christian doctrine is not significant.
Kurieuo wrote:
Thu Jun 21, 2018 1:55 am
Scripture says none of us seek after God. If true, this means we wilfully deny and bury God if we are rejecting Him. Our mind and reason is clouded due to the nature of our hearts. Yet, it is our response to God's drawing and calling to us, an inner openness, that eventually allows us to truly seek and long for God. No one starts out necessarily longing, but if you reject God until the day you die then it is because you wilfully ignored and buried him whether or not you consciously see that you do.
This is incomprehensible to me. I don’t reject God, I believe that there is no God, that’s a big difference. Still less I ignore and bury him (whatever “bury” could mean in this context). I don’t ignore the idea of a God. I have debated with you and others here on this site and with other through almost my whole life. That’s not ignoring. But I have come to the conclusion that there is no God and that decision was and is totally independent of my will.

Now you may say that what you said above was the Christian point of view and that I don’t have to agree or even understand. But then communication ends.

If I anyhow try to interpret you message: There are persons like me that have some kind of defect heart (even if I never understood that talk about “heart”). Those persons aren’t reached by God’s calling and therefore they are sent to hell when they die. No problem with that even if I don’t like the idea and certainly wouldn’t call such a God good.

Finally a question to you. Do you agree with Philip when he says that it is not complicated to ask for God to reveal himself (assuming a reasonable chance to get some answer)?

Nils

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