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Help a "falling" Christian

Discussion in 'Religion and Spirituality' started by OhioPhin, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. OhioPhin

    OhioPhin Just Getting Started

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    Hello everyone. I have been coming to this site for a few months and just joined today after reading through some of these threads. This is going to be a long post, so please bare with me. I was saved as a young child. I grew up in a family that believed, but rarely attended church. My grandmother was very religious though, and through talks with her, I became a believer and accepted Christ, but that was about the end of it. I went to her church every once in awhile, usually around Easter, but not consistently.

    Fast forward to sometime in 2004. My wife wasn't raised in a religious family and had several questions about life, so she started going to a Baptist church that her friend went to. She actually went for a couple of years while I stayed at home and watched NFL Countdown, etc :lol:. I finally felt in my heart that I needed to be by her side when she needed me, so I started going with her. I liked the church alot. There were alot of younger guys like me that I could relate to. It was kinda like being around "the guys" again. We talked about everything; hunting, fishing, football. And through all this, my Faith was getting stronger as I kept attending and hearing the Word.

    Ok, fast forward to now. To make this part shorter, our church basically has 5 "baby" churches that assistant preachers have left to start. We had an assistant preacher that left about a year ago to start another church. He moved his family (wife and 2 very young boys) to this town and everything was going well. He started out with a few guest and turned that into 75-100 in attendance every Sunday in about 8 months. He was really a bright spot for that town.

    A couple of months ago, he was killed in an auto accident. He was on his way home from church and was hit by a teenager that ran a stop sign. Everyone that you talk to will tell you this man was a man of strong Faith. He would always walk in with a smile, no matter what the situation was. This left his wife in a very tough spot (she was a homemaker) and left the two little boys without a father. It also left that small growing church without a preacher.

    Since this has happened, my head has been spinning with questions. Why? I know we are taught to believe that he has a plan and that everything happens because its his will, but why would he leave these two little boys without a father to grow up with? I just can't wrap my head around this.

    Other questions have started flooding in. Seeing these little children dying from parents beating/mistreating them. All of the natural disasters. It just seems that something else is happening. I have started questioning my Faith. I am starting to drift away. I just see more and more every day that makes me look at life in a different way.

    Sorry for the long rant, just had to get that off my mind. Haven't been able to talk to anyone about it. Thanks for reading!
     
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  2. Tone_E

    Tone_E Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    That is the thing about faith. When something like this happens, people question God. But God gave us free will, including the teenager's free will to be careless ultimately costing a great person their life. Good people die everyday, and many times because of other people's stupidity, greed, rage, etc. We can not hold God responsible for that, again, free will.

    One thing God will guarantee us is eternal happiness in the afterlife. From all the great things you said about this man, rest assured that he is smiling upon you and your community. You will see him again, under much better circumstances.

    I hope for the very best for the widow and two sons, and hope that you come to understand that what happened is just a facet of life, and now is the time that your faith should be stronger than ever.

    BTW, welcome to the site!
     
  3. opfinistic

    opfinistic Braaaaains!

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    The actions and consequences of others should not cause you to lose faith. Question it? Yes. Lose it? No. I've recently re-united with the church due to a severe series of trials that i went through and though i see the horrors of the world around and wonder why they occur I tend to think maybe they happen to help others grow stronger? Our country has lost touch with God, taking him out of the classrooms, trying to remove him from the courthouses, etc. Maybe this is His way of saying 'You all miss me?'
     
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  4. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    I once asked my friend why God would allow war. He just smiled and said God doesn't allow war, humans allow war. I think its the basic principle. We are given free will and the ability to question even God himself. This is our greatest gift, and something I think all humanity has not realized it to be as such, thus there is abuse. While you think to yourself "Why does God allow kids to be beaten?" or whatever else you question, also think to yourself "What makes a human being go into a war zone in Africa to help people they never met?", "What makes human beings run into a building hit by two planes and is on fire?" or whatever else. Human beings like God are an enigma, especially in how we treat one another.
     
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  5. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    I accept this completely...but at the same time people have to stop saying ridiculous things like "God saved that man..." when ONE man walks out of a blazing inferno alive. If God really saved him, he should have made the fire not happen in the first place and saved everyone.

    If God is going to get credit for wonderful and happy things that happen, then he certainly should get the blame for the crap that happens also.

    Same thing with prayers. Sorry, but the logical mind cannot fathom how some prayers are answered and some not. What happens happens...and I strongly doubt there's any divine intervention.

    It all boils down to the fact that there probably IS a creator up there, but down here we're on our own.
     
  6. opfinistic

    opfinistic Braaaaains!

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    Logic and Religion are impossible bedfellows. It's a matter of one's personal beliefs.
     
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  7. OhioPhin

    OhioPhin Just Getting Started

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    I guess this is kind of what I'm getting at Pagan. I believed at one time that God is in total control over everything. So if that was the case, I would think that he would have diverted the teenager in a way to keep the preacher out of harms way. He was on the earth spreading the Word of God, so why let him die? I hear people praise the Lord for being healed from illnesses, etc, but I never hear them complain about losing someone to an illness. Why would he heal one but not the other? Why would he bless me and my family with food, money, etc, but let people in Africa starve to death? I still do believe in God, but I'm not sure that He has a role in everyday life like I used to believe.
     
  8. opfinistic

    opfinistic Braaaaains!

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    We ruined his garden and he's left us to our own devices down here to tend to it. our rewards do not exist here, on Earth, they exist after we leave it. Your preacher was not punished he was rewarded, and his family, though left behind, may fulfill some greater purpose later in life.
     
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  9. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    Damn...I hope I don't get my reward for a LONG time then. :wink2:
     
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  10. opfinistic

    opfinistic Braaaaains!

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    :pointlol:

    Me either, but I do hear that the beer is cold, the women are hot and the HD TVs are as big as skyscrapers.
     
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  11. DrAstroZoom

    DrAstroZoom Canary in a Coal Mine Luxury Box

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    The fallacy that many Christians hold onto is that everything that happens is God's will. And I just don't see it.

    Rather, I hold strongly to the belief expressed in Romans 8:28, that "All things work together for good for hose who serve the Lord." In other words, bad things happen. But God can help those of dealing with the bad things to have an end result of good -- not that the bad things were planned by God to reach a good result. Make any sense?
     
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  12. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    I am sorry I am late to this thread. It is a good one. I have been on a short vacation without computer access.

    Thanks for raising the question Ohiophin. Ay some point we probably ought to see if we live near each other.

    I think the comments about free will and Doc's opening of the line of thinking that NOT everything that happens is God's will is a good direction to head. Brother Pagan, we are again going to disagree on this one from the get-go.

    Evil is real. Whether you call it sin, the devil, or whatever, evil is real. Christian doctrine has always said that God can work good THROUGH evil but God does not CAUSE evil. Sometimes sin is missing the mark, sometimes it is our debt to creration that Christ must pay, sometimes it is stepping into areas which cause us and others harm. All of those are Biblical definitions of sin.

    Here, without causeing the pain, God has a chance to work good through the evil if the Church (all who confess Christ as Savior) steps up and aids the widow, the kids, and the hurtiung community. Where is God in this? Look in the mirror at yourself and hold a mirror up to the Christian community and ask them the same question.

    I'll try to get in more later but if you have somne specifics to deal with raise them and let's all chew on them a while.

    Oh and let me also add my "welcome to the site" to you!
     
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  13. maynard

    maynard Who, whom?

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    this is true. thing is, unfortunately, some christians give christianity a bad name.

    i dont want to tell someone that whatever gives them comfort is false, but beliefs like that are inconsistent with logic and scripture. in many ways, such a belief is not comforting, hence the disturbance.

    to OhioPhin i would say that the real faith is not that good things will happen to good people and that bad things will happen to bad people. human observation and the story of job, for one example, prove this to be false.

    the real faith, then, is our fate when we exit this world. your faith is not that your preacher friend will not die in a tragic accident, but rather that he will be rewarded in some form of an afterlife. that he will not share the same fate hitler

    in a way this is a very basic thing, but the basics can be the toughest things to get our heads around.

    we never really know that god has blessed us or answers our prayers. there is just no way of knowing. its all faith
     
  14. padre31

    padre31 Premium Member Luxury Box

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    Agree and disagree Opie, I will say as "gardeners" mankind is notable for our failures, I noticed the question came up about "how can God allow war"?

    Who says He does? Shouldn't the question be..why does man engage in warfare?

    As for rewards, a verse from the Bible that always has stuck with me is:

    "Good men die, and no one lays it on their heart, they taken away to spare them from the bad (or evil) days to come".

    That is paraphrased from Isaiah, and of course the Babylonians were about to destroy Jerusalem, however the point to me is a strong one.

    I also do believe that there are rewards in time and on Earth for those who do have faith as well as endurance, being a Christian is not easy if one takes it seriously.
     
  15. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    I hope as an Atheist, my posting in this thread doesn't offend anyone.

    I think when questions like this arise, it is because either consciously or subconsciously some people believe their faith should be a suit of armor that protects them or others of faith, from bad things. Even when I was a Christian, I felt that was the wrong approach.

    The point of faith, is to provide people with the necessary tools to handle all situations, good and bad.

    Throughout life we'll all deal with situations that are positive or negative that we can have power to choose or simply be left to react. That is where faith should come in. I've used an actual tool kit to solve emergencies and build things. The tool kit didn't do those things on its own and I couldn't have done it without a screwdriver, etc. It took me and the tools to accomplish whatever the task or goal.

    One's faith isn't a shield, but a tool kit.
     
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  16. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    And I will ask you, brother Ohio, you know this to be fact....how?.

    Don't do what D7 used to do and claim what your faith tells you to be the truth. You're a man of intelligence. I'll say the same to you that I used to say to him...if it were truth, it wouldn't be called faith.

    Again, with all due respect...he gets all the credit when something good happens and none for the bad. Doesn't that kind of sound like the battered wife who brings up all the husband's good points whenever she's confronted?

    Don't you think the widow and the children would much rather have their father/husband back than have others healing them?

    Even if you say that it's "evil" and not just that **** happens and there is no divine intervention, why doesn't God block that evil from happening?

    You say he makes great things happen and does good from evil. Why not just remove the evil?

    Like you said bro we'll agree to disagree, but like I said the logical mind not only can't see how that makes any sense, but also doesn't accept the "it's God's will" or "it's a mystery" explanation.
     
  17. Fin D

    Fin D Sigh Club Member

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    I think you're misunderstanding what Ohio is saying.

    He's not defining "evil" by any standard religious definitions. Bad things like what happened to the preacher can be called "evil", just as abusing a child is considered "evil". What he's saying, is that to be a real Christian, you can stand up to those "evils" and do the right thing, like help support the preacher's family in their time of grief and pain. By doing that, in real Christianity, then god reveals himself. This is all valid, since this thread was started by a Christian asking about Christian faith.

    Ohio isn't making an indictment of other beliefs or religions.
     
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  18. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    If I am mistaken on that point I apologize.

    I still defer back to my original post about why God gets the credit for good but none of the blame for bad.
     
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  19. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    I have qualms about this as well.

    It seems to me that God is thought of as a very (good) influential being. What if He's like the God of the Old Testament? All pissed off and everyone is praying to someone who's gonna laugh?

    I don't claim to believe that God is directly working with me. I think of it more like he made the watch and now it's my job to wind it and polish it and whatnot.

    At any rate if He's going to get credit for one IMO He deserves credit for the other as well. I realize that man in a lot of faiths is the "cause" for all evil by eating the forbidden apple, but if the apple was not forbidden in the first place would it have been an issue?

    Just something to think on...
     
  20. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    I just got in from a week away late last evening so I am a little slow in getting around to my regular routine of checking things.

    Thanks Fin D for the explanation of what I was trying to get at. You are correct.

    I am not sure how anyone could ask how do I know "evil is real"? What proof do you need? What proof would you accept? Human observation "sees" sin/evil/wrong/**** everywhere!

    I can not "prove" there is a devil, though I believe such a being exists, but my life of observation demands of me that I acknowledge the depth of evil around and within me whether you personify that evil or not.

    My theological understanding of free will says that God allows us to make choices. the first choice we are called to make is to love, worship, and serve the Creator who made us. Love MUST be freely given for it to be love therefore in giving us free will God allowed for the possibility that we could choose not to love Him. Being that God loves us even when we are faithless, I understand His "plan" to have been to send his Son, Jesus, to be the attoinment for our sin. Jesus "choose" to be obdeient, since we have not been.

    Within that theological underpinning then "evil" occurs as a result of the sin of all of us, individually and collectively, as well as the damage Satan does within, through, and around our free will.

    These are observations of faith.

    For God to block all evil would reduce us to puppets who worship out of fear or habit instead of out of genuine love back to God ourselves.

    Of course the widow and her children would rather have their husband/father back. I would rather my first wife had not died of cancer at the age of 54. Do I think God abandoned them or me? No! A drunk "chose" to drive. Cancer struck! God has claimed those people away from the evil which attacked them just as God wishes to claim us all. These are the "realities" of my faith. Human logic and wisdom are tools but I will not make them or myself a god.
     
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  21. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    How can I ask? Quite easily bro.

    Things happen. **** happens. Doesn't necessarily mean "evil". A madman kills 8 people in a beer factory in Connecticut. Evil? Why?

    Let me explain. The human brain is like a computer, right? When a PC goes haywire and deletes all your files, is it evil or the work of some "devil"? No. **** happens.

    The brain is the same way, it can malfunction. Sorry, I don't think it's "evil" or that there's some cosmic battle going on between the two forces.

    What would be the purpose of such a battle? Really, I mean think about it. Pretty much it would be like saying that everything that is happening is the result of some supernatural dick measuring contest between all-powerful beings, no?

    Legitimate question here...isn't saying that unless you accept Jesus you will not be saved sort of like relying on fear?
     
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  22. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    :lol:
     
  23. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    The answers have to come within, so look in yourself and question that way. That's what works for me.
     
  24. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    Even if you view evil deeds as just being physically wrong with someone else, I don't think we would define things like Hitler, Stalin, Serial Killers, etc as just **** happening.
     
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  25. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    You missed the point. If something is wrong with their brains, it could be considered the brain going haywire...and not some force making them that way.

    The "**** happening" part refers to the brain malfunctioning.
     
  26. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    No I got your point, my point is even if you just say its a brain malfunction, I think you can define that as evil and not just a malfunction. You are trying to categorize all things one might define as evil, as just one large cluster ****, I don't think thats accurate.
     
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  27. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box



    It seems what you are arguing is semantics regarding a definition of evil not promoting the discussion and the portion I edited and bolded is so insulting I don't think we should even continue this exchange.

    Which is why I never say it. Even then it could be viewed as somone's loving attempt at helping another.

    I must say after the above, I have my doubts as to whether this is even a legitimate question! Pagan, for me that crossed a line big time!
     
  28. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    Ohio, I didn't mean to offend you. It was an analogy. When two opposing factions go against each other it's called that. You can't tell me you you've never heard the expression.

    And yes, it was a legit question. If you choose not to continue discussing I understand.
     
  29. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    Yes, Pagan, I have heard the expression and certainly understand its meaning. Using it in reference to God was what I found unacceptable.

    Let's move on.

    As to the question...I don't use the phrase, though it is certainly in use in parts of American Protestantism. I dislike it because it seems to require my assistance being added to Christ's work for salvation. To me that is unbiblical and thus I avoid it. As I said, those who do use it would claim it to be a loving act of concern though I can see its problem with "scaring" folks into a relationship. That is always a poor way of doing things in my opinion. Faith should never be "fire insurance". It is meant to be a living relationship now and for all time.
     
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  30. GridIronKing34

    GridIronKing34 Silently Judging You Club Member

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    I wouldn't say the human brain is like a computer. I would say your body is like a computer. Your brain tells your body what to do. Similar to how a user tells a computer what to do. A computer does not make it's own decisions. Just like your body does not make it's own decisions (in the sense that we are talking about). This really isn't a huge issue, just I thought your analogy was a tad flawed...

    I really don't believe the brain just "goes haywire" because there likely is a reason behind it. Whether it be evil, that's up for discussion. Everyone is different and is brought up different. Different things can trip different triggers. I believe it's very tough to dismiss anything. IMO "**** happens" seems to be a cop out to giving a reason for something. I guess that could just me be though.
     
  31. anlgp

    anlgp ↑ ↑ ↓ ↓ ← → ← → B A

    Yet.

    And sometimes things just don't have a reason - they just are that way. I don't know if this conversation is one of them, but with what I believe the reasons are kind of latent until they're stumbled upon. Good/Evil? Maybe maybe not.

    But "Why/Why not?" Definitely.
     
  32. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    really? Well you could, I wouldn't really find that accurate.

    Evil doesn't exist, it is a concept. Evil also changes due to who perceives the action. I might not be Hitler, however I highly doubt he was stroking his cat and manically laughing as he ate his baby soup. This might be a jump, however I would bet that from his perspective he was a good guy.

    However that doesn't really change the fact that evil is a concept. It doesn't exist. There is no just thing as evil, period. The thing about concepts is that they do not actually exist. They are ways to explain the world and in many ways concepts help a lot. The concept of zero for instance really helps.

    When you categorize something as evil, you are creating evil.
     
  33. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    That is not true. It works both ways. Sometimes your brain tells your body what to do and sometimes your body tells your brain what to do.
     
  34. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    I was watching something that talked about monotheistic versus polytheistic religions and how they affect the mindset. One thing that monotheistic religions had that polytheism tended to not have was the idea of "good versus evil". In monotheistic religions there is generally one good god and then some opposite force against that god. Which leads to more of a black and white type view of the world. In polytheistic religions they didn't have such a good versus evil because their gods were kind of ***** and kind of nice, so their view of the world had many more shades of gray. For example with the good god, he is generally the god of creation, while the evil force does all the destruction, while in a polytheistic culture the god of creation could also be the god of destruction.

    Which I think leads to this idea of Hilter just being evil, or people just being evil. I read conversations about Chris Benoit who murdered his wife and kids, in the name of God and people were talking about how steroids or brain damage could be the cause of his act. I remember one person who mentioned the fact that steroids and brain damage were just an excuse and that Chris Benoit was evil.

    I have come to the conclusion that one of the negatives of monotheism was the creation of good versus evil as it creates black and white thinking.
     
  35. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    No one said its not a concept. Evil exists in so far as it is used to describe something. By your argument we could argue all language is inaccurate as language is after all based on random sounds made to be the standard.
     
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  36. Pagan

    Pagan Metal & a Mustang

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    Again, wasn't meant to be insulting. There are times when things are going wrong for me that I say my Goddess must be on the rag, so I wasn't thinking something like that as offensive.

    That's where I sometimes have a problem. I understand that your faith tells you to spread the word, but when people attempt that with me and I nicely explain to them that I'm happy in my path and they come back with that...well, loving concern or not it does come off as obnoxious, insulting, and elitist. As if what I believe is irrelevant.

    I didn't think you'd use that tactic. I've always said you were a good egg. ;)
     
  37. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    Evil exists because you use it to describe something. If you didn't use the concept of evil, evil wouldn't exist. Evil only exists in this world because people believe in it.

    We could argue that and it doesn't make my point less.
     
  38. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box


    I disagree but then that is likely a question of faith. When I say evil is real, I say that as a Christian which is where Ohiophin was coming from. I firmly believe that but it is clearly not provable beyond observation. Observation while the basis of scientific inquiry is not "fact". Yet the only rational way for me to understand Pol Pot, Hitler, Stalin, and all the rest is to accept evil as a reality in the world.

    But if I said it as a person outside your faith, I think it would be understood as insulting.
    Thanks for the kind remark!

    Thank you
     
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  39. Dol-Fan Dupree

    Dol-Fan Dupree Tank? Who is Tank? I am Guy Incognito. Club Member

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    You disagree, yet you also proved my point. Evil, isn't real, it is something you believe and you use to to rational way to understand this world.

    There is nothing wrong with that. I can make the same argument with the concept of zero. Since it zero doesn't exist, however it is used rationally in mathematics to have an understanding of the world around us.

    Myself I do not believe in evil. To me saying someone is evil means that no matter what environment they are in that they will just come out as evil. For instance if WWI never happened and Hitler made it as an artist, I do not believe he would go around slaughtering Jews on his spare time.
     
  40. unluckyluciano

    unluckyluciano For My Hero JetsSuck

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    Then again everything only exists because we describe it as such. If we didn't believe in evil it does not mean there would not be events which can be described as evil, or bad, or whatever you want to call it. Again you are arguing things only exist because the language exists.
     

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