Skip to comments.Help me find the Truth. (Personal question)
Posted on 12/28/2009 11:26:45 AM PST by urroner
For the sake of a discussion, let's assume that I am a brand new neighbor of yours. We have only met each other in passing. You play the part of the Christian and I will play the part of the agnostic. (BTW, none of the below is true about me. Upfront, I am Mormon, but I have tried to get into this discussion on this forum for some time, but haven't been able to do so.)
(I also realize that there are some of you who are more than eager to post anti-Mormon material on this thread and I request that you don't do so. I don't even want Mormonism mentioned in this thread beyond this point.)
Let's assume that I'm out trimming the hedges between your house and mine and that you are working in a garden close to the hedges.
My wife and three kids, ages 3, 8, and 13, are all out with me. My wife keeps telling me I need to paint the house before it gets colder, my younger children are throwing little rocks at me to get my attention and laughing and giggling, and the oldest is pestering me about buying her a cellphone and about the promise I made a year ago about letting her pierce her ears for earrings.
In a calm moment, my wife and I get into a neighborly chat, well would be my wife, I'm a science/math teacher at the local community college and it's very hard for me to just sit down and chitchat and you tell us you are Christian.
My wife tells you she is a Christian also, but doesn't go to any denomination and hasn't been to church in several years, since marrying me, but that I am always peppering her with questions that she doesn't know the answers to. She says that one of the reasons she has stopped going to church is because she likes to spend Sundays with me since we don't get a lot of lone time together. I spend a lot of time helping students at the college and when I'm home, I have to spend a lot of time with the kids. We do have a date night every week, but that's just not enough.
She also says that she is also tired of seeing so much hypocrisy among the church members and the preacher is always asking for money, that she had decided to stop going. She says that her preacher, when she was little, told her she was saved as did her parents, so her salvation was guaranteed.
You see me roll my eyes when my wife says that.
I tell you that I really don't go to any denomination, but I have read the Bible, the Koran, the Tao Te Ching, the Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, some of the writings of Marx, and some New Age books. I tell you that I don't know what the right way is or even if there is a right way?
I tell you that I tend toward Uniterianism, but Buddhism has some attraction to me also, but it's a little too esoteric for me. I tell you that I also have some problems with life after death, reincarnation, or any supernatural miracles.
I tell you my parents were Catholics before they died, but they died when I was very young and I have been to church only a couple of times since their funeral, but the people who adopted me were strong agnostics and never directed me to follow any particular path. I'm thinking about going back to the RCC, but haven't made any decision yet.
You realize that I am fairly knowledgeable of the Bible when it comes to knowing where what is, but you realize that I don't interpret them at all as you do. In fact, I have a very shallow understanding of them. I think the Bible is good literature and can help a person do a lot of good in this life, but I don't know anything about being saved and what that means.
I ask you what you believe and how I can find the happiness and joy you have in your life.
What are you going to say or do?
Start with John 17:3 and work your way from there.
I’m going to wish you a Merry Christmas and get back to my work not because I disagree be because I need to get this done so I can enjoy the football games later.
Merry Christmas to you too. My team won their bowl game and I am happy for that. Hope your team wins.
Seek and you will find. Good luck on your personal journey - sometimes He will carry you - and sometimes He will walk beside you.....but you will never be alone.
Don’t forget to smile.
You know what happens when you assume, don't cha?
First it depends on whether the bushes are on your property or mine, and whether you are picking up the trimmings.
Next, I would not try to impose my values on you because that would do nothing but put you off. If you are interested I would gently offer to discuss it if you wanted to, but leave it at that. Rome wasn’t built in a day.
I am Catholic. So, if you were interested in the Catholic Church I would go out and buy you the Catechism and if you wanted it I would give it to you. Then we could talk over time as much as you were comfortable with.
In the end, you and your family’s future welfare are in your hands, not mine. I would try and steer you on the right path, and be sad if you decided against it.
And, your wife is right. Paint the house.
“For the sake of a discussion, let’s assume that I am a brand new neighbor of yours. We have only met each other in passing.”
“I ask you what you believe and how I can find the happiness and joy you have in your life.”
I’m not sure why you posted this very long premise to what amounts to a simple question. But I’m not sure how you know this person has happiness or even joy in their life given the set up you describe.
Maybe you could explain why you beleve your neighbor is happy and joyful in the first place based a couple chance passings?
John 17:3 - Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.
What is “eternal life?”
For a person who knows so much you ask allot of questions.
I’m gonna ping other people to help answer your question, of course!
Well, first I wouldn’t use the Bible like most Christians do because that would hold as much weight with a non believer as someone quoting the Q’uran would with me. I would use fact. First, what are the oldest of those writings and who was the most correct looking back with the science we now have. The Judaic portion of the Bible, most notably the first five books, are very old and they are factually correct (as far as science can tell so far when looking at the data). Also, unlike other books, the heroes within the Bible have humanly faults and require redemption also. Another thing that sold this former atheist is that it’s not based on blind faith and that the Bible is complex enough to warrant a doctorate’s degree to fully understand it. With the tons of attempts at discrediting it, none have been able to fully do so when you go back to the original languages it was written in. As for me, I can only say that one should challenge each and every religion until you are satisfied with the results. For me, after major challenging of the religions, my inner peace was fulfilled with the only truth in the universe: The Trinity via the Blood of the Christ.
Would you mind contemplating your navel elsewhere.
Why would someone tell you they’re Christian and then say they don’t know anything about being saved?
I’ve never had anyone talk religious beliefs with me while I was doing yard work. Geez.
“let’s assume that I am a brand new neighbor of yours. We have only met each other in passing.”
Advice, since you asked: To maintain good neighbor” policy, DO NOT, repeat DO NOT discuss religion or politics with your neighbor — EVER.
Here is a dose of reality for you:
Your neighbor does not want to not be able to enjoy his backyard, and not be able to go outside, when you are outside, because you are constantly trying to convert him.
Just think how would you feel on the receiving end of some determined person’s attempts to convert you to their religion, whatever that may be.
Talk about your and your neighbor’s garden, kids, dogs, weather, anything except politics and religion.
Aren’t Mormons Christians too?
Look up the account of Creation in Genesis: man was purposed to live on the Earth forever, but we know how that got messed up!
In the end, you and your familys future welfare are in your hands, not mine. I would try and steer you on the right path, and be sad if you decided against it.
What do you mean by future welfare? I understand if you mean future physical/social/emotion welfare, but do you mean spiritual welfare?
My wife, in the story, has told me that a person’s spiritual welfare/salvation in wholly dependent upon Christ and nothing I can do.
John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
If you are really looking for the truth you will find it!!
That is, of course, unless you agree with each other in both respects.
Bob J asked:
Maybe you could explain why you beleve your neighbor is happy and joyful in the first place based a couple chance passings?
All the times that I have seen my neighbor, my neighbor was happy, especially during this conversation. All I know is that I’m not as happy as I think I could be. This is why I have read all those books.
You realize, of course, that Mormonism will be the central point of most replies.
As you no doubt intended.
All the other questions I would answer if you wanted. For example, the notion that salvation is assured is true, but we also know that we grow as Christians when we come together as a community.
As for the hypocritical nature of the church, it is important to delineate between the Chruch (body of Christ) and church (man made institution). Seeing all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23), it would be impossible to have a perfect church. But this does not mean that in grace we strive to serve God and foresake earthy desires.
Being a classically trained and life long Lutheran, I would point to the truth that "It is by grace that your are saved through faith, and not the work of your hand.:
If you wanted to delve deeper, I would cite the Pauline scripture that summs up the human condition: That which I wish I did, I do not, and that wish I wish i did not, I do...for the spirit is willing but the flesh is week.
Finally, I would point out the most central truth of my faith: John 1 -- In the beginning was the Word and the Word was God, and the Word was with God, and the Spirit hovered upon the waters...And the Words was made flesh, and came to dwell among us full of grace and truth. John 3:16 God so loved the world that he gave His only Son that whosever believes in HIm shall not perish but have life eternal...and then I would invite you to attend church with me...
Call a real estate agent and put my house up on the market.
"You can't handle the truth!!"
i would say......”don’t taze me bro’........... hahahaha no, just kidding.
I probably wouldn’t have much to say to you about your religious habits. I would assume you are a confused individual on religion. You should think of your kids first and set the example because you are the parent and just pick a church & go ... teach your children.
Just because a book is old or complex doesn’t make it true. Where is the data that points physical evidence of anything before the time of David or even during the time of David. Where is the physical evidence of the Exodus?
From a logical mind approach, where is any extra-biblical evidence that Christ lived, of any of the miracles he performed, or of the resurrection?
Is there any physical evidence in Egypt that Moses ever existed?
If somebody tells me that I need to accept X because part of X has evidence, physical or literary, then that is only telling me to accept that part of has evidence, but the rest of X. There is complexity and physical evidence of the the Iliad and Greek mythology, but I have a problem accepting any of that as gospel.
NOTE: I believe that Moses and David existed, but in this story, I don’t.
Are you ready to hear the answer? Are you so full of pride that you think you hold your destiny in your own hands? Or do you recognize how fallible and sinful you are?
Mat 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Are you willing to lose your life?
Look up the account of Creation in Genesis
I have read the account of the creation in Genesis, but as an agnostic, I only see it as a myth. As an agnostic, I believe in evolution.
Trust me, I know which neighbors I can can or can’t talk religion or politics with. Thankfully, I live in a fairly conservative neighborhood who don’t think too much of ObaMao.
If you proceed, I will use a series of questions to guide you to the conclusions.
Do you believe that there is a God?
If so, what kind of God - good or evil, wise or foolish, active or passive in the affairs of men?
If God is such a great being, what does he want from men?
How does man's free will play into the relationship between God and man?
If God is perfect, can God tolerate sin? If man has a sinful nature or can freely choose sin, then how does God bring man into fellowship?
Can mankind obtain perfection of their own effort? Aren't there things that man should do but does not and through their ignorance does not even know that they should be doing them. How can man ever obtain a perfect state and thus approach God without sin?
Isn't there a price or justice that has to be made to atone for sin. We see this in our laws. If I steal from my fellow man don't I have the obligation to make restitution?
What does God expect from man to make atonement for sin? How can man make an atonement for a sin of omission i.e. does not even know that he needs to make atonement because he does not even know he has sinned?
If God is a God of love and desires fellowship with mankind, would God leave man to flounder about on his own in spiritual darkens, or would God provide guidance, counsel and leadership to mankind?
These are all questions used to frame a conversation with a professed agnostic. Answers to these questions can be steered into an number of religions or away from religions. If I use my knowledge of my faith to answer these questions or guide you to answer these questions, then you will come to a position where you accept that:
There is a God.
God is loving and seeks to have fellowship with man
Man has free will to choose or reject God
God is perfect and can not or will not taint himself with sin.
Man's free will means that he has a sinful nature
Man can not ever obtain perfection on his own
God's perfection requires that atonement be made for sin
God has made a way for man to receive the atonement for sin
God would not leave man to his own understanding and fate
God has provided messages through scripture to tell man of the path of atonement.
Now tell me what parts DO NOT relflect you personally, because hypotheticals are ALWAYS designed by their maker to yield specific results by virtue of conditions that are plausible, but not in fact, truthful and/or real.
Shake off all the fears of servile prejudices, under which weak minds are servilely crouched. Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call on her tribunal for every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason than that of blindfolded fear.
Handy old one:
If you are really looking for the truth you will find it!!
(In the story)I believe I have been looking for it for years. Will I find it on my own? How can a Christian help me? My wife has tried for years, but she is not able to answer some very sincere questions that I have.
I don’t demand total consistency in a religion and that it makes total logical sense, nothing can, but I would like to see some logic and consistency behind most of it’s major beliefs and creeds.
Matthew: Chapter 6
1 "(But) take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father.
2 When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites 2 do in the synagogues and in the streets to win the praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
3 But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right is doing,
4 so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
5 "When you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, who love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on street corners so that others may see them. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward.
6 But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.
7 In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words.
8 Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him.
Something inside us just won’t allow us to take the blue pill even though we know it may give us veneer of happiness. We know deep down it is an exitence based on fraud and we can’t lie to ourselves without losing some of our humanity.
I think some people think of happiness as a destination when in fact it is a journey. Find out what it is that really makes you happy, no matter how unsettling, and decide to put yourself on that road. Happiness may be hundreds of little steps instead of one giant leap.
But keep one thing in mind, you have a right to be happy and as long as that pursuit doesn’t involve purposely and maliciously making those around you who you care about unhappy, you need to go that route or you might end up on your deathbed despising yourself and wondering “what could have been”.
And that would be the greatest waste of a life, afterall.
I started out by saying that Jesus never did like the religious types either. That Jesus was totally involved in personal relationships, one on one with people. Then I said that if he (the neighbor) wanted to know more about my personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we could talk over coffee or breakfast.
I tend to agree with the guy who commented on how to be neighborly without constantly trying to convert your neighbors. You get more flies with honey than vinegar.
You said you have a new neighbor you barely know — trying to convert him is not a good way to start and cultivate a relationship.
Eventually, you may test the waters, but even then just very gently — even most Christians don’t want to engage in a “my religion is better than yours and you should convert to mine” discussion.
I intend not to discuss Mormonism in this thread. In real life, I am an engineer and ask all sorts of logical questions and hope to get logical responses back. Sometime I realize that there is no logical response, only answers based strictly of faith. If the question doesn’t have a logical answer, then the answer I would love to hear is “I don’t have a logical answer, but here is my belief and this is why I believe it.” Sometimes the best and only answer is “Because I believe it and I can’t give any evidence why I believe it.” That’s why faith is call “faith.”
I believe in God, but I can’t provide any evidence of His existence that science can’t explain away.
Being a father of five children, I realize that sometimes the only answer is simply “just because” or “I really don’t know.”
If somebody says “I believe X,” than I should be able to ask “Why do you believe X” without being told that I shouldn’t ask those questions.
The blue pill or the red pill. Which ever you choose, do it because it’s what you want to do and do it with gusto.
I would tell you what my Jesus has done for me.
Then I would tell you that God wants a relationship with you more than you want one with Him.
Then I would ask if I could pray right now for you to know Him.
You should think of your kids first and set the example because you are the parent and just pick a church & go ... teach your children.
I ask (not trying to be obnoxious, honestly):
Which church should I pick? I know there is a Catholic church, a Southern Baptist congregation, a Muslism mosque, a JW Kingdom Hall, and a Hindu temple all within forty minutes from here. Why should I pick one over the others?
I'd like to ask you something...
Where is the physical evidence that you have a brain?
I mean has anyone ever actually seen your brain? Touched it? Examined it under a microscope to be sure there are actual brain cells?
No physical evidence has ever been presented that you really have a brain.
And, so, by your own logic, you don't have a brain.
The only thing that might...MIGHT... possibly be presented, is some debatable shallow anecdotal hearsay that you might have a brain, but no real physical proof. For that matter, even an x-ray or an MRI may only show a mass with blood flow, but that really could be anything from a brain sized pimple, to an ingrown hair that just LOOKS like a brain. No PHYSICAL EVIDENCE though.
So, as soon as you can physically prove that you have a brain, then I'm sure someone will jump right in to show you the physical evidence for the Bible passages that you ask about. Until then, hopefully you'll just accept the same reasoning for the Biblical evidence as you ask us to accept for the fact that you really do have a brain. Which, for now stands as unproven by any PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.
After all you should find it fair enough to have to live by the same requirements that you impose upon others. right?
Are you willing to lose your life?
As an agnostic,I tell you that I don’t know what you mean by “lose your life” and what I would lose it for. The radical Muslims say that, but I don’t want to die in their way. The Taoists and Buddhists also say that in order for one to find his life, he must lose it.” What do you mean? I have even heard some Native Americans who practice the old religion say that, as well as many New Agers.
Have you considered the claims of Jesus in the Bible?
Some folks tend to think that he was GOD in the flesh.
It will be revealed.
Actually, it already has been: Upfront, I am Mormon...