Thursday, October 9, 2008

I Can't Help But Believe In God

I can’t not believe in God. My life has been inseparable with His for as long as I can remember. Somewhere around the age of 15, my belief in Jesus transformed from childhood obedience to an adult reality. Most of my life, my relationship with Christ has been one of knowing Him not one of simply believing things regarding Him. In high school I began to study a little about the evidences for the claims of the Bible. However, in college I found myself surrounded by much opposition to my worldview. I had professors who used their classroom as a place to promote their worldview more so than the subject they were paid to teach. I was faced with English and History professors who did not believe in facts, absolute truth, and the knowability of history. Many of the worldviews I was being exposed to were postmodern and pluralistic in nature. Some professors lamented against Christianity and some against any meta-narrative construct. Most denied there was any true way of looking at the world. All of this drove me to want to know more about the evidences, logic, and reason supporting the Bible as well as to know more about the ins and outs of other worldviews. Throughout my college years and beyond I consumed books, DVD’s, CD’s, attended conferences, and sought to interact with real people who believed things differently from me. I do this so that I can learn and to communicate what I learn to others to hopefully be of aid to those who are searching.


I have fed my intellectual foundation of my belief in the Christian God for over ten years. However, in the last few years my experiential relationship with the Lord has grown by leaps and bounds.


I have become experientially and intellectually aware of the supernatural aspect of my faith like never before. I have tangibly felt the presence of God upon me on multiple occasions. I have tangibly felt His power surging through me like an electrical charge of sorts. I have reached out to touch another and transferred this manifestation of His power to them by the laying on of hands. The first time I experienced sharing it, it was unintentional, I merely stumbled and touched another to steady myself and they felt the power of God enter them from where my hand touched and spread throughout their body. I have experienced instant healing of a severe sinus and upper respiratory infection upon receiving prayer. I literally went from hacking up a lung of asthmatic proportions to feeling the heavy congestion leave my lungs to where I could breath deeply and freely through my lungs and sinuses. The infection that had plagued me for days on end left in an instant through the power of God, which I also felt upon me at the time of healing.


I have prayed for a woman with glaucoma and cataracts clouding her eyes and saw them clearing before my eyes as she shouted that she could begin to see me and my husband standing before her. I have prayed for a woman with partial deafness and not only was her hearing restored, her friend told me that she too felt the healing in her ear even though she had no problems with her ears. She felt the experience of her friend.


I have had many people who I had never met come and tell me things about myself impossible for them to know save God telling them on many different occasions. For example, I had a girl walk up to me recently, at an event I was attending, who I didn’t know and tell me I loved to write and that God had given me a passion for writing that He wanted me to use for Him. That’s the third time I have been told that from someone I had never seen before and who knew nothing about me.


Everything my husband and I are doing in our lives right now is a direct result of doing what God has shown us to do. Everything from the church we started last year to the place we live, and our employment choices are a direct result of hearing from God. The church was birthed out of a dream from God my husband had one night that was confirmed by many independent sources who did not know us and some who did. Over the last year prophetic words, dreams, impressions and other amazing revelatory things have continued to confirm that we are doing what God has called us to do. Moreover, things are happening in our ministry that is of an incredible nature. Some of the divine connections that are taking place are blowing our minds. God is giving people in another country visions about our ministry and gave them knowledge of how to contact us (our website is not in the search engines – we’ve looked). The e-mails that are coming forth from the other country are testimonies of the goodness of the Lord. The goodness and reality of God is abundant and evident in my life in such a way I cannot conceive of His absence.


If Christ is not the Son of God and if the Bible is merely a book of fairytales, I must be living in a fairytale story and should be confined to a mental institution. I am seeing the reality of Scripture in my life and in the lives of countless others in amazing ways.


I hope by my sharing this, you will see why I desire to write about the God I love because He is too overwhelmingly real and good to keep to myself. I believe being connected to Him in a real tangible relationship through Jesus is the way to transform the world to a place that reflects the goodness of heaven instead of the corruption of sin. The Kingdom of God is not about what happens in the walls of a church, but the reality of transforming earth to the truths of heaven. Embarking on a journey with God in bringing His Kingdom to earth is an incredible adventure of a lifetime and beyond.

47 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

This post reminds me so much of myself maybe 10 or 15 years ago.

"If Christ is not the Son of God and if the Bible is merely a book of fairytales, I must be living in a fairytale story and should be confined to a mental institution.

I am proof that you may come to believe that some day. Let me tell you that at first it is terrifying and heartbreaking, but once you step into the freedom I experience daily you will truly feel born again. Then again, Christianity may work for you for the rest of your days here on earth, and I'm cool with that too.

Chase Warren said...

You are living a fairytale dream just as the next Christian, we have a relationship that words cannot explain & it's something we just want to spread. Your blog was really an encouragement, keep up with your church! And for Mike, I hope that God will bring you home to Him because He is waiting for you :-) - Chase

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"You are living a fairytale dream just as the next Christian"

Hi Chase,

You might want to be careful how you word things, the statement I quoted looks anti-Christian. It would be perceived as an a attack if I were to write it.

I'm glad you are happy in your faith, but I was a Christian longer than you have been alive, and I'm quite happy with my life now.

Karla said...

I'm sorry, but your story isn't proof for me. On one hand you don't want anyone to invalidate your experience with the Lord and then when I speak in confirmation of it, you say yours and mine are both false. If the change was heartbreaking it would seem you experienced a loss so you must have had something by which you felt you have lost. I'm not sure why there would be heartbreak unless your soul cries for God's existence.

It's not about what works, it's about what's true. Christ in me compels my sharing Him with others because He is too good not to share. So are you cool with that too?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I said, and I quote with added emphasis: "I am proof that you may come to believe that some day."

I'm a big boy and have been listening to people invalidate my experiences all year. What you believe about my past has no bearing on me. I had an experience with Christianity and thought I had connected with God. I now see those experiences differently.

Where did I say your experience was false? I believe mine was, but I am open to discovering that it was not. I never wanted to be an atheist, quite the opposite. My point is simply this: if I were to tell you that in 10 years you will be an atheist you would more than likely think that a ludicrous thought. I would have thought the same if someone had told me that as recently as last year.

As to being heartbroken, I loved what I thought was God. Wouldn't you be heartbroken too if you suddenly believed that it was all a lie?

I've never stopped missing or loving those I've lost to death. However, once I felt that what I experienced as God was not God, I ceased grieving.

Karla said...

Mike, you had mentioned on your blog that you now believe all Christians are having false experiences. I'm a Christian so that includes me. This was after you complained that Christians often invalidate your experience by claiming you must not have ever really known Jesus. I responded that I believe your experiences with knowing Him are real. So my confusion remains at the contradiction between you not wanting anyone to say that you didn't really experience Jesus and yet you yourself doubt that you did.

Is it too bold for me to think that you still hope for it to be true and want an authentic relationship with God and you want it to be more real to you than what you have previously known? Maybe you are afraid to hold on to that hope and so you embrace the freedom of not having to seek someone that at this time in your life you think might not be real?

Also you must think what I wrote was false and only an illusion of my heart unless you think it a lie. Which I don't think that you think I'm being dishonest.

I have a friend who does not believe in God and this friend believes at the same time that my husband and I are telling him the truth about our God experiences. He claims not to disbelieve the miracles we relay to him. To me that's a big contradiction. We can't be telling the truth if there is no God we must either be crazy or lying. You know your experiences are lies and you know the reality of them. I think you know your mentally stable so maybe the answer isn't that they are false but that you can grow even deeper in your knowledge of God and your relationship with Him.

Just the same there is more than just experiential evidence for the truth of Christ. I just know we share some common ground of experience so I am speaking to that right now. History is full of evidence of the life of Christ and His Resurrection. Logic and Reason can show the necessity of God. So much points to it. And I can get into some of that later. I have in past posts.

Mike said...

Hi Mike,

I too, have probably been a Christian longer than Karla has been alive (best I can tell, doing the math and all)... ;)

If you don't mind, may I ask what circumstances, or events, or other factors started you on the path to start walking away from Christianity..? I'm curious and genuinely interested in your story - as a slightly more than middle aged guy, who has experienced incredible hardship, I'm wondering if something awaits me that would cause me to come to the same conclusions..? Or, on the other hand, what it is about my experience that seems to be drawing me closer to him and my belief in him...

I think I speak for all of us here in the blogosphere that read your words - its almost as if we can feel your sadness (I could be wrong, so forgive me if I've mis-read) - almost as if you've spent time reflecting on all those years that you served the Lord, and somehow seem like you lost something (I agree with Karla, I too have felt that about you), but like I said, I could be wrong...

We are taught that evil, darkness, death, sadness, lies, etc.., are all nothing, but rather the absence of something - e.g. without life, there is only death; without light, there is only darkness, etc. - without the true, there is only an absence of the true, not necessarily a replacement for it, just an absence of it.

I am pretty sure that I don't really want to lose what I have with him, so if you don't mind, it would be helpful if you would be willing to share what you experienced that caused you to come to the conclusion that all of this was not real - I'm genuinely interested, not trying to patronize in any way... MM

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Mike, you had mentioned on your blog that you now believe all Christians are having false experiences."

I just wasted way too much time re-reading my blog to find where you get this from? I didn't find anywhere that I stated that. I could be wrong, but that's not the sort of thing I would say. I'm surrounded every day by people of vibrant faith and I'm happy for them. If I did make that statement I apologize.

I merely point out the rudeness of invalidating my experiences, if one wishes to do that I have no problem with them doing so. Most religions see the others as invalid, so I'm used to that having evangelized to people of other faiths in the past.

The more I asked God to become more real for me, the less real he became. Perhaps that will change at sometime in the future.

I'm sure your friend believes in your experiences, but thinks you are labeling them as coming from God and he does not. I wouldn't call that delusion, rather interpretation.

Karla said...

I'm sorry you used up so much time. The comment is the 9th one on your post entitled "Weary". I quote it here. Maybe I misunderstood what you were communicating. . .

"I do appreciate you not invalidating my experiences. None of my Christian friends would say my experiences were false either. Ironically, the conclusion I must come to if God does not exist, is that all Christians are false converts. ;-)"

So you thank me for not invalidating your experience and then claim all Christians false converts.

So now your saying that you mean that we have these experiences but since God doesn't exist they cannot be attributed to Him. So you validate the experiences are happening and you yourself have had them, but now doubt the source.

However, I am seeing this differently. For I see if you had/have a real relationship with Jesus and then find He doesn't exist then who did you have a relationship with? You seem to be invalidating your own experience without any help from others. I on the other hand am trying to help you find validation of them and meaning in them and to know that you can go beyond that to know more of God.

Could it be you shifted focus from God and knowing Him more to focus on the absence you were feeling? And instead of finding more of him you began to dwell on the lack and then began to feel loss and then relief upon entering an atheist mindset that your okay because He didn't exist anyway. Have you read the Screwtape Letters by Lewis. Does this not sound like the way the enemy wants you to think versus what you know and have known to be true for 20 years?

I hope I'm not pushing too hard. I am saddened by your story and am moved to want to help.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

The winky face meant it was a joke. ;-)

Apparently it wasn't a very good one. I was trying to say what you said, the irony is that I would be invalidating my own experiences too.

I have no idea if God exists or not, what I am saying, and my view could change at random, as we all learn new things every day, is that we all experience things. Some would say those things come from God, some would say they do not. I'm writing a response to Mike right now that might reveal more about my muddled brain.

I appreciate that you are saddened by my story, and I know you are sincere, but if I am right and God doesn't exist, or at least the Christian God, then there is no reason to be sad. Again, if God is real, I do want to experience him. Maybe I am experiencing a dark night of the soul after all, but it sure is well lit if that's the case. ;-)

Karla said...

I was hesitant to ask the questions "Mike" did because of your "Weary" post. I didn't want to aggravate you or make you weary. I too was interested in the answers though even though I know your giving them opens up discussion you might not want to have. Then again maybe it will be good for both of us.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Hi Mike M,

I have no idea how old Karla is, I was referring to Chase, who's profile says he is 16. As far as Karla's age, I find it's always safest to guess 29. ;-)

As to my road to de-conversion, if I had to choose one catalyst it would have been my great desire to experience God more fully. In all my readings of the Bible I don't recall anyone experiencing God in any way except the concrete. Moses got a burning bush, Adam and Eve got to hang out in a garden with him, Paul had his road to Damascus experience, Jonah had his big fish, and Job had more evidence than anyone would ever want.

Now, it's not a matter of being worthy to experience God more fully, since all have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God, but if that is so, then that includes all the folks in the above list. Some of them weren't exactly expecting their experiences to occur, and yet they did.

In my quest I prayerfully asked daily for God to be as real to me as all the people I know and meet in my day to day life. I didn't need an audible voice, but something more than vague feelings of him pointing out Bible verses or song lyrics, or giving me the right words to say in difficult situations. In the end I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, pulling the curtain away to see the wizard was just a normal man, but I didn't even find that. I found no one behind the curtain.

As far as sadness goes, I did feel sadness and disappointment in the beginning, but I experience none now. No one who knows me in person would ever think I was sad. When I am sad, I'm not very good at faking otherwise.

"We are taught that evil, darkness, death, sadness, lies, etc.., are all nothing, but rather the absence of something - e.g. without life, there is only death; without light, there is only darkness, etc. - without the true, there is only an absence of the true, not necessarily a replacement for it, just an absence of it."

That's a very interesting paragraph. To me death is part of life. No, I'm not going to start singing The Circle of Life from the Lion King, but life must either be finite or sterile, otherwise it would get pretty crowded. As far as truth goes, I stick with Aristotle's definition. If one says of what is, that it is, or of what is not, that it is not, then he speaks truth. If one says of what is, that it is not, or of what is not, that it is, then he speaks untruth.

I understand that you don't want to lose what you have with God. I'm here to tell you that even if you do one day stop believing in God, life goes on. Whatever occurs, I wish you and yours well. Also let me say how sorry I am to read that you lost your eldest son in the past few years. I can't fathom the sorrow that must bring. Tragedies like that make me wish for an afterlife so that you may be reunited.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Karla, it's not people like you who make me weary. Yes, it's frustrating when we reach points where it doesn't seem possible for us to see each others side, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep trying.

One thing I do get weary of is wannabe apologists (I do not mean you at all) who try to use the same tactics on me that they would use on someone who didn't have much knowledge of Christianity. I think you ask good questions and I think you ask them honestly and, again, I appreciate that.

Please, ask me anything you wish.

I think if we keep up this discussion you may only read 30 books this year. ;-)

Karla said...

Mike aka, you are almost correct. I'm 28. I also get a lot of free time at work so I have the leisure of fast responses on comments. Don't feel you have to keep up with me. I can wait. On my days off I'm not on the computer much at all. I love to write as much as I love to read and I write constantly between this site, myspace, and the book I'm writing and things I write for my church.

You are right that the Bible is full of real visible experiences with God. Some streams of Christianity deny this should be a reality today and they make excuses why it's not. I believe it should be even a greater reality today as we are under the new covenant and we should experience a greater glory. Moses had to cover his face for it shone when He has spent time with the Lord.

To me the miracles of the New Testament is normal Christianity. And they are happening today. Moreover, Jesus said we would do greater things than that. They are coming back to the Church in amazing ways. And the Church is learning to take that out to the world. We cannot keep it in the walls of the church. In the past people like John G. Lake and other revivalist walked in extraordinary power of God and they didn't pass it on to the following generations. The people today that are entering that kind of life are traveling the world to pass it on. And it's okay to want to see them in your life. I do. I have seen some, not as much as I want to.

Have you ever heard of Bill Johnson? He pastors a church in California. He has been contending for the supernatural for years and the miraculous is happening. He's got about 4 or 5 books out. My husband has read them all, I've read the first two. I have several friends who sold everything to move to his city and go to his church. I have heard from them the things he writes about are happening there. And he travels the world to impart what God has given him to others. I've heard him speak several times. I've seen many people get healed. In his conferences he doesn't pray for the people, he has the attendees pray for each other because he is seeking to demonstrate that it's God working not him doing anything. And that it's available for all of us to walk in who walk with the Lord.

My husband and I travel in circles that see this kind of thing frequently and we are just beginning to enter that kind of lifestyle. It is available. And God tells us to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts/the supernatural in I Corinthians.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

My fiance is 28, and I'm 39. I always tell her that once we are married for a few years, I won't go looking for a younger woman because I already have her. ;-)

I haven't heard of Bill Johnson, but I'll check him out. When I was a Christian many spoke of miracles happening in the world. I used to listen to Bob Larson on the radio, and he would cast out demons live on the air. Exciting stuff, and I believed in a lot of it, but there are so many charlatans out there (Like Bob Larson, who, sadly, I gave hundr3eds of dollars to.) Certainly charlatans existing doesn't mean that miracles don't happen, but their existence does tend to make one more skeptical.

I've heard too many stories of people being "healed" only to go home from whatever crusade they were at and die.

I'd love miracles to exist, and maybe they do, and maybe someday I will believe again, but I'm not there yet.

Karla said...

www.ibethel.org is the site for info about Bill Johnson's church. I've met him and sat at a table across from him. I've been in several conferences he was at and I've seen the real deal. It's not word of mouth accept that you don't know me so it is from me to you.

Next month I'll be at a conference by a different minister who also sees such miracles, learning from him.

Karla said...

mike aka, one other thing I keep thinking is I would encourage you to feed your faith and not your doubt. You can become what you behold even if it's not the true way. Keep seeking the truth and don't be satisfied until you find it real and substantial.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I have no faith to feed, but I do not read only skeptical books. Some of my closest friends are devout Christians, one is a worship leader at a local church and is soon to release a worship CD. You can see his MySpace page here: Benjamin Payne Worship

"You can become what you behold even if it's not the true way."

Yep, that works both ways ya know. ;-)

Terrie said...

Mike,
You said
"As to my road to de-conversion, if I had to choose one catalyst it would have been my great desire to experience God more fully. In all my readings of the Bible I don't recall anyone experiencing God in any way except the concrete. Moses got a burning bush, etc."

I understand how you feel but just because God didn't give you a tangible experience doesn't mean that hasn't gifted you. Let me quote just a few scriptures

"The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;"
( Was God good to you?)

"There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit."
(Where you looking for a different gift then the one God actually gave you? When a father gives his child a rubber band gun but the child really wanted a bb gun does that mean that the father didn't love his child or maybe in the father's wisdom he knew that the child might get hurt. )

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."
(The greastest gift is the capacity to love which you seem to have in the gentle way that you write.)

For the Lord says, To whom much is given, of him much shall be required;
(One thing that I have come to realize is that with each gift also comes a responsiblity and sometimes pain)

Luke 31" 'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' "
(The older brother was jealous because the prodigal son got the attention.)

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Hi Terrie,

Thank you for your input. yes, I'm familiar with those verses and I'm not saying that dismissively.

"Was God good to you?"

I perceived the good in my life, which was plentiful, to God. I considered myself incredibly blessed and still do.

"Where you looking for a different gift then the one God actually gave you?"

I wasn't looking for a gift, I knew what my apparent gifts were. I was looking for God to be as real to me as you are at this moment.

"The greastest gift is the capacity to love which you seem to have in the gentle way that you write."

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return." -- Eden Ahbez

"The older brother was jealous because the prodigal son got the attention"

I was not jealous of the faith of others, I was just seeking to have the same tangible relationship the people in the Bible had.

If God exists, he sure isn't the best communicator and certainly has a very small voice. You'd think the omnipotent creator of all that is would at least be as tangible as you.

Karla said...

"I was not jealous of the faith of others, I was just seeking to have the same tangible relationship the people in the Bible had."

That's a good thing to seek. And it is available. Check out the book "When Heaven Invades Earth" by Bill Johnson.

"If God exists, he sure isn't the best communicator and certainly has a very small voice. You'd think the omnipotent creator of all that is would at least be as tangible as you."

I don't pretend to know why you haven't experienced Him tangibly. I would say for myself, my tangible experiences have been recent, in the last few years. However, before that I didn't really have my eyes opened that that was possible in my own life. I just didn't think about it. My husband and I try to learn from those who do have that kind of relationship with God. God is very relational and Christians can relationally help other Christians share in their experiences. Were you ever baptized in the Holy Spirit?

Karla said...

Also Terrie, all the gifts are available for every Christian. We can all prophesy, heal, discern, etc. Some may come easier in a person than others, but we can grow in all of them. The verses that seem to indicate otherwise are in the context of a church gathering and the gifts being used in that setting one at a time in a orderly fashion.

Karla said...

Mike aka, that's good you still keep relationship with your Christian friends.

I behold Jesus and I don't think there is anything anyone can find fault with in wanting to be more like Him. But if He is real and you behold skepticism you can hurt your heart and your life can follow the choices of your mind and heart.

Terrie said...

Corinthians 12:4
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"But if He is real and you behold skepticism you can hurt your heart and your life can follow the choices of your mind and heart."

If Christianity and subsequently God can not stand up against skepticism that doesn't say much for them.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Were you ever baptized in the Holy Spirit?"

In the sense that Pentecostals refer to? No.

Chase Warren said...

"the statement I quoted looks anti-Christian."

I do apologize if that came over anti-Christian to you (and whomever else may feel the same). When I said I hope you come back to God that too was not meant to offend you (not sure if it did or not but saying this as a precaution).However I am glad to hear you enjoy life & hope you continue too, but as I said before I do hope you come back to Christ. - Chase

CyberKitten said...

mike aka said: If Christianity and subsequently God can not stand up against skepticism that doesn't say much for them.

Very true. I haven't come across a decent argument for God yet (obviously as I'm an atheist and always have been).

Karla said...

Terrie, That's the verses I was referring to. They are in the context of Paul talking about an orderly worship meeting.

Karla said...

Mike, I wasn't concerned for God, but you for you. (-: More seriously, I'm just cautioning you to protect your heart. Sure you can investigate with your mind, and sure you can become the most resolute atheists on the planet and you can still find God again. Paul killed Christians even and God still got a hold of His heart.

As for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I'm only refering to it as the Bible does, not as a denomination does. That when we receive the infilling of the Holy Spirit more of the supernatural becomes activated in our lives. Acts 2, 8, 10, 15 I believe discusses believers receiving the Holy Spirit after salvation.

Karla said...

cyber kitten, there's a place for the intellectual evidences for Christianity and I'm all for that, but God is more than a fact. You could read all the history books about George Washington and even words written by George Washington himself and I'm not sure that that would prove to someone who didn't believe he existed that he did. We've gotten into this mentality in our culture that science is the only way to proving anything and yet science typically doesn't prove things concretely on many of the accepted "theories" yet people trust those theories anyway. I don't make this argument to say that there isn't plenty of intellectual, historical, archeolgoical and even some scientific evidence that presents a good case for the claims of Scripture, for there is such evidence. But if you are certain that miracles, the supernatural, the spiritual, and God are figments of our imagination then none of that would ever be good enough for you.

However, what evidence are you looking for? What would do it for you to believe?

CyberKitten said...

karla said: We've gotten into this mentality in our culture that science is the only way to proving anything and yet science typically doesn't prove things concretely on many of the accepted "theories" yet people trust those theories anyway.

Well, all 'proof' is provisional anyway. Science tends not to 'prove things' just give the best explanation so far. It does that pretty well I think. But our knowledge of things expands and previous 'proofs' are found to be flawed so new 'proofs' take their place which are (hopefully) closer to the truth of things.

karla said: I don't make this argument to say that there isn't plenty of intellectual, historical, archeolgoical and even some scientific evidence that presents a good case for the claims of Scripture, for there is such evidence.

Not that I am aware of. There might be evidence that certain things in the Bible actually happened (which is debatable in itself) but I am definitely unaware of *any* credible evidence to support supernaturalism!

karla said: But if you are certain that miracles, the supernatural, the spiritual, and God are figments of our imagination then none of that would ever be good enough for you.

Pretty much yes. I am a skeptic at heart.

karla said: However, what evidence are you looking for?

I'm not *looking* for any evidence. It's just that the so-called evidence that has been presented to me by theists so far as either been *serious* wishful thinking or very weak indeed.

karla said: What would do it for you to believe?

Good question - I don't know.

Karla said...

Do you believe that a man named Jesus lived and died by crucifixion? That's something that history can confirm or deny.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Do you believe that a man named Jesus lived and died by crucifixion? That's something that history can confirm or deny."

I find little of what is presented as evidence to be compelling. Even if he did exist, then there's the whole proving he was God thing.

CyberKitten said...

karla asked: Do you believe that a man named Jesus lived and died by crucifixion? That's something that history can confirm or deny.

I'm not sure actually. From what I know the historical evidence for both is pretty thin.

Karla said...

From my studies most scholars accept that Jesus was a man who lived, had followers, was purported to have done miracles, and whose followers believed He rose from the dead. It's typically the miracles and His Resurrection that come into scrutiny not his life or death on the cross. Early creeds date back to just a few years of his death that speak of His Resurrection. Our calendar shifted with Him being the defining time shift between life Before Christ (BC) and the Year of Our Lord (AD). I'm not sure Christianity would have survived this long if history doesn't support at the very least His living and his death on the cross. Secular historians of the day attest to this. Even the Gospels were all written before 70A.D. and most likely much earlier than that and no contemporary scholarship of the day discounted their claims. The disciples of Christ died martyers deaths, so they had no cause to lie. More strikingly there are over 400 prophetic statements on the Old Testament written hundreds of years before Christ which are all fulfilled by Him. The likelyhood of only 10 being fulfilled is astronomical statistically speaking, yet over 400 were fulfilled. All this is just from the top of my head. There is far more evidence and plenty of support for what I am saying.

Anonymous said...

Wow. More bad history and bad logic.

Our calendar shifting was decided much later than when Jesus lived and reflected the pervasive hold that Xianity had on the lives of those living in the culture that would come to predominate later on. It lends no support to a historical Jesus.

Pretty much the only thing you got right is that most scholars accept that a man named Jesus may have lived, but the tales and miracles attributed to him are far from evidenced.

The gospels were not written that early. In fact, John probably wasn't written until at least 90 CE. at the earliest. The others were also well after the dates you ascribe. You're, of course, using the tired argument that they don't mention the sacking of the temple in 70 CE as some sort of proof that they were written before, which is not a good argument.

The reason no contemporary (to Jesus) writing discounts the accounts of the disciples (the evidence as to what happened to them is rather scant, so it's pretty far-fetched to claim they were all martyred) because no writing contemporary to Jesus talks of Jesus. There was critical writing that was contemporary to the gospels that took shots at Jesus and Xianity, but that writing has mostly been lost to us. We find fragments of it in the writings of Xians answering critics, however.

And, it's not shocking at all if Jesus fulfilled some prophecies, considering that if I'm writing a book about a heroic figure and I've got a bunch of prophecies in front of me, I can write my hero to fulfill them. By the way, where was Jesus born and when? That's one prophecy that you probably shouldn't try to claim. And, no, it is not astronomical for someone to fulfill 10 very vague prophecies that can be interpreted to mean just about anything.

Karla said...

anonymous, I wasn't saying that the calendar changed at that time I am saying that even our calendar dating shows that it is widely accepted that Jesus lived.

Some scholars disagree on the dating of the Gospels, but there is much evidence to suggest that they were written by eyewitnesses before 70A.D. Moreover there were early creeds that date back to just a few years after Christ. Moreover, Christianity grew in the very area that Jesus had lived so if he had not lived and all that was written were fabrications there would have been no reason for it to have taken shape there in Jewish culture. Moreover there was too much that could never have been fabricated with the prophesies. Simple fishermen could have never written such an amazing story and then died for lie. They gained nothing for it. Paul was beaten and imprisoned so many times. Why? Why would someone who was a staunch Jew and killer of Christians have such an amazing turn around to where he is repeatedly enduring persecution along side the Christians for the cause of Christ.

Even if you don't use the Gospels it is evident that Jesus lived, is said to have done miracles, and died by crucifixion and was believed to have risen again. The Romans accused the disciples of stealing the body so there was no body there to produce. The disciples died martyrs deaths never recanting their message of the risen Christ.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"The disciples died martyrs deaths never recanting their message of the risen Christ."

Praise Allah! The 9/11 bombers did the same!

Karla said...

Mike, that's not the same thing. The disciples were there to know whether they were dieing for something true or not. They lived with Christ. They knew if he resurrected or not. They would have no reason to die for a lie. I don't think you can compare that to the terrorists of 9/11.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I don't think either one died for a lie. I think they died for what they sincerely believed. I'm just pointing out that their certainty is not proof that something is real, in both cases.

Karla said...

Sincerely believing something doesn't mean anything unless you have truly know something. The disciples were in a position to really know. They would not just believe something sincerely. They either saw the risen Lord or they did not. They would not sincerely believe when they were in a position to know the truth if it was untrue.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

We don't know what the disciples saw since we do not have first hand witness accounts.

Anonymous said...

"...I am saying that even our calendar dating shows that it is widely accepted that Jesus lived."

No, it does not. As I stated, it shows that the dominant culture that emerged was Xianity.

"...but there is much evidence to suggest that they were written by eyewitnesses before 70A.D."

Such as? Most scholars have abandoned the idea that the gospels were written by eye witnesses or by the disciples themselves or at the early date you report. The only ones still holding on to the early date are those that are apologizing.

"Moreover there were early creeds that date back to just a few years after Christ."

And this proves what exactly?

"Moreover, Christianity grew in the very area that Jesus had lived so if he had not lived and all that was written were fabrications there would have been no reason for it to have taken shape there in Jewish culture."

It would have just as much reason to take shape and grow as Mithraism or any other cult. People were around for Mohammed, they saw him. Obviously, Islam must be true, or else why would those people die for a lie or misrepresent what they saw? Same logic as you used.

"Moreover there was too much that could never have been fabricated with the prophesies. Simple fishermen could have never written such an amazing story and then died for lie."

Argument from incredulity. Yet, if we believe the gospel of John to be accurate, people questioned whether Jesus was for real because he wasn't born in Bethlehem. They knew the prophecy and he didn't fit the bill.

"Even if you don't use the Gospels it is evident that Jesus lived, is said to have done miracles, and died by crucifixion and was believed to have risen again."

Such as?

RevOxley said...

sorry to butt in here at the end of such a lengthy conversation, but mike said this,

"In the end I felt like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, pulling the curtain away to see the wizard was just a normal man, but I didn't even find that. I found no one behind the curtain."

That is such a beautiful thing, i know exactly what that feels like and i think it describes the feeling so well...

i once described my deconversion as if my best friend and father had died, my only confidant and hope had died a long , slow, painful death---and it does feel that way

Karla said...

Thank you for joining us. I hope in your journey for truth you'll find Him alive and well again.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

Thanks, RevOxley! Always nice to have your input!