Friday, October 3, 2008

What's Everyone Searching For?

The world is full of religion. Every where you look someone is worshiping something. There are the major religions like Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity. The New Age movement is widespread as is Wicca. Thousands of cults exist in the world that are subsets of some of the larger belief systems that have broken off to do their own thing. What truly explains the plethora of religions in the world? Atheists argue that none of them are true for there is nothing beyond nature. What is everyone looking for then? Why all the interest in a world beyond nature if none exists?

Would it not make more since that there is something out there that explains our natural world better than naturalism? Could it be that everyone is looking for something because something exists to be known? It is far more plausible that one truth exist and all else is a distortion of that one truth then that there is nothing to know beyond nature.


Atheists think it arrogant for a person to claim one truth over all other possibilities. However, I have never met an atheist pluralist. Atheists typically see all religions as absurd and thus by default they believe in nothing. That seems to me to be a belief in one way of thinking opposed to all others. Believing in nothing, they claim that they have nothing to prove whereas those who believe in something have the burden of proving something. They claim no one can know anything for certain. But are they certain of that? If so, they exempt themselves and are thus the only people on the planet who can claim certainty. If not exempt and they are uncertain that atheism is the way of things then they use faith to bridge the gap between what they can know and what they accept as truth.


To me, belief in nothing, explains nothing. Even most atheists if not all atheists at one time in their lives did seek to know God. I continually hear atheists claiming to be de-converted Christians. They were seeking to know God, but found only religion and left it behind to embrace atheism.


Religion is not what knowing God is about. Some of Christianity in some circles has become only about following the rules and doing church. It has become devoid of the reality of the Kingdom of God. If this is what you experienced as Christianity you have been cheated. Religion is man trying to find God man’s way instead of God’s way. Man’s way is about doing good works to earn God’s favor, as is evident in all religions. God’s way is about God paying the debt of sin for man Himself and extending an open door to coming into relationship with Him and having all our sins forgiven through Jesus. All He asks is that we step through the door of Jesus Christ. He made the way; He revealed the way to man, and He waits patiently for man to enter the way. Once man steps through that door by trusting in Jesus Christ a whole new world awaits that’s called the Kingdom of God.


28 comments:

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

"Atheists think it arrogant for a person to claim one truth over all other possibilities."

Perhaps some atheists, but most that I know think it arrogant for a person to claim one completely unproven truth over another completely unproven truth.

"I continually hear atheists claiming to be de-converted Christians. They were seeking to know God, but found only religion and left it behind to embrace atheism."

Please let me tell you how frustrating it is to be told again and again by some believers that my faith was shallow, that I found only religion. I had a rich faith and at it's core was a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My every thought was directed towards Christ. Religion disgusted me because, to me, it was nothing but hollow ritual.

After 20 some years of being a Christian I did leave it all behind, because I felt that my experiences were every bit as valid as those who held to other faiths, and there was little to nothing that I had experienced that could not have been coincidence.

I do not deny the possibility of a god, but at this point in my life I see and experience nothing that I would identify as such.

Karla said...

Hi mike, thank you for your comment. I could only speak from what people of shared with me. Thank you for sharing your story.

People can have experiences in other religions that are counterfeited by the enemy and they do not bring life to them like Christ does.

It would seem to me that if you believe people are having these experiences than there is something out there and that in and of it self deserves exploring. Just a thought.

Karla said...

I have talked with Christians who have seen legs or arms grow out. I have prayed for a woman's hearing to be restored and it was. I have seen cataracts clear up in eyes before my very eyes as I prayed. I have seen hands straightened. I have a friend whose foot was numb for over a decade get prayer and have full feeling restored to it instantly. I have received instant healing of a nasty sinus and upper respiratory infection.

The blind are seeing, the deaf are hearing, the lame are walking, the mute are speaking. The Church is coming alive like never before and people are coming face to face with supernatural miracles. It will only be a matter of time before there won't be any doubt that Jesus is Lord.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I've heard stories of miracles and know some people that know some people, who knew someone who was a missionary in a third world country. I think it's awesome that you have experienced things like that first hand, and I do not deny the possibility of those things being from God.

I've prayed for healings and seen the person I was praying for recover. I've also seen wonderful Christians die horrible, agonizing deaths, whilst the wicked prospered.

If God exists he surely must work in mysterious ways as there seems to be little rhyme or reason to who suffers and who prospers.

Karla said...

He has given us the ability to bring change to our world. Such power has been absent from the Church for a long time and has only been seen sporadically and mostly overseas until now. Now these things I am talking about are happening on the street, in the mall, in the grocery stores, in Walmarts. God has given us the tools to bring healing to people in need. I don't make doctrines about why people don't get healed. But I am seeing more and more people getting healed and experiencing God in supernatural ways. If you don't deny that God heals in these ways then why deny Him?

What draws you away from Him and to atheism?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I do not deny the possibility of God.

One can't be drawn away from something they don't believe in. I believe in the possibility of God. I do not believe in God. I believe in the possibility of extra terrestrials, Bigfoot, and the Lochness Monster, but I don't believe in them. I'm not saying those are on the same level as belief in a deity, but they are good examples of things I think are possible, but doubt exist.

I don't believe God heals, I think God was a figment of my imagination and prayer is a gamble. I don't say that to be offensive, but I know how firmly I believed in God and now how firmly I do not.

Karla said...

I'm not offended. Can I ask how you believe your experiences with Jesus were real when you now doubt He even exists? If you had "a personal relationship with Jesus" and yet now your not even sure God exist. . . I'm just trying to understand. A personal relationship is a both way experience. To me it sounds like saying I used to be really married and have a real relationship with my spouse and now I'm not sure my spouse really ever existed. Did you really experience a two way relationship or did you experience believing really hard and devoting yourself to Him in a one way experience? I ask these questions not to argue with you but to try and understand.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

First let me say that as early as last year at this time I would have been asking the same questions you are. I was completely convinced that I would be a Christian forever.

The comparison to a spouse is a good one, because there are great differences between the two relationships.

God: Is invisible and intangible.
A spouse: Is visible and tangible.

God: Speaks to his followers through feelings and impressions, the words of scripture and songs, and through the glory of creation.

A Spouse: Speaks to you directly, with words and touch.

God: His mind is impossible for us to fully understand.

A Spouse: Her mind is impossible for us to even remotely understand.

Ok, the last part was a little humor. ;-)

I definitely felt that I had a two way relationship, but when I look back I see that everything that I attributed to God or Satan could have just as easily been coincidence. Now Keith Green's No One Believes in Me Anymore comes to mind. The ways that I felt God communicated with me are what I listed above. I awoke daily feeling his warm embrace in the sunlight, I read several devotionals and so often felt that God was speaking directly to me through them. Oswald Chamber's My Utmost For His Highest was filled with some amazing and hardcore stuff. It is very challenging and encouraging. I also read Max Lucado's Grace For the Moment as well. I felt God speaking to me through both of those and both led me to delve even more deeply into scripture. I spent more time in scripture than any other book. I loved studying the Bible and especially fellowshipping and studying with other believers. I felt God speaking to me at the oddest moments, sometimes I'd be in the middle of watching a movie and just feel God speaking to me, sometimes related to the message of the movie and sometimes not. I could feel God's love flowing through me and into others in the way I treated people in my day to day life. There was nothing better than sharing the love of Christ with others.

Aside from the miracles you have witnessed and participated in, how does your experience differ?

Karla said...

I have tangibly experienced God. I have felt His presence differently than you are describing. I have experienced what you describe, but more than that. Not that I'm special or anything. I've felt the power of God surging through me -- nothing I've ever experienced can explain it any better that that it was indeed God's power and presence. I could reach out and touch someone and they could feel it too. It was very tangible. Very real. Like nothing else I'd ever experienced. It's not just a warmth in my spirit or an emotive compassion or love -- I've experienced that, but this was something out of this world. Something amazing.

As for hearing Him speak. I am learning to hear His voice and to know the ways that He speaks. He does speak in the ways you describe, but He also speaks through dreams, through visions, through knowing things that you couldn't have known otherwise. I've had many people whom I had never met prophesy over me detailed words about my life. One time I was sitting across the table from a Christian from overseas. My husband and I had just met her the night before and she began to tell me exactly how I had been feeling things that I had only just told my husband that morning and she told me what God was saying to me about those things.

I have experienced way too many tangible supernatural God things to ever be able to honestly doubt Him. Sure sometimes I get stressed out and worried and have to remember to trust Him with my cares, but I could never doubt His existence or His love. To me it would be the same as doubting the existence and love of my husband. That is why I use that analogy. Because God is not a figment of my desire, my emotion, my hopes. He is the substance of all my hope and my love becuase He is substantially real and alive and full of love.

You said you could see Him in creation. . . It seems to me you did or do have real knowledge of Him but want to see and hear more in a tangible manner. That's okay to want that.

Why atheism? What is the attraction to atheism? You seem to not carry the anger of many atheists towards God or towards believers. You want to bridge communication between them. Maybe God's bringing you to a place where you can reach those who have given up hope. Maybe your just on a short detour to finding a tangible faith like never before. I don't use the word "faith" to mean lack of evidence, but to mean trust in Him who is the substance of all hope.

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I seek truth. If God exists then certainly that would be truth.

Why atheism? Who's attracted to atheism? Atheism isn't a club. Atheism is the lack of belief in God. I was far from attracted to being an atheist. An atheist was the last thing I wanted to be, but that is the appropriate title for one who doesn't believe God exists.

Karla said...

I'm glad you are a seeker of truth. I hope you don't settle for atheism. I appreciate you trying to create a bridge between atheist and Christians. I don't think you will find what you are looking for in atheism, but as long as you are seeking truth you'll find the truth.

Mike said...

Hi Mike,

I have personally experienced great distress this last 2.5 years of my life and I can somewhat understand what you're saying. For more details about me check me out at http://churchblogm.blogspot.com/

I've questioned the Lord, I've angrily accused him, I've even questioned whether or not he was real as I couldn't seem to contact him when I felt I needed him the most - I certainly have a greater insight into the 'valley of death' that David talked of in Psalms, and I was somewhat forced by my circumstances to begin a similar journey that you are now on...

I would offer that John the Baptist had a similar experience. in Luke 7:18-23. John had been in prison for quite a while and was probably getting to a place where he was questioning his whole life and why he was rotting in a Roman prison. His memories were not enough to keep him, and he sent some of his own followers to Jesus to ask him directly are you the one, or should we seek another.

The Lord gave me some insight into this experience with John. I can tell you of a certainty that I know what it feels like to feel abandoned and left all alone, wondering if he is real or not.

Jesus ended his message back to John with these words, "23 And blessed is he, whosoever shall find no occasion of stumbling in me"... I personally had Jesus Christ appear to me when I was a young man, so I have a bit of an advantage over most Christians, but John had the same thing, a living person to talk with and touch; yet he was on the brink of questioning the whole thing as well, so we are in good company...

I appreciate your willingness to lay everything you thought you knew aside, and seek truth. How many people ever have the guts to do something like that..? You are an amazing person for having done that and I wish you well on your journey.

As for me, some of the truths that I have discovered I've written about in my blog. Thoughts that I've been accused by those that I thought I knew in the church of creating problems for the church by challenging status quo and reigning theology. Through it all, so far, I think I'm drawing closer to him - the nature of my relationship with him has changed forever - but its stronger than ever before, just in a different way.

For quite awhile it seemed that none of my prayers or requests were being addressed or answered, but now I'm starting to see some breakthroughs again. Answers that have no other logical reason for occuring - its amazing. Now, I'm not out of the valley yet, and I have a lot of other questions, but I feel I'm making progress.

I just felt like encouraging you. You are doing something that quite frankly I wish every Christian would do, question why they believe what they believe and seek the truth. What a powerful life experience.

As I read your comments, I realized that I have had the same thoughts. I would imagine there are lots of people out there who could claim the same things. Especially those of us who have been around awhile, it seems the longer you're around, the more you go through, the more likely to question what you believe. I see nothing wrong with that at all. You are right in that many other religions have similar experiences such as healings, worship, miracles, etc. It seems as this world gets older, the very things that have separated the church for so long have become similar enough where Christianity doesn't stand out as much against that backdrop.

Let me apologize. You probably are saying why..? We the church, are responsible to ensure that our experience here in the earth is different and exponentially more real and powerful and better than everybody elses; if anybody has failed at this, we the members of the church have. Droves of church members are leaving this thing everyday because they don't witness what is talked about. That is our fault - just thought I'd point that out. Its our fault, not the Lord's... Sorry dude...

I've written enough I think, thanks for listening... MM

Karla said...

I believe that all the experiences with the Lord that are in the Bible are available to us and more so today.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

What truly explains the plethora of religions in the world? [...] Would it not make more [sense] that there is something out there that explains our natural world better than naturalism?

For starters, how about evolutionary psychology, history and anthropology?

Religion is able to infect humanity because humans are wired to accept truth claims without requiring evidence or engaging in critical thinking, especially when they are indoctrinated as children.

I'll turn the question back to you: if your particular conception of God is true, why has humanity not universally found that particular God? The vast diversity of theistic beliefs is evidence against any one of them being true.

For more, I recommend Dennett's Breaking the Spell.

To me, belief in nothing, explains nothing.

Since when do we (freethinking atheists) believe in nothing? We don't accept supernatural claims, including those of theism. That doesn't equate to nihilism. We build our worldviews on evidence and reason, not magic and voodoo.

For more, read A Life of Wonder and Into the Clear Air.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

I believe that all the experiences with the Lord that are in the Bible are available to us and more so today.

Awesome. Please point me to the nearest burning bush, pillar of fire, chariot ascending to heaven, dead guy walking out of a grave, or such. You'll gain many converts.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

Why atheism? What is the attraction to atheism?

Psychological projection for the loss!

We don't choose atheism because we like it or it comforts us or a pastor says we need to. We accept it because doing so is the inevitable consequence of objectively considering the evidence.

Karla said...

Would not be better to examine the evidence and reasons regarding both atheism and Christianity versus disregarding Christianity as childish. It seems like a total lack of investigation into Christianity to claim that there is no evidence or reasoning for it. There are countless books written and many brilliant minds who attest to the truth of Christianity. There are many books written giving an apologetic for atheism and there are brilliant men and women who are atheists. Let's not dismiss either by declaring it childish and unreasonable. Let's look at them more deeply than that, shall we?

Karla said...

Atheism believes only in the natural world. So I guess in that regard it would not be nothing. However I often hear the argument given that theist only have something to prove because they posit a supernatural world and atheist have no reason to defend their atheism because they posit nothing. I think they need to defend it even more than a Christian would because it doesn't give an adequate explanation of many of life's big questions.

Karla said...

Check out Lakeland Florida. The lame are walking, the deaf are hearing, the blind are seeing.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

Would not be better to examine the evidence and reasons regarding both atheism and Christianity versus disregarding Christianity as childish.

You make it sound like those courses of action are mutually exclusive. In reality, freethinking atheists come to the conclusion that Christianity is to be disregarded as a result of examining the evidence and studying Christianity and other religions, not in spite of having done so.

It seems like a total lack of investigation into Christianity to claim that there is no evidence or reasoning for it.

No one is claiming that no arguments have been put forward on behalf of theism. What we are claiming is that these arguments are weak and easily defeated. You may think that there is evidence for Christianity, but no evidence for, or argument on behalf of, Christianity or any other religion has ever stood up to scrutiny.

If you think about it, the very existence of this debate is a testament to the extreme gullibility of humans. An all-powerful Creator God wants to personally be my best friend, but he somehow needs arguments to be made on behalf of his very existence? This is insane.

However I often hear the argument given that theist only have something to prove because they posit a supernatural world and atheist have no reason to defend their atheism because they posit nothing. I think they need to defend it even more than a Christian would because it doesn't give an adequate explanation of many of life's big questions.

Straw man. Nobody I know of has claimed that atheists don't need to defend atheism itself. What you are failing to grasp is that we (atheists) are not making any supernatural assertions and thus don't need to defend any such claims. Think of it this way: nobody needs to defend the existence of the Earth, because its existence is an obvious fact. We can see, touch, taste, feel and smell the Earth. But if someone came along and claimed that Zeus exists and is the One True God (TM), that would be a supernatural claim and you would, along with me, reject it unless the claimant could prove his assertion. That's the position you are in, just with a different "god".

Check out Lakeland Florida. The lame are walking, the deaf are hearing, the blind are seeing.

Are you positing that supernatural healing is taking place on a regular basis in that city? Do you not realize how insane this sounds? Wouldn't that phenomenon instantly become the lead story in every news venue worldwide? Wouldn't the world's population be flocking there en masse to have its diseases cured? Wouldn't scientists descend on the city to study and understand these spontaneous cures? Is this seriously the best you can do?

Mike aka MonolithTMA said...

I've seen a lot of articles in the atheist and Christian communities about Lakeland phenomenon, not all of it positive.

Here's one from a Florida paper: Legacy of Lakeland Revival Debated

Karla said...

You haven't heard about what's been happening in Lakeland? There are thousands that have been flocking there and hundreds of healings. It has been in the secular news. It's not confined to Lakeland. People get healed other places. But it's been hundreds since early this year in Lakeland. It's only a taste of what's coming as these miracles become the norm in Christianity. It's happening all throughout the Church and it's increasing.

Karla said...

I know the reports aren't all positive even amongst Christians. But even if 1% of the reports are true there is something supernatural happening there.

Karla said...

I know you won't believe me but I haven't experienced God with my senses. I have felt His presence tangibly. I have seen the work of His presence. I have smelled a distinct sweet smell when He manifest His presence on two or three occassions.

God allows us to ignore the signs of His existence becuase He gives us free will to see His truth or to reject His truth. He also gives those who reject or deny Him people along the way to help them see the truth. He gives all kinds of opportunities to see His truth.

Kevin DeGraaf said...

I know you won't believe me but I [have] experienced God with my senses. I have felt His presence tangibly. I have seen the work of His presence. I have smelled a distinct sweet smell when He manifest His presence on two or three occassions.

God allows us to ignore the signs of His existence becuase He gives us free will to see His truth or to reject His truth. He also gives those who reject or deny Him people along the way to help them see the truth. He gives all kinds of opportunities to see His truth.


I could try to argue that it would be preferable to search for scientifically parsimonious explanations for what you have reported. I might throw around terms like "biased witness" and "highly suggestible emotional state" and "confirmation bias" and "rationalization" and "mental illness". But that would be a waste of time.

So, rather than going down that road, here's a thought experiment.

Imagine that a Muslim was trying to convince you that Christianity is false and that Allah exists and is to be worshiped. Or perhaps a follower of the Greek pantheon was trying to say the same of Zeus, or someone of a Norse persuasion was pushing Odin. You get the idea.

Let's say that this worshiper of a different god, one that neither of us believes in, posted the same thing you did in defense of the Christian god, but in defense of his god instead.

Let's make this crystal-clear:

I know you won't believe me but I [have] experienced Zeus with my senses. I have felt Zeus's presence tangibly. I have seen the work of His presence. I have smelled a distinct sweet smell when Zeus [manifested] His presence on two or three [occasions].

Zeus allows us to ignore the signs of His existence [because] He gives us free will to see His truth or to reject His truth. Zeus also gives those who reject or deny Him people along the way to help them see the truth. He gives all kinds of opportunities to see His truth.


What would your response be? If you make any counter-arguments to our hypothetical Zeus-worshiper, how do those same counter-arguments not apply to you and your position?

Kevin DeGraaf said...

You haven't heard about what's been happening in Lakeland? There are thousands that have been flocking there and hundreds of healings. It has been in the secular news. [...] I know the reports aren't all positive even amongst Christians. But even if 1% of the reports are true there is something supernatural happening there.

Please point me to an article from a reliable source that backs up your claim of supernatural healing.

Please also explain how, given a report of a purported faith healing, you would distinguish between a true faith healing and a run-of-the-mill instance of a garden-variety charlatan taking advantage of gullible suckers.

Karla said...

Have you heard of anyone who still believes in the Greek pantheon of gods? These were finite gods and logically do not provide a foundation for truth. Greece and Rome built their societies on these gods and their societies fell. Islam does not posit a relational God. You serve and obey and hope for the best, but you can't know God. Christianity is unique in having a free gift of relationship with God and salvation. All other religions are works based to gain favor with God. And the deities of those religions do not suffice for being a Creator and a personal God necessary to exist.

If my only defense for Christianity was my personal experiences I would grant you that the next person could say the same about their god and who would know? However, there is far more behind the reality of the Christian God than experiences. Experiences is a real and important part of knowing God. But it doesn't stop there.

Just out of curiosity. . . Do accept something as true by finding sound intellectual arguments of it's validity or do you prefer to experience the truth for yourself or both? If you find it sound by your criteria would you still need experiential proof? Or would experiencing something first bring you to want to look into the intellectual support for it? Is one more important than the other to you?

There isn't a wrong answer, I am just wondering.

Mike said...

In the years that I was a management consultant, I had to employ lessons learned from the science of psychology in order to effectively execute my role as consultant, even though I am not a ‘psychologist’. I witnessed many unexplained behavior patterns in managers and senior leaders from a variety of government agencies and companies – now a psychologist would probably have a deeper insight into what I witnessed, but I had to rely upon what I had learned and try to effect appropriate change with my leader partners within these organizations, while relying upon what noted psychologists had published in order to try and frame some sort of effective response to what I was experiencing in that role.

I said all that to say this; you mentioned in some of your comments that if we could prove the existence of God, either by the “point me to the nearest burning bush, pillar of fire, chariot ascending to heaven, dead guy walking out of a grave, you'll gain many converts” or some such other evidence. I would argue that the science of psychology would disagree with you and posit that you will not believe on this type of evidence alone, most won’t. Which also explains why things like this do actually happen around the world at times and there aren’t many converts as a result as you assert.

It would sound logical that if we could show you these miracles first hand, that you and many others would believe (assuming they are happening), however history and psychology suggest that people ‘see’ evidence of truth all around them all the time; they even ‘hear’ evidence all around them all the time, and still don’t notice that which is right in front of them.

Scientists, Doctors, Meteorologists (name any scientific discipline) all struggle with discovering the totality of what is out there, and they haven’t even come close to discovering all of it yet. They can’t truly heal the sick (not all of them), they can’t truly explain the universe, and they can’t even predict the weather accurately all the time. They often find themselves directly confronted by problems that they can’t solve, and often the answer is right in front of their faces. Sure, over time they’ve gotten better, I’ll give them that, but the tone that most atheists (that I’ve met and talked with) take seems to imply that logic and science can answer all the questions that people have, and this is simply, ridiculously inaccurate.

What is it about our limited ability to understand all that surrounds us; what causes our limitations; why are all of us somewhat blind to something or some area of our lives? Even you guys who talk of atheism. Fundamentally, it’s the absence of wholeness that drives us to seek another to complete us. Some try to complete themselves with other people, some with drugs and other addictive behaviors, some with success, some with religion, etc. But we can’t overlook a glaring fact, our lack of wholeness; yet another piece of evidence that we have a need of some kind for something or someone more than ourselves.

I’m not trying to say atheism is a bad thing. Over the years I’ve tried to learn to accept what others believe and what they base it on. Hey, at least you folks are trying to be brutally honest about what you’re thinking (can’t say that for everybody). I appreciate your position and I see it as a good thing to challenge status quo and demand evidence. But I also think that life itself offers clues and demands we accept that we don’t have all the answers. If we could live a hundred lifetimes we would still never discover it all; there is simply too much out there.

So that leaves us with a dilemma of sorts; try to discover the fundamental truths that count during our lifetimes and let the rest sort itself out or drive ourselves mad pursuing great things only to get to the end of life and discover it was all for naught.

The question of the existence of God and the hope and assurance he offers about eternity is one of those fundamental things that we all must grasp while living; because we only have one chance at it and life goes way too fast to waste it on other pursuits until we get this one answered.

Men have grappled with this question for millennia, but one thing seems certain, those who get it right by and large live a more complete life, contribute more to society than any other demographic and show the evidence of the existence of the Lord Jesus by their presence in the Earth. Look at this study critically www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001
/08/010813081207.htm
and you’ll see ‘some’ evidence that what I’m saying may be stained by some degree of truth (not claiming total truth, just some here…) ;)

Thanks for all your input here; I look forward to continued debate and sorry for such a long post… MM