Can a true Christian lose faith?

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Can a true Christian lose faith?

Poll ended at Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:54 pm

Yes
8
67%
No
4
33%
Maybe (explain)
0
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Total votes : 12

Postby narsil » Fri Mar 24, 2006 10:46 am

Problem is, the Bible is complex and ambiguous enough that you can make it say almost anything.

there are a lot of things you can make it say, but general consensus (which doesn't make it always right) agrees on a lot more than you are giving it credit for. For example, the spanish inquisition. Not biblical. And nobody would try to make it so. That was power and politics not theology.
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Postby mikedsjr » Fri Mar 24, 2006 11:53 am

Emery wrote:So the problem with answering the OP's question is, who's answer do you go with?


Now I will agree with the statement and this statement only with 100% accuracy. The rest of your post I would certainly contest.

Now why do I agree, even though I voted NO? Because there are a lot of Christian who do believe the same way I do, but they don't really understand who God is and so they would possibly say YES out of ignorance.

Why would I say they don't know who God is? Because they don't study the scripture and try to see God in what is going on. They just read the scriptures and read it in the context of everyday life and they really do miss a lot more to the Bible.

I know. I've read certain passages 100 times over and then one day I go, "Whoa! I never saw God in that light in this passage before. That really is different and makes more sense now". And if you don't write down what you learn into something permanent, you will forget what you learned and then lose sight of what you learned before.

Most people don't want to go deep. They just want the surface belief only and that is fine and they live great Christian lives. But it is digging deep where the understanding comes from.
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Postby Norton » Fri Mar 24, 2006 12:31 pm

Okay Emery,

This no true scotsman thing is dumb in my opinion. We're hinging everything upon one word (Christian) and a huge variety of definitions of that word, some good and some bad.

It all starts with the definition, which in this case varies depending on who you talk to. In other words, can't we turn this around and apply the same problem to the word "atheist"? To be honest, you call yourself an atheist, but you've said in the past that you think some sort of god probably exists, but not according to any definitions you've seen. Most atheists would then say: "well, Emery's not a true atheist."

So what is a true atheist? I imagine that if I ask most atheists what that means, I would get lots of different definitions. The details would change. At the heart of all it would probably be something about believing that God doesn't exist. But there would still be lots of variations (just like in Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, agnosticism, animism, etc.) Just like in Christianity, if you ask lots of people what it means to be a Christian, you'll get lots of different answers. Most of them will probably include something about God and believing in Christ, but the details will vary.

So...where does that leave us? It means that if I dialogue with everybody that calls themself an atheist, I'll get lots of different ideas, many of which conflict with one another. Also that there are some atheists who represent their beliefs well and some who do not. And rather than bashing all of atheism for being so diverse and often contradictory, I try to find the commonalities in atheistic ideas and dialogue with those who seem to articulate and live out those ideas consistently.

Isn't that only fair? What do you think?

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Postby Emery » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:01 pm

Yes, I agree with you Norton, though I don't think the Scotsman article is dumb, I think it makes a very good point.

I'll add one more variable to your list of uncertainties, which definitely applies to atheists, as you rightly observe:

Who knows what someone is really thinking? Of course the answer is no one, except the person doing the thinking. That's why this idea that no one could have been a true Christian if they leave the faith, because that "proves" their original experience was somehow less than genuine, is unsupportable. Not only that, it calls into question all our experiences (anyone can turn the argument right around at you), in which case nothing is knowable.

So it seems the only supportable position is to assume the other's experience could very well be as genuine as your own, and look elsewhere for an explanation of the "any true Christian would stay a Christian" idea. That the statement might false would be a good starting point. :-D
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Postby Emery » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:04 pm

mikedsjr wrote:Why would I say they don't know who God is? Because they don't study the scripture and try to see God in what is going on. They just read the scriptures and read it in the context of everyday life and they really do miss a lot more to the Bible.

I know. I've read certain passages 100 times over and then one day I go, "Whoa! I never saw God in that light in this passage before. That really is different and makes more sense now". And if you don't write down what you learn into something permanent, you will forget what you learned and then lose sight of what you learned before.

Most people don't want to go deep. They just want the surface belief only and that is fine and they live great Christian lives. But it is digging deep where the understanding comes from.

Hi Mike. This assumes that others who read the Bible, yet do not arrive at your conclusions, are not "diggin deep" or trying to "see God." Where is your support for this conclusion?

Hint: circular arguments don't work

:D
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Postby mikedsjr » Fri Mar 24, 2006 4:15 pm

digging deep probably wasn't the best term to us. I guess part of it is I can't describe what I am trying to get across there and didn't know the words to use and that is what I wrote and I guess I shouldn't have.


I'll try better next time.
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Postby spongebob » Fri Mar 24, 2006 6:50 pm

Norton wrote:
It all starts with the definition, which in this case varies depending on who you talk to. In other words, can't we turn this around and apply the same problem to the word "atheist"? To be honest, you call yourself an atheist, but you've said in the past that you think some sort of god probably exists, but not according to any definitions you've seen. Most atheists would then say: "well, Emery's not a true atheist."

So what is a true atheist? I imagine that if I ask most atheists what that means, I would get lots of different definitions. The details would change. At the heart of all it would probably be something about believing that God doesn't exist. But there would still be lots of variations (just like in Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, agnosticism, animism, etc.) Just like in Christianity, if you ask lots of people what it means to be a Christian, you'll get lots of different answers. Most of them will probably include something about God and believing in Christ, but the details will vary.

So...where does that leave us? It means that if I dialogue with everybody that calls themself an atheist, I'll get lots of different ideas, many of which conflict with one another. Also that there are some atheists who represent their beliefs well and some who do not. And rather than bashing all of atheism for being so diverse and often contradictory, I try to find the commonalities in atheistic ideas and dialogue with those who seem to articulate and live out those ideas consistently.

Norton


Norton, you are correct in asserting that definitions are, at best, ethereal. But you're really just dragging the conversation way off topic. Oh, and btw, I'm glad to see this topic I brought up getting such a lively debate.:smt038

You are forgetting; atheists make no extraordinary claims about existence. Christains do. And they don't stop there. Some are so arrogant as to claim that if one ever genuinely (as Emery so well phrased it) accepts the call of Christ, then one never turns away from it. That is claiming to know something that you simply cannot know. As I stated earlier, Norton, you and any Christian you know are all susceptible to this sudden change of mind. And if you were to change your thinking, you would likely argue as ardently that you were a genuine believer because you knew well better what you felt than anyone else.

I would like to get into descriptions of experiences that Christians have conveyed to me as "proof" of their genuine contact with god. Anyone interested?
Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.
~Bertrand Russell

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Postby Atheist37 » Sat Mar 25, 2006 12:40 am

spongebob wrote:I would like to get into descriptions of experiences that Christians have conveyed to me as "proof" of their genuine contact with god. Anyone interested?

That could be pretty interesting. I've heard a lot of stories about miraculous healing, it seems that's the most common 'proof' of God. Somebody is horribly sick and then prayers are answered and the person is all better. And some doctor is always quoted as saying that there was no scientific explanation for it. Funny thing, there is no scientific proof for it either. I guess God won't heal you if you can prove it was a miracle.
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Postby Norton » Sat Mar 25, 2006 6:02 am

Let's turn the question around then. Emery, was your experience with God genuine? Did you really and truly and authentically have a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit?

Hint: saying yes sort of blows a big hole in that whole atheist thing you got going on.

:D

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Postby Emery » Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:22 am

Alright Brad, I mean Norton. You are trying to mix me up with two separate things here:

1) Is someone's belief genuine
2) Does the object of their belief exist

I believe this thread is only about point #1. And the argument is that both your and my faith were genuine, the difference is I quit believing. Trying to imply that a genuine faith presupposes the existence of God and his crew is a Jedi mind trick that won't work on me, young padawan.

You also mentioned a relationship. Did I BELIEVE I had a relationship? Yes. Do you believe you have one? Yes. But how can one have a relationship with something that doesn't exist, you ask? (see, I can spot you coming from a mile away) ;-)

The short answer is that you can THINK you have a relationship, and it will look exactly the same TO YOU as if you actually had one. The long answer entails an example:

Say as kids we both believed in the tooth fairy, "felt" her presence at night, saw the "evidence" of teeth magically exchanged for quarters in the morning, etc etc. Does the fact that we now know she doesn't exist mean we weren't real tooth fairy believers? And does the fact that we thought we had a "relationship" with her presuppose her existence? I suppose it does, but only in our minds. And that is where I believe your god resides, as did mine.
:smt056
Last edited by Emery on Sat Mar 25, 2006 4:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby whoosanightowl » Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:55 am

Good answer, Emery,
I had a Christian friend tell me that I must have never had a "real" relationship with her God, to which I had to concede she was right because he doesn't "really" exist. However, I truly believed in him when I thought he did.
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Postby Emery » Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:05 am

Thanks, whoosanightowl. Let's see how my hunky co-host tackles this one. Though it may be a while, as rumor has it Norton's out doing the Lord's work this weekend, and is too busy to tape a show, let alone post :smt084
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Postby narsil » Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:35 am

emery wrote:The short answer is that you can THINK you have a relationship, and it will look exactly the same TO YOU as if you actually had one.

is that what you tell all the ladies that stalk you because of your superstar status?
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Postby Emery » Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:01 am

No, that is what I tell all the ladies I'm trying to get rid of after we've had meaningless, extramarital sex (with multiple partners), because that's what atheists do (since we have no OBJECTIVE reason to do otherwise) :wink:

My superstar status just makes it easier :!:
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Postby spongebob » Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:44 am

:smt005 :smt043 :smt005 :smt043 :smt005 :smt043 :smt005 :smt043

This is how hard I was laughing at Emery's answer. It was the "Jedi mind trick" that got me...

Emery wrote:Alright Brad, I mean Norton. You are trying to mix me up with two separate things here:

1) Is someone's belief genuine
2) Does the object of their belief exist

I believe this thread is only about point #1.


Darn tootin' it is and don't let nobody go changin' it, either.

And the argument is that both your and my faith were genuine, the difference is I quit believing. Trying to imply that a genuine faith presupposes the existence of God and his crew is a Jedi mind trick that won't work on me, young padawan.

You also mentioned a relationship. Did I BELIEVE I had a relationship? Yes. Do you believe you have one? Yes. But how can one have a relationship with something that doesn't exist, you ask? (see, I can spot you coming from a mile away) ;-)

The short answer is that you can THINK you have a relationship, and it will look exactly the same TO YOU as if you actually had one. The long answer entails an example:

Say as kids we both believed in the tooth fairy, "felt" her presence at night, saw the "evidence" of teeth magically exchanged for quarters in the morning, etc etc. Does the fact that we now know she doesn't exist mean we weren't real tooth fairy believers? And does the fact that we thought we had a "relationship" with her presuppose her existence? I suppose it does, but only in our minds. And that is where I believe your god resides, as did mine.
:smt056


Never better said, Emery. I posted something similar a while back about the pointlessness of arguing that someone did or didn't have a given thought or feeling. Although I understand why Christians do this (because their whole house of cards falls in on them and they go screaming into the night if they agree with us) I wish they would just give it up because it is truly annoying to have someone tell me that I don't know what I felt. I once had a person ask me if I had fun on a trip. When I answered "yes", she said "no, you didin't. You just think you did." :smt013 How aggravating is that?
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