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

Postby spongebob » Sat Mar 25, 2006 10:56 am

Atheist37 wrote: 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.


Good place to start, A37. I have a friend who was already a practicing Christian. He injured his back playing golf one day and had weeks of agony. The doctors said surgery was not required, just bed rest and medication. Finally, this gentleman (whom I repsect greatly) said he prayed and prayed one night that if god would end his pain he would do anything for the Lord. The next morning the pain was gone. Was this a miracle? The gentleman in question rededicated his life to god and became more involved in the church. However, to me, his outward behavior and outlook did not change at all. He just went to church more often. I moved away and a few years later I learned that he had had a recurrance of the back problem along with many other physical ailments. So what gives?

Another example is my sister. She was technically a Christian, though nearly agnostic and mostly uninterested in religion. A few months after having her first child, she began to have nightmares about his death. The dreams were recurring and often awakened her, and she would check on her son at night. She surmised that something terrible was going to happen to him and so consulted our pastor and prayed heavily for an answer. She believed that she was being led to become more active and involved in church or god would, indeed, take her son. She rededicated her life and the dreams ceased. Again, what gives?

One more example, a friend of mine. He was also a disinterested Christian who had gone away from home to attend school. Away from his devout parents, he skipped church and followed his own interests. But one day he was feeling deeply depressed and begged god to give him a sign that he existed. It happened to be snowing outside and he saw snowflakes land on the window. He marveled at their complexity and diversity and said that god "spoke" to him that this was a sign of his power. Ever since, he's been a good little Christian soldier. Again, what gives?

:smt102
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 Norton » Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:49 pm

Emery,

Based on your response and Sue's, I don't understand what the argument is about.

Don't Christians and atheists agree on all counts?

At one point in your life you believed in God. No arguments there.

And now, you don't believe in God. No arguments there.

And if asked whether you have ever at any point had a true, 2-way, relationship with God, you would say no and many Christians would say no. There might be different reasons behind the answers, but all the answers are the same from both sides. What's the disagreement about then?

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Postby spongebob » Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:01 pm

Norton wrote:And if asked whether you have ever at any point had a true, 2-way, relationship with God, you would say no and many Christians would say no. There might be different reasons behind the answers, but all the answers are the same from both sides. What's the disagreement about then?

Norton


But one can think he has a 2-way relationship with god and be completely convinced of it.

Actually, Norton, you've forced me to rethink my approach to this question. Good going. I should analyze this issue differently. Clearly, I never had a true 2-way relationship with god (although I was completely convinced of it at the time) because, in my opinion, none exists. Just as I do not believe that you have a true 2-way relationship wtih god because, in my opinion, none exits. So your way of understanding reality is that some people achieve this relationship and keep it forever while others do not achieve it and die and go to hell. My way of understainding reality is that some people become mesmerized by the illusion of a god and convince themselves that someone is talking back while others reject this notion as irrational when they become sufficiently informed and others avoid this illusion altogether. Ultimately, the difference in the two approaches is zero. My feelings of annoyance at having someone tell me that I never "felt" something are a defensive mechanism and I should look beyond that. In truth, there's nothing for me to be annoyed about. I feel like the kid who gets mad when his friends tell him there's no Santa. A few years later, when he firmly understands that there never was a Santa, he feels kind of silly at having gotten sore about the argument in the first place. Thanks for the attitude change. :smt023
Last edited by spongebob on Sat Mar 25, 2006 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 9:13 pm

spongebob wrote:Finally, this gentleman (whom I repsect greatly) said he prayed and prayed one night that if god would end his pain he would do anything for the Lord. The next morning the pain was gone.

Several years ago I had back pain, 24/7 although not so bad I needed medication. It was very annoying though and went on for months. One night I went to watch the Leonid meteor shower. That year it was actually a meteor storm, and quite spectacular. The next morning I woke up and my back pain was gone.

I thought about it and realized that I had stood outside for hours on a cold and clear November night. All night I had my face turned up to the stars, and each time a meteor streaked across the sky I would arch my back and follow it with my eyes. It was like doing hours of stretches with a cold pack on my back. Mystery solved. Thank Leo!! The pain is gone!
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Postby stickmangrit » Sat Mar 25, 2006 11:32 pm

no, A37, you've got it all wrong! it was really a message from Jesus and Vishnu to build a giant crystal Mosque out of toothpaste and angel's tears!
I see as much misery outta them movin' to justify theirselves as them that set out to do harm.
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Postby Emery » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:20 am

Norton wrote:Emery,

Based on your response and Sue's, I don't understand what the argument is about.

Don't Christians and atheists agree on all counts?

At one point in your life you believed in God. No arguments there.

And now, you don't believe in God. No arguments there.

And if asked whether you have ever at any point had a true, 2-way, relationship with God, you would say no and many Christians would say no. There might be different reasons behind the answers, but all the answers are the same from both sides. What's the disagreement about then?

Norton


Hi Norton. It's as simple as this: did we believe in Jesus as John 3:16 prescribed? Yes. Are we nonbelievers now? Yes. Our only point is, we DID believe. We held up our end of the bargain, we did what the Bible prescribed, like Naaman we dipped 7 times in the river Jordan, but were not healed.

As to how that works out theologically, we leave that to you and other Christians. If belief, obedience and acceptance is not enough for salvation, so be it. But defend that point Biblically, don't divert the issue (and I'm not saying you do, Norton, but many Christians do) by saying we didn't believe.

-Emery
Last edited by Emery on Wed Mar 29, 2006 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Norton » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:04 am

Spongebob and Emery,

I agree. And I wouldn't question whether Emery genuinely believed or not. (Of course, there is a sliding scale here and there are some people who "believe" for one weekend and when their prayer doesn't get answered the way they want, they don't "believe" anymore, but insist they did everything they could. So, it's not always a black and white issue.)

But, that's not the case here as we seem to be using Emery as an example and based on my interaction with him, it seems that he genuinely believed for the better part of his earlier life. Now he doesn't. But the future is still open. He could come back...

There is still hope young Anakin. The dark side is strong, but don't be deceived...


:lol:

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Postby spongebob » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:37 am

Norton wrote:
I agree. And I wouldn't question whether Emery genuinely believed or not. (Of course, there is a sliding scale here and there are some people who "believe" for one weekend and when their prayer doesn't get answered the way they want, they don't "believe" anymore, but insist they did everything they could. So, it's not always a black and white issue.)


I don't think I've ever met a "weekend" Christian before, Norton...


There is still hope young Anakin. The dark side is strong, but don't be deceived...



But he's already rejected the dark Lord....... :smt027
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 mikedsjr » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:10 am

I might be on an island in this discussion all to myself in this forum, I don't know.

The problem here is there are two different levels of belief going on here. There is the human version. And the God version.

If we want to use the human version, then yes. I can give Emery and Sue all the feel good answers to make them feel good inside that they were once Bible thumping, Check off their to-do list Christians but then they made the choice to not follow. If that is what you want, then you got it. I'll give you that level.

There is the second version that is God's version. God has not glorified people who can then fall away. You either are or you aren't glorfied. God doesn't make mistakes and He sees through people far better than what we know of ourselves.
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Postby Emery » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:18 am

You ever get the feeling people are talking about you? :smt069

You'll be glad to know, Norton, that my conservative Christian mom is coming next weekend, and I as the faithful son have the duty of driving her up to Dallas so she can see her conservative Christian friend whom she hasn't seen for 10 years. Yes, I will be in church this Sunday singing hymns with a bunch of Chinese people, reading the words off an overhead projector in the annex of some Mega church.

I suppose I should dust off my Baptist Hymnal, and start practicing...

"There is pow'r, pow'r, wonder working pow'r
In the blood,
Of the lamb,..."

Ever try to sing the bass line? I suck at it, but it's fun, and impresses those around you when you're lucky and get the harmonization right.

:smt035

Don't worry spongebob, I've resisted the dark lord once, I can do it again :smt065
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Postby Emery » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:50 am

mikedsjr wrote:I might be on an island in this discussion all to myself in this forum, I don't know.

The problem here is there are two different levels of belief going on here. There is the human version. And the God version.

If we want to use the human version, then yes. I can give Emery and Sue all the feel good answers to make them feel good inside that they were once Bible thumping, Check off their to-do list Christians but then they made the choice to not follow. If that is what you want, then you got it. I'll give you that level.

There is the second version that is God's version. God has not glorified people who can then fall away. You either are or you aren't glorfied. God doesn't make mistakes and He sees through people far better than what we know of ourselves.


I guess we need a new translation of the Bible, Mike. Maybe we should call it the red letter, "fine print" version. So John 3:16 would read like this:

"...that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

That is, so long as God decides to glorify said believer. In the event that God does not decide to do so, this promise is null and void. Promises of salvation are subject to terms to be discovered and discussed later by apologists, no warranty is expressed or implied, product is non-refundable, may cause dizziness, nausea, bloating, stomach cramps or severe discomfort. If symptoms persist, consult your local apologist to see why, so he/she can prescribe/devise a workaround.

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Postby Atheist37 » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:42 am

spongebob wrote:I don't think I've ever met a "weekend" Christian before, Norton...

During my senior year in college, an atheist friend of mine decided to take a trip. An acid trip. He came back with Jesus. I simply pointed out to him that any decisions made or experiences had during his trip are subject to question. Eventually he saw the light and reverted back to his normal self. It was more than a weekend, probably more like a year, but I suspect that most Christians would not find his conversion very credible.

In contrast, my best friend in high school was an avowed atheist from a conservative Christian home. We would often debate Christians, and he was really good at it because of his background. But today he is one of the holiest of holy rollers I've ever met. I tried to tell him he's going to hell anyway, because he blasphemed the holy spirit. That is the one sin that the Bible says will never be forgiven. He's figured out some work-around but I'm not sure what it is.
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Postby koin4life » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:55 am

A37, that is an interesting question, and I am not going to try and solve it because I don't know the answer right now.

But, it reminded me of another question.

The Bible teaches that if someone gets a divorce, and remarries, then they are committing adultery (as long as the first divorce wasn't due to adultery on the part of the other party....confusing huh?) Anyway, Let's say Couple A are both non-Christians. They decide to get a divorce. Now, part of couple A becomes a Christian, and after that get remarried to another Christian. Would that mean the person from couple A that was remarried has committed adultery?

I think the question comes down to whether or not your mistakes as a non-Christian no longer matter after you become a Christian (that is if you are remorseful about it). What do you out there in C&A-land think?
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Postby mikedsjr » Mon Mar 27, 2006 12:02 pm

Emery wrote:I guess we need a new translation of the Bible, Mike. Maybe we should call it the red letter, "fine print" version. So John 3:16 would read like this:
"...that whosever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
That is, so long as God decides to glorify said believer. In the event that God does not decide to do so, this promise is null and void. Promises of salvation are subject to terms to be discovered and discussed later by apologists, no warranty is expressed or implied, product is non-refundable, may cause dizziness, nausea, bloating, stomach cramps or severe discomfort. If symptoms persist, consult your local apologist to see why, so he/she can prescribe/devise a workaround.


That's what mine says. :smt048.
Romans 8:28-29 (New American Standard version) says this:


And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.


Now I know your not a Christian. Correct my logic from these verses, if I am wrong. I am not asking you to look at any other verse but these at the moment:

If a person is not glorified, then they are not justified.
If a person is not justified, then they are not called.
If a person is not called, then they are not predestined.
If a person is not predestined, then they are not foreknown by God.

On a seperate note, I understand you think there is a contradiction between John 3:16 and a person can't lose decide to call upon the name of the Lord.

John 10:27-28(NAS) says
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand.


Did the one, who says they are not a Christian anymore, ever hear Jesus' voice? Or is that person like the jews, in the context of these verses around this verse, that looked for Jesus to tell them directly that He is the Christ,, but He told them "My sheep hear my voice" and "You do not believe because you are not my sheep"?[/quote]
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Postby Emery » Mon Mar 27, 2006 6:11 pm

Hi Mike. Is this the standard Reformed way of thinking embodied in TULIP? I remember reading a book by R.C. Sproul, showing how the Bible upheld the Calvanist line, but it was a while ago. It did seem pretty convincing.

If a person is not glorified, then they are not justified.
If a person is not justified, then they are not called.
If a person is not called, then they are not predestined.
If a person is not predestined, then they are not foreknown by God.


This seems pretty fatalistic, Mike. Two questions:

1) Why create the unelect?
2) Why punish the unelect?

-Emery
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