But, yes, belief in Jesus Christ and His divinity is the key "catch". How is it not grace to provide a means of canceling the consequence of sin (death) and providing reconciliation to God?
I don't think it is. Especially when the sin is argueably God's fault in the first place.
Even from this perspective, I don't think it nullifies the concept of grace.
Really, it would be interesting to hear more of experience later, but I take it you never found God during this time of seeking. How did this experience of attending revival services lead you to where you are at now? I'm certain it played a role. What kind of things did you do in your quest of seeking God?
Obviously, I didn't find God. The silence was deafening. I'll talk about the revival services later.
Ummm. Prayer, read the Bible, and I just had an inkling of doubt at first. At one point I was crying out and begging God to help me understand things and know him. I didn't get an answer. I think that was the turning point when I was around 15. At later times, I'd look up stuff about evolution and arguements for and against religion. Eventually I just had to admit the people on the non-religious side wanted to know what was true, while the religious side just repeated the same stuff over and over, which eventually led back to "you have to have faith", which I take to mean "there's no real reason to believe".
So, you feel that "religious" people are not interested in truth? Or is it more that they are content with not knowing all the answers? Both perhaps? Or, do you see Christians as intentionally dishonest?
Why the curiosity of these various beliefs? Simply academic?Something like that.
Hopefully I can contribute to your search and/or satisfy some of your curiosities.
I got a 30 on the ACT. The best I've gotten in the catagories are:
So I'd superscore 31, but the best I got on a single test was 30.
I don't think I did too well on the AP tests though. But I got 6 hours of credit for them, so I guess that's decent.
US History: 3
I also had a 4.0 GPA.
Great scores on the ACT, congrats. In school, what do you feel the most proficient in? Your test scores suggest literature edges out the rest, but is that your own assessment as well? I think I scored slightly higher in math and science then I did in literature, and that lined up well with my own assessment and preferences. I don't recall the exact breakdown, but I found I enjoyed math and science in school quite a bit more than literature. The AP stuff is great if it helps you eliminate some college courses. Fortunately, I was able to skip some introductory lit and history courses thanks to AP testing, so that credit you received is very valuable. I never took the AP calc test, but it would have been nice not to have to repeat calc again my first year of school.
You did in the sense of the condensed 5-line version.
That was the idea.
Yes, but it still leaves a lot to be desired.
Interested, not on any level deeper than acedemic.
That's as good a reason as any.
I'm guessing you'd just say "It's a matter of faith." But the thing about that is, a muslim or hindu could say that too. Faith just isn't convincing, and definately doesn't tell us anything about what's true?
No, it probably isn't that simple. Although, it is difficult to accept Christianity void of faith because absolute proof will probably never exist.
I think I actually have a good idea of how we end up with such different worldviews. It's really hard to explain in words though.
That's true of many things, but I'm glad your attempting to do so.
You're just told something your entire life, and it's so hard to think anything otherwise.
Is the "you're" in this sentence me, or are you alluding to Christians in general?
Plus, Christianity instills a fear of hell in it's adherents to try to prevent apostacy (Yes they do.)
I think the idea of hell is indeed a picture of a place that would be horrible, but most Christians I know don't sit around fearing hell on a daily basis. However, consequence(s), or fear of them, can serve as an effective deterrent in many areas of life.
I think on some level you're concealing doubts. You can't "know" you're right, although the Bible says you can. (1 John 5:13).
I think all Christians have (or have had) doubts of varying degrees regarding their faith.
Also, you can't move mountains, pick up deadly serpents safely, heal the sick (Ok, some Christians claim they can, but think of all times prayers seemed to fail, as well as the title of this website.), or many of the other things the Bible promises.
I've never personally had the gift of healing in operation in my life where I prayed and someone was instantly and unambiguously healed. Prayers being answered, God's Spirit at work in my life...yes, I do believe I have experienced this.
And your beliefs are constantly reinforced. Mine are as well, but I've gone through a troublesome transition from child going on blind faith, to looking skeptically at everything and searching for truth.
At times they were reinforced, at other times they were severely challenged. Faith has not always come easy to me. And faith or no faith, I've always been searching for truth.
You chose to just accept the beliefs you were raised with. I tried to find out what was true.
I don't think it's generally so simple. We are all (globally speaking) shaped by education, environment, experience, different levels of natural curiosity, different levels of intelligence, and many other factors. Some more readily accept or hold beliefs because they are taught to do so, but inquiring minds are usually not this easily satisfied in the face of doubts, fears, and/or challenging experiences which test one's faith or beliefs. Although, growing up in a "Christian" country, home, or environment certainly pre-disposes someone to some level of faith or belief as a starting basis which is later challenged and/or reinforced by education, experience(s), etc.
By the way, it would be interesting to hear some of your revival experiences when you have the time to post them. If I don't get back to the thread to reply for a couple days or so, it's because I have some business trips tentatively scheduled for the end of this week.