Believe it or not

TO say “I don’t know” is often to express a profound truth.

Doubt is an integral component of scientific, social and even theological discovery.

Intelligent, educated and sincere people often doubt the supernatural. It’s not surprising to find religious sceptics among our best thinkers, scientists, writers and social reformers.

But sometimes what feels like doubt and atheism is the beginning of real belief.

The perceptive 19th century writer Charles Caleb Colton said doubt was the vestibule through which all must pass before they can enter into the temple of wisdom. That sounds right.

Writer C. S. Lewis was, for many years, an apologist for atheism. In his 30s, he found himself doubting his doubts and became profoundly Christian.

“I had maintained that God did not exist,” he said. “I was also very angry with God for not existing. I was equally angry with Him for creating a world.”

He described his conversion, in a book he titled Surprised By Joy, as “waking from a long sleep”.

The disciple Thomas, the one who would not believe in Jesus’ resurrection until he saw the crucifixion wounds, is forever known by the epithet Doubting Thomas.

It seems like an all-defining attribute, yet Thomas’ doubt, although worldly and real, was momentary. He apparently ended his life as a martyr for Christianity in India.

The doubt that Thomas honestly expressed is famous, at least partly, because it is the sort of doubt we all share.
If we believed without doubt in the Christmas story and the Easter story, our way of living and dying would be dramatically different.

We hope for miracles, we want to believe in them, but there is a mental reservation that often keeps us from believing completely.

Thomas was a true sceptic. He doubted so that his belief might be based on something more than wishful thinking. He doubted as a step towards establishing belief.

Doubt, at its best, is not denial, but an essential questioning pathway to the truth. At its worst, it can turn corrosive and lead to a permanent state of “unless I see it, I will not believe it”.

Everybody has faith in something. Those who doubt the miracles of Jesus, but promote scientific, political or social theories also base their lives on faith.

And when it comes to the question of believing or not believing in God, there is hardly indifference. It is a faith either way.

Often the problem in seeing God in our lives is a fear of commitment to something we are not quite sure about.
That’s why people prefer the non-committal position.

They have been sold the myth that in order to commit to an idea they have to be absolutely certain it is right — and absolutely certain that everything else is wrong.

In fact, certainty is not something we choose. It is possible to go to Heaven with doubts; and surely possible to enter Hell with what seems to be certainty.

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104 thoughts on “Believe it or not

  1. The disciple Thomas, the one who would not believe in Jesus’ resurrection until he saw the crucifixion wounds, is forever known by the epithet Doubting Thomas.

    Who gave him this epithet? It was Jesus Himself. Because what God has chosen to reveal to us, we are not to doubt.

    Otherwise we fall prey to the serpent’s question : “Did God really say… ?”

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    • Well no, not exactly davinci.

      Jesus didn’t call him “doubting Thomas”. The nickname “Doubting Thomas” is not in the Bible.

      Jesus, who recognised honest doubt, replied to Thomas after he witnessed His wounds, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

      And Doubting Thomas does not stay a doubter.

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      • Actually, this is not an example of honest doubt. If I was to act like Thomas, I would have to reject everything that the Bible says, on the grounds that the atheist rejects it.

        Namely that I don’t have the physical proof of many of the things told and described in the Bible.

        This sort of “honest doubt” would justify me in not believing the existence of God, on the same grounds that Bernard Shaw did not believe God (“Sir if you existed, why did you hide yourself”). This comment was in spite of what those who had seen God had experienced (namely fear, trembling, etc).

        This sort of doubt would justify me in ignoring what Matthew Mark Luke John and Paul said because I don’t have the full evidence for what they said either.

        But what did Jesus say? “Blessed are those who have not seen, and yet have believed”.

        Our whole faith depends on the words of those who had walked with God, namely the prophets, the apostles with Jesus Christ being the chief corner stone. And a lot of this will come by faith not by doubt.

        In this day and age when Satan seeks to deceive the very elect, we cannot afford to entertain the same doubt that Thomas had. We have to base our faith on what the prophets, apostles and Christ had said, otherwise doubt will overcome us if we wait for the physical evidence of what they said to materialise.

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      • Rubbish davinci!

        Even Mary Magdalene didn’t recognise the Risen Lord and mistook Him for the gardener, so if that was the case then no wonder Thomas asked for proof. Heck, I would too!

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      • I think we have a semantics issue concerning the word doubt.
        Davinci is correct as far as being certain about our faith.
        Monica is correct that doubt is not a bad thing. We can have much certainty about our faith but doubt in aspects of it. It is not a contradiction as it is two very different things.

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      • I hate it how the focus seems to be on Thomas the apostle’s doubt; that he’s given such a bad rap by the religious. The Bible says that he wasn’t with the disciples when Jesus initially came to them. Perhaps, if he had been present with the rest, he would have accepted their report; but how can he “believe through their word”? You can just imagine all the emotions he would have been trying to deal with in that instance.

        I just love Jesus’ response when a week later He appears to the apostles again, only this time Thomas is with them, “and as though Jesus had read Thomas’ heart and sounded the depth of his complicated conflict between hope and fear, despair and love, and moreover intimating the fact that He had heard His disciple’s protestations, as well as mercifully appreciated his genuine difficulties, and not unnatural hesitation,” “Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

        Jesus didn’t rebuke him, but instead welcomed Thomas with open arms to come touch, feel, know for certaintity that Jesus was who He said He was. The love and intimacy of the Savior is just overwhelming to me. Who knows us better than He does! And He does not condemn us when we are real with Him. He does not have a critical spirit which makes us feel like doggy doo doo. Quite the opposite!

        In my own faith walk of mostly doubt and weakness, Jesus has shown Himself to be strong. I’ve received the greatest blessings (miracles) when I’ve been at my lowest, when I came out of hiding behind the facade of “I’m a Christian so I have to pretend that I’ve got it altogether”. He just wants us to be REAL folks! To give Him our weaknesses; to trust and see what the Lord can do with them, and us! I just love how He is still offering Himself up to us, arms wide open and beckoning us to come touch, taste and see that the Lord is good.

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      • Bryan,
        Just one last word on my recent post. Since you made what appears to be a rather unfortunate slur on my honesty, let me say this.

        When I offer comments on Biblical texts, I am being scrupulously honest about just what I am observing in the lines. And I may also be making honest suggestions about the ways in which they can be taken or interpreted.

        Obviously, I am NOT necessarily saying whether or not I personally believe in the fact or truth of the contents. When I set out to comment on my own beliefs or opinions, I endeavour to make that very plain. My approach can perhaps best be described as academic. I’m examining the text to see if it makes sense to me, to see if it hangs together, and to see if modern scholarship tends to agree with its message. I’m no expert, but there again, I don’t really believe anyone on this blog is.

        Does that make it clear? I’d greatly appreciate an acknowledgement from you on that.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Rian, I’m not accusing you of being dishonest. That’s your projection.

        I am saying you are so misinformed and so blatantly anti-Christian that you can’t or won’t admit when you are wrong.

        I don’t think your approach is in any way academic. Quite the opposite. Just a collection of half-truths and outright falsehoods designed to mislead. And I believe the person most misled by it all is yourself.

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      • Well Alexie,
        Before you go on trying desperately to tear me to pieces on the list, dont forget that you recently told me I was ‘Wrong!’ about a couple of matters concerning the early Gnostic Christians.

        It is very noticeable that you have discretely kept quiet (from embarrassment I presume), since I pointed out the quotes from Tertullian about those same Gnostics to back up my claims. I didnt really anticipate any acknowledgement or apologies from you, but since you are continuing to attack my postings, I thought it would be only fair to remind you of this mattter.

        Look mate, when you discuss the theology of Paul’s Epistles and elaborate on Evangelical theory and practice, – when you expound on Christian Salvation and the Christian hope of Heaven, I’m usually happy to ‘pass’, as these are your specialities.

        However when you bring up matters to do with the early Christian Church along with those to do with the heresies especially the Gnostics, then I’m probably better informed than you. So I recommend you dont do it again quite so blatantly.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Seriously?

        “It is very noticeable that you have discretely kept quiet (from embarrassment I presume), since I pointed out the quotes from Tertullian about those same Gnostics to back up my claims.”

        Are you serious? Like much of your “facts” I ignore them. Just because I do not respond does not mean by default you are correct. Far from it. Can I remind you of your own comments about no certainty, only doubts. You cannot be certain about what you wrote so why are you so certain of being right?

        “However when you bring up matters to do with the early Christian Church along with those to do with the heresies especially the Gnostics, then I’m probably better informed than you.”

        “So I recommend you dont do it again quite so blatantly.”

        Again, are you serious? I think you must be some sort of gnostic comedian.

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      • Ah well, Alexie old mate,

        In the recent disputes I’ve had with Bryan, the issues have been over doctrines, opinions, points of view and interpretation etc. Not strictly over matters of fact.
        However in this matter between you and me, it was specifically on fact. I quoted some particular historical facts and you proceeded to say I was wrong.

        I immediately provided direct quotes out of the recorded writings of one of the greatest of the Christian Apologists of the early centuries to demonstrate my point.

        You were obviously embarrassed as hell over it, and avoided either acknowledging it or apologizing for it. I rather expected that this would be the case. You just cant afford to admit that any non-believer could possibly show you up as wrong. It will have been quite obvious to anyone and everyone. And now, you have done a real real wriggle to excuse yourself.

        Interesting that Bryan describes me as being unwilling to ‘admit I was wrong.’ (note to Bryan, – Are you going to acknowledge this matter between Alexie and me? Or can he be excused anything since he is a Christian believer???)

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Rian, It is obvious that you are into point scoring rather than discussion. This is not a debating competition old mate.
        You have admitted you post things you don’t believe in. Just be honest for a change and I’m sure you will find it refreshing. As we all will.

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      • “Are you going to acknowledge this matter between Alexie and me?”

        It is Alexie and I.
        It irks you to think you might be wrong.
        And not just about grammar.

        You are wrong in your response. You totally were off topic and off answer.
        You have been wrong often about many topics but more so about the Christian faith. You will continue to be wrong as your resources are wrong, less than qualified and not at all scholarly. This can change if your resources change and your thinking.

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      • “Rubbish davinci!

        Even Mary Magdalene didn’t recognise the Risen Lord and mistook Him for the gardener, so if that was the case then no wonder Thomas asked for proof. Heck, I would too!”

        Firstly, Mary Magdalene mistook Christ’s identity for that of the gardener. This was not a case of doubt, but of mistaken identity and confusion.

        Then we have Thomas. Read Mark 16:14:

        “Later Jesus appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”

        Rebuke? Lack of faith (which is doubt)? Stubborn refusal of listening to those who had seen him after he’d risen?

        If you want more proof that Thomas’ doubts were not healthy or right, read gotquestions.org on this issue, if only for no other reason than further scriptural authority that it is not safe to be doubtful.

        This whole issue of Thomas’ doubts being healthy is in fact an indication that those who advocate it have ignored the scriptures. The very scriptures which would have sorted their doubts out.

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      • Bryan,

        I didn’t bring Thomas into the discussion. You did, to illustrate healthy doubt. But the scriptures paint a different picture of how healthy that doubt is.

        I am not the issue here. The authority of the Scriptures is. Whoever first suggested that Thomas’ doubts were healthy, did not know his/her scriptures and is now erring.

        Furthermore I did not write the scriptures, I merely illustrated how to deal with doubts. Namely practiced what the Bereans did, and searched the scriptures to see if these things were so. (Google Bereans).

        According to the Scriptures, Thomas’ doubt was unhealthy.

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    • Bryan,
      I’m glad my comments about doubt triggered off an interesting and stimulating column from you today.

      As I’ve said before, there are really very few matters that I feel any great certainty about. But in my own doubting, I cant say that I’ve ever been through more than a couple of brief periods of mild or curious inner concern. On the many occasions that I’ve found new (and maybe heretical) ideas taking hold in my consciousness, they didnt take me by storm. My vision of the new matters simply were there, and I was surprised to find that my ‘beliefs’ and convictions had shifted without my being aware of it. I no longer held the old beliefs.

      Very interesting to recall how much passion good old CS Lewis felt in the various stages of his life. Going through these powerful conflicts is very frequently a precursor to a conversion experience. Fancy hating God etc! But there again I recall our dear Monica describing how she went through this too.

      Then Paul. His desperation in trying to do the right thing and to please God led him to fanatical extremes – first as a passionate practicing Jew, then as a persecutor of Christian heretics, and then as the driven preacher.

      I seem to recall that you Bryan were once an atheist and Communist??? I guess your passion for these ideologies left you wide open for conversion to a brand new ideology. Did you find yourself fighting against the oncoming doubts and beliefs?

      For me of course, I was never a fanatic of any variety, and regardless of just what side of the fence I was on, I never went through any crisis of faith. At every point, I appeared to be quite content and calm about my current ideas.

      As a child and young person, I was simply quite happy about my orthodox Christian beliefs. The newer concepts took over without any disturbance. And of course I have never been anti-God. Always and ever had confidence on that score, with a powerful confidence in the deity
      Rian

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    • Hi Bryan,
      Now I’m deliberately asking this time for your considered indulgence. I’m not asking you to be kind to me over my diabolical Gnostic tendencies. No, it is rather in the form of you retracting your comment about me being ‘ blatantly anti-Christian’. This needs some rethinking. I am definitely NON-Christian, but never ANTI.

      For starters, don’t forget that I grew up in a very close-knit peaceful family, with both parents deeply devout Christians. I don’t regret that for a moment, and my up-bringing left me with no harsh feelings about Christianity.

      Secondly, I am all in favour of Christian worship and Christian prayer. I have never and would never try to persuade a person to drop their Christian faith and life. I will support anyone up to the hilt in their experience of ‘having their sins forgiven’, and in the experience they have of a deep relationship with Christ. I would never try to talk anyone out of their hope of heaven or their expectation of an Eternity with God.

      Now sure, it is true that when I see fit, I will critically study Scriptural texts and comment on them, since I do not regard the Bible as the final Word. I will criticize aspects of the history of the Christian Church, and certain Christian Doctrines. But there again, I guess that any and every Evangelical Protestant will do the same, – wont they/you? There’s aspects of Catholic history and teaching that many of you here will well and truly reject, – and probably far more than I would.

      Now Bryan old mate, unless you have some very very different definition of the term ‘Anti-Christian’ from the definition I use, I think you will agree that it doesn’t really apply to me. I rather hope that my couple of years close friendship with Monica with the interaction between us, should go some of the distance towards proving and demonstrating it too.

      So please consider carefully.
      Cheers, Rian.

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      • Hi Rian,

        Firstly I’m intrigued that you care about my opinion.

        The common definition of an anti-Christian is someone who is opposed to Christianity or Christian values.

        Do you fit that definition?

        Some people are passive in their non belief. I wouldn’t call them anti-Christians.

        I don’t believe you are passive in your attitude to Christianity. You’ve made a choice to disbelieve. You’re not a fence sitter – and that’s something to be admired – and you are certainly not neutral when it comes to your proclaimed beliefs.

        Whether or not you grew up in a Christian family is irrelevant. So is your friendship with believers. I have believing, nonbelieving, sort-of-believing, and used-to-be-believing friends and that doesn’t alter my beliefs.

        You say you have pantheist beliefs. Christianity refutes pantheism. It is anti-Christian. Christianity says that God created everything, not that he is everything or that everything is God. While Christianity teaches that God is omnipresent, or exists everywhere, it separates the Creator from his creations.

        I know you get miffed and huffy when people quote the Bible but this seems relevant:

        But every spirit who does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist. You have heard that he is coming, and now he is already in the world.
        1 John 4:3

        The Bible tells us that if the truth sets us free we will be free indeed.

        I’d ask you to consider that.

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      • Well Bryan
        why should I ‘care about your opinion’??? Weeeell, in most other matters that pass between us on this blog, it’s an issue of opinions and faith variations. And I’m happy to allow such differences.

        But in this case as far as I am concerned, it is an issue of fact concerning me, and I feel that I really need to clarify it to the greatest extent. Again, since I would never seek to destroy Christianity, or cripple anyone’s personal Christian faith, I think that I can conclusively state that I am not anti-Christian. I readily recommend Christianity to some people who I think can well live best with it. Anti-Christian???

        I am very happy to encourage and allow that Christianity is one of the great spiritual paths for humanity. (Oh oh, that IS a great NO NO, I guess!) Oh yes, to be absolutely honest, I DO have to state that I oppose the idea of EXCLUSIVE Christianity in opposition to all others. But not all Christians take the ‘exclusive’ clause for granted either, do they?

        Currently I am, as I mentioned to you some months back, in the process of delivering a course of lectures locally, called ‘2000 Years of Christian Art’. My audiences are perfectly normal people, some of whom are Catholics and some Protestants, both from past and present in their lives.
        In these audio-visuals, I continually have to expound on standard Christian doctrines and practices; and simply have not had complaints about any offense caused to anyone. I have to say that I am eternally grateful for the sound grounding that I got from my home background in Christianity, in order to deal with the material successfully, because simply, it is just wonderful stuff.

        In the past, depending on the particular audience I’ve been addressing, whether Catholic or Protestant, I make every effort to tackle my topics in the terms that are relevant to them. But there again so did Paul, didnt he? (see 1 Corinthians 9.) Except that I am not in any way out to convert anyone, so perhaps I’m a bit more open and honest from the start in that regard than he. . Since for them, I am expounding accurately on Christianity for them, it doesn’t really matter if I don’t hold the same beliefs that they do. They are being encouraged and enlarged on their own Christianity.

        The other thing I do in these sessions is to educate the audiences in the incredibly rich heritage that lies in traditional Christianity – in its Art, in its symbolic imagery and in its legends, (as well as many of the important people who flit across the pages of its history). Unless you understand these two latter matters, a great deal of Medieval and Renaissance Christian Art will pass you by with little comprehension. And very few if any of todays Christians still believe in the old extra-Biblical legends.

        I’m not a Catholic and certainly not a believer in the Catholic doctrines of the Virgin Mary, but I do my best to educate my audiences so that they will understand the doctrines about her, and the rationale behind her ‘worship’. And I try to describe and explain it in a way that is sympathetic and fascinating. Same with Catholicism generally or for that matter if I happen to be discussing Evangelical Christianity.

        You indicated that I appear to get miffed when the Bible is quoted. Well keep it in mind that though the Scriptural texts really represent the ‘Last Word’ among believers, they obviously represent nothing like that to unbelievers during an argument or debate, and are unlikely to sway them. They can be effective of course as a way of describing the believer’s views and where they come from.

        The other thing about Biblical quotes, as you and I have demonstrated very often is that the non believer may want to dissect the words and suggest newer or different meanings in them .. different from the time honoured interpretations. The believer must surely have to expect that, and not just throw up his hands in horror.

        Anyway, I leave it to you to contemplate. Hope you see what I mean.
        cheers, Rian.

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  2. But Bryan it was Jesus who gently rebuked Thomas for doubting (giving rise to the epithet “Doubting Thomas”).

    It was Jesus who reinforced the principle that what God has revealed to us we should not doubt.

    Otherwise we can easily fall prey to the creature that first said “did God say you can’t eat of the fruit of tree of knowledge of good and evil?”

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    • When Jesus hears that his dear friend Lazarus has died, the other disciples try to talk him out of returning to Bethany to mourn. The last time they were all there all hell almost broke loose. They were threatened with death, run out of town, made to feel, in no uncertain terms, wholly unwelcome.

      The disciples believed that returning to Bethany, even to mourn the dead, would end in the death of them all. So while the other disciples hem and haw about not going, Thomas alone speaks up.

      Thomas alone stands in solidarity with Jesus.

      “Let us go with him,” Thomas says, “so that we may die with him.”

      These are not the words of a doubter.

      These are not even the words of a believer.

      These are the words of a follower of Christ.

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      • Awesome! 😀

        “What’s the point?” I asked the Lord in doubt and dejection half an hour ago. “Live and breathe God” are the words that immediately came to my mind…..Psalm 34 is the answer I received, praise God!

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      • Thanks Mon. And here’s psalm 34

        I will bless the Lord at all times;
        His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

        2
        My soul shall make its boast in the Lord;
        The humble shall hear of it and be glad.

        3
        Oh, magnify the Lord with me,
        And let us exalt His name together.

        4
        I sought the Lord, and He heard me,
        And delivered me from all my fears.

        5
        They looked to Him and were radiant,
        And their faces were not ashamed.

        6
        This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him,
        And saved him out of all his troubles.

        7
        The angel[a] of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
        And delivers them.

        8
        Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good;
        Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!

        9
        Oh, fear the Lord, you His saints!
        There is no want to those who fear Him.

        10
        The young lions lack and suffer hunger;
        But those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing.

        11
        Come, you children, listen to me;
        I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

        12
        Who is the man who desires life,
        And loves many days, that he may see good?

        13
        Keep your tongue from evil,
        And your lips from speaking deceit.

        14
        Depart from evil and do good;
        Seek peace and pursue it.

        15
        The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
        And His ears are open to their cry.

        16
        The face of the Lord is against those who do evil,
        To cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.

        17
        The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears,
        And delivers them out of all their troubles.

        18
        The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
        And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

        19
        Many are the afflictions of the righteous,
        But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

        20
        He guards all his bones;
        Not one of them is broken.

        21
        Evil shall slay the wicked,
        And those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.

        22
        The Lord redeems the soul of His servants,
        And none of those who trust in Him shall be condemned

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      • On the contrary Bryan, these are the words of one who does not accept what Jesus is saying, but sweeps it all under the carpet and does his duty out of unwilling resignation.

        When the disciples did not understand what Jesus meant when He told them He was going to awaken Lazarus, Jesus told them plainly that Lazarus was dead and He was going to resurrect him. This should have been the clue to the disciples that He would not be going to die, and/or take the disciples down with Him.

        Instead of listening to what Jesus was saying and believing that Jesus might go to show His power over death, Thomas’ words actually show that he believed Jesus would not show His power over death, but rather become a victim of death Himself, and take his disciples with Him.

        Thus Thomas’ words are the words of the type of follower of Christ that is not listening to what Christ is actually saying, even after Christ talks plainly to him.

        This is really not a good place to be. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were labelled “fools” by Jesus upon His resurrection because once again they did not believe what the scriptures were saying about the sacrifice of Jesus. Once again there was a tendency to sweep what God has said under the carpet.

        Had not Jesus met them on the road and explained His death and resurrection to them, they would have eventually abandoned Him due to disappointment.

        Just like the followers of Judaism. Just like Thomas, there is a massive sweeping under the carpet of what God actually says, with the disastrous result of eventually abandoning God.

        The only positive lesson that we can learn from Thomas is to keep an open mind, despite the temptation and disappointment to sweep everything under the carpet and doubt.

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      • I was interested to see there the take you put on the words of Thomas ‘Let us go with him so that we may die with him’.

        In every commentary on the text that I’ve read, Thomas was not understood to be talking about going to die with Jesus, but rather to go that they might die alongside Lazarus. I think that this interpretation fits the sense of the sentences better However, there are no immediate verses preceding the account that refer to the death of Jesus, though there are a few in the previous incident . I just looked up my books and found one reference that agrees with your version.

        Many Gnostics maintained that the ‘death’ of Lazarus was actually a ritualistic trance of Initiation symbolically described in the allegorical language of Scripture. Thomas was rather enthralled by this and desired to attend the place and similarly experience Initiation.

        Cheers, Rian.

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      • Rian I think you are a literalist. You again miss the subtleties and the real meaning of the text.
        The view that Thomas wanted to die with Lazarus is so ridiculous that it requires no argument.
        And the gnostic view of Lazarus? Well, that’s plainly rubbish too with no evidence.
        More later, It’s time for bed.

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      • Bryan,
        You do make me laugh when you so often accuse me of being just so literal in reading and quoting the Scriptural texts. You are falling into a very real trap there. An understandable one, I guess.

        What you are forgetting is that it is the very specific literal reading of Scripture by the orthodox that made the Gnostics of old shake their heads in disbelief. My Gnostic forebears of course took the Bible (and the life of Jesus) as being largely allegorical in nature and not for the greater part to be taken literally, or historically true.

        When on this blog, I remind you about the precise way that the Biblical texts are worded, I am NOT doing this because I personally believe them, but rather because I want to point out just what the literal text that you revere so much actually says.

        It is funny that you remind me to look below the surface, to seek the subtleties in the text, rather than to read the obvious. For heavens sake Bryan, that is precisely what the Gnostics always have done. And when they/I do just that, you hate every bit of it and dismiss it.

        As a fine example, I don’t believe precisely in the Gospel story of ‘Doubting’ Thomas, or the very veiled tale of the raising of Lazarus. It is looking below the surface of the writing that I and others like me, actually do. At times here, I will toss in an alternative reading of the meaning of a particular verse or story, – not because I believe it, but just to stimulate some newer way of looking at it.

        In fact I get very suspicious when I learn from historians of ancient Rome that the form of address applied by Thomas is exactly the same as that which the later Roman Emperors demanded of their subjects when approaching them while crouching in worship on the floor. ‘My Lord and my God’. Sounds like a very carefully worded bit of dialogue to push the Christian agenda of the Resurrection. And heaven knows, Thomas’ words of worship sure have served the Christians well over the years to press and prove their beliefs and convictions.

        So just think in future Bryan, before you accuse me so primly of doing a literal reading of a Scriptural text, keep in mind that it would be very rarely I’d be doing just that in any historical sense of belief.

        Cheers, the much hated and dreaded Apostate and Heretical Rian. (oh, I know, don’t bother to correct me about that. I know you guys don’t hate or dread me. Your Christianity doesn’t allow that. though I do wonder at times)

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      • No Rian, I don’t hate or dread you. It’s not all about you,

        So you’re telling us that you post stuff here you don’t believe. I guess that says it all.

        .1 Corinthians 1:27-31New King James Version (NKJV)

        27 But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; 28 and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, 29 that no flesh should glory in His presence. 30 But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God—and righteousness and sanctification and redemption— 31 that, as it is written, “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.”[

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      • No Bryan,
        You are very conveniently misunderstanding what I’m saying. When I state that the wording in the Bible reads in a certain way, I am pointing out that you and all literalist Christians are doing a bit of misreading of the text usually because of preconceived Christian ideas.

        If you really believed in the literal meaning of the words in Scripture, you would not be so blithely happy to dive in and say that there are ‘subtle meanings here that Rian is missing.’

        Quite frankly, I am astounded that particular meanings were dragged out of the text (from many hundreds of years ago) that simply are not there. I recall in one particular instance I queried just why someone or other here did not offer worship to the Virgin Mary. I was NOT under any circumstances recommending such devotion. Just purely pointing out that on the basis of what the individual was saying in their posts that it would be just as legitimate as what they were suggesting.

        You should well know that I have never stated here that I believe in the literal text of the Bible. Very frequently I have said things like ‘Certain Gnostics held that this or that text held this particular meaning’. It doesnt mean that I necessarily agree with them.

        So I am most frequently offering criticisms of what is being said on the blog. NOT stating that any alternative i mention represents my own faith or conviction. You should be able to see very clearly when I state my own personal ideas.

        I could only wish at times that one of you would simply say decently and honestly ‘Yes, I see what you are driving at, but I dont believe for a second that it is true’.

        cheers Rian.

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      • Rian, You claimed to have belonged and “officiated” at a Gnostic Church for several years yet you say you don’t agree with many of the basic gnostic beliefs. How exactly did you “officiate” in a church that you didn’t really believe in?
        Just curious because it seems as if you have been rather confused.

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      • “Yes, I see what you are driving at, but I dont believe for a second that it is true’.”

        That is all we can say. That we can see what you are driving at, hogwash. And yes, we do not believe it for a second.

        Even if you are own spouting others words you are the one delivering it. So once again, we get what you are saying and its far from truth. That I am certain about, no doubts.

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      • Bryan,
        If you had read a recent posting of mine, you would have seen my explanation that the Gnostic church I was in did not insist on anything other than a general agreement with the major principles taught by the establishment.

        The crucial thing insisted on was proper reverend performance of the traditional Sacraments and service to the congregation. What one personally believed was not considered important. Anyone was welcome to partake of the Sacrament, so long as they approached the Altar with reverence.

        You are forgetting too that Gnostics have never been united in identical types of beliefs across the board. Get it now?

        Rian.

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      • There is a Gnostic Mass, which, in many ways, resembles the structure of the Roman Catholic Church, however, it ends there. The ritual is a celebration of the principles of Thelema, which means a deeper understanding of one’s true self and one’s true will.

        The ceremony calls for five officers: a priest, a priestess, a deacon, and two acolytes called “children.” The end of the ritual culminates in the consummation of the Eucharist, which is a glass of wine and the host called a Cake of Light, after which the congregate proclaims, “There is no part of me that is not of the gods.”

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      • Bryan,
        Your expression of contempt at the idea of Gnostic Sacraments doesnt really do you justice. You need to look up the meaning of the word Sacrament.

        Now the church I was associated with was specifically a Christian Gnostic church. We of the clergy offered and celebrated the various Sacraments of the Christian tradition, apart from that of Confession. The church had eliminated concepts like the Wrath of God and the Depravity of man as being unworthy of The God that was worshipped.

        Quite frequently we had Catholics (past and present) attending, because they just loved the chance to watch and participate in equivalents of the traditional services they used to worship in prior to Vatican II. Among the Services apart from the Eucharistic Mass, there was the Healing Service and the Celebration of Solemn Benediction. Christmas Eve we had a Carol Service and a Midnight Mass, usually very well attended.

        I was just one of the local Priests. All clergy worked at normal day jobs, even the Bishop and no-one received any remuneration for their Clerical work. Clergy could be married or not; and divorce was not proscribed for anyone. I Christened a number of babies, married a number of couples and not infrequenly instructed candidates for Confirmation (by the Bishop) and for Church Membership, and of course, preached a number of Sermons.

        Anyway, that’s it. Cheers, Rian.

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      • Thanks again Gavin,

        Really appreciate your illumination. Spiritually speaking, it’s no different to a Black Mass, really. Same god is worshipped.

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      • Ah well Bryan,
        I guess since you really have no idea of what I’m talking about, I’ll bow out of the discussion in peace.

        Luckily I’m not at all thin skinned in regard to things that are put into print against me and my views.

        Just as well my pussycats love me. (oh and i think that Monica and Strewth are rather fond of me too!)

        Must get on with the weekend. Cheers to all.
        Rian.

        PS. Hi to Stu and the other dissenters on this blog. Hope you’e enjoyed the fun.

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      • I do know what you are talking about Rian. So I bow out of the discussion too.
        We are talking about important things. Too important to let falsehoods rule.
        For all that I agree with Mon. You are a nice guy who I would like to meet sometime. I imagine we would get on quite well.
        I didn’t intend to offend you or your beliefs and I apologise if I have.

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      • Phew, that’s a relief Rian,

        to know that you weren’t officiating as High Priest in a Black Mass as the Gnostics do in Gavin’s description of the Gnostic Mass. 😆

        But even so, the Gnostic Christian Church’s god is made in your (man’s) own image, not vise-versa as it should be according to Scripture.

        Bryan really cares, you know. So do I.

        I just want to thank you for being so open with us and willing to share to the extent that you do. That takes courage.

        You are a dear man; a gentle man, and a good man, and you are much loved.

        Mon

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      • davinci on October 29, 2015 at 14:51 said:
        But Bryan it was Jesus who gently rebuked Thomas for doubting (giving rise to the epithet “Doubting Thomas”).

        It was Jesus who reinforced the principle that what God has revealed to us we should not doubt.

        Otherwise we can easily fall prey to the creature that first said “did God say you can’t eat of the fruit of tree of knowledge of good and evil?”
        ……………………………………………………
        If it wasn’t for Thomas we would not have the record of the resurrection being attested by physical examination. Surely Christians should give thanks that he had doubts.

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    • Jesus spoke to Thomas in a moment in time. We should not tarnish his character as history has done. As Bryan mentioned he became very certain about Jesus in time. Doubt gives way to certainty but in no way says we shall not doubt later about another area of our faith.

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      • bryanpattersonfaithworks on October 30, 2015 at 19:15 said:

        Gnostic sacrament? Now there’s a blinding contradiction.
        And what anyone believes is not important?
        Welcome to the wonky wheels on a religious supermarket trolley. What a joke!!!
        …………………………………………………………..
        It’s no joke, Bryan. The gnostic church that Rian officiated in is a Catholic one, though not Roman Catholic. Apostolic succession was handed down to its priests initially through the Old Catholic Church of Holland.

        It uses sacrament especially to facilitate worshipful emotion, believing heartfelt prayer is more effective than book learning. A knowing of God to be experienced.

        It follows a similar vein to the RC, but believes it better to focus on what we CAN do for others than on our sinfulness. Another exception is, replacing the dismissal of the congregation at the close, the image or thought of Jesus is dismissed to go out into the world, doing good according to the heartfelt prayers of the petitioners.

        I have attended some very spiritual services, though not in Rian’s particular church. As I was never a member, I must ask Rian’s forgiveness if I’ve got any facts wrong!

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      • Thanks Strewth. I was going to let it go but since you posted I’ll say what I think. The idea of gnostics holding a Eucharistic Mass and Christenings (Christ-ening) babies etc while not even believing in the Christ is just New Age (or perhaps Old Age) claptrap. There is nothing beautiful or healthy about it. I’m surprised you try to put a nice face on what is clearly a cult of false ideas. Rian is a probably a nice old bloke but he is deceived. He may try to make excuses for this sort of rubbish but I won’t. Sorry but enough is enough.

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      • “It uses sacrament especially to facilitate worshipful emotion, believing heartfelt prayer is more effective than book learning. A knowing of God to be experienced.”

        I have no issue with emotion, heartfelt prayer and knowing God. These are not by default exclusive of book learning as you inferred. The book learning you describe is God’s Word.
        He gave us His DNA, His thumb print and our booth certificate. If you only “experience” God without “knowing Him then who are you really experiencing? There is a counterfeit religion that is not Christian.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The goal of every Christian should be to grow to be more Christ-like every day. This is the process often called sanctification where we seek to grow to be more mature (or Christ-like) through the power of the Holy Spirit. You may have noticed that I called this a goal. Goals sometimes are achieved but many times we fall short of our goals. It takes faith to grow spiritually in Jesus Christ. But if you have been a Christian for any amount of time, you realize that many times we have stumbling blocks or things that come up in our lives that keep us from growing in our faith. There are many verses that deal with “doubt,” “fear,” and “unbelief.” If you are reading this article, you have probably had some doubts in your life. Maybe you have doubted God. Maybe you have doubted that He is good. Maybe something in your life has happened and you just cannot make sense of your faith. Hang in there. Prayerfully read through these passages and meditate on them and allow God to strengthen you through the Holy Spirit.
    Matthew 21:21 And Jesus answered them, “Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen.

    Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-doubt-20-scripture-quotes/#ixzz3px6Vd23R

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  4. Yes doubt can be a good thing. Sometimes though we need to doubt our doubts. As humans we have this tendency to think our doubts must be true by default.

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  5. No one is immune to doubt. It can and does happen to us all. You’ve just got to know how to handle it when it comes. Even the greatest men and women of God recorded in the Bible had to deal with doubt. Jesus said of John the Baptist,

    “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matt. 11:11).

    That means John was greater in the sight of Jesus than Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or any Old Testament character you can name. Yet John doubted the most important thing of all by questioning whether Jesus was really the Christ.

    John the Baptist had been cast into prison for criticizing Herod about marrying his brother’s wife, an incestuous relationship. He had been there sometime between six months and two years and became so discouraged that he asked two of his disciples to go to Jesus and ask Him if He really was the Christ. It’s easy to read that and not think much about it, but the truth is, it was nothing but unbelief on the part of John the Baptist.

    Think about who John was. He was separated unto God and filled with the Holy Spirit while he was still in the womb. Even Jesus wasn’t filled with the Holy Spirit from the womb. It is believed he lived in the desert near the Dead Sea with the Essens, the writers of the Dead Sea Scrolls. They were a people who were super-legalistic who dogmatically practiced many rituals of self denial. He certainly had not lived what we would call an easy life. John was separated and focused on his purpose.

    His entire life was committed to preparing the way for the Christ. He spent thirty years preparing for a ministry that would only last six short months. John is the one who saw Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world”(John 1:29). The anointing on his life had to be exceptionally powerful because his ministry defied logic. Thousands of people from many nations came to the middle of nowhere to hear this man preach, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” And God had revealed to him that through a visible sign from heaven he would know who the Christ was. He would see the Spirit of God descending upon the Messiah in bodily shape as a dove. That came to pass when John baptized Jesus in the Jordan River.
    http://www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/overcome_doubt/

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  6. The remedy for doubt is Faith. Wonderful news!

    Classical humanism says that doubt, while uncomfortable, is absolutely essential for life. René Descartes said, “If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.” This is similar to what the founder of Buddhism said: “Doubt everything. Find your own light.” If we take their advice, we would have to doubt what they said, which seems rather contradictory. Instead of taking the advice of skeptics and false teachers, we will see what the Bible has to say.

    Contrary to the humanistic view that doubt is essential to life, the Bible says that doubt is a destroyer of life. James 1:5-8 tells us that when we ask God for wisdom, we are to ask in faith, without doubt. If we doubt God’s ability to respond to our request, what would be the point of asking in the first place? God says that if we doubt while we ask, we will not receive anything from Him, because we are unstable. “He who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind” (James 1:6).

    The remedy for doubt is faith, and faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). God gave us the Bible as a testimony of His works in the past, so we will have a reason to trust Him in the present. “I will remember the deeds of the LORD; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago” (Psalm 77:11). In order for us to have faith in God, we must study to know what He has said. Once we have an understanding of what God has done in the past, what He has promised us for the present, and what we can expect from Him in the future, we are able to act in faith instead of doubt.

    http://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-doubt.html

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  7. Muhammad had doubts

    Bassam Zawadi responds (*) to my endnotes (*) regarding Muhammad being rebuked in Sura 10:94-95 for doubting that revelations were coming to him. Here are the references in question so as to see what is at stake here:

    And if thou (Muhammad) art in doubt concerning that which We reveal unto thee, then question those who read the Scripture (that was) before thee. Verily the Truth from thy Lord hath come unto thee. So be not thou of the waverers. And be not thou of those who deny the revelations of Allah, for then wert thou of the losers. S. 10:94-95 Pickthall

    The above establishes two very crucial points. The first is that Muhammad is expressly told to consult the previous Scriptures if he wanted to know whether revelations were coming to him. This shows that the Holy Bible, which is the Scriptures that were in the hands of the people before Muhammad, serves as a criterion determining whether the Quran is true or not.

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  8. Doubt about the Koran

    Recently news that a portion of the Koran may actually predate Muhammad himself. This mayhave a large impact on the Muslim world and make Muslims rethink the veracity of their faith.

    Thus Tom Holland, a British historian, asserts, “It destabilizes, to put it mildly, the idea that we can know anything with certainty about how the Koran emerged. And that, in turn, has implications for the historicity of Mohammed and his followers.”

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    • It is a lot better when you don’t hide behind huge posts.

      The examiners estimated that the text was written between A.D. 568 and 645. By tradition, Mohammed lived A.D. 570 and 632. Although there is an overlap between parts of these two periods, the Koran was initially not a written document but memorized by believers and recited orally. It was not until A.D. 650 that a written form was completed

      Though it was finalized in 650 AD, it was written as it was revealed over the last 23 years of the prophet pbuh lifetime. So these discoveries actually fall in line with what happened. The amazing thing is that the Quran was revealed over 23 years and there are no contradictions in it. No human can write something over 23 years and not have any contradiction or error in it.

      http://freebeacon.com/culture/oldest-fragments-of-koran-may-pre-date-prophet-mohammed/

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      • Were you not crying about ad hominem recently? Which I was not doing.
        But your comment above has no bearing on anything I have posted. Thus it is but an attack. Hypocrite anyone. At no stage have I asked you to respond to anything let alone all of it. Get over yourself.

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      • “the Koran was initially not a written document but memorized by believers and recited orally. It was not until A.D. 650 that a written form was completed”

        It was changed before written down. The early caliphs also destroyed other versions.

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      • Were you not crying about ad hominem recently?

        OK fair enough.

        “the Koran was initially not a written document but memorized by believers and recited orally. It was not until A.D. 650 that a written form was completed”

        This is incorrect. It was written down as it was revealed. In 650 it was collected from paper, bones etc and orally and put into a book.

        Zayd_ibn_Thabit was given this task. This is what he said when given the task.

        “…By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains it would not have been heavier for me than what he had ordered me concerning the collection of the Quran… So I started locating the Quranic material and collecting it from parchments, scapula, leafstalks of date palms and from the memories of men.[Bukhari Sahih al-Bukhari, 6:60:201]

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      • It was changed before written down. The early caliphs also destroyed other versions.

        When they collected all the Quran together and it matched against the memorisers of the Quran then all the Quranic material in the community needed to be destroyed. The reason for this is it has not been verified. It was one, if not the earliest form of document control.

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      • Tom Holland has made some really basic mistakes in what he has stated. The smallest of fact checking blows his statements out of the water. I was curious to why a historian would make such basic mistakes. I looked at the books and documentaries he has written.involved in and it all comes together.

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  9. Much doubt in the Koran

    And their saying: Surely we have killed the Messiah, Isa son of Marium, the messenger of Allah; and they did not kill him nor did they crucify him, but it appeared to them so (like Isa) and most surely those who differ therein are only in a doubt about it; they have no knowledge respecting it, but only follow a conjecture, and they killed him not for sure. S. 4:157 Shakir

    Only in a kangaroo court or sheer blind ideology would the verdict come down against the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus in favor of the Qur’anic account of what happened.

    This is simply a claim that contradicts what the Bible and history says.

    There are many errors of the Qur’an in such a short space and muslims really should be in doubt of the supernatural authorship of the Qur’an.

    “We killed the Messiah….” here is a clear mistake. The jews wanted Jesus dead precisely because they rejectedHim as the Messiah, for no Jew would boast of killing the Messiah.

    The worst part is that the added words of the translators are not part of the Arabic text, which means the Qur’an is in error often.

    Surah 4:157 states those who do not follow the revelation of the Qur’an are following nothing but “conjecture and doubt”, but the translators attempt to add to the lack of detail in the Qur’an to make what it says, shows that Muslims themselves are full of conjecture and doubt on the matter.

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    • I have had my say on this subject a few times. I have no doubt in it. I am happy to wait for judgement day for the truth to come out.

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      • I have no doubt in the message. I remain hopeful for paradise but if you take it for granted then Satan has a leverage he can use.

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  10. Intriguing, Islam adopted gnostic teachings

    WHY DID ISLAM ADOPT THE GNOSTIC HERESY?

    Why did the Qur’an endorse the illusion theory of the Gnostics although it emphasized Jesus’ humanity at the expense of His divinity? This is a rational and challenging question that exposes the hidden ties between Gnostic heresies and the Islamic denial of the crucifixion. At first it is not easy to understand why Muhammad decided to pursue the Gnostic repudiators of Jesus’ passion. While commenting on the Christian sources of the Qur’an, Rev. Clair Tisdall remarks that Muhammad’s adoption of the Gnostic heresy concerning Jesus’ crucifixion was rather haphazard, being a product of his emotional reaction to the Jews:

    Muhammad’s denial of the death of Christ on the Cross cannot be traced even to such untrustworthy authority as his favourite apocryphal Gospels. It is needless to say that he contradicts both the Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Apostles, though doubtless merely through ignorance. It seemed to him to be derogatory to the dignity of Christ to have been crucified and put to death by His enemies; and Muhammad was all the more convinced of this when he found his own enemies, the Jews, exulting at having slain Jesus. Hence he gladly adopted the assertion of certain heresiarchs, with whose views in other respects he had little in common9.

    The Messiah, son of Mary, was no other than a messenger, messengers (the like of whom) had passed away before him. And his mother was a saintly woman. And they both used to eat (earthly) food. (Surah 5:75)

    CONCLUSION

    The comparative analysis of the Gnostic heresies with the Islamic teaching denying the crucifixion confirms the theory that Islam borrowed the denial and its means from the Gnostic Docetism. No matter how reluctant Muslim scholars are to admit it, the sudden occurrence of the denial of Jesus’ crucifixion in the Qur’an and the absolute political nature of this denial indicate that Muhammad adopted from Gnostic heresies only after distorting the Gnostic creed by straining it through a political filter. Consequently, what we read today about Jesus’ death in the Qur’an is the distorted version of Gnosticism, which is fathered by Muhammad’s anti-Jewish sentiments and ideology.
    http://www.answering-islam.org/authors/masihiyyen/gnostic_islamic_crucifixion.html

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  11. In Asia they recently found Homo Sapiens bones below soil deposited aged at 80,000 years.
    Those bones could be as old as 120,000 years.
    But let,s give a figure of 100,000 years .
    Now lets give a time of say 5,000 years to reach Asia from Africa.
    Meanwhile others left Africa and headed in another direction.
    Now some state that the enity is all powerful and all knowing.
    I ask them to give a opinion as to why that entity did not have their version of religion way back “”BEFORE”” Homo Sapiens left Africa.
    Would it have been SMARTER to have put forward their version of religion at least 100,000 years ago.
    Or do you assume those who existed for those 100,000 plus years before where only the trail people and not worthy of your version of religion?

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    • Adam pbuh was the first prophet. Whether he existed 100,000 or 1,000,000 years ago he was the first. There has been over 100,000 prophets that have been sent to humanity since. As the message dries up a new prophet is sent.

      A theory I believe is that the major religions such as Hinduism and Buddhism were started by these prophets but then the teachings got corrupted. The earliest of Hindu Scripture speaks of one God.

      The Hindu Scriptures says…
      “Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan” (Sanskrit) –
      (Translation)
      ‘There is only one God, not a second, not at all, not at all, not in the least bit’.

      Like

      • So the all knowing all powerful entity has to redo the work over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over :-etc
        I could do that “ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES to illustrate how ridiculous that claim of yours is but the server would crash .

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  12. So Bryan that is a example of how you think.
    The progression of statements and conclusions that your thinking plays out .
    With a assertion that every step is totally perfect .
    Of course it has to be correct.
    And it works perfect within your brain.
    As of course your brain is perfect with zero flaws in reasoning and conclusions.
    The trouble is !!
    Your version of thinking is not the reference point for all brains.
    For a start I don’t consume a legally available poison drink that kills off brain cells.

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  13. Buddhist view of doubt

    All doubt is not the same. I have observed that there are at least three different kinds – skeptical, nihilistic, and reactive doubt – and they vary greatly in impact. Skeptical or inquiring doubt can often be beneficial. For instance, in many spiritual traditions you are encouraged to be skeptical of blindly accepting beliefs and to explore through your own direct experience what is true. “Be a lamp unto yourself,” said the Buddha. Likewise, yogis in Patanjali’s tradition in India still go into the forest to discover spirit for themselves, and the same is true of the Desert Fathers in the Christian tradition. Skeptical doubt in spiritual and psychological exploration, as in science, can be healthy and useful. – See more at: http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/lost-doubt#sthash.i1Z11pu0.dpuf

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  14. The Bible is our source of truth and thus defines assurance for us. And what it says is clear. Believers can and should be absolutely certain that they have everlasting life. Works play no role in a person knowing he is eternally secure. The following verses present eternal life as the certain possession of all who simply believe in Jesus—an idea we will develop more fully in the next installment in this three part series on assurance.1

    Let’s first consider John 6:35. “And Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.’” After Jesus fed the 5,000 that day, the crowd came to Him saying, “Lord, give us this bread always” (John 6:34). They were hoping for the type of provision supplied to the Israelites for the forty years they wandered in the wilderness. But Jesus was referring to a miraculous type of bread and water. One who eats this bread or drinks this water will never hunger or thirst again!
    http://faithalone.org/magazine/y2004/04D1.html

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    • I am passionate about assurance as certainty because that is what the Scriptures teach. I’ve seen the power of that certainty in my own life. It produces love and gratitude in me toward God. It unlocks the Bible, revealed so that it fits together and makes sense. It should come as no surprise that when we believe what God says, especially something this important, that it has powerful repercussions in our lives.

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    • Both Luke and Matthew tell us that a little faith is important. Doesn’t have to be much. According to Jesus, as little as a mustard seed.

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  15. “he found himself doubting his doubts and became profoundly Christian.”

    Awesome words.

    “Lewis weighed all these world-views himself, and eventually found them wanting. He once called himself a “most reluctant convert” to faith. But this very reluctance is a sign of Lewis’s spiritual integrity; he fully recognized that commitment to Christian faith would be a life-changing event, not just a casual decision about where to spend his Sunday mornings. And when he was ready to make the surrender of his will that was required of him, Lewis entered into faith with his whole heart, and mind, and soul.”

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      • Hi Alexie,

        I don’t know what you mean by that. Do I believe that I asked a question – yes I do.

        Do I think that it’s a great question, nope it’s very clumsily worded.

        Did I hope that my question would elicit a meaningful response – yes I did.

        Did I have any great belief or expectation or “faith” that my question would elicit a meaningful response – no.

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      • “Did I hope that my question would elicit a meaningful response – yes I did.”

        And there is your faith. Thus contradicting your assertion that and inference that not all have faith in something.

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      • Alexie.
        Bubba said he hoped his question would elicit a meaningful response, not that he had faith that it would.

        Hope and faith are separate concepts.

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      • Hey Alexie,

        So in my case I had hope I’d get a meaningful answer – but no belief or expectation that I would.

        Is that the same as for you and other Christians? That you have hope that God is there but no belief or expectation that he is ?

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      • 1. Another translation of Hebrews 11:1 is
        “Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”

        That’s a nice way of describing the hope / faith relationship.

        2. In this instance it would appear that my hope for a meaningful response was not at all similar to the Christian Faith. Which kinda puts us back at square one.

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  16. What’s stopping you from accepting the prophet of Islam Bryan?
    Europe’s currently in wall to wall Stockholm syndrome isn’t it?
    A bit of submission would do you good wouldn’t it?

    Captain James Riley was a simple slave redeemed by his nation. But what happens when there’s no-one to pay the price? James was a lesser human being for not having submitted to the prophet of Islam’s message. So of course he could be slave traded. Infidel, kafir.

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    • What’s stopping you from accepting the prophet of Islam Bryan?

      Ah more PG sarcasm. What do you mean by “accepting”. I accept that he lived. That’s about it.
      And no. I’m not into your conspiracy theories. God’s in charge. That’s the truth.
      What stops you from accepting that?

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      • Yes I am a conspiracy theorist and conspiracy factualist, And Amen, God is in charge. If that means He is bringing down nations in their obvious rebellion and decadence, then, I have to say Amen to that as well.

        I don’t think it’s sarcasm. It’s cynicism mired in lament. What a waste. One generation there’s C S Lewis, the next, a Whalid Ali giving condescending lectures on feigning moral adequacy..

        You remember Rhett Butler’s comment in “Gone with the Wind”. Admittedly it was a film made a hundred years after the event but here is a partisan pretending to be a cynical opportunist. “it was all such a waste”. Hundreds of thousand killed, maimed, scarred. Just such a waste.

        time is ticking down now, I suspect. The world reserve currency time bomb, the derivatives and bond markets time bomb, the demographic time bomb,

        look up

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  17. “The concept of “dying to self” is found throughout the New Testament. It expresses the true essence of the Christian life, in which we take up our cross and follow Christ. Dying to self is part of being born again; the old self dies and the new self comes to life (John 3:3–7). Not only are Christians born again when we come to salvation, but we also continue dying to self as part of the process of sanctification. As such, dying to self is both a one-time event and a lifelong process. “

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    • Christians we are told are not perfect, just forgiven sinners. Yet I think that is often an excuse not to try very hard to ‘be ye perfect even as your Father’ etc. Particularly for those who class themselves as born again Christians.

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