Doubts about God, Christianity, Religion

Editor's Comments

Very large numbers of people feel uncertainty regarding whether God exists, or about whether there is really any value in Christianity or any Religion. Such people usually soon become fearful of expressing such questions or doubts because they tend to be immediately pounced on by all kinds of people! Some Christians are horrified at hearing even the slightest question about Faith or God or Christianity, and they tend to immediately set to work in "educating" the person. After all, Christians are all Taught that people can be "Lost Souls" if they are not Devoutly Christian and Saved! Loads of adversaries also pounce on anyone expressing even the slightest question regarding Faith, and particularly Christian Faith, because they see an opportunity to "steal someone away" from Christianity.

We tend to think that both groups are drastically over-reacting, and each may even be wrong in their actions! We think it is often very valuable if people ask questions or if they decide to personally research subjects that they are not completely comfortable about. More importantly, we believe that the Lord would want people to educate themselves regarding such things. Didn't He provide a good brain and mind for each of us? Doesn't it seem logical that He would want us to USE that brain and mind? This is essentially what this BELIEVE web-site aspires to be for!

During about eighteen centuries of Christianity, the majority of Church attendees were illiterate and so couldn't have read a (usually Latin) Bible even if they could afford to buy one. Therefore, they all necessarily totally relied on the Church leadership to provide every religious thought to them. They never had to actually think! Everything was simply TOLD to them!

During the past couple hundred years, more people have become literate, more have become educated, and more have started to believe that they are capable of thinking for themselves. This represents both good and bad.

The good includes Church-goers who now may not blindly follow the words of a Minister, without checking with the Bible to confirm that what he/she says is Scriptural. This is good because it tends to keep us (human) Ministry close to the Word! There are still some Churches where a Minister "announces" dress codes and such things, and all Members are expected to follow those rules without any hesitation. "Structure" is fine in a Church, as it encourages organized and strict Faith, as long as the human-side of the Ministry does not provide too much of the Lessons! You know how little kids are always asking "Why?" Sometimes that might not be out of place (in a private conversation, not as a confrontation) regarding some unexpected portion of a Sermon.

The bad includes the fact that many modern people have begun to feel that they do not need a Church at all, that they are fully capable of Learning and Studying the Word of the Lord on their own. Within limits, this can be a good thing. However, such independent study can result in a person accepting something as true when it isn't. I will always believe that many of those Branch Davidians who died in Waco, Texas, probably intended to be Devout Christians. Unfortunately, they happened to encounter an individual (David Koresh) who was able to convince them that he was Jesus. If people accepted that premise, and they certainly did, what could anyone expect of them? They would want to Serve the Lord, and they would have felt honored to be able to be near the Lord. Without any external source of information to either confirm or deny things that Koresh told them, it would be expected that they do what "the Lord" instructed them to do, without thinking, without question, without hesitation.

It has seemed clear from the e-mail that comes to BELIEVE that modern people commonly have any of several common reservations regarding God, Faith and the Bible. I feel it appropriate to include some observations here.

I chose these subjects because they seem to be common ones that are brought up as concerns or criticisms regarding Christian beliefs. I believe that I am a rational and fairly intelligent person, and that I think reasonably logically. The reasoning above represents my personal understanding of these matters. Obviously, I am merely a human and I might be wrong, but I think the general logic seems solid in each case. Siding with many skeptics, I do NOT encourage Christians to believe things simply because some person at the front of a Church told them so! I encourage personal study of any issues that seem troubling. The real trick regarding that is finding reliable information to base your conclusions on, because the vast majority of authors seem to have a soapbox on which they are trying to promote whatever it is that they personally believe.

As examples of this, the Old Testament contains (in its 800,000 words) a few references to the word "red". There are some modern Christian leaders who find some way to apply those references, written 3300 years ago, to the Soviet Union, which was often referred to as "Red" simply because of that word! The Soviet Union only came into existence in 1917, very recently, and there is no realistic reason that any text written 3300 years ago would make direct references to a government that didn't even last 80 years! Some of those same Christian leaders point out another OT Verse referring to "enemies from the north" as also somehow applying to the Soviet Union. Doesn't this all seem simply like HUMANS (and not agents of God) finding ways to promote hatred of distant and unknown peoples?

There are several Denominations of Christians who believe that England is centrally important and regularly referred to in the Bible. It might be noted that those Denominations each began in England. Again, why would the Bible specifically mention some country or some society that would not even exist for many centuries? It is also very popular these days for Ministry to casually mention that the Bible mentions the United States. If their intention is to try to make people in the United States feel especially important, I guess that might help. But the United States has only existed for around two hundred years, and this is all many, many centuries after countless other countries and societies have prospered and disappeared, and even more centuries after the Bible texts were Originally written.

If Christianity (or any religion) is to have credibility, it seems that it should not be adding in many speculative extrapolations by assorted enthusiastic Ministry. (personal opinion!) Our Church believes that we should avoid such hyperbole and simply stick close to what the Bible actually Teaches and Says. We think that if we do that, we can't go far wrong. The BELIEVE Project (and later web-site) was developed to aid people in finding "real Truth" from among the astounding amount of religious information that is now available to all of us. We are convinced that it really entirely up to you to figure out that Truth, and we would not try to "tell" you what to believe. Our BELIEVE site hopefully avoids "personal opinions" such as these included here, and instead simply provides you with each of the arguments for various positions on any subject. If we did it well enough, you would then be able to sit back and contemplate, to Discern the Truth.


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The main BELIEVE web-page (and index to subjects) is at: BELIEVE Religious Information Source - by Alphabet