Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
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14-06-2011, 06:11 AM
Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Hi everyone, I'm new to this forum so I would like to introduce myself first. I'm a guy, 17 jears old and I live with my parents who raised me as a christian. About six weeks ago, I started reading about the age of the earth, because I had read about old earth creationism before, and went back to believing in a young earth, because I wanted to believe the Bible literally. After doing research on that topic for the second time, I came to the conclusion that the earth must be 4,5 billion years old, and I couldn't go back to believing in na earth(and universe) that is only 6000 years old. This led me to question the infallibility of the Bilble, and I started to read into topics I previously avoided, such as evolution. I also started watching videos from the thinking atheist, and watched videos of the atheist expirience because, I reasoned, if my beliefs are true, they must be able to withstand the criticism that athiests have on the Bible and the existence of God. That idea wasn't right because the more I reasearching, the more questions I get, and the more I start to question the things I believe. I still haven't accepted the theory(as meant in a scientific sense) of evolution yet, because i'm not (yet) convinced of it, altough I have a better understandig of it than before I really started reading about how it works. So if i''m honest to myself, I must admit that I am doubting the infallibillity and truth of the Bible and the presence of God in my own and in other peoples lives.(I don't deny the experiences that people claim to have if their talking about miracles and the presence of God/the Holy Spirit, I'm just not sure whether those experiences really are from God or if they are the product of our own minds.) I also have doubts about the realilty of the places called heaven and hell. I've had some conversations with my brother about it(he's 15), but he just claims to know Jesus and God are real, so I can't reason with him very well, because he's not open to other ideas (yet). I've also explicitly asked him not to tell my dad about my doubts, because my dad is fundamentalistic in his views on the Bible, and I can't have discussions with him very well, because he's very close minded. I'm afraid my dad will be mad and dissapointed in me for questioning my beliefs. My mom on the other hand, is a lot more like me, because she's more reasonable, and she is more willing to think about uncomfortable topics than my dad. I still haven't told my mum about my doubts, because I am afraid she will judge me for questioning the Bible and the presense of God.

I hope you guys can give me advice on how to proceed, because, i'm afraid my parents will be dissapointed in me if I express my doubts. I also would like to ask you on how to tell my best friend(he's also 17 years old) about my growing doubts, because we're in the same church and we go to a bible study group together, so i'm also afraid he's going to judge me for questioning my beliefs.

I'm looking forward to hear your advise.
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14-06-2011, 07:37 AM (This post was last modified: 14-06-2011 07:47 AM by Thammuz.)
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Hey Lion,

I'll do it in English here, but you can PM me in Dutch if you want to.

First of all, congratulations for starting to open your eyes. I'm sure this the start of a chain reaction of eye openers. Secondly; don't be misled by angry parents of fanatics that'll try to convince you the path you are taking is the path of evil. That doesn't mean you have to believe what we are saying either. What we will try to do here, is give you tools and suggestions to help you realize things and make up your own mind. We're a mixed bunch of atheist, agnotics, buddhists, secular humanists and even some curious young earth creationists. But what we all have in common is that we challenge dogma and ask questions about this world.

Rational thinking and science isn't evil. Neither are we. We aren't planning a major coup, neither do we try to bring darkness and anarchy to the world. We're just in search for the truth.


So, you've noticed so far that the holy word of god, as written down in the bible, shows a few problems and holes. Great! I'd suggest going further along that path. Some of us took the time and effort to refute the bible and list its atrocities. Might as well take a look at those links and feel free to consult your own bible to see if it's correct. You'll most probably find out that the loving God isn't quite the nice guy you tought him to be and that the holy scriptures are fallacious.

The christian values of the Bible aren't unique in the world. Many religions have values that can be considered good to today's standards. Since you're a christian, I'd like to point out that alot of biblical values are despicable when you look at today's society. the bible can't be used as a guide for contemporary problems.

Take your time, be critical, but most of all: don't ignore the evidence. If the bible states something, accept the fact that it's written down. I'm talking about the execution of homosexuals, the violation of women's rights and the like.


When you've done that and you accept the fact that the holy bible isn't holy anymore, you'll probably start questioning the origin of the universe and evolution. There's some great material for you to satisfy your needs. But alot of bullshit too; beware of pseudoscience. Just remember that real scientists don't want to disprove God, they just want to find out the truth about things. Religious pseudoscientists just look for gaps and errors to backup their claims (arguments from ignorance).



If you want to read more about evolution, read:
Richard Dawkins - 'The greatest show on earth'
It's not an easy book, but gives step by step evidence for evolution, as well as references to scientific discoveries and other evolution books. It also debunks intelligent design and the idea of a God creating a beautiful world.

He also wrote 'The God delusion', a good book in my opinion, but it might not entirely convince you about the absence of a God.

'God is not great' by Christopher Hitchens will give you some more background about the dangers of fundamentalist religions.

If you have questions about abiogenesis, earth age, geology and the likes, feel free to ask. The other forum members will gladly supply you with information. I'm not really a scientist, so I'm not going to try and explain it all now. However, if you want more material about morals and ethics, just ask, I can supply those too.


I'll let you start with your search and remember: we didn't become atheists because we hate God. We just found out that he probably doesn't exist. We can't hate something we don't believe to exist. Filling gaps with fairy tales isn't a solution for us. That's why we are the persons we are now.



Good luck!




Oh, and about your friends and family. Be careful with that. You're still a minor and religious people can get really upset when their beliefs are tampered with. I would ask critical questions from time to time and see how they react to it. If they get completely bonkers when you say you read something about evolution, it might be best to shut up until you're in a safer position. I wouldn't want to be partially responsible for you being kicked out of the house.

"Infinitus est numerus stultorum." (The number of fools is infinite)
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14-06-2011, 07:52 AM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
First of welcome, and second of all, congratulations on having the bravery to examine your beliefs. The truth never has anything to fear from inspection. A really common question within atheist communities is how to deal with coming out to parents as an atheist(particularly in teen years) and it's an extremely hard question. Luckily for you, your confession wouldn't be as bad, just admitting you doubt the bible. Following what I heard before, I would not go to your dad, but your mother. It also might be a good idea not to tell everyone you're doubting until after the fact too. Examine some more things, study a little bit more, and after you made up your mind(this can take years from what I've heard), then you can come out to everyone as whatever else you may be, or you can laugh about during Christmas as a Christian. Wherever the evidence takes you.

Honestly, I don't think that doubting the bible is something that should be seen as bad. It just means that you have a healthy amount of skepticism. You're not blindly rejecting it in a fit a teenage rebellion, but wanting to learn more the other side and curious to see what side is correct. And if your parents truly believe the Bible is too, they shouldn't fear investigating it either.

I don't believe Jesus is the son of God until I see the long form birth certificate!
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14-06-2011, 02:01 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Hi and welcome to the forum Lion. Same a Tammuz here. The forum in English but PM in dutch.
(14-06-2011 07:37 AM)Thammuz Wrote:  Rational thinking and science isn't evil. Neither are we. We aren't planning a major coup, neither do we try to bring darkness and anarchy to the world. We're just in search for the truth.
Well... There is the baby eating... Smile
(its just the running gag ok)

I suggest you leave your parents opinion for what it is now Lion. You need to dig into the matter yourself first. Just listen to what they have to say, accept it but think what you want to think. Your thoughts are free, certainly don't let them pull the "emotional blackmail" card.

I can recommend the 3vid3nc3 series on youtube. I think his story is much similar to yours. The story is layed out in a strong narrative and a gentle way.

Courage Lion!

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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14-06-2011, 02:38 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
I wouldn't tell anyone you know that you are questioning christianity, it may be hard to keep your doubts in, but there may be serious consequences. Your parents may flip simply at an admission that you are questioning the bible. Often parents will make their kids lives a living hell in trying to make them believe again. They may make you go to church more often, read the bible, and some will even see the internet as a bad influence and restrict it or take it away entirely. That is a possibility, so that isn't necessarily how your parents would react. Some are ok with it, but not usually fundamenalist christians...

I would suggest in the time being, go to Iron Chariots (Wiki) and christian apologist websites to look into the arguments for and against christianity (or other religions), and to continue reading and learning. Even if you would come to the conclusion that God exists, you should still question and learn. That is the only way to find what is true.

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
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14-06-2011, 02:39 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Hi. I'm a full on atheist which for me means I don't believe there is a God of any description. However, I would like to point out that there are many Christians today (including the current pope) who recognize that the young earth story is not plausible. These people find a way to reconcile the reality of evolution with their belief in a supreme being who controls the natural universe. Perhaps you might be comfortable parking there for a while. It might also give you the freedom to further examine topics like evolution openly without feeling like you have betrayed your friends and family.

If the topic comes up, I would remind them first that a literal interpretation of the bible pretty much compels a geocentric view of cosmology. In other words, if you are a young-Earther, shouldn't you also believe that the sun rotates around the Earth, that stars are dots of light set in a firmament, that the moon is a light source and not simply a luminous rock reflecting bounced solar light, that there are waters in the vault of the sky deep enough to flood the planet, etc.

We know these things are not true, yet they are biblical. People once accepted them without question and punished men like Galileo for suggesting otherwise. And we do know for a fact that evolution happens. It's been observed. It's not speculation. It's fact. The theoretical part refers to the mechanics. Much of the speculation about how evolution works has been verified scientifically; however since we cannot ever go back in time and observe it, we can never "prove" that man evolved from an apelike ancestor. Yes, the evidence is overwhelming, and there is no better explanation, but we cannot prove it the same way we can prove that all triangles have three angles equaling 180 degrees.

Best of luck, and I hope that some of this was helpful.
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14-06-2011, 02:45 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
(14-06-2011 02:38 PM)daemonowner Wrote:  Even if you would come to the conclusion that God exists...
...Come and tell us... We'd love to know how you did that...

Observer

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Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
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14-06-2011, 09:45 PM (This post was last modified: 15-06-2011 10:16 AM by Lilith Pride.)
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
This will be a good place to start questioning, away from your regular social circles. If you are strongly questioning then you may indeed want someone to talk with. Try to make some new friends in order to keep your current life. If your friend is saying things you want to correct you can talk with her about that, and maybe it will help. Your mom may be very understanding, but she's still likely to discuss this with your father. Once he knows it sounds pretty likely that you will be dragged into religion again in any way they can imagine.

Until you are pretty certain that you aren't a christian there is no real reason to dump christianity. Many christians are very secular people who follow a small portion of christianity. It's not wrong to be in this group (though most of us find it illogical =p). You are looking for your own answers, so for now focus on the fact that this is about you. If you go to ask your mother ask her about something don't emphasize that you doubt it. My personal belief is that you should only push a belief if you feel it is very rational, so I don't tend to discuss a lot of my beliefs unless asked.

Definitely check out evid3nc3, and read the greatest show on earth. Those are great first steps for the answers you're seeking. I've yet to read the anti god books, but I feel those put you at risk of being seen as anti god for reading them. I'm also not sure if a book focusing on refuting your beliefs will be helpful to you. The greatest show on earth addresses creationism, but it is done in a scientific manner with mainly rational rather than emotional statements. It also explains evolution very comprehensively.

For now as long as you're just wondering look at the info and discuss with us, maybe a pastor too (not many of us will be trying to convince you to be christian =p). I myself am okay with people believing in most anything, I just am not okay with them not thinking about what they believe in. It's ignorance which causes a lot of the suffering in our world. That is one thing I push hard. I think it's harder for a fundamentalist to accept the non fundamental christianity forms than to deconvert, seeing as how it seems to be making a mockery of their previous beliefs.

Just remember that your journey will be long and you'll find many stumbling blocks, but knowing is a very reassuring feeling.

I'm not a non believer, I believe in the possibility of anything. I just don't let the actuality of something be determined by a 3rd party.
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14-06-2011, 11:04 PM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
Welcome to the club. Unlike you I wasn't an YEC, but a support of the Old Earth ideals of Christianity. I had a much different way I left Christianity. It was mainly about suffering. Basically the question popped in my head. "Why does God make us suffer?" Christians told me that suffering is good and we have to suffer to get closer to god. So by making my mother almost die and me getting laid off was trying to get me closer to god?

I still went to Church because I loved some the people there. Also my wife is an Christian and I know she needed to go to church for her needs. While that time I studied different philosophies and Buddhism got my interest. Then I asked my cousin about it and she recommend some books. I started reading some books about Buddhism and it showed me a better life and a better answer than what Christianity.

I am agnostic about Rebirth, karma, nirvana, but I do love their philosophy of the 4 noble truths and the eight-fold path.

Remember take your time and don't rush.

[Image: buddhasig.png]
“Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense.” ~ Gautama Buddha
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15-06-2011, 09:54 AM
RE: Growing doubts about my Christian faith and the Bible.
First I would like to thank you for showing your support, and for giving me advice.
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