Some Christians (not all), like myself, have been taught from a very young age that in our faith there is no room for things like doubt. That if we just have a muster seed of faith then we could move mountains. I won’t lie I was in perfect agreement with this that doubt could not only be an issue for my faith, but possibly even a sin.
Conviction against doubt in faith is like telling a blind man the water in front of him isn’t an ocean, but a puddle. Wouldn’t it be nice if it were a puddle, but without being able to see he must have faith. Can he truly be faithful when the puddle could be an ocean? Just the thought of falling in with no chance of escape, when he could have stayed safely on the shore.
Doubt in faith is a necessary feeling as faith untested is no faith at all. It is easy to believe in something when you have never been challenged by it before. Haven’t we all seen some YouTube video of people fumbling with attempting to state their beliefs about a subject? We wonder how they even had that belief at all when they are so susceptible to changing their mind at the first sign of conflict.
Doubt offers us a perspective, a challenge to overcome. Sure if we want to believe in something then we can find a rational reason for the belief, but it is much harder to lie to ourselves if the doubt is confronting. If we doubt something, we aren’t sure, then we seek truth. Truth is individualized and different for everyone, but our personal truth guides us to a better self.
I doubt that God in today’s world speaks to people in the same way he did in the Bible. I doubt this for many reasons, but people have been angry with me about this before. People are can also be angry when I say I don’t believe in anyone having the ability to heal now by laying hands on an individual, people speaking tongues, or that any person on the face of earth today has seen the face of God.
This doubt doesn’t make me a bad Christian it just means I have a different truth than someone else, and my doubt has given me renewed faith. For me I don’t see any objective signs of God because if God is going to do something it will appear as if he was never there.
Doubt is protection. We doubt that we will win a million dollars from the lottery so we buy one ticket instead of betting the house. We doubt the salesman in front of us, but listen to our friends with a review. We doubt in this world because we have to. Doubt promotes a better understanding of the subject in front of us. In faith isn’t bad, it just means that it’s time we dig just a little bit deeper to seek the truth.
“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”― Mahatma Gandhi
We have to be the change we wish to see in the world, but we must understand ourselves before attempting to solve the worlds problems. There is never a shortage of people who want to be the star that solves big issues. Tackling things like world hunger, or taking on an evil corporation that is polluting the water. The issue with this is we can’t even take the first step of being that change if we cannot step outside our own door. There is a part that all of us can play, and this part in what we seek to be the change is our true self.
Of course I have a passion for helping youth. It has been a goal in my life to make the difference in the lives of young adults (my peers), to teenagers, and kids. I don’t always have the means or the ability to make those great sweeping changes that would make a large impact in the overall quality of life for youth. I might not get to assist in writing legislation that will eliminate the need for students to pay for school lunch, but I can volunteer at a organization that prepares meals for kids without money for school lunch. This will in turn help serve the part of me that is my true self.
Start with the achievable before going onto the next. In a sense we must know that we can handle the small tasks before we can be trusted with the larger overall goals. While this seems like a simple concept in reality most of us get tired of our goals long before they really begin. I believe that everyone at some point has attempted to write a book, yet it is those that continue to do the daily grind each day that accomplish the task. They dive in the mechanics that make up a book, and study the writing’s of other authors. If being a writer is our passion then that is being true to ourselves, but then there must be work shown for the effort no matter how small.
Anything can be the true self, while we like to see ourselves as grandiose , and sweeping many of us may never find that situation that puts us in the hallmarks of history, but this in no means a good enough reason for us not to try. For what is humanity with out dreaming?
All I am offering, and all that I am saying is this: We may never achieve the goal or the life that we seek to live, but if the pursuit of this goal is what we desire then we are living a true life. We are living true to ourselves, and becoming the change that we seek in the world.
It’s a big issue when you lose a hand at work. It’s actually pretty life changing. I mean you did have this appendage your entire life. You used it to eat, to bathe, to do pretty much everything. Now that it’s gone where do you go from here?
Well you are in the acute phase of the injury, or the post trauma healing. You have two options for this. You can either allow the loss to fester, and grow. Never learning how to get over the loss of your hand, and giving up. No one will blame you for this as you did lose your hand. However, you also have the choice to go to therapy. Work on learning how to use your other hand for everything. You go through the pain of healing, and take back your life.
We all suffer and all have loss. It’s how we deal with this trauma that allows us to either go from a acute pain to healing, or acute pain to chronic pain. Humans are meat sacks full of emotion. Worse still we have emotion that we sometimes cannot even begin to describe. This pain is life changing. Going through a divorce, being cheated on, witnessing a traumatic event, experiencing loss. These are all things that give us emotions. Emotions are often painful, or extreme.
Now most of us know that we are hardwired to deal with pain, we all have natural defense mechanisms. For me, in a difficult situation, I deal use humor. It can seem inappropriate to others, but I find that if I can laugh at a situation it helps me cope with what is going on. What happens after the coping is done, what happens when all that is left is the hole?
There are two paths, and neither is easy. I went through something hard in my life, and it’s a bit too personal to share with everyone, so I will just say that it was life changing. I was in college when this happened, and really had to come up with what my next step was going to be.
To be honest I enjoyed wearing the chip of pain on my shoulder. I liked the way it made me feel to think of myself as damaged. I let the pain define me, and I could use it to excuse my actions. The trauma I felt could be weaved in to every part of my existence, and used to show that I never really had a life at all, that my existence was just pain. It never got better and nothing changed because I never wanted to.
As time went on, I became more determined to make something of myself, and make a change in my life. I took it upon my myself to begin healing. Healing looks different for everyone, but I believe that healing pain is similar to everyone. It is like therapy after losing a limb. It takes so much to relearn how to use your body after a loss, just like it takes so much effort to learn how to live with a loss. The person going through the healing has to fight everyday, and commit everyday to make this change, to be a little better then they were yesterday.
Overcoming loss is made up of little victories that we take each day one day at a time. It hurts to move, it hurts to clean, it hurts to think about anything other then sitting back and letting the pain define us. However, each day, a little more. Then a little more, and finally a little more. After so many “one more days at a time” you will look up, and see the clearing in the clouds, and think how wonderful your life is.
Nothing worth having comes easy, nothing worth fighting for happens overnight, healing from trauma is hard. So, there it is. We can say you don’t know my pain, and can’t even begin to understand my suffering, and let it fester or we can try to heal one step at a time.
If you ever get the chance read How To Win Friends and Influence Others I highly recommend it. Not only does the book explain the importance of perspective it covers a huge issue as to why people cannot get along. Personally I have found that the book helps with a number of issues I have had with others in the past. Most of which stemmed from a lack of communication, and understanding of another persons perspective.
There is that word again, perspective, that I constantly talk about. It is the word that I will continue to use when attempting to create a tool box for others to use when tackling the issues that they face. Perceptive is the first thing that we should think of when we are getting into an argument, or a situation that needs leverage.
I am horrible when it comes to hearing my wife. I can listen to her, but ultimately I will challenge what she says, and try to negotiate to my side of thinking, because I believe that I am naturally right. It has been like this ever since we started dating years ago. I would push us toward a fight because I really wasn’t hearing what she was trying to say to me.
My wife hates to work. She once told me that she didn’t want to work, that if she could she wouldn’t. Now instead of asking what she meant, or even giving her a chance to discuss what she meant I immediately started in on her asking her if she thought that I was going to be the only one to make ends meet. This exploded into a argument, and that fight followed into the night.
After a few days she brought up the topic again that she didn’t want to work, and I was at a point that I knew that this could lead to a fight, so instead I just asked her what she meant by this. She started talking about how all of her life she felt that she wanted to do more, and a normal 9 to 5 job wasn’t the life she wanted to life. She wanted more.
She wasn’t telling me that she was unwilling to work, or even that she wasn’t capable of helping out our family she was saying that she wanted more for us, and wanted to know how we could go about this. How we could change our lives from the normal 9 to 5 to something that resembled a life worth living. This was literally why we started the blog in the first place to create a life worth living, and I shot her perspective down because I wasn’t hearing her.
In the book How to Win Friends and Influence Others it talks about taking this step back to gain an understanding of what the other person is actually trying to say. If we first have an understanding of what we are talking about then we can move forward on our perspective. If we are just listening to answer we are not hearing what the person is offering to us.
I deal with conflict on a daily basis, and if I do not take what the person is saying into mind, and try to understand their problem all I am doing is adding to their suffering like I did with my wife. People are complicated, and will at times be unable to be truly open about what they’re going through. Even after knowing my wife for eight years there are somethings that she has a hard time opening up about, and I to her. If I assume what she is trying to say without really knowing then I cannot make a difference in our lives.
As a couple we have a lot to work on with communication, and taking the other person’s perspective in mind. However, taking that step back, and hearing the other person will help make a difference in each other lives.
I have been discussing proof of God in previous posts, and you should read them before this one, but I can prove to you now that the miracles of God can be explained with Science.
This is simple really, it comes down to the previous posts where I discuss that there is no proof of God due to God not existing in our Universe (nominal verse phenomenal), and that God can’t exist objectively as to what will occur to human actions (inability to have free will). God does work miracles, there is no questions in my mind of this, but I believe that these miracles can easily be explained away by science and shouldn’t they be?
This idea came to me long ago during an existential crisis that I had watched on the discovery channel. It was a program on Moses and the plagues. It was a discussion on how the plagues could be explained with science. That each of the plagues were just a series of coincidences. There was another program similar to this that was stated that all of Jesus’s Miracles could be explained also with science, and that he was just a very good healer, not necessarily a God.
Now as a child this seemed to be a pretty clear and shut case, that the plagues were a coincidence, and Jesus wasn’t God. I mean how could I, a child, argue with the Discovery channel documentaries? So, my faith wavered, and I thought that miracles couldn’t exist. Even when I came back to my faith I thought that miracles were a bit ridiculous, and then I began reading the bible again and digging deeper.
We think of miracles as some sort of out of the way dealing that God does, he works some sort of magic, and then Bam! Miracle. Now I trust that you have read my previous articles, and know exactly what I am about to say: Miracles first cannot be known, if they were obvious and known then we would then have objective proof of God, and as we already know that cannot exist as it has its own consequences. Two, miracles are proven by science, because God created the universe, so by whatever means he uses to interfere with the Universe should have explanations grounded in science.
Now I know that some people will say, I heard God directly, or that Doctors said my mothers cancer was incurable, and to that I say well yes those could be miracles, but again re-read the above.
This is a difficult concept for some but we should remember what Jesus was preaching in the desert, what you do with your right hand do not let your left hand know. Jesus, God, was preaching that if you do good in the world it should look like you were never involved at all.
If this is what God was asking of his followers then it should be pretty easily expected that this is what God is doing. He will interact in our lives, and make it seem like he was never there at all. We can recognize that this is Gods interference in our lives, and give thanks for it, but ultimately there can be no objective proof.
Miracles can change people, and bring someone to God. Often when speaking with someone who describes a miracle they have this feeling that God is at work, or they are amazed by the outcome. I don’t disagree with these beliefs, the only extra I am offering is if that were to be looked at and examined it could be explained, and should be explained.
I don’t know if I have had a miracle in my life that is super obvious that it was God interacting in my life. When I looked at certain parts of my life, and see how I landed on my feet, I certainly believe that God was involved. However, again this could all be explained away by coincidences, yet I am ok with this.
I am ok with someone telling me that God cannot exist, and the miracles are explained by science. I am ok with this as I agree, objective proof of God cannot exist, and that the miracles he performs are explainable because if I believe that God created the Universe then he should be able to manipulate it.
This all comes down again to faith. We as Christians have to have faith, and trust in those before us. We have five accounts in the Bible discussing the life of Jesus all giving us a way to increase our faith. We need to see five perspective otherwise we might fall away thinking that it could all be made up like so many other beliefs. I have faith that I am where I am at because of God, and that is a miracle, but if I looked real hard at my life I think I could explain it with science.
This will be a fairly brief post. The mission of a Work in Progress (A-WIP) is to better ones self. I have, in previous posts, outlined what this means to me. Through photography, philosophy, and creative writing I find the best way to live for me. I share this better self of me on this blog as an example of taking control of my life. Now this this idea of being better is different for everyone. Here at A-WIP we want everyone to reach that ideal self, and we believe the only way to do this is to make a commitment to yourself.
I want say this as gentle as I can, but this commitment cannot have excuses. I know that many people suffer from issues be that of mental, or physical and my goal isn’t to mitigate those issues. However, saying I cannot because of _____ just tells me that you have a crutch that you cannot let go of yet. To make a commitment to oneself is to know that these issues may affect us, but should not control us. There is the difference.
To make a commitment to yourself first find out what it is you want out of life. For me it is to live an accepting Christian lifestyle, this could be different for you, but what does life look like to you in the future? Who do you see yourself being?
Know what challenges are ahead for the choices that you make and create a plan for overcoming those challenges. If you aren’t sure what challenges await then at least create good coping skills for when issues arise.
Finally when you create this commitment let us know, and let us know your progress. If anything we want to be supportive of you in your journey along with us in becoming our best selves.
In a previous post of mine I discussed that there cannot be any objective proof of God for if there was then all of humanity would choose to follow God, not because they love God, but for fear of hell. To my eyes I believe that there cannot be this objective proof because the choice to follow God means taking a leap of faith, and living a life that you are not sure is justified. To follow God must be a personal choice not one that God determines for us. Objective proof removes the choice.
Today, however, I want to discuss how there could be proof of God, or at least discuss the natural verse unnatural.
Plato discussed that there are forms that exist outside of our world. Plato believed that there were chairs that we see in our world, but there was an objective chair outside of our world. This chair would embody what the true chair is, and all other chairs are based off of it. He believed that beauty as a concept was objective in a form. Kant moved past this, and stated that there are two worlds the Nominal (what is real), and the Phenomenal (what is experienced). We see the world through a limited perspective, but we don’t get to see the actual workings that really exist.
Both of these philosophers through their ideas of two worlds bring up a rather important point of Divinity, and the perception of God. Does God exist in our universe? That is a rather difficult question to answer, but in my perspective he acts through our universe.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. This verse in itself shows that God created our Universe, and shows that God does not exist exclusively in it. Think about it, the creator of the Universe wouldn’t have to be bound by the rules of the Universe that he created. Now we can imagine God outside the Universe, but understanding what the outside of the Universe looks like is not comprehensible by our limited perspective. I believe that it wouldn’t be bound by the same rules as the Universe we live in, and wouldn’t be affected how we are affected.
As people we were created by the same creator of the Universe. This creator gave us (through whatever means you believe in) perception of the world around us, but this perception is limited. We are bound by the limits of the human body. Our hearing can only hear certain octaves, our sight limited by the eye, and our touch limited by the sensations that we feel. All of it connected through a central nervous system piloted by a brain that comes to conclusions based on our limited perception. How can we actually think that we could perceive a God?
Isn’t that the reason that we go off of inductive reasoning for scientific research? Science is limited in what it can discover intentionally to make itself as close to objective as possible. We cannot study things that are not testable, or measurable as we cannot come to good conclusions about the data we receive. So, science isn’t really going to be useful in the search of God as we are looking for something outside of our Universe to determine if it is real. Something that is far greater than what our human minds could understand or comprehend.
When I think about the complexity of ants, and their societies I wonder if any of them could truly perceive the complexity of the human world. Some ant colonies are the size of Empire’s, and I would imagine that they would feel rather proud of themselves for what they created. Yet, I am sure that they would feel bad for boasting if they had the ability to see what humans can do. The ant queen would say, “Look at how perfect our tunnels are, look at the roads we made, and how quickly we can get from one colony to the next. Surely no other species has as good of trade as us.” If the queen could see us humans fly perhaps they would not think so highly.
This is how we are with God. We are able to say that we are the best that we know, and that is because we are all we know because we haven’t been confronted with anything else. Consider the inductive reasoning that rules our world currently. If all we saw were white swans we could reasonably say that all swans were white, yet once we go to Australia and see a black swan our conclusions would have to change. We could then say there are white, and black swans. Now we believe that there are no other colors besides the two for the species until we see a red one, and if we never see the red one it cannot exist. Yet, if the red one did exist, but not in our Universe (or ability to perceive) it still exists.
We can say scientifically there is no God, and that is because science isn’t the right tool to find God. Faith is the right tool for God. We believe that there is a God, and that he controls the Universe, or at the very least created it. We believe this because we have faith because of the proof from other sources, sources that are not always objective. Without objective proof we are forced to consider God, and determine if that is the life we want to live.
This is not only the best way to have a faith, but the best way to ensure that people will truly love you. If I told you that you needed to live a certain way your whole life, and you would be rewarded you would have to have faith that I would follow through with my promise, yet it is much easier to trust me as I am right in front of you. However, to consider living your life based on some book from 2000 years ago…that takes faith. You must really love God to make that choice, and if you do then you aren’t really in it for the reward of heaven. You are in it because you love God.
A word before my discussion. I know that topics related to religion, and faith are important to people. I want you to know that it is also important to me. The internet is a difficult place at times due to us not knowing what a persons intentions are on the other end of the screen. As my blog states, I am a work in progress, and I believe that we all are. If I say something that offends you I would encourage you to just move on as I am not attempting to make anything personal. I am just attempting to be better in my own life through understanding. Now that we got through that let me present my argument on the Antichrist.
For those of you who have seen the movie Constantine you’d know, the Antichrist is a godlike figure that arises from hell. Instead of bringing about the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of man like Christ, the AntiChrist will bring about the end of time. This Antichrist title has often been given to those we deem evil. The Rothschilds, Obama, Bush, Bin Ladin, Hitler, Stalin, the Clinton’s and now the latest, Trump. This Hollywood ideal of how the end times exists for Christianity has become rather mainstream in our own lives, and faith.
I can’t count how many times I have sat through a lesson on the great deceiver. How it’s the last hour. The Antichrist is near, and he comes closer each day. Watch out for the end times, as that is when we know he will be here. It is constantly brought up, and I don’t think that the AntiChrist of Constantine, and Hollywood are good examples. I believe that this has tainted our understanding of multiple teachings by breaking them up and taking them out of context.
The term Antichrist was used by the apostle John in his letters 1 John, and 2 John. If we just look at the sections that contain the term Antichrist (1 John 2:22, and 2 John 1:7), and mix in Paul’s 2 Thessalonian’s Chapter 2, and top off with some Revelations we have ourselves the convincing proof that the Antichrist is the lawless bringer of the end. Yet what else was John saying in his letters?
One of the most important things to remember about early Christianity is that it was a rather chaotic time. The Roman Imperial Cult dominated the empire, Jewish believers of Christ were being cut off from their synagogues, and the rise of Gnosticism threatened to end the Church as we know it today.
John addressed in his letter the issues of Gnosticism and false teaching. For those unfamiliar with Gnosticism the basics of it are that it stands for secret teaching meaning Gnostic knowledge. These early believes, and other false teachers were stating that the world (matter, and flesh) were evil, not the spirit. So, while the body (matter) did evil, the spirit did not, and once you are dead the spirit releases to heaven. This goes against Christian teachings as the only way to heaven is through Jesus (Again crash course not the full detail).
John highlights in Chapter 2 that one cannot sin and state that he is not a sinner. For if one does so that makes him a lair, and not truly apart of Christ. In the later part of Chapter 2 John states that those who went out from us were never really apart of us, for if they were then they would have remained. Then in Chapter 2: 22 John begins the definition of Antichrist: Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the Antichrist-Denying the Father, and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. Johns first letter seems to be a direct thesis against Gnosticism (false teaching), not a discussion of how the world will end.
This definition of the Antichrist alone should be enough proof that our mainstream idea of the Antichrist is already incorrect for even John states that many Antichrists have already come. If the only requirement to be an Antichrist is the denial that Jesus was Christ then one could argue that many people who have lived on the earth were indeed Antichrists. This means that the “Antichrist” is not a singular person, rather this warning against Antichrists is a warning of false teaching, and a warning of falling away. It is a great example of how when we take pieces of the Bible we can make it say whatever we want. Like that there is a son of Satan that will rise from the bowels of Hell to destroy the world.
Context is everything, perspective is everything, and so is the importance of communication. When we dip in and out of different books we can make the Bible say whatever it is that we want. I believe that when taken into context the great deceiver in Paul’s 2 Thessalonian’s should not be used in conjunction with John’s Antichrist. They are separate, and different. To take part of one book, and mix it with another is ludicrous. The context of each book in the Bible comes from a completely different perspective, to mix these perspectives without the context leads to false teaching. Ironic, as John warned against such teachings.
Why are there five books in the Bible that focus on Christ? Think about it. Jesus is central to Christianity, and we have five perspectives to gain an idea of who Jesus was. Why just look at the simple differences, and you begin to understand why things taken out of context throws off teaching. Take for example the gospel of John 13:7. It states that as soon as Judas took the bread from Christ Satan entered into him. This is the only book that states that Satan entered Judas. What an interesting perspective that this adds to the betrayal of Jesus. Yet, there are four that show a different side to the story. Perspective gives new meaning. Why does one say that Satan entered and the others don’t?
Now I’m not saying that there won’t be a Hollywood style end of the world brought about by an Antichrist figure. What I am saying is that the term Antichrist doesn’t mean what many mainstream Christians thinks it means. I am also saying that out of context teaching shouldn’t be what we base our understanding of God on. The message of the Bible is complete without us attempting to take apart different pieces and put them together. Besides the anxiety of the end of the world shouldn’t be the focus of our walk with God. That is tomorrow’s issue and that’s for a later discussion.