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Is faith real or just made up?

Is faith real or just made up?

That’s a good question for the following simple reasons. It will either stop you from trying to find an answer or encourage you to look at this question in an open and honest way. It will also help you realize that you already have a faith-based few of reality, human dignity is one example. Here then is the question you have to answer, will you follow what others tell you or follow the evidence wherever it will lead you? Honest philosophers, historians, scientists would do exactly that.

That’s a  fair question. Fair, because there are so many other faiths around. People of all kind of backgrounds and countries have their own faith. Culture, country, ethnicity, religious background influence the faith you have. We all have faith. Even an atheist has faith, she cannot prove her atheism scientifically, does she? Since we all have a certain level of faith in what we hold as true it is not strange by itself to have faith. The question then is not if faith is real but which faith explains reality in a better way. Because that’s what faith is supposed to do, help us understand reality and make sense out of it.

But why do people reject faith?

Some people reject faith because they have intellectual objections to the idea of a personal God. They may say that faith and reason are incompatible. Faith, in their thinking, is unreasonable. Others may reject faith because they had negative experiences with religion. Sometimes our own culture may discourage us to consider the question of faith in God. We are living in a scientific and technological advancing age, faith is something for the less informed and uneducated. Science will finally explain everything some people would say. There are also reasons that go deeper, reasons that are related to making a commitment to a certain faith. People may reject faith because they do not want to change their lifestyle. This is a more personal and subjective reason to reject faith, but it is certainly a real one.

Why do you reject faith?

You may reject faith because of the above-mentioned reasons. Or you may have other reasons that are holding you back.  You may simply not have enough time. Or you may not see the need for faith in God at this stage in your life. Or you may not know from where to start searching for an answer to these questions. Here are some thoughts that might help you in your faith journey.

First, find out why you reject faith in God. You could write these objections down. Be honest with yourself and try to find out how people have responded to the objections you mentioned. Here are two links that could help you find reasonable answers, every student and bethinking. Second, leave a comment and I will be happy to respond.

Notes

– There are different reasons why people reject faith. Four of them mentioned in this post are taken from a talk given by Alister McGrath. Reasons of the mind, of memory, of the culture, of the heart.

 

 

 

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Αναρωτιόμουν συχνά

Αναρωτιόμουν συχνά, γιατί είμαι εδώ
Με φίλους μέταλλα και ποτά ψάχναμε στα σκοτεινά
Να βρούμε κάτι αληθινό να μας πάει μπροστά

Προσπαθούσα να καταλάβω μα δεν μπορούσα να δω.
Πίνοντας καπνίζοντας και με τον κίνδυνο να πάει στραβά
Έψαχνα για νόημα, αγάπη, για πραγματικότητα σωστά

Στην πορεία απογοήτευσα, απογοητεύτηκα και δυσκολεύτηκα να μαζευτώ
Ήταν μεγάλο το κενό. Ψεύτικα μου φαινόντουσαν όλα εκτός απ’ το ποτό.
Παρηγοριά δεν έβρισκα εκτός απ’ το μέταλλο που αγαπούσα όσο ζω

Μια φωνή με καλούσε να έρθω προς τα δω
Ήταν τόσο αληθινό και δεν μπορούσα να τ ‘αρνηθώ
Ακολούθησα να δω μήπως και βρω αυτό που αναζητώ

Δεν είχα κάτι άλλο να κρατηθώ μέσα στο δρόμο τον σκοτεινό
είπα ας δω που θα με βγάλει το μονοπάτι αυτό.
Ακόμα το ακολουθώ χωρίς κανένα δισταγμό.

Μην μείνεις πίσω σε παρακαλώ
Με θάρρος ακολούθησε το δρόμο αυτό
Δεν θα σ ‘αφήσει ούτε ένα λεπτό.

27 Μαρτίου 1988 – 27 Μαρτίου 2019 και συνεχίζει. Καλή συνέχεια!

‘Εγώ ήρθα στον κόσμο σαν το φως, έτσι ώστε όποιος πιστεύει σ’ εμένα να μη μείνει στο σκοτάδι. ‘ Ιησούς

ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 12:46
https://my.bible.com/bible/173/JHN.12.46

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Your will be done in trials, sickness or healing

Your will be done Mathew 6:10

I shared these thoughts to our Tuesday prayer meeting. It is a series on the Lord’s prayer. In our congregation, we do have people going through difficult times. The petition “your will be done” is approached with this situation in mind.

Understanding the will of God

  • God’s sovereign plan: He decides, fulfils. Nothing can hinder this. What he plans will happen.

    • Example: Creating the world. Sending Jesus. The final victory over evil. Ephesians 1. Acts 2:23 “This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.”
  • God desires things to be done. Some happen some don’t happen.

    • Examples
      • Adam not to sin. All people to hear the good news. But not all will be saved. People to be healed. Gospels mention healings. Many healings up until today.
      • Some will be healed. Some will not be healed in this present world. But all will be given a new body in the future. Already and not yet.
  • God permits. Permissive will of God

    • Examples
      • Disobedience of humans, angels. Evil is done by people. Results of the fall.

Your will be done and sickness

  • Elisha: 2 Kings 13:14 “Now when Elisha had fallen sick with the illness of which he was to die.”
  • Paul: Galatians 4:13-14. How did God use Paul’s situation in this passage?
  • Timothy: 1 Timothy 5:23 Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
  • God heals today. We are encouraged to pray for the sick James 5 says “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise them up. If they have sinned, they will be forgiven.”

Your will be done and sufferings/trials

  • Romans 8:17-25. Hebrew 12:4-13
  • God can be glorified in our lives
    • When he heals us
    • When he does not heal us: Yes, again, Jonny Erickson Tada, watch this two-minute testimony. We are loved and we are promised that his love will never leave us Romans 8:26-39. Mark 14:32-42. Job (whole book). GOD CAN BE TRUSTED!

 

Notes

– At the Greek Bible School in Athens, our teacher Bill Baldwin used to explain God’s will in this way: God’s sovereign plan, God’s intention/desire, and God’s permissive will of God. The last two overlap of course.

Conversations on Campus

Two questions that students ask related to conversations on campus

Why should I talk about my faith with others? and where do I start, what do I say?

Why should I have conversations about my faith with others?

Here are some reasons why we should take the initiative and talk about what we believe with others.

What we believe impacts our lives, societies, and the world. What we believe really matters. This is a good reason why we should talk openly about our worldview, ideas, and beliefs. Furthermore, we can sharpen each other and grow in our understanding on many things. We all can learn from each other’s views. There is nothing to loose, nothing to be afraid of, nothing to hide. Communication that is open, respectful and challenging, something we should welcome. This brings us then to the second question, “where do I start?”

Where do I start, what do I say?

A good way to start a conversation is to learn and ask good questions. People are open to giving their opinion about what they think and believe. There are of course exceptions some times. Asking good questions helps us understand what others think, why they think so, and on what grounds they think so. This opens the door to share our own beliefs and opinions. So asking good questions is a good skill to learn, both for conversations about faith and for anything else we will be doing in our lives.

Where can I get more information about this?

StudentLife is training students on the campus in a few cities in The Netherlands. You can contact me for more information about this at solomon@studentlife.nl

Have a look at some of the training material StudentLife is using

Here are some of the conversation tools StudentLife is using at the campus