I was raised in an atheistic family and was saved out of that environment after 5 or 6 pre-salvation years of struggling with whether the gospel was real. However, I find myself at odds with many of the feelings & emotions of so many of the participants in the first week’s forum–I never feel angst, get depressed, or ever consider suicide due to my doubts. I guess my doubts are purely intellectual. IF THERE IS A GOD, I believe in the God the Bible clearly communicates: One who makes much of us as humans by loving us and giving Christ to us, that our lives might in turn make much of Him.
The doubts aren’t constant, but they are always in the background. At my conversion, and many times since, I have been fully convinced of God’s reality. Ninety-five percent of the time (I first said 99%, but that wouldn’t accurately portray my doubts) I believe God exists and has revealed Himself to me. I even got three seminary degrees, am ordained, and have served overseas in some hard environments because I desire to make God known as glorious among the nations (I am not trying to boast, Michael–I just want to hit home the point that I really am a Christian.). But the doubt lingers in the background.
I appreciated you saying we cannot immerse ourselves in non-theist resources and not expect the doubts to come. Most of the time, especially when presented in a forum through which I am helpless to respond, my doubts come the strongest at me when I read or listen to the views of intelligent men (philosophers, professors, or just all around cool and savvy atheists) who really have no doubts that God does not exist and that Christians are a bunch of redneck, backwoods, superstitious, pitiable, close-minded ignoramuses. Unfortunately, much of the time I can agree with them on some of those descriptions (I hope that doesn’t sound mean, but do you get what I’m saying?).
I have come to terms with my doubts, always believing (and publicly stating in my teaching) those doubts are my thorn. Do they have to be? Or can God remove my doubts?
Dear Michael and reader,
With such heavy and hardness of heart I write about my journey that I have yet to return from. September 1 2009, I had just spent the previous 2 days in the Spirit, praying, singing, sharing with fellow believers scripture to encourage them. It was a 1 of many precious moments with the LORD of Hosts that I cherished over the previous 7 months as a new believer.
I was justified on May 31 2009 when the Son of the Living God spoke into the deepest crevice of my heart through the preaching of Sinclair Ferguson on the resurrection and I was so justified, so forgiven, so full of the Holy Spirit that I never wanted to leave the bosom of my Jesus. I had to go ride my bicycle at 40 MPH to burn off the energy that I received from this forever forgiveness. Fast forward to Sept 1 2009, thursday and I am sitting at work about to have to go play an indoor soccer game with a team of non believers and one moment I was typing an email and the next I could sense the Spirit leaving me and I was reaching out like a lost child. In a moment, I was devasted thinking I had been called, justified, and then let go because perhaps as John 15 says I hadn’t borne enough fruit and so I lost the gift. What made it exponentially worse that night was that one of the soccer members blurted a blasphemy with God’s name in it and my brain reached out and grabbed that word and I could not let go of it. I kept hearing that word over and over in my thoughts and I thought I was going to be damned forever because of it.
For the next 3-4 months it got worse and worse. I felt and believed everyday that the last year with Christ had all been a dream. I didn’t doubt per se, the essential doctrines of the faith or the historical realities of it….that would come later at a time I couldn’t handle it. My fight was to believe I was in the flock. I began to see things through a lense as though I was going utterly, mentally insane. People had 2 eyes, and a big forehead. I thought why? If you peel away my skin I am just a skull and flesh with 2 eyeballs and a 5lbs brain that processes what I hope are realities. But if I lost my brain or if humans weren’t made, then would reality still be real or would it really matter?. Continue reading