Thursday, 3 July 2014

What is Faith?

This question: "What is faith?" ; was posed to me by someone who says he is struggling with his Christian faith. The Bible answers this question truly and enough:

  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for,
the evidence of things not seen.
 For by it the elders obtained a good report.
Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God,
so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.
 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain,
by which he obtained witness that he was righteous,
God testifying of his gifts:
and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
 By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death;
and was not found, because God had translated him:
for before his translation
                             he had this testimony: that he pleased God.
But without faith it is impossible to please him:
 for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, 
and that he is a rewarder of them that
diligently
               seek
                      Him.

Hebrews 11:1-6 (KJV)

I must admit that lately I've been losing my patience with those who claim they once were saved and that God failed them by causing them to lose their faith. Is that truly so? I think they believe it to be so but I believe they are deluding themselves in their false belief of things that are not so. They state various reasons as evidence that God isn't real, yet the Bible confirms the evidence that abounds all around us that God is indeed real and true and that everyone who says He is not is a liar, because deep down we all know there has to be a Creator, and the first things out of an atheist's mouth are curses to the God he doesn't believe in when things do not go according to their plans.

I just finished the Jeffrey Archer book "Paths of Glory". George Mallory had a desire to conquer Mount Everest and he let nothing stand in his way of doing that which was uppermost in his desire. Can someone desire Jesus with that kind of passion that would risk life and limb and then suddenly say: "I just don't believe in Him anymore" ? That kind of desire and passion led to George Mallory's death while he diligently pursued his object of his desire. That kind of desire and passion has led many to face lions, persecutors, and death, while still singing praises to God for His mercy. Then there are these who say they too followed Him with this same passion and it led them to apathy and lack of faith??? Is that truly what God does to those who love Him and seek Him with all their heart?

I say the proof is in the pudding. If they truly love God with that kind of love, the love that says "I love God above all else, even above my own mortality" it follows that this love, this commitment to God, lasts their entire lifetime and into all eternity. If their faith is only a "said faith" spoken with their mouth and one that is  sometimes felt in a "mountaintop experience" then it can fade because their faith is based on these highs of experience instead of on God through thick and thin. If their faith dwindles into nothing it isn't God who let them down, it is that they themselves are in denial of the fact that they never loved God more than they loved themselves.

So when those who claim that they once loved Jesus and now have decided it was all just a fairytale which caused them great pain, I try to reason with them and then soon lose patience with the fact that every reply shows that they desire not Him, they have no need for Him, they love their own reasoning ability which says "There is no God" more than they love God, so where is their searching going to lead, and will my defense of faith in Jesus in my attempts at countering their defiance of God help them in any way? If God indeed wants to save them as He did Saul/Paul He surely can do it without my help. I am not almighty to save, He is. It isn't up to me to convince anyone of the Truth. If I fail at reaching some (any?) is God so small that He cannot reach them in His time using His means which might not include me in that plan? And if they are vessels that were made for destruction, can I override God's purpose in this matter?

Faith is a gift from God to those who believe, His grace unmerited because we all are made from dust, and what does dust deserve? This little spark of intellect that fires our being, is it something we own?; something we deserve?; something we ourselves originated within ourselves?; having created ourselves to be who we are? Or is it something on loan from God? Something that should cause the response of thankfulness to God in how we live? To be faithless, is to be dishonouring to God in how we live and talk and the evidence for that faithlessness is hatefulness and is ungrateful and arrogant...this is bountifully clear to anyone whom God has opened the eyes of understanding. How often have I witnessed those who put on the "humility" act pretending they are something while blaspheming the God that made them, by saying He is untrue? That is arrogance to the maximum.

Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son. 1 John 2:22 (KJV)

God will provide faith but you've REALLY got to want it with all of your heart. Remember the centurion who sought Jesus out to heal His daughter? He said "Lord I believe, help thou my unbelief" Mark 9:24 Now an atheist will say: " I prayed the same for a family member who died, so why didn't God do for me like He did for that centurion? It must be because it is just a fairytale, therefore they are completely untrustworthy fables with which to placate children". The thing is that God's answers happens on God's timetable, not ours. Mary thought Jesus failed because He came too late to keep Lazarus from dying. We will all die. It may seem at times like He has forsaken us and that He failed to answer a prayer for safety or other noble requests for others wellbeing. But He is the resurrection and the life, and what appears to us as being too late is right on schedule according to God's infinitely larger time table. Jesus chided people for being "Oh ye of little faith" and if we confess with Him that we indeed are impoverished in this and continue seeking Him to supply us with the faith we need, He is faithful to supply what is needed as the situation requires.

  Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.   Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised)  

                                                    Hebrews 10:22-23 (KJV)

Matthew Henry's comments regarding this Hebrews passage:


He is faithful that hath promised. God has made great and precious promises to believers, and he is a faithful God, true to his word; there is no falseness nor fickleness with him, and there should be none with us. His faithfulness should excite and encourage us to be faithful, and we must depend more upon his promises to us than upon our promises to him, and we must plead with him the promise of grace sufficient.


Let us live lives of thankfulness to God, serving Him, ever seeking His guidance and having the faithful character that doesn't give up or give in to the lies of "the enemy" of our souls.

16 comments:

  1. "I must admit that lately I've been losing my patience with those who claim they once were saved and that God failed them by causing them to lose their faith. Is that truly so? I think they believe it to be so but I believe they are deluding themselves in their false belief of things that are not so."

    Well, as a general thing we don't see it as "God failing us by causing us to lose our faith". We see it more as, "we believed that these things were true, but later came to the conclusion that we had been wrong". For former believers and unbelievers, the question of whether we were ever truly saved is... how to say this... kind of irrelevant. I mean, if we're right, and there really isn't any sort of God out there, then the idea of salvation is sort of meaningless. So all we can really say is that we were as absolutely sincere in our former beliefs as anybody else is.

    And, of course, we could be wrong. We could be, as you point out, deluded. But in that case we are, at least, honestly mistaken; we are doing the best we can with the information we have.

    "They state various reasons as evidence that God isn't real, yet the Bible confirms..."

    That's part of the problem, right there: a huge difference in perspective. As a Christian, you find that the Bible confirms your beliefs. As an unbeliever, that doesn't do much for me; of course the Bible shows that Christianity is true. The Bible is Christianity, or at least the part of Christianity that's written down. What else would you expect it to show?

    "...God is indeed real and true and that everyone who says He is not is a liar, because deep down we all know there has to be a Creator..."

    Here you've changed perspectives. A few lines earlier, you were saying that you thought we were deluded. Now, we must be lying. Which is it? Are we honestly mistaken, or simply dishonest? If we're honestly mistaken - poor lost souls who are seeking the truth, but haven't gotten it right or have somehow been led astray - is eternal torment a just punishment for being wrong?

    On the other hand, why would we lie about something like that? If we secretly know that there really is an all-powerful, all-knowing Creator, then we also secretly know that there's no escaping His judgement - and if that's the case, then pretending he isn't there accomplishes absolutely nothing. So why would we bother?

    "...and the first things out of an atheist's mouth are curses to the God he doesn't believe in when things do not go according to their plans."

    That isn't any sort of evidence that we really, secretly believe, you know. If I tell someone (for example, and pardon my language) to "go to Hell", I'm not making a theological proposition that Hell actually exists, or describing any sort of metaphysical geography. I'm merely condemning their words or actions using the strongest imagery I happen to have handy. And by the same token, I have sometimes been known to exclaim "Holy cow!" Does that make me a secret Hindu?

    ...Just so we're completely clear: I'm not going to try to argue you out of your beliefs. I wouldn't want to even if I thought I could. I'd like to add a bit of my own perspective, to try to help you understand how someone could legitimately reach the conclusions that I and other former believers have reached - something which I see as a separate issue from whether those conclusions are correct or not. However, if that's in any way unwelcome, please let me know. I'll be happy enough to refrain.

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  2. Hi Michael,

    I'll try to answer these and of course they are from my perspective as a Christian (and as another atheist/agnostic pointed out even Christians or people who say they are Christians have differing thoughts on these things)

    1. I have heard some say they felt God failed them by allowing them to lose their faith "if" He exists

    2. Yes there is a difference between being a liar and being "honestly mistaken", and of course God will deal with each differently, as the New Testament shows Jesus gave lots of examples of people that got it wrong lots of different ways...however the bottom line is that He does provide evidence for Himself, but it gets rejected by those who want to reject it for various reasons which I'm sure you know a few (?)

    3. Telling someone to "go to hell" when one doesn't "really" believe in a hell... what I was trying to point out is the fact that these things are true and that even our language betrays the truth of it in those who say it isn't. Funny that you would bring up "holy cow" which has nothing really to do with Buddhism and everything to do with the Israelites worshiping a golden calf after their escape from Egypt.

    4. If there are "legitimate reasons" as you say, and you truly are completely honestly mistaken in your misguided faithlessness to God, God can and will eventually turn you back around to Himself in His time. If you do find yourself in hell after this life, it isn't because He was insufficient. That is what I get so frustrated with, the fact that it comes down to none of us deserving anything really. Before we were born we were nothing which is what you believe we will return to. Jesus said otherwise and I believe Him over anything anyone else has to say on this topic.

    Thanks for taking the time to try to explain your views to me. I hope for your sake you will come to a different conclusion which has you bowing humbly before the throne of grace.

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  3. Okay, you made me curious enough to go look up the origin of "holy cow" - and we're both wrong (or, in another way, we're both right).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_cow_%28expression%29

    It doesn't appear to have anything to do with the golden calf. It does, however, seem to be a substitute for a phrase that many Christians would consider to be taking the name of the Lord in vain. The substitution may be obliquely referencing the idea that cows are sacred in some religions/cultures, but it doesn't originate from Hinduism in any real sense (and certainly not in the way that I was thinking it did).

    Still, I stand by my original point: the fact that the English language incorporates and uses a great deal of Christian imagery, after being used by predominantly-Christian societies for hundreds of years, isn't really evidence of any sort of transcendent truth. It simply shows that the dominant religion of the culture becomes part of the culture's language.

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  4. "I have heard some say they felt God failed them by allowing them to lose their faith "if" He exists."

    Yes, I can see that. Again, perspective is important - particularly for this sort of conversation. So let me see if I can clarify that a little bit...

    You don't strike me as the sort of person who wastes time on thinking about hypothetical situations. I don't mean that as an insult; it's not that you don't realize that there might be things you're missing or things you don't understand. It's just that you're focused on Things As They Are, to the best of your understanding. It's a very pragmatic viewpoint. (Again, this is just how you seem to me; how you actually are is not mine to judge, and I certainly don't know you well enough to pretend to any great understanding.)

    I, on the other hand, am very willing to consider other viewpoints - even ideas that I think are impossible. In fact, I enjoy it - exploring ideas, following them to see where they lead.

    So, here's one of those ideas: God actually exists, and He is truly all-knowing and all-powerful. If we assume that is actually the case, how is it possible that I don't believe he's there? Well, one possibility is that He prefers for me to find my way through life without the benefit of His direct guidance. Presumably, in that case, He plans to explain it to me, or let me discover it in some other fashion, after death or even at some later time in this life. Alternatively, it could be because He isn't good - he could have let me be born, knowing that I wouldn't accept him and would have a brief period of mortal life followed by an unending eternity of torment. But in that case, the nature of God isn't what I was raised to believe in; He isn't all-loving, He's only loving towards his chosen few. (Which, according to the Bible, is what - 44,000 out of all the billions that have been born into this world?)

    Examining those possibilities doesn't mean that I think God is really there. But saying that if God is there, then the fact that we don't perceive Him seems very likely to be His Own fault, well... that isn't an insult to Him, either. It's just exploring those ideas, and trying to understand them. The question, basically, is "Okay, well, if things are as you say they are, how would that fit together?"

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  5. "I hope for your sake you will come to a different conclusion which has you bowing humbly before the throne of grace."

    I have no problem with bowing humbly - really, truly. It's just that at the moment I don't see any such throne to bow to. If I have to take someone else's word that the throne is there at all, then I can't trust it; that sort of assertion makes it far too easy for me to be manipulated, misled, or mistaken.

    Also, because I think this bears repeating: please, please feel free to tell me to go away, at any time and for any reason. I totally understand "This kind of conversation makes me tired" or "I can't deal with this right now." I'm a parent; I know from personal experience that any number of things, which have nothing to do with being right or wrong, can put somebody in a position where they just aren't able to have an argument, or a polite difference of opinion, or even just a friendly explanation of different perspectives. For that matter, even when things are going well, sometimes we just need a break - a chance to recharge.

    I'm not your enemy - or God's, for that matter, if He's out there. So if this isn't helpful, let me know.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Michael,

      "This conversation makes me tired" "I can't deal with this right now"

      Those are certainly thoughts that come up frequently when entering into this type of discussion because I do find it tiresome to get bogged down with a myriad of possible other ways that might be true other than the way outlined in the Christian Bible. Why do you feel that these many other ways have equal or superior value to the one God has revealed over these many many many generations and kingdoms and cultures which have come and gone during His unfolding of what He does and has done? I think I might be opening a can of worms with that question, you see, the way that I see it is the way it is introduced in the book of Genesis: First God said, and then the devil comes along and says "God didn't really say"....almost like the cartoon of the man with the angel on one shoulder and the devil encouraging the naive man to go in the opposite direction.

      You see when I leave it to know that God knows infinitely more about this than I do I accept what is said by the Apostle Paul about our relationship with God as in the book of Romans that everyone does know the truth and there is evidence of what He is and does all around us, and that most people willingly reject Him and finally: [b] that they are without excuse. [/b]

      Delete
    2. Here's another thing that vexes my spirit:
      Why do these [b] [/b] [i] [/i] [u] [/u] not work for me anymore???
      sigh

      Delete
  6. "Why do you feel that these many other ways have equal or superior value to the one God has revealed over these many many many generations and kingdoms and cultures which have come and gone during His unfolding of what He does and has done?"

    Simply put: because I don't see God. As a result, I don't see that He has revealed these things. It's a very different starting point than it is for someone who already knows all these things are true. To me, the world we see around us looks far more like what I'd expect as the result of impersonal natural process than what I'd expect from something deliberately created. Similarly, if I trace back the history of Christianity, and consider it against the amazing variety of religious beliefs found around the world, well... Christianity looks like a set of ideas that went through a historical process of revision and refinement, split off from the nation where they originated, and caught on throughout most of the Roman Empire. It doesn't seem anywhere near as ubiquitous or transcendent as what I'd expect if it were a message from an all-powerful entity who wanted all of humanity to know and understand it.

    Now, there are faithful Christian responses for pretty much everything I've just said. I've studied enough history to know that, too. So I'm not saying that nobody should believe that Christian beliefs have a divine origin; I'm only saying that that isn't how it looks to me.

    Now, as to the other thing vexing your spirit: there are two common types of code for adding italics, bold, and things like that. One of them uses the square brackets, and is most commonly found on message boards and similar programs. Common html uses a lot of the same code, but instead of the square brackets, you need the greater than and less than symbols - what we used to call "alligator jaws". (Shift + comma and shift + period on most keyboards.) That's what you'll need to use here on Blogger.

    So, if I can manage this without hiding the code I'm trying to show you, instead of [b]bold[/b], you need <b>bold</b>.

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  7. ah yes, thanks

    My questions to you will be bold type

    I've been saved out of the New Age Movement (NAM) since 1988, and went through terrors of the spiritual kind which I prayed through. The Lord in His kindness brought me through and out. He showed me through His miraculous intervention His way is the truth....however I didn't seek Him for the miracles to prove Himself to me (remember the NT recording that Jesus said "fools seek for a sign"?), anyway I didn't seek Him to be entertained with a miracles side show, I sought Him for my very life through incredibly difficult demonic oppression that sought to take me over. God didn't have to help me, but He did...and it would be extremely ungrateful as well as stupid (shortsighted, you might say) of me if I ignored Him and then said "I don't believe you".

    There is so much evidence for Him being true especially in the Bible that you belittle...for instance:

    How can you read books like Job and wonder about the questions that are raised in it which we will NEVER discover the answers to and which God does know because He made everything?

    How can you read Ecclesiastes and the Proverbs and the Psalms, the greatest of ancient wisdom literature, and be satisfied with the lesser works of Socrates and even lower yet: the rank and file of modern theorists and scientists and philosophers, when scientists keep changing their "truths" and the Bible is ever still the same and remarkable

    and finally:

    Are you familiar with the parable by Jesus that is referred to as "The Parable of the Four Soils"? Which soil do you see yourself as being?

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  8. I just reread my comment...had tried to post it from my tablet but ran into a snag..transferred to laptop made a few changes...upon rereading it's a bit disjointed and incomplete questions etc however I hope you will answer the questions as best you can given the difficulties involved...especially the last (imo most important).

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  9. This is going to take me a bit, so please bear with me; I'll probably be adding more than one comment.

    "I've been saved out of the New Age Movement (NAM) since 1988 ... and it would be extremely ungrateful as well as stupid (shortsighted, you might say) of me if I ignored Him and then said 'I don't believe you'."

    Is there any chance you wrote about those experiences in more detail (an earlier blog post or something)? I'd be very interested to read more about them.

    I've said before that we're all doing the best we can with the information we have, and I'll repeat it here - because given those experiences, it makes perfect sense that you'd conclude that God exists and that Christianity is the proper way to understand Him. My experiences are different, my information is different (and, just to complicate the issue a bit more, how I weigh the information I have is different), so naturally my conclusions are different. You feel God's presence, so you're a Christian; I don't have any awareness of God, so I'm not.

    And, yes, I know that's frustrating. How could I possibly not see something that's so completely obvious to you? The flippant answer is, "Because it's not that obvious to me." A longer answer would be, "Because I'm a human being with limited knowledge and limited perceptions, and I'm doing the best I can with the information I have." Also, it's probably worth pointing out that it can be equally frustrating from my side; there are things that seem very obvious to me, which you don't appear to see at all.

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  10. "There is so much evidence for Him being true especially in the Bible that you belittle..."

    This is a perfect example of that same difference in perspective I was talking about earlier. For you, there is evidence in the Bible for the existence of God. For me, the Bible is exactly the set of beliefs that need to be proven - it's the proposition that I don't see evidence for. I don't know if that's clear, so let me try to put that another way.

    To use the Bible as evidence for the existence of God, you'd need to somehow separate the Bible from the belief in the existence of God. Since the Bible is the basis for Christian beliefs (including belief in the existence of God), it can't be separated from Christian beliefs. So "the Bible has evidence for the existence of God" sounds to me very much like "The book of Christian beliefs says that Christian beliefs are true".

    I realize that's probably still just about as clear as mud, and probably belittling the Bible as well, and I apologize on both counts. I don't know how to describe what the Bible looks like to me without taking away from the status and authority that you see it with; unfortunately, that's the exact difference in our views that I'm trying to describe. Hopefully, I can fill in a bit more in answering your questions - but unfortunately, I just finished my lunch break, so I'll have to come back to them tonight (or possibly tomorrow - it's shaping up to be a busy week). I hope you'll continue to bear with me.

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  11. "How can you read books like Job and wonder about the questions that are raised in it which we will NEVER discover the answers to and which God does know because He made everything?"

    Actually, it's kind of the other way around. Again, bearing in mind that I have no personal sense of God's existence -- what He is or what He wants -- I don't see the Book of Job as a call to faith. In fact, it looks to me like a questioning of faith -- like someone wondering, and trying to work out by means of a story, just what it means to have absolute faith in God, and what that might entail. It doesn't look like God giving instructions to man; it looks like man wondering about the nature of the divine.

    I admit, I'm biased in this. When I'm puzzled by something, or exploring something, I tend to write it out in one form or another -- and often in the form of a story. I do my best thinking in the process of writing. So it's entirely possible that the Book of Job appears that way to me entirely, and only, because that's what I do myself.

    Still, consider: the Book of Job certainly seems an affront to the idea of God being completely good. Satan (the accuser, the rebellious angel... and yet, apparently still on speaking terms with the Almighty) points out that Job has faith in God, but that faith is easy enough since God blesses Job in many ways. In answer, God promptly withdraws all those blessings -- leaving Job with nothing -- yet Job still retains his faith, even when he becomes "a brother to dragons and a companion to owls", barely even human. Now, once He wins the bet, God restores Job and blesses him even more than before... so you can read this a lesson in the importance of maintaining your faith even through times of difficulty. On the other hand, God killed all of Job's children during the course of this bet with his Accuser (or discussion with his conscience). I don't know if you're a parent, but I am: two boys, ages four and eight. And speaking as a parent, let me tell you: if God, or anyone else for that matter, killed either of them off -- let alone both -- I wouldn't consider Him good or righteous, regardless of how many children he gave me to "replace" them with.

    Some things can't be replaced.

    Now, given the sort of Christianity in which I was raised, I don't think the book of Job is actual history. I don't think God actually did this to anyone. (That's mainly because I don't think that God actually exists, but also because -- given the sort of Christianity I grew up in -- that sort of deliberate cruelty seems out of character for a God who would sacrifice His only Son for the sake of the humanity He created.)

    But that's how I can read the Book of Job and not be convicted by God's emanant truth.

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  12. "How can you read Ecclesiastes and the Proverbs and the Psalms, the greatest of ancient wisdom literature, and be satisfied with the lesser works of Socrates and even lower yet: the rank and file of modern theorists and scientists and philosophers, when scientists keep changing their "truths" and the Bible is ever still the same and remarkable?"

    It's been a while since I've gone through Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, or Psalms - or the Upanishads, or the Book of the Dead, or various books of Greek mythology, or the Celtic stories of the Tuatha De Danaan. Still, when you label those books as "the greatest of ancient wisdom literature", I have to wonder what you're comparing them to. I can't say at this point in my life that I'm particularly more "satisfied" with Socrates, Descartes, or Nietzsche; it's been a long while since I've read any of them, either.

    Science is another question entirely, and comparing it to Biblical wisdom is very much what my teachers used to call "comparing apples and oranges". Science is, at its heart, a method for studying the material world, and it doesn't offer us "the truth" so much as "the best of our current understanding". Its willingness to change its conclusions in light of new evidence isn't a weakness; that's precisely its strength.

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  13. Right, so I finally got to the parable of the soils.

    Honestly, it's not one I remember hearing. We probably discussed it, back in my church-going days -- at least, I'd be extremely surprised if we didn't -- but assuming we did, it wasn't one of the lessons that left an impression on me. I had to go and look it up to see what you were talking about.

    Now, there are some slightly disturbing elements here -- the idea that Jesus had switched to parables precisely to hide the truths of the Kingdom of Heaven from those who weren't worthy, and the idea that it's simply impossible to understand divine truths without divine guidance. However, I assume that you didn't have either of those considerations in mind when you asked me which soil I see myself as being.

    I'm assuming you wanted me to consider which sort of soil I am when it comes to receiving the seed of god's word, and that... well... if you really want a choice, I'd say that I consider myself the sort of soil that's tended by a careful gardener, who does his imperfect (but attentive) best to see that the fruitful plants flourish and the destructive or useless plants are removed. But that requires a fifth type of soil, and so essentially rejects the validity of the question.

    It's been twenty-five years since I've been church, and I really don't remember. But if I had to bet, I'd bet that at some point I did hear the Parable of the Four Soils, and that I rejected the validity of the question then for basically the same reasons I'd reject it now. First, it's a loaded question - you offer four types of people, from worst to best, and then ask the audience what kind they are. Given those choices, who isn't going to pick the Good Soil? Second, that sort of question isn't really looking for an answer; it's trying to point people towards a particular response - either making feel superior for being Good Soil, or making them desperately want to become good soil. That doesn't look like an attempt to encourage people to seek a better understanding; it just looks manipulative - rather like asking "have you stopped beating your wife yet?" except that instead of trying to incite denial, it's trying to incite guilt. And the only proper answer for such a question is to deny its validity in the first place.

    All of that assumes that A) Jesus actually existed, and B) the report we have of His telling of this parable is reasonable correct. I'm not entirely convinced on either account, so please don't take my answer as an indication that I think this actually happened. As I've mentioned before, I'm very comfortable dealing with hypothetical situations as if they were real and immediate.

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  14. "This is a perfect example of that same difference in perspective I was talking about earlier. For you, there is evidence in the Bible for the existence of God. For me, the Bible is exactly the set of beliefs that need to be proven - it's the proposition that I don't see evidence for. I don't know if that's clear, so let me try to put that another way. "

    If I might give an analogy of our difference of our positions I would say we are upside down of each other, and as different as night is to day.

    If I were to judge from what you have said which soil you are I would say your situation is as the seeds that fell on the wayside. The seeds of the truth never entered your heart (desire) therefore the devil snatched them away from you before they could do anything good in your understanding.

    The things you bring up about Job, you see it as a story that never happened, I see it as something as real as you and I, it happened. The lesson learned by Job is that he still had all of his children because all of his other possessions were doubled but for the children after this lesson were the same number as he had before. The Bible teaches of resurrection and being with God after this life. The children that were taken away are with God, and (therefore) Job didn't lose them. It is like money in the bank, not in my possession but in a much safer place, and since you do not believe it, you are bankrupt because you actually have no place to go after this life, because you reject the very One who has made all that you reject possible, and the little that you accept (what you can see right now with you physical eyes and mortal God rejecting mind) is passing away as will we all from this place.

    Perhaps the Lord will find some "good soil" in your heart and perhaps the seeds of what we discussed will take root and come to fruition at another time....perhaps not...that is between you and Jesus, all I can do is hope that for you. If you reject Him, it isn't His fault, nor mine, nor anyone else's that you might assess as being the reasons for your rejection, it is yours alone.

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Please try to keep your comments on the topic of the post you are commenting on.

If there is a link to an article or podcast, or if there is an embedded video please view these before airing your views on the posting. If you clearly did not watch video/read link I may choose to remove your comment or leave your comment and then not respond to it ...particularly if you have a question that is already answered on link or video.

Opposing viewpoints are of course allowed here, however, I will limit such discussions to two or at most three further comments on one topic, so do try to get all your criticisms in while keeping that in mind, and don't take it personal....I just don't want to be bogged down with a constant barrage of replies that go on and on like a dog chasing it's tail in circles.