My religious history has been very long and also very interesting. I was a very devout fundamentalist Christian for 15 years of my life, from ages 19-34. That was followed by about that many years again of outspoken atheism, after I became convinced that God didn’t actually exist and that the Bible — far from being the Word of God — was actually just the words of ancient men and mostly just a bunch of contradictory and absurd ancient religious mythology. BUT… that’s not what the post is about. I have been doing a lot of thinking and researching on current world events and biblical prophecy. There have been so many major storms and floods and earthquakes and fires, etc. that it really got me thinking, and I’d like to share what my thinking has been and what I’ve discovered through research so far. One thing that has my attention at the moment is a supposed celestial event that will occur on September 23, 2017. Will it really mean anything or will nothing of any significance happen? Only time will tell… I’ve also been thinking about the nation of Israel, and how them becoming a nation again in 1948 fulfilled biblical prophecy. But, at any rate, here is my list of thoughts and a few links, in no particular order… This list is partly a PM I sent to my friend Cliff and a list of stuff I found later added at the end. 🙂
Hey Cliff, this may surprise you, but I watched a Christian movie today called “Escape from Hell”. It came out in 2000 on VHS, and it’s one of my fairly recent thrift store finds. 🙂
I haven’t believed that Hell actually exists for a long time, and I lost all fear of it as well quite a while ago. So, I didn’t really expect to be moved that much by this movie. I mainly watched it just to satisfy curiosity. But, it does address the NDE phenomenon, and the fact that some people who experience an NDE report negative, hellish experiences. There is even a famous atheist who had one, and of course after that he because a Christian. His name is Howard Storm, and he wrote a book about his experience. I think it was published in 1978, so it’s old now. But I bet it’s still interesting reading!
I mainly reject belief in Hell on moral grounds. To me, it’s a morally reprehensible concept, and I think if it’s real that God cannot be a God of Love. Only a monster would create such a place or allow anyone to go to such a place for ANY reason. And eternal punishment for finite sins is also very wrong, of course. I don’t think even monsters such as Hitler deserve to be punished forever.
But… all of that said… this movie was well done for a low-budget religious movie, and it got me thinking. I simply don’t know if there is an afterlife of any sort. I don’t think anyone knows for sure. I also don’t know if God actually exists or not. I don’t see any evidence that He does since He never does anything tangible in the real world that people can point to and say “God did that!” It seems to be the case that God only exists in the minds of believers.
And then there is the Bible. I still love parts of it, but I’ve also seen it completely debunked on atheist sites, at least one of which I can easily point you to. Modern biblical scholarship is not kind to fundamentalist beliefs about the Bible! It’s definitely not inerrant or infallible. Not even close! And that’s very easy to prove. But whether it contains a message from a real, existing God, I just don’t know.
I have real issues with the basis for the Christian message as well. It all starts out in Genesis with two contradictory creation myths that we know now have no basis in science or reality. And included in the myths is Adam and Eve, who obviously are not real people who actually lived in history. Yet their story is crucial to the Christian faith. If there never was a Fall of Man, then there is no reason for a Savior.
And the Genesis Flood never happened. We know that now. The story is borrowed from a much earlier myth, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and of course there is exactly zero geological evidence that the Earth has ever experienced a flood as it is depicted in the Bible.
The Exodus never happened either. There is no evidence that it ever occurred, and the ancient Egyptians have no record of ever having had Hebrew captives.
And the Tower of Babel story is just silly. It’s not how our different languages came to be. And it also depicts the ancient cosmology that is featured in the Bible from cover to cover — a flat Earth covered by a solid dome firmament in which the stars are fixed, and God supposedly living on the other side of the solid firmament where a tower to be built to reach Him. Supposedly. (See https://answersingenesis.org/astronomy/earth/does-bible-teach-earth-flat/ for a refutation of the idea that the Bible teaches a flat Earth!)
And there are other problems with the Bible. Most of it was written anonymously, and some of the New Testament books are known to be forgeries. Did you know that Paul did not write Ephesians? I still love that book, but the fact is that we have no idea who actually wrote it! And 1 & 2 Timothy and 1 & 2 Peter are also forgeries not actually written by the Peter or Paul.
But anyway… I guess I’ve written you a long enough BOOK, lol… I’d like to believe, and if a Hell does exist, I certainly don’t want that to be my eternal fate. But there are quite a few roadblocks right now in the way of the kind of faith I once enjoyed back in my younger and frankly much less educated days…
And thanks for reading and listening to my rambling… and I do want to have that discussion when it’s a good time for both of us to sit down and really talk things through. 🙂
I have been spending a lot of time at this site:
I loved Hugh Ross back in the day, and I’m planning to re-read “The Creator & the Cosmos” soon. But right now I’m reading another book co-authored by him called “Who was Adam?”
I really like that Ross and his team don’t deny the findings of modern science. They just interpret it differently.
I just don’t know about God and Christianity, but things have been on my mind. All of these major storms and fires around the world. Fulfilled biblical prophecy. The technology now to microchip everyone, which sounds like the Mark of the Beast coming to me. The situation with North Korea. And the human heart, which the Bible says is desperately wicked. And humans routinely do horrible things to each other. Even “good” people have a dark side that they try not to show in public. I know I certainly do… I have thoughts I would never share publicly. I’m sure everybody does.
I’ve been thinking about the biases people have too. These atheists I listened to years ago who led me away from faith in Christ and convinced me that the Bible is mostly ancient mythology… they are enemies of the Gospel, and it is their goal to lead people away from it.
I’m confused right now and don’t know what to believe. Please pray and ask God to give me clarity and peace of mind. The way I see it, either God exists and the Gospel is true and there is the hope of eternal life in Heaven for everyone who responds to it and believes or… there is no God, life is essentially meaningless, and death means permanent nonexistence.
The atheism I was once convinced was the Truth seems depressing as hell to me now. I want to return to the Christian faith. God is definitely dealing with me. But my mind needs to be able to celebrate with my heart. Does that make sense?
Something else to think about:
In addition to the storms, Mexico just experienced a major earthquake. And society is a colossal mess, seems like everyone is ANGRY, the Church is cold and judgmental, many people hate the Gospel and hate Christians. And the Bible does say that in the Last Days, people would be haters of God…
See what’s getting my attention?
10 Prophecies Fulfilled in 1948
Rapture in 2017?
Does Not Teach Flat Earth
Tower of Babel a real event?
The last few days have been pretty amazing! I have read and considered much more than what I have posted here. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it all, but I am becoming more and more convinced that the Bible is true and that Jesus is God and that He may well be returning very soon! There is so much good evidence that we are living in the last of the Last Days and so much good evidence that Jesus Christ is coming back soon that I don’t see how it could NOT happen! It may or may not happen on or around September 23rd, but given the signs and given everything happening in the world that lines up perfectly with biblical prophesy, I don’t see how the return of Christ could be very far off! And yes, though skeptical and cautionary voices are sounding in my head (which is to be expected during a rapid change of worldviews based on new information), the evidence in favor of the return of Christ seems overwhelming to me, and I am getting very excited! 🙂
One of the hallmarks of a person who truly has an open mind is that he or she is willing to change their thinking/beliefs based on new information. I was a convinced atheist for many years, but based on this new information I have encountered, my faith has been restored, and I believe in Jesus Christ! And I praise God for that! But even if the rapture doesn’t occur this year, in spite of all the evidence indicating that it will, I will still put my faith in Christ. I have all of the proof I personally need that God does exist and that Jesus was and is God.
Oh, and just a quick disclaimer… I don’t necessarily agree with the views expressed at the sites I have linked to. It is all just food for thought… 🙂