Faith

To see all the articles about Faith on one page, click here.

Our Basic Premise is that God is in total control of everything (both here on earth, in the universe, and everywhere else) AND we are able to make choices about our lives and our future. 

God's ways are far higher than our ways. His ways are beyond understanding. Everything that happens is part of God's plan. There is nothing that happens here on earth (and everywhere else) that is outside of God's plan or outside of his will.Nothing that happens here on earth catches God by surprise. God does much more that "allow things to happen", instead he is the cause (whether directly or indirectly) of every circumstance, situation, happening, etc. Even the most (seemingly) horrific things that happen are all in God's plan. He sees far more that we can see or understand.

At the same time, he (seemingly) gives us total free will to do as we please. It is obvious that we can make choices about what to do with our lives. In an instant, we can choose to do either good or evil in small ways, or in ways that alter our lives dramatically. Along with our "free-will" choices we also experience the consequences of our choices. Those consequences teach us teach us to listen to God and to be obedient to his ways. 

Once we begin to grasp (to our limited ability) the immense power and purpose of God's plan, everything changes for us. We are no longer afraid of disasters.

The links below explain more about faith in our daily life. 


Faith is a New Life, Not a Religion

 

Faith is not about a religion, but a life to be lived. It speaks of the way that we live our lives. It involves putting aside our old life and learning to live a new kind of life.

Faith was never intended to be about religion. Rather, it was about one's relationship with God, with oneself, and with others. Faith is about one's everyday behavior, not about religious forms, rites, and rituals.

God is Love

God is love1. As children of love, we must live a life of love. One might ask, "What does that look like?" In 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a we have a picture.

  • Love is patient and kind.
  • Love is not jealous
  • Love is not boastful
  • Love is not proud
  • Love is not rude (unmannerly)
  • Love does not demand its own way.
  • Love is not irritable or easily angered
  • Love keeps no record of being wronged
  • Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil.
  • Love always protects
  • Love always trusts
  • Love always hopes
  • Love always perseveres
  • Love never fails

 

Jesus also said, "Matt 5:44 But I say to you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them who despitefully use you, and persecute you;"

God is Truth

 

God is truth. We are to speak the truth,2 in love. We are to tell the truth without selfish motives. We are to live holy lives

Anyone who knows us should know that they can believe whatever we say, because we only speak truth. What is truth?

Truth is telling anyone whatever they have a right to know or that they need to know.

Truth is checking out the facts before we answer, rather than just giving our first (often emotional) impulse.

  • 1. 1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love: and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him.
  • 2. Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, who is the head, even Christ:

Believing is Faith in Action

 

I'm slow at times. Sometimes it takes me a while to finally grasp some things. For a long time I've wrestled with, trying to understand, the difference between "faith" and "belief" or "believe". Do the mean the same thing (if so, why use two different words) or do they have different definitions. I finally looked the definitions in a Greek dictionary. This is what I found:

Greek Definition of "Faith"

G4102 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4102 πίστις pistis (pis'-tis) n.
1. persuasion, i.e. credence
2. (morally) conviction (of religious truth, or the truthfulness of God or a religious teacher)
3. (especially) reliance upon Christ for salvation
4. (abstractly) constancy in such profession
5. (by extension) the system of religious (Gospel) truth itself
[from G3982]
KJV: assurance, belief, believe, faith, fidelity
Root(s): G3982

Greek Definition of "Believe"

G4100 (Mickelson's Enhanced Strong's Greek and Hebrew Dictionaries)
G4100 πιστεύω pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o) v.
1. to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), i.e. credit
2. (by implication) to entrust (especially one's spiritual well-being to Christ)
[from G4102]
KJV: believe(-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with
Root(s): G4102

So, it finally dawned on me. Faith is a noun (person, place or thing) and believe is a verb (it shows action). So, to "believe" is to put one's "faith" into action. So, on a practical sense, what does that mean? Do I just turn on my "believe" switch as I would turn on a light switch? How do I start believing instead of just having faith?

Here's an example. A person can sit in their recliner in the living room and say, "Yes, I have faith that I can put a computer together." If he continues to sit in his recliner and does nothing, his faith is useless. Conversely, if he follows that "statement of faith' with action, (he orders the computer parts and begins putting the computer together) his faith is put into action. At this point his faith is actually "believing".

Believing is more than a mental assent "I believe" and then that's it. Truly believing also brings our motives and intents inline with our beliefs. Everything that we do centers around our true beliefs. We can tell what people believe by what they much more than what they say. Word are cheap. But our actions (when we thing that no one is looking) clearly display what we truly believe.

 

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Examples of Faith

This is a section giving stories that show faith in action.

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Faith Can Move Mountains

When I was much younger I would read the verse that said, "... Faith can move mountains..." and I thought that if I could just "muster up enough faith" then I could say, "Mountain, go into the sea." Of course, I could never muster up enough faith to make anything happen.

In recent years I've come to understand that concept of "moving mountains" entirely different. I think of one man with a shovel and wheel barrel. He looks at the mountain and says to himself, "I will move that mountain!" He sets out at the base of the mountain and puts his shovel into the dirt and digs out a shovel-ful. He dumps the dirt into the wheel barrel. Then he takes another shovelful and puts it into the wheel barrel. This cycle continues over and over again until the wheel barrel is full. The man then pushes the wheel barrel to the new location and dumps the dirt on the ground. He goes back for another load of dirt, then another and another. On and on it goes, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. As the new pile of dirt grows, and as people see the excitement of the man moving the mountain, people come to help. Each of the new people bring shovels and wheel barrels. Soon there are hundreds of people loading up their wheel barrels and moving dirt.

The point of this message is to show faith in one of it's finest forms. Faith combined with hard work and perseverance. Now, let's look at that verse that says, "Faith without works is dead." Here we can see that if that man just sat in his chair trying to "muster up enough faith" to move the mountain, nothing of value would ever have been accomplished.

So, the definition of faith we will use in this situation would be: Intention + having a plan + putting plan into action + perseverance = Faith in Action.

How does this apply to my life and to your life. If we believe God has called us to some task or goal, get up and get busy. Do whatever is set before you without complaint. Grumbling and complaining can destroy even the strongest faith. Instead of complaining "this is too big", start dreaming and planning how to make your dream happen.


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Faith Without Actions is Useless

It has been said, "Faith without works is dead." I'd rather translate it so it is clearer. "Faith that is not put into action is useless and meaningless." We can't say that we have faith and then not do the actions that our faith proclaims.

A person can have faith that he can be a great doctor, but if he doesn't put in the actions (going to school, diligently studying, etc), his "faith" is useless.

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The Decorator and the Cornice

I'm and upholsterer (since 1966) and have been making upholsterered cornices for one decorator for over 10 years. We have a real good working relationship. I respect her integrity and her professionalism. She respects the quality and preciseness of my workmanship. She and I have talked through and planned out the making of many cornices.
Today I'm making another cornice, which will be covered in a vine pattern, with branches coming off the center vine. I called her to discuss where to place the vine pattern. Since she wants to vine to run horizontally across the face of the cornice, she has three basic choices. I had previously laid the fabric of each choice on the cornice to see what each choice would look like:

  • a.) Put two vines running horizontally. With this pattern placement, the pattern is too wide to have a full width of both vine patterns. So part of the upper pattern will be cut off along the top edge and part of the lower pattern will be cut off along the bottom edge.
  • b.) A second choice would be to center one vine horizontally in the middle  of the cornice height. Since the branches of the vine pattern are much longer on the top side of the cornice than on the bottom, the width of the pattern would not be centered. Also the branches on the adjacent pattern, top and bottom, would be longer on the bottom than on the top.
  • c.) The third choice would be to center the full width of the vine and branches horizontally across the cornice. This would mean that the center vine would not be center, but be below the center of the cornice. However, the branches on the adjacent  patterns would be evenly spaced an even amount top and bottom.

After I had explained her 3 options she asked me for my recommendation. I told her that I liked choice c, and I explained why. She told me that it sounded good to her and that she would go with my recommendation.
In a very real sense she would acting on faith. She couldn't see what the pattern placement would look like, but, because of long association and her having seen the results of my work all these years, she had faith in my recommendation. I know her and I made a recommendation based upon what I thought would give her client the best job.
Her faith in me wasn't something that she instantly decided to "have faith" with no substance and no history of proven quality and trustworthiness on my part. Her faith was based upon something real.

Fables of Faith

These are stories yet to be written or rewritten

 

Climbing the cliff to the higher life

 

The tapestry

 

7 blind men go to see the elephant

 

Pushing against the rock

 

The Tortoise and the Hare

 

Pushed out of one's comfortable room into the fog

 

The Diving Board

 

The Dragon in Smoke and Mirrors

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Truth

 Calling something the truth does not make it true. Truth refers to those things that are true. Truth stands up to investigations and questions. In fact, truth invites questioning and close examination. Those who walk in truth don't have to "defend" the truth because the truth is self-evident. For example, the truth is that we can safely walk upon the ground. The ground will hold us up. This truth is self evident. You don't have to convince anyone of the this truth. Everyone can see it for themselves.

Truth is simple. It is what it is.

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Science, Truth, and Faith

Science is often seen as an enemy of those of faith. But we would like to make the case that true science and true faith are closely related and can work hand in hand. True science searches for the truth. True faith is based upon that which is true. Since both are .... truth, we will start with the Truth

Truth

"Truth has a variety of meanings, such as the state of being in accord with fact or reality.[1] It can also mean having fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. In a common usage, it also means constancy or sincerity in action or character.[1] The direct opposite of truth is falsehood, which can correspondingly take logical, factual or ethical meanings." Wikipedia

In many ways, truth seems so simple. You tell what is. "Do you solemly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth."

"We see the world, not as it is, but as we are." We are all flawed humans. Our ability to see or to tell the truth is:

  • tempered by out biases, prejudices and opinions.
  • distorted by our desire to be right and wanting the truth to agree with our distorted views of the truth.

Science: A Search for Truth

 

The steps of the scientific method1 are to:

  • Ask a Question
  • Do Background Research
  • Construct a Hypothesis
  • Test Your Hypothesis by Doing an Experiment
  • Analyze Your Data and Draw a Conclusion
  • Communicate Your Results

Science has something called a hypothesis

Hypothesis Definition

  1. A supposition or proposed explanation made on the basis of limited evidence as a starting point for further investigation.
  2. A proposition made as a basis for reasoning, without any assumption of its truth.

 

you  have an idea that you think to be true, and ou work through some processes to either prove or disprove it. Just because a scientiest has a hyosis doesn't make it true. The focus is (or should be) to discover what is true.

Faith: Based Upon Truth

Faith is the evidence of things than seen. The focuus of this faith should be in following through the direction of your faith. Just becuase we think that we have faith in something or someone deosn't mean that it is true.

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Is True Faith Logical

 

True faith is logical. For example, I will have faith in something or someone that is faithful. It would be foolish to have faith in someone who is not faithful.

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What is Faith? What is PseudoFaith?

(this article is in process of being written, and will be frequenlty update as more is added or changed.)

The Idea for this article came from a similarly Titled article "What is Science? What is Pseudoscience?1" The question that begs to be asked is how do we recognize true faith? The other question that follows is: "How do we recognize pseudofaith?

The key is, once you learn what true faith, it is easy to recognize the imitation.

 Let us take an example about how to recognize a genuine dollar bill

"A Lesson from the US Treasury

Many years ago, I was employed by a large bank in Louisville. Although I never attended these classes, I was told the Treasury Department conducts seminars for training bank tellers in identify counterfeit currency. Their training techniques are quite ingenious and effective and to everyone's surprise, never once are tellers shown actual counterfeit bills, rather, the Treasury agents teach bank tellers everything there is to know about genuine currency. The tellers are taught to recognize the special properties of the unique paper that is used for the printing of currency. The tellers learn about the special inks used in the making of paper money. In addition, the tellers are taught about the government's meticulous engraving techniques. By the time these classes are concluded, the bank tellers know all there is to know about real money. So familiar are they with the genuine, a fake bill passing through their hands is immediately recognized as a worthless phony!" http://jesustory.orgfree.com/treasury.html  

While I don't know if this story is true, it beautifully serves to illustrate the message of this article. Once we learn to recognize true faith, we won't be intimated or fooled by a pseudofaith.

In this Country countless demoninations, ministries, religious, businesses, media all use the name "Christian". So, instead of using the term "Christian" to describe faith, we shall look at what true faith looks like apart for any religious context. True faith is not a  label by any religious name

  • Faith is Internal. Similar to prayer in this regard, it does not cause anything to happen outside of us. Faith is a mental presence ... It causes us to act in certain ways.
  • Faith is incompatible with fear. Faith and fear control the same decision.
  • Faith isn't increased by laziness or inaction. i.e., you can't pray yourself into having more faith. (Faith without actions is dead.)
  • However, if you act on the tiny bit of your faith that you have, through the process of working through the task or ... at hand, your faith will be increase.

Think of the early settlers who lived in the east and heard of the new lands and opportunities that were available out west. It must have been a fearful thought for many of them, leaving family, friends, farams, homes. and going out to someplace they had never seen before. Yet many of them went out west. They had hope for a better life, and had faith enough to begin the journey. Many of them lost faith and returned to their old homes. Yet many had faith to continue until they recieved the object of their faith. The amount of their faith was unimportant. Their continued actions, fighting through the difficulties and .... that was what was important. Faith grows as you continue to do the actions prompted by the faith.

Faith is not like an isolated block that you can pick up and touch all the sides. Instead, faith is like a cloud, that overlaps and is intertwined with many other clouds. How can you isolate concepts like faith, trust, perseverance, hope,  Each of these concepts overlaps and interwined with each of the others. For example, you can't truly have faith in someone unless you truly trust him. How can you separate faith from hope?

True faith is like a journey, not an event. It doesn' t grow instantly just because we want to have or think that we have true faith.

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True Beliefs

There are our true beliefs and our stated beliefs. There can be a big difference between what we truly believe and what we think that we believe. Our actions, not our words, show what we truly believe. Our true beliefs are what govern our thoughts and our actions. For example, if we say that we believe we can be the president of a company, but we never do anything to work towards being the president of that company, then our true beliefs are not in agreement with our stated beliefs. Our words say that we believe, but our actions say that we don't believe. Otherwise, it can be plainly stated as, "what we do is what we believe."

In much the same way, many people's stated belief is not the same as their true belief. Our perceived beliefs are not truth. They are only our perceptions of our imagined realities.

Foundational Beliefs. What are your beliefs based upon? Many beliefs are opinions masquading as beliefs. They are built upon traditions.

Many churches, organizations say that they are Bible based. In much the same way,  many people who claim to be Christians say or imply that they are "Bible believing". The implication is that the Bible contains and is the source of all knowledge and truth. Yet, none of the writers of the texts of the Bible ever said that their writings were anything more than their (human) writings.

When we base our beliefs on the Bible (or any other book), one major problem is that its words can be understood and interpreted in a number of different ways. This can be seen by the countless denominations and "Christian" religions who all claim to be Bible based, yet who disagree or argue of many trivial or meaningless topics.

Yet, we can join or participate in a "secular" organization, business or group which is based upon the principles of Integrity, Honor, Truth, Loyalty.... etc. As a participant of these groups we (should) realize that we are called upon to act in a manner worthy of the groups principles.

 

 

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What is a Heathy Belief System

 

A healthy belief system is based upon truth. It is based upon the reality of your experiences. For example, do you believe that your living room chair will hold you up? Do you TRULY believe that it will hold you up? If you are like most people, I would assume that you would answer "Yes." Why is that? Could it be because you have sit that chair perhaps hundreds of times. Your belief about that chair is based upon the reality of your experiences.

"I know in whom I believe"

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What is a Statement of Faith?


Any "Statement of Faith" is the perceived beliefs only of the person or group that wrote it. It is entirely too easy to sign a generic statement of faith just so you can be a part of some organization. It is entirely different, and much more difficult, to write one's own Statement of Faith.

For examples of what typical some "Statement of Faith's" look like, search for them in our Biblio here: Statements of Faith , or do a search on the Internet.



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Which Belief is Right?

 Which belief system is the right one?Whether we are religious or not religious, Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, or Atheist, I would assume that we think that we are the ones who have it right. Otherwise, why would we believe the way that we do unless we think that our belief is right? There are many belief systems and religions in the world  (see List of Religion and Spiritual Traditions) Let's take a look at the concept that one belief system is the right one. (I'm going play devil's advocate here. With everyone believing differently, not everyone can be in the right belief system can they? But, wait. Let's examine this common belief, only one belief system can be right. Stop! Is that concept even correct?But, for the sake of argument, let's pretend that it is correct.) Would the correct belief system be a non-religious or a religious belief system? Since religious people are a large part of society, Let's assume that the religious people are the ones who have it right. Now which religion? Since I was raised as a Christian, let's pretend that I am part of the one true belief system. Of course, that would be the Christian belief system. But which one? Protestant or Catholic. OK, since I was raised in the Protestant branch of religion, let's pretend that the Protestants are the ones who have it right.

"As of 1980 David B. Barrett identified 20,800 Christian denominations worldwide . . ." ("Denominationalism," page 351)

The 2001 edition, successor to his 1982 first edition, which took a decade to compile, identifies 10,000 distinct religions, of which 150 have 1 million or more followers. Within Christianity, he counts 33,820 denominations.
www.philvaz.com/apologetics/a120.htm

OK, now which Protestant group? A denomination or the non-denomination groups. I'm going to pretend that since (I presume that) there many more people in a denomination than who are not in non-denominational groups. So, let's assume that  the people in Christian denominations are the right ones. Now we know that all the denominations don't agree, so they can't all be right. So Which denomination believes the right way? Well, since Baptists make up a large part of the Christian religion, let us assume that the Baptists are the ones who believe correctly. On the Wikipedia page List of Baptist Denominations there are hundreds listed.Now, which Baptist demonimations are the correct one? If I were a Southern Baptist (which I'm not) I would probablly say that "My church is the church that believes the Bible. We are the ones who believe correctly!

 So, are we going to have God send every other belief system to hell because they don't believe the same as we do? Well, OK, let's allow some of the other religious people to also "go to heaven". Now, which other belief systems will we allow God to bring to heaven with us. Certainly not those other people that we disagree with.

Do you get my point. We humans are very prideful. We think that we are the ones who believe correctlly. How arrogant is that?

A More Realistic View

The answer is not to be found in man's view of religion, but in a personal faith.

"To give all religions due respect, but give none the power to control our connection with God, nor allow any middleman to restrict our freedom to articulate personal faith that is divinely ordained with a free will to choose, change or contemplate." No 2 Religion, Yes 2 Faith

Over the past few years I've come to realize that God can be found everywhere and that we can learn many things if we will but open our eyes. Organized religion is not the answer, but we can still learn much from each of them. It has been expressed so well here:

"Nonetheless, fragments of the truth are scattered everywhere, and I like what the reverend Lowell Grisham has to say about learning from other beliefs. Growing up in Mississippi in the days of the Civil Rights struggle, Grisham feels strongly about the need for tolerance in a diverse society and admits he learned the following from other religions:

“From Buddhism I have learned a sense of the interdependence of all life and the non-dual oneness of the contemplative experience.

From Hinduism I have learned the richness of a mythology that is embracing and inclusive of the complexity of human experience, while honouring the divine in the midst of it all.

From Jainism I have learned the ideal of Aahisma—non-harming, that challenges my violent and power-based cultural norms.

From Islam I have learned the power of disciplined prayer and surrender to God through faithful daily acts of devotion.

From Judaism I have learned to delight in vital and living conversations with ancient holy texts interpreted through the centuries.

From Native Religions I have learned the holiness of nature and the revelatory wonder that is the living breath of our mother earth.

From Zen I have learned the limitations of the rational.

From Catholicism I have learned the power of the sacramental presence of the divine within the created. From Protestantism I have learned the passion of a personal relationship with God.

From Science and Humanism I have learned of the exquisite order and relationship of all creation and the responsibility of human beings for the welfare of this fragile earth.” "1

When we put aside our pride and arrogance of being "the one true belief" and put on Christ's humility, we can truly begin learning. Truths about God and his character, and the lessons that He has for us can be found in many places. We have to be open to His leading.

Which is Right?

Now, back to the question: Who is Right About what to believe? What is the right Religion? Does it matter what you believe?

In looking through the many books about theology and religion one can see that many authors have a wide variety of thoughts and opinions In searching the Internet about faith and religion one can find countless websites with differing ideas about faith and religion. Many of the books and websites seem to be written for the express purpose of proving someone's belief as the right one. In contrast, many websites are written to denounce a variety of supposedly heresies or "false beliefs." How is one supposed to make sense of it all?

If it doesn't make sense....

My basic philosophy is:, "If it doesn't make sense, then throw it out. True faith and true religion is logical. It will make sense." For example: Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another2.”  and again he said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you3."This doesn't take a theologan to figure this our. Just treat others with love and kindness.

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Effects of One's Belief System

Just because we belief somthing doesn't mean that it is true. Just because we believe something very strongly doesn't make it true. The strength of our belief has no bearing upon whether or not the object of our faith is true.

2Cor 13:5 "Make a test of yourselves, if you are in the faith; make certain of yourselves. Or are you not conscious in yourselves that Jesus Christ is in you, if you are truly Christ's?" We are not to just assume that something is true just because we believe it. Take a look at all the followers of the various religous beliefs. Do all those people believe that they are right or wrong?

What difference does it make what someone believes about the Bible? It makes a lot of difference because our beliefs how we act and thing about ourselves and others. As an example, here are some things that I've noticed or experienced from religious people who are "Bible centered". (I am well familiar with this because I was raised in this belief system.)

  1. Immature Attitudes and Behaviors
    1. Outbursts of Anger: Some Christians get very angry if you say something they believe differently about. As an example: when I said something that the leader of the men's group believed differently about, one of the leaders angrily blew up and tried to set me straight.
    2. Religious Pride: They think that (their brand of) Christianity is the only religion that is right.
    3. Closemindedness: They will only talk with you about religion if you agree with them. If you talk about thigs that they don't agree with, then they won't even listen and will try to "correct" what you said.
    4. "Concerned About Your Salvation": The subtle implecation here is that "I'm right, you're wrong. If you believe differently that what I do, your salvation is in jeapordy."
    5. Scare Tactics:
      1. Going to hell: The thought his is that if you disagree or believe differently about something, then you will go to hell.
  2. Lack of Critical Thinking: Readers often don't critically evaluate the text that they are reading
    1. They are focused on the words rather than what the words mean
    2. They don't try to understand the deeper meanings and concepts of what the words mean.
  3. Bible Centered: The Bible becomes the centerpiece of which all ..... Quite often it seems like Christians don't know how to get together without doing a Bible study. Since everything is focused on the Bible, there is no ..... of individual thought.
    1. The emphasis is often put on "memorizing scripture" with a thought that if someone memorizes scripture, then that will somehow change a person's life.
    2. Children who know more Bible verses are rated and praised higher than those who don't know any or very many.
  4. Exclusionary: Even if someone lives a life of integrity and honor, but doesn't accept the Bible as the final authority, that person is excluded.
  5. Religious Words overvalued: What a person says is valued more highly than how one lives his or her life. People who use a lot of religious words are thought to be "very spiritual".
  6. Source Discrimination: This is a really big Fallacity that I see running major big time in Christianity: If an idea comes from another religion, or from some non-christian source, the idea is seen as bad. However, if a "Christian" source has the same idea, then it is seen as "spiritual" and thereby acceptable. The problem here is that Christians learn to accept or reject an idea base upon the source, rather than upon the quality and relavance of an idea.
  7. Age of Accountability
    1.  "The concept of the "age of accountability" is that children are not held accountable by God for their sins until they reach a certain age, and that if a child dies before reaching the "age of accountability,' that child will, by the grace and mercy of God, be granted entrance into Heaven."1  2
    2. Children of Heathen saved by death. The thinking error that can often follow the age of accountability thinking is, "If all unbelievers (i.e. Aethiest, Muslims, Hindus, etc.) will go to hell when they die, what about their babies and young children? Surely they wouldn't go to hell if they died before the age of accountability?" Then the haneous thoughts that follow, "If those unbelievers will go to hell after the reach the age of accountability, wouldn't it be better if they died as babies3 or young children so that they can go to heaven?" 
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Implications of Beliefs

Many people don't think about what they believe. Nor do they think about the implications of their assumed beliefs.


For instance, many people believe that


 

What are the implications of what you believe.

Let me tell you a story. That was once a king who ruled over a large kingdom. He had a large army.

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Premises and Implications

Whenever someone asks a question there is a premise behind the question. Whenever someone makes a statement, there are implications to that statement

What is the Premise?

 

What are the Implications?

Predestination And Free Will

Definitions:

  • Predestination
  • Free Will

What are the implications of Predistination and Free Will?

If predistination is correct, then everything has already been planned out and there is no hope to change anything.

If Free Will is correct, then God's plan can be changed at any time by anyone. Either that, or God doesn't have a plan and is kind of flying by the seat of his pants. Perhaps, then, God is waiting to see what we are going to do and then see what happens.

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What is Proof

I found this very interesting 20 page Document titled "What is Proof?" That I pulled a couple sections out of.

Dr. Johnson C. Philip wrote:What is Proof?
The question of "what is proof" becomes more involved when one realizes that each field of knowledge has its own set of methods, tools, and canons of proof. So much so that what works in one case might be totally worthless in the other. Worse, many who need to use proof in their dealings with others often lack an understanding of the process of proof, and are ill equipped to handle the arguments.

Proof does not mean the same thing in logic, mathematics, physical science, and historical science or in legal investigation. Nor are proofs arrived at in these fields with the help of same tools or canons of proof. Similarly, disproving an assertion is also not done in the same way in these fields. Further it is not possible to disprove many kinds of assertion, especially when one handles historical and archeological data. (page 1)

Many people, even scientifically trained ones, entertain strange ideas about proof. They think that a thesis is proved just by stating it, comparing it, or by refuting another thesis. Proofs do not happen this way. If a person is able to refute all the proofs advance by another person (say, for the existence of God), he does not disprove the opponent's thesis. He only disproves the opponent's arguments. However, those may not be the only arguments or the best arguments which the opponent could have used.

Proof for any subject, (including the proof needed to disprove a claim) has to come in specific ways. In empirical matters the proof needs to be empirical and in historical matters the proof needs to be historical.
Though everyone talks of proof, most of them cannot distinguish between actual proofs and mere arguments. Not every argument is valid, let alone a proof. With this in mind, we list a sample of activities that people use as proof, but which are not accepted as proof by any legal system anywhere in the world.

a. Refuting The Opponent Does Not Prove One As Right: Arguments come up when there are two or more outlooks on a given subject, and each person tries to establish that his position is right and that of the opponent's wrong.
The most common strategy used is to refute the arguments of the opponent. Many debaters are good at refutation, and they do an effective job of refutation, and stop there. They assume they have proved their side of the argument, and many in the 8 of 20 audience also feel the same things, but actually they have not proved that they are right. They have only proved that the arguments presented by the opponent were wrong. More examination by a disinterested party would be required to determine if the arguments of the refuted side are weak, or whether only their presentation was weak. If the latter is the case, then the basic arguments still remain unrefuted...... (pages 7b-8a)
http://www.brethrenassembly.com/Ebooks/Apol_10P1.pdf



This article is really eye opener for me. It helps one to see that just making assertions is not proof. Just out-arguing a real or imaginary opponent does not show proof. Just because we may (seemingly) overpower another person of a differing viewpoint does not prove we are right.

When I took my daughter to weekly debate class for a couple years, I saw how the debaters had to thoroughly learn both sides of the issue. In a debate while debating a number of opponents they would be called upon to debate one side of the issue with one opponent, then they'd have to debate the other side of the issue with the next opponent. Although I wasn't actually in the debates, but only a spectator, I saw the importance of learning to see the other side rather than just the side that I may be emotionally attached to. 

Belief is Not Knowledge.... or Evidence

I recently was watching (or rather listening to) a you tube video.

He made this statement

"Belief is not knowledge. Belief is simply an assertion.... Belief is not evidence. Any time you have to accept an assertion by faith, you are admitting that assertion cannot be accepted on its own merits. It doesn't have the strength to be accepted as perhaps any other scientific hypotheses would be taken."  Dan Barker

Something about that really resignated within me. Another way of saying this is "Just because you believe something doesn't make it true" Just because you believe something strongly also does not make it true. Truth is base upon reality, what is real, not upon faith.

 

Using Your Faith

 

True Faith can be Illustrated using a diving board analogy

1.

2.

3.Believing is something that comes about automatically as a .... of 1 and 2. we do not make ourselves believe. for example, a baby learns to walk by example. He sees other people around him walking. He sees that it is possible to walk and he also wants to walk. Does the baby instantly walk? Of course not. He keeps trying to stand up and keeps falling down, over and over again. Eventually he is able to stand by himself. Then he tries to take a step, and falls down. he keeps trying over and over again.

 

 

Early Stages of Faith

1. In the early stages of faith the person may be very scared and reluctant to do anything. However, seeing others doing similar things, and with some motivation and encouragement

2.he may take a tiny action and wait.

3. He doesn't what will happen. Then (hopefully) he sees a positive response.

4, He is reassured a little and a tiny seed of faith is planted in him.

With more encouragement, and being a little less afraid, he takes another action and waits. soon he sees another positive response and his faith grows a tiny bit. This time he needs less encouragement to take another action. Then he is encouraged to take another action without waiting for the response of the previous action. As time goes by his tiny faith has grown sufficiently that he can be seen doing more and more actions without being prompted and without waiting for a response. Soon, as his faith grows and matures, he will be continuously performing the actions without waiting for any encouragement or without seeing the outcome of previous actions. Of course, he will still be noticing the outcomes of previous actions (which continue to build his faith) but his primary focus will be on doing.....

 

Without the actions, their is no growth.