Many Christians and Muslims, when confronted with an atheist, will tell the atheist, "You just have to believe..."
I used to believe, with all my heart. I was a born again, convicted, saved sealed & delivered Christian. I never set out to be an atheist, I never desired to be an atheist. I simply followed the evidence where it lead me. This is the nature of belief -- belief is those things we hold as true based on our experiences.
So what I want to know is -- if my experiences do not support the deific conclusion, how exactly do I trick myself into believing?
Please don't say, "Pray with a sincere heart and he'll reveal himself to you..." Been there, done that. There's apparently more to it than that.
I've read the Summa Theologicae by St. Thomas Aquinas and The Confessions by St. Augustine. If a book was going to do it, I'd be a Christian still.
I've skimmed "The Case For Christ," by the way, and I was able in just that to notice glaring mistakes in the way the original Hebrew documents were interpreted. I'm asking about God, not the messiah, who has not yet come (either because there is no God, the god(s) are not Yahweh, or because the prophecies have not been fulfilled if YHVH is the one true god).
Since, apparently... it's not clear enough:
My question, "How do you start having faith in a deity?" And sincere prayer is not an answer because there is clearly more to it than that since sincere prayer has not always worked for people.
- eldad9Lv 61 decade agoFavorite Answer
If you repeat something to yourself often enough it no longer seems strange; then it no longer seems false.
Or to put it differently: brainwashing.
- gjstorytellerLv 51 decade ago
"if my experiences do not support the deific conclusion, how exactly do I trick myself into believing?"
As you are the creator of your own reality, I'd advise that you change your focus.
I know that sounds glib, but it really is the way of it. Two people can look at exactly the same thing and come to very different conclusions. It's all in how one "perceives" the exterior stimulus that ends up creating personal reality.
Judging by your additional notes, I don't think you necessarily want to be a Christian. You want to know god. If that's truly the case, all you have to do is look within. That divine creative spark resides within you. That is the gift we've all be given. So create!
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I was raised Christian but I don’t think I really knew God even though I’m sure I prayed sincerely. I can’t recall any time as a child feeling the same level of comfort that I receive now.
I don’t know for sure but I think there was too much fear of God as a kid to really allow me to feel his love. This is the only explanation I can find. Fear acts like a wall. It makes you want to pull back. I don’t think I understood how to approach him.
This is the only possibility I can suggest. If you weren’t feeling God’s comfort and love, something was blocking it. Some kind of fear or anxiety. Something. Think back and see if something could have been acting like a wall. If so, you have to let it go.
I honestly can’t imagine how anybody could not believe, after they feel God’s love.
- djmantxLv 71 decade ago
How can you say you were born again? Born again is something we claim by faith as no man has been literally reborn unless first he has died. Can a man unknow that which he once knew? Perhaps you once had faith and then you lost your faith. The fact is those who seek the truth will find it. through faith comes revelation...I'm not sure if you are saying you received revelation but if so I am sure you could still fall away It is necessary to have an ongoing relationship with God. There is no trick to believing in God you have a free will and if you are serving sin as opposed to following the truth you very well could lose your faith. Knowing God is staying in his word and in a relationship with him he never leaves us but we can and do leave him. If we live our life as if he does not exist we lose the gift that allows us to see God. God can not be seen with physical eyes but by spiritual discernment. Faith is a gift from God that comes to those who seek the truth through faith comes revelation and continuing in the relationship through prayer and in his word and meditation is the way we continue the realtionship. God bless. You are in my prayers.
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- Hans-Wolfgang RLv 41 decade ago
Mulla Nasrudin who prided himself on being something of a good Samaritan was passing an apartment house in the small hours of the morning when he noticed a man leaning limply against the door way.
"What is the matter," asked the Mulla, "Drunk?"
"Do you live in this house?"
"Do you want me to help you upstairs?"
With much difficulty the Mulla half dragged, half carried the dropping figure up the stairway to the second floor.
"What floor do you live on?" asked the Mulla. "Is this it?"
Rather than face an irate wife who might, perhaps take him for a companion more at fault than her spouse, the Mulla opened the first door he came to and pushed the limp figure in.
The good Samaritan groped his way downstairs again.
As he was passing through the vestibule he was able to make out the dim outlines of another man, apparently in a worse condition than the first one.
"What's the matter?" asked the Mulla. "Are you drunk too?"
"Yep," was the feeble reply.
"Do you live in this house too?"
"Shall I help you upstairs?"
Mulla Nasrudin pushed, pulled, and carried him to the second floor, where this second man also said he lived. The Mulla opened the same door and pushed him in.
But as he reached the front door, the Mulla discerned the shadow of a third man, evidently worse off than either of the other two. Mulla Nasrudin was about to approach him when the object of his solicitude lurched out into the street and threw himself into the arms of a passing policeman.
"Off'shur! Off'shur! For Heaven's sake, Off'shur," he gasped, "protect me from that man. He has done nothing all night long but carry me upstairs and throw me down the elevator shaft."
- 1 decade ago
I am right there with you. Been there, done that. The evidence is astounding (and frightening). The fullness of the rigious movement these days is frightening to me as well. It's hard to talk to people that are so "strong in their faith" because they always turn it to "you're asking him into your heart for the wrong reasons", or "just keep praying and he will fill your heart with love, acceptance, and mercy". Sorry, tried all of that too, for at least 15 years, and I'm not going to waste another 15 foolishly. It's time for people to wake up and instead of seeing all of the "good" religion does for people, make it time for people to become personally responsible for themselves, their families, their communities, their countries, their WORLD! Dump the religios piousness, and let's start working together to save people from themselves and get on with a better life for all.
Just as Y_Doncha stated above, people are taught that science and knowledge are the enemy. You are to go on faith alone. I just heard this in a Podcast from a Cathlic Priest who stated that most people they can convert are from lower socio-economic status, poor education, and are easily convertable. If he walked up to a group of professors, he would not even try to convert them, but if he saw a group of kids hanging out in a parking lot, he said he could almost always convert them.
- YDoncha_BlowmeLv 61 decade ago
You and I have very similar backgrounds... I too was born and raised a Christian....
As near as I can tell, you actually need to stop questioning and stop following evidence to where it leads you. Martin Luther said that logic was the enemy of faith... So, you must dispose of your logic, stop questioning the unquestionable and lie to yourself about everything youve ever learned....
Or, you can continue being the good person that you are as an Atheist. Thats the choice Im sticking with....
- Anonymous1 decade ago
I think most of us are in that boat. For some reasons Christians think that atheists was to be atheist because it allows us some freedom to do bad things when that is seldom the case. Most atheists never wanted to be atheists. For most atheism is just something that happens.
Plus. If people wanted freedom to do bad things they'd become Christians. Christianity is the only religion that allows you to pass off accountability.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
If your beliefs are true, they should be able to with stand evaluation. Don't just believe, research what you belief so that you can know and prove rather then being uninformed and a follower of someone else's interpretation of your doctrine that was plagiarized and diluted anyway.
- saopacoLv 51 decade ago
Perhaps the answers that you are seeking are not to be found in that particular religion. There is no need to trick yourself into believing.
If I may suggest, look into Buddhism. It is not a religion per se, but instead a philosophy for life. If nothing else, it may help you to look into yourself and see what you need.
- 1 decade ago
Believers found the true reality through any of:
and/or philosophical thinking,
and/or study of physical concepts and phenomenas.
and/or pure mental thinking while reading in a holy book.
and continuously discussing with true believers having both mental and spiritual belief..