“I want Absolute Truth.” A Letter Continued

This is the second part of the letter we received the other day. Again, I’m keen on hearing how you would respond to this seeker.

line I would like an absolute truth.  A Fact.  It seems reasonable to
me to believe in something that is true and real.  However, it seems
that christianity, much like science gets as close as they can with
what God or christianity is, and the rest is up to faith.  Which I am
not sure I am OK with.

to Christianity.  Why would  I want to spend my whole life loving,
serving, worshiping something with no guarantees?  People have come
close to what they think God is….but there is no guarantee.   If I am
going to wholeheartedly give myself to a faith or God, there has to be
good reason for me to do so.  Otherwise,  I will live my life knowing
there is potential for something else to be true.  It happens all the
time; look at the lives of every Christian you know – you know what
they struggle with. If they were 100 percent sure, their lives would
look a whole lot different.  How we live says much about what we
believe…more so than our words.

 So…what answer am I looking for? 

want to know that Christianity is going to pan out.  I want to know it
is the real truth.  I want God to be the absolute truth.  I want to
give my life 100 percent to God.  I don’t want to give myself
wholeheartedly, and then realize the model was flawed.  I want to know
it is worth betting my entire life on.  Because – similar to
gambling, the more you risk, the greater the pay off.  However, the
safer I play — I may not win much — but I don’t lose much either.  I

want to know that Christianity is foolproof.  I want to know God is
real and true – and that he does not disappoint.  And I don’t want
cheap answers when someone dies or you have a terminal illness or
something. People say, “it’s God’s will, or things happen for a
reason.” I find these cheap and rationalizations.  I don’t want a
religion that makes excuses for God.  I want the real deal.  I want a
God that is true.

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  • Your Name

    You want a God who is real and true…but also one who does not disappoint. Well, shoot, I do too! If you find that God, sign me up.
    It just doesn’t work that way.
    It seems like almost everyone in the Bible is disappointed, or confused, or has to ask hard questions for which answer like “it was God’s will” make no sense. If you want to be a Christian, you might as well understand that from the beginning. You’re going to be disappointed, and you’re going to be speechless in the face of tragedy. Avoiding disappointment isn’t what being a Christian is about. But I think its about something better and more real, and more true. It’s about being able to face that disappointment – and when you have no answers whatsoever – you still have the presence of God with you in your pain and confusion. The pain and confusion are not going to go away, the disappointment is not going to go away…but you can walk through them with dignity because you don’t walk alone, and you might be able to eventually make beauty from pain.
    Also, I think the whole idea of guarantees is a tricky path. If you have a situation that is guaranteed to work out, it wont evoke much attention from you…you wont have much to work out, because its guaranteed. But when faith and hope are required – because there is no guarantee – you find something worth putting your life’s energy into.

  • Ben

    Wow. Let me start there. First of all, what an honest letter. Secondly, there is no fool-proof religion. Even atheism. We all can only get so close to the unknown, that’s why it is unknown. Meanwhile, understand that I do hear the charge and the conviction, and i want to follow that through. I was bored today and while I waited for my “Community Called Atonement” to get in, I thought I would check out Discovery Channel’s “Jesus, the Complete Story,” since Tom Wright was in it. While watching it, they came to the tough question: The Resurrection. One scholar put it best; it cannot be proved or rationalized, and you shouldn’t find a Christian who would desire to do so. Why? Because too often we try to diminish things to what he called the “MINIMUM OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING, which is reason and rationale.” We try to nail down absolute truth and reason and rationale as the highest level in Human thinking and knowing… when in fact it is the minimum which we are capable of. Faith is real, it’s dangerous, it challenges our heart and it calls us to more than simple reason.
    I’m not sure this answer will be much help. What I CAN say is that you should search the Scriptures, see first that God is real within those pages. It may not always be pretty and it may not always be what we like, but He’s always real and He’s always consistent.
    As far as being willing to give your life to something, here’s my answer: Don’t play it safe, you’ll die one way or another. Also, if the worst is true, that this is it… you’ll only waste your life in apathy if you choose to play it safe. Find SOMETHING worth giving your whole life to, and I submit you can find nothing better to give it away to than the Resurrected Messiah and His work of New Creation.
    We are all going to live for something, you might as well give your life away 100% to something which you can be satisfied if it doesn’t pan out the way you want. I’ve always said I’ll serve Jesus with all my heart till the day I die, even if I end up in hell or if this is it. Because it is worth giving my life away to, and if I live a life of radical, dangerous, transformative love… i won’t mind being wrong in the end. It will have been worth giving my life away to.
    Hope something in that answer gives SOME help. Merry Christmas to everyone.

  • Jeremiah Daniels

    I find myself agreeing with #1/#2.
    Perhaps its because I grew up in this community of thinking and faith. I can’t imagine a life without this.
    On the other hand, I know a lot of apparently happy and helpful atheists and agnostics.
    So, why this way? I think that’s something I can’t finish in a post. Let’s just say it has nothing to do with absolute demonstrable certainty.

  • Your Name

    ….living within a core of 10 people from all walks -of life…jewish, atheist, mormon, christian….doing service work for 10 months. In terms of christian morality, my fellow volunteers…not even close:) In terms of heart, love, care, humor, warmth….rock solid. Not living 100 percent for God…does not mean one does not live 100 percent for good. One may wish to live a life of self-denial…love, kindness, warmth, care…etc…and not believe in a God. I know plenty of people like that. I know plenty of christians who are not like this:) A warm heart….a compassionate heart…seems worth throwing ones time into. If one accepts christianity….they must accept the Bible. If one accepts the Bible, a woman is a second class citizen, the bible ok’d slavery less than a 100 years ago, and so many inconsistencies…is it figurative, is it literal? Does this verse means this? The church becomes – the bride of christ…and many are led into false sense of security, enabling corruption through power, abuse, and greed. It seems to me it would be safer to live a life of goodness….rather than submit to christianity and all its teachings……

  • Kyle

    First, realize that you only doubt because you have faith, and that you only are disappointed because you believe. Life is full of disappointment. Sometimes I get disappointed with God and angry because He doesn’t step in and intervene in situations that I find difficult or that I would have intervened in if I could have. Sometimes God intervenes and I find joy, but often He doesn’t seem to do anything. Sometimes I realize it’s because God wants me to figure it out on my own, and sometimes I think God wants me to be disappointed with Him, so that I can learn who He really is, and not just some mental projection that I’ve made Him out to be.
    Disappointment is a part of reality, and brings with it questions that are worth asking. I think that the disciples were disappointed on Saturday. I think their hopes and dreams had totally been destroyed. They had trusted in Yahweh as the absolute truth, and in Jesus as the absolute embodiment of Yahweh. And then he died. Prophets die, but the Messiah wouldn’t have died. Revolutionaries die, but Yahweh on a cross? They must have felt utter disappointment in God. From their perspective, Jesus was dead and Caesar was still on the throne. The exile had yet to come to an end. On that Saturday, Jesus didn’t show up to console their pain, to give them answers to their questions or anything else. He was dead, and they had no idea how to handle it. But that was on Saturday…
    There was a time in my life whenever I really wanted to be a charismatic because I just knew that if I spoke in tongues that it would bring the absolute certainty I desired. Despite trying, I’ve never spoke in tongues. I used to struggle in my doubts figuring out any way possible to get that absolute answer, but every ‘absolute’ answer seemed to have loopholes. Then I realized something…certainty would kill my faith in the God of/in Jesus.
    If I was certain about ‘god’, then I would certainly be worshiping an idol. Instead, faith which is the opposite of certainty in some regards, requires me to be humble when I speak about God. I can only doubt if I believe. The more I believe, the more areas I have for doubt. As strange as it sounds, there is something heretical about saying that God ‘exists’ or is ‘real.’ Of course, from our perspective He does, but to place God in our structured categories which we comprehend only diminish Him, doesn’t it? God transcends our categories. To understand anything from our viewpoint is to only have a taste or a glimpse of who God actually is, any more certainty would be blasphemous. Thus, we press on in faith getting a glimpse here or a taste there.
    At the same time though, God reveals Himself. On one level I’ve experienced God personally. On another I’ve seen His work in community. On yet another I’ve read and based my life around stories of His revelation in Jesus Christ. These aren’t the types of empirical experiences that produce certainty, but they are very real and true. There are aspects open to empirical investigation within them, but the truth transcends the empirically certain. For instance, I believe that the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus is historically strong. But is that all we can say about the resurrection? That it was historically plausible? Of course not, because the truth transcends the empirical and our experience of the truth and seeing how the narrative shapes our lives provides a fuller answer.
    So I no longer seek certainty, but instead have faith. In my faith I experience God in sacred spaces and hear God speak to me in the words of Scripture. I’m confident, but I’m not certain, because certainty diminishes the God I encounter in sacrament and word.

  • Susan

    Question: If you met someone with a strong faith – what would it look like??

  • eric

    Ben, wow to you too. I was going to add a string to the blog, but you said it all. GOD bless you for real for saying it right!!

  • Jeremiah Daniels

    #4 I agree that those a life of self-sacrifice is something that anybody who practices it with a convicted heart will find fulfilling — no matter what your world view is.
    As much as I’d like to agree with you, nothing about Christianity inherently brings about the corruption you speak of … it comes as a package deal with humanity.
    As to Christians accepting slavery, well, so did atheists, but, interestingly it was not atheists who were the movers in the anti-slavery movement. In all major cases that I am aware of (Spain, Britain, and the United States) it was Christians that were the prime movers in moving society away from slavery.

  • #8 – It is also Christians leading the way today too in the child-trafficing and slavery issue.
    Jesus talked about us having the faith of a mustard seed. Sometimes, that is all we can muster up in tough situations. Our daughter Megan died in an automobile crash on Easter Sunday morning of 2001. My mustard seed questions to God were – “What could I possible learn from this? Why? What for? What can possible be gained?” After all the crap that has happened in my life up to this point (abuse, abandonment, lost childhood and innoncence, etc….); “Why this and why me?”
    Guess what? My questions were unanswered – at the time. I remember leaving a particular shouting match with Him in tears and frustration and journaling that event down; and the above questions were in that entry. So…, here we are almost 8 years later, and….
    The above questions have and are being answered and have unfolded before my very eyes. Here is one example – 6 months after Megan died, a couple in our church lost a child to a shark bite on the beach down here. He was 11 years old. Guess who God thrusted into the middle of that situation? We were able to live out 2 Cor. 1:3-4 while our own event was still fresh – but we got a glimpse of God using our event for the blessing of others. Over the last 8 years, God has put 8-10 couples in our path, that Karen and I have been able to help through the grieving process.
    So…, this jiffy-pop/microwave mentality of God giving us signs and glimpses of Him when WE WANT it; I have found is unrealistic and not healthy. God will reveal Himself in events, people, situations, and in time (His own time) when He knows you are ready and when He knows you will recognize that it is HE in the mix. I think of Joseph in the OT and God gives him a snapshot of the future, and closes the shutter; and then it was years of bad juju happening to that boy before God finally brought the original promise to fruition. I do think that stories and events like that in scripture are there for a reason and in this case one of those reasons is – hold out and onto the promise even when you don’t understand what in the Ham is going on and why it is happening to you.
    Ok…, I’m rambling, but I pray you get my point.
    Blessings to all and Merry Christmas to all you Jesus Creed peeps!

  • Karl

    For me it comes down to the incarnation, and the person of Jesus Christ. If Christianity is true, then it’s not a matter of us groping around totally in the dark, needing to figure it all out and come close to an idea of who God is based merely on observation of the world and application of our reason. Rather, it is God who wants to be known, and who chose to reveal himself specifically through Jesus Christ – “anyone who has seen me, has seen the Father” and through the scriptures that Jesus said were about him. All of the rest of what we try to figure out in terms of what it looks like to follow him, what he would have us do, how he can permit such suffering and evil to exist in this world, is secondary to that truth for me. Important questions to wrestle with, but secondary.
    That question – what will you do about Jesus Christ; who do you say that he is and what are you going to do in response to your answer to that question – is central and we shouldn’t be distracted by putting secondary questions first (what about gay marriage, what about the existence of evil and suffering, what about greedy and unloving Christians, etc.) before we have personally answered Jesus’s question: “What about you? Who do YOU say that I am?”

  • There are no guarantees. In anything. Sorry.
    Since you can’t have any guarantees, your best bet is the gamble with the best payout.
    You can choose to live for yourself, live for the now, and hope you are the one in a million who doesn’t find that to be empty, hollow, and lonely.
    Or you can give yourself whole-heartedly to God and live a life that, even if it turns out you were wrong, was a good life. You can leave a legacy of love even if it turns out there is no heaven.
    “I don’t want cheap answers when someone dies”
    We’ve been struggling with the problem of evil for thousands of years; I doubt you’re going to find any great new answers.
    You can declare it’s all “meaningless, meaningless,” or you can choose to trust the God who took on human flesh for the express purpose of taking the world’s evil on Himself. He has declined to explain evil to us, but He has showed us that He is fixing it. If that’s not enough, I’m sorry — it’s all we have.

  • Your Name

    It takes no faith to believe 2+2 is 4. God values faith, so I don’t think he will ever answer your demand t an absolute certainty. But, I do think that Paul gives us the pivot point – Jesus’ reurrection. If the resurrection did not happen, our faith is useless and we are still in our sins. So, I would sink everything into finding ot about the resurrection. Don’t read just skeptics accounts, but read evrything you can. Put it down to this question: If my life depended on my answer to this question: “Did the resurrection really happen?” – what would I say? “I don’t know” is not an acceptable answer.
    You can’t have the assurance you are looking for unless you jump in the arms of Christ with all your weight. There is assurance, but not on the outside. In a sense, you need to find a point of entry to the reasoning of faith that will confirm your trust once you have it.
    God never tries to prove his existence he says that nature is enough evidence and that only the “fool” says in his heart there is no God. Likewise, the resurrection is enough evidence that Jesus is ho he said he was. The miraces he performed and the direct statements he gave were not enough for many of those who walked with Jesus, either.
    As Job found out, we are in no position to question God. If there is a God, I must find out who he is on his terms – he owes nothing to me. Graciously, God has given us muliple testimonies – but not the “proof” Pharisees demand …

  • Sean Davidson

    I’m not sure that this person wants truth. What s/he seems most interested in is a method of proof that will allow him/her to master the “other” from a position of invulnerability.

  • The Christian view is that we already do know the truth that there is a God and what He is like (all capable and all good). Our natural observations force us to know this. We know that intricacies of design do not come about by chance and we appreciate beauty and goodness. The real problem is that we wrestle with where ultimate authority should reside – in ourselves or in someone higher than us. Are we willing to surrender autonomy and submit our view to a standard outside of us?
    At some point you must make a decision of where you’re ultimate trust will lie – in your own judgment or in an ultimate Person that your natural observations suggest exists. If there is an ultimate Person, then His view is superior to yours, so evaluating Him is contradictory. The question is: Do you have enough evidence to make a reasonable decision to center your trust on this ultimate Person rather than on your ability to understand everything completely? Nothing is 100% provable. There is good evidence for God and lots of testimonies of encounters with Him.
    Do you hope there is a God? If you could know 100% for sure of His existence, would you like to be submitted to Him? The answer to these questions may get you closer to the truth.

  • Your Name

    I think the letter writer/seeker is wiser than she/he knows with this comment, “I want God to be the absolute truth.” Truth is personal…with a name. Someone suggests total abandonment…jump into the arms of Jesus. Trust…Christian trust is betting your life that the Trinitarian God of the Bible is the only “absolute truth.”

  • I’m reminded of a lecture I heard while in college, which has informed my thinking to this day. I do believe that absolute truth exists. The problem is that we as humans are finite, fallen creatures. We cannot perceive that absolute truth absolutely.
    As I read this letter, it seems that the frustration isn’t in whether or not Christianity (or any other religion) can offer absolute truth. It’s that humans can’t perceive truth absolutely, and thus are either forced to be humble about our limitations, or to make claims with more confidence than we have any right to.

  • Doug Allen

    We all long for absolute truth and certainty. As adults, I think this longing takes us back to the reality (or the imagining, if we weren’t so lucky) of being held against our parent’s body and feeling completely safe. Sadly, that feeling of being completely safe probably never occurs for us again as adults. I suppose that wanting absolute truth is, in part, the adult version of that longing. And sadly, it is also something not available to us mere mortals despite so many claiming the opposite. I say sadly because it is a universal longing, and, whenever a person or culture gives in to it, the result is likely to be monstrous.
    In my case, my mother died when I was two, and I grew up with a father and stepmothers who were alcoholic. Even after years of ACOA and other therapies, I have a sense of abandonment and distrust that has made my life very hard. The church was absolutely no help because as a youth, I had sexual orientation issues. A friend of mine who was gay committed suicide. Years later as a teacher and cross country coach who ran hundreds of hours with members of the team- we were family- a team member who had sexual orientation issues committed suicide. This reinforced my anger with the church which is more than a little responsible for the pain and high suicide rate among homosexuals.
    As it turned out, I have been happily married for 40 years (in March), and Judy my wife and our marriage itself are both as beautiful as day one. But I cry for those who have not been so fortunate. I took a lot of philosophy and religion in college- noted humanist Paul Kurtz was one of my teachers in three classes- and have a fairly good knowledge of the bible and religion for a layman. I wish there were some certainties in life, and I wish that belief in absolute truth did not have so many horrible, unintended consequences. I try to be gentle in opposing those of any absolute viewpoint- Christians, Muslims, atheists, other- whose arrogant view has allowed them to rationalize war, murder, torture, and all other sorts of abuses. Science gives us much very solid, but always tentative, knowledge. Our own experience is very valuable, but not a means to find absolute truth. I’m less sure about the value of religions with their multifarious truth claims (and contradictions).
    Only what Jesus taught as the most important- to emphatically love God and all our neighbors- only that rises to the level of certainty in my life.

  • Sue Van Stelle

    I’m not sure this response addresses any of this letter’s questions directly (and it certainly does not offer certainty) but one piece of evidence for belief in the face of suffering or for the “Christian God” I haven’t seen referred to much (although Corrie Ten Boom was mentioned in part 1) is the evidence of the power of forgiveness. I’m not talking about the namby-pamby, doormat, excuse-making kind of forgiveness, but the hard-as-steel, true-as-the-Resurrection kind of forgiveness described by Dr. Lewis Smedes (explained briefly at http://csec.org/csec/sermon/smedes_4101.htm and condensed even more briefly by Rob Bell on his Nooma video “Luggage”.)
    I believe that if you can stand in the power of forgiveness for the wrongs that have been done to you, you might be able to understand how people who have been horrendously wronged are able to believe: They have experienced that the power of forgiveness is more powerful than the power of evil. I highly suggest the Lewis Smedes article and his book “Forgive and Forget,” and if my fuzzy memory serves me correctly, Miroslav Volf addresses this topic too, and we have discussed it on Jesus Creed in the past.

  • BeckyR

    By saying she wants to know absolute truth is she saying a certainty without room for doubt? All our decisions have faith in them. I sit on this chair expecting it really is real and will hold me up. I don’t have absolute certainty, I have past experience with chairs and with faith project to this chair that it is a chair and it will hold me up. Nothing we know is carved in stone, there’s always room for learning something more about whatever topic. Well, maybe gravity is carved in stone.

  • Tom Lindholtz

    To the writer:
    Thank you. You have put succinctly the challenge that faces every honest and thinking seeker after Truth. I think, however, that you may be to idealistic in your pursuit. It is my judgment that, in matters of consequence, what you seek is never to be found. Thus, if I am correct, you have only a few choices: you can give up the search and delight your senses in a search for pleasure, or you can give up the search and slide into bitterness (really the same choice but the attitude changes the circumstances), or, recognizing that what you seek seems not to be available anywhere, you can modify the nature of your search to be in accord with what the nature of the world we live in seems to be. It will come as no surprise to find that I think that in the last choice lies wisdom.
    FYI, I am 61 years old, reasonably intelligent, and spent my career working in a major research university. I came to a point many years ago when I confronted the same issue you now struggle with. As I thought through the issue a new thought struck me: If Christianity is true, everything in the world makes sense (even the counter-intuitive stuff). But if Christianity is not true, NOTHING makes sense. In the years since I have lived through all the ups and downs that life presents, all the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,” and I have yet to find a contradiction to that basic premise.
    But for you, What are your choices? Really very few, I think. I referred already to the choice of merely giving up and living as if this life is all there is. I think you already know that isn’t a viable option for you. You think too much and too clearly, as evidenced by your letter and the questions you’re asking.
    So the only real choice is to commit yourself to some set of principles; a formal or informal “religion.” Which one? Ultimately, only you can make that decision. Personally, I’ve spent a reasonable amount of time exploring and studying the major formal alternatives. Along the way I found, too, what people far smarter than I found; you get three choices: no god (Buddhism is the best of these), many gods (Hinduism), or one god (Christianity.) But it sounds like you’ve already figured that part out, too.
    So, what do you do? (‘Do’ being the operative word.) You want certainty? I could point you to the Book of Job. Job wanted certainty, too. He said, in effect, if I could just talk to God, I get an answer. Finally, God grants him his wish. But when God shows up, what does Job get? God says, in effect, Who do you think you are that I should answer you? No answer. And yet it was, for Job the most profound answer.
    You want certainty? I could point you to Pascal. He could outline the options and consequences. There are only two options: Christianity is true or it is false. If it is false then there really are no consequences. But if it is true the consequences are to gain ALL or to lose ALL. But I think you already know that, too.
    You want certainty? I could point you to CS Lewis. After a search similar to yours, he confessed he was dragged into the Kingdom by the heels, kicking and screaming all the way; the most dejected convert in all of England. And yet, once inside, he discovered what all do: that the certainty is a RESULT of the decision, not the other way round.
    You are like Indiana Jones in the search for the Holy Grail. You are standing on a ledge with a chasm before you. You need to start walking. I have attempted, as have all the others, to throw a bit of sand on the walkway we know is there; at least enough to give you confidence for the first step. But the Treasure, the Truth, can only be grasped AFTER you walk across the chasm.
    If you were here with me I’d tell you, “Come on, put your hand on my shoulder and follow me.” You see, my hand is on His shoulder.
    See you on the other side.

  • These are reasonable reservations about Christian faith that the author of this letter has expressed.
    I think the points raised here are not yet teased out enough to begin offering an apologetic. I would begin by asking:
    1) “If you need a good reason to be a Christian, and you see that reason being that the Christian claim is valid, how would you determine if that claim is valid? How would you determine that it is worth betting on? What are your criteria?”
    2) The author indicates that he would need Christianity to be a good bet and that the risks would pay off. I would ask “What do you think is a good pay-off for being a Christian?”
    I would ask these questions to find out the following:
    1) Does the author believe that salvation is enough, or is it salvation “plus” something. In other words, “does Jesus save me and fix my… [fill in the blank – marriage, job, family, etc.]?” The author may be surprised that becoming a Christian may not mean you are a more fortunate person, though you may be a more joyful person. Becoming a Christian doesn’t mean one “gets” only. One also sacrifices.
    2) If reasons are needed to for a person to come to faith, then I would need to know what the author’s criteria is for a good reason for faith. Does the author seek comfort? Wisdom? Communion with a just and loving God? Better finances? etc. etc.
    I think finding out some of the thinking that lays below the points made by the author is necessary to proceed. I don’t think I’m yet at the point to begin offering an apologetic because I won’t know if I am presenting a relevant point of view to the author without knowing his/her underlying concerns.

  • I think the real issue the writer has is with Christians who claim to have the knowledge and proof of absolute truth and yet live differently. In other words no Christian has proven to them that God exists, through their actions and lifestyle! Jesus knew proving God exists with certainty would be impossible, so He told his Disciples
    “I give you a new commandment: love one another. Just as I have loved you, you must also love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
    The absolute truth they are looking for will never be found…but the love they receive from the believers in their life can soften their heart to a place of faith in Christ. Jesus knew proving God was not possible, but proving God’s love is!
    I hear the hurt deep down in these statements and the fear! I think they would be happy or at least consoled to know that followers of Jesus, full of faith and hope in Christ, wrestle with these same feelings. I want to know that God will not let me down and everything will be all right as well. And the last thing I want to hear in times of trouble are the simple pat Christian answers…”it’s God’s will…things happen for a reason”, blah, blah, blah!
    I had to experience pain and heart break unlike any other before I truly began to see God doesn’t fail, but men do! Last year we lost our 3 month old to a heart defect and in the midst of my pain and grief I was “ministered” to with some of the same “if its God’s will” answers that trouble the author of the letter. For me those answers just didn’t work anymore, neither did the gospel that said if you pray enough ,believe enough, and give enough the entire world will be yours!!! All you have to do is ask God and it’s yours because you did your part and God will always do His! So ask in faith and it’s yours!
    As I wrestled with God and asked some very hard questions I was certain He would cast me into hell over…I found God! He was there in the middle of this whole thing grieving with me. HE NEVER LET ME GO! I felt alone, but He was there…and when I stopped faking it and really got honest with God and told Him how hurt I was, how lost I felt, and how disappointed I was in Him…I found God. I found God in a time when I felt He was so far away. When you’re holding you little baby boy and he takes his last breadth as your screaming and crying out to God for a healing you have been promised…God seems so far away. I spent days crying and wondering where God was, and why did He let this happen. And through more sleepless nights than I care to remember or experience ever again, I found the most amazing and loving God any man could imagine or even invent.
    So please keep asking those questions friend…but ask God. Ask God all the questions concerns, and present to Him all of your hurts and fears you have and I think you will be shocked at what you find! It’s not the answers that are important…it’s the questions that lead us to absolute truth! I think your on the right path more than you know!
    God will never judge you for your questions and your fears that are real in your life everyday…but men will.
    God will never give you short and cheap answers that gloss over the hurt and the pain…but men will.
    God will never point you toward a religion for all the “right” answers
    But men will
    God will never claim you must all the right answers to experience Him in this life and have life to the fullest…But Men will.
    God will never let you down………………………………………………but men will!
    May you find grace and peace on your journey for the truth!

  • You want “absolute knowledge,” not “absolute truth.” There is no such thing as “absolute knowledge,” anywhere, even in math and the sciences. If your criterion is absolute knowledge, you can never get married, never raise a child, never choose a career — you’ll be frozen in a constant state of fear and inaction. Can I recommend a great website on this by a Christian philosopher who’s written about the differences between truth, knowledge and certainty?: http://longingtoknow.com/
    Adam (#14) — I understand that presuppositional approach, but I wonder if it’s helpful. At the end of the day, that approach doesn’t take the questions seriously — it just loads blame on top of the questions “the real problem is you don’t want to submit”) and it makes you sound self-righteous (“I, of course, have submitted and so I will minimize any questions even if I live in some degree of denial”). Yes, part of doubt is usually the knowledge that a commitment of faith entails dying to self, and this kind of conversation does eventually have to come to the point of invitation to dive into the baptismal waters with abandon; but I’m not sure that’s usually the whole story.

  • Anonymous

    I would say that your faith is not put on a system or a religion, your faith should be put on a person – Jesus. There are no guarantees as to things working out, no excuses for tragedies, nothing to pan out. It is as simple as meeting a person who touches your very being, who personifies all you long for, a God whom you want to worship and trust. Everything flows from that relationship, the sufferings we take, sacrifices that have to be made, etc.

  • Tom Lindholtz

    Perhaps it’s because of the original question — a search for truth, certainty, knowledge…however you want to define it — or perhaps it is a function of living in an information age/society, but I note that many of the answers are couched in terms of knowing, of developing an apologetic.
    I often reflect, in these situations, on John 13 where Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. After He finished He asked them, “Do you understand what I have done for you?” Almost humorously, He answers His own question by explaining what He had done for them. But hen comes the money point. He says, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed…” And I wish that He had stopped there, because I am good at knowing. But that is not what He did, or intended. He said, “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed IF YOU DO THEM.”
    In other words, the blessings, or in the case of the question at hand, the answers, the confidence, the certainty, will never come from knowing. They will only come from doing. There is a decision to be made, a step to be taken.
    And that should not be surprising to anyone. Christianity, of course, is not about a religion or forms or knowledge. It is about a relationship with the Creator who made me. And, no relationship — friend, lover, even employer — exists wherein one party goes all the way before the other party moves a step. Relationships are always mutual; a dance wherein one person leads a step, then the other person follows, then one person leads another step, and the other person follows.
    Knowledge is a wonderful thing. But only in its place. There is a point when the time for gaining knowledge has ended. The time for action has come. If there is no action, there will be no more knowledge.

  • Your Name

    13…explain what you mean…

  • Your Name

    #14…haven’t read all comments, but so far – your post seems the least tainted by christian perspective and jargon, and posing an honest intellectual answer. My question for you. Man believed that the sun revolved around the earth for many years – 100’s. Many were convinced that the world was flat. I’m not sure I am Ok with…close. I am not Ok with – does the evidence point one way or another? I for one would like to submit to an ultimate authority…and trust that judgement above my own. But…not when the evidence is only “close” to the truth. I would still rather practice a life of goodness…than submit to a God who was just close to the truth
    #8…I wrote number 4…and my intent was not to say – a christian does more evil than an atheist…or some sort of argument about slavery. My point is: at one time, christians believed in slavery – ordained by God. I would like to live a life of service….but I would not like to serve a God that OKs things like slavery. Not saying that people today would agree…but that has happened in the past. There are other issues in the world where christians take a strong stance. If I have one life to live…and I want to go for broke be sold out….I would not want to waste my time with religion and sorting out slavery, baptism, what god is right? It seems to me…that there is much systemic sin within the christian church…it all comes out in time. And…many people answer that of course…the church is filled with sinners. Well…why would one want to waste time with that.
    I for one would rather live a life…taking the best out of every religion, not the best for me…I find it amusing that many writing from a christian perspective expect all agnostics and atheists…to want to live self centered lives…rather…I would like to live a life that brings about the most amount of love and self sacrafice in a world filled with suffering. I love people…and have a respect for humanity…and a compassion for suffering. But…I would rather not be involved in the mumbo jumbo of organized religion…frankly…too time consuming, feel I can live a life of sacrafice and empathy better apart from christians…than with…

  • Your Name

    Tom…Very clearly written…very thought out response. I appreciate the intelligence and wisdom behind your thoughts. Everything sounded very succint…accept for one thing that didn’t sit right with me.
    This statement.
    “I came to a point many years ago when I confronted the same issue you now struggle with. As I thought through the issue a new thought struck me: If Christianity is true, everything in the world makes sense (even the counter-intuitive stuff). But if Christianity is not true, NOTHING makes sense.”
    I struggle with faith. And…I would follow your lead, however, I have to wonder…what if things do make sense to me, with christianity not being true? What if a life of goodness: apart from the christian faith, without religion – for lack of a better term – to mess it up. What then? By living a kind, good, loving life…without following christianity….but believing there is a God out there, but not knowing who or what he is….am I doomed for hell? Because I would not rather play the life insurance game. I would rather live with integrity and play by that which I can honestly understand. Rather than give myself to a religion…because if it doesn’t work out….I have nothing to lose.

  • grizmo

    Personally, it is the mystery and the unknown that makes this quest, this life of faith so darn interesting. As I find myself in the midst of middle age, life is itself a mystery and quite often rather disappointing, but I continue to live looking for more adventure and thrill, same with faith, with the mystery and doubt removed it becomes as bland as a shopping trip to Walmart, nothing new, nothing unexepected. It’s this faith thing that makes me hang in there and long for my end days to see if all the beauty and decay, the fun and the grief, the knowing and unknowing was all worth it.
    so I say go ahead and believe, place all your bets and spin the wheel and take the ride and push your “faith” to the edge and beyond and see where it takes you.

  • Tom Lindholtz

    “Your Name”, ‘You’ for short. 😉
    Please pardon the repetition above. I don’t engage blog dialogs very often; for some reason I seem to screw things up somehow. So, instead of getting two separate responses, you got two repetitions and the responses vanished into the ether. But let me try again because there is an important point to be made here, I think.
    #28 You say, “I find it amusing that many writing from a christian perspective expect all agnostics and atheists…to want to live self centered lives…rather…I would like to live a life that brings about the most amount of love and self sacrafice in a world filled with suffering.”
    I have had a number of people ask that same question. And I think that a lot of non-followers find it a very annoying thing. But, to be honest, I don’t know a way around it. Here’s why: From at least this Christian’s perspective, if Christianity is true, then there is a Creator who created me. He created me with free will, to be sure, but still, I am the creature and He the Creator. Therefore, the use of my life, my plans and purposes, OUGHT to be to serve Him in whatever way He desires. He is, after all, the One who made it possible for me to be here at all. But since I have free will, I have a choice: I can allow Him to be the Master of my life, or I can place something or someone else there. Now note that, regardless of what else I place there, it is still ME doing the placing. I am still master of my life. I may place money, sex, or power there. A lot of folks do. Or I may place family or service to mankind. But as long as it is ME making that decision, then, by definition, I am living a self-centered life.
    It is not until I yield the mastery of my life to Him that it becomes other than self-centered. Ironically, however, in a case such as yours, you may well find that the result of yielding to Him is that your desires not only do not change, they become reinforced. And in that case you will find your enjoyment doubled: you still have the enjoyment of serving mankind, but you gain the enjoyment of knowing that, in so doing, you are serving Him and His purposes.
    You also ask, “…the church is filled with sinners. Well…why would one want to waste time with that?” That’s a heck of a good question. I sure wish I had as good of an answer. I often think that, if I was God I’d have found a better plan for carrying out my purposes than to leave it with a bunch of sinful people. But He must know something I don’t know (understatement! 😉 ) because that is clearly the strategy He has chosen. So, as a creature with freedom of choice, it is left to me to chose His plan or to chose my own plan.

  • Tom Lindholtz

    Hi, me again. This is what should have been in the second repetition above. Please pardon its length.
    #29 You struggle with faith? Welcome to the club. I do too. But over the years I have come to view the struggle as part of the process. It is how the river grinds down the rock to reach the sea. It is how the butterfly emerges from the cocoon. It is how the baby emerges from the womb. All of creations seems to point to struggle as an essential part of a larger process. I’ve come to conclude that the faith struggle is a part of knowing God in relationship. If you have a copy of ‘The Shack’ by Wm. Paul Young, look at pages 141ff for a great word picture of the problem.
    Also, BTW, let me offer my congratulations to your for your refusal to, as I put it, “buy fire insurance.” Dare I suggest that part of the reason the church is sometimes so screwed up is because it too often has sold fire insurance instead of recruiting committed followers? So, stick with your integrity. God gave it to you. I think it is a part of what the Bible refers to when it says you were created in the image of God. He wants you, all of us, to have it and to live by it.
    Anyhow, to your question: “what if things do make sense to me, with christianity not being true?” Wow, that is the best question. And it affirms to me that there are a lot of similarities between your search and my own. A couple perspectives:
    A few years ago I took an extended trip to India. It was eye-opening in many ways, but chief among them was this: I have traveled in well over 30 countries of the world, but my trip to India was my first to a country that has, practically speaking, been untouched by Christianity. Christians make up les than 3% of the population and they are regularly persecuted today. Over 80% of the people are Hindus, and I have never been anywhere where “man’s inhumanity to man” was more on display than it was there. (And here I do not mean “evil” so much as just utter lack of concern.) So, may I suggest that part of the reason that “things do make sense to me, with christianity not being true,” may be simply that you live in a society that is thoroughly permeated by Christian values….even if they are not celebrated in the marketplace. We could explore this, but it is a different topic.
    But the other aspect of this question, for me, was, If Christianity is true, why do non-followers do good?, and if there is a good, loving, sovereign God, why is there evil? And for me, it wasn’t necessary to find an answer to every case, it was just necessary to find an answer that could explain any case….if you get my drift. I wanted exemplary, not exhaustive, explanations. Well, the Bible says that God created man good, but that man Fell. The Fall, I believe, marred but did not efface or erase the original goodness. So man is capable of doing good. And the first situation can be explained, I found, quite easily. A person may simply do a good deed for its own sake. Or, if a person is not strong enough, or not combative enough, to get what they want by merely taking it, then the way to do it is to help other people. Then you can say, I helped you with this, can you help me obtain ‘X’? Now ‘X’ may be simply friendship, or social approval, or it may be material goods. But whatever it is, service to mankind may be simply the easiest tool to use to achieve a personal need or want.
    Of course, the answer to the second part of the question has been explored by smarter and nore knowledgeable people than I and would require a shelf of books to even scratch the surface. But the exemplary answer is simply that a good God could not create a good world for good creatures without giving them free will. But the existence of free will necessarily means that the potential exists for a creature to chose something other than the Creator’s plan. And that, by definition, is to do evil.
    In any event, you say, “I would rather live with integrity and play by that which I can honestly understand.” If by that you mean that you want your beliefs to hold together logically and reasonably, then I would endorse that desire and I would heartily encourage you to continue to seek answers to whatever questions present real obstacles to your understanding.
    If, OTOH, you mean that you want full comprehension of exhaustive and absolute truth before you will step over the line, then I would simply say, I hope that works out for you. My sense is that that is a fruitless search because all the evidence of creations suggest that it is an unrealistic and unachievable goal in any area of endeavor.
    But I believe we honor the God who created us by the careful and thorough use of our minds as you seem to be doing. Let me close with a couple of quotes that I love and that may be pertinent to you in your search:
    “Unthinking faith is a curious offering to be made to the creator of the human mind.” – John A. Hutchinson, ‘Faith, Reason, and Experience’
    “To Love God with our minds does not mean that it is our minds that actually do the loving. Rather, we love God by using our minds. The situation is analogous to a surgeon who loves God with her hands – she uses her hands to express her love for God. Her hands are not doing the loving; she is doing the loving by using her hands.” – Clifford Williams, ‘The Life of the Mind’
    “When God offers the Torah to the children of Israel, they do not say, ‘Let us hear what God wants and then we’ll do it.’ Instead, the respond in what seems to be the wrong order: ‘We will do and we will hear’ [Exodus 24:7] … When Rabbi Menahem Mendl Morgenstern of Kotzk read in Exodus, ‘We will do and we will hear,’ he explained that some actions simply cannot be understood (or heard) until they are performed (or done). By doing, we understand.” – Rabbi Lawrence Kushner, ‘Jewish Spirituality: A Brief Introduction for Christians’
    Biblically speaking, holiness and apprehension of truth are interdependent. An intelligent person who is immoral at a given point cannot see the truth at that point, be it ever so clear and logical, because their moral commitments are blinding them to it” (Jim Sire, notes from his seminar).
    I hope these will be helpful thoughts.

  • Doug Allen

    Jeremiah #8,
    This oft-repeated thesis “As to Christians accepting slavery, well, so did atheists, but, interestingly it was not atheists who were the movers in the anti-slavery movement. In all major cases that I am aware of (Spain, Britain, and the United States) it was Christians that were the prime movers in moving society away from slavery,” is very misleading. First, there were virtually no atheists. Second, the great majority of orthodox Christian leaders defended slavery and with biblical quotes! The early anti-slavery movement was lead by deists and non-traditional Christians- transcendentalists, unitarians, universalists- and opposed by almost all orthodox Christianity. True, there were some orthodox Christians, though a small minority- who fought for the end of slavery. Though few of our founding fathers were orthodox Christians, Congregationalists John Adams and his wife Abigail certainly were, as was Benjamin Rush and the Quakers who all opposed slavery along with most of the deists. And yes, evangelicals in the north were one orthodox group that mostly opposed slavery. Sadly, the Protestant and Catholic church orthodox, for the most part, have seldom been champions of justice with regard to slavery, women’s rights, segregation, or gay rights. The church powerful have almost always supported the status quo during the long years of struggle for these basic rights, but then switched to the other side and become champions of it AFTER law and/or popular culture made their opposition appear “unChristian.” I am not an expert on Spain and Britain, but I bet it is similar. Sorry to be off topic, but I think that in a blog topic about truth, this old American Studies student and teacher needs to correct the record.

  • #24 dopderbeck
    People have honest questions, I don’t deny that. And they’re not evil for having them. The heart won’t accept what the mind rejects. Real “head” questions need to be answered. I am not advocating fideism. But the Bible is rather clear as to nature of man’s problem – where our ultimate confidence lies (a “heart” issue).
    I’m sure this approach could be seen as self-righteous, but I think that can be mitigated by the reality of life and character in the messenger. Jesus said some pretty uncompromising things, but He was attractive to many, yet not all.
    Thanks for the complement. George Washington was bled to death by his doctors (if I have my history right). They thought they were treating his illness, however, their paradigm of human physiology and disease was incomplete. That’s the reality of our situation. We have incomplete maps of reality which are improving in many ways as the years advance. The beauty of Christianity is that it allows for this progress of thinking and understanding. In fact, the whole scientific method comes out of a Christian worldview. So, yea, there are going to be some errors in our thinking, but that’s true of all of life.
    I had to come to the conclusion that there is enough evidence for me to embrace God as my ultimate reference point. I’m not sure there is anything else to do. My life has been filled with experiences that make me believe that I’ve made the right choice (my wife and my friends give me the strongest evidence of this). I’ve been challenged to the core, too, but in the end Christianity answers the deepest questions and longings I have.

  • Kyle

    Just a few comments from someone else studied in history, and particularly the history of religious thought. The Catholic church has opposed slavery from the highest of leadership (i.e. the Pope) for at least 500 years. They have had other leadership that has vocally opposed slavery (i.e. cardinals, high ranking bishops, etc.) going back to the 4th century (including individuals like St. Patrick of Ireland, who was a former slave). Before that, we just don’t have much information to go on as to whether or not the leadership opposed it.
    In both Spain and Britain (as well as most of Europe), slavery was both opposed and supported by Christians, but particularly in Britain it was opposed by orthodox abolitionists.
    I would also argue with your suggestion that the anti-slavery movement in America was “non-orthodox,” and that orthodox both supported and opposed the movement, but this isn’t the thread to do it! Maybe we’ll have one in the future on the history of slavery and Christianity where you and I can discuss this further in depth.
    Merry Christmas to everyone! May God bless you all with joy this holiday season!

  • Jeremiah Daniels

    I still think the the side topic was worthy of mention as it was being used as evidence of some inherent superiority of atheism and/or inherent flaw in theism.
    I see no inherent superiority in atheism nor an inherent flaw in theism.
    We can argue population of atheists but that really has no bearing on their positions on equality of humanity which would indeed be a whole other study or their lack of voice during the time periods stated. My assertion is that atheists apparently cared very little about slavery as a question until Christians started caring. That does not speak well of either community!
    (I do plan to do some reading in this area for sake of being able to document in future posts.)
    At best, they are in the same boat as theists and cannot offer the absolutes that the questioner wants. At worst, they are blindly naive to the human condition to think that jettisoning God somehow makes things better.
    These points have to be made as part of a complete answer to the question.

  • Your Name

    Jesus talked about us having the faith of a mustard seed. Sometimes, that is all we can muster up in tough situations.
    But the whole context and quote is:
    Matthew 17:
    14 When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. 16 I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
    17 “O unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” 18 Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
    19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
    20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
    I.e., if your faith isn’t moving mountains, if something is still impossible for you, then your faith is smaller than a mustard seed. In fact, you likely have no faith at all, despite what you say or think you believe. Or so He seems to be saying.

  • Thank you

    As the letter writer…
    Scot, Tom…and others…thank you for your time, thoughts, and wisdom…
    Here is where I am at:
    It is a journey with many unanswerable questions…the key word: journey. I will doubt, always will doubt….which is good. It is the doubt that drives me to know, that which is not certain in my mind. The doubt is that which carrys me to get to know, to understand, and to sort out the meaning and purpose of God. I “committed” to being a christian at a very young age…however, over the years….I have become dissatisfied with this idea. As my critical reasoning/thinking skills have improved….though, I did not always want to face – I realized, that I did not 100 percent believe in all that the Bible said. I would read Ravi Zacharias, CS Lewis, Thomas Merton, Chuck Swindoll, Beth Moore, Chuck Colson, Bill Hybels, Lee Strobel, John Ortberg, among others…and none seemed to answer my questions to a level satisfactory to me….to a point where I could look at myself and say I honestly believe all the bible says. Went to many lectures on , well…anyways…I won’t go through my whole search…but I tried on many different lenses…until lately – I just really wonder….if nobody seems to know?? I’ve made it to the highest level of education, at a prestigious school…and these people don’t know…I really have to wonder…am I chasing the wind? I also struggled with integrity. How am I supposed to call myself a christian – if I cannot wholeheartedly believe all that the bible says?
    It then dawned on me…after reading the blogs… What my real struggle is. Many christians claim that they have weighed the evidence….and it makes the most sense to them…so they choose- “cross over the line of faith”. Which means…that they are not entirely certain…which means… they have committed to something that they are unsure is absolutely true. Which is what I did at a young age….
    However, Not one person can say with absolute certainty, that there is absolute truth and that God/Jesus/Christianity…holds the absolute truth about life. Which…is scary….and what scares me about christianity….it asks people to choose to believe something that is not proven to be true without a doubt. I think that leads to abuse and a lot of what goes on in christian churches today. People with immature minds follow that which is said to be done in the name of Christ….because they do not doubt – they are subject to manipulation and abuse of power. However, I don’t think that is what Jesus meant about what it means to be a christian.
    What I am finding….is I believe A Christian…is one who FOLLOWS Christs teachings. Now that I understand that….
    ….now I can live with myself. Let me explain. I realize…I am a christian…and always have been….I follow Christs lead…but what I won’t make is a committment to believing all that is said and interpreted in the Bible, from man…if I do that, I close off my mind, I stop seeking, and I become a complacent christian. It is the very unbelief that drives me to continue to seek and follow Jesus….and to say my eyes are closed…I’ve chosen – this is the way, I have found absolute truth and certainty – I would be lying to myself and others. Therefore, I will always keep my mind open for the potential of something else being true. If I don’t do that….I am betraying myself, and my mind – and not living with integrity. If I don’t leave myself open for that…I become narrow minded….and there would be no reason to seek. Which means – shouldn’t every christian be a seeker?
    I will follow God/Jesus…because like most of life…you take the step, and as you follow…you learn more and more. And…as I have been following Jesus – I have found that being more loving, people do change. By being kind and humble…people do change. By forgiving….I can love better. So…all those things become real and true. At the same time…Jesus makes a lot of promises….I don’t know 100 percent that they are true….but I hope they are. So…I live with the hope that they are….though I am not 100 perent sure.
    Futhermore…I struggled with the thoughts…. how can I be a christian, live with integrity…and say I am wholeheartedly living for God….when I know I have doubts. And….if you love someone wholeheartedly…you don’t have doubts. And….if I did love God….wouldn’t I live a life more like Mother Teresa?….and I think the answer is yes….I would be much more loving and kind. So….I am OK….with committing to: FOLLOWING Jesus and his teachings. I am not committing to being completely sure of christianity. And….I guess – my fear was that I would be going to hell….when I realized that, but I guess it is better to be honest, than to pretend otherwise. So….I am committed to following Jesus/God…but not necessarily committed to christianity…and all it has developed in to. Because….I imagine there would be more mother Teresas in the church if it was truly of God/Christ…and since there are not….Jesus says…you can tell by the fruit. And….when I don’t see fruit….I have to believe that that is not God/Jesus intention….so I will attend church to learn with a grain of salt, to renew my vision, and to give to causes of the poor – that can be helped when greater numbers of people are involved. But….if someone came to me and asked do you believe 100 percent in all the bible says and believe in the church, and what it is about….I would have to say…actually…still learning…but join the journey with me….we can seek together – for I am not certain of either….and don’t expect to be for as long as I live….but I will continue to search…..
    Also, I struggled much with making a committment to that which I was not 100% sure. I felt dishonest. However, my problem was in the fact that I thought I was committing to believing that Everything was true in the Bible, that I believed 100% in the Bible, and that is not true. I am committed to following Jesus. That’s all…thanks for all your help, everyone!
    I appreciate the wisdom and thought….you have helped me immensely!

  • Jeremiah Daniels

    No, thank YOU. That was a real heartfelt expression. Its refreshing to find someone else who thinks similar to way I do.

  • Ben

    Thank YOU
    I am greatly encouraged by where you are now. Lol, you truly are an “emergent” in the good/truest sense. This is good, however, may I add; don’t leave Christianity. Challenge it, live it, do it. I’m with you all the way, don’t buy a system or man-made construct lock, stock and barrel. Weigh it, judge it, challenge it.
    That being said, the church is STILL the Bride of Christ. She may not be perfect, she may in fact be quite a whore (for lack of better words). The church may fail you, and be sure that when it does, it has failed Christ. However, we truly are sailing along on a ship of fools. As frustrating as it might be on board, and as much as everyone else who’s on it, or even the shape, smell, decor of the boat may drive you nuts; it is still easier to stay aboard than to try and kayak across the Atlantic Ocean. Besides, how will a boat which is off-course ever make its way back on if all those who know the way jump overboard?
    You will be in my prayers, and I’m sure also in the prayers of many more Jesus Creeders. I pray that you will continue to love the LORD your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself.