Why I Don’t Believe in God Anymore

I don’t believe in God anymore. I used to, though.

This is a choice I’ve made. “Belief” in God connotes–at least as I see it–a set of ideas about God that may, if time allows, eventually make their way to other parts of my being.

The older I get, making sure all my “beliefs” of God are lined up as they should be loses more  and more of its luster. I see the Bible focusing a lot more on something far more demanding: trust.

Try it. Which is harder to say? I believe in God or I trust God?

I see a huge difference between “I believe in a God who cares for me” and “I trust God at this particular moment.” The first is a bit safer, an article of faith. The latter is unnerving, risky–because I have let go.

You’ve all heard of the “trust fall.” There’s a reason they don’t call it a “belief fall.” Belief  can reside in our heads. Trust is doing it, risking it. Trust is humility, putting ourselves in the hand of another. Trust requires something of us that belief doesn’t.

When God promises Abraham that he will have more offspring than the stars in the sky, translations of the next verse conventionally say that Abraham “believed” God. (Genesis 15:6)

“Believe” isn’t the right word there. “Trust” is. The Hebrew word is the same one we get “amen” from. “Amen” is not a social cue that grace is finished and it’s time to eat. It is the final word in the prayer: we’re done talking now, Lord, and we now move to trust.

God promised an old man a lot of kids. Abraham trusted God to come through. That is way harder than believing. Believing has wiggle room. Trusting doesn’t.

The same thing holds for the gospel. “Believing” in God–or even having “faith” in him–doesn’t cut it. At least the way these words are used today.

Beliefs can be collated into a “belief system”–an intellectual construction of what sorts of things are right to think and not think about God. Followers of Jesus, however, are called to do something much harder.

Jesus tells a famous story about why those who follow him need not worry about anything. Don’t fret about how much you have, what you wear, or what you will eat. Don’t worry. Trust. (Matthew 6:25-34)

Jesus illustrates the point in what at first blush seems rather off topic–at best marginally helpful. He tells us to consider the grass of the field and the birds of the sky. Look at them, Jesus says. They’re doing just fine and they don’t worry for a second.

Of course they don’t worry, Jesus, because they are–if I’m not mistaken–grass and birds. Grass doesn’t have a brain and birds are skittish little things that fly into windows. These things aren’t really relevant, Jesus, because, you see, by definition, Jesus, these things are incapable of worry.

And when you put it that way, you can see the profound point–and challenge–of what Jesus is saying: worry should be as impossible for us as it is for grass and birds. His followers–if they get it–should be as incapable of worry as insentient grass and bird-brained birds.

“Believing in God” doesn’t get you to that place Jesus is describing here. Belief leaves room for worry. Trust explodes it.

What a way to live.

The older I get, the less interested I am in believing and the more I am in trusting. That takes a lot of practice. In my experience, God seems more than willing to provide plenty of opportunities.

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  • Andrew Thorne

    Thank you for writing this, it has completely blown my mind and shown me how I can be a better christian.

  • Thehermit

    Oh I get it, Peter is a Christian. How funny. Read it again as an atheist, it totally works, I could have written it. But ad,would you really trust a prayer.

  • levi

    I see so many comments about hell. My intelligence tells me that a very loving, all powerful God full of goodness would never send one to hell in the first place. If a god were that loving and gentle, then why would he even create such a place?

    If someone sins, then why don’t god sit them down and explain it all to them? Instead, he throws you into a burning lake of fire. Why? Because you didn’t obey his rules?

    I’m sorry, but if you believe in something because you have a fear of being burned up, or being tormented because you didn’t obey a certain set of rules, then that’s not love… that’s slavery!

  • Daniel Joseph

    Yeah hell makes perfect sense, eternal punishment for a finite crime? Doesn’t sound like an all wise or all knowing god to me.

    • <3jesus

      You do not go to hell for your crimes. Yes u r sinning but it’s different. If u don’t accept The Lord to be in your life or don’t trust or beleive in him then u will go to hell. Ways has died for our sins, we do not go to hell because if them that dept it paid

  • http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com/ steve finnell

    TRUST GOD OR NOT?

    When Christians are ask if they trust God; most would respond in the affirmative. Do Christians really believe God is trustworthy?

    How do Christian respond when asked, do they believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God? For many, the trust, in God starts to wane at this point. An all too common reply, is of course the Bible is God’s word, however, the Scriptures were recorded and translated into other languages my mere men. We know men make mistakes.

    What is mystifying to me is how believers in Christ can proclaim that they believe God created the heavens and the earth, but do not believe God has the power to direct men to record and translate His word without error. Would that be a God you could trust?

    Matthew 4:4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live on bread alone , but on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.’” (NASB)

    Jesus said men should live on every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. How would that be possible if the Bible is not the infallible word of God?

    1 John 2:3 By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments.(NASB)

    John said we know Jesus if we keep His commandments. If the Bible is not God’s incontrovertible truth, how can we know we are keeping the commandments of Jesus?

    THE GOD I WORSHIP HAS THE POWER TO PRODUCE A BIBLE THAT IS INERRANT, FACTUAL,
    INFALLIBLE, FREE FROM ERROR, LITERAL IN HISTORICAL ACCURACY, TRANSLATED CORRECTLY, AND YES, INSPIRED BY GOD HIMSELF.

    There those who agree that the Bible is the inerrant word of God but then state that you have to be a Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic scholar to understand the meaning of Scripture.

    In order to understand the Bible you have to understand whatever langauge translation you are reading. If English is your first language then you should use an English translation, if German is your primary language then read a German translation, if you are Greek then read a Greek translation etc.

    It is not ironic that they do not believe you have be a Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic scholar to under Joshua 10:13, however, in order to understand Acts 2:38 you have be not only have to be a Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic scholar, but an English professor as well.

    Joshua 10:13 So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, Until the nation avenged themselves of their enemies.

    The “scholar police” accept Joshua 10:13 at face value; as well they should.

    The “scholar police” believe you have to be a Greek scholar and an English professor to understand Acts 2:38.
    The “scholar police” have an agenda. There goal is to convince the world that water baptism is not essential to have sins forgiven.

    Acts 2:38 Peter replied “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven. and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(The Thompson Chain -Reference Bible NIV)

    You do not have to be a Greek scholar or an English professor to understand what “so that your sins may be forgiven” means.

    Acts 2:38 Peter told them, “you must repent and every one of you must be baptised in the name of Jesus , so that you may have your sins forgiven and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(The New Testament in Modern English by J. B. Phillips)

    If you have a fifth grade reading level you are capable of understand the meaning of “so that you may have your sins forgiven.”

    Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Let each one of you repent and be immersed, in the name of Jesus Christ, in order to the remission of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (The Better Version of The New Testament by Chester Estes)

    “In order to the remission of sins” means the same thing whether you are a Greek scholar, a professor in English or a novice Christian.

    Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NASB)

    It does not matter if you are a Greek scholar, or an English professor; “for the forgiveness or your sins” means exactly what it says.

    DO NOT LET THE “SCHOLAR POLICE” CONVINCE YOU, THAT ONLY AN ELITE FEW CAN UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE.

    CONTRARY TO THE “SCHOLAR POLICE” WATER BAPTISM IS ESSENTIAL TO HAVE YOUR SINS FORGIVEN!

    YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY CHRISTIAN BLOG. Google search>>> steve finnell a christian view

  • Leilah

    Read Quran…Study Islam…
    Assalamu Alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    • Timothy Sterling

      Why are you muslims so annoying and dim-witted?

  • DiligentDave

    Genuine “faith” is a “belief” that translates absolutely as “trust”. Abraham believed God to the extent that he did what God told him to do. He went to Canaan. He went to Egypt. He let Lot take either this or the other side of the river. He paid tithes of spoils he gained fighting for Sodom and Gomorrah, to Melchizedek. He trusted God would indeed give him and Sarah a child in their old age, so he had himself circumcised, as God commanded him to do, and then had sex with his wife (the circumcision probably did something to help Sarah get pregnant, besides the fact that God made her body menstruate and ovulate again. Then, when somewhat “grown”, Abraham trusted (believed / had sufficient faith) that when God commanded him to sacrifice his only son (by Sarah), he went to do it, trusting (having faith) in God that He (God) would still make a way for Isaac to live (Paul lists in Hebrews what power Abraham believed God might give him to make this happen, taking his clue from earlier patriarchs and saints who also put their faith/trust/belief in God’s word (commands)).

    The traditional Christian view of belief and faith indeed falls short of the full “trust” Peter Enns writes of in the above article. But their misunderstanding and misperception of what “belief” and “faith” are (or aren’t), shouldn’t forcibly be a reason for him to disbelieve in God, or not trust in the Creator of heaven and earth (and all things that in them are).

    Ultimately, Peter, if you think about it, we each individually, as well as collectively, either believe in God or man or nothing. And those who believe in nothing, typically end up committing suicide (for if one can trust ‘nothing’, what hope has one to ‘go on’?

    And though, indeed, mankind has made progress, due to the industrial revolution, “science”, etc, we need not suppose that, still, these things all have been and are, still, “blessings from heaven”.

    In fact, this reminds me of the man who was in a situation where he was about to die. He had been atheistic, or at least agnostic, before this situation. But he prayed to God for deliverance from his situation. Then, as God answered his prayer favorably, so the man wouldn’t die, the man then said to God, “Never mind, I’ve got it taken care of”, not realizing, or at least acknowledging, that though he might appeared to have been “saved” by ‘natural forces’, it was still God doing the saving by those means.

    I’ve long found it interesting to hear and read of various explanations as to how “nature” is so complex. How if ‘this’ didn’t happen in a certain way at a certain time, that ‘that’ consequential event wouldn’t happen either, and we’d all be doomed to death, because of what these things do, that often seem to keep nature going, and in balance, by the narrowest of threads.

    Because we have learned to manipulate some things, like DNA, etc, we suppose we have ourselves gained ‘God-like’ powers. And, indeed, to some extent, we have. But that we have gained these powers, neither means that we did not receive them from Providence, nor that because we can now do some of these things now ourselves (despite the very many big, small, and other important things that we are still very incapable of doing), that suddenly, we, like the proverbial man in a pickle (mentioned above), no longer need the help of a super intelligent Creator, compared to whom, our great abilities are virtually ‘nothing’, because we’ve been, by various means, enabled by that God to do them!

    Now, for Peter, trusting in the religions of our day who claim to believe in what is written in the Bible, may be more of where he has his difficulty. If it is, I can understand fully his angst. But, still, many of us, while practicing religion, and believing (trusting fully) in God, can mentally and emotionally still separate the two, and see where many aspects of religion inevitably display man’s often pathetic attempts to approach God properly and fully, from the knowledge (or belief, or ‘trust’) we have that God is the father of our spirits (our spirits looking just like our bodies, or, rather, vice versa, and being the ‘thing’ that makes our bodies come and stay ‘alive’), and that “He” (God) looks like us, because the Bible helps us understand that we were and are made “in his image” and in his “likeness”, etc.

    The one really silly thing, IMO, about traditional Christianity, is where it long ago adopted a neo-Platonistic interpretation of Biblical passages, making what in the Bible appears to be things that are intended to be understood at face value (like man being created in the image and likeness of God), and those things that are meant to be understood symbolically, (like man being created from the ‘dust of the earh’), are taken literally.

    Also, the many misconceptions about the creation of the world. For example, the commonly held belief that God made the world and the universe “out of nothing” is not supported, forcibly, by the text (of the Bible). My wife can create bread or a cake from “scratch” (a word used both to describe ‘nothing’, as well as basic ingredients, without there being a store-bought ‘mix’ or anything). But this doesn’t literally mean that she can make something from nothing.

    Genesis says that the elements were “void” and “without form”. I think that means that they were empty (of biological entities), and “without form”, I think, means without the form or shape they now have.

    Also, the length of time creation took, I don’t think was just 6 or 7 periods lasting 24 hours each. Genesis says that a day to God is the same as a thousand years to man. That could make creation take at least six or seven thousand years. Also, the “days” may just denote “periods of time”, whether they were all equal to each other, or not!

    My ‘belief’ (guess) is that it took far longer than 6 or 7 24-hour periods, and probably a LOT less than 14 or 40 or how ever many ‘billions’ of years. But, regardless of exactly how long ‘creation’ took to accomplish, I trust fully, by the evidence all around all of us, that it was “created” (put together) by an intelligence far superior to ours. I like to call, and believe that this “intelligence” accurately is labeled as “God”. And, He looks like us, because we were made to look like him (Genesis 1). And, that since Genesis says, “Let US go down”, and that God create man in his own image and likeness, and that He created THEM both ‘male’ AND ‘female’, that that “US’ (or ‘WE’) spoken of there is in all probability likely FEMALE. After all, why would God make “man” a being that comes in two very different and necessary genders, but He would be a bachelor himself? (It does not make sense to me)!

    And, since God commanded the males and females to marry, and become ‘ONE’, there is NO contradiction at all that “God” includes a male and female working together. They very evidently work in unison together, every bit as much as ‘God’ the son does with his Father (and his God, and our God —John 20:17), as well with the services of the Holy Ghost, or ‘Spirit of God’ doing what only he can do.

    My bet is, is that much of the Bible is misinterpreted and misunderstood today like it obviously was 2,000 years ago. And, Peter Enn, if you have a problem trusting man’s understanding of God, I’m with you, much, on that! However, don’t throw out the Creator with the religious water. For, while what man believes may not “hold water”, what God made DOES!

    • http://dissidentdispatches.blogspot.com Greggory Wood

      Suicide? Really? Where did you conjure up that nugget of falsehood. With such an extraordinary claim, I presume you hav extraordinay evidence to back it up?

      • DiligentDave

        True hopelessness typically does lead to suicide. If you believe in nothing, you lack hope. And I mean in absolutely nothing. You are already prejudiced against my claim, with your response of “that nugget of falsehood.” And, I don’t see the claim as being extraordinary in the least.

        My point is, Woody, that ultimately we either trust in God or we trust in the arm of flesh (the efforts and abilities and solutions mankind offers). There is no genuine “believing in nothing.”

        This is the point that is not only made in scripture, but many others have made it. Hugh Nibley pointed it out in his books, like “The World and the Prophets”. I’ve found the concept that someone either believes in ‘something’, or, they come to believe in truly ‘nothing’—and if the latter, they become hopeless, despondent. They conclude that there is no purpose in life.

        I’ve seen a person, very close to me, at one point in her life, become extremely despondent, and near suicidal.

        If you don’t believe me on this, that’s your choice. I feel no real compunction of convincing you. You are largely prejudiced to begin with. You will disbelieve most anything scriptural, Mormon, or Christian. But that doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in ‘something’. You just have a bucket list of those things you claim to not believe in. Which doesn’t mean you don’t believe in ‘something’, or that you believe in ‘nothing’.

  • http://thehumanimpulse.com/ Marvia Davidson

    Yes! because trust requires commitment of your heart and soul – no strings attached. belief is easy. trust requires a willingess of the soul to say ‘i cannot be in control” but i’ll trust Him! trust is like acting on the belief – a standing on the rock-faith.

  • over it

    and then over educated, unhealed, idealist like you post your child like antics…and we pray for you…good going, your fate with jesus is sealed for sure…thanks for advertizing how much you realy need him… :)

    • Becka

      If god is the God of all creation, and all creation cries out his glory; then how can anyone be ‘over educated’ as a means to turn the from God? That smells like fear to me. Perhaps the underlying message hit too close to home?

  • Siddha Svarupa Das

    “Jesus tells a famous story about why those who follow him need not worry
    about anything. Don’t fret about how much you have, what you wear, or
    what you will eat. Don’t worry. Trust. (Matthew 6:25-34)”

    - The Point here is: We dont have do demand anything from God. All the
    living beings on the planet are well maintained by God. Everything which
    is for us to have here in this material world is already set up. Thats
    called karma. We should concetrate more on our reviving our
    God-Consciousness or our Relationship with God. We should learn how to
    love God. And that means that we are serving God. Not that we give
    orders and God is our servant. Worries are Illusion because we are
    attached to be the controllers and owners of this material world.

    But to come to that state of consciousness we actually have to follow Jesus! Most Christians dont do! Pure religion ist not just believing something…its about realization. Faith develops by having exchange of God. But that is not really possible if you dont know who God is. Jesus always said he is the son of God. Krishna (The Father) says in the Bhagavad Gita that the more seriously we approach Him and serve Him with devotion, the more He reveals Himself. And thats a fact. Real religion means to revive our actual relationshion with God. That is only possible if we have real knowledge about God and the actual process how to connect with Him. Jesus teachings like all abrahmic traditions are almost lost because there is no real disciplic succession. I recommend to you tho think about whether you ever had serious expierences with God or not. Please read the books of His Divine Grace Srila A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada.

    There where is real God-Consciousness there is no doubt. No fear. No anxiety. And no material attachment. One is fully happy and absorbed in His transcendental realtionshp with God. And after leaving this body one will return back Home to God into the Kingdom of God. Everything is given in the vedas and it has to be learned and understood by guidance of a real representative of God (Krishna) like Jesus Christ was. Real love means doing everything for God and offering everything to God. And that is called Bhakti-Yoga. Human live is meant for practicing bhakti-yoga. Thats what Jesus taught according to time , place and circumstances. Its always the universal process of Loving devotional service to God. Bhakti-Yoga.

    I can well understand your loosing trust in biblical christianity. Because there is no clear kowledge about waht Jesus actual tought. Much things are theologie but not the true teachings of Jesus Christ. Also there is merely no real representative of God in christianiy who FOLLOWS THE ACTUAL LAWS OF GOD.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gw_HW_Fewu8&feature=c4-overview-vl&list=PLPQLIVb9r7QI4_NeOifb4xKrWNTzZJxu-

    All the best to You. God bless You. Hare Krishna.

    Your Servant

  • Kevin

    Peter -

    I seriously doubt that you can trust in a God you don’t believe in. I also don’t think that word (believe) means what you seem to think it means. To truly believe in something or someone entails trust of a sort, mainly that there is/are truth(s) to be relied on. Trusting God entails that you believe God is trustworthy. Why abandon the word rather that fight for a return to its biblical meaning. You don’t really believe in something if you are not ready to act as if it were true.

    The real problem is counterfeit belief. It would be more effective to try to convince people with superficial belief that they don’t really believe what they think they believe, that they are in fact, self-deceived, because they want security and not God.

    • Becka

      you’re missing his point. Implicit in his statement of trust is that he believes God exists; but that is not enough. that is a safe statement. The action is what we should be after. There is too much rhetoric and adjective checks as if the entire conservative evangelical movement is constantly running their arguments through a word-doc’s grammar function… It’s all wordplay meant to weave the fog into cohesive argument.

      Do or do not, there is no try.

  • SartrewasaMoron

    I used to believe and trust god. my daughter was drugged abducted and raped by someone she knew from campus ministries. they went for a coffee between classes and he drugged and raped her. she called out to jesus. he did nothing. she was a virgin. she has ptsd and has lost everything. i don’t trust god anymore. not sure there even is a god. a god who would allow a virgin to be drugged abducted and raped sounds more like the devil to me. you keep parsing out the difference between belief and trust though. so important.

    • Cracking Ace

      I’m sorry to read your terrible story. That’s a horrible thing to happen and no wonder it shook your faith. It’s always hard when things like this hit emotions.
      You can’t blame God for a thing like this though. You have to blame the cruel person who did it. He may have been someone who was supposed to represent God, but in doing what he did, he clearly was not fit to be a preacher. Blaming God kind of moves the blame away from the individual who really should be caught and held accountable.
      You can trust that God will help your daughter recover and that justice is done to the person who wronged her.
      There is evil in the world and all we can do is try and put an end to it.

  • tirtlegrrl

    Birds may not “worry”–but they do react to stress. They’re not brainless, unfeeling beings. Also, the deity who supposedly looks after the lilies of the field and the birds of the air lets the lilies get sprayed with pesticides and the birds get eaten by cats. There’s no point in assuming that being will look after you in any way that matters.

  • Matt Parkins

    This is a very silly article.

    When Jesus talked about belief, he used the greek word pistis, which includes the concept of supreme trust in God, and putting your full weight upon Him and His way.

  • Munce

    Peter. Being very tightly tied to religion for decades often challenged this question. I too came to the same conclusion that you have came to. However the fear of death is so great that they have to have faith in something. Even though there is absolutely no evidence that anything exist on the other side of death. They use god as their excuses for not succeeding, as their farewell message to love ones, the answer to all coincidences, unique outcomes, yadda yadda, yadda.

    Everyone presses for this faith issue. They feel the need to use words from the good book to validate their points. However once again there is no basis of fact or science to establish that anything exists beyond us, here, for today and hopefully tomorrow.

    Because faith was not a strong enough motivator in of itself so hell was created as was the title devil and or Satan as the ring leader of this group when in actuality the word stood for slanderer or satan from ah-satan meaning adversary. Most religions outside of Christianity think this belief is ridiculous.

    But I caution; do not battle religion. People have planted this faith as their guiding force for as long as time in one fashion or another. Its amazing that as a non-believer you become more alienated than those who are considered as part of a cult.

    In reality the world has always lived and breathed off of conjecture. Like the bible you will find that in any point of our daily news is filled with 90-95% conjecture and only 5-10% fact that makes everything seem valid.

    I have always wondered if there was a place where reality thinking people congregate without religious undertones, without those people that have become challenged to the point that they are anti-religious, and that are simply content with being in the here and now and have faith in themselves?

    Today I simply smile and nod to the faith believers. It is often the same nod I give to those that speak a language I do not understand. Friendly and warm but not willing to dive into a conversation, or a debate on anything.

    Fighting your uncertainty in religion is a huge emotional struggle. Having fought with it for several decades I can attest to all the guilt, pressure, brainwashing and other challenges that I was put through. And I was a Catholic.

    Life begins and ends with you. Be the best you you can be and let the rest of the pressure roll off.

    • Equal Thyme

      Munce – I’m not sure you read the article. I think the author is simply trading “believe” for “trust” – but he’s still in the “believing” camp. I on the other hand, am now much closer to your view. My psyche is still tatooed with my Catholic upbringing, but it leaves me spiritual today, not religious. Still, I am fascinated by today’s dialogue on faith, perhaps even moreso now that I consider myself an outsider to the discussion. I find meaning in life through my desire to be remembered by family and friends as someone who tried leave the world a better place than I found it. I don’t need more than that.

  • Matt

    Well, I understand what you say. Everybody has an opinion. But faith it’s a rope over a huge whole of depression. “I don’t believe in God anymore.” Soon you start to feel lonely. You have friends, family but something is missing. And you dye. Assuming you wake up in hell, what would you say? Aw crap. I should have believed!I think God said: “I don’t force anyone to believe in Me.” Any other thing predicted in the Bible has happened in a way. I believe in Him. Each time I asked Him something, I was given that thing somehow. Don’t think I’m obsessed or I don’t know the reality. I like science a lot. I just like to think someone shall love me even when there’s no one next to me.

  • Stephen

    Kevin, whose post is about eight down from here, seems to me to be exactly right. This article does seem to suggest some kind of dichotomy between believing and trusting: doing more of one means less of the other. As the (provocative) opening line goes, “I don’t believe in God anymore.” There are some hints that this is not at all appropriate to a Biblical vision of belief, and that the author is responding to modern usage. Belief, nowadays, does seem to mean something like what Peter is reacting against.

    In taking this approach, though, he is trading on a modern dichotomy, rooted in modern theories of how people know things, and perpetuating that unhelpful distinction. You can almost hear faintly in the background suggestions such as this: “I believe that 2 + 2 = 4, but that does not require anything of me; in fact, knowledge (and a strange understanding of belief?) seems to preclude any kind of choice, commitment, or trust on my part.” (The working theory of how people know things involves the assumption of a basic gap between the knowing subject and the objective world to be known; the influence of this scheme felt in this post seems to be especially filtered through Kierkegaard [though I'm not suggesting direct or intentional influence, so much as the resemblance that comes from being in the same family tree].)

    Where Kevin is absolutely correct is in his suggestion that we are not suffering from too much belief, but from too little. I claim I believe in the resurrection, but just about everything I do indicates otherwise. Imagine if people actually lived as if Jesus has died and risen, conquering death once and for all. These people are typically called saints. I wonder how we might have become confused, though, about the relationship between faith/belief and the way we live (i.e., the works we do). Any guesses? The most tragic irony of accepting a sharp distinction between belief and trust is that this chasm between beliefs and forms of life doesn’t really have to be mended–there’s some pressure to bring them together, but it’s fairly mild. It seems too likely that a person, shrouded in this modernist epistemology, can go on living in comfort while making the relatively unassailable claim that there is some internal event transpiring called “trust.”

  • No more hope

    Its hard to trust in God when you’ve believed your whole life and done everything that you’ve been asked of even when fear or what might be viewed as dought have been present. It’s hard to trust when life keeps being more and more difficult and any prays you have for yourself are always answered with what appeas to be a no or lack of any kind of response or direction. No answer is present when your life becomes harder and harder no matter what you do and everyone around you is thriving. Doesn’t trust required some kind of follow thru or promises of at least feeling his presence. How can you trust when God appears to be absent from your situation?

    • Sid Smith

      You are right on the money. A relationship involves reciprocation. God’s prolonged silence in getting involved in the prayers requests that have lingered for months or years have left me unwilling to put my heart out there and fearing I’ll only be disappointed again. I told God, “At least you can’t say I gave it a darn good try.”

  • Alex Blue

    Trust is a two way street. If God being the first cause of everything good and evil wants us to trust him or her or it, this god needs to prove that God can be trusted fully. For example, I pray to God first using the Lord’s prayer, then I ask God my request in Jesus’ name as it was told by Jesus himself as long as it is done in faith, it will be done as Jesus said it would. Then I get what I asked for and thank god for it. But as soon as I have it, it gets snatched away by God. Is that fair? No. That’s why I cannot trust God, though I do love God and I do forgive God for his, hers, or its sin against me. I can’t hold a grudge against anyone, not even God nor against the Devil. I just can’t trust God for repeated actions of causing mistrust between myself and himself, or herself, or itself. But then again it could be the Devil who is messing up with God’s plans. If so I truly forgive the Devil, for he was made or created by God to taunt us mere mortals. In that case God is rubbing us off our trust in him, or her, or it. God is capable of good and evil in our lives. Which is not nice at all, especially when we are vulnerable and cannot defend ourselves when something out of our control happens.

  • cheesetarts

    i don’t understand. do you now trust in God instead of believe in him? or not believe there is a God whatsoever? If the first is the case then do you not still need to believe in God in order to trust in him? If it is the latter then why are you speaking about trust??

  • Kenneth Regan

    David H. Stern’s “Complete Jewish Bible” (CJB) translates “pistis” as “trust” for much the same reasons, plus some cultural ones.

  • Matt Parkins

    Typical Christian response would be “do Christians go without food and clothes”, but I don’t find that persuasive. I think the best Christian answer is to take an eternal perspective.


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