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Reflections: God is Alive! July 6, 2007

Posted by erichaynes in General, Reflections on the Bible, Spiritual Journey, Stories of MyLife.
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To all my new-found atheist friends, to all those friends that I encounter daily who aren’t interested in spiritual matters, to all the neighbors, family members, and fellow followers who don’t really spend time on a daily basis expecting God to arrive, I have a simple message: God is alive!

Just don’t expect me to prove it to you…I can’t.

Of all the great intellectuals in the world, I rank the least of these.  Of all the great theologians and spiritual guides, I am but a lowly street urchin.  I have neither eloquence of speech, quick-wittedness of a debater, or the mental capacity of a genius in order to win the battles raging across the Internet.  My blogging essays are full of holes, less than well thought out ideas, and probably some less than logical sequences.

But I have this: once I was a sinner without hope, purpose, or position; now I am a follower of Christ who often sins, but has hope in Christ’s unceasing presence and activity; purpose in the loving and caring for a hurting world; and position as the Heir of an eternal kingdom that already exists.

Sounds fairylandish, don’t you think…yep.  Maybe it is my weakness, and I need a spiritual crutch…yep, I’ll agree with that.  All my education (post-graduate degrees are a waste, really) and all my reading (and I own quite a few books) have done nothing to fill the emptiness of my soul.  All my humanistic approaches to living out “the golden rule” have done nothing to ease my conscious over those I have hurt.  All my attempts to willfully forgive those who have hurt and betrayed me have not healed my heart of its scars.  Only Jesus.

That does not mean that I don’t want to know what YOU are feeling, what you believe, and what you have experienced in this world.  I believe that I am becoming extremely open-minded to those encounters.  And I will re-affirm my apologies to those who have been hurt by the Christian church, it’s followers, and its misrepresented ideals…it is a poor reflection of the God we serve.  But for me to deny or step away from God at this point is to deny my own life…it is a path of self-annihilation that leads to nothingness.  What motivation do I have for that?  That is just as foolish to me as you are thinking I am being right now.

I know God is alive because he moved in my life today — I read the wrong reading per my Bible study plan.  I read tomorrow’s lesson instead of today’s.  But tomorrow’s lesson was the answers I needed for yesterday’s questions.  Coincidence? Maybe.  Reading into Scripture what I want? Possibly, I suppose.  You decide for yourself, but here is what God spoke to me:

From the book of Hosea, chapter 10:12: “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord.”

From the journal of David, namely Psalm 73: “But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.”

From the book of Hebrews in the New Testament, chapter 4: “For we also have had the gospel preached to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because those who heard it did not combine it with faith.”

My faith may look silly and simplistic to an outside world, but it has come about because of a complex set of experiences, teachings, encounters, desires, and hurts.  For you to call it silly is to insult me and my life.  On the other hand, for me to call someone of different beliefs silly for believing what they believe, whether it is a different religious ideology or a-theism, is equally insulting.  I hope that we will find a place to enter into each others stories and discover what brought us together to this point.  The point can’t be about conversion, but of bringing two people together in understanding and empathy.  And most importantly, reaching across a chasm of apathy, fear, and mistrust, in order to find solace as we hurtle across space in an ever-dieing ball of rock.  However, part of that mutual understanding has GOT to be that we both accept that each desires, hopes, nay, even prays, that the other will come to their side…to not expect that is to not expect love.  If I am true to my faith and human empathy, then my greatest desire is for you to come to know Christ Jesus and gain eternal life.  At the same time, I would not respect you nearly as much if, say you were an a-theist, but you never hoped to “save me” from my self-imposed god-delusions.  I don’t think being open-minded means to give up that which is most dear to us (until there were some compelling life experience that rocked our respective beliefs).  Otherwise, we’re just play-acting.

My faith brings me risk-taking, love-chasing, bold life…what is your particular faith (or un-faith) bringing you today?  I’d love to hear…

 Eric

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1. atheistperspective - July 6, 2007

You know, that makes sense, I get what you’re saying and if you feel that a belief in God has helped you then I’m all for it. That of course is no reflection on whether God exists or not but I do see where you’re coming from. You seem sensible enough not to use The Bible as a moral framework to inflict suffering and misery on others so my only complaint is that your faith creates a bedrock for those that do.

I’ll tell you what my non faith brings me, it allows me a certain world-view, a wonder that is not possible through belief in God. The world with God is a very different place to one without him. I treasure this life because I know it’s the only one I’ll ever know. I wonder at the beauty of this planet and the universe and realize just how small I am, how lucky I am just to be born. I am able to accept a changing moral zeitgeist with open arms, I change my opinions, my morals, they are not codified and absolute. This allows me to grow as a person. I am not limited by what other people think or so, I am not controlled by people spouting dogma for ulterior motives. I am free. Free to learn, to judge, to believe, to live, to love, to express myself. I could go on, but I’d be here all day :)

Carl Sagan once said

“For me, it is far better to grasp the Universe as it really is than to persist in delusion, however satisfying and reassuring.”

Smile - August 19, 2010

The very fact that you would spend the time to reply to this testifies to the fact that you are searching and therefore has left you with hope. Oh, my friend. I am so sorry. There is indeed a God who is alive and active in our world today. Men have made choices that create the pain that you see all around you. The people that have caused you to have such opinions may indeed be “spouting dogma for ulterior motives.” The religious debate is the worst insult to God that there is. This pain has made you seek other things that have caused you to doubt in a good and loving God.

I hear you speak of freedom. Brother, you and I both know that there is no freedom in uncertainty. God is alive…your heart keeps beating, you breathe, you move. Your heart has no reason to beat except that God allows it to happen…He created you. He made you for a reason. I pray that it is to follow Him. He loves you whether you choose Him or not. Take heart in the fact that you are doubting…for this is the first step in believing. When God enters your life you will become a new person. Your life will not be perfect but instead you will find peace in the fact that one day it will be. You will find the certainty that you and I both know you long for. Let me leave you with this…the Bible says Matthew 25:46 “And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

If you do not come to a relationship with Jesus Christ you will die and enter a world of absolute certainty that God exist, however you will be in a place free of any good thing…filled with torture of every kind; forever.

Jesus Christ died so that you would not have to experience this…John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

Ask yourself these two questions…”What if I am wrong and what if the Bible is right?” Eventually, you will die and leave this earth that you love, this question will answer itself and you will no longer have the choice to choose to accept His love for you.

2. erichaynes - July 6, 2007

Thanks for your complimentary email…it means a lot to me.

Thanks also for your description of “non faith”…that helps me out a lot. What is especially fascinating is that the very things you describe as gaining from not having a god is nearly identical to what I would say I have gained from having a God. I too “wonder at the beauty of this planet and the universe and realize just how small I am, how lucky I am just to be born,” especially when I topped the ridge of Mount Democrat in Colorado last week and the continental divide greeted me. The only difference between us is that I see God’s handiwork in that, not only because of the mountains, but also of what He did to help me get to that summit. Because of God in my life, I now can also say that “I am not limited by what other people think or so, I am not controlled by people spouting dogma for ulterior motives. I am free. Free to learn…to believe, to live, to love, to express myself.” None of this was true in my life until I came to know Christ personally (which is something far greater than “being a Christian” of which didn’t give me those freedoms you expressed).

Obviously, then, the biggest difference in our experiences is the issue of “absolute truth” and codified laws, morals, etc. etc. Sometimes I wonder if God gets a bad rap in this, though. The culprit isn’t that God set out a standard for healthy living (many of our good laws come from biblical standards), but that man has warped them out of fear, power-mongering, and selfish desires to control others. (I read something recently on why this happens…I’ll try to find it and share the passage in a future post). I have found that as I come to experience true Grace, law becomes natural, for the lack of a better word. Does that make any sense…I’ll admit that I’m probably not saying that correctly. Thoughts?

Eric

3. Gina - July 7, 2007

hey guys, I’ll confess that I’ve been ‘lurking’ in this conversation the past few days. Eric phrases it accurately. I, too, feel very inadequate to present a convincing argument to defend my faith. The only thing that I can present that cannot be picked apart is my own ‘before/after’ story. All I know is after I met Jesus I was changed… for the better. There is now hope where there was none. There is peace where there was none. I don’t expect my comments to change anyone’s mind, but I appreciate the conversation. The truth is, we all need to believe something… that God exists or the he does not. We cannot prove either way. As a believer, I look at the world around me as evidence that God exists. A person of non-faith looks at the world around as evidence that God does not exist. I cannot argue that. I won’t try. All I will say is… I have life today… not just after I die, but now. A life I would not have without Jesus. Thanks for allowing me to share my thoughts. g

4. erichaynes - July 10, 2007

Gina,

Thanks for dropping by…I suppose “lurking” is acceptable! :0)

Eric

5. Sal - September 27, 2008

Its been a while since anyone has posted. I too have read all posts and was a believer at the age of 19. I had a bad experience within the church and by not moving on and focusing on mans flaws I walked away from the Lord for almost 10 years. I too can atest to my personal experience and say that I was a very bad and confused teenager. I did a lot of things I am not proud of but accepting Christ changed all that. I became as the bible sad born again with a new life. Thats all it is a new start at life. You may say I was changed because of t he idea of Christ but I say I was changed because Christ was is always knocking at our hearts came in when i opened the door. I won’t take up a lot of time on this but the life of Christ is documented in the bible as well as history. Men like Pliny the younger and Josephus talk about his life and death on the cross. There is even physical proof backing stories from the old testament. God is alive. Jesus is knocking at our hearts. I did seek Gods forgiveness and repent of 10 years of sin and disobiedience. My life has changed yet a second time and I am grateful to God for having patience and mercy on my life. Thank you.

6. PATRICK - June 29, 2009

THANK ALOT, PROVE OF EXITANCE OF GOD DOES NOT ONLY ENDS IN MIRACLE OR TESTIMONIES BUT BEGINS WITH FAITH.

7. Don - April 27, 2010

I came across this blog entry after almost 3 years since it has been posted. Though I have accepted Christ too, recent developments in my life is testing my faith. I wonder why God is waiting to answer my cries for help, but I am confident, He is alive and will deliver. Even though I go through this time of mental suffering, I cannot imagine going back to that period of my life where I was still soul-searching, living in denial.
The reason I say this, is because, I wanted to share how different my life has been before/after accepting Christ, so much better, that even for all the tribulations I go through right now, I am not willing to forsake my faith.
I do not have sound arguments to prove his existence, but I do have my life as my testimony. In my line of work, almost every one I meet is either an atheist or an agnostic. I sometimes find it frustrating, for lack of concrete, tangible, practical and logical proof that God is alive and well. And I have come to realize, that it really is a culmination of your life experiences, that proves God’s existence, as the author said.

8. erichaynes - May 17, 2010

Don, thanks for sharing on an old post…I think it is an important post and conversation.

I believe there is concrete, tangible, practical, and logical proof that God is alive and well. However, I don’t think most of your co-workers, if you were to present them with all that information, would suddenly jump on board. People today may use the excuse that it isn’t “logical”, but really, they’ll believe in a lot of stuff without having any proof (just watch how people vote in the next election for proof of that). What will truly cause them to take you seriously is when they begin to see the difference in who you are compared to who you were, if you are allowing God to mold, guide, and lead you. They will see how you react differently to trials and difficulties. They will begin to wonder how you remain strong in circumstances that seem overwhelming. They will wonder how you can treat people who are rotten with respect and grace and love. Suddenly, they’ll wonder how that can be, and will seek you out when they enter into those hard times themselves. The most powerful proof of God’s existence to a hurting world is how He could take someone as repugnant and you and me, and turn us into caring, loving, grace-filled — though imperfect — people. God will keep you strong in your faith if you stay obedient to His Word. Blessings to you. Eric

9. Michael - December 31, 2011

I also have a before/after experience. I grew up in a christian home, go to church every sunday……then things changed- I totally deviated from all i grew up with and was lost, totally lost……then again things changed. I was saved by His GRACE, oh! What an amazing GRACE.

10. Karen - March 2, 2012

Last year, my church published a book containing stories contributed by the congregation of just such “coincidental” occurrences in their lives that could only be God. If you get the chance, check out Barnes & Noble online for the book “God Is Alive!” by Stanhope,Gaylord,Pinson and Derosiers. Just look at the free “Look Inside” that Barnes & Noble has to read a few of the stories. Just like with your experience, some of the stories in this book aren’t earth-shattering, but simple “beyond coincidence” encounters with God in everyday life.

Have you ever thought about putting together a book like that of your own?

erichaynes - March 5, 2012

Thanks for stopping by Karen. No, I hadn’t thought about a book…but I appreciate the thought!

11. spiritual - September 3, 2012

Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in
Yahoo News? I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

erichaynes - September 3, 2012

Thanks for stopping by. I have no idea how to get listed in Yahoo News. Sorry.


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