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BELIEVING IN GOD.

This Lead Article pulls together all information
contained in this section.

It provides an overview of how we can find evidence
of God’s existence for ourselves
.

CLICK HERE FOR PRINTABLE VERSION

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1. INTRODUCTION

I am now quite confident that we all really can answer the question positively for ourselves, Does God exist?” But, this does not mean that I have always thought that way. No, I was once a very dedicated atheist. And I still understand how implausible the notion of religious faith is to many people in this day and age.

During my professional career I relied on disciplined analysis and evaluation to succeed. (If you wish to know a bit about my knowledge, skills and the quality control over this websites theology, then click here.) Given my background, you may be wondering how someone like me came to hold such strong faith and belief. Well, like many other analytical, open minded individuals, I found that if we are willing to really look for evidence and we know where to look, then each one of us should actually be able to prove to ourselves that God exists!

By “prove”, of course, I do not mean to find proof in a scientific sense. Indeed God will never be proven to exist scientifically, because he prevents it (the subject is discussed under Heading 6 in this article). Rather, when I write the word “prove”, I mean meet the accepted standard of proof we require to conclude that anything is real within our day-to-day lives. In essence, the average human being accepts things as believable when they locate ‘genuine evidence’ which supports the standard of “beyond reasonable doubt”. It is thereby acknowledged by us at that point, through our power of reasoning, to be ‘real’. Of course, reaching that point of acceptance varies from person to person. And I will elaborate on that, and what I mean by ‘genuine evidence’, later in this article.

Note that another section of this website, “Faith and reason” was developed to present a concept of Gods being, and his relationship to our own existences, that is compatible with 21st Century thought. Some people do need to understand something of that theoretically, before trying to develop faith and belief.

I now realise that God ultimately wants a deep one-on-one personal relationship with each of us and to be intimately involved within our individual lives. I offer that statement, based on my detailed analysis of Gods presence within my own life, and the lives of those fellow Christians who have provided me with details of their faith journeys. And that in turn bears out what the Bible actually offers us through its advice and guidance.

Briefly, as far as believing in God is concerned, it is largely achieved by recognising his loving care and interaction with us. In effect, we can become profoundly aware of his presence within our lives. And that is largely what this article, and the others that support it on this website, is about. Of course there is more to Christian faith and belief than just this, but we will also get to that later.

2.    WHY DO PEOPLE WANT TO BELIEVE?

The practise of Christianity offers humankind many benefits including: a meaning and purpose to life, greater contentment, an ability to better cope with physical and emotional pain, and importantly the ability to gain more control over life and its outcomes, i.e. real personal freedom. A good number of us human beings seem to miss these elements in our lives at some stage and we know, almost automatically, that they should be found through faith if only it could be ours!

And, although we might often try to forget the issue, there is no denying that an underlying and major reason for people embracing religion is the desire for life beyond physical death (Christians refer to it as being saved). That issue itself is outside the scope of this section of the website. The Christianity explained section of this website does include the subject. Simply speaking though, life after death is clearly part of the faith 'package' as far as we are concerned here.

Bear in mind too that there are many more benefits achievable from Christianity than the points raised here. It really changes lives for the better if we fully embrace it!

3.    WE MUST BE READY TO BELIEVE!

Due to Gods invisibility within our world (which is discussed later under that Heading 6 already mentioned), it is almost certain that doubts about faith will occur from time to time for even the most committed Christian. Doubt is certainly not a bad thing in itself because if properly examined and evaluated, as it arises during our walk of faith, it should lead to ever stronger belief. The article, How to deal with doubts has been devoted to the subject in this section of the website.

Religious denial on the other hand offers no hope of belief or faith. I maintain that atheism in itself is baseless because there is no evidence available, and never will be, to prevent the possibility of Gods existence. Now atheists could say the same about Gods existence, i.e. belief in it is baseless. And I can place myself in their shoes, because I did spend many years as a strong willed atheist! But if, as was the case with me, they have never looked for that evidence; never tried faith for themselves, then their argument is in a fatally flawed position.

Truly, all that is needed as a starting point for belief is an open mind.  We actually have to be ready to believe!

4.    EVIDENCE AND ITS FRAMEWORK

Firstly I want to make it clear that genuine faith is not based on wishful thinking. In fact, ‘blind faith’ is almost guaranteed to fail when it is eventually put to the test by a major life disaster (i.e. when it is most needed). As I have already written, just like me, you should find sound evidence of Gods presence, on which to base your own faith and belief, if you know where to look. And it is my aim to provide you with guidance in that regard.

But, what did I mean when I used the term genuine evidence earlier in the intro, when referring to proving Gods existence? Well, for someone of my professional background, definitions for demonstrating proof through evidence inevitably include words like valid, relevant” and sufficient.

In simple words that would relate to a Christian, the evidence for building belief in God should fit the following framework. Firstly, it must be based on our own experiences (it is valid evidence). Secondly, It must  be compatible with the Bible (it is relevant evidence). Finally, we must find enough of it to satisfy ourselves (it is sufficient evidence).

Bear in mind that I do not mean that one must be an expert on the Bible to begin that search. (A brief explanation of Christianity is provided in the final section of this website.) But, however, it is true that evidence of Gods presence actually does become all the more obvious with the growth of our Biblically based knowledge of him.

So, for a Christian, true ‘belief in God ultimately comes from evidence interpreted through the framework explained above.

5.    BUILDING THAT FAITH AND BELIEF

The words faith and beliefare sometimes used interchangeably by religious writers, but on other occasions are used in a way that gives each word a distinctive meaning.  The two terms can be used to actually help us describe the way forward during our search for both religious truth and related experiences in life.

In this regard, the word faith is used to describe a theoretical understanding, based on Bible scriptures, that we accept as truth. On the other hand, the word belief is used to describe,what we accept as real as a result of our life experiences, when they fit our evaluation framework, i.e. what we come to believe beyond reasonable doubt through our justifiable reasoning processes.

To a large extent one builds on the other. For example, faith is often based on a viewpoint that sits well with what we have already accepted through the basis of evidence. And on the other hand, experience-based evidence can also arise through putting our previously unproven faith to the test.

The development of belief in God will not occur in the same timely manner for everyone of course. We are all different. Each of us are affected by our own individual genetic bases and the environments in which our personalities have been forged. Some of us will require more valid and relevant evidence to believe than others, as a result. And the extremity of belief building events in life will obviously vary from person to person.

5.1    How do we begin our search?

Ok, so how do we start to look for all this so-called “evidence”? In the simplest of terms, first and foremost, we need to develop a personal relationship with God and begin to engage him within our lives (connect with him). This normally includes joining a community of faith (a church).

It is there within our lives, through that relationship, that we attempt to prove God’s presence beyond reasonable doubt. And It is there that we should find all the evidence, based on Biblical guidance, we need to build belief and thus support our faith.

With guidance, it should even be possible for you to identify some evidence of his presence in your past life, i.e. whilst you were still an agnostic or even an atheist. But by opening your life to him, that evidence will become much more obvious.

Personally I have found more than enough evidence to conclude that, as the Bible highlights, God genuinely tries to assist us in life, and is ready to assist all the more if we completely open our lives to him: commit ourselves to him in faith. As far as I am concerned ... and I am trying to make it very clear ... he is in effect more than willing to reveal himself, to each one of us, when we do open ourselves to him in this way. I have consulted many other Christians who have also proven to themselves that this is true.

As suggested above, there is a need to join a community of faith: that is, a church. Bear in mind, any church is much more than just a building in which people meet. It is really about the people inside. They support each other, literally as the Body of Christ, through the building up of each others belief and faith and throughout the ups and downs of life itself. And I will elaborate on this later. Bear in mind too, that God can deliver some serious evidence of his existence within the Church, if we are ready and willing to place ourselves in the appropriate community of faith. I will also elaborate later on that.

I have chosen to arrange the actual evidence gathering, based on my own results, into two specific areas: firstly, learning about and experiencing God within the Church; secondly, recognising his presence within our everyday lives, largely through the practical use of faith. From my perspective, belief in God, as a Christian, is developed most effectively through fully using these practises concurrently. That is, continually increasing our knowledge of God and our potential relationship with him, then putting that growing knowledge to use with maturing faith, building our personal bond with him ever upwards during the process.

I present details later, but I found that actual evidence of Gods presence, that was most convincing to me, was available from two sources one from each of the two specific areas for gathering evidence indicated above. Firstly, through involvement in the Born Again/ Charismatic movement of the wider Church. Secondly when maintaining a deep ongoing, loyal and trusting relationship with God. His presence becomes all the more concrete, within the ongoing relationship, as it gets ever closer.

There are certainly other areas to gain evidence in my opinion as well. I have done my best to cover all bases in this article, and other articles that support it, within this section of the website.

Anyway, let us firstly examine how we may enter into a relationship with God, then look at the two basic areas for building belief and faith.

5.2    Developing that personal relationship with God

How do we start with this aim in mind, i.e. beginning a relationship with God? Well, we need to apply two steps here. They are both important; both need to be applied during the process.

Not surprisingly, the first step involves theoretically understanding God and his potential relationship with us: who he is, what he expects of us, what he offers us through faith; where and how his presence can impact us; how to walk through life with him. This step of building knowledge is important, as you may guess, because it is very hard to believe in anything at all without first understanding what we are trying to believe in. In other words, searching for some fairytale god in our lives is unlikely to lead to the long lasting belief and faith that has been evident within Christianity for some 2,000 years.

For a brief explanation of Christianity and our God please read Christianity explained” on this website. It should give you a head startin that required understanding. But further reading and study is necessary of course in the long term, especially in regard to the New Testament (the Jesus bits). The outcome of your Bible studies, at this stage, should be greatly improved if you are guided by your church of choice (see the next heading in this article).

The all important second step begins with accepting through faith that God really is there, as defined within the Bible: loving each of us unconditionally and wanting us to enter into a relationship with him. Initially we simply just accept or suppose that he is in this world and within our lives. Imagining his existence in this way does not make him any less real, as you should subsequently find out for yourself.

We should begin to regularly spend time in his company, talking to him, looking for his guidance and wisdom, sensing his love, and indeed being grateful that this powerful being wants a relationship with each of us. Of course, I am not saying this all happens easily for us. We are human beings after all, arent we?

With the passing of time God desires that the relationship will further deepen. Essentially, he dearly loves each one of us, and wants us to come to actually love him back. Jesus himself gave us this directive, Love the Lord your God with all your Heart and all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. [Mark 12:30].

I completely understand that may seem a tall order when we are just starting out on the path of faith. I admit I could not even contemplate how to actually love God when I took my first steps of faith. Firstly, I did come to recognise that when we get our heads around what he actually did for us through the life and death of Jesus, we are encouraged to open our hearts towards him. I can say with confidence that recorded historical events actually support the Biblical account of events, rather than challenge them. Secondly and importantly for myself, the relationship between God and me slowly but surely kindled deeper emotions as I relaxed into it. Of course this just travels along at a pace relative to each of us individually.

Finally though, you may wonder does he want a relationship with you? My word he does! Our God loves each one of us dearly. Actually, the Bible tells us that It does not matter what bad things we have done in the past, because he has already cleaned the slate. We really can accept, through faith, that he did that over two thousand years ago when Jesus (God incarnate) died on the cross. Hence one of his titles is,Lamb of God”. He sacrificed his life to redeem/ pay for our wrongdoings, so that all we have to do now is concentrate on our relationship with him.

5.3    Experiencing God within a community of faith

One of the first steps towards actual Christian faith and belief should be to join that community of faith, i.e. a church, as I suggested earlier. The Church is essentially the fellowship that nurtures and sustains Christians.

As already advised, attendance in that community of faith firstly offers us an environment to learn theoretically about our God and his relationship to us: to assist with the development of our faith. There will be Bible readings and interpretations for example. And almost every faith leader (pastor, priest, father, vicar, minister etc), will give sermons (talks) detailing how Christian faith relates to real life.

You can also be led into a better understanding of the Bible, possibly by taking part in after-hours classes when you are ready. What can I say? There is so much wisdom apparent there in the Bible. And please do not underestimate the possibilities because it was written so long ago. No, it is still very relevant to us today in our 21st Century society. And interestingly, it can work just as well in the affluent West as it does in poorer developing nations. I know that all this Bible stuff might not look too exciting to the uninitiated (mmm yes, I felt the same way myself once). Anyway please try it. It really is worth the effort.

Undoubtedly, from my analysis, regular attendances (i.e. congregating with God’s faithful followers in fellowship) will also provide evidence that God is present in this setting  if we are open to his loving presence. With regards to faith, its power compounds due to the coming together of believers, and that provides God with the opportunity to make his presence all the more evident

I doubt that I am special in that I have witnessed, and experienced for myself, some very credible belief and faith building stuff within the wider Church. The supporting article, “God within the Church”, in this section of the website, discusses the types of events in detail that may indeed be witnessed or experienced there.

It is a matter of individual choice whether we attend a branch of the Protestant church: Traditional/ Mainline, Evangelical, Pentecostal or alternatively seek fellowship within a Catholic church. Our own personalities are often better aligned with one approach or another. There are significant benefits and issues to be aware of, specific to each type of church. The choice in fact requires serious deliberation. I have tried to provide assistance within that article, “God within the Church.

I have already stated that one particular area of the greater Church offers more upfront evidence of Gods presence than others. I have actually had ‘my socks rocked’ in the past when attending services within the  Born Again or Charismatic movement. Although Pentecostal churches were the founding force of this movement’, there are now many other communities of faith, i.e. in most of the Christian church groupings previously mentioned, that provide related services and events.

It is no surprise that this area of Christian fellowship is fast growing. After you find a genuine church of this nature, you will have a good chance of experiencing quite powerful ... I could say dramatic” at times ... evidence of Gods presence in and through services. The events that are available to be witnessed are described in St Pauls letters in the Bibles New Testament. [Please see 1 Corinthians 12 in the Bible.] At this point, please bear with me and resist dismissing what I have written. And remember that my career was based on the ability to effectively analyse and reason.

The Bible explains that the events, which I will get to shortly, occur as a direct result of the manifestation of so-called gifts of the Spirit”. These gifts are held by those, within the congregation, who have already been anointed/ touched by the Holy Spirit just as it happened over 2,000 years ago in the early Christian Church. This particular Holy Spirit driven revival, now underway throughout the world, actually took off in the early 1900s. Similar spiritual revivals have occurred previously in earlier centuries as well, as and when the Spirit had seen fit to empower them.

It all sounds a bit hard to believe, you might think? And yep, I cannot deny that! Well ... like me, you will be surprised if you head into that area of the greater Church. In my early days of exposure to it, I deeply analysed the events. All I can write here is: I both witnessed and experienced serious stuff happening again and again. I saw real and significant healings, direct and pertinent messages of advice passed on from God to individuals including myself, people speaking in so-called tongues.

What else can I say? It happened. And I just cannot see any rational explanation of causality other than spiritual. I had to personally get involved; be on the actual receiving end. And I did that! If you too want solid evidence, that really fits that evaluation framework I previously described, then you can try this for yourself.

If you wish to go straight to that Born Again/ Charismatic subject now, then begin reading at Heading 4, Experiencing the Holy Spirits presence” in the article I continually refer to, God within the Church”. Bear in mind though, that some of the churches in the movement may not work well for everyone in the long term. Personally, I just bit the bullet and attended them. I am very pleased at this stage in my spiritual journey that I did so. I want to make it clear though that, although the available experiences are belief building to say the least, they are not to be viewed as the be all and end all when building Christian faith. They are to be understood as a means to build up belief which can, in turn, support our Bible based faith.

As I have already indicated there are plenty of church options available to us. The presence of God can generally be recognised within all types of Christian churches, but it can be a lot more subtle in some of them. Again please access the article, God within the Church to better understand how different areas of the greater Church operate, and what happens within services.

Maybe you did try the Church years ago and it didnt work for you then. I sympathise because I had been there, done that myself and it had not worked for me first time round either. (Looking back now, however, I can see I rejected an offer of help from God at that time.) But everything changed for me, many years later, during the second attempt. So, I encourage you to read the above article with an open mind. I have been careful not to cajole or exaggerate. I have tried to honestly explain it as I see it. 

As a practising Christian, I am absolutely certain that everyone’s belief and faith grows much faster through regular church attendance. There are very positive outcomes from strong faith, so it is worth putting in that hour or two weekly with these communities of faith, to be a party to their services on a regular basis. That contact with the Church can also assist anyone to more readily understand the beauty of Christianity, a religion that emphasises the loving nature of God; the concept of grace!

Once a genuine understanding of grace is realised, ones outlook of God is changed forever. Do not underestimate the terms significance. It relates directly to Gods unconditional love for each one of us. I unashamedly go on and on about grace, but please bear with me!

With time, those who attend churches inevitably develop a strong bonding with others in the congregation. That bond is grounded in common faith. Unless there is something drastically amiss within that fellowship, it will stand by and support any member facing major life issues. From my experience they will go the extra mile, ready to assist as well or even more strongly than our closest un-churched friends.

Importantly, indeed very importantly, we do need to be baptized; become true members of the Body of Christ (the Church), as soon as we can feel comfortable with that  once we have come to see that something genuine and life changing is being offered to us. There will be a requirement to accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour within the process. I fully understand, as an ex-atheist, that personal comfort with such a position may seem a long way off at first. But, trust me, when you look into it with an open mind, the specialness of being a member of the Body of Christ will grow on you as a positive option faster than you would expect!

Indeed God, in the person of the Holy Spirit, can really open our hearts and minds to this option if he literally gets half a chance. Sounds a bit way out? Mmmmmm! Just wait and see for yourself.

5.4   Recognising God's presence within our daily lives

The second category for gathering genuine evidence is the application of faith within our day-to-day lives. What I mean here is don’t just leave your belief and faith building behind when you walk out of weekly church services. Ultimately this is about learning to walk with God; fully engaging him within our day-to-day lives and thereby recognising his presence there. Again, bear with me, and I will elaborate soon on how I came to believe it.

When I first decided to ‘have another crack’ at faith, i.e. to test it out, I struggled to find a starting point for this type of belief building. Eventually though, I figured that I should trial what actually was on offer in the Christian Bible as to how God can interact with us in daily life   and then put it to the test! Of course, I am certainly not saying that I am the first to have done this.

And I am not saying that it just jumps off the Bibles pages at you either! I mean I thoroughly analysed those pages. Bear in mind that I undertook that evaluation decades ago. So I have had plenty of time to put the results to the test. And I have interviewed many other committed Christians to validate my own results. Likewise, I have had clergy with Doctorates in Theology check out my Biblical interpretations. And I have interacted with well qualified and experienced clergy to ensure my findings really did fit that framework.

Getting back to the point, I have developed a detailed supporting article, “God within our lives in this section of the website, to better assist you in how to go about the task. Although other examples of Gods presence are mentioned, there are two major subjects that I refer to within it. One subject is prayer, that can be used by us to bring about positive change for ourselves and our dear ones in particular. Indeed, we should endeavour to change the world through our prayers! Prayer does work.

Following basic ground rules from the Bible does help with successful outcomes and I have laid them out as best I can, in the above mentioned article. I do suggest there, for examples, that prayers should be kept simple, applied with as much faith in results as possible, and continued regularly. Negatives to be avoided during prayer are selfishness, greed, obsessiveness and asking for inappropriate outcomes. Now the success of prayer will never be scientifically provable (again, God sees to that) but I am very confident indeed that you will, like me, find from your own analysis of results that it works none-the-less. And simply, this is because he loves us! (You will come to find this, if you stick with faith.)

In that article mentioned above, the second subject is God’s guiding and helping hand. We can use God’s guidance to ensure we are headed in the ‘right direction’ in spiritual growth, personal relationships, family life, acquiring essential assets, education, work, social responsibilities etc.

In fact, from analysis of my own life, the pressure exerted on us by God if we do deviate from that ‘right direction’, whether requested by us or not, provides some strong evidence of his presence there. Even an atheist, who really looks back retrospectively over his or her life, should be able to recognise some of God’s efforts – that is ‘roadblocks, warning signs or omens that are used by him to foil our poor decisions – to head off seriously ‘bad moves’ in life. Yes, I am saying that God even tries to help atheists towards a direction in life that is in everybodys best interest! I explain how to recognise Gods hand at work in our lives in that article, God within our lives.

Now I have described above how our loving God can guide us even without being asked if, in his view of our lives, we are not headed in the right direction. But if we actually acknowledge his presence in our lives, and we look to, and even ask for, his guidance then we can really gain the benefits that are on offer to us. And when we do gratefully and knowingly follow that guidance, we can then rely on providence (i.e. God’s ‘helping hand’) to assist us towards success in that direction. What I mean here is that, against the odds, we just see things falling into place as we move forward.

The best advice I can offer is to invite God into every aspect of your life. Ask for that guidance and assistance with all your important decisions and tasks ahead. Talk to him; engage with him, in effect grounding yourself in his presence as you work away at those endeavours of yours. Id be awfully surprised if your life didn't become all the easier and contented as a direct result. His influence should make itself more and more obvious, as this application of faith heightens.

Mind you,  I am not saying that your Christian life is to be just about you! (Indeed that is far from what is expected of us, and I repeat that guidance often.) However, God clearly wants to help us all in our lives, and the outcome of his assistance does help build that body of evidence upon which belief and faith can in turn be developed. As far as I am concerned, the Bible states that Gods helping hand is available to us all, and analysis of my life again indicates that it really is there.

As one’s life passes, from my experience, the evidence largely mounts up from subtle examples arising from the use of faith. But, every so often, something seemingly iron-clad impacts. And this creates a real backbone for that required ‘body of evidence’. In that article, “God within our lives” I have offered some examples from my own experiences merely to demonstrate possibilities. Ultimately, though, it is your experiences, evaluated within that previously explained framework, that you must ‘file away’ to build and support your own faith!

I highlighted earlier in this article, that maintaining a deep ongoing day-to-day relationship with God could provide obvious evidence of his presence for us. So, one final piece of advice here: the closer we lovingly walk with God, and the more we trust him in that walk, the greater will be the clarity of his presence in our lives. For a starter his helping hand (providence) will be ever more obvious as we stride forth in step with his guidance. I can assure you, from my own experiences and subsequent analysis of events, that walking closely with him in everyday life highlights just how real and loving he is. I expand  on that topic under Heading 5, Walk in Trust also in the article, “God within our lives. I have certainly explained how to involve God more deeply in our lives there, under that Heading.

Yes! ... Yes! ... I know all this may not be easy for a beginner to accept or even understand, because I have obviously had the experience of being one myself. But, I can assure you that it all just blossoms forth from within that ever deepening relationship described above. It does take time and dedication to get there but it really is worth it. Each of us can come to love him like a bestie (although knowing the awesome power he possesses and that ultimately he is the Big Boss). And boy, will he love you back. You will know that from the sense of peace, contentment and purpose that flows into your life as a result!

Of course there are commitments that come with that deep relationship. It is most definitely, as the saying goes, not just about you. Also, what I have written in this article does not mean that life is going to be a bed of roses for all of us of course. However, he will always be there to support us through the bad stuff in life. I write that from experience too.

6.    OUR INVISIBLE GOD

Why does God choose to be invisible? Most of us do wonder about this at some time or other, and I believe it is worth an explanation from me at this point. Belief in God would be so easy if he chose to make his presence obvious, in a tangible sense, to us all. After all, the fundamentalist atheists of the world would have no argument at all if God was clearly visible to us all, eh?

That aside, why does God hide himself? Think hard, it is not easy to conceive of an Earth where God is actually visible; where everyone is totally aware of his presence on a daily basis. Such knowledge of Gods being would, in fact, seriously impact both our freedom and way of life as we know them now. They would be transformed into an existence not unlike the one the Jews had within the Biblical Book of Exodus (as they fled from slavery in Egypt). Like them, we could have an in-your-face God, with an obvious involvement in our lives. Most probably every action, every decision in life, would be over shadowed by that awesome presence.

However, when aware of Gods existence through the use of faith, we can see that he wants another sort of relationship with each of us. In fact, I can see that he wants us to commit ourselves to him; to want to know him, and build him into our lives through choice rather than have it forced onto us. As I have indicated already, Gods presence can at times actually become as obvious as if he was physically visible.

Because we do enter into that relationship with him in the way he has chosen for us, then inevitably from our side it becomes based on trust, love and gladness. From Gods side in that relationship we receive all that flows from his gift of grace.

Although deviating a little, it is worth adding that Christians believe that Jesus Christ was the literal personification of God’s grace, i.e. Gods grace made human. And in that context it was through Jesus that our God actually revealed himself most fully to us. Most importantly, God’s boundless love for us human beings is highlighted in his revelation through Christ. The relationship of God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, three persons in one God, is explained in the article, The Holy Trinity.

As already indicated, analysis of Biblical and ancient secular (non religious) writings do indicate that there is a very good chance that these revealing events did actually occur in historyExposure to events still occurring in the modern day Churchthrough our individual personal experiences particularly within the so-called Born Again/ Charismatic movement even supports accounts of what is written there in the Bible. Again we thus see that belief, based on analysis of real events in life, is used to support Bible-based faith. Simply, if used effectively, the two (i.e. belief and faith) go round and round as life befalls us, building and supporting each other.

Now an atheist will really struggle with all this, just as I did once myself. But, if you the reader desires belief in our invisible God, and faith in his promises, then you just have to commit to trying it for yourself. The theory of Christianity is included in the final section of this website, as I also mentioned earlier. You can access the Section Contents and choose articles there or begin with that sections Lead Article, Christianity explained”.  I do caution you again that knowledge of Christianity alone cannot provide the faith and belief building experiences that can be gained through joining a fellowship of faith and attending services there.

7.    REAL PERSONAL FREEDOM

Through the ‘walk of faith’ we can be freed from the innate bad habits and selfishness that tend to drag us down. There is no need anymore to worry about things that might go wrong; be overly concerned about making mistakes (God will use them to build us up); keep up with the Joneses; ‘suck up’ to anyone to get on in life; or be fearful of anything! This is real personal freedom.

Accept Jesus as Lord and Saviour. Love the Lord. Follow Gods will, including Biblical directions. Aim for holiness rather than worldliness as best you can. These should all be our basic goals as Christians. God doesnt expect us to be perfect. No, he just wants us to try to live the life he wants of us. This too, strangely you might think, assists us to realise our personal freedom. Actually it leads to a life where we are most likely to enjoy true peace and contentment.

As I see it, each of us can reach our spiritual and personal potential in life, if we can keep in touch with God’s plan, or intentions, for us. Note that when I say plan I mean what God sees as the best way for us as individuals to achieve most good in all facets of our lives and attain that contentedness in life. (I am talking about the so-called Will of God here.) Note also that this potential doesnt relate to the kind of personal success that the media projects as desirable, for example financial riches or fame. Personally, I do not believe that our lives are mapped out from the moment we are conceived, or anything like that. In fact, for most of us I consider that Gods plan is fluid and adjusts to our choices in life (right or wrong).  

Remember that God, although pervading and sustaining the universe from within, also transcends it. Thus, because his basis is external to our universe’s space/ time continuum, God instantly ‘sees’ the future outcomes of the actions we are planning. Imagine the value of having a guide who can do that!

Again ... yes ... as I have already indicated, do not get the impression that life will always be smooth sailing’. God has made no such promise. Life will still have its ups and downs, whether we have faith or not. Pain and suffering will inevitably occur somewhere through life. Please see the article, Suffering and Evil. It is true to say that we will be better able to cope with lifes hard knocks, when they do occur, as a result of our faith.

Importantly though, the more we are able to place discipline in our lives and look to God’s so-called plans for us (with his help of course), the more ‘freedom’ we shall achieve. That sounds paradoxical, doesn’t it? But it is true! It does not mean a boring life either. Again, from my experiences, there can be plenty of excitement along the way.

Of course it is up to every one of us as to how far to go with this, and at what stage in life. What I can say is that true peace and real freedom grows in proportion to how far we do choose to travel down this path. Every day can become a close walk with the Lord  ones life is thus sanctified. If we are willing to get to that stage in life, God then becomes a glaringly obvious presence. I cannot in all truth say that I am an example of one who has continually stayed on that close walk, but I do know how gratifying it is when I do so. And I do mean that!

8.    NECESSARY FORMALITIES

On the formal front, there is a need to enter that community of faith (the Church) as soon as possible. So much can be gained there.

It is also necessary to understand and appreciate his word (the Bible). Guidance from experts is useful here to gain best value. Advice from knowledgeable church leaders will be of great value during sermons/ talks etc. Numerous publications, often produced on a monthly or quarterly basis, exist at Christian bookshops to lead you through the Bible so that you will not be overwhelmed by the sheer number of pages confronting you. Such books and periodicals will also prevent you from reading more into individual verses than appropriate, by providing balanced theological views based on the whole Bible not just the words in front of you.

I again emphasise that we should not underestimate the positive benefits that can be gained through Biblical knowledge. For example, the Bible includes a whole-of-life philosophy that will never let us down.

9. CONCLUSION

For most of us rational, somewhat cynical humans, faith does not just arrive like a ready-to-go computer program or i-phone app. We cannot just load it into our brains and believe! Faith is generally accumulated, getting stronger and stronger, as our knowledge and experiences of it befall us.

Let us be honest and admit that most of us are a bit lazy. Some are more so than others (maybe that includes me). You know what I mean: why not put off going to church, or setting aside time for prayer until tomorrow or the day after? I don’t think it is uncommon for even God’s most faithful to keep their relationships with him on the ‘backburner’ at times. We might like to think that we only need call on him when we want him, when things go wrong? Unfortunately, it does not work best like that! Under these circumstances, belief and faith grow slowly.

As I have already stated, it is absolutely true with faith that the more we put in then the more we get out. So, my closing advice is – go for it! It is a different way of life, and it does bring responsibilities with it. But, the meaning and purpose that it will add to your life is profound stuff. The greatest outcome is ‘freedom’.

Again, the final section of this website provides the basis of Christianity. The Lead Article, “Christianity explained” offers my opinion on what sets the religion apart from its monotheist siblings, Judaism and Islam. I have also tried to demystify it. As complex as it might appear to an outsider, Christianity has simple core truths. And to my mind, the religion is largely self proving ... but that is all explained!

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