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January 22, 2014

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CH Spurgeon's "Morning and Evening," November 9, Evening, makes me wonder if the Prince of Preachers might have written a similar blog post if he had read about this absurdity back in his day. In his commentary which is clearly written to believers is an encouragement to "wage constant war against doubts of our God" (not take a year off). He calls doubting God "sin" and "not a little sin either, but in the highest degree criminal." "Our God does not deserve to be so basely suspected."

Thanks for the head's up and your take on the matter.

Is this a response to another "experiment" a while back in which Atheists were asked to "try praying?"

Ryan Bell doesn’t know if he’ll go back. He mentions “detox”. This is not an experiment. This is not benign doubt. This looks more like the beginning of the rejection of theism outright.

If you’re a Christian you can’t live as an atheist. Even for a second. If you’re truly living as an atheist, then you’re not a Christian. Easy enough. Pretend atheism anyone?

What you can do is be an atheist.

Next up...giving up that whole "food and water" idea for a year. Let's just see how it goes.

This is terrifying. I couldn't live without God for even a day or two, much less a year!

How can you get up every morning knowing that all you see in the world - the pain and suffering, the mindless pop culture/celebrity culture, complete purposelessness and meaninglessness and your own daily failings - that this is all there is to life? It's a wonder I made it to age 18 without knowing Christ! I was the most miserable creature on the planet!

How can you live without the words of God each day cleaning out your mind from your own sin and from the darkness there is in this world?

Plus we know the enemy is going to love this and put real doubts and temptations into his life - and if he wants to stick with his experiment, he will choose not to pray and ask for help!

I don't know. Seems like a recipe for disaster.

Plus, if this man is truly born again, he won't be able to stand it. There's no way the conviction and the emptiness of it would be bearable.

If it doesn't bother him much, then I'd question whether he was truly born again in the first place.

***

Ah, now I see:

"If I were beginning this journey having been, up until December 31, 2013, an ardent fundamentalist Christian, I would say there is no way to suddenly disregard God. But that is not my story. Mine has been a slow erosion of the beliefs I was raised with. Unanswered and, indeed, off limits questions, knocking at the door of my mind, refusing, finally, to be ignored. Indeed, anyone who once believed in God, and is now an atheist, has walked this road. To finally take the God glasses off is not a heroic act or a herculean feat, but the logical next step in my exploration of faith. What if it were true that there is no god, as I have suspected for a very long time? My “trying on” atheism is more like taking the next step and allowing myself to embrace my serious doubts about God’s existence. By removing my “God glasses” (both beliefs and actions) I am freed to see the world in a different way."

He was already deeply doubting.

Now he's just walking away entirely.

This is tragic. I hope fellow believers reach out to him in love.

So basically, your are "open" to doubt as long as that "doubt" is limited to the kind of doubt that cannot produce the end of faith.

How do you define "open"?

Think about it, what’s the purpose of doubting? The end goal should be the discovery of truth.

Doubt cannot be genuine if you're already presuming you know what the truth is.

brgulker,

to your point >> Doubt cannot be genuine if you're already presuming you know what the truth is.

It is a strength of science that there is a built-in skepticism to the whole of research and experimentation. All experiments are to be reproducible, able to be analyzed by others to determine if their results were viable, or if other factors not included in the original experiment could have altered the results. This degree of doubt which we call falsifiability creates real scientific progress. It's the minimizing of this facet of scientific pursuit that leads to true doubt concerning whether such aren't at heart pseudo-scientific.

I have lived long enough to have heard the phrase "the certain results of science" to be nothing other than the kiss of death when further research reverses the theory. But I don't give up on science. I just see red flags raised when skeptics of a given theory are written off as "deniers."

The only problem I see here is assuming that Bell is a born again believer. Nothing that he has presented so far has proved to me that he is. IMHO this entire discussion is a mute point.

He must be an atheist or at a minimum a strong agnostic already. I've rarely met a true believer but rather see the truth of Ludwig Feuerbach's statement "In practice all men are atheists; they deny their faith by their actions." This is just another example.

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