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Spirituality & Religious Beliefs Contemplate your place and purpose in the universe.

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Old 29th October 2017, 1:58 PM   #271
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Excellent. Many, if not most, are notorious for picking and choosing scripture. The vast majority of believers are considerably influenced by their up-bringing and denomination as it pertains to how to interpret the bible as a whole. I have yet to meet, hear, read anyone who is not influenced by some bias. Go and find a group of people open to discussion and find a good copy of the original GREEK translation of the scriptures. Have other versions on hand to compare. You will find some very interesting 'differences.'
I'm currently reading through Daniel and John, and I'm always surprised at how different things look when you read and entire book from start to finish. Instead of picking a parable from the NT or a story from the OT, reading a book from start to finish offers an entirely different perspective. Some of the stuff is just downright weird. John is a weird gospel as it is, but reading it from start to finish has been even weirder. A lot of this stuff is more palatable when you pick and choose a certain story of verse, which is obviously why people tend to do so.

I read Exodus last summer, and, now, reading Joshua, I'm more and more aware of the fact that the Israelites were not exactly monotheistic. It looks more like they believed in many gods and thought Yahweh was the best god.
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Old 29th October 2017, 2:01 PM   #272
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I recently heard someone describe his faith as half of his brain is atheist, and half of his brain believes in God. I feel like that describes me pretty well. There is a part of my brain that says all of this religions business is complete nonsense and another part that thinks this world is just too weird to have come into existence by accident and with no clear purpose.
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Old 30th October 2017, 8:00 PM   #273
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I recently heard someone describe his faith as half of his brain is atheist, and half of his brain believes in God. I feel like that describes me pretty well. There is a part of my brain that says all of this religions business is complete nonsense and another part that thinks this world is just too weird to have come into existence by accident and with no clear purpose.
Agnostic, no? There is a deep and undeniably disconnect between the god of religion(s) and the real world. DEEP. This is why people seem more and more skeptical of the existence of a deity as mostly described by Judeo-Christian ranks. I think people who do abandon their standing and existence in this natural world and sincerely try to make sense of it are in your boat.
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Old 30th October 2017, 8:10 PM   #274
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I'm currently reading through Daniel and John, and I'm always surprised at how different things look when you read and entire book from start to finish. Instead of picking a parable from the NT or a story from the OT, reading a book from start to finish offers an entirely different perspective. Some of the stuff is just downright weird. John is a weird gospel as it is, but reading it from start to finish has been even weirder. A lot of this stuff is more palatable when you pick and choose a certain story of verse, which is obviously why people tend to do so.

I read Exodus last summer, and, now, reading Joshua, I'm more and more aware of the fact that the Israelites were not exactly monotheistic. It looks more like they believed in many gods and thought Yahweh was the best god.
I have consistently found that when you approach such inconsistencies or peculiarities that believers have a very difficult time explaining them or reconciling such ideas. When I first started learning about scripture, I sought out people who were eager to seek a more academic approach. Not easy to do. Like I said, too many people are indelibly influenced by their upbringing, culture, biases. There's a reason why there are HUNDREDS of different 'christians' denominations alone.
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Old 31st October 2017, 9:00 AM   #275
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People having believed IN THE GOD 150,000 years ago? Where do you come up with this????

It is COMMON that traditional christianity teaches and emphasizes that people GO TO GOD and ACCEPT HIM. It is very common practice to remind people that it is their choice. Also, this dubious 'FEELING' is often something that self-proclaimed believers like to use w/o any fruitful foundation.

Christianity often claims that you are saved by grace alone, BUT those whose works, actions do not reflect what is Christ-like are NOT saved. If your life does not reflect the grace of Christ, YOU ARE NOT SAVED no matter how you want to dismiss the 'works' part of your faith/practice.
Humans have an innate yearning for spirituality. If we existed 150,000 years ago, then we had a religion. Maybe the worshiped sticks and rocks, or maybe it was Judaism. No written record exists. However, we do have proof that oral traditions can be extremely accurate.

I've read the New Testament several times. Jesus literally states that some people are chosen and that nothing can take their faith away. Yes in the book of James it is said that faith without works is dead, but those works come from faith, not the other way around.

My point being that there are those who have a yearning for God, but cannot have faith because they are not chosen. I'm likely one of those.
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Old 31st October 2017, 9:38 AM   #276
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Humans have an innate yearning for spirituality. If we existed 150,000 years ago, then we had a religion. Maybe the worshiped sticks and rocks, or maybe it was Judaism. No written record exists. However, we do have proof that oral traditions can be extremely accurate.

I've read the New Testament several times. Jesus literally states that some people are chosen and that nothing can take their faith away. Yes in the book of James it is said that faith without works is dead, but those works come from faith, not the other way around.

My point being that there are those who have a yearning for God, but cannot have faith because they are not chosen. I'm likely one of those.
150,000 years ago, we were hunter/gatherers and living in tribal societies. We have evidence of this. This is all but gone but there are still some hunter/gatherer tribes left on this planet today. They generally worship their ancestors, believe in ghosts, good and bad spirits. It has little to do with religion as we know it. I suppose it is a form of spirituality. But having them right now, still doing what they do, is very educational for us as to what we likely ALL did many years ago. In addition to the artifacts that we've discovered.

It was only about 10,000 years ago, when we moved from a primarily hunter/gatherer existence to a farming mode of subsistence that suddenly, organized religion seemed to emerge and with it, the idea of "one god." Even then, as someone else noted above me, the Jews maintained the idea, as evidenced all throughout the OT, that there seemed to be other gods, but that God was the best of them all. It evolved as time went on to what we read in the NT.

We NEEDED this new form of religion. We suddenly all lived together in groups, large groups...not just tribes. Not everyone was catching and harvesting their own food. We had a few that we doing it for all. We had classes. We had orders. We NEEDED order. People also needed a way to explain their pain and suffering and the troubles that befell them. That's always been the case, but our brains are changing and have been over the years. There is a theory right now that we are in the midst of evolving into a new species. We have never before taken in so much information on a daily basis.

I have not decided what I believe, but it just doesn't sit right with me that there is supposedly ONE path to God and "heaven" and yet...it has done nothing but change for us humans for hundreds of thousands of years. Of course...if you literally believe in the Bible, we haven't existed that long, and even if we did, Jesus came to forgive everyone of their past sins anyway.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 4:33 AM   #277
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I've read the New Testament several times. Jesus literally states that some people are chosen and that nothing can take their faith away. Yes in the book of James it is said that faith without works is dead, but those works come from faith, not the other way around.

My point being that there are those who have a yearning for God, but cannot have faith because they are not chosen. I'm likely one of those.
Its true that the bible - and Jesus in particular - says he chooses who he reveals himself to. But ..... the desiring to know god (which you have specifically expressed) is also stated as being an indication you have been chosen - or at least called. That desire would not arise - unless he decided to draw you to him. EG:

- “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”
- "So Jesus added, 'Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come'
- “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away”
- "You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will remain"
- "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me."

My interpretation is that the spirit\god searches a mans heart. Sees what his motivations are and his general approach to life is. He knows this essentially from birth - he recognizes we are all sinners and all fall short of perfection. None of us are truly worthy or able to boast about being genuinely good people on our own - but he still sees something worthwhile. He exposes them to the teachings by awakening the desire for god - perhaps birthing them into family's that believe and follow god or leads them to it in some other way.

Essentially the fact you are desiring god - would indicate you are on the right path.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 1:48 PM   #278
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150,000 years ago, we were hunter/gatherers and living in tribal societies. We have evidence of this. This is all but gone but there are still some hunter/gatherer tribes left on this planet today. They generally worship their ancestors, believe in ghosts, good and bad spirits. It has little to do with religion as we know it. I suppose it is a form of spirituality. But having them right now, still doing what they do, is very educational for us as to what we likely ALL did many years ago. In addition to the artifacts that we've discovered.
It was only about 10,000 years ago, when we moved from a primarily hunter/gatherer existence to a farming mode of subsistence that suddenly, organized religion seemed to emerge and with it, the idea of "one god." Even then, as someone else noted above me, the Jews maintained the idea, as evidenced all throughout the OT, that there seemed to be other gods, but that God was the best of them all. It evolved as time went on to what we read in the NT.
We NEEDED this new form of religion. We suddenly all lived together in groups, large groups...not just tribes. Not everyone was catching and harvesting their own food. We had a few that we doing it for all. We had classes. We had orders. We NEEDED order. People also needed a way to explain their pain and suffering and the troubles that befell them. That's always been the case, but our brains are changing and have been over the years. There is a theory right now that we are in the midst of evolving into a new species. We have never before taken in so much information on a daily basis.
I have not decided what I believe, but it just doesn't sit right with me that there is supposedly ONE path to God and "heaven" and yet...it has done nothing but change for us humans for hundreds of thousands of years. Of course...if you literally believe in the Bible, we haven't existed that long, and even if we did, Jesus came to forgive everyone of their past sins anyway.
No, you are mixing up completely different species. Homo Erectus and Homo Habilus are not Homo Sapiens. They are similar in some ways, but have large morphological differences, especially in the cranial area. In terms of intelligence they may have been closer to chimps than Modern Humans.

Homo Sapiens has been around for approximately 50,000 years. The number is not quite certain, and there is currently no fossil record link between Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus. So, it's impossible to say when Homo Sapiens first appeared... or even how they appeared. Could have crash landed from a space ship and we can't prove yes or no.

With that said... Tribal cultures that exist in isolation and have been studied by Anthropologists would be most indicative of what things were like 50,000 years ago, but we cannot make the assumption that they have not changed over the last 50 millennium.

Regarding the Old Testament view of other Gods, you have to understand that Biblical language was never meant to be read like a textbook. This is a modern Western failure. The best example is the creation story of Genesis. Many people actually think that God is trying to provide a science text on how he built the earth... which is ridiculous to even consider. Every other part of the Bible uses allegory and symbols... but people stop and think this part is like science. If you actually read the creation story the core idea is showing the reader the Order of the Universe. Day rules over Night, Man rules over Animals, God rules over everything... ect. It also has two simultaneous creation stories set right next to each other... one focusing on natural order, and the other focused squarely on Humans.

So, when you hear Old Testament references to other gods, it should be viewed like Christians today talking about other religions or the God of Cable TV... ect. It doesn't mean that they even acknowledge the existence of these false gods, it just means they recognize other people worshiping them.
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Old 2nd November 2017, 2:04 PM   #279
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Its true that the bible - and Jesus in particular - says he chooses who he reveals himself to. But ..... the desiring to know god (which you have specifically expressed) is also stated as being an indication you have been chosen - or at least called. That desire would not arise - unless he decided to draw you to him. EG:
- “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day”
- "So Jesus added, 'Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed him to come'
- “Everyone whom the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to me I will never send away”
- "You did not choose Me, but I chose you. And I appointed you to go and bear fruit — fruit that will remain"
- "I love those who love me; And those who diligently seek me will find me."
My interpretation is that the spirit\god searches a mans heart. Sees what his motivations are and his general approach to life is. He knows this essentially from birth - he recognizes we are all sinners and all fall short of perfection. None of us are truly worthy or able to boast about being genuinely good people on our own - but he still sees something worthwhile. He exposes them to the teachings by awakening the desire for god - perhaps birthing them into family's that believe and follow god or leads them to it in some other way.
Essentially the fact you are desiring god - would indicate you are on the right path.
Two points of Scripture you may find interesting.

- "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

- For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden. One of you will say to me, “Then why does God still find fault? For who can resist His will?

I don't think it would be an accurate depiction to say God searches our hearts and chooses us. A better way to look at this is to say God formed our hearts to either love him or not.

I would desperately like to believe in God. However... the faith itself seems to slip in and out. I find that I can't cast aside the things God considers sinful. I have also had my greatest prayers answered... and still faith does not flow from that. I sometimes feel lost because of it.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 6:16 AM   #280
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- "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.

- For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom He wants to have mercy, and He hardens whom He wants to harden. One of you will say to me, “Then why does God still find fault? For who can resist His will?

I don't think it would be an accurate depiction to say God searches our hearts and chooses us. A better way to look at this is to say God formed our hearts to either love him or not.

I would desperately like to believe in God. However... the faith itself seems to slip in and out. I find that I can't cast aside the things God considers sinful. I have also had my greatest prayers answered... and still faith does not flow from that. I sometimes feel lost because of it.
So one of the interesting things about scripture is there is a lot of blank space - a lot of details that are left unsaid. This is I guess why there are a variety of different interpretations as to their ultimate meaning.

So for example the statement you provided from Jeramiah. "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." That would insinuate to me that his soul had an existence before entering the physical world as Jeramiah. That God already knew his nature before he incarnated in his body on earth. Thus Jeremiah was assigned a specific and important role in his life based on that knowledge. He came into this world with a pre-ordained purpose.

I don't think it means he never existed before that point - but that's just a personal view based on my own experiences and my own interpretation of scripture. I don't think god creates the final version of a being from scratch. Rather he creates something simple and allows it to grow, change and evolve over time while trying to guide that process in a positive direction. EG:"I am the true vine, and My Father is the keeper of the vineyard. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, and every branch that does bear fruit, He prunes to make it even more fruitful."


I follow the Christian teachings but I also believe other lesser masters and teachers have come and provided teachings that are complimentary with Christianity. I believe reincarnation is part of eternal life. Indeed though traditional christian view is not to believe in reincarnation there is specific references to it in the bible. Jesus referring to John the Baptist as being Elijah reincarnated is one such example. (Matthew 17:12). This would show how a soul\being which was righteous in one life returns in an important position in another due to previous good works.

So I believe god has the ability to harden hearts or to open them ..... but everything I have read in scripture and witnessed in my life leads me to believe this is done based on the individuals own beliefs, actions and behaviors. Those people who follow actions that bear positive fruit are nourished and encouraged. Those who produce the opposite get the opposite. He definitely molds and shapes but it still relies on us playing our part .

As for faith - I encourage you not to rely solely on this. I don't mean stop believing in god. I mean start desiring to know for sure. Start seeking - and maybe more important start focusing on "bearing the right type of fruit" and then see what happens.

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Old 3rd November 2017, 11:31 AM   #281
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No, you are mixing up completely different species. Homo Erectus and Homo Habilus are not Homo Sapiens. They are similar in some ways, but have large morphological differences, especially in the cranial area. In terms of intelligence they may have been closer to chimps than Modern Humans.

Homo Sapiens has been around for approximately 50,000 years. The number is not quite certain, and there is currently no fossil record link between Homo Sapiens and Homo Erectus. So, it's impossible to say when Homo Sapiens first appeared... or even how they appeared. Could have crash landed from a space ship and we can't prove yes or no.

With that said... Tribal cultures that exist in isolation and have been studied by Anthropologists would be most indicative of what things were like 50,000 years ago, but we cannot make the assumption that they have not changed over the last 50 millennium.

Regarding the Old Testament view of other Gods, you have to understand that Biblical language was never meant to be read like a textbook. This is a modern Western failure. The best example is the creation story of Genesis. Many people actually think that God is trying to provide a science text on how he built the earth... which is ridiculous to even consider. Every other part of the Bible uses allegory and symbols... but people stop and think this part is like science. If you actually read the creation story the core idea is showing the reader the Order of the Universe. Day rules over Night, Man rules over Animals, God rules over everything... ect. It also has two simultaneous creation stories set right next to each other... one focusing on natural order, and the other focused squarely on Humans.

So, when you hear Old Testament references to other gods, it should be viewed like Christians today talking about other religions or the God of Cable TV... ect. It doesn't mean that they even acknowledge the existence of these false gods, it just means they recognize other people worshiping them.
Approx 150,000 years ago IS when h. sapiens are estimated to have evolved from h. erectus. The number I've read in every source is actually 150,000 to 200,000 (NOT 50,000). It is theorized that we are related because of similar brain size and anatomy. As an aside, neanderthals are estimated to have evolved around 500,000 years ago and became extinct around 24,000 years ago. There are homo erectus fossils dating back to 1.4M years ago! I suppose there is still some debate is to whether they are our direct ancestors, but that is the theory.

Regarding your comment that the bible is allegory, tell that to the tens/hundreds of thousands of Christians who will say that the Bible is literal and "God-breathed." I would tend to agree with you, if indeed it is true. It's the only way I could get comfortable with the Bible. It's probably part of my problem, actually...that I am told it is totally literal. It makes it hard for me to believe.
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Old 3rd November 2017, 7:10 PM   #282
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I think we take ourselves far too seriously.
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Old 4th November 2017, 5:06 AM   #283
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Regarding your comment that the bible is allegory, tell that to the tens/hundreds of thousands of Christians who will say that the Bible is literal and "God-breathed." I would tend to agree with you, if indeed it is true. It's the only way I could get comfortable with the Bible. It's probably part of my problem, actually...that I am told it is totally literal. It makes it hard for me to believe.
I think like most things in life it is neither exclusively one or the other. It is part allegory/parable some parts literal and in some cases both simultaneously. The power of parable is that it contains lessons that are timeless and can be reapplied regardless of era. It can hold a deeper truth and meaning then merely a literal description which focuses purely on facts and details.

Even priests don’t claim the Bible to be 100% factual - there is a very small minority of fundamentalist who hold to this. God breathed - I take to simply mean created by his spirit\energy. If you have not had an experience of the Holy Spirit - what you might call a born again experience - it can be hard to understand what this means. This is the same experience Hindus/yogic schools refer to as Samadhi or a spiritual awakening. Your heart center opens and your engulfed in a loving energy unlike anything else you will ever experience. The picture of the “sacred heart” is an example of a picture trying to show/explain/convey what literally happens to a person when touched by the spirit. It is a literal energetic connection though the heart space.

Might sound weird but after I had my awakening experience like the above - I began investigating how this connection was possible from a physical and scientific standpoint. The “science behind spiritual awakening” if you will. To try to show the real factual data as to how it works I think would open it up to wider acceptance. I work in data communications and have extensive experience with wireless communications and antenna designs. I’m currently partnering with a lab in Heidelberg Germany which specializes in research around water. The project we are starting at the moment is specifically researching fluid based antennas. Using sea water and human blood as the conducting media for the antenna. This on its own is fairly simple and easy to do. Both sea water and blood are diamagnetic making them excellent conductors of electro magnetic fields. We have created a UHF radio antenna using my own blood which operates in the publically available Radio frequency spectrum. Can be connected to a standard walkie talkie to send and receive RF traffic. We are now going deeper using 3D models of organ structures to show how the shape of organs - specifically the heart and lungs- mirror that of a well known Wireless antenna called a Fractal tree dipole making it a highly efficient multiband antenna capable of both sending and receive elctromagnetic energy. Our aim is map the resonant frequency's of the organs to determine their operational range - then to test the effects of transmitting those frequencies back into a real organ (not in a living person) from a 3D model replica.

Might sound off the wall - but most new science does. Basic premise of the way the system operates can be found in the following tech video from a US Navy contractor looking at similar technology ->https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9tIZUhu21sQ

Outline of the antenna type - Fractal Tree Dipole - the structure of the circulatory system the heart\lungs and also Kidneys are based on here -> https://imgur.com/5OB9ADG

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Old 6th November 2017, 8:32 AM   #284
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Regarding your comment that the bible is allegory, tell that to the tens/hundreds of thousands of Christians who will say that the Bible is literal and "God-breathed." I would tend to agree with you, if indeed it is true. It's the only way I could get comfortable with the Bible. It's probably part of my problem, actually...that I am told it is totally literal. It makes it hard for me to believe.
I would guess that the number of Christians who take everything in the Bible literally is very few. I don't know that for sure of course, but I've met very few Christians who actually believe that every single thing in the Bible is literally true. People use phrases like "I believe the Bible is the word of God or inspired," but they can't really tell you what they mean by that.

Just from a purely literary standpoint, it's obvious to me that something like the Tower of Babel is an allegory that is meant to convey a religious truth as opposed to record an historical record. I honestly know very few Christians that think the earth is 5000 years old, and even those aren't completely convinced. They will usually say that they realize what they believe could be wrong.
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Old 6th November 2017, 2:15 PM   #285
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Approx 150,000 years ago IS when h. sapiens are estimated to have evolved from h. erectus. The number I've read in every source is actually 150,000 to 200,000 (NOT 50,000). It is theorized that we are related because of similar brain size and anatomy. As an aside, neanderthals are estimated to have evolved around 500,000 years ago and became extinct around 24,000 years ago. There are homo erectus fossils dating back to 1.4M years ago! I suppose there is still some debate is to whether they are our direct ancestors, but that is the theory.
Regarding your comment that the bible is allegory, tell that to the tens/hundreds of thousands of Christians who will say that the Bible is literal and "God-breathed." I would tend to agree with you, if indeed it is true. It's the only way I could get comfortable with the Bible. It's probably part of my problem, actually...that I am told it is totally literal. It makes it hard for me to believe.
So are you assuming a gradual or punctuated equilibrium model for human evolution? Because there is no physical link established or even yet discovered. Additionally DNA testing has not illuminated this issue.
50,000 years ago is the most rational date. 150,000 is simply not supported by fossil evidence at this time. I believe that God would most likely work through a punctuated equilibrium model which is why fossil evidence will not be easily found.

Listen to Jesus. Did he explain the kingdom of heaven like a science text or did he use parables? Does that mean his words are not the words of God? The Bible is BOTH the Inspired True Word of God... and allegorical.

Look up Framework Theory for the creation story and then go back and read it. The whole thing makes better sense. Christian Literalism is a very new thing... I mean Charles Darwin believed in Christ and saw no issue with his theories and his faith.
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