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#1 Loungehead

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Posted 15 October 2009 - 09:36 PM

Members of this forum have been gracious enough to share their stories of how they were saved. So, I thought I would share my story of how I got "lost".

I was born into a Catholic family; the youngest of three children.

My father was an alcoholic as a young adult. His idea of a good time, back then, was to go to parties, get drunk, and have a fight. More often than not, he would beat some individual who he did not like the look of into a pulp. Occasionally he received a thrashing himself. But either way, he enjoyed brawling, and fighting dirty. At least that's the impression he gave me while growing up when he reminisced about those times.

Occasionally he would assault my mother to release his pent up rage during an argument, which tapered off in frequency after I was born and as I got older.

At some point between the birth of my sister and me, my father had what he called, 'a road to Damascas' moment. He never really talked about it much, but from what I understand he "rebirthed" in his Christian faith. He stopped drinking, and tried to take control of his life.

My mother is more a passionate and artistic person, but fairly level headed. Her devotion to Christianity has always been more introvert than my fathers, but she did share her views with her children more than my father. And from an early age I enjoyed listening to Bible stories that my mother would read to us at night before we went to bed. My favorite story was Samson because I liked the images of him in the childrens picture Bible, wielding the jawbone of an ass, with which he used to annihilate Philistines. I also liked the picture of Bathsheba bathing, while King David looks on. The artist portrayed her in a very seductive way.

As I grew up my mother primarily steered us kids away from modern liberal teachings of the Church that she did not agree with. My father was an absentee parent. He valued his devotion to Christianity above his family. And often indicated his annoyance at being burdened by marriage and family. He would later try unsuccessfully to become a priest after my parents seperated.

Whenever my parents argued my father would declare that as soon as I turned 18 he would leave. When I first overheard this about the age of 10, I prayed that it would not happen; I prayed things would work out, and my parents would not split. I can only presume God was sleeping or bored by my invocation, because true to his word, my father split when he was no longer legally responsible.

The thing I learnt about my parents, as I got older, is they were poorly suited. Neither would back down in an argument, so violence was the inevitable outcome. While I am angry at my fathers use of fists on my mother, in some ways I think she was culpable, because she was totally indifferent to my father's volatile temper.

One of the major movements in the Catholic Church my father pursued was the Charasmatic movement. The adoption by catholics of certain beliefs typical of those held by Pentecostal Christians. My parents would hold prayer meetings at the local church where they would speak in tongues. When I was introduced to it, I found the whole thing rather unconvincing. It did not fit with the type of faith I had developed.

In terms of my faith, I underwent holy communion and confirmation. I was an alter boy. Throughout most of my childhood and early teens I believed God of the Bible existed. I accepted without question Jesus was the son of God.

When I started examining my faith as part of religious studies, Jesus never seemed that big a deal. I believed his message, but I didn't think much of his dying and rising from the dead. Because when there is God, what is there be to afraid of? My relationship with God was what gave me strength. Other than the message he brought Jesus seemed incidental.

I wasn't really that interested in confirmation, because by the time I was 18 my faith was starting to wane. However, I did it because I felt obliged, and friends I had grown up with were doing it. My sister later argued with me about this when I stopped going to mass. I told her why I went along with confirmation, but she denied that those were my reasons (Her confirmation had meant a lot to her, so I don't think she could believe I was ambivalent about mine).

Also something that struck me during my school years, was a teacher (practicing Catholic) asked if I believed in the immaculate conception. Knowing it was part of Church doctrine, I replied I did, without thinking about it. But I was always a bit of smart arse in class, so the teacher decided to prob me a little more just to see how smart I was. He asked if I really believe a virgin woman could become pregnant without having copulated with anyone. It was more the pragmatic tone and matter fact way he asked the question that threw me. I replied yes, and then he asked why? I couldn't really give him an answer that didn't invoke the supernatural, because I had never really thought about. And it got me thinking of how this would really happen, biologically. And I had to consider whether it was just like other fantasy stories.

I stopped going to mass after my father left. I would pretend to go to Saturday night mass, but instead would go to a friends or hide under the house. Eventually, I got bored of that and just told my mother I was no longer going. She was of course upset. But I assured her I still believed in God.

I did still believe in God, I just didn't find Him apparent in the Catholic mass. I recall sitting in Church, looking at those around me, and thinking how contrived it all was. It made me wonder, what those around me actually believed? Why were they here? I wondered, if they actually believed in the same God?

My faith had developed through my childhood with a strong connection with God and less of a connection to Christ (because it was only Christ's message that I found important). So my answer was no, they don't believe the same God. My idea of God was certainly different to what others had said. And I became sure every individual that believes in God simply believes in their personal version, that suits their individual values and needs. Afterall, who would love a God they didn't actually like?

It was at this moment I decided to leave and never go back. I walked out of mass before it had even finished and went home.

After I stopped going to mass, my brother stopped. I had set the precedent, which meant he was no longer obliged to go. When I talked to him about it, he shocked me more than I had shocked myself in stopping. He told me he didn't even believe in God, and he had been going to mass because it was the thing to do. I told him I still believed in God, and he accepted my beliefs, but was indifferent to them.

I had always mixed with people of different religions and backgrounds, so I always kept my faith private. Those who did things against Christian morality, I did not judge them for it. I accepted they had different views. And I always took strength in the fact Christ had socialised with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other so-called undesirables. I took strength from my circle of non-Christian friends, because I could see the good in them, despite their lack of faith.

At about the same time I left church, I was hanging out with a friend who was highly critical of Christianity. He claimed it wasn't really "spiritual". Just as Protestants might claim Catholicism isn't really spiritual, or Muslims claim Christianity isn't spiritual. Or theists claim atheism isn't really spiritual. Everyone one seems to have criticism of everyone else when it comes to how they express spirituality. My friend was into new age spiritualism, and one day I got tired of his diatribe against christianity, and told him I was a Christian. He and his flatmate were momentarily stunned by the implication of it, given everything he had been saying. His first reaction was to deny it, "you aren't really a Christian", and then claimed I wasn't a very good one. Which isn't really his place to judge, given that he wasn't a Christian! Nor is he God.

After that I didn't see him much and our friendship fell away. Many of my Christian friends had also shunned me too, because I no longer went to mass. But I still had other friends, so I was alright.

Over the next few years my belief system and worldview began to change. The more I learnt and the more I thought about things, the more God became incompatible with my experience and what I had learnt in life. The distinct moment that I remember I gave up on my faith, was a brilliantly warm spring day when I was looking at a tree in full blossom outside the window, enjoying its beauty. I thought about how beautiful the tree was, and it felt sublime. I considered thanking God, but paused. I thought, the tree is simply a tree, and its beauty is what made the moment sublime, why do I need to ruin the moment with all this extra baggage about God? I decided to accept the tree - just as, no extra metaphysics, or "spirituality" was needed to enjoy it. And at that moment I felt a great relief. Things are just as they are. There were no unseen spiritual forces, good or evil, battling away trying to deceive or trick me, or competing for my attention. There was simply this beautiful tree and could I appreciate its beauty.

At this time, I didn't consider myself an atheist. That didn't come till later. In some ways I still had some attachment to my imaginary friend. When I did finally become an atheist, years later, I even appealed to God.

I said, "God, I do not even believe you exist. And I find it difficult to believe that you do. Everything in my body and mind tells me you don't exist. How can that be, if you really do exist? How has this cruel situation come about, in which I cannot even believe you exist, if you actually do?"

I considered the possibility, God is calling me to be an atheist, as part of his Providence. And as bizarre as that might seem, I thought maybe God wants me to spend the rest of my life as an atheist. Maybe there is something in it that I or others could learn?

So I said if you do exist and part your plan is to have me walk the Earth as an atheist, then I will do that. Because if I was able to believe in you, I'm sure I would. And that was that. I identified myself as an Atheist from then on. I honestly do not see myself reconverting. Over the years my atheism has got stronger and stronger. It would literally take a miracle.

I have since been baptised into the Assembly of God. Two attractive ladies were going house to house where I was living several years ago, and asked to discuss their church with me. I told them I was an atheist but they didn't seem to understand. And as I had nothing else to do that day I agreed.

I listened to them talk about the Bible. And answered their questions. And when they asked if I would like to be baptised, I said "sure". They then called their deacon around and more girls turned up!! Five in total! And I was baptised in the shower, while they sang with lace veils over their heads.

Apart from the sweet choir I could hear in my ears, the actual baptism felt a lot like I imagine water-boarding would be like. The deacon kept pouring water over my head, which ran down my face and created a blockage of moving water over my mouth and nostrils. I couldn't breath, and the only way I could inhale was by quickly breaking the film of water with violent exhale of whatever air I could force out of my lungs. It was a distressing experience.

Two of girls and the deacon came back another time, and we shared the eucharist. After talking to the deacon again, I think he realised I was a lost cause. I also moved out of that place, to the city, and never saw them again.

But before I did, I almost converted to Islam. Even though I considered myself an atheist. I liked Islam because it appealed to the version of God I had as a child. There is only Allah and he is not represented in any material form, and his messenger was not elevated to God status. I had many friends who were muslim at the time.

I did some reading of the Koran, and others literature recommended to me. At one point I felt I might be able to accept the existence of God, in terms of the Islamic faith. But my most supportive muslim friend told me I had to accept things about Muhammad, which to me were implausible. If Muhammad is the messenger, I will accept he was like anyone else, but in no way am I going to elevate him to a status above others, even if he was a prophet. So my conversion never happened.

Even after first identifying myself as an Atheist, no one can say I haven't tried to find God. And I'm open to any possibility of conversion.

I accept that some supernatural being might exist, but I don't believe it is anything that any religion can claim to know about. And the concept of God that religions express appear incoherent to me. So I do not believe there is a God. When I told my father this he waved his fist at me and threatened violence if I did not leave his house.

That's my testimony. Thank you.

#2 ikester7579

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Posted 16 October 2009 - 02:27 AM

Members of this forum have been gracious enough to share their stories of how they were saved.  So, I thought I would share my story of how I got "lost".

I was born into a Catholic family; the youngest of three children. 

My father was an alcoholic as a young adult.  His idea of a good time, back then, was to go to parties, get drunk, and have a fight.  More often than not, he would beat some individual who he did not like the look of into a pulp.  Occasionally he received a thrashing himself.  But either way, he enjoyed brawling, and fighting dirty.  At least that's the impression he gave me while growing up when he reminisced about those times.

Occasionally he would assault my mother to release his pent up rage during an argument, which tapered off in frequency after I was born and as I got older.

At some point between the birth of my sister and me, my father had what he called, 'a road to Damascas' moment.  He never really talked about it much, but from what I understand he "rebirthed" in his Christian faith.  He stopped drinking, and tried to take control of his life.

My mother is more a passionate and artistic person, but fairly level headed.  Her devotion to Christianity has always been more introvert than my fathers, but she did share her views with her children more than my father.  And from an early age I enjoyed listening to Bible stories that my mother would read to us at night before we went to bed.  My favorite story was Samson because I liked the images of him in the childrens picture Bible, wielding the jawbone of an ass, with which he used to annihilate Philistines.  I also liked the picture of Bathsheba bathing, while King David looks on.  The artist portrayed her in a very seductive way.

As I grew up my mother primarily steered us kids away from modern liberal teachings of the Church that she did not agree with.  My father was an absentee parent.  He valued his devotion to Christianity above his family.  And often indicated his annoyance at being burdened by marriage and family.  He would later try unsuccessfully to become a priest after my parents separated. 

Whenever my parents argued my father would declare that as soon as I turned 18 he would leave.  When I first overheard this about the age of 10, I prayed that it would not happen; I prayed things would work out, and my parents would not split.  I can only presume God was sleeping or bored by my invocation, because true to his word, my father split when he was no longer legally responsible.


Free will makes it to where God can only control a person to a point. If a person is hell bent on doing something, God has to allow it. Otherwise, freewill loses it's meaning.

The thing I learnt about my parents, as I got older, is they were poorly suited.  Neither would back down in an argument, so violence was the inevitable outcome.  While I am angry at my fathers use of fists on my mother, in some ways I think she was culpable, because she was totally indifferent to my father's volatile temper.   

One of the major movements in the Catholic Church my father pursued was the Charasmatic movement.  The adoption by catholics of certain beliefs typical of those held by Pentecostal Christians.  My parents would hold prayer meetings at the local church where they would speak in tongues.  When I was introduced to it, I found the whole thing rather unconvincing.  It did not fit with the type of faith I had developed.


Being a Christian is about your level of walk with Christ. Some people are more spiritual than others only because everyone is different. So their walk is different. Where one person might benefit from growing quickly into the faith, and receiving gifts of the spirit. Another may become afraid and back off. So the growing process is tailored for the individual, not a whole group.

In terms of my faith, I underwent holy communion and confirmation.  I was an alter boy.  Throughout most of my childhood and early teens I believed God of the Bible existed.  I accepted without question Jesus was the son of God.

When I started examining my faith as part of religious studies, Jesus never seemed that big a deal.  I believed his message, but I didn't think much of his dying and rising from the dead.  Because when there is God, what is there be to afraid of?  My relationship with God was what gave me strength.  Other than the message he brought Jesus seemed incidental.

I wasn't really that interested in confirmation, because by the time I was 18 my faith was starting to wane.  However, I did it because I felt obliged, and friends I had grown up with were doing it.  My sister later argued with me about this when I stopped going to mass.  I told her why I went along with confirmation, but she denied that those were my reasons (Her confirmation had meant a lot to her, so I don't think she could believe I was ambivalent about mine).


Being a Christian, and walking with God, has to be a individual choice. It cannot be made because someone else does it, or because your parents do it. If an individual cannot commit on their own, then their conversion is not real. Because being a Christian is about a "individuals" walk with Christ. Not I did it because everyone else did. So because the commitment was not really real, neither was your experience while you were doing it. You felt empty because you did not do it really for yourself. And God knew this.

Also something that struck me during my school years, was a teacher (practicing Catholic) asked if I believed in the immaculate conception.  Knowing it was part of Church doctrine, I replied I did, without thinking about it.  But I was always a bit of smart arse in class, so the teacher decided to prob me a little more just to see how smart I was.  He asked if I really believe a virgin woman could become pregnant without having copulated with anyone.  It was more the pragmatic tone and matter fact way he asked the question that threw me.  I replied yes, and then he asked why?  I couldn't really give him an answer that didn't invoke the supernatural, because I had never really thought about.  And it got me thinking of how this would really happen, biologically.  And I had to consider whether it was just like other fantasy stories.


Because your faith was already weak from your conversion not being for yourself. This question, which was a test of faith, weakened your faith even more. Faith built on things that are not strong, wash away at the first storm (test). And what's left leaves you to wonder many things. Even unto the point in which you will question why you even believed what you did.

I stopped going to mass after my father left.  I would pretend to go to Saturday night mass, but instead would go to a friends or hide under the house.  Eventually, I got bored of that and just told my mother I was no longer going.  She was of course upset.  But I assured her I still believed in God. 

I did still believe in God, I just didn't find Him apparent in the Catholic mass.  I recall sitting in Church, looking at those around me, and thinking how contrived it all was.  It made me wonder, what those around me actually believed?  Why were they here?  I wondered, if they actually believed in the same God? 


A time when your faith is weak, is when Satan likes to come and enter doubt into your mind. A lot of people do not know exactly how Satan works on you when you are in this condition, so I'll let you know. Satan has the ability to put suggestions into your mind. And because they are heard just like your own thoughts, you think your own mind is making you think these things. This is where someone who knows spiritual warfare can tell which thoughts are his, and which thoughts are not.

How do you test this? Satan's thoughts are always about destroying your faith, or the faith of another. He will either enter suggestions into your mind, or make you say things you normally would not. Have you ever said something, then wondered: Where did that come from? If you have total control over your mind, then you would not be saying things you don't want to. Or think things you don't want to. But you do, and that is where the supernatural effects your thoughts.

You see, this is also where people do not understand how we will be able to live in Heaven without wanting to sin. Well, if the person who places the sin suggestions is not there, then how will you want to sin if you cannot think of sin (sin suggestions no longer being put into your mind).

Example: Think of all the bad things you have thought of, or did this whole week. Now what if not one of those bad thoughts, or things you did, did not enter your mind. So you did not think it, or do it. How would your week have been different?

So you see, the first step to keeping your faith strong is understanding how the thought processes of the natural and supernatural work. Once it is learned how to separate those thoughts, you can rebuke them and they will go away (not forever though). Spiritual warfare is a constant battle.

My faith had developed through my childhood with a strong connection with God and less of a connection to Christ (because it was only Christ's message that I found important).  So my answer was no, they don't believe the same God.   My idea of God was certainly different to what others had said.  And I became sure every individual that believes in God simply believes in their personal version, that suits their individual values and needs.  Afterall, who would love a God they didn't actually like? 


God's ways are not our ways because with our thoughts being clouded by sin, we cannot achieve a level of thought that would allow us to understand Him. But when we get to Heaven, all will be revealed. There will be complete understanding as to why some go to Heaven, while others go to hell. Freewill to choose sin blocks all this while we are on earth.

It was at this moment I decided to leave and never go back.  I walked out of mass before it had even finished and went home.

After I stopped going to mass, my brother stopped.  I had set the precedent, which meant he was no longer obliged to go.  When I talked to him about it, he shocked me more than I had shocked myself in stopping.  He told me he didn't even believe in God, and he had been going to mass because it was the thing to do.  I told him I still believed in God, and he accepted my beliefs, but was indifferent to them. 

I had always mixed with people of different religions and backgrounds, so I always kept my faith private.  Those who did things against Christian morality, I did not judge them for it.  I accepted they had different views.  And I always took strength in the fact Christ had socialised with prostitutes, tax collectors, and other so-called undesirables.  I took strength from my circle of non-Christian friends, because I could see the good in them, despite their lack of faith. 


Good works does not save a person. If you could reach Heaven on your own, how would you become sin-less and be able to stay? You don't know. You see the rules in Heaven are different from here. That is why to enter Heaven we must go through a process that allows change. And it has to be a process of our choice, and our doing. One where we totally commit for ourselves and not anyone else.

No one can go to Heaven or Hell in your place. It's all up to you and your decision on where you want to go. No one can force you, and that is what freewill is all about. Christ never chased anyone from town to town trying to force them to accept Him. He gave the choice, if they rejected, He moved on. Alot of Christians can learn from that. Because forced salvation is not always real. And God knows between fake and real salvation.

At about the same time I left church, I was hanging out with a friend who was highly critical of Christianity.  He claimed it wasn't really "spiritual".  Just as Protestants might claim Catholicism isn't really spiritual, or Muslims claim Christianity isn't spiritual.  Or theists claim atheism isn't really spiritual.  Everyone one seems to have criticism of everyone else when it comes to how they express spirituality.  My friend was into new age spiritualism, and one day I got tired of his diatribe against Christianity, and told him I was a Christian.  He and his flatmate were momentarily stunned by the implication of it, given everything he had been saying.  His first reaction was to deny it, "you aren't really a Christian", and then claimed I wasn't a very good one.  Which isn't really his place to judge, given that he wasn't a Christian!  Nor is he God. 
After that I didn't see him much and our friendship fell away.  Many of my Christian friends had also shunned me too, because I no longer went to mass.  But I still had other friends, so I was alright.


People make up their own opinions about everything. Opinionated people are also usually gossipers. And they are afraid of the truth, and the truth scares them. Your friend drifted away because he was afraid because of what he already told you. Now what makes him afraid? People who know the truth, but deny it. Are afraid when they are facing reality of their denial. You were a representation of what he knew was true, but denied it. It scared him.

Over the next few years my belief system and worldview began to change.  The more I learnt and the more I thought about things, the more God became incompatible with my experience and what I had learnt in life.  The distinct moment that I remember I gave up on my faith, was a brilliantly warm spring day when I was looking at a tree in full blossom outside the window, enjoying its beauty.  I thought about how beautiful the tree was, and it felt sublime.  I considered thanking God, but paused.  I thought, the tree is simply a tree, and its beauty is what made the moment sublime, why do I need to ruin the moment with all this extra baggage about God?  I decided to accept the tree - just as, no extra metaphysics, or "spirituality" was needed to enjoy it.  And at that moment I felt a great relief.  Things are just as they are.  There were no unseen spiritual forces, good or evil, battling away trying to deceive or trick me, or competing for my attention.  There was simply this beautiful tree and could I appreciate its beauty.


The moment you speak of is the moment Christ left you. You see Christ will only battle with your thoughts to reject Him for so long. Once it is realized that evil is preferred over good. Then Christ will leave. The relief you feel is that the struggle between good and evil no longer exists. Satan has won because of your decision through freewill. So Christ gives you up to your choice, Why? True love requires true choice and the freedom to choose it. Forced love is not true love because it forces one to love minus the freewill to choose to do so.

So it's like the saying goes: If you love something, let it go. If it comes back it's yours. If it does not, it never was yours.

That is what true love through freewill is like.

At this time, I didn't consider myself an atheist.  That didn't come till later.  In some ways I still had some attachment to my imaginary friend.  When I did finally become an atheist, years later, I even appealed to God.

I said, "God, I do not even believe you exist.  And I find it difficult to believe that you do.  Everything in my body and mind tells me you don't exist.  How can that be, if you really do exist?  How has this cruel situation come about, in which I cannot even believe you exist, if you actually do?"

I considered the possibility, God is calling me to be an atheist, as part of his Providence.  And as bizarre as that might seem, I thought maybe God wants me to spend the rest of my life as an atheist.  Maybe there is something in it that I or others could learn?

Actual freewill does not allow that. God cannot be a just judge if He chooses people for hell only.

So I said if you do exist and part your plan is to have me walk the Earth as an atheist, then I will do that.  Because if I was able to believe in you, I'm sure I would.  And that was that.  I identified myself as an Atheist from then on.  I honestly do not see myself reconverting.  Over the years my atheism has got stronger and stronger.  It would literally take a miracle.

I have since been baptised into the Assembly of God.  Two attractive ladies were going house to house where I was living several years ago, and asked to discuss their church with me.  I told them I was an atheist but they didn't seem to understand.   And as I had nothing else to do that day I agreed. 

I listened to them talk about the Bible.  And answered their questions.  And when they asked if I would like to be baptised, I said "sure".  They then called their deacon around and more girls turned up!!  Five in total!  And I was baptised in the shower, while they sang with lace veils over their heads. 

Apart from the sweet choir I could hear in my ears, the actual baptism felt a lot like I imagine water-boarding would be like.  The deacon kept pouring water over my head, which ran down my face and created a blockage of moving water over my mouth and nostrils.  I couldn't breath, and the only way I could inhale was by quickly breaking the film of water with violent exhale of whatever air I could force out of my lungs.  It was a distressing experience.

Two of girls and the deacon came back another time, and we shared the eucharist.  After talking to the deacon again, I think he realised I was a lost cause.  I also moved out of that place, to the city, and never saw them again.

But before I did, I almost converted to Islam.  Even though I considered myself an atheist. I liked Islam because it appealed to the version of God I had as a child.  There is only Allah and he is not represented in any material form, and his messenger was not elevated to God status.  I had many friends who were muslim at the time. 

I did some reading of the Koran, and others literature recommended to me.  At one point I felt I might be able to accept the existence of God, in terms of the Islamic faith.  But my most supportive muslim friend told me I had to accept things about Muhammad, which to me were implausible.  If Muhammad is the messenger, I will accept he was like anyone else, but in no way am I going to elevate him to a status above others, even if he was a prophet.  So my conversion never happened.

Even after first identifying myself as an Atheist, no one can say I haven't tried to find God.  And I'm open to any possibility of conversion.

I accept that some supernatural being might exist, but I don't believe it is anything that any religion can claim to know about.  And the concept of God that religions express appear incoherent to me.  So I do not believe there is a God.  When I told my father this he waved his fist at me and threatened violence if I did not leave his house.

That's my testimony.  Thank you.

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Have you ever thought that the reason you went through what you did is so that you will have a testimony to relate to others when you came back?

Example: How can a Christian relate to a drug addict unless he has experienced it himself?

God chooses people for tasks to do His will to reach the unreachable. There are people who have been through things 100 times worse than you or me. But when they use that experience to tell others, it becomes a powerful tool for salvation unto which many get saved. Are your sure that "you" were not chosen for such a task and you just did not realize it? God only chooses people to go through such things when He figures he can trust them with such an experience. It takes a special person to go through all that you did, and then use it to do good. I wonder if God saw something in you that you have not seen in yourself?

#3 ikester7579

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 02:12 AM

Now what would it be like if you decided to come back to Christ?

You would now have a testimony where you could minister to children who are dealing with the samething you dealt with when you grew up. The Father who drinked. The father who liked to fight. The father who left. The father who abused your mother.

A child will listen to an adult who went through the same thing they are currently going through. This is because you are now able to relate to them.

Like the pastors below can testify to:

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And the video below is where God took a person who was severly injured in the Veitnam war. And not only made him a preacher who goes around telling his story. But now he works with the military teaching other wonded vets how to do the same thing.

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These people could not relate to the disabled, the war wounded. etc... Unless they had been through it themselves. And if you asked them if they would have preferred to go back and undo what happened to them. Both would tell you no. This is because they realize that they were selected for a special task for God's kingdom. One where they were given a special gift so that they could reach people no one else could.

#4 chipwag64

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 06:56 AM

Loungehead,

Thank you for sharing your testimony.
As I read through what you wrote, you explain something that everyone, in some way, probably goes through at some point in their life.
We all, as humans, naturally tend to follow other people when we don't quite know what to do, or what is right, or we need to feel acceptable etc.
The writers of Scripture portray this element of humanity by relating us to sheep.
Many times throughout the Bible we are seen as scattered sheep without a Shepherd, going our own way and being led by "hirelings" who do not own the sheep. These prophecies relate to individuals, as well as groups of people (i.e. Israel).
When you were growing up, you naturally, and rightfully so, looked to your parents and family for guidance, and were influenced by their words and actions, although you didn't know what they felt in their hearts.
You mentioned that later on, your were influenced by friends, who left you when you professed to be a Christian.
You mentioned being visited by "Assembly of God" church and the ordeal of being baptised where it seems that you were not fully prepared or willing to understand what was being done.
You mentioned searching other "religious faiths" such as Islam but would not accept their teachings about Muhammad.

Sounds like a lost sheep to me!!...join the club!!!...I was there!!
You summarized the whole problem when you said that Jesus was incidental and you didn't think much of His death and resurrection.

Jesus MUST become, not only relevant, but EVERYTHING to you, HE is what is missing. You try one thing, and it doesn't satisfy, then you find something else and that doesn't satisfy etc. This is why He says to come to Him!!, the people who were fed by Him (5,000) were not just fed, they were stuffed!! and still there was food leftover!! You will not thirst, but have RIVERS of water to drink from in Him!!
If you read the Gospel of John if you have a Bible, you will see that you cannot honor the Father without honoring the Son and you cannot believe in the Father without believing in the Son!!
Jesus is greater than false religions, Jesus is greater than threats from your father,
Jesus is greater than your doubts and fears and unsatisfied searchings.
Stop straying, stand still where you are, and cry out like a hungry, weary, lonely sheep believing that there is a Shepherd who will find you and never leave you.
Don't compare Him to other people because He IS God!!!

#5 Loungehead

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Posted 20 October 2009 - 02:58 PM

Thank you for sharing your testimony.

You're welcome.

I wanted to share this part of me with the community, because I think atheism and atheists are often misunderstood. At least some think atheists do not understand faith or know what it means to have faith.

The most rewarding aspect of sharing my experience is revisting something I'd almost forgotten. I had forgotton just how much faith once was a big part of my life. It feels to good to reconnect with that part of my history - revisit my "roots", so to speak.

There is a lot more I could have said. In fact I could probably write a whole book on my religious experiences. But I'm going to leave what I have said, to stand for itself. And people can make whatever judgements they want of it.

As I read through what you wrote, you explain something that everyone, in some way, probably goes through at some point in their life.

I think so. I've read about preachers who lost their faith and became atheists. That must be a very hard thing to go through. I also know of one person who actively built up a church they were involved in, by strengthening the community and its activities, and become disillusioned with what they acheived. He ended up losing his faith, and became an atheist.

I also believe those who have faith, at times have doubts, but have different ways of dealing with it. I find the whole issue interesting. I disagree with people that treat the matter as a spiritual war; where those with faith are on one side, and those without are on the other. I think "war" is a very narrow way of looking at it, because if there is any war, it is within us; not with each other.

Even then, I don't think it is a war, instead I think it is a matter of coming to understand who we are as people.

You mentioned that later on, your were influenced by friends, who left you when you professed to be a Christian.

I do not feel I was influenced by them at all. I think they were misguided about Christianity (I thought that then, and still think it now).

The point is that I still considered myself a Christian, and was willing to express as much in the company of those who were hostile to Christianity. Even though I had left the Church, I still had my faith. My losing of faith during this time was more to do with my own thoughts than those of anyone else. In fact the person who has the most influence on my beliefs is my brother, and it wasn't to do with anything he said about religion or Christianity, it was to do with what he taught me about other things.

You mentioned being visited by "Assembly of God" church and the ordeal of being baptised where it seems that you were not fully prepared or willing to understand what was being done.

I knew what I was doing. These people wanted to save me by baptising me. And I was willing to let them do it. I had no reason to object to them baptising me if they felt I was ready. I did ask them, "Are you sure I'm ready?" And they insisted. Apart from the water-boarding, I otherwise enjoyed their company and having that experience with them. I was already baptised as a catholic, so I do not see what baptising into another church would do.

Does the baptism mean I am saved? I doubt it. There is always something else that needs to be done, or accepted or whatever. Arguably, one could claim I had not genuinely "accepted" Christ as my saviour, but I did tell them I'm an atheist. They seemed to follow the notion that baptism is important to salvation, more than anything that follows.

Also, I noticed others in this Testimonies Forum claim they are "saved". And I don't mean to sound disparaging, but are they really saved, or is they have just began their journey to being saved?

I guess the question would be, is baptism enough to save someone or is more required. And if not, when should a person be baptised?

You mentioned searching other "religious faiths" such as Islam but would not accept their teachings about Muhammad.

Sounds like a lost sheep to me!!...join the club!!!...I was there!!

Yep, seems to be the case.

The problem for me, however, is I don't have any understanding of God. For me to accept and have faith in God now, I would first have to accept the incoherency of God. That is, I accept God is something I cannot understand, because God is beyond my ability to reason.

I actually have no problem with accepting the uncertainty and incoherency of God. In this way God is not something I can even conceptualise. At the most fundamental level God is the Word, and the Word is God. Everything else is my imaginings. So the thing I would be having faith in, is the God beyond my ability to conceptualise or understand.

And I like that. Because I don't have to load God with any responsibilities. The responsibilities of my life are my own.

The trouble with that is no religion can accept that kind of belief in God. Christianity requires a whole spectrum of other faith and belief that, to me, are mere legends.

Islam comes close, in that God never took a human form and the rules against creating images to represent God. But event then I am still expected to adopt many secondary beliefs I find implausible.

I don't mean to offend anyone, but I do think religions corrupt God through anthromorphism, and the attributing of human understanding to God. The only God I could believe in, is much more simple and lacks the baggage of human values.

You summarized the whole problem when you said that Jesus was incidental and you didn't think much of His death and resurrection.

Jesus MUST become, not only relevant, but EVERYTHING to you, HE is what is missing. You try one thing, and it doesn't satisfy, then you find something else and that doesn't satisfy etc. This is why He says to come to Him!!, the people who were fed by Him (5,000) were not just fed, they were stuffed!! and still there was food leftover!! You will not thirst, but have RIVERS of water to drink from in Him!!
If you read the Gospel of John if you have a Bible, you will see that you cannot honor the Father without honoring the Son and you cannot believe in the Father without believing in the Son!!
Jesus is greater than false religions, Jesus is greater than threats from your father,
Jesus is greater than your doubts and fears and unsatisfied searchings.
Stop straying, stand still where you are, and cry out like a hungry, weary, lonely sheep believing that there is a Shepherd who will find you and never leave you.
Don't compare Him to other people because He IS God!!!

View Post

I understand all that, but Jesus just doesn't do it for me, and never has. I agree with many of his ethics, but I don't even believe Jesus ever existed. So I've got a lot of obstacles to overcome before I can reach a point where I can consider him or what he did as real. I understand that in Christianity Jesus is God. But that compounds the problem for me. Which leads me back to the question I asked when I last went to mass. Do we really believe in the same God (even among Christians)?

Superficially we seem to be talking about the same thing. But in our hearts, is anything in this thread about the same thing, when it comes to what we mean by God?

#6 jason777

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 04:07 PM

A time when your faith is weak, is when Satan likes to come and enter doubt into your mind. A lot of people do not know exactly how Satan works on you when you are in this condition, so I'll let you know. Satan has the ability to put suggestions into your mind. And because they are heard just like your own thoughts, you think your own mind is making you think these things. This is where someone who knows spiritual warfare can tell which thoughts are his, and which thoughts are not.


Fantastic Ikester.It's ironic that you mentioned that because I was just having a battle with my thoughts and I heard a voice say "Here comes the rebuttal of the lord Jesus Christ" and instantly my thoughts were cleared and the enemy scattered.It's great that I finally allowed Jesus to reveal the truth instead of me fighting it on my own.The sad part is i'm not steadfast enough to put him first as he commands,so i'm in and out. :unsure:

#7 jason777

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Posted 18 November 2009 - 04:21 PM

I understand all that, but Jesus just doesn't do it for me, and never has. I agree with many of his ethics, but I don't even believe Jesus ever existed. So I've got a lot of obstacles to overcome before I can reach a point where I can consider him or what he did as real. I understand that in Christianity Jesus is God. But that compounds the problem for me. Which leads me back to the question I asked when I last went to mass. Do we really believe in the same God (even among Christians)?


In my case,I never beleived evolution I just hated God because I could never satisfy my lustful desires and then I had to pay the consequences for it.

When I finaly decided to quit drugs and alcohol and get into church,I simply went to the alter and asked the lord for his spirit.I was shocked thirty minutes later when it hit me.Instantly I felt freedom from my addictions and suffering.

Try it,the Lord will not with hold his spirit from anyone that asks him for it even if they only halfway beleive.I once held hands with a freind while praying and I told the Lord "If only you would fill him with your spirit,perhaps he would choose you instead" and I was once again shocked moments later when he did it.Honestly I don't think the guy beleived at all,but the Lord will answer the prayers of the righteous and saving sinners from hell is his primary purpose,all they have to do is ask him for it.




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