Faith gone, fear remains

AdeodatusAdeodatus Shipmate
I thought this was a neurosis all my own, until I heard someone online describe the same thing a little while ago - the feeling that, having left faith (or at least any formal or systematic faith) behind, the last thing to linger is fear. Fear that it may have been true all along, fear of a wrathful God, fear of endless post-death pain, fear of you-name-it.

I'm not angling for sympathy here*, but it's set me thinking - if it's fear that remains after everything else has gone, how much of my faith may have been built on fear in the first place? And what is a faith built on fear worth, compared to, say, one built on love?

Does any of this ring any bells with anyone else?


*(A lie, of course.)
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Comments

  • OhherOhher Shipmate
    You have my sympathy, but my own feelings after leaving faith /faith leaving me (if that's in fact what has happened) is relief rather than fear. This is due in no small part to having been deeply involved in a church where, as an unattached female, I found myself confronted in a thousand small-silent-subtle ways with suspicion, second-class-status, double-standard expectations and on and on. It's taken several years for me to recover (if I have!) any of the faith I used to have in myself.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    The faith I was taught as a child was based on fear. As a teenager, I was ready to abandon that faith if that was all it was about, but I had also come across a kind of faith built on something more, so I wasn't ready to abandon it until I'd explored it more. So I did, and found a faith built on love, which seemed deeper and more genuine than the fear-based one. But if I had abandoned my faith as a teenager, I'm sure fear would have remained - though my logic would have been that if God is so vengeful and easily angered by my every error, I wouldn't have been able to win his approval whatever I did, so the fear would have been there whether I kept or abandoned that faith. If I were to abandon it now, I'm not sure how I'd feel - not sure I could abandon it now, as it is now something far deeper and more complex than what it was when I was fifteen, and allows for much more uncertainty anyway.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Adeodatus wrote: »
    I thought this was a neurosis all my own, until I heard someone online describe the same thing a little while ago - the feeling that, having left faith (or at least any formal or systematic faith) behind, the last thing to linger is fear. Fear that it may have been true all along, fear of a wrathful God, fear of endless post-death pain, fear of you-name-it.

    I'm not angling for sympathy here*, but it's set me thinking - if it's fear that remains after everything else has gone, how much of my faith may have been built on fear in the first place? And what is a faith built on fear worth, compared to, say, one built on love?

    Does any of this ring any bells with anyone else?


    *(A lie, of course.)

    You've got it. I don't fear such a Satanic God. I fear oblivion. Meaninglessness. Lack of restitution for all victims. So at some deep level, fear of that is at the heart of my taking the wager of the opposite. Of impossible sublimity.

  • Raptor EyeRaptor Eye Shipmate
    I'm surprised if fear was the sole content of a religious belief which has now been jettisoned. For me, faith in God is all about love, and there's no place for fear in love. I do understand that some people have been coerced into religious practice through fear, but I'm saddened if the numinous aspect of God never came through, the joy, or the love.

    If I managed to convince myself that God didn't exist perhaps I would be left with a fear of death, as my hope of eternal life is connected with my faith. But I might also convince myself that death was the end.

  • PigletPiglet All Saints Host, Circus Host
    edited May 10
    My early experience of religion, like Fineline's, seemed to be based on fear: it was of the "fire-and-brimstone if you don't repent" variety, and while God's love got a look-in, it was made abundantly clear that we didn't actually deserve it.

    I suspect that if I'd just drifted away without finding something else*, the fear may well have lingered on.

    * What I found was Anglicanism, which seems to me to be gentler, with the focus rather more on God's love than His wrath.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    It's not surprising that you feel fear, as something has gone. I don't know if it means your faith was based on fear, not necessarily. I think also it takes years to adjust. I felt relief, and also a certain exhaustion. Did I really tie my brain in such knots? Life seems complete now.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I totally get it. I rejected the evangelicalism of my past, a form which was of the "everyone's going to Hell except those who explicitly accept Christ as their personal saviour" type.

    But I cannot shake the fear that it was actually true all along. Millions of people believe it; why shouldn't it be?
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 10
    KarlLB wrote: »
    I totally get it. I rejected the evangelicalism of my past, a form which was of the "everyone's going to Hell except those who explicitly accept Christ as their personal saviour" type.

    But I cannot shake the fear that it was actually true all along. Millions of people believe it; why shouldn't it be?

    Because it's sick. It's bollocks. Get cognitive Karl. I thought of you as soon as I saw this thread. And what q said. We suffer loss even of sickness and bollocks.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Yes, I remember clients who were scared of no longer being depressed, the loss of an old friend really.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 11
    That is profound, thank you q. I sat on the toilet and wept for the loss of Anglo-Israelism 24 years ago!
  • AdeodatusAdeodatus Shipmate
    Thanks for the comments so far. I think @KarlLB has come closest to putting a finger on my experience, which is something like the nagging fear of “what if the Monster is real?” (Do I think the cosmos could have been made by a Monster? Of course I do - just look at the place!)

    Some have described moving from one kind of faith to another. I’d be interested to hear more about that, and the process involved. I think my own faith has always had the knowledge behind it that what I believe doesn’t necessarily relate one iota to what is actually the case, and that’s always worried me.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Nice to see you posting again, Adeodatus; I am sorry for the content though and its impact on you.

    I have spent most of the day studying, so my brain may be winding down, but I was a bit confused with:
    Adeodatus wrote: »
    I think my own faith has always had the knowledge behind it that what I believe doesn’t necessarily relate one iota to what is actually the case, and that’s always worried me.
    Might I ask you, if you are happy to, to explain?

    The fundamentalist church of my early teens poisoned me. And I mean that word. KJV-only, rapture, a vengeful God. I left it. But it has never left me. I think after my return as a 20 yo to attending church, that my move to High Anglicanism, then Eastern Orthodoxy, was an unconscious move (others more intelligent than I may have picked up on it; I didn't till I looked back recently) away to something so different from that extremely fundamentalist church to something I could believe in. And to a faith where fear was replaced by love. But send me a news article about a hell-and-brimstone preacher and I'm back to that scared, little boy.

    It doesn't take much for fear to rise up for me.
  • AdeodatusAdeodatus Shipmate
    Climacus wrote: »
    I have spent most of the day studying, so my brain may be winding down, but I was a bit confused with:
    Adeodatus wrote: »
    I think my own faith has always had the knowledge behind it that what I believe doesn’t necessarily relate one iota to what is actually the case, and that’s always worried me.
    Might I ask you, if you are happy to, to explain?

    Thanks, Climacus. Simply and banally (is banally an adverb? It is now) I can have a rock-solid belief that the earth is flat. That doesn’t stop it being an oblate spheroid, roughly. I’m not really interested in believing what seems reasonable, or what “feels right”* - only in what is likely to be true.

    * I don’t use that term at all disparagingly. I’ve always envied those who find a belief that fits like an old overcoat. Mine has always been more like an overcoat in which the tailor has left all his pins in the lining.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    What sort of fear? The Hounds of Heaven link fear? And the not knowing how to move towards the contentment?

    I found Dave Tomlinson's Re-enchanting Christianity link an interesting way of looking at belief in a different way. He's coming from a post-evangelical position, but with many things that have changed in his life to make those views impossible to hold.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Ah, thank you, Adeodatus.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    That is profound, thank you q. I sat on the toilet and wept for the loss of Anglo-Israelism 24 years ago!

    I should finish the story. There is an old idea that people miss a bad parent more than a good one, after death. The reason is obvious, that the bad parent leaves so much unresolved. (It doesn't always work). Anyway, cynical atheists said that God is the ultimate bad parent, so is addictive. Well ...
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    Adeodatus I think it is very brave of you to admit your fear because many people deny it and hide it even from themselves. It's also courageous to begin a search for a faith which is built on love. There are true and false images of God just as there are healthy and toxic churches. I learned my Christianity from being with real Christians who lived out their faith by their goodness and kindness and made me realise that was what God was really like as well. I also went on an Alpha course which was a good choice for someone like me who likes to discuss their questions.
  • Schroedingers CatSchroedingers Cat Shipmate, Waving not Drowning Host
    I know that I have had to come to the point that if the faith I reject is true, I still don't want to accept it. I might burn in hell, but I will have lived a life I can be proud of first.

    And, as I posted on Witter, when you have learnt something for decades (and especially the young years) you canot unlearn it overnight.

    And it is almost Stockholm Syndrome - the need for the certainty. the team, the reason (for MH issues). It doesn't mean they're not bad, not damaging, or that we don't realise how bad it is. But it is also known. Deeply.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    That is profound, thank you q. I sat on the toilet and wept for the loss of Anglo-Israelism 24 years ago!

    I should finish the story. There is an old idea that people miss a bad parent more than a good one, after death. The reason is obvious, that the bad parent leaves so much unresolved. (It doesn't always work). Anyway, cynical atheists said that God is the ultimate bad parent, so is addictive. Well ...

    Ha! So true...
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited May 11
    Rublev wrote: »
    Adeodatus I think it is very brave of you to admit your fear because many people deny it and hide it even from themselves. It's also courageous to begin a search for a faith which is built on love. There are true and false images of God just as there are healthy and toxic churches. I learned my Christianity from being with real Christians who lived out their faith by their goodness and kindness and made me realise that was what God was really like as well. I also went on an Alpha course which was a good choice for someone like me who likes to discuss their questions.

    Yes. I also think maybe how we learned our faith determines what is left when we lose it.

    I have lost 99.9% of my faith but what is left is a feeling of being loved. Even in darkest despair I have a sense of ‘something’ at the bottom of it all that is love. I’m sure this comes from my parents and the Christian love and kindness I was brought up in.

  • Lily PadLily Pad Shipmate
    The only fear I have is falling back in. I don't have the confidence to risk that.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I never really equated my childhood Catholicism with fear. Church was a communal and family event that I enjoyed. I went to church with my schoolmates and cousins. Like most of my schoolmates and cousins, I stopped going to church as soon as I could drive. You'd drive to church, run in and get the church newsletter - proof that you attended - and head off somewhere else. At that time, the focus was fun - drinking, smoking, drugs, parties, concerts, the whirlygig of teenage life. I had no thought for God and only ridicule for Christians. But then I got pulled back in, at a low point. So fear doesn't relate at all to my experience outside the Church.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    The times I struggle with faith has to do with bouts of depression. Could it be that your fear is masking a depressive cycle? I would suggest checking that out.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    I have been thinking more about this - just thoughts, not answers. I was thinking that I am in a few Bible groups on FB, most of which I stopped following, where the members tend to be quite controlling - they like to think that they understand God perfectly, that there is only one possible interpretation of the Bible, and that is their interpretation. They see anything different from their views as dangerous heresy, and they immediately 'correct' anyone who expresses a different perspective from theirs - even kicking them out of the group if they persist in expressing their views.

    Something I notice in these groups is a deep fear that seems to lurk below the surface and sometimes rear its head. Someone will post that Satan is attacking them, terrifying them, giving them anxiety attacks or nightmares, and everyone will comment that they need to be strong and shout at Satan and claim the victory in Jesus. This happens for a whole variety of fears and anxieties - these are seen as attacks from Satan. And it is always fear - people don't post that they are struggling with, say, greed, or selfishness, or pride, or envy. Fear is seen as the enemy and is a very common theme.

    And today I happened to come across a quotation from Richard Rohr, saying that the opposite of faith is not doubt but control, and I was thinking about that. Because this need for control is surely underpinned by a terror of losing control. So to what extent is it actually faith if a person is constantly trying, needing, to be in control, to be capturing God and Christianity within the confines of their own wishes and fears and black and white thinking?

    As I said, no answers, just thoughts I have been thinking about, and I'm not sure if or how this is relevant to the question, other than it is about fear and faith.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Nice post Fineline.
  • FirenzeFirenze Purgatory Host, Host Emeritus
    I agree. Very perceptive.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Thirded.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    Indeed. Very interesting. I need to ponder it (an econometrics assignment is calling...), and I may come back with more questions. Not answers.

    Thanks for sharing, Gramps. Depression, anxiety, mania... tend to impact me differently faith-wise. It is a curious case of how the body works.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Lily Pad wrote: »
    The only fear I have is falling back in. I don't have the confidence to risk that.

    You can't step in to the same stream twice.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    True, but if there is still cadmium, for instance, in the water it may not go well with you.

    I know, assignments... Someone change my password please and prevent temptation. :help:
  • SusanDorisSusanDoris Shipmate
    Never having felt fear of God involved , even with my early belief that there was a God somewhere, I think it is so sad to think there has been so much fear involved - and would like to have a few words with those who caused it. When the vestiges of my belief evaporated, I was slightly fed up with myself for not letting it do so ages before! But certainly not fear.


  • @op
    I went through a period of life when young where I was frightened as you describe. There were done competing ideas which centred on the necessity of being saved. I lost the idea when it became clear that there was no saving from harm in the world. Recovered from the harm and found a gentler version where community seemed to aim at trying to live Christian lives. It comforted to think that whatever salvation might be we needn't worry about it so much; we were the people of God. It will all be taken care of. Not fearful. Then grave worldly harm came again; the community we were in failed in all respects; it seemed that the unconscious interpretation of our church was a Calvinistic egg boiled to hard. We had been shown to be of the damned. There wasn't fear, rather clarity: "oh, that's how it is, is it?" with my conclusion that thinking of salvation after death wasn't worthy of thought any further, and all I could do was to try to be a reasonably decent human. If there wasn't succour in the world, how could I trouble with something other worldly. Whatever there might be in orthodox belief will have to look after itself. I do like liturgy though. Makes me happy and comforts. Like poetry or art or music.
  • HuiaHuia Shipmate
    Adeodatus, I am sorry about the fear. I hope that you can resolve it, as I know from my own experience in the past that it can be crippling.

    Boogie - that is close to where I am with what I believe.

    Firstly, that I am deeply and profoundly loved, (as is everyone). I know that if I am depressed or anxious I can lose sight of that.

    Secondly (and this comes from the Quakers), that there is a spark of the divine in each person. (Although I sometimes find it difficult to discern).

    Beyond that, I really don't know.

    A week ago I sat in church wondering why I was there. As far as I could work out at least some of the reason is that this is a place where people and their concerns matter. That's as far as I got. I'm a work in progress.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Fineline - I know those people. I almost was one once. Perhaps I actually was one. One's motivations are always difficult to be certain of, but I think I was motivated partially by fear that my carefully constructed evangelical theology might be under threat, and also fear that if other people didn't believe the right things they might go to Hell. But also by knowing that I was right and other people needed to get it right too.

    I'm not sure I was so much of an arsehole as I sound.

    But at the same time, while knowing I was right, I was also terrified the whole thing was rubbish, and I was also trying to convince myself. I "knew" that true believers had assurance of salvation, and I didn't, so there must be something wrong and I was trying desperately to shake that doubt.

    Deep down I crave certainties. Some forms of religion peddle them but can't deliver.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Superb NO.... thank you. Art, plants, mountains, my grandson.
  • Amir EmrraAmir Emrra Shipmate
    I'm going through the same sort of thing Adeodatus. I lost my faith a few years ago, the usual thing - abusive church & Jobian tribulations - that pushed me to snapping point. I was terrified for a while of losing my belief in god altogether. Finally, I reached an equilibrium, where I acknowledge the existence of god but I hate him. Apart from that hatred, fear remains because I believe him to be vindictive and capable of condemning me (and anyone else, regardless of faith) at the end. In some ways, I think it might have been less stressful if my faith had completely evaporated.

    Where I differ from you is that I don't think my faith was built on the sands of fear. In my early years it certainly was because of toxic con-evo theology. However, I shed that as I gravitated to a more open, contemplative spirituality in later years. I'm stuck in a spiritual impasse now but with a nervous eye on the future.

    Sorry I cannot offer any comfort.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    sounds like a version of the dark night of the soul, with the sense of hatred and defiance. I haven't experienced that myself, just read a bit about it years ago before distinguishing it from mental illness.

    I'm not sure if you are up for a laugh, but this bit from Father Ted is funny.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    edited May 15
    @Amir Emrra - you and @KarlLB both! Twice is a syndrome! How is it that two very smart, liberal, hard boiled persons have one foot shackled to God the psycho? Whom you rationally know is a boogey man from our Bronze-Iron Age psyches. If God is, He's the Zennest guy on the block.
  • Amir EmrraAmir Emrra Shipmate
    Martin54 wrote: »
    ...shackled to God the psycho? Whom you rationally know is a boogey man from our Bronze-Iron Age psyches. If God is, He's the Zennest guy on the block.

    Nice turn of phrase there. Maybe I'm not so smart then because I'm not sure of that postulate or the conclusion. If psycho God is merely an evolved idea, which is what I think you mean by Iron Age psyches, then God is not. If God is then why does that necessitate him being good? Perhaps our ancestors got it right? Hope this isn't too much of a tangent.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Martin54 wrote: »
    ...How is it that two very smart, liberal, hard boiled persons have one foot shackled to God the psycho? Whom you rationally know is a boogey man from our Bronze-Iron Age psyches. If God is, He's the Zennest guy on the block.
    Martin, I'm glad you have a place to work out your issues on this subject, but it gets a little tedious sometimes.

    I am blessed to have been born to a mother whose faith was quietly solid and consciously lived, and a father who came to embrace my mother's faith. (He was the descendant of Scots Presbyterians, and was informed by a couple of older men at his church as a young teenager that he was most definitely not among the Elect. He abandoned religion until after he married the Mater; by the end of his life, he had a strong faith and lived it well.)

    I am also blessed to be an Episcopalian. We're a denomination which tends to err on the side of too much tolerance; sometimes that can be aggravating, but overall I appreciate that. When I go through a spasm of doubt - and I suspect that most of us do that - it's okay. I try to live according to Jesus's principles, and those principles are universal.

    As a late-stage cancer patient, I am living with mortality up close and personal. I believe in a loving and forgiving God. I don't worry about Purgatory vs Grace; I figure that, one way or another, I'll be okay.

    And if there's nothing awaiting us when we die? I'll still be okay, because I really have tried to live, in my own small way, according to Jesus's principles: loving my neighbors, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving and doing what I can to make the world a better, more loving place. I can take comfort in that. It's not much, but in the end, it may well be enough.



  • NenyaNenya Shipmate
    Rossweisse wrote: »
    And if there's nothing awaiting us when we die? I'll still be okay, because I really have tried to live, in my own small way, according to Jesus's principles: loving my neighbors, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving and doing what I can to make the world a better, more loving place. I can take comfort in that. It's not much, but in the end, it may well be enough.

    What a humbling and moving post, especially this. Thank you.

    :notworthy: #TeamRossweisse

    A wise woman once said to me that we don't lose our faith, we lose our beliefs. It seemed great and comforting wisdom at the time, although years later I'm still unpacking what it means.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    I think these things depend on the individual.

    I think faith is even harder for me than belief. Perhaps it's never really been there. Christianity is an aspiration; it's something other people seem able to do but I only make half-hearted noises towards. They talk about prayer and encountering God in worship and I experience words going out into the void and tedium. I don't seem to be wired for it.

    @Amir Emrra - not just the bronze or iron age people, but the vast majority of Christian believers down the years have believed in the God who drowned almost the entire population, who ordered the massacre of Canaanite populations, and set down a code of Law that would make IS blush. I don't want that God to exist but millions upon millions today and throughout history were confident he did. There's no logical or rational path that can prove them wrong.

    I'd give the whole thing up if I didn't have this tiny glimmer of hope that God is real and isn't a cosmic Pol Pot.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    'Being wired for it' is a good point to make. I once read the account of a nun who thought she was a complete failure because she couldn't relate in any way to the liturgical prayer life of her community. A visiting speaker then introduced her to a different form of prayer which was meaningful to her. I think personality type is significant in faith. I think gender probably plays a role. And I think we move around in our concepts and preferences as we mature so it is important to have the space to be able to explore those interests and attractions.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    @Rossweisse. It's enough.

  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Amir Emrra wrote: »
    Martin54 wrote: »
    ...shackled to God the psycho? Whom you rationally know is a boogey man from our Bronze-Iron Age psyches. If God is, He's the Zennest guy on the block.

    Nice turn of phrase there. Maybe I'm not so smart then because I'm not sure of that postulate or the conclusion. If psycho God is merely an evolved idea, which is what I think you mean by Iron Age psyches, then God is not. If God is then why does that necessitate him being good? Perhaps our ancestors got it right? Hope this isn't too much of a tangent.

    Bin sayin' that here for a while: God is not God. 99% not - on a good day if you squint, otherwise 100% - the God of the Book and its peoples to date. And only glimpsed in His goodness through one human window enculturated in its first people. And therefore yes, He is not good. Not in anthropomorphic terms. Except in that incarnate identification with us and what He requires of us.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host
    Rublev wrote: »
    'Being wired for it' is a good point to make. I once read the account of a nun who thought she was a complete failure because she couldn't relate in any way to the liturgical prayer life of her community. A visiting speaker then introduced her to a different form of prayer which was meaningful to her. I think personality type is significant in faith. I think gender probably plays a role. And I think we move around in our concepts and preferences as we mature so it is important to have the space to be able to explore those interests and attractions.

    Certainly the way I pray and relate to God has changed/developed/evolved quite a bit over the years. And different personalities, different brain wiring, different cultures, different levels of maturity, different hang-ups and issues, do definitely play a part, in my observations, in a person's understanding of God and faith. People are also influenced by key figures in their life - parents, teachers, pastors, etc.

    I think fear can be a major motivating factor in life in general - not specific to religion, but if someone has had a background where fear played a big part for whatever reason, then this is likely to play into their faith and understanding of God too. Even within the same church environment, one person can be motivated by fear and another by love, maybe because the first had a childhood where fear was used as motivation, and another had a childhood with an abundance of love. We all bring to our faith our backgrounds, our experiences, our scars, our baggage, our culture, our personalities, and ourselves - with all our flaws, weaknesses and brokenness, as well as our strengths and privileges. And we all muddle together, with conflicts often happening because people have different ways of relating to God, and different ways of expressing themselves and their understanding of God. And hopefully, as we mature and love becomes more prominent than fear, we can work through these and see the human underneath the differences, rather than feel threatened by them.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    I do think personality types are quite influential to personal faith and what works for one person won't necessarily be helpful to another. I have never got on with a Rule of Life but I find Ignatian spirituality very rewarding because it is sensory and creative.

    The other thing I wonder is how much of faith is caught rather than taught which is where your point about family, friends, teachers and pastors come in. It is how it is lived out in practice by the positive role models and the kind communities that is convincing. Even Jesus needed a Martha and Mary house where He could enjoy true fellowship.
  • RossweisseRossweisse Shipmate, 8th Day Host
    Nenya wrote: »
    ...A wise woman once said to me that we don't lose our faith, we lose our beliefs. It seemed great and comforting wisdom at the time, although years later I'm still unpacking what it means.
    The very first famous-person interview I ever did was with Madeleine L'Engle. It was when the BCP 1979 was still rather new, and we both disliked it for its cludgy language and subtle changes of theology. I asked her if she believed in the Virgin Birth. "I do," she said, "because the Church teaches it, and it's in the Nicene Creed." But, she added, if it were to be dropped, she'd be fine with that.

    I feel much the same way. Some of the specific beliefs may drop away, but the faith remains. These days, I mostly worry about the basics. (The Virgin Birth is not, in my opinion, among the basics.)

    On the other hand, I find myself in serious disagreement with Martin Luther over the Letter of James (which he wanted to dump from the NT) and "Faith without works is dead." I don't buy into a philosophy of earning brownie points with God, by any means; I do think that James's point - that a true faith compels the individual to act on that faith - is absolutely valid.


  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    If we rationalize it, Him away, there's 'only' humanitarian humanism. In many, most if not all ways we should behave as if that were so.
  • RublevRublev Shipmate
    edited May 17
    There are good reasons to have a faith. One of them is seen in the story of Father Choblet, a Catholic missionary to the Solomon Islands in the early C20th. After 30 years service he was about to return to his native France on leave when he was discovered to have leprosy and sent to the leper colony instead. This was a place of despair where the lepers waited for death as there was no treatment for them. The governor feared what might happen to his friend in such a place. But when he visited he found that the colony had been transformed. It was tidy, flowers had been planted, the men and women were all busy doing activities. The governor asked Father Choblet, 'What have you been doing with my lepers? How did you get them going?' And he replied, 'When the soul is awakened, then life is worth living.'
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