I found this story over on Boing Boing and thought the flow chart was pretty interesting. Click on the picture for a larger version.
Three weeks ago I walked in to church with the question “Is God Real?” on my mind. That’s exactly what the topic of the sermon was.
Two weeks ago I walked in to church with the question “how are we supposed to follow as we should since nobody is perfect?” on my mind. That’s exactly what the topic of the sermon was.
Today I decided to let my family know what question was on my mind while we were on the way to church. The question was “if God is real, and there’s only one of Him, why are there so many different religions?” That’s exactly what the topic of today’s sermon was.
Coincidence? Could be. But it’s getting harder and harder to not believe there is something else at work here. Let’s see what next week’s question brings.
Faith is a belief, trust, or confidence, not based merely on logic, reason, or empirical data, but based fundamentally on volition often associated with a transpersonal relationship with God, a higher power, a person, elements of nature, and/or a perception of the human race as a whole. Faith can be placed in a person, inanimate object, state of affairs, proposition or body of propositions such as a religious creed.
Hope is an emotional belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. Hope implies a certain amount of perseverance â€” ie. believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary.
I like to think I have the Hope piece down, but the Faith piece is where I tend to fall short. If you are on your own investigation, I encourage you to read through the Wikipedia articles on Hope and Faith as they are pretty interesting. I’ve only quoted a very tiny piece of the overall articles here. Just click on the words Faith or Hope in the first sentence of this post.
Thanks to the reader that put the idea of Hope vs Faith in to my head.
I go through these strange bouts of spiritualism that make me wonder if there really is a God. Is He everything you learn about in the Bible, or does science get closer and closer to disproving His existence? I usually end up with more questions than answers.
Over the past couple of months I’ve been going to church with the family on Sunday. It started out as something I did just to keep a little peace in the house, but every week has been a better and better experience. I’m not dreading going anymore. As a matter of fact, I actually get a little bit of a charge, or a boost to launch me in to my week. I know, I know, get a life, right?
But today’s sermon could have been written just for me. Today it was the question you see in the subject line: Is God real? To our Pastor the answer was obvious – of course He’s real, but he never shoved that down our throats. Instead he challenged us to investigate the truth for ourselves. It ends up that that is one of the main reasons I’ve been attending this church – I’m on an investigation. We’ll see what comes out of it. I’d like to believe God is real, but so much suffering in the world makes me suspicious.
Two years ago at Christmas I wrote an entry that was a favorite of some of the people that read this Blog called Faith and the Nut Roll. It was a pretty neat thing that happened in my life and since I switched over to WordPress.com and attracted a few more readers I tought I would repost it. With Christmas right around the corner it seemed to fit again.
For some reason, I spent a lot of time today thinking about what Christmas means, and trying to figure out why I still havenâ€™t really got the Christmas spirit yet. I mean, here I was just hours away from Christmas morning and it just didnâ€™t feel like Christmas this year. Maybe it was because I didnâ€™t go crazy decorating the outside of the house this year. Although, I didnâ€™t decorate the outside because I just didnâ€™t feel very â€œChristmasyâ€ this year. Not sure why.
So I was helping clean the house today and I was thinking about religion, and how some people have faith and others need to actually see some proof. I fall in the middle. Those that know me best know I am not an outwardly religious person. Those same people might also be surprised to learn that I do my own praying just about every day. Some days I pray a lot. I pray when a friend is hurt. I pray when a friend is having a troubled pregnancy. I pray when a friend is having trouble getting pregnant. I pray for someone when they are sick or have died. See a pattern? I pray for others. I generally do not pray for myself because I have always felt I didnâ€™t need it. I am fortunate. I have worked hard to get where I am, believe me, but there are others that are not as fortunate, so I pray for them.
I have pretty much everything I want except for that one last thing – blind faith. I know people that have it and I have always felt that it was the one thing that I was really missing out on. I think analytically. I work with computers constantly and I know that nothing is every truly random. I like to see proof. Evidence if you will. So I watch for things. Some things that others call signs, I usually call coincidences. But I keep watching. Hoping. I guess I keep looking for the big miracle instead of the little things. I watch a father of 2 get Cancer and die out of nowhere. I watch a little girl get trapped under her garage door and she barely survives, but she may never be able to lead an unassisted life. I watch as people, in the name of religion, kill and kill and kill in the Middle East. All in the name of religion. But I never see the miracle. I never get to see the good.
I want to believe. I want to have that blind faith. I do believe that there is something or someone out there. I do believe that it is God that is out there. I talk with him all the time. I thank him often. I just wish I had more proof that I could see. So while I was cleaning I kept in thinking about faith and how it was missing in me. I never got any answers, just more questions.
Earlier in the week my wifeâ€™s friend Karen had dropped off a nut roll for the holidays. I promised I wouldnâ€™t touch it since my wife was going to have it at our yearly Christmas Eve party. I was finishing cleaning when my wife opened the nut roll to put it out for company. I had not discussed any of my faith thoughts with her at all, so I was surprised when I heard her say the word faith from the kitchen. That stopped me in my tracks. â€œWhat did you say?â€ I asked her. She said that Karen had poked the word faith in to the top of the nut roll with a fork. There it was right in front of me – faith. I was blown away. I had been thinking about that word all day long and here it was on top of our nut roll.
Maybe the proof you are looking for is not going to show up on a Billboard in the middle of Times Square. Maybe it will be in a message as subtle as a word poked in to the top of your nut roll.
Merry Christmas everyone!