Post # 16
If you are still curious, try reading some christian books such as The Case for Faith and The Case for Faith. I also highly recommend reading In the Footsteps of Jesus by Bruce Marciano, it is relatable to any “ordinary” person and has just recently helped re-ignite my faith after being an almost agnostic for a few years. I can understand that the Bible does not make much sense at times as it makes a lot more sense when you believe, and no, not just because you’re trying to justify anything, can’t quite explain it, but I don’t blame anyone for not getting much out of the Bible when just starting with that, so try starting with Christian books and refer back to the Bible to start, and start with John and Romans.
Actually, the first real kick off for me was having to do pre-marital counselling for our wedding in an Anglican church. I hadn’t really given my faith much thought to be honest in the last few years, and was dreading when we actually got to the faith discussion part, I was so removed from it, but I asked the minister why he believed and that’s what got me thinking again, so I also encourage you to speak with other Christians ( I suppose as you have already reached out on wedding bee that’s a great start!). Some may be going through periods of doubt, so keep an open mind and talk to more than one or two people!
I started attending the Anglican church occasionally (hopefully someday FI) will come with me, and I don’t know if it’s true for all Anglican churches but I found they have a lot of knowledge behind them but are still very open and gracious, without being the “airy fairy” kind of church or really strict kind of church we associate with Catholics (um prior to our counselling sessions I thought Anglicans were the same as Catholics). So that wouldn’t be a bad denomination to start with, but really, anywhere that you feel comfortable and teaches based on what is written in the Bible and doesn’t require you follow certain rules outside of the realms of normal societal expecations is ok of course!
Post # 17
oh and try not to dwell too much on being defined as any particular type of Christian. It may help explain to people what you believe, but don’t try to fit yourself into of those definititions in between. With Christianity you’re either a Christian or you’re not, you either believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died for your sins or you don’t. Anything in between is just your own path.
Post # 18
AnnaVictoria: Honestly I’m not quite sure. I think I’m going through the whole “I don’t know what I believe” stage. I feel like I know what I believe but I’m unnecessarily confusing myself… What kind of church do you and your Fiance go to?
Post # 19
FromA2B2013: See, I believe Jesus was the son of God, and that he died for our sins (though I hate the word sin, it just sounds so dirty, like any mistake makes you dirty and unworthy), but I don’t worship Jesus. I pray to God, not Jesus. I don’t believe in the trinity. I think of Jesus as a really awesome guy who was sent by God, not that he’s part of God himself. If that makes sense.
Post # 20
laschai: Then I mean this in the least judgmental way possible but, have you checked out Judism or Islam? Cause the divinity of Jesus is kind of one of those “key points” that makes Christianity what it is. There is no reason to follow a faith where you cannot believe THE most basic tenet. However both Judism and Islam technically follow the same all-powerful monotheistic God (in Yahweh and Allah) as Christianity however their ideas of Jesus seem to fit your belief about Him better, a great man and prophet but not divine. Because the point of Christ to Christians is that He is Emmanuel-literally “God With Us”, divinity in the flesh. And if you can’t agree with that then I am thinking that you may want to search elsewhere for your spirituality. Like I said before, there are plenty of non-important facets to Christian theology that there is room for interpretation, but Jesus being from God and being God isn’t one of them.
Post # 21
chasesgirl: Actually, I never thought about that. I’m now researching Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism (Islam doesn’t fit me, I don’t believe in Muhammad or anything like that)
Post # 22
- Wedding: September 2017 - Ceremony and Reception: Historic mansion on the water
I read the OP question and that’s it. Religion on the whole is a subject I chose not to discuss too much as I do not believe I am able to change one’s mind about their belief to mine and vice versa. All I can do is tell you about me and what I believe. You can take it for all it worth to you. It matters nothing to me. I grew up in a Christian family, was in the church, and went to Christian schools. Most of my friends were also Christian. At the age of tweleve I accepted the Lord as my Savior but it wouldn’t be until years later that I understood what I had done.
No one can influence what you believe. I decided on my own. I took all that I had been taught and went out into the world. I listened to everyone and pondered on what made sense to me. I stumbled and made serious mistakes and paid for it. I had to fall hard before I got back up. In the end I am a Christian and proud to be so. It’s a conversion that happens over time. There are temptations, backsliding. all of that. There will be doubt and anger at God. I am not perfect and never will be and anyone who tells you that as a Christian perfection is expected is misleading you. I live my life with the principles of the Bible as my foudation yet I still make mistakes. I am in no way perfect. I am not a Bible thumping, living in the church person but I know the Word and my limitations. God is always in my heart and I know this. I love my Christianity. I know people think Christianity is boring and strict and yes there are things you aren’t to do but my life is full of fun and joy. The things you aren’t to do I don’t want nor have any desire to do.
@laschai – Your question can only be answered by you. You say you believe in God. Well if Christianity is what you want then you have to take a leap and move forward to do it. You will find your way. It won’t be easy. It never is and it may not be tomorrow or even next year but you will make it there one day.
Post # 23
laschai: I grew up going to church but there were always a lot of contradictions that bothered me. As I grew older I realized I didn’t really believe in much of it at all. I struggled for a while because I missed the community of church and I missed believing in something. But, for me it was very much like finding out Santa Clause isn’t real – I couldn’t *make* myself believe it, even if I want to. I’m comfortable in my beliefs (or lack of them) now. If you’re not a christian, that’s okay. Don’t try to force yourself to believe something that just doesnt’ make sense to you. If it is something you are passionate about or even something you’re just not sure about, I’d say try out a couple of churches. When you walk in no one is going to look at you and start shouting “Shun, the non-believer!!” In fact, in my expreience everyone is very welcoming. If you still don’t connect with a church & it’s beliefs you’ll know it’s just not for you. Good luck 🙂
Post # 24
laschai: I think that is the whole point of sin, if it didn’t make you feel “dirty” and “unworthy” then you wouldn’t need someone to save you from it and to die for them.
I see why in your original post you identity as being Unitarian. Having looked it up, this is similar to what you believe.
In your OP you ask whether people have successfully converted – do you mean from being non-religious to any kind of belief or to believing in the trinity and bible?
I guess the question is: what do you want? Do you want to believe in the trinity and bible but are struggling to or are you satisfied with your beliefs?
I would find a church that is suitable to your searching – whether that is to strengthen the beliefs you currently have or to help you have more information regarding Jesus Christ as Saviour etc. Find one with people who you will be able to relate to and make friends with. Having friends at church makes a big difference.
ETA: I meant to say, to me a Christian is someone who does believe that Jesus is God and saviour. I personally wouldnt call Unitarians Christian.
Post # 25
I tried for a very long time to believe traditional Christian doctrine. I felt like that was what I was “supposed to” believe. But like others have said, you cannot convince yourself the sky is red, no matter how many times others explain why it is. I think you need to become comfortable in your own skin and confident in your own beliefs. You do not need to fit in somewhere else or believe the things others do, even though the unspoken peer pressure might be high to do so. Unitarian Universalists are wonderful, IMO, and they provide a congregation and fellowship without the pressure of changing who you are.
Post # 26
laschai: While I am not a Jewish expert, from what I do know there is as broad or more so spectrum of belief and adhering to those belief in Judism as there is difference in Christian denominations. EEspecially in the newer formed (not like Orthodox) groups, including stuff like female priests and such. At least from what I know of it, sounds like a better fit for your spirituality. Best of luck in your search!
Post # 27
laschai: FI’s church is Dutch Reformed (in South Africa) So it has traditional aspects like communion and organ music, but at the same tie does not require a woman to cover her head in church (as a ‘dirty’ creature – many christian churches require this – from branches of catholic, orthodox to conservative baptist).
I believe Jesus was ‘spiritual’ son of God. Nowhere in the Bible it says that Jesus= God. All the interpretation is based on Jesus saying ‘I AM’.
Yet the Bible says that voice from heaven said ‘This is my son of whom I am proud’ and Jesus prayed ‘Why have you forsaken me’. To me this 100% means that Jesus is NOT God and I would never pray to Jesus.
My take on Trinity is God is God, Jesus is his biggest messenger and Holy spirit is the way God communicates with us.
None of that mystical stuff from 4th century (first council of Nicaea, where a bunch of half literate men who did not know the Earth was round and going around the sun, got together and DECIDED that Jesus =God) makes sense.
I agree with you about this sin definition – makes you feel like you are some criminal or something!
Good luck girl with your search, I hope you find a place that you will be comfortable with.
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Post # 28
laschai: First, I want to commend you for taking an interest in your spiritual identity. So many people today don’t bother with this, but there is so much personal benefit to knowing what you believe, knowing why you believe it and being able to articulate it to others. Just to offer an alternative to a point made my a PP, many Christian denominations do not believe in the Trinity and therefore acknowledge the “awesomeness” (as you so cute-ly put it) without worshipping him. AnnaVictoria gave a great example. Christianity as a faith had existed for hundreds of years before the trinity doctrine began to take shape based on an adaptation of a Platonic theory.
Post # 29
I may be wrong, but I don’t think you can just choose to be Jewish. It’s more than a religion, it’s a whole culture. You are born Jewish, just like you are born Irish or Chinese, but with a religion attached. Jewish people choose whether or not to follow Judaism, and I don’t think they let others in. They were the chosen people by God who brought them out of Egypt and created a covenant with them. Christ changed all that when he was born, then died on the cross and rose again. The Jewish do not believe Jesus was Christ and they are still waiting for him.
Post # 30
“See, I believe Jesus was the son of God, and that he died for our sins (though I hate the word sin, it just sounds so dirty, like any mistake makes you dirty and unworthy), but I don’t worship Jesus. I pray to God, not Jesus. I don’t believe in the trinity. I think of Jesus as a really awesome guy who was sent by God, not that he’s part of God himself. If that makes sense.”
laschai: ‘Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”‘ John 14:6
Just a verse from the Bible that I think is enlightening. Best wishes on your journey, it’s so great that you want to learn more about your beliefs and values.