Monday, June 24, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

Well alrighty then,

Hello Dave,

I stumbled upon your site today and have read much of its contents with interest. I think God wanted me to put off registering my Website to pursue your site.
I'm 41 now and was saved at about 15. I'm currently about half-way through my one-year bible as this is nearly July. I don't have your extensive background, but have been in and out of church since junior-high.
You may find it interesting that I am dismayed at what I read in the old testament. How can a God of love, incapable of evil, do such things? Today I am reading in 1 Kings 20--21 where God spoke through a prophet to Ahab the then King of Israel, verse 20:42: "This is what the LORD says: Because you have spared the man I said must be destroyed, now you must die instead of his people." From the prophet Elijah to Ahab, verse 21:20: "The LORD is going to bring disaster to you and sweep you away. He will not let a single one of your male descendants, slave or free alike, survive in Israel! He is going to destroy your family as he did the family of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the family of Jeroboamson of Nebat and the family of Baasha son of Ahijah, for you have made him very angry and have led all of Israel into sin." 21:23: "The LORD has also told me that the dogs of Jezreel will eat the body of your wife, Jezebel (RB-she lied and had Naboth executed), at the city wall. The member!
s of your family who die in the city will be eaten by dogs, and those who die in the field will be eaten by vultures."

OK so now the LORD sends another message to Elijah, 21:29: Do you see how Ahab has humbled himself before me? Because he has done this, I will not do what I promised during his lifetime. It will happen to his sons; I will destroy all his descendants."

This is really rough for me to take. Should Ahab's decendants be responsible for what Ahab did? Also, if pre-destiny is real, then is God just playing with us? I'm having real problems understanding pre-destiny right now. The best I can figure is that some are pre-destined, such as Judas who betrayed Jesus, but pre-destiny really seems to clash with the concept of freewill.

With all that said, I know there is a God. I know He is a force for good, and I know in my soul that this force exists. I also know of the force for evil. I believe that force was put here so that we would have to make a choice. I also firmly believe that Jesus Christ existed, and performed miracles of God the father.

A spiritual law that I have experience to be real beyond any question is, "WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND."

God is a jealous God. One should do as He says and not as He does, which is similar to the relationship I had with my father. I don't believe that, even with the problems I have been having understanding, that I will ever be led to not fear Him.

How could Solomon, with his great wisdom given from God, be led away from Him, as he was?

Is it just mere coincidence that I only a week ago received a copy of "The Case for Christ," and now both sides have been revealed here in your site? Thanks Dave, I'll have to put off my Website registering a little longer as now I have to read that book and then the anti-links you have posted.

Maybe I'll write again sometime. Keep the faith Dave, even if it is just the smallest ember right now.

Your comment that there are a lot of things we don't understand was understated. My advice---pray for wisdom.

Thanks a million,
Ron Behrens
Mon 6/24/2002 5:46 PM

Wednesday, June 12, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

Your Anti-Testimony

From: Will Smith [mailto:areo50ad@mindspring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 11, 2002 6:28 PM

Greetings. I just found your site and read your anti-testimony, as well as
the testimonies of many others on your site. I am still a Christian, but have
gone through much of what you yourself have, and I can say that I, too, have
"lost my original faith", just not quite the same way you did.
I was raised in an Independent Baptist Church (which means to the right of
Southern Baptists) and also spent much time reading Seventh Day Adventist
literature. I believed that the 1611 King James Bible was the "infallible,
inerrant word of God" and that anyone who didn't believe so was going to
hell. Furthermore, we were saved by faith, not works. The services were dry
and booring. Jesus was always portrayed as one having and showing no emotion.
I was told that the earth was made in six days and that the earth was only
six-thousand years old. The church I went to had four barren walls and wooden
pews to sit on. No matter how a sermon started off, it always turned into:
"your going to hell if you don't get right with God right now." And, of
course, one day we were going to be "raptured" away into heaven.
One stressing point in particular was my love of art and the Second
Commandment, or rather, how it was explained to me. "No graven image" meant
there should be no depictions of Jesus, the Apostles, etc. in the church
building.
I can sympathize with you as far as struggling with puberty and adolescence
and the faith as I understood it. Jesus had said, “You have heard that it was
said, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ (Exod 20:14; Deut 5:18)
28 But I say to you, anyone who stares at a woman with lust for her has
already committed adultery with her in his heart."-Matt. 5:27-28. (I know now
that Jesus was referring to married men and women in the context of this
verse, but that wasn't how it was explained to me then. It is a shame that
many churches teach or imply that human sexuality is somehow evil or sinful.
However, the Song of Solomon shows that not to be the case.)
I too struggled with the inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible as
did many of my friends. Many of us went from church to church seeking
answers, only to be confronted with the same. I then turned to the history of
the church for the answers which I was looking for, reading books such as
"The Oxford History of Christianity". In the end, I discovered that the
Church Fathers who chose the books that were to be known as "The Bible" were
well aware of the differences in the accounts of Jesus' life contained in the
gospels, as were the Jews who already had included the books of 1 and 2
Samuel, 1 and 2 Kings, and 1 and 2 Chronicles in the Hebrew Bible were aware
of the differences in the accounts of the history of Israel. The
Greek-speaking Jews and Christians of old were also aware of the differences
between the Greek and Hebrew versions of the Bible. There was no problem with
having differing accounts of events because the notion of "infallible,
inerrant word of God" hadn't been invented yet. It is in truth a late novelty
(as is the belief in the "rapture") that is alien to the greater part of
Christianity.
I also found that art had long been a part of the Church; from frescoes
dating from the second century, sculptures and mosaics to the chants, music,
and stained glass pictures found in most churches today. In context, the
Second Commandment only refers to making idols of God, and worshiping as
such.
I and several others also took an interest in reading everything we could
about evolution, the big bang, natural selection, the Neandertals, etc., and
I am still fascinated by the earth and everything in it, as well as the
vastness of the universe and all in it.
As I said before, I discovered the Song of Solomon, which leaves no doubt
that those of old never considered human sexuality to be sinful. I found
where Paul had written, "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither
slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in
Christ Jesus."-Gal. 3:28; and, "Is God the God of the Jews only? Is he not
the God of the Gentiles, too? Yes, of the Gentiles, too."-ROM. 3:29. Also,
"For whenever Gentiles, who do not possess the law, do instinctively what the
law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the
law. They show that what the law requires is written in their hearts, a fact
to which their own consciences testify, and their thoughts will either accuse
or excuse them.."ROM. 2:14-15. These verses, as well as several other quotes
from Paul, that the true faith is an inclusive one, where everyone has the
opportunity to be saved. I have since made many friends of other faiths and
am also convinced that from reading passages about "hell" that the
condemnation mentioned is for those who know right from wrong and choose to
do evil.
Paul's letter to Philemon, admonishing him to free his slave, Onesimus, and
to accept him as a brother is another example of the kind of faith I now
have, which is not based on believing certain doctrines and having what I
call a "head-knowledge faith" where a person believes that if he just knows
the right idea, he will be saved by that mental process. That is the kind of
shallow, superficial "faith" that I lost, along with several of my Christian
friends. The faith I now have is one in which equality of all, social
justice, and love for all in word and deed, today and every day, is more
important than whether I believe the earth is 6,000 years old or
four-billion; or whether the King James or the New International Version is
the only true bible.
I highly recommend several books by Philip Yancey, namely, "The Jesus I Never
Knew", "Dissapointment With God", and "Where Is God When It Hurts?" for
further reading on losing ones faith in order to find it.

From: Will Smith

Mr. Smith,

Thanks for the email!

I hope you have found what you are looking for. If you read "Losing Faith in Faith" by Dan Barker, a former minister, you may find you have much in common with him.

Sincerely,

Dave VanAllen

Sunday, June 02, 2002                                                                                       View Comments

In Ref to "Proof of God"

Dave,
I have read so much of your experiences and beliefs I feel I have known you for ages. I admire your sharp mind and your grasp of the English language which I can not claim with my 9th grade education but when you write about reason I can only think that you reason much differently than I do.
I too have so much trouble believing everything in the bible but why should we stop believing there is a god (a creator} just because we don't except a book that claims it's from him ?
I look at the world we live in and the universe around us,the order of things such as being able to tell the height of the tide at any given time and place,the rising of the sun and the moon etc. and then I cannot comprehend any one thinking all this came about at random !
for example throw a pile of timber into a lot and watch a house build itself, or mix a quantity of ingredients in a large bowl and sit back and wait for a cake or anything else for that matter to develop and it will never happen without outside intervention.or better sill ask your father with all his knowledge of radios to throw all the parts needed into a box, to shake it as much as he likes and then open it and produce a working radio. I think not.
even if you believe that al this came about from one individual cell or atom or whatever,
where did that cell come from ?
you would say to me , where did this god I believe in come from ?
I have no answer Dave, but no answer to that is a better explanation than that of an atheist to saying that all we see exist without a maker.
please don't throw the baby out with the bathwater, if you never believe in the son, believe in the father. you have a son Dave, you know that he wouldn't be here without a father.
my argument is this { how can we have a creation, without a creator ??? }
we tend to put flesh and blood on any being we try to imagine including god, perhaps god is un-imaginable with our finite mind, does that prove he doesn't exist?
I can understand your refusal to believe the bible is the word of god but how do you possibly explain this the universe and all that is in it.
I can't prove gods existence, but then can you explain life and this universe without accepting there is a creator ? that too is a mystery. you accept one but refuse the other, is that wisdom or foolishness. to quote the book we have a hard time believing
" the fool has said in his heart - there is no god " so much for now,
Bill Warner
save@mybrosplace.com