He Was Afraid to Die

All flesh is as grass,
And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
The grass withers,
And its flower falls away (1 Peter 1:24 NKJV)

Continuing our series on pain and suffering, in this post I want to talk about the fear of dying. Because the fear of dying is another cause of a crushed spirit and suffering.

Asleep At the Wheel And The Consequences

Today I read about a sixteen year old who was driving the family SUV during a trip to Disney World. He fell asleep. He veered off the road to the left into the median. Then he overcorrected to the right and rolled the vehicle. Tragically his mother and father, Michael and Trudi Hardman and three children Continue reading

Lifelong Atheist Jennifer Fulwiler Tells Of Her Life Of Scientific Materialism, And Christianity

A Lifelong Atheist

Lifelong atheist Jennifer Fulwiler speaks candidly about growing up in an environment where scientific materialism and naturalism was her way of life. (For her nightly bedtime reading, her father read from Carl Sagan’s Cosmos.)


(I encourage you to visit the excellent website, ExploreGod.com, where you can watch the original video about Jennifer and also find a safe place to ask questions about God. You might also want to check out other articles from the Seeker category of GodRunning.com.)

Jennifer says she was raised on a diet of science, and reason, and evidence based rational thought. She says, “You believe what you can prove. I believe that I have hands because I can see them. I believe in a black hole even though I’ve never seen one but science can tell us about the way matter moves around it that we can observe. And so this very rational worldview always made sense to me on a fundamental level.

A Collection Of Chemical Reactions

“Before I got to the point that I could really start researching faith with an open mind, something had to happen. And for me Continue reading

An Atheist and Richard Dawkins Fan Investigates Further

Engineer Nick Berryman was an atheist who found that Richard Dawkins’s book The God Delusion resonated with him. And then he investigated further.

Resources:
HT to NotAshamedOfTheGospel.com where I first saw this video.

How an Atheist Came to Know Christ

How Atheist came to know ChristThe following is a guest post from a friend and former atheist.

I was raised going to a Greek Orthodox church all through my childhood, and even began to attend Sunday services by myself when I was able to drive. When I got to college, I stopped going to church and slowly turned away from God over the course of about three years. I began to adopt an agnostic worldview–thinking God may or may not exist, but either way I needed to live my own life and look out for myself. Through my senior year of college, my weak agnostic stance turned into a firm atheistic stance on life. I was certain that God did not exist, and that Christianity was simply just one more religion in the world that was formed on stolen ideas and stories from ancient myths. Continue reading

Profile of a Doubter: Genuine Seeker (Part 9)

Profile of a Doubter

Let’s Also Go, So We Can Die With Him

So you’re a doubter. Or maybe you know someone who is. You might be interested to hear the story of a doubter in the Bible.

Here’s the scene: The Jews tried to kill Jesus in Judea near Jerusalem. So Jesus is hanging with his disciples a safe distance away in the area of Jericho. It’s then that Jesus hears about his good friend coming down with a fatal illness. People are begging him to come and help because things have gotten to the point where he’s the only possible solution. The only problem is Jesus’ friend has fallen ill near Jerusalem. So if Jesus goes to help, he’ll have to return to the same area where the Jews just tried to assassinate him. But Jesus says, without any apparent concern, “Let’s go there again.”

The disciples react, they say, “The Jews just tried to stone you, and you’re going there again?”

And it’s at this point that Thomas, commonly known as “Doubting Thomas,” says something amazing. He says, Continue reading

The Angry Crowd, Freakonomics, and Doubt: Genuine Seeker (Part 7)

Why do I doubt peer pressure

The Angry Crowd (This Really Happened)

Imagine you’re sitting in class with thirty-five other people on a Friday. It’s late afternoon and before your instructor dismisses you and your fellow students, he makes an announcement. He warns everyone to avoid downtown this weekend, because there’s a large (we’re talking hundreds of thousands) pro-life demonstration occurring there.

But just as soon as he says the words “pro-life,” there’s an overwhelming eruption in the classroom. It seems every student stands up from their chair and jeers and boos and hollers against the pro-lifers. You’re new to the group and their reaction takes you completely off guard. You’re shaken–because you’re pro-life.

From the moment the class booed and hissed at the notion of a pro-life demonstration, it felt almost impossible for you or anyone else to voice a pro-life point of view. The derision in the room was palpable.

Like most people, you like to think of yourself as independent and unconstrained by the thinking of people around you. But you’re sitting next to a good friend who knows you’re pro-life. And in the moments following the contemptuous crowd reaction you find yourself hoping he doesn’t say anything to tip off your sentiments. Continue reading

Why Do I Doubt? And Why Did Peter Carry That Rock? Genuine Seeker (Part 5)

Why do I doubt?

Former Human Genome Project Leader Dr. Francis Collins

Why Did Peter Carry That Rock?

Elizabeth Elliott tells a parable in her book These Strange Ashesand it goes like this:

One day Jesus said to his disciples: “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” He didn’t give any explanation. So the disciples looked around for a stone to carry, and Peter, being the practical sort, sought out the smallest stone he could possibly find. After all, Jesus didn’t give any regulation for weight and size! So he put it in his pocket.  Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey. About noontime Jesus had everyone sit down. He waved his hands and all the stones turned to bread. He said, “Now it’s time for lunch.” In a few seconds, Peter’s lunch was over.  When lunch was done Jesus told them to stand up. He said again, “I’d like you to carry a stone for me.” This time Peter said, “Aha! Now I get it!” So he looked around and saw a small boulder. He hoisted it on his back and it was painful, it made him stagger. But he said, “I can’t wait for supper.” Jesus then said: “Follow Me.” He led them on a journey, with Peter barely being able to keep up. Around supper time Jesus led them to the side of a river. He said, “Now everyone throw your stones into the water.” They did. Then he said, “Follow Me,” and began to walk. Peter and the others looked at him dumbfounded.  Jesus sighed and said, “Don’t you remember what I asked you to do?  Who were you carrying the stone for?”

Why Are Christians, Christians?

Most Christians would like to say they believe in Christianity because of the evidence for the truth of the bible, or because they’ve lived with Jesus a few years and have come to know him and trust him and love him. (see previous posts J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts and Why Do I Doubt? Genuine Seeker (Part 4)) And while these are reasons for many, the reality is, people become Christians for all sorts of reasons. Some became Christians because of the inertia in their family. Their family members are Christians, so they just went with the flow. It just made sense so they could keep good relationships with mom, dad, and their siblings. Some others became Christians because in their part of the planet it’s what people do. So they also went with the flow. And they find acceptance with their peers and with the culture they live in. Some others become Christians because of the benefits of the community. Maybe where they live it’s good for business to belong to the local church. Or maybe they like receiving support from church members when times are tough. Or maybe they enjoy the friendships formed. Often these reasons are present at the subconscious level.

Most Christians would like to say they believe in Christianity for unselfish reasons, but sometimes the reality is different. There are social reasons, and selfish reasons.

An Agnostic Historian and Faith

I have a friend who is an unbeliever and also an amateur historian. I once asked him to recommend some history books about Jesus Christ so I could Continue reading

Why Do I Doubt? Genuine Seeker (Part 4)

why do I doubt

Come near to God and he will come near to you. James 4:8

Why Do I Doubt?

In our last post, Doubt, Faith, and Reason, we looked at how a firefighter decided to risk his own life and crawl through a window into a burning building to save three children. And we saw how his decision making process is related to our choosing to believe (or not believe) in the gospel accounts.

In today’s post we’ll look at one of the reasons why we doubt.

Getting to Know a Firefighter

Yesterday a candidate for a firefighter position at Medford Fire-Rescue contacted me asking for advice about how to get hired. Before I started writing full time, I was involved in the hiring process for the fire department. I’m pretty sure we have the most thorough process in the state. We start with an application screening and end with a background check that’s incredibly thorough. Before we hire someone we know them just about as well as you can know someone without living with them. Which is important because firefighters have a unique schedule, and because of their unique schedule they live with each other almost a third of their lifetime during their career. It’s also important because once he or she is hired, the department and the community will probably be stuck with this person, for better or for worse, for thirty years or so.

But here’s the thing, no matter how thorough our process, and no matter how deep we go with our background investigation, we don’t really get to know the candidate until he’s been with us for a few years. There have been a few backgrounds Continue reading

Doubt, Faith, and Reason: Genuine Seeker (Part 3)

doubt faith reason

Last Post: Tolkien, Lewis, and the Gospel

In our last post (J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts) we saw the impact (on me at least) of C.S. Lewis’ opinion of the gospels. Lewis, a former atheist, a professor at Oxford and Cambridge, and an expert in ancient literature, wrote that the gospels are either a documented account of the life of Jesus, or, “some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative.” In other words, C.S. Lewis believed the scriptures to be true. (I posted Lewis’ statement on Reddit and a commenter, SuddenlySeymour, with a masters degree in English Literature explained it better than I ever could. If you’re interested, you can read what he wrote in the NOTES section at the bottom of this post.)

Why Should I Listen?

The next thing we explored in the last post was the next logical step after learning of Lewis’ conclusion. And that step is to read the gospel accounts of Jesus’ life very carefully. Because if those accounts are true as C.S. Lewis asserts that they are, then when we read the gospel accounts, we’re reading a documented account of the life and words of the Son of God Himself.

The Son of God Himself. No one’s life can be more important than his. No one’s world view can be more important than his. No one’s words can be more important than his. He said he came to save lives, eternal lives, and I want to explore that. But before we continue I think it will be helpful to first look at how firefighters decide to save lives.

Why Dive Through a Window Into a Burning Building? Continue reading

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospel Accounts: Genuine Seeker (Part 2)

Jesus myth or reality

J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, and the Gospels

In our last post we looked at how J.R.R. Tolkien of Lord of the Rings fame, argued with his atheist friend, C.S. Lewis, and how he ultimately persuaded Lewis to believe in Christianity. And we also saw what C.S. Lewis, an expert in ancient literature (Oxford and Cambridge professor, and chair of Mediaeval and Renaissance Literature at Cambridge) said about the gospels:

I have been reading poems, romances, vision-literature, legends, myths all my life. I know what they are like. I know that not one of them is like this. Of this text there are only two possible views. Either this is reportage… Or else, some unknown writer in the 2nd century, without known predecessors, or successors, suddenly anticipated the whole technique of modern, novelistic, realistic narrative. If it is untrue, it must be narrative of that kind. The reader who doesn’t see this has simply not learned to read. -C.S. Lewis

(Click on the link to read the previous post in its entirety Smurfs and the Genuine Seeker)

So here’s one of my personal heroes, Tolkien, the creator of all the original writings having to do with Hobbits and in my view one of the great genius minds of all time, and he convinces his friend C.S. Lewis that the bible is true. And then Lewis, another one of the great minds of all time and an expert in ancient literature, recognizes the gospels as true documentation of the life of Christ.

So what am I to do with this? How am I to react to this? Continue reading