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What Kept Me In

How I remained a believer, despite serious doubts

What Kept Me In, Reason #8: I Went To Heaven

2 Corinthians 12: “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know—God knows.  And I know that this man (…)  was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell.”

On the risk of making myself look like an utter fool, I am going to share something deeply personal with the world that I have rarely shared with anyone at all. I doubt that even my wife knows this story:

I went to heaven. Continue reading “What Kept Me In, Reason #8: I Went To Heaven”

What Kept Me In, Reason #7: Jesus Himself

My blog posts so far may give the impression that Christianity is simply a set of arguments, a set of things you believe in, a worldview. But that is utterly incomplete, to the point in which it can even be called a false representation. Christianity, at its core, is a relationship. Yes, it is also a religion, but the relationship aspect of it is so strong that Christians often think they are not following a religion, but simply a person.

This is especially true for the evangelicals/pentecostals, but also the Reformed and the Roman Catholics follow this person of Jesus and seek after reconciliation with God. Why is this relationship so important? Why not just a set of ideas, a philosophy; that we can examine on its own merits (more like Buddhism)? How did that personal relationship keep me in the fold? Continue reading “What Kept Me In, Reason #7: Jesus Himself”

What Kept Me In? Reason #6: The Wisdom of God

I have wondered how I would respond to a blog like this a couple of years ago, when I was still a firm believer in Jesus Christ. First off, I would be unlikely to come across it, but I did have my ventures into secular writings.  Second, I would have never believed that the writer was once “born again”. But finally, I think I would have read it with a smug smile on my face, shaking my head, because oh my goodness, this is such foolishness! Such “worldly wisdom”! These things can only be understood by real believers!

Why would I have said such an arrogant thing? Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #6: The Wisdom of God”

What Kept Me In? Reason #5: What If I’m Wrong?

I have often wondered what the most used argument would be from Christian to bring me back to faith, after I had ‘lost’ it. Would it be the grand meaning to life? The truth of the historical Jesus? Creation? The miracles around us?  Questions about my doubting process? Pointing to sin in my life?

No. Out of the responses I got, both online and offline, there was one ‘argument’ that was used the most by far:

“What if you are wrong?” Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #5: What If I’m Wrong?”

What Kept Me In? Reason #4: Faith

When I was about 14, I was an active evangelical evangelist at my school. Yep, I was that guy with a WWJD bracelet (What Would Jesus Do) and even a Christian T-shirt depicting the sword of the Spirit. Naturally, that led to some discussions with fellow classmates about the existence of God.

In one slightly heated debate they cried out: “So where is your God? Where does he live?” I didn’t really know how to respond, so said something from the gut: “He lives in your heart!”, and demonstrated it by pointing to my own blood-pumping muscle. I was pleasantly surprised with my spiritually-sounding answer. The pleasure was only for about 2 seconds, when I was met with a lot of laughter. “Really? What a small space. Left chamber or right chamber? Haha, what nonsense”.

Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #4: Faith”

What Kept Me In? Reason #3: The Church

“What? You are saying you were not disappointed with the church?” The Christian psychologist that I had met looked a bit surprised at me. “But, why did you leave the faith then? I had totally assumed it was for people who had done you wrong.”

With all the trouble in the world right now, this blog post is going to be a more positive one. And possibly quite unexpected: the church!

Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #3: The Church”

What Kept Me In, Reason #2: Wired For God

When I was in missionary college, in England, we had an interesting experience. During a class on postmodern society, we were visited by an actual atheist, who happened to be the father of one of the students. How exciting!

Where there are normally about 20 students in class, that time it was packed, also with students from other years who were not even following the normal lectures, just for a chance to talk to such a peculiar version of the human species. Our teacher found this quite funny, because as he rightly pointed out, one could speak to scores of atheists by just walking down from college grounds to the nearest pub and just open your mouth there.

Anyway, during the class this atheist asked who knew for sure that God exist. To my shame now, I raised my hand. Why did I do that? And why was it so strange to talk to an atheist?

Continue reading “What Kept Me In, Reason #2: Wired For God”

What Kept Me In? Reason #1: The Web of the Mega-Belief

If you are a Christian and you have read some of the posts here on this blog, how did that make you feel? Angry? Sad? Frustrated? Indifferent?

And what did it do to your beliefs? Were they severely challenged? Did you lie awake for nights on end pondering whether there is a God after all?

My bet is that it probably did absolutely nothing, or perhaps it made you feel uncomfortable for a little while… but then you moved on. Was my argument so bad? That is a certainly a possibility. But then there are many people I speak to that have said they have no good answer to my questions about the absent character of God in mission (or many other questions). They stand with empty hands and cannot answer most of the deep, profound questions that I have had.

Yet they continue to believe in the Christian God.

…Why?

Continue reading “What Kept Me In? Reason #1: The Web of the Mega-Belief”

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