So I don't believe in God...

Zeus12

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Please tell me why you believe He (or She) is actually there.

If possible, it would be nice to have fairly concise replies.
Thank you guys.
 
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Zeus12 said:
Please tell me why you believe He (or She) is actually there.

If possible, it would be nice to have fairly concise replies.
Thank you guys.
I believe God exists because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the great historical evidence for it.
 

greekischristian

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Zeus12 said:
Please tell me why you believe He (or She) is actually there.

If possible, it would be nice to have fairly concise replies.
Thank you guys.
I added a tag (atheism) to the bottom of this thread, and added the same tag to several recent discussions we've had on the matter (it's been rather heavily discussed as of late, it seems), so feel free to look through the threads.

Oh, and welcome to the forum.
 

Zeus12

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GIC, thanks for the tag.  I should note that I don't necessarily consider myself an Atheist nor do I deny the existence of God... I just haven't found anything that has convinced me to believe (at least not yet).

I believe God exists because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the great historical evidence for it.
So in short, you believe in God because there is great historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I know the Bible describes this resurrection, but where else can I find this evidence?  I have been hesitant to believe the Adam & Eve story, and thus the significance of Jesus's resurrection, because of the historical evidence of human evolution.
 

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Zeus12 said:
GIC, thanks for the tag.  I should note that I don't necessarily consider myself an Atheist nor do I deny the existence of God... I just haven't found anything that has convinced me to believe (at least not yet).

I believe God exists because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the great historical evidence for it.
So in short, you believe in God because there is great historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I know the Bible describes this resurrection, but where else can I find this evidence?  I have been hesitant to believe the Adam & Eve story, and thus the significance of Jesus's resurrection, because of the historical evidence of human evolution.
It is interesting that one witness is admissable in court, but when speaking to historical evidence of Christ's resurrection, the four independent testimonies canonized in Scripture aren't considered admissible. Not to mention the thousands of others who bore witness, whose testimony has passed through the ages. Not to mention others who have testified to miraculous appearances of Christ, or His Mother, even those who were not Christians...at least not at that time. Just an interesting observation.

Jesus of Nazareth was surely an historical figure. The Jewish historian Josephus mentions him, as does the Roman historian Tacitus and several others make mention of a "Christ" and his "Christians." Usually speaking of the persecutions thereof. Of course, just a few centuries later, Christianity becomes the religion of the Empire, and so obscure historical references disappear as the majority of the Empire is Christianized.

What's more are the miracles still today associated with the events of Christ's life and those who follow Him. Incorrupt bodies of saints that have laid in repose for centuries, healing given to those who show devotion for Christ and His saints, salvation from seige and natural disaster, the annual miracles that occur on Mt. Tabor, in the Jordan River, in the tomb of Christ, etc.

Also, who told you that science and faith are at odds, or that one would even have to pick sides in any possible argument? Render unto Caesar (or Darwin, as the case may be) what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's. If you seek to comprehend all mysteries and acquire all knowledge...you will never be satisifed.
 

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Zeus12,

I think Benjamin the Red just about summed it up. So maybe just think about what he's saying carefully, research any points that are necessary, and you'll be on your way...  :police:
 

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I think it's interesting that the twelve Apostles (who saw Jesus), willingly died in his name, a historically verifiable fact. Would you willingly die for something you knew was false?
 

Asteriktos

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Azurestone said:
I think it's interesting that the twelve Apostles (who saw Jesus), willingly died in his name, a historically verifiable fact. Would you willingly die for something you knew was false?
Yes, I would. Also, it's possible that they believed something to be true, without it actually being true.
 

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"If possible, it would be nice to have fairly concise replies.
Thank you guys."

Well, that request certainly sounds sincere. What are you doing, researching a paper for Sociology 101? Go away.
 

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Asteriktos said:
Azurestone said:
I think it's interesting that the twelve Apostles (who saw Jesus), willingly died in his name, a historically verifiable fact. Would you willingly die for something you knew was false?
Yes, I would. Also, it's possible that they believed something to be true, without it actually being true.
You would? Interesting.
 

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I realize sometimes we get insincere people coming here just trying to argue about God's existence but it feels to me that too many people are jumping on this new poster here and that may be a bit unfounded at the moment. Again I realize we've got a long history of people coming here to just to bash Christianity, and perhaps this person is the same however I say let's try and give him a bit of a break, just for a short time and see what pans out. If he is sincere going the Lee Strobel route may or may not be the best method of discussion. Again, it might be, I don't know. I understand that this feels like the same old same old, but it may not be either.

NP
 

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Zeus12 said:
Please tell me why you believe He (or She) is actually there.

If possible, it would be nice to have fairly concise replies.
Thank you guys.
Welcome to the forum!

If you want concise replies, you're probably barking up the wrong tree. I mean, aren't Orthodoxy and "concise" replies oxymorons? lol!

Some Christians might be able to give very brief reasons, but I am not one of them. Orthodoxy isn't quite as wrapped up in "belief" as much as other Christian traditions are. Yes it is important, but it is not the end all be all of what it means to be a Christian. IMO there are a lot of grey areas in the question you're asking. What do you mean by "God"? What do you mean by "believe"? It sounds like I'm dodging the question but to me these are important aspects to the question at hand. How does doubt come into play? Can one still be Orthodox and doubt? I don't think there are concise answers to the "big questions" of life. If it was that easy to answer I doubt you'd be asking the question to begin with. What does it mean to believe in God? Does belief do any good if you're not going to live it? etc.

We also have a long, and recent history of people claiming to be asking sincere questions, only to find out they have ulterior motives at play. So most of us, even the atheists here, are going to be on guard from people just popping in asking a question like this out of the blue. So forgive me for being a little skeptical of your intentions, however if you're sincere, you are welcome to stay and learn what we believe, even if in the end you choose not to believe it yourself.

NP
 

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ozgeorge said:
Zeus12 said:
I just haven't found anything that has convinced me to believe (at least not yet).
Aren't "being convinced by evidence" and "believing" two contradictory things?
Excellent point. If one can be argued into Christianity by the evidence, then where the heck does faith come in? Or is the reverse true, we first have faith, then "believe" there is evidence to support our faith?

Good point, but I'm not sure my brain is up to the task of such a philosophical discussion this week, er maybe this month even...lol!

 

greekischristian

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NorthernPines said:
I realize sometimes we get insincere people coming here just trying to argue about God's existence but it feels to me that too many people are jumping on this new poster here and that may be a bit unfounded at the moment. Again I realize we've got a long history of people coming here to just to bash Christianity, and perhaps this person is the same however I say let's try and give him a bit of a break, just for a short time and see what pans out. If he is sincere going the Lee Strobel route may or may not be the best method of discussion. Again, it might be, I don't know. I understand that this feels like the same old same old, but it may not be either.

NP
I think it's just that this issue has been discussed so much recently, people come here already in polemics mode. That's why I went to the trouble of tagging the threads on the issue for him, I'd be really surprised if this thread turned into a productive discussion (few on this subject ever do, everyone's just too defensive).
 

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Azurestone said:
I think it's interesting that the twelve Apostles (who saw Jesus), willingly died in his name, a historically verifiable fact. Would you willingly die for something you knew was false?
I'd actually use the 70 as an example, too; of the 12, 10 died martyr's deaths, 1 died of old age, 1 committed suicide.  If we count Matthias instead of Judas, then we're at 11 of 12.  However, IIRC, most or all of the 70 died martyr's deaths.
 

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To paraphrase a lot of what the late great skeptic Martin Gardner said, there is simply never going to be enough evidence on either side of the debate to convince everyone, so you just have to look at what's there and make your own decision.  And whichever choice you make, try to respect those on the other side of the chasm who chose otherwise.
 

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Zeus12 said:
GIC, thanks for the tag.  I should note that I don't necessarily consider myself an Atheist nor do I deny the existence of God... I just haven't found anything that has convinced me to believe (at least not yet).

I believe God exists because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the great historical evidence for it.
So in short, you believe in God because there is great historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I know the Bible describes this resurrection, but where else can I find this evidence?  I have been hesitant to believe the Adam & Eve story, and thus the significance of Jesus's resurrection, because of the historical evidence of human evolution.
How does historical evidence of human evolution automatically mean that Christianity isn't true? Can't both be true?
 

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theistgal said:
To paraphrase a lot of what the late great skeptic Martin Gardner said, there is simply never going to be enough evidence on either side of the debate to convince everyone, so you just have to look at what's there and make your own decision.  And whichever choice you make, try to respect those on the other side of the chasm who chose otherwise.
Especially when the evidence that is presented is rejected out of hand. Which is my experience with these types of discussions.
 

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Azurestone said:
Asteriktos said:
Azurestone said:
I think it's interesting that the twelve Apostles (who saw Jesus), willingly died in his name, a historically verifiable fact. Would you willingly die for something you knew was false?
Yes, I would. Also, it's possible that they believed something to be true, without it actually being true.
You would? Interesting.
Well, let me clarify, there would have to be something much more important at stake. For example, I'd die for a lie if I thought it would save (immediately or eventually) a lot of people's lives, or perhaps just a few lives if they were ones special to me (e.g. my daughters). Now admittedly, given what we know about Chrisitanity, I think fitting that approach into the Christian situation would be difficult... but not necessarily impossible. I guess it would depend on who was lying, what they were lying about, how much was at stake, etc. Now, having said that, I have to admit that I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here. Of the various evidences people use for Christianity, this one about early believers dying for Christianity is pretty high up there for me. For whatever reason, it's one of the few evidences that really resonates with me.
 

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GiC said:
NorthernPines said:
I realize sometimes we get insincere people coming here just trying to argue about God's existence but it feels to me that too many people are jumping on this new poster here and that may be a bit unfounded at the moment. Again I realize we've got a long history of people coming here to just to bash Christianity, and perhaps this person is the same however I say let's try and give him a bit of a break, just for a short time and see what pans out. If he is sincere going the Lee Strobel route may or may not be the best method of discussion. Again, it might be, I don't know. I understand that this feels like the same old same old, but it may not be either.

NP
I think it's just that this issue has been discussed so much recently, people come here already in polemics mode. That's why I went to the trouble of tagging the threads on the issue for him, I'd be really surprised if this thread turned into a productive discussion (few on this subject ever do, everyone's just too defensive).
No, I think your right. For some reason I always remain optimistic about topics I personally find fascinating. Sum it to selfish desire for interesting dialogue...:)
 

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Asteriktos said:
Well, let me clarify, there would have to be something much more important at stake. For example, I'd die for a lie if I thought it would save (immediately or eventually) a lot of people's lives, or perhaps just a few lives if they were ones special to me (e.g. my daughters). Now admittedly, given what we know about Chrisitanity, I think fitting that approach into the Christian situation would be difficult... but not necessarily impossible. I guess it would depend on who was lying, what they were lying about, how much was at stake, etc. Now, having said that, I have to admit that I'm sort of playing devil's advocate here. Of the various evidences people use for Christianity, this one about early believers dying for Christianity is pretty high up there for me. For whatever reason, it's one of the few evidences that really resonates with me.
I agree that there are a few reasons why someone may be willing to die for a lie, but getting 10 Apostles (or 11), plus 70 other apostles, to die for a lie would be quite a stretch, especially considering that their deaths were not for the protection of someone else (as in your example, which would likely be the only reason I'd be willing to die for a lie).
 

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Just based on my own experience, take it for FWIW, no one has ever been argued into a belief in God (or anything else, for that matter.) As long as I have a sock drawer to organize, I will eschew discussions with folks who start out by telling me they don't believe in God or in the Bible as evidence, in favor of a more productive activity.
 
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Zeus12 said:
GIC, thanks for the tag.  I should note that I don't necessarily consider myself an Atheist nor do I deny the existence of God... I just haven't found anything that has convinced me to believe (at least not yet).

I believe God exists because of Jesus Christ, His resurrection, and the great historical evidence for it.
So in short, you believe in God because there is great historical evidence of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  I know the Bible describes this resurrection, but where else can I find this evidence?  I have been hesitant to believe the Adam & Eve story, and thus the significance of Jesus's resurrection, because of the historical evidence of human evolution.
To answer your first question: N.T. Wright has written a great book called The Resurrection of the Son of God. That's probably one of the best easy resources out there to find if you're into reading books. In the book, Wright covers as many bases that he can in order to show the historical context and argument for the resurrection of Jesus. The length (over 800 pages) is well worth it if you're absolutely serious about finding out if Christianity is true. Also, I would recommend browsing through articles on Tektonics and Christian Think Tank.

If Genesis and Young Earth Creationism is giving you a hard time, you might be surprised to find that there are many intelligent Christians who believe that evolution is true. The head of the Human Genome Project, Francis S. Collins, is a Christian and certainly believes in it. The question comes down to how the first couple of chapters of Genesis are supposed to be interpreted. I've heard it argued that they are written in poetic form and therefore are not literal. Genesis and the four gospels were written over 1,000 years apart and cover quite different aspects of Christian belief. My advice is to focus on the main issue: whether Christianity itself is true. When looking at a belief system there is almost always something that it hinges on (in Islam the hingepoint would be whether or not Mohammad was a true prophet). For Christianity, the hingepoint is the resurrection itself. If Jesus rose bodily from the dead, then Christianity is absolutely true and all other worldviews are false.

Happy searching, friend. And welcome to the forum!
 

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Fr. George said:
I agree that there are a few reasons why someone may be willing to die for a lie, but getting 10 Apostles (or 11), plus 70 other apostles, to die for a lie would be quite a stretch, especially considering that their deaths were not for the protection of someone else (as in your example, which would likely be the only reason I'd be willing to die for a lie).
I think myth can be a powerful thing, especially for people of that age. We moderns tend to look at myths with condescension, but the ancients probably were more sophisticated in that they would look for important truths embedded in the tales. Would they have died for such truth-full myths? I don't know. I doubt it. I only keep in mind as a possibility... much like the delusion hypothesis, which I don't consider likely, but I keep in mind.
 

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Azurestone said:
I think it's interesting that the twelve Apostles (who saw Jesus), willingly died in his name, a historically verifiable fact. Would you willingly die for something you knew was false?
I think it is interesting as well, but couldn't someone also argue that 39 Heaven's Gate cult members willingly killed themselves in order to 'catch a ride' on the Hale-Bopp comet?  They didn't believe that what they died for was false either.

To the OP: I firmly believe in God, but I'm not sure that I can explain my reasoning or the occurrences that led me to this belief in a concise forum posting.
 

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Asteriktos said:
Fr. George said:
I agree that there are a few reasons why someone may be willing to die for a lie, but getting 10 Apostles (or 11), plus 70 other apostles, to die for a lie would be quite a stretch, especially considering that their deaths were not for the protection of someone else (as in your example, which would likely be the only reason I'd be willing to die for a lie).
I think myth can be a powerful thing, especially for people of that age. We moderns tend to look at myths with condescension, but the ancients probably were more sophisticated in that they would look for important truths embedded in the tales. Would they have died for such truth-full myths? I don't know. I doubt it. I only keep in mind as a possibility... much like the delusion hypothesis, which I don't consider likely, but I keep in mind.
The possibility is small though, considering that so many witnesses of the Resurrection died or suffered on account of it, not just followers of the witnesses (which I would consider at this point possibly a "myth" or "rumor" not first-hand witnesses), but the witnesses themselves, making an example of bravery for more Christians to explode in increase.
 
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I think it is interesting as well, but couldn't someone also argue that 39 Heaven's Gate cult members willingly killed themselves in order to 'catch a ride' on the Hale-Bopp comet?  They didn't believe that what they died for was false either.
The disciples of Jesus were in a completely different situation. They preached that Jesus died a shameful death and rose again from the grave. Because of their persecutions they had literally nothing material to gain. They also did nearly every wrong thing in the book at the time to try and start a new religion (using women as witnesses, for example). Also, they didn't try to kill themselves like the Heaven's Gates members. The Heavens Gates cult pretty much ended when they committed mass suicide. Christianity, if it was false, would have never lasted out of the 1st Century and certainly not the 2nd.
 

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ozgeorge said:
Zeus12 said:
I just haven't found anything that has convinced me to believe (at least not yet).
Aren't "being convinced by evidence" and "believing" two contradictory things?
I wouldn't go so far as to say they are contradictory, but certainly they aren't the same.
 

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NorthernPines said:
If you want concise replies, you're probably barking up the wrong tree. I mean, aren't Orthodoxy and "concise" replies oxymorons? lol!
I would go one step further and say that Orthodoxy and concision are oxymorons... ;)
 

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Cognomen said:
I think it is interesting as well, but couldn't someone also argue that 39 Heaven's Gate cult members willingly killed themselves in order to 'catch a ride' on the Hale-Bopp comet?  They didn't believe that what they died for was false either.
Problem is that there was no verification that a UFO would be on that comet. They could have easily looked at a telescope.

No the Resurrection of Christ is completley different all together. They witnessed the Risen Christ, alive again rather than believing something that was to come.
 

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Aposphet said:
Cognomen said:
I think it is interesting as well, but couldn't someone also argue that 39 Heaven's Gate cult members willingly killed themselves in order to 'catch a ride' on the Hale-Bopp comet?  They didn't believe that what they died for was false either.
Problem is that there was no verification that a UFO would be on that comet. They could have easily looked at a telescope.

No the Resurrection of Christ is completley different all together. They witnessed the Risen Christ, alive again rather than believing something that was to come.
The Apostles certainly seem to say something like this, i.e., that they bear witness to something which they experienced directly (that is, the Person of Christ.) However, the Apostle John goes on to say that the reason they are telling us is so that we too may experience Him. Important to note is that the word "fellowship" in the original is "Koinonia" ("Communion"):
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." (1John 1:1-3)
 

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ozgeorge said:
Aposphet said:
Cognomen said:
I think it is interesting as well, but couldn't someone also argue that 39 Heaven's Gate cult members willingly killed themselves in order to 'catch a ride' on the Hale-Bopp comet?  They didn't believe that what they died for was false either.
Problem is that there was no verification that a UFO would be on that comet. They could have easily looked at a telescope.

No the Resurrection of Christ is completley different all together. They witnessed the Risen Christ, alive again rather than believing something that was to come.
The Apostles certainly seem to say something like this, i.e., that they bear witness to something which they experienced directly (that is, the Person of Christ.) However, the Apostle John goes on to say that the reason they are telling us is so that we too may experience Him. Important to note is that the word "fellowship" in the original is "Koinonia" ("Communion"):
"That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, concerning the Word of life— the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us— that which we have seen and heard we declare to you that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full." (1John 1:1-3)
Thank you for that reminder.  Many of us spend too much time on trying to prove it happened sometimes on the expense of experiencing it.
 

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Okay... Thanks for all the good replies.  I should have realized that this forum probably gets a ton of people who just bash Christianity, and I just want to say that's not what I'm here for.  I respect Christianity (I also have a lot of family who are devout Christians/Catholics) and my intention here is not to convince you guys I'm right, but instead be open to and consider your opinion on why God exists.  Sometimes it's good consider the stuff you know you'll disagree with at first.

With what I said about concise replies... I just didn't want to have to read a 3 paragraph comment on some tangent since we all know it can easily happen on any forum.  If it's on topic, feel free to write as much as you want.

Also, with the whole convinced by evidence and believing thing:  What I mean is that from my current perspective, I just don't see the Christian faith (and God in general) as a reasonable explanation for why we are here.  This is because the whole Big Bang theory—from the beginning to how Earth was formed—makes more sense to me than "The Creation" listed in Genesis.  I can't say that I know my perspective is true, I don't think any of us can know; but it's possible to persuade and convince someone of something so they believe it to be true.  I'm just looking for reasons to believe in God and believe that Christianity is a credible religion.
 

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Zeus12 said:
This is because the whole Big Bang theory—from the beginning to how Earth was formed—makes more sense to me than "The Creation" listed in Genesis.
Is this your big hang-up about Christianity? You mention it an awful lot. Last I checked, Young Earth, Seven-Day Creationism is not an ecumenical dogma of the Orthodox Church. If it is...I'm anathema!  :police:
 

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When I am having problems believing in God, I ask myself if there is some other way I would want to live my life.

If there is no God and the Universe is random it does not matter how I live. I could freely become a user of people, and perhaps a drunk and a thief, it would not matter. On the last beat of my heart I will disappear into the darkness.

Even if there is no God and the universe is a blank, I still choose to serve God and live like a Christian. I love the words of Jesus, his Church, and the wonderful people that “chance” has placed in my life. So even if the universe is just a black hole and there is no eternal life, I choose to follow Jesus. If he dropped into a black hole in the universe when he died, then I will be happy to know that when I die I am following him into the nothingness.

Belief in God is a choice. Start with the premise that he exists and ask Him to revel himself to you.  God is real and he loves us he will show you the way
 

minasoliman

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Orthodox Christianity need not contradict scientific truths and understandings of the world.  The belief in God is simply that God was the ultimate Creator and Cause of all things.  Genesis is just a story that used the understanding of the culture at the time to lead to the understanding of this God as the Creator of all things, not to be taken as a literal understanding of creation.  That doesn't mean you'll not find people who do take them literally, but not all Orthodox do.
 
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