Ask Your Preacher
Recently, I’ve been struggling with my faith. I am eighteen years old. I was wondering... why does it feel like the entire world is becoming atheist or agnostic? Whenever I go on the internet, it seems like there's always some argument about why believing in God is stupid. People bash the Bible all the time at school. I am afraid to go to college now because I feel like I will lose my faith all together. I find it really hard to believe. My brother even told me today that he is "agnostic". I feel very lost right now.
The U.S. is struggling with losing its biblical ties, but it isn’t as bad as we perceive it to be. Statistically, only about 4% of Americans categorize themselves as atheistic or agnostic. That means that the vast majority of the United States believes in God. Sadly, the voices most often heard in media and culture make it sound like only a fool would believe in God.
Ironically, the Bible says the opposite (Ps 53:1). The responsibility that Christians have is to make the evidence of God’s existence clear in a culture that is opposed to God. The evidence of God’s existence is staggering. We recommend you read our articles “Does God Exist?” and “Who Wrote The Bible?” because both of those articles cover some of the evidence that will help you stand firm by your convictions – you might even share some of it with your brother.
Hang in there. It sounds like you could use a faithful congregation, so you don’t feel so alone. The Bible says that is one of the purposes of the church (Heb 10:24-25). Not all churches do this, but we would be happy to help you find a congregation near you that is faithful, gives Bible answers, and will help you to stand strong. Just e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm going to be up front with you; I am not a Christian. I have no desire to be. My fiancé, on the other hand, is. I am trying to understand how he believes, so we will have a more harmonious union. I asked him this question, and he did not know the answer.
My question is: if the Lord is so wonderful, why would He want to see His children suffer? Why would He take away a life that has not yet even begun? Why would He hurt the innocent when the evil continue to live? I don't understand this.
If you could please explain this in simple terms – the preachers in my area get very upset when someone doubts the Lord’s amazing-ness. Thus, I am turning to you, whoever you are, to give me a straight answer. Thank you so much.
Many people don’t believe in God because religious people are unwilling or incapable of giving logical answers to questions like this. We are so sorry that you’ve never gotten the answers that the Bible offers because the Bible does give an answer to this question.
This world is full of all sorts of disease, pain, violence, and strife – but God didn’t cause those things; sin did. All bad things are a result of sin. When God made the world, He placed mankind in the Garden of Eden and gave us a joyously blissful existence in that paradise. Who caused the pain? We did. It is sin that has brought all of the death, disease, decay, pain, suffering, troubles, and heartaches into our world. We all, in varying degrees, are reaping the benefits of a world with sin in it. Sickness is a consequence of Adam and Eve’s sin in the Garden of Eden. One of the curses of their sin was that we all must face our own mortality – life is finite. Sickness, disease, and pain are a part of the human existence. Sadly, this is true even for our children. When God gave us freewill, He gave us the right to cause problems for ourselves and others, and if He simply removed all the consequences for our actions, He would be removing our freedoms as well. The flip-side to this is that all children go to heaven, so after a child dies, God immediately comforts them on the other side.
God gives mankind the freedom to make decisions, but He also has the wisdom to know how those choices will affect the future (Job 12:13). God planned before the foundation of the world to save us by sending His own Son to die (Eph. 1:3-4). Even though He isn’t responsible for our choices, God sent the perfect cure. This world isn’t fair – if it were, it would be heaven. Instead, we live in a fallen world where man has been exiled from paradise. This world is not our home; Christians await a better world (Heb 11:16).
Is it okay for Christians to meditate? If you pray to relieve stress but also want to just take a few minutes a day to picture a nice scenery or something to bring zen, is that okay?
Mind Over Matter
Dear Mind Over Matter,
God wants us to dwell upon positive things (Php 4:8). There is nothing wrong with meditating on the good and beautiful of this life. Ps 77:12 talks about dwelling upon God’s creation and His handiwork as a positive thing. Meditation isn’t a replacement for prayer – but it can be pleasant.
I've recently become aware of my backsliding, and I've decided to fix things in my life to make myself closer to God. I have a band that is secular, and it's definitely my livelihood at twenty-two years old. I don't sing about Satan or bash God or anything of that nature, but I have used swearing and talking about killing posers (in a playful manner; I play Thrash Metal, so it is an aggressive form of music). However, I do have a lot of songs about the realities of nuclear war, sci-fi movies, etc.
I don't know what to do. I want to get right with God, but I'd hate to see my band end over it (I know that sounds very selfish saying it or typing it out).
I've had a very bad history with religion. I abandoned my faith as a teenager and did just about every kind of blasphemy and obscene and irreverent living you can think of. When I was seventeen, I came close to dying from alcohol poisoning, and it made me realize that I needed Jesus back in my heart. I struggled for YEARS... yes, YEARS, in agonizing fear of being unforgiven for all the horrible things I did out of rebellion... I worried about God hating me or not forgiving me.
Anyways, I've gotten carried away; I'm just concerned. What's your opinion?
Giving Myself A Thrashing
Dear Giving Myself A Thrashing,
Can you still play and cut out all swearing? Swearing is a sin (Eph 4:29). Can you clean up the content of your music? All that we say and dwell on should attempt to be pure and honorable (Php 4:8). Is the environment that your band puts you in conducive to long-term faithfulness, or will it slowly tear you away from the Lord? God tells us to watch the company we keep because it can corrupt us (1 Cor 15:33). You said that you are backsliding – is the band environment part of the problem or part of the solution?
If you can faithfully ask yourself those questions, you will have your answer.
My wife and I have been working out some problems, but there’s one problem we can’t agree on… money. My wife believes if you have money, spend it. I try to manage and balance my money; she tells me that I’m worshiping money. Is it wrong to manage finances?
Counting My Pennies
Dear Counting My Pennies,
It is possible to spend too much, and it is possible to save too much. Saving money is not a bad thing, but falling in love with money and hoarding it is. God tells us that Christians should be good stewards of whatever He gives us… and that includes money (1 Pet 4:10). Jesus gives the parable of the talents and uses the example of men saving and investing as a positive example (Matt 25:14-30). The Proverbs mention the industrious ant as an example of preparing and saving (Pr 6:6-8). If we are careful and smart with money, that makes God happy… unless we begin to worship that money.
Greed (Pr 1:19), covetousness (Col 3:5), and the love of money (1 Tim 6:10) are always sins. It is a good thing to save for the future as long as we are content with whatever the Lord has given us (Heb 13:5).