How can I be a Christian?

edited October 2016 in Faith Issues
I _since I was 16_ stopped being a Christian because of the problem of evil at first and then because of lack of evidence for the existence of god... I went to protestant churches for small periods of time during these 7 years (I'm now 23 years old) and I tell you I heard every argument for/against theism/Christianity and I can't get my mind around any of them... I tried, a couple of months ago I joined an evangelical church and I convinced myself that I believe, I even prayed, but after 3 months of staying there I discovered that I couldn't believe, I stopped going. When I told her that I don't believe my little sister kept talking about experiencing god and that I have to have this "spiritual experience" or whatever besides using logic and reason... I don't know how to experience god or how does a spiritual experience feel like!

I've had depression and suicidal tendencies for a while now and I see you Christians happy all the time and I envy you really... the only girl that I loved was always this happy person, she had unbelievable peace of mind and she told me that her god (Jesus) was the source of her peace, she rejected me mainly because I wasn't Christian like her and because of my depression.

Can you please take me step by step from my agnosticism/atheism to belief in god/Jesus, I also don't understand the trinity and the sacrifice of Jesus, the original sin, I can't believe in miracles and I even distrust god and I can't pray. 

I really tried to believe, don't think I didn't try... I am an Egyptian by the way so believing will save me from legal problems here (that's all I can think of as of the benefits of religion... this and marriage) I was born to Coptic orthodox parents and I was even serving in the church/mass until I was 16 and left, I can't remember how I reasoned believing though or if I treated religion as this so sacred thing that you can't  . I would love to be Christian then orthodox again yet I can't believe/experience any of that, I mean why choose Jesus from the thousands of gods out there and why even believe in god when science can explain almost everything to us (I think people used religion to understand difficult concepts like death and natural disasters)

I'm sorry for the very long question. I actually posted lots of questions here about the difference between orthodoxy and protestantism yet my problem lies within Christianity itself... I couldn't believe, I wanted to but I couldn't. Please help me believe. 


  • Hello brother!

    Welcome back! If I could I would give you a big hug, because you truly care and seek.

    I think your biggest obstacles may be certain presuppositions on the faith. I would never want to discuss legalities as if they take any importance in having faith. If believing or being a Christian means helping you get married or help with legal problems, then Christianity is no different than any other religion or areligious culture you partake of. In Europe, you can thrive as an atheist, have a good wife and family, and a materialistically successful life. So I don't see why anyone should bring that up for you.

    Forgive me for disappointing you in another aspect. But spiritual experience is not haphazard. You can't just have a spiritual experience. You need to cultivate yourself. Something inside you needs to fester. There's no such thing as a partition of your being as spirit separate from your flesh. You need to do something with your flesh because your spiritual faculties permeate everything you are, your body, your mind, your emotions. It's called "exercise". And you went to the wrong place for this cultivation.

    How do you cultivate your own WHOLE being for you to wake up and strengthen your spirituality? First, you need to be persistent, consistent, and patient. Get rid of your distractions, change your perceptions and presuppositions. Whatever you thought you knew as a 16-year old should be turned upside down. If you done any physical exercise, you know it takes more than just exercise, but also healthy foods and a willing heart and mind. For you to be spiritual, it's not enough to just pray. You will fail if you "just pray". No, you need to consider what exactly is your true purpose in life. Why do you live? Why do you exist? So you need to have a particular attitude. You also need to have a "diet". You need to deprive yourself from things you don't need as gradual and as much as you can, slowly, very slowly. Practice some virtues and social work for the community and the needy. This should be done with an actual diet of food. Occasionally you should deprive yourself from certain foods as a way of saying, "this is how I will tone down my spiritual muscles, making myself healthy, and remove the impurities in my arteries, that is my sins. You need to practice physical prayer. Your hands raised, your metanyas, your eyes opened to the icons, your mouth chanting what you pray.

    You need to practice a prayer of the heart, where you concentrate on silencing the world around you and silencing your own self so that you may enjoy the presence who is beyond material desires. This is what you need to work on, to set a time, at least five minutes, where you pray without saying a word, to just sit and try to experience the presence of someone who embodies eternal love. That is Who you worship: Love. The Trinity is Love, and Jesus is Love incarnate. We are created because of Love. We are saved not because we owe anything to God. God does not need anything from us. No, but because God is unconditionally being what He is by nature: Love. The Father created us so that we might live the life of Love He eternally shares with the Son and the Holy Spirit.

    The Problem of Evil is a problematic and evil distraction. If you are unable to say that you don't need your sister without acting callus and cold-hearted (do you really need your sister in your physical life?), then you cannot even have the mental capacity to dare to even think why evil occurs in this world. The need for God is more powerful than the self-serving feeling of wanting every answer to life. Sorry to be blunt, but you will not get an answer that will satisfy you. What matters is relationship, and you learn to toughen up because you have a relationship of Love. Love became man, suffered and died under similar and more evil circumstances depending on what you're going through. He did not remove struggle, but He did show how you can live life in complete Love without being pulled down by evil. Evil exists, but Love demonstrates how much more infinitely powerful He is. Evil swallowed Love, tried to chew it into pieces, but Love destroyed Evil's bowels, nauseated it, and exploded its insides out. Evil is weak, and you only strengthen it by dwelling in it and in its thought of its problems. It exists only if you do not want Real Love. Cultivate your mind with Love, not with the never ending torture of your existence alongside evil.

    I recommend this article for good spiritual cultivation practices: Thomas Hopko - HOW CAN I KNOW.pdf
  • Hi Bishop,
    There are many problems stated here and I wish I could solve them. I can't admittedly, and I do believe God can. All I could do is say that we search for virtues and in this way God gives gives us value not only to ourselves but to the relationship with Him.
    We also submit ourselves that we be humble to receive a spiritual understanding and see the world in a different light. God is spirit and as such, we can only define ourselves by obeying His commandmen's. To be a Christian, is to live a spiritual life and the two most important commandments are what Jesus said, "To love God with all your heart , mind and soul and to love your neighbour as yourself
    When we read the bible, there are certain situations that we can strongly identify with in what is happening in our own personal lives. A common one is the prodigal son. That parable is quite a powerful one actually where the son no longer is this proud person with a lot of money making many friends but one who is humbled, sharing food with pigs. His former proud dignity which was for the world and received attention vanished in the reality of being of his poor surroundings. He realized he had to change what was happening and it was that realization which is the crux of what changes us.
    There are things that are symbolic like when we seek peace. It can be like searching for the kingdom of heaven not only in the heaven but in our hearts as well. In other words, seeking peace is a journey. I'm not saying it's an easy one as peace requires negotiation in which you decide what is acceptable and not acceptable in accordance with a spiritual life. What gives you peace and what doesn't.
    The world seeks for what is perfect, whether it is political solutions, money solutions, relationship solutions, but at the end of the day, it is love that can be truely perfected, toward God and amongst ourselves. In this we can find a true identity and one we can trust, that never fails as long as we seek it and one this identity will be perfected in our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • edited October 2016
    This is my opinion no one can live off just my words but Gods and hearing others talk about God

    You can trust in Gods unfailing love to help you in all difficulties. He will always love you and help you no matter what. But today is the day of salvation. That is every day. His mercies are new every morning. Tommorow one may not think about pleasing Christ. It is your choice to reconcile to God. God will never take you or judge you when you are trying to find Him and believe. God is a refuge for those who hope in Him. If you hope in Him you trust Him and will try not to sin you will turn to Him with all your heart however late you happen to be
     The foolish virgins went to buy oil through instruction of the wise but the bridegroom came and it was too late. Perhaps the reason is because they said in their heart previously they would seek him at the end like the servant who said his master will delay his coming and went and beat the servants and partaked with Christ mockers through drunkeness
    They thought they don't need to live with Christ now which is the meaning of taking no oil but can seek oil later
    Consider how the psalmist says let everything that has breath praise the Lord
    perhaps it was not too late for the foolish Virgins the bridegroom didn't come early to punish them but they thought they had more breaths remaining so they took their time to repent and did not. 
    Therefore it can become too late if you say you will repent later and not try to now only because Christ will come sooner so we should infact always be ready to meet the bridegroom and repent every opportunity we have breath though it may be harder to be saved that way than always willing to please God
    Jesus said the one who comes to Me I will not cast out 

     Everyone who seeks finds. You just don't know when like Jesus walking on water in the last watch or when. You can pray as the psalmist make haste to deliver me. Perhaps there is a reward for finding Him faster if you are helpful for others salvation or edifying them. Some peoples preaching is necessary but it can have no effect unless the Lord wills. Hence Jesus says no one can come to Me unless the Father wills. God gives faith to people when they have good will to intend to bear fruits of repentance 
    It may be a spiritual war. I recommend the book diabolical wars by pope Shenouda.
    If you trust in Christ completely as St. Paul says be anxious for nothing but in prayer and supplication make your requests be made known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Jesus has promised to never leave you or forsake you when you believed so you may still talk to Christ even when you don't believe anymore which is just doubts not a wilful choice though still necessary to overcome but the victory is from the Lord

    There is probably more but I recommend psalm 3  psalm 143 psalm 142 psalm 25 psalm 34
  • Thanks everybody for answering, forgive me for being so late in replying... please pray for me. 
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