Also titled “Dealing with Doubt: Part 5 – Spiritual Doubt.” See previous posts on doubt here.

Why do some people believe and others don’t? Some of the most intelligent people I know, who understand the faith as well or better than myself, are unbelievers. Others are believers. What is the difference? In both cases the information is the same, so it is not a lack of knowledge. Of course, there are all kinds of issues tugging war for their allegiance, but these do not always explain why one person believes and another does not.

It has been well said that unbelief, not doubt, is the opposite of belief. Doubt is the bridge from our current faith to perfect faith. It expresses some degree of a lack in certainty. It can be said that no matter what you believe, you are probably going to experience some doubt. Christians can doubt God. Atheists doubt their atheism. In both cases, the lack of certainty does not mean that you don’t believe. It just means that in some sense you lack perfect belief. Faith, doubt, and belief are all in the same philosophical semantic domain. They are all more of a mystery than we like to think.

Belief in God is not something that comes natural for people. The Bible teaches that our natural inclination toward God is not favorable. Ephesians 2:3 calls us “children of wrath.” According to Romans 3:10, there is not even anyone who seeks for God. Psalm 53 is even more explicit saying that God looks down from heaven to see if there is anyone who seeks after him and can find no candidates. In other words, according to the Christian worldview, our nature is not simply a nature of doubt, but complete unbelief. We are born unbelievers. This does not mean that we don’t know about God, but that we don’t turn to him in acknowledgment and gratitude (Rom. 1:19; 21).

Orthodox Christianity has universally believed that we cannot overcome this unbelief on our own. We settled this in the great Augustine/Pelagian battles of the fourth-century. No amount of evidence, tactics, or manipulation of our mind can cause man to turn to God in true belief on their own. About this, Paul tells the Corinthians (2:14-15) that the truths of Christianity are “not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words.” He goes on to talk about the disposition of man in his natural state: “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.” It is not that the “natural man” cannot intellectually grasp truth about God, but that he cannot accept this truth without God’s radical intervention.

Some call this intervention “prevenient grace” and some call it “saving grace.” This is not the time for that discussion. The point is that no matter what your theological persuasion, all Christians believe that we are at the mercy of the grace of God to come into our hearts and change our unbelieving disposition. Paul tells the Romans that faith it is not dependent on “human will or exertion, but on God who has mercy” (Rom. 9:16). Christ does not give Peter accolades for believing in him when everyone else was fumbling on his identity, but he tells him that his belief is based on a merciful blessing of God, not his own power. “And Jesus answered him, ‘Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven'” (Mat 16:17).

We could go on and on with this. My point is that belief in God is not something that comes naturally. We must recognize this in our quest to understand and overcome doubt. Belief is a very spiritual thing. So is doubt.

While there is a doubt that can be attributed to the emotions and one that can come from our intellect, there is a spiritual doubt as well. And no amount of intellectual engagement or emotional manipulation can overcome spiritual doubt. Of course, when I say that there is spiritual doubt, I am assuming that there is a very spiritual side to belief.

Notice from the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich man dies and goes to a place of torment. While here, he asks Abraham to send Lazarus back from the dead and warn his five brothers so they would not share his same fate. What Abraham says is very interesting and telling concerning the nature of belief, unbelief, and doubt. He tells him, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them give ear to what they say.” Abraham first appeals to the sufficiency of revelation already given. The rich man responds,  “No, father Abraham, but if someone went to them from the dead, their hearts would be changed.” Notice that the rich man is attempting to provide his brothers with something that he believes would be sure to change their hearts. The rich man believes that if his brothers actually saw and heard testimony from a dead man they would surely believe. We must pause here and consider what the rich man is asking. Have you not ever asked something similar? I have. In fact, I appealed to God in such a way just recently. I wanted God to do something so supernatural, so miraculous, that I would be compelled, intellectually and emotionally, to rid myself of all doubt. “If God would just write his name in the sky, I would believe.” “If God would simply break his auditory silence and speak to me, I would believe.” “If God would just raise someone from the dead, I would believe.” I have heard all of these.  The point is that from a biblical worldview, we have a much bigger problem than the lack of evidence. Notice how Abraham responds to the rich man: “And he said to him, If they will not give attention to Moses and the prophets, they will not be moved even if someone comes back from the dead” (31). In other words, if they don’t believe now, they won’t believe no matter what happens.

Belief takes a mighty work of God in our hearts and this work transcends all human endeavors.

When we have doubts, these can be emotional and they can be intellectual. But we dare not fail to recognize that God is the one who gives us a portion of faith (Rom. 12:3). Ephesians 2:8 tells us that faith is a gift of God so that no man can boast. We are what we are because of the grace of God (1 Cor 15:10). Often times I see people attempting to overcome their doubt by filling their heads with more information. While I am certainly not against learning and mongering for truth with the mind that God has given, we all have to understand the spiritual dimension to our faith. We must have the gift of faith and this only comes from God.

Ultimately, spiritual belief is not something we can buy or sell. It is not available in any market of man. Doubt is often the same. Doubt can transcend all the knowledge, books, reason, and arguments you encounter. Often times you might find yourself in a circumstance where you have every reason to believe, but you simply cannot. Smart people don’t disagree about the validity of Christianity based on the information or lack thereof, but because of the spiritual battle that is going on. Doubt can be a very spiritual thing. There comes a time when we must lay the books down, cease to ask for further signs, and turn to God with pleadings for his mercy.

Do you doubt God? Are you riddled with skepticism and the inability to believe? Do you find that you are always one “sign” away from belief? This I can assure you: you will always be one step away no matter how many steps you take. In these circumstances the only thing we can do is call upon God to change us.  God’s mercy is ground zero for our faith.

C Michael Patton
C Michael Patton

C. Michael Patton is the primary contributor to the Parchment and Pen/Credo Blog. He has been in ministry for nearly twenty years as a pastor, author, speaker, and blogger. Find him on Patreon Th.M. Dallas Theological Seminary (2001), president of Credo House Ministries and Credo Courses, author of Now that I'm a Christian (Crossway, 2014) Increase My Faith (Credo House, 2011), and The Theology Program (Reclaiming the Mind Ministries, 2001-2006), host of Theology Unplugged, and primary blogger here at Parchment and Pen. But, most importantly, husband to a beautiful wife and father to four awesome children. Michael is available for speaking engagements. Join his Patreon and support his ministry

    36 replies to "Why Some People Believe and Others Don’t"

    • Paul Wright

      Abraham wants the Rich Man’s brothers to behave irrationally (perhaps Abraham himself is irrational). Writings in books are not good rational evidence. To see this, consider that many people write books saying their worldviews are true, yet these books advocate mutually contradictory worldviews: they can’t all be true. The fact that some must be false doesn’t show they all are, of course, but it shows that the evidence that “someone has written a book” isn’t very convincing when comparing views: it isn’t surprising to any particular view, it doesn’t pick out a particular worldview.

      Someone rising from the dead is surprising to people with worldviews which don’t predict such a thing (well, I’d be pretty surprised, certainly). It counts as strong evidence for views which do predict it.

      So, it seems perfectly rational to look for signs (defined as surprising things which count as strong evidence). I’m a bit curious about why you think that isn’t a good way to proceed.

      I was listening to a podcast featuring the philosopher Tim Mawson recently, in which he says that atheists ought to pray that God would reveal himself to them (I think Mawson is a Christian). That seems fair enough, to me, and I’d like to try it if I can work out what would be a fair test (for instance, what would count as “revelation”). Crucially, Mawson owns that a person who does this consistently and does not receive a revelation has good evidence that God does not exist.

      I think a person needs to pre-commit to what outcomes they’ll count as evidence and what evidential weight they’ll give them before they do the experiment, though: it’s too easy to wiggle out afterwards. That is, it should look like what happens when Harry Potter finds out magic is real in this alternate version of Harry’s story…

    • Paul Wright

      Gah, I lost a comment: maybe it was too long, the character count in the box isn’t working for me.

      Short version: Abraham (in the parable) is wrong. People rising from the dead is strong evidence in a way that merely writing books is not, because many worldviews have books which advocate them and they can’t all be right, and because the fact that your opponents write books isn’t very surprising on a whole load of views. Resurrections, on the other hand, are very surprising to views which don’t predict them.

      I was listening to the Christian philosopher Tim Mawson on a podcast recently. He thinks atheists should pray to God to reveal himself, which seems fair enough: I’d like to try it if I can think of what would be a fair positive and negative result.

      Crucially, Mawson agrees beforehand that a negative result is evidence against Christianity, which makes him more rational than Abraham, I think. I’ve been following a fun bit of creative writing, considering what would happen if Harry Potter had a scientific education before the Hogwarts people turned up. Mawson’s attitude is a bit like the alternate Harry Potter getting everyone to agree on the significance of possible outcomes before doing an experiment at the beginning of this chapter of the story.

    • Anonymous

      The Rich Man and Lazarus…

    • Mary

      Read “From Missionary
      Bible Translator to Agnostic” by Ken Daniels

    • Boz

      CMP said: “Why do some people believe and others don’t?”

      For issues that I have looked in to in some detail, I believe something to be probably true because the available evidence supports it.
      For issues that I have only a passing knowledge of, depending on the issue, I pretty much believe whatever I’m told.

      CMP said: “No amount of evidence, tactics, or manipulation of our mind can cause man to turn to God in true belief on their own.”
      CMP said: “It is not that the “natural man” cannot intellectually grasp truth about God, but that he cannot accept this truth without God’s radical intervention”
      CMP said: “all Christians believe that we are at the mercy of the grace of God to come into our hearts and change our unbelieving disposition.”
      CMP said: “In other words, if they don’t believe now, they won’t believe no matter what happens.”

      This is not true in my situation. It is possible for me to be shown evidence that will cause me to believe that the existence of the christian god is probable.

    • Boz

      hahahahahah, Paul Wright, your harry potter story is hilarious.

    • Ed Kratz

      Boz, I understand where you are coming from, but it would seem that the Bible does not support this, nor any form of orthodox Christianity. A Christian worldview, as I have shown above, requires the key ingredient of God’s mercy in order for one to believe. No amount of evidence, or lack thereof, can support the genesis of true faith. I think that the rich man and laz story supports this very illustratively.

      This is why calling on God’s mercy is the sin quo non of conversion, not intellectual capabilities.

    • Richard Worden Wilson

      I think that you should consider the evidence for the resurrection of Jesus.

      I know I got called and enabled in faith to believe, but had to engage my being in the life of Christ to receive it. It is a gift. Whenever I’m inclined toward thinking I came to it in a step of my own I am also inclined toward doubt. Odd how subtly but surely all of life and belief in God is biased toward dependence on God who desires that we desire him in Christ. If he could compel genuine love for him there would perhaps not be that persistent paradox in our relationship: we owe it all to God yet he requires that we respond beyond doubt. This is faith: that we believe God.
      All the best to all in Christ.

    • Boz

      CMP, I understand what your are saying about the orthodox christian position. Your writing is very clear and is easy to read.

      Richard, I have looked at some of the evidence for the bodily ressurection of Jesus. What pieces of evidece did you find most persuasive, and why?

    • Ken Pulliam


      As you no doubt know, apologists such as William Craig, Paul Copan and others who are Molinists would disagree with you. I asked William Craig point blank at the ETS meeting last Nov. in New Orleans, why do some believe and others don’t. And he said he didn’t know, it was due to the fact of free will. I responded: Doesn’t that mean that if one does believe then there is something within that person that is responding to God and thus that person is better than one who does not? Or at least more receptive to spiritual things than the one who does not believe? He agreed with the latter but not the former. I didn’t have a chance to follow up but I noticed that all of the Calvinists in the room winced at his statement.

    • Richard Worden Wilson

      I think I was personally prepared for believing the whole of it, rather than the pieces, by having studied para-physics and para-psychology before I engaged in para-history and para-theology. That is a bit tongue in cheek, but the point is that I wasn’t encumbered with an anti-“super-natural” bias when I read the New Testament as “trans-historical” history. There is more in heaven and earth than contained in the philosophy of Horatio. I think N T Wright does as good a job as any in presenting a reasonable evaluation of the evidences, so I’d suggest you look at his _Surprised By Hope_ if you haven’t already. In general, I’d say the pieces that are most compelling for me regarding the resurrection are the evidences that most all of the Apostles and others who saw him believed they had encountered the same person after as they had known before the resurrection, the evidences that following this their whole lives were dedicated to telling what they had seen and heard of those events, and why they were the most important things that had ever happened. One has to grasp the whole picture of the evidences because one can piece-meal critique the pieces to death.
      All the best to all in Christ.

    • bethyada

      Michael, it seems (to me) you are conflating ideas about belief here. You mean it to be trust for most of the article, but at times mean it to be agreement, or intellectual agreement. One can believe that God exists yet not have faith in Jesus, or even in God. I think that it is natural for most men to “believe that there is a God,” the denial that there is a God is by far a minority position. But to believe in God, as in trust God, that may be difficult because of several things not the least being that we are disposed against God (we choose our own way). Though you agree with this when you say, “We are born unbelievers. This does not mean that we don’t know about God, but that we don’t turn to him in acknowledgment and gratitude” If I misunderstand you and you and I agree here I think it better to talk about trust or faith in God (in English).

      Second, to claim that faith is a gift based on Ephesians 2 may be true, but there is much contention that this is what it means. Many deny this meaning.

      I am not certain that signs do not affect people, I think they probably do. Rather that those who reject the prophets will reject a life back from the dead (as they did when Jesus raised a real Lazarus. In other words, for those disposed toward God, evidences and proofs are helpful, for those opposed to God, nothing will convince them.

      But I agree with your last comment, if you wish to follow God and want him to reveal himself to you he is more than able.

    • Richard

      It’s quite something to see an argument for people not being drawn towards God, because my local church tends to argue the opposite. Also coming from a Hindu background I am used to a philosophy that sees a “drawing towards God” as inbuilt and natural. We all seek that which is divine. Maybe I’m overlaying my Hindu ideas onto what I hear from the church.

      Concerning Paul’s mention that atheists (or presumably people of other religion) should pray to god – what if the answer that comes back is not what the Christians expect? After all people of various religion do feel that they have their answer. I’ve had people pass that off as “They must have found a demon instead”. Yet if we allow that a demon impersonating God can look to the vicrtim just like the real thing we have to ask how even Christians know they’ve not found a demon instead.

      The position of a Hindu is not one of skepticism. It may have similar patterns of doubt to those you mention, but it is not a refusal to believe. After all, he’s religious. The bit about the prophets and about miracles becomes different there. The Hindu has his own prophets. His philosophy would also quite likely handle a ressurection. I wonder how many of today’s people, even devout Christians, would actually handle that.

      Would praying specifically for Christ to reveal himself presuppose the answer, or at least the interpretation of the test result? After all, if Krishna says “I’ll happily be Christ to you” it all gets a bit fuzzy.

    • Lee H

      So what does this post mean when applying it to the real world?

      So do people who have evidence and are emotionally willing to believe in God not believe because God just wont let them? Because God hasn’t given them grace yet?

      I say yet, but is the calvinistic God willing to give grace to those who knock? Is it possible to knock on the door to God before God’s grace?

      In any case, can God be trusted to give faith to someone whose mind and heart are in the right place to have faith?

      If someone wants to believe in God and crys out for mercy of faith can God be trusted to give that person faith eventually?

    • Ed Kratz

      Once again, this is not a point of separation between Calvinist’s and Arminian. It would be between traditional Christianity and Pelagianism. But the basic component here (that people cannot believe outside God’s intervening mercy) is something shared by all orthodox Christians.

      The point of separation would come down to the effectiveness of God’s mercy. Is it ultimately compelling or only enabling. Another debate for another time!!

    • Dave Z

      Michael, thanks for pulling out those elements in a parable that has so many shades of meaning. I have friends who I’ve come to think are incapable of belief, in whom no sign could produce a trusting faith. I’ve become convinced that faith is from God alone (and follows regeneration). I still pray for them. God does things in his time not mine and the day of their belief may be today.

      The funny thing about desiring signs is that even when we receive them, the resulting faith does not last long. We’re soon asking for another sign, or just abandoning faith, as did Israel when Moses was on the mountain, even though they had been surrounded by the waters of the Red Sea. Talk about a sign!

      Now I’ll completely contradict myself. When I doubt, I’m often reassured by my knowledge of what God has done in my life. Especially during one three-year period, when God proved his power and control. Though subtle, the events were so significant and so powerful that even if it were somehow proven that Christianity is false, I would still believe in and trust the Being that revealed himself during those three years. At times, I may still be uncertain of the details of how it all works (doubt) but I’m convinced there is a God who is in control.

    • TDC

      This is a bit frustrating for one who is losing faith.

      What you say is very biblical, but it doesn’t always seem to be how things work out. People do seem to lose belief because of a lack of evidence or the apparent inconsistencies in Christianity.

      I know that, if Christianity is true, only God can give faith. Many skeptics, however, spent much time praying for guidance and seeking answers to their intellectual questions. Nonetheless, they came to believe that Christianity is not the truth. It is hard to believe that it wasn’t their intellectual doubts, the lack of evidence, that caused them to see things differently.

      God seems to purposefully leave things very ambiguous (the parables, inerrancy) and unclear on purpose. Why does He do that, if people wouldn’t believe based on evidence alone anyway?

    • Ed Kratz


      You bring up many questions that I really don’t have answers to. Now, from the perspective of the Arminian side (along with Catholics and Orthodox), God give prevenient (helping) grace which only enables a person to exercise true free will. As a Calvinist, it is much more difficult.

      Here is what I would like to say: “If you are seeking God and not finding him, then you are truly not seeking him.” That would be clean and easy. However, as you have said, there are a lot of people (including myself at one time) who plead for God to give them faith as sincerely as they knew how and it did not seem to come. I really don’t know what to do with such things. They do disturb me.

      I truly believe that God works in and with the evidences and rational thinking, even if the true genesis of the faith transcends, in some way, these evidences. That is why I wrote about intellectual and emotional doubt first. Look at Thomas. Every indication from the text lets us know that he believed because he saw. However, as this post argues, Thomas was believed, ultimately, because it was given to him by the father.

      I am truly sorry that you are having such a hard time with your faith. I would never tell you to stop seeking and wrestling with these issues intellectually. But, as I do with myself, every morning on the way to work, I ask God to keep my faith strong.

      The time when I quit believing (I will write about this soon), I have every rational reason to believe yet I just could not believe.

    • Ed Kratz

      Doubt can be a very spiritual thing. There comes a time when we must lay the books down, cease to ask for further signs, and turn to God with pleadings for his mercy.

      Amen! It’s dependence upon God when all else fails. Unfortunately, it took me going to seminary (a time to be in the books) to discover this.

      Dave’s comment (#17) resonates with me as well, especially this

      At times, I may still be uncertain of the details of how it all works (doubt) but I’m convinced there is a God who is in control.

    • Ed Kratz

      You know, another thing I’ve noticed too is how quickly doubt can cause gravitation towards unorthodox beliefs. It seems I keep coming across Christians who have bought in to some strange teaching and won’t even consider their new found beliefs are very inconsistent with Christianity. This was typically followed by some kind of crisis of doubt or one that caused doubt. It has made me wonder why some or more susceptible than others.

    • Boz

      so, Richard W W , the evidence that you found most persuasive for the claim of jesus’ ressurection was 12 people saying that they saw him?

    • Dave Z

      Boz, actually the Bible claims over 500 people saw a no-longer-dead Jesus numerous times over a period of several weeks. The next question is “can the Biblical record be trusted?” That’s a different discussion, one that you can easily research if you so desire.

      Your post seems dismissive of the value of eyewitness testimony, even though justice systems throughout history have been based on such. MOF, eyewitness testimony can bring the death penalty.

      Here’s an example of the eyewitness testimony of one of Jesus’ closest friends:

      That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched–this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard…1 John 1:1-3

    • Michael T.

      Most of the history we have comes in some form or another from eyewitness accounts. Furthermore most of these accounts were not from disinterested parties.

    • TDC


      To tell the truth, I doubt my seeking is perfectly sincere, so that response applies to me pretty well. All humans are filled with biases that cloud their search, and we all sin. As a sinner, I wouldn’t have much to say if God judged me for not truly seeking. There are lots of sins that I need to repent of.

      I guess I need to seek good seeking. But I need grace for that too, I imagine.

      Thanks for your honesty and hard work on this series. It’s been helpful.

    • Jeffrey

      >In other words, if they don’t believe now, they won’t believe no matter what happens.

      Jesus disagreed with using this to explaining all disbelief: “And you, Capernaum, will not be exalted to heaven, will you? You will descend to Hades; for if the miracles had occurred in Sodom which occurred in you, it would have remained to this day.” – Matthew 11:23

      Sodom would have believed if given evidence. There is no excuse for God not giving them evidence, just as there is no excuse for God not giving evidence to the millions of people today who would follow the evidence into Christianity if only presented with evidence.

      Were one to judge God’s desires by his actions and non-actions, the inescapable conclusion is that he wants people to disbelieve. Which makes hell even more indefensible.

    • Boz

      Dave Z, John the apostle didn’t write the gospel attributed to John.

    • Hodge


      The problem with people doubting via not having their intellectual inquiries filled is the fact that it is the exact opposite of faith. Knowledge, of course, is not contrary to faith, but the need to have questions or seeming inconsistencies in one’s own mind answered is a quest to control your world and the information in it so that you don’t need to have faith. You have fact. You have verification that lets you relax and live completely without genuine faith. Many people diligently sought answers to their questions and lost sight of the truth because they didn’t have faith. They had questions they demanded be answered. And why must God answer them? Because they need it in order to believe. Yet, belief precedes answers, and in fact, does not ultimately need them, since faith itself is the answer. The problem with modern evangelicalism is that it is bent on faith via empirical verification. That isn’t faith. It’s fact seeking in an effort to have divine knowledge and sovereignty over truth.
      No one is brought to doubt by these things. They are already in doubt. A good example of this is Bart Ehrman. He supposedly doubted because of what he perceived as contradictions in the text; but his biography reveals that he doubted because he personally couldn’t work out how a loving God could exist in such a world full of evil. His doubt preceded not only the perceived contradictions, but perhaps his entire Christian life to begin with.

    • Boz


      Given your description of faith, and assuming that we are interested in discovering what is true/factual, how is your faith a better method for discovering what is true than the faith of a hindu, or a new-age adherent, or a Baha’i follower?

      Also, I like your implication that Bart Ehrman was Not A True Scotsman.

    • Hodge

      First, faith isn’t a method of inquiry. It’s a presupposition, the starting point of all inquiry, held by all finite minds. Second, those who are humble acknowledge it rather than act as though they come to something from an objective standpoint, or can even discover truth through their finitude alone.

      “how is your faith a better method for discovering what is true than the faith of a hindu, or a new-age adherent, or a Baha’i follower?”

      I don’t know, Boz. How is your faith in philosophic naturalism and the empirical verificationism based thereon better than any other a priori assumption? Faith isn’t the better starting point. It’s the only starting point. Those who require an answer to all of their questions have adopted a faith in another system. That’s the problem. They never believed in Christianity. Empiricism has its own faith, but it gives the practitioner the illusion of transcendence and control in his or her knowledge of perceived facts. Of course, one can feel perfectly safe in a closed system because it provides a small bubble that excludes the unknown as contrary to the known. Hence, even if something is not known, it is still controlled by what is.
      The funny thing about your insincere inquiry is that you too must make a metaphysical leap of faith within your system. Ergo, I can simply ask you the same questions that you posed to me above. Why is your faith about metaphysical reality a better vehicle to determine truth?

    • Hodge

      BTW, I like the sloppy scholarship that leads to an unfounded dogmatism in its adoption of contemporary theories of Gospel authorships. It’s not enough to simply state that John the apostle is not necessarily the author of the Gospel bearing his name. It has to be dogmatically exaggerated as “he was not the author,” as though you knew that for fact, and the external evidence to the contrary can be so easily dismissed. Where is this time machine in which you traveled back to empirically observe John “not write” the text, and where can I get one?

    • Richard

      The theology sounds like it’s saying various contradictory things. We are responsible for rejecting faith, yet we cannot generate faith ourselves but it must be given for example.

      It sounds like people who reject faith are painted as “very naughty people”, wilfully rebelling in order to live their lives of vice and sin. It is an argument I’ve seen used in other on-line debate where non-believers are painted as immoral. “Atheists will not accept the authority of God” – and presumably those of other religions too in this case.

      The idea of different possible focuses – inward focusing or outward (“God”) focussing is interesting whatever religion you come from. Some people are less specific about how you define “God” in that case. It sounds like evangelicals specify Jesus which denies the goodness in a lot of other people.

      But denying goodness seems part of the theology – again something I’ve encountered in other discussions. All goodness comes from God. Perhaps in trying not to be selfish or to boos our egos too much we humans cannot take credit for anything good. Is that “Original Sin”?

    • Dave Z

      Boz writes:

      Dave Z, John the apostle didn’t write the gospel attributed to John.

      I hope your research is more careful than your response to my comment. I did not quote the Gospel of John.

    • Boz

      haha, my mistake!

      thanks for pointing that out, Dave Z.

    • Tim Worley

      In regard to your comments to TDC above, a seemingly unanswered prayer for faith can indeed be discouraging. At the same time, might not the asking for faith itself often be the God-given firstfruits of a deeper faith?

    • klaus

      John 6:44

      No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

      This is the Lord himself speaking. He draws us and imputes the knowledge to us. We can accept or reject. as we have free will. I accept and my soul cries out, Abba Father.

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