Christianity --Youth Issues/confused
Hi my name is Hailey and I'm 13 :) I have grown up in a christian family and even went to a christian school, but I'm not sure I really believe in any religion. Is there any evidence or proof behind the bible? I'm really confused about what I truly believe because I'll say or think something that's against God's or Jesus' existence, but then I'll feel bad or have a fear of not going to heaven when I die... so does that mean I somewhat do believe in it? I don't really know anymore, but thanks for any feedback
I can understand your confusion, not only in your religion, but in all religions. I am sure that you have seen things that question your Christian faith. You may have bad experiences or have seen people who say they are religious but show it in a negative way, wrong behaviors, or bad actions. You are not the only one. A famous person Jesus, God’s son showed that immediately after he planted the seeds of Christianity, an enemy, Satan, would interfere.
Matthew 13:24, 25 Another illustration he set before them, saying: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and over sowed weeds in among the wheat, and left.
Thus, it was not a fluke that caused Christianity to be transformed during the first few centuries after Jesus’ ministry. It was enemy action, Satan’s action. Today the churches of Christendom are perpetuating mistakes made in the past and are reaping the effects.
2 Corinthians 11:14, 15, And no wonder, for Satan himself keeps transforming himself into an angel of light. It is therefore nothing great if his ministers also keep transforming themselves into ministers of righteousness. But their end shall be according to their works
James 4:4, Adulteresses, do YOU not know that the friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, wants to be a friend of the world is constituting himself an enemy of God.
Jesus knew that in the future his teachings would be corrupted. He said: “The kingdom of the heavens has become like a man that sowed fine seed in his field. While men were sleeping, his enemy came and over sowed weeds in among the wheat, and left.” Surprisingly, when servants brought the evil deed to the man’s attention and asked for permission to collect the weeds, the man said: “No; that by no chance, while collecting the weeds, you uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest; and in the harvest season I will tell the reapers, First collect the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them up, then go to gathering the wheat into my storehouse.”—Matthew 13:24-30.
As Jesus himself explained, in his illustration the man who sowed wheat in the field represents Jesus, and the seeds he planted represent true Christians. The enemy who sowed weeds among the wheat represents “the Devil.” The weeds represent lawless, false teaching men who falsely claim to be servants of God. (Matthew 13:36-42) The apostle Paul gave further details of what would happen. He said: “I know that after my going away oppressive wolves will enter in among you and will not treat the flock with tenderness, and from among you yourselves men will rise and speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.”—Acts 20:29, 30.
Did what Jesus said and what the apostle Paul predicteded come true? It certainly did. Ruthless and selfish men took control of the congregation that Jesus had established and used it for their own ends. Jesus had told his followers: “You are no part of the world.” (John 15:19) Nevertheless, power-hungry men formed friendships with kings, queens, princes, and rulers and formed State churches that wanted immense power and wealth. These churches taught “twisted things.” For example, they taught people to worship the State and to sacrifice their lives for it in warfare. Thus, so-called Christians participated in Crusades and slaughtered people whom they considered to be unbelievers. They also went to war and killed their own “brothers” of the same religion. They certainly did not practice Christian neutrality and love of neighbor. Hailey, I want you to read what Jesus said and ask yourself these questions. If we should love one another, why do we go to war or fight another soldier in the same religion in another country. Is this what Jesus taught?
(Matthew 22:34-40) . . .After the Pharisees heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they came together in one group. And one of them, versed in the Law, asked, testing him: “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” He said to him: “‘You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with your whole mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. The second, like it, is this, ‘You must love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments the whole Law hangs, and the Prophets. . .
(John 15:12-19) .This is my commandment, that YOU love one another just as I have loved YOU. 13 No one has love greater than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends. 14 YOU are my friends if YOU do what I am commanding YOU. 15 I no longer call YOU slaves, because a slave does not know what his master does. But I have called YOU friends, because all the things I have heard from my Father I have made known to YOU. 16 YOU did not choose me, but I chose YOU, and I appointed YOU to go on and keep bearing fruit and that YOUR fruit should remain; in order that no matter what YOU ask the Father in my name he might give it to YOU. 17 “These things I command YOU, that YOU love one another. 18 If the world hates YOU, YOU know that it has hated me before it hated YOU. 19 If YOU were part of the world, the world would be fond of what is its own. Now because YOU are no part of the world, but I have chosen YOU out of the world, on this account the world hates YOU.
So what can we see here? We are to love one another and to love God with your whole heart, mind and soul. A true Christian behaves the way Jesus demonstrated makes it a part of their lives all day every day, 24/7. What happens Hailey is that many people who are the leaders in their church do not do what Jesus said and therefore sow corruption in their hearts. So, by looking at their actions, are they really following Jesus?
(2 Corinthians 10:1-5) Now I myself, Paul, entreat YOU by the mildness and kindness of the Christ, lowly though I am in appearance among YOU, whereas when absent I am bold toward YOU. Indeed I beg that, when present, I may not use boldness with that confidence with which I am counting on taking bold measures against some who appraise us as if we walked according to [what we are in the] flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not wage warfare according to [what we are in the] flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but powerful by God for overturning strongly entrenched things. 5 For we are overturning reasonings and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God; and we are bringing every thought into captivity to make it obedient to the Christ
Hailey, here is another point. Do the Christians that you know show mildness and kindness to all? Do they use the knowledge of God and share it with all? And lastly, are they obedient to Christ teachings or only with certain people? These are questions that only you can answer.
Hailey, if we originate with God, He produces God fearing people and they will listen to him and will continue to learn what God has to offer which is in the Bible.
(1 John 4:6-9) . . .We originate with God. He that gains the knowledge of God listens to us; he that does not originate with God does not listen to us. This is how we take note of the inspired expression of truth and the inspired expression of error. 7 Beloved ones, let us continue loving one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born from God and gains the knowledge of God. 8 He that does not love has not come to know God, because God is love. 9 By this the love of God was made manifest in our case, because God sent forth his only-begotten Son into the world that we might gain life through him.
Clearly Hailey, the churches that for centuries have called themselves Christian are only pretending to be a part of Christianity. This explains why, as we see a continuing trend of churches fragmenting into sects, churches meddling in politics, and churches disregarding God’s laws. Such bad fruitage is the product, not of true Christianity, but of counterfeit Christianity, which the Devil planted. Where is this false religion heading? As Jesus showed in his illustration, it will not simply die out for lack of support. It will be judged and destroyed.
Before the “weeds” of false Christianity are collected and destroyed, however, Jesus’ illustration indicates something else that must happen. For centuries the growth of false Christian “weeds” was so extensive that the “wheat” of true Christianity was practically hidden. But Jesus described the wheat being separated from the weeds during the “harvest,” which he said represents “a conclusion of a system of things.” He also said: “At that time the righteous ones will shine as brightly as the sun.” (Matthew 13:39-43) The evidence shows that we have been living in the conclusion of the system of things since World War I, which took place over 90 years ago. (Matthew 24:3, 7-12) Has this part of Jesus’ prophetic illustration also come true?
True Christians have been separated out from the “weeds” of Christendom. Jehovah’s Witnesses are ‘shining as brightly as the sun,’ helping others to know the true God, Jehovah. The Witnesses do not debase his standards. Rather, people who become Witnesses usually must make extensive changes in their lifestyle to obey the Christian principles found in the Bible.
Jehovah’s Witnesses do not offer entertainment at their meetings, but they do offer free Bible education. They also share warm love and friendship, qualities that they learn from their study of the Scriptures. They believe that God will transform the earth into a paradise and have it inhabited by the meek of the earth, as he originally purposed. But first the world must be cleansed of the negative influence of false religion, known in the Bible as Babylon the Great. According to Bible prophecy, Jehovah will soon bring about that radical change.—Matthew 5:5; Revelation 18:9-10, 21.
Once obedient mankind have been relieved of the deceptive practices of false religion, true Christian worship will unite all of those living on earth. What a wonderful future for the true Christianity that Jesus planted! Edenic Paradise will be restored to a peaceful earth, with no divisive religions to sow discord again!
Hailey, Jesus said that in the future, the false Christians would “publicly declare they know God,” but in reality they would “disown him by their works.” (Titus 1:16) The apostle Peter likewise warned that false teachers would “quietly bring in destructive sects and [would] disown even the owner that bought them.” Their bad conduct, he said, would cause people to speak “abusively” about “the way of the truth.” (2 Peter 2:1, 2) To disown Christ in this way, says Greek scholar W. E. Vine, means to “deny the Father and the Son, by apostatizing and by disseminating pernicious teachings.”
How would Jesus react if professed disciples deliberately failed to “remain in [his] word” and to meet other requirements that he set out? He warned: “Whoever disowns me before men, I will also disown him before my Father who is in the heavens.” (Matthew 10:33) Of course, Jesus does not disown someone who makes a mistake despite his earnest desire to be faithful. For example, although the apostle Peter denied Jesus three times, Peter repented and was forgiven. (Matthew 26:69-75) However, Jesus disowns individuals or institutions that turn out to be wolves in sheep’s clothing—pretending to follow Christ but willfully and persistently rejecting his teachings. Of such false teachers, Jesus said: “By their fruits you will recognize those men.”—Matthew 7:15-20.
Another requirement Hailey for genuine Christianity was spelled out by Jesus when he said: “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”—John 8:31, 32.
Jesus expects his true followers to remain in his word—that is, to stick to his teachings. Instead, religious teachers claiming to follow Christ have “increasingly adopted Greek concepts,” notes theologian Küng. They have replaced Jesus’ teachings with, among others, ideas like the immortality of the soul, a belief in purgatory, worship of Mary, and a clergy class—ideas borrowed from pagan religions and philosophers.—1 Corinthians 1:19-21; 3:18-20.
Religious teachers also introduced the doctrine of the Trinity which is not in the Bible, elevating Jesus to a position he never claimed for himself. In the process, they distracted people from worshipping the one to whom Jesus always directed attention—his Father, Jehovah. (Matthew 5:16; 6:9; John 14:28; 20:17) “When Jesus speaks of God,” writes Hans Küng, “he means the ancient God of the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: Yahweh . . . For him this is the one and sole God.” How many people today immediately associate Jesus’ God and Father with Yahweh, or Jehovah, as his name is commonly written in the English language?
Religious leaders have completely departed from Jesus’ command to stay neutral in political affairs. In Jesus’ day, Galilee “was the heartland of ethnic nationalism,” states writer Trevor Morrow. Many Jewish patriots took up arms to gain political and religious freedom. Did Jesus tell his disciples to get involved in such struggles? No. On the contrary, he told them: “You are no part of the world.” (John 15:19; 17:14) Instead of remaining neutral, however, church leaders developed what Irish writer Hubert Butler describes as “militant and political ecclesiasticism.” “Political Christianity,” he writes, “is almost always also militarist Christianity and when statesmen and ecclesiastics come to terms it always happens that, in return for certain privileges, the Church gives its blessing to the military forces of the state.”
The apostle Paul warned of a falling away from genuine Christianity. He said that after his death, “oppressive wolves” from among professed Christians would “speak twisted things to draw away the disciples after themselves.” (Acts 20:29, 30) They would “publicly declare they know God,” but in reality they would “disown him by their works.” (Titus 1:16) The apostle Peter likewise warned that false teachers would “quietly bring in destructive sects and [would] disown even the owner that bought them.” Their bad conduct, he said, would cause people to speak “abusively” about “the way of the truth.” (2 Peter 2:1, 2) To disown Christ in this way, says Greek scholar W. E. Vine, means to “deny the Father and the Son, by apostatizing and by disseminating pernicious teachings.”
Let me ask you Hailey when did false Christians begin to disown Christ? Very shortly after Jesus’ death. He himself warned that Satan the Devil would quickly oversow “weeds,” or false Christians, among the “fine seed,” or genuine Christians, that Jesus planted during his ministry. (Matthew 13:24, 25, 37-39) The apostle Paul warned that deceptive teachers were already at work in his day. The fundamental reason for their deviation from the teachings of Jesus Christ, he said, was that they had no real “love of the truth.”—2 Thessalonians 2:10.
The apostles of Jesus Christ acted as a restraint against this apostasy for as long as they lived. After the death of the apostles, however, religious leaders using “every powerful work and lying signs and portents and . . . every unrighteous deception” in order to mislead many turned more and more people away from the truths taught by Jesus and his apostles. (2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6-12) In time, writes English philosopher Bertrand Russell, the original Christian congregation was changed into a religious organization that “would astonish Jesus, and even Paul.”
The record is clear Hailey. Since the death of the apostles, Christ has not been in much of what has taken place in the name of Christianity. However, that does not mean that Jesus has failed to keep his promise to be with his followers “all the days until the conclusion of the system of things.” (Matthew 28:20) We can be sure that ever since he said those words, there have been faithful individuals among whom “the memory of Jesus Christ [has been] activated in theory and practice.” Jesus Christ has kept his promise to support such ones as they have endeavored to show the love that marks true Christians and to remain loyal to the truths that he taught.
Even better, Jesus promised that in the last days of this cruel and selfish world called the system of things, he would gather his faithful disciples into a clearly identifiable Christian congregation that he would use to accomplish his will. (Matthew 24:14, 45-47) He is right now using that congregation to gather together “a great crowd” of men, women, and children “out of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues,” and he is uniting them under his headship into “one flock” under “one shepherd.”—Revelation 7:9, 14-17; John 10:16; Ephesians 4:11-16.
Turn away, then, from any institutions or organizations that have besmirched the name of Christ and defamed Christianity over the past two thousand years. Otherwise, as Jesus Christ told the apostle John, you could “receive part of [their] plagues” when God executes his judgment on them in the near future. (Revelation 1:1; 18:4, 5) Make it your resolve to be among those spoken about by the prophet Micah when he said that “in the final part of the days,” true worshippers—adherents of true Christianity—would listen to God’s instructions and “walk in his paths” of restored pure worship. (Micah 4:1-4)
Hailey, the rest is up to you. You have read what is true and what is not. The Bible, the word of God cannot make mistakes. Only people do. I wish you well. If you believe in God, Hailey, pray to him from this point on and I am sure he will answer your questions. You may have a know on your door soon.