Here's a quote from Patrik on the Faith comment thread: "I believe that if you earnestly seek after God you will find Him." He backed up his statement with Hebrews 11:6: "Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him."
A few weeks ago, a Facebook friend posted a link to Jennifer Fulwiler's blog. I perused it and found so much to refute, so little time! Perhaps some future post fodder. Jennifer is a former atheist turned Catholic. I read her story of how she came to believe in God , which seemed to boil down to, "Hmm, lots of people who are smart believe in God. Am I smarter than they are?" (Not a good argument, as I've discussed.) Then she decided to live her life as if there were a God and, Lo, and behold! Everything made sense! (Which is funny, because I had the exact same experience when I decided to live as though there were no God.) She ends her piece with, "I cannot speak to the experience of former believers who saw no fruits of their belief in God other than to say that, based on my own experience, I have to wonder if they were conducting the experiment correctly, approaching it with humility and an open heart."
In other words, if at the end of working out the equation, you didn't come up with the answer "Belief in God," it's because you did it wrong! It's your fault!
From Double A on the Heaven? thread: "A childlike acceptance of God is a fruitful thing."
Alma teaches something similar in *gasp* the Book of Mormon. ("No! No! Not the evil cult book!") Alma 32:27-28: "But behold, if ye will awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words, and exercise a particle of faith, yea, even if ye can no more than desire to believe, let this desire work in you, even until ye believe in a manner that ye can give place for a portion of my words. Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves—It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me."
It's in the Bible too. John 7:17: "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself."
Just do the experiment! Then you'll know. How simple could it be?
I hear from a lot of Christians that because my background is in Mormonism, then I wasn't a "real" Christian in the first place and just need to try the "true" path to Christ and all will be well. I did try to be a "real" Christian. Once I left the LDS Church, Protestant churches were my first stop. From A Little Birdy on this thread: "If you were a Morman [sic] (a cult) I can see why you exited the religion, but why on earth would you ditch the Father altogether?"
I get defensive at the assumption that I didn't try, or that I didn't try hard enough or long enough or the right way. I find it so fascinating that so many religious people are so adept at spotting the fallacies in every religion but their own. I single out Patrik a lot, because he is a friend and we go back a long way. (Also because he's a very active reader and thoughtful commenter.) There's a bit about that on this thread. I've said it before: Mormonism is no more a cult than any other religion. I looked at other religions after I left, many of them, and while they all have some good things to offer, they all run into their own brands of crazy sooner or later.
Sure, if you look for God's hand in your life, you might see "little miracles," but I have a sister who's an ardent believer in fairies and sees their work in the world every day too. This sister also thinks that people whose lives aren't going well just need to learn to "manifest right." If you're looking for God, you'll see God. If you're looking for fairies, you'll see fairies.
Seek and ye shall find? Not so much. I did seek God. Why didn't I find him? Because I was doing it wrong? Why wouldn't a loving (not to mention omnipotent and omniscient) God throw a freaking bone to a sincere seeker? How long was I supposed to keep up the experiment? Till I'm dead? If I wanted to find God and God wanted me to find him, why didn't he help me out?
Either he's not omnipotent, or he's not all good, or he's not there.