Those who have "found" god: How do you know which denomination?

Most people who are devoted to religion speak of “finding god”. When pressed on what exactly this means, they tend to move away from specifics and towards a vague description of a “feeling” that they have had which they “know” to be god. This feeling seems to seldom be in the form of a direct conversation complete with god having a voice that is heard. So my question is, when you feel the influence of a greater power, how do you know which god it is, or which church is the proper one to attend? How do you know if that feeling you claim is god was buddah or jesus? How do you know if your supposed to be a christian or a catholic or a mormon or a pentecostal church of god snake handler?

Worshiping false gods will get you into trouble, and at most, only one (if any) religions can be correct. Risking eternal damnation (read torture for eternity by a creature that created you) should you choose incorrectly, how do you make this choice? If only one religion can be correct (as most religions claim), than all of the others must be shams. It would seem you need a way to tell which one is real and which one is fake. The problem is, any attempts to get the religions to offer proof are met with an attitude that it can’t be proven. You have to have faith.

Burn forever or pick the correct denomination with only a “feeling” as your guide. So is any possible logic able to be applied to this dillemma? Can religions be held to standards to determine which one is the most likely to be correct? If you can’t hold religion to standards than by what possible methodology must you pick a religion? Perhaps one of the following:

“This is the one my parents like.”
“This is the one my friends like”
“I feel like this is the right one”
“Let’s flip a coin”

If religion can’t be held up to rigourous inquiry than how can you possibly sort the charlatans from the one true (supposed) religion?

One possible answer I forsee is “God wouldn’t let me pick the wrong one”. If that is your answer, how do you know what you feel is god is not actually the devil (or some other evil force) pretending to be god with the intention of leading you astray so you can choose pooly and burn forever?

DaLovin’ Dj

Are you saying that only one religion can be correct (at the most) or only one denomination? Cause there’s a big difference there…

This is an excellent question, DJ, but I don’t think you’re going to like the answer.

You see, from the POV of the Christian, what the denomination is is totally secondary to the relationship between God and himself or herself. Nor is there one “right” church – though clearly with the plethora of disputed questions between them, one must be right and others wrong on any either-or questions, and at least some if not all must be wrong on multiple-choice style questions.

Obviously, this denies the “one true church” stance that one would think needs to be spoken of. However, aside from the classic stance of the LDS Church (and Monty can speak to whether that has changed), I know of nobody that I’m certain still claims to be “the one true church.” (To forestall a couple of unnecessary posts, kindly imagine here a post by happyheathen quoting out-of-date Roman Catholic teachings, and a response by Tomndebb clarifying that with the up-to-date “RCC has the fulness of the deposit of faith, but other churches participate in it” stance of the modern RCC.)

But one locates the church that (a) holds the stance closest to your own understanding of what God is calling you to do, (b) is the most amenable to your own tastes in matters of liturgy, teachings, music and such, and © seems to be where God is leading you. Remember that His relationship with you is not a one-night-stand, but a rest-of-your-life committed love relationship, and He’s there to guide your choice.

::: waves Hi at Lauralee and sends hugs to {{{Trinity}}} :::

What’s the difference?

I don’t claim any of it. Such things have been claimed to me. My aunt is a Southern Baptist convinced that if you are with the wrong church you will not get into heaven.

Is denomination important?

Without specific direct conversation with god, how do you know which god it is filling you with these feelings? “It must be the one my parents believe in” seems like a pretty weak way to make a decision that could cost you trillions of years (and beyond) worth of pain and suffering and anguish that the “kind and loving” god wil force you into should you misinterpret these “feelings” and attribute them to the wrong master.

How do you tell without specific conversation?

DaLovin’ Dj

::insert big smiley here that I’m still afraid to use in GD:: Hey Poly!!

That last post was in response to Lauralee, I didn’t see Polycarp’s post until after I posted it . . .

Will respond to that soon, I actually have to do some work for a minute . . . :frowning:

There are a few churches/denominations that maintain that they are the ONLY way and that all others will lead you to hell. It’s pretty much unheard of in mainstream Christianity, though. So how do you choose which one is correct? Start reading, learning, and questioning along with praying. Compare the churches beliefs to your beliefs, compare your beliefs to the Bible, etc… It’s an ongoing process.

Assume I have no beliefs. I’ve suddenly been filled with a feeling that God has touched my life and I should be worshiping. What questions are fair game for me to ask of each church, and what are not answerable? How far can I ask for proof before I’ve asked for too much?

Must. . .work . . . on . . .spreadsheet . . .

Make this difficult why don’t you… (It’s ok, I’m joking.)

First of all, you’d have to have some faint idea about who God is. You feel that God has touched your life, so you look for the church that describes the God that gave you that feeling. I’m not distinguishing denominations here, but religions. There’s a big difference between Buddah and the Christian God. And I have no experience with Buddah, so on to the Christian God…

You begin to learn about God the same way you do most anything else. Talk to others that seem to know something about the subject. Read things about the subject. Not just the Bible, but any number of other texts. Making yet another assumption that you’ve chosen the Bible as your Christian guideline, you start comparing things you read and hear to it. If something doesn’t seem to mesh, you investigate it further until you either find a satisfactory answer or you at least come to peace with not knowing. Any denomination that tells you that you’ve asked too many questions isn’t the right one. Asking for proof though, is entirely different. You have faith that this ‘feeling’ was God, but you can’t prove it. Neither can a church prove it. You can explore it until it becomes a deeply personal thing, but you can’t prove it.

Am I helping at all or just babbling at random?

JFTR, I would like to express my amusement at the underlying assumption of the OP that only Christians “find God.”

Carry on.

I’d have said that when a big finger appears pointing at you and a booming voice says “Hi, it’s God, let’s get to know each other”, the most rational response would be to ask “OK, what do you want me to do?”, not to rush off and go shopping.

I don’t think anyone was implying that only Christians “find God.” Merely, the only people replying from a Creationist perspective are Christians, therefore they aren’t going to be talking about finding Allah.

If Satan was smart (and he reportedly is, especially where contract law is concerned), he would disguise himself as the mysterious Voice From Above. He would tell you to join a church, but fail to tell you which one. You’d go from church to church, until you had demonstrated that each one fails to speak for the God which inspired you. They would all be discredited, and then Satan would laugh and laugh and laugh.

If Satan existed, that is.

Minor nitpick.

The Buddha was not a god, but a man. Many Buddhists worship Hindu gods; however belief in a god is not required to be a Buddhist. Some Buddhists are agnostic, even athiest, and some never even wondered if there is/are god/gods.


Another nitpick-Allah is simply the Arabic word for God. Coptic Christians call God, Allah.

Contrary to Southern Baptist propaganda, not all religious beliefs are mutually exclusive. One can be both Taoist & Buddhist, say–we call this Zen. Of course, since neither Taoism nor Buddhism require belief in a specific god, let alone a jealous monotheistic god, they combine pretty well with other traditions. And then there are the polytheistic societies. By the standards of ancient Rome, the idea that there’s one god you must follow or be damned is a pernicious superstition. If you really want to blow your mind, study the variety of Hindu belief. In a society where the transmigration of the soul is generally assumed, there just isn’t the same all-or-nothing desperation as that Christians often feel.

Hi Dalovindj. These are very good questions. I don’t know what it’s like to find God because I cannot remember a time that I wasn’t aware of Him. You would think by what I said, that my family must have been very religious. This is not the case at all. Don’t get me wrong, every one in my family to my knowledge believes in God, but they don’t go from person to person trying to witness.
On my own I wanted to learn more, so I started to go to church. The church I went to is Pentacostal. This church just so happens to be the church that I was dedicated in when I was born. I love that church, and when I am there I can see that the pastor and the people of that church truly love Jesus. I eventually stopped going there because I started reading the Bible and I realized that some of the thing that they do there are not according to scripture. Does this mean that I think they are doomed? No, because it’s not my place and I truly believe that are in love with God. I simply think that they are misled.

I went to a Catholic church a few times because I have a few Catholic relatives and friends. After comparing Catholicism to what I learned in the Bible, I learned that that is the wrong path.
I attended a few non-denominational Bible teaching churches and realized that this is the way.

For your question of how do you know which God it is when you feel the influence of a greater power, well, lets see: if the greater power tells me to rape, kill, or steal, it’s not God, If it inspires me to shave my head and contemplate the nothingness of being, then it’s probably buddah. If it inspires me to die while killing infidels, so I can get me some virgins, then it might be allah. On the other hand, if the higher power inspires me to love my fellow man, love my enemies, love my neighbor as myself, and follow the teachings of the Bible, then it’s probably the God of Abraham.

Once I figured out which God is talking to me, then it’s a simple matter to read his literature and see how to go about worshipping him, or whether he’s even worthy of worship. In my case, I found that His Book is self-consistent and accurate, and He is worthy of worship.

GOD…Which God? There are thousands of gods. The ancient Egyptians worshiped over two thousand for example. That is where the Genisis claim of creation came from…The sun God Rae, discoverd this planet in total darkness and coverd in water. He then caused dry land to rise up out of the ocean, created light and all other things.
Sound familiar…


Perhaps it’s me, and my experiences. But I cannot think of a question that is no longer fair game. I can think of tones that aren’t polite, and (being occasionally short tempered) would piss me off. But any question asked out of true curiosity should not bother me.

Will there come a point where the questions might not be answerable in a way that is useful to the questioner? possibly. But that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be asked.