1. Define your fundamental beliefs.
– List your primary religious beliefs, such as “I believe in a supernatural god, or I believe the holy book of my religion is inspired by God.”
– Write down each belief as clearly as you can. If you’re unsure of a belief that is an important part of your religion, include it on the list.
2. Step outside your worldview.
– This is an extremely difficult thing to do, but it’s important to ask yourself if you value self-honesty and pursuit of truth more than you fear letting go of current beliefs. Without this dedication to being honest with yourself, you’re wasting your time.
3. Determine the source.
– Take each of your beliefs and ask yourself when you first started to believe it, who told you, why they would know it to be true or if it’s just speculation on their part, and why you accepted it as a belief.
4. Study your religion.
– Identify the beliefs that are part of the tenets of your religion, then research when your religion started to believe these ideas, what the alternatives were, and why might they have adopted the belief.
– Ask yourself to what degree you hold these beliefs to be true. If one wasn’t
true, would it affect other beliefs you hold? If so, note the implications.
[courtesy of Wiki]
“To be a Christian, you have to love God and accept Him into your heart,” said freshman Kaylee Brugioni. “You have to believe that he died on the cross for your sins and rose again. Then you can live every day for God’s glory.”
This sounds like a pretty solid statement, but Brugioni hasn’t always been so sure. She admitted that along her faith journey she’s had doubts. At times she’s even questioned whether there is a god at all. However, she has overcome these doubts by reading the Bible more, having more faith and understanding that everyone has doubts at some point.
“I don’t believe what I believe just because I was raised that way. But, because of my upbringing, I’ve come to understand that nothing else makes sense,” Brugioni said.
In contrast, sophomore Brett Amiotte doesn’t consider himself traditional when it comes to faith. “I would call anyone who adheres to Jesus’ teachings and principles in a life-giving way a Christian,” he said.
According to Amiotte, he has had many doubts throughout his life as well. “The problem of evil has really challenged me,” he said, “How can an all loving, all powerful God, permit evil?” Amiotte also struggled with the fact that belief in a literal resurrection of Christ is not unanimous among New Testament scholars. “I don’t think I’ve overcome my doubts,” said Amiotte. “I think doubts are things that everyone has to wrestle with, and they don’t go away because there are no simple fixes or answers. The real challenge is learning to have comfort in doubt.”
In an attempt to briefly summarize why he believes what he believes, Amiotte said, “Everyone takes a leap of faith. Mine is that I believe God is love. I see that religion is prevalent throughout civilization, which leads me to believe there’s something more than the physical world.”
To religion professor Dr. Mead, all the complexities of the Christian faith come down to the basic New Testament confession: Jesus is Lord and Savior. “Though our belief is not what saves us, this trust is the means by which we enjoy and apprehend our salvation,” said Mead.
Even after years of seminary and studying religion, Mead admitted he has had his share of doubts. “As I went through education, I was confronted with questions concerning God’s involvement in creation that I had to wrestle through,” Mead said. Besides scientific questions about Genesis, Mead has also struggled with the problem of evil. “I can grasp that God wanted to have creatures that are free, and if you’re free, you can mess up. But I have trouble putting the world’s untold suffering and injustices together with a god who is love.”
To overcome these doubts, Mead consulted mentors, teachers and Christian literature. To him, simply pressing on, abiding in faith and not giving up was an important part of getting over the bumps in his faith. “I kept going to church even if I didn’t feel like it and kept worshipping. If you go it alone, and leave it behind, you really are in a desert place.”
When it comes to why he believes what he believes, Mead said, “It’s a combination of the reasonableness of the Christian faith and a deep, innate feeling I have that God has his hands on me.”