Monday, November 15, 2004

The Nature of Faith

I spent a lot of time laying in bed last night and just thinking about this. It troubles me that this even comes up in my head, but I suppose no one can remain intellectually honest if this doesn't cross their mind at least once.

What kind of faith do I have? I don't know. I suppose it could be stronger. I mean, I'd like to think that I have a strong faith. After all, I believe everything in the Bible is true and that God will fulfill his promises. Yet . . . do my actions reflect the "strength" of faith I seem to think I have? It often seems not. I'm too willing to sit in my safe little den of solitude and comfort rather than venture out and actually share what I know or what I have. Is that the mark of a strong faith, or just a different faith? It's not like I never do those things. But when does it become enough? Is it ever?

The really scary thing is that sometimes my doubts become frighteningly strong. Usually, when I consider my faith, the thought is, "This all makes sense, it's logical and reasonable to conclude that this is true, I can trust that God is there and these things have happened because everything points to that conclusion."

And yet then there are times when I think about it, and the thought becomes, "What is going on here? Do I really have any good reason for thinking these things? Is all of this just something I've convinced myself of because it's comforting and helps me deal with problems I couldn't handle otherwise? Have I not given enough thought to the atheist's arguments? What happens to my life if none of this is true?"

That becomes one of the scarier thoughts. What happens next if that were to actually become my state of mind? I'd probably lose all of my friends. I've so surrounded myself with Christians and Christian culture, I'd find myself alienated in my own world. That would be weird. Would it change my morals dramatically? I still have plenty of non-religious reasons for not doing things like drinking, taking drugs, and having sex. That would make befriending new people difficult, though. It's not like there's a large contingent of people in the college world who aren't Christians, yet don't get into the "alcohol and sex" thing.

But what is the end result? These thoughts pass through my mind, thoughts that maybe it's all a lie and I'm just fooling myself, and then . . . I just ignore them. Why? Do I bring up the arguments I've had in my mind in the "pro" column to counter the opposition? No, I just set it aside and try to keep living my life as best I can. Somewhere in there is the thought that God will help me through the doubts that peck at my soul.

I make it sound much worse that it truly is, I suppose. My doubts are never truly overwhelming, and I never find myself perched on a precipice between belief and a total lack thereof, but it just bothers me that these thoughts creep up every so often, far more often than I would prefer, and I really don't seem to deal with them in any satisfactory way at all.

So . . . what do I say?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hal! We need an update, man! It's been way too long! And since you should be done with finals relatively soon, I expect to see one soon! ;)

Merry Christmas!

Nicole (Wiedman) Cox