In recent days, weeks, or even months, the struggles and challenges of believing in something with one’s whole being have been made more apparent to me. In this day and age there are so many choices, so many options to invest your faith in. I find it fascinating what the human mind is capable of in this area. We can justify any thought or action, rationalizing it, and dressing it up in a nice, neat box, wrapped in very distractingly beautiful wrapping paper, with the intention of deceiving the eyes of the beholder into believing that what they are receiving is something amazing and potentially life-changing. Its quite terrifying really. The ability to make anything sound like fact. One only needs practice and with time, one can polish any lie into a shiny enough imitation of the truth.
With such an enormously multiplying amount of tricksters and deceivers roaming about, one can never be too careful, nor prepared, to fight off the lies that lead us into the mouths of wolves. It is from this realization that I have become astutely aware of the many misunderstandings and misinterpretations being passed around these days. For the sake of attempting to NOT write an entire book series on the matter, I will restrict our conversation to Christianity, and the beliefs that pertain to said religious lifestyles and behaviors.
Why do we believe any particular fact about Christianity? Because the Bible says so…right? But how do we interpret the Bible? Which translation of the Bible is most contextually accurate? Who translated, then interpreted the Bible we are reading? Which of the many versions of interpretation do you subscribe to? which version SHOULD we subscribe to? The questions feel endless at a point. I find myself often times playing devil’s advocate, in an attempt to challenge myself about the very beliefs I claim to subscribe to with my life. At times, this practice has indirectly made me cynical towards many groups of Christians, where I find myself questioning the entire various institutions of religion within the confines of Christianity. In other words, I found myself challenging all beliefs with the child-like response: “Why?” Why do we go to church? Why do we take communion? Why should there be a particular gender in leadership roles? Why do we sing songs? What is worship REALLY about? What really happens when we die? What really happens when Christ comes back? What does baptism really mean and why should we do it? Why recite prayers and liturgies (and why not?)? Why believe in hell? Did God not ensure everyone’s salvation through the Cross? Was Salvation not meant for all? Did Jesus not die for everyone? What happens to babies when they die? What does it mean for us that God is all-knowing and all-present? You see…the questions can feel exhausting, wearing you down, as though they are coming out of an endless well of many more questions to come. Endless…
Some of those questions are a complete waste of time to try to answer, debate, or even talk about. But some questions are so crucial that we actually build entire foundations of faith on answers to said questions, often times without even realizing it. This can be a severely dangerous problem in our lives because the entire foundation of our beliefs can come crumbling to the ground from one simple attack, all because we were oblivious to the very materials our foundations were made of. How do we prepare? We prepare by building our foundation brick by brick. Understanding why each part is there, and what place it has in our lives. We study, we learn, and we apply. I believe that so often we overlook so many questions because we are either afraid of the answer, or feel intimidated by the time and effort we may need to invest to find the answer. Nevertheless, it will inevitably become a problem at some point in our lives, a problem that must be dealt with. Better sooner than later.
Now don’t misunderstand me here. I have no real degree in Theology, and don’t claim to be any authority in any topic. I have studied for many years and have been taught by many theologians in many classes, but unfortunately they did not offer a degree with these classes. However, a vast portion of the content I will be providing will not be my own, but rather the words of many theologians that I feel so eloquently, clearly, and concisely unpack the questions we long to have answered. There are many views and many interpretations. I will be providing the views I believe are the most accurate interpretations of Scripture, based on the 5-6 years of studying, asking, and learning from many people of all different backgrounds that are far more intelligent than I. I do not claim to know it all..I only claim to know how to find information provided by the many generations of brilliant Theologians that have come before us. That is all.
It is out of the many situations I’ve had in my life up to this point that the next series of blogs have been born. I have decided to tackle a few topics in an “apologetic” context, in an attempt to shed light on different areas from my measly perspective, start some conversations, and hopefully make you think about some things you may not have considered before, and maybe make you ask some questions that challenge the way you’ve always done things, and help you feel confident enough to ask “Why?”
So stay tuned…I already have a few things I’d like to discuss…
Upcoming blog topics:
1. Did Jesus die for everyone? The question of universal salvation
2. What happens when we die? Death and the question of what it means to “sleep”.
3. Is it unbiblical to ordain women in leadership? The debate of gender roles in Church
4. What happens when Jesus comes back? An introduction to Eschatology and the four views
5. Why do some churches Baptize infants? The various views on Baptism
6. How can God not know? A conversation about God’s omniscience, and the problems with Calvanism and Arminianism.
7. What does it mean to worship God? Defining worship in a personal and corporate context.
Please share your thoughts! What questions do you have? Are there things you’ve always wondered? Is there an incident where you felt unprepared to handle a situation with someone? Share your thoughts and experiences!