Have you ever doubted your convictions?

Having been writing this blog for so long, and coming into contact with so many people who question and challenge my beliefs, I sometimes do an “audit” so to speak, to gauge the strength of my conviction that Christianity is true.  Whether such an exercise has any substantial benefit, I’m not sure.  But I like to know where I stand, and to what degree.  Whenever I run this internal test, it soon becomes clear that I have waxed and waned in my faith.  Since this is normal, it’s not all too concerning to me.  What is important is why did my confidence weaken and strengthen, rather than by how much.

What I learned about myself is that my degree of conviction was directly related to how I feel, to my emotional state.  How surely I believe often coincides with whether I felt God was there, rather than whether I thought God was there, if that makes sense.  The more things would go awry in life, the more I felt God was removed and distant.  When things picked up, I must have been mistaken, He was there all along!

My point is that up til now, I have never had my faith shaken by an argument.  I’ve never been in intellectual doubt.  Thus far no one has successfully refuted — in my opinion — arguments for the existence of God.  Nor has anyone offered credible reasons for me to doubt whether Christianity (theism) were true.

My doubts have always been emotional.  And emotions are fickle by nature.  Basing my worldview on my emotions and how I feel at any given stage in my life would be short-sighted to say the least.

After discovering this about myself, I have learned to be extra cautious of my feelings.  I try as best I can to not allow feelings to set the course in many areas of my life, not just when it comes to my religious convictions.  They have led me astray in the past and probably will in the future, too.  Things I felt were true were not, and vice versa.  After a time, I’ve tried to train myself to think through certain situations I may have allowed my emotions take the lead on in the past.

This is why I distance myself from feelings-guided Christianity.  Feelings are fleeting.  The expectation of feeling God’s presence is a sure way to be disappointed.  And if you’ve based your trust in God on an emotional experience, your faith is more likely to give out on you.  We are called to know God is here, not feel His closeness.

My advice to any Christians out there who may be feeling as though God isn’t there, don’t worry.  It happens.  Remember, the heart is desperately deceitful.  Sit back and remember the reasons Christianity is true, not why you feel it is.

Comments

  1. I’ve never doubted since the day in January 1974 when I put my faith in Christ. I did get stronger and stronger convictions the more I studied.

  2. Basing one’s belief on feelings is in opposition to Biblical teaching about the heart being deceitful.

  3. Simple questions and ponderings.

    1. Is this (so-called universe and all it contains) the best the man-made gods (from A(Allah) to Z(Zeus) can do? Surely, my imagination can do better. To start, all my creatures including humans/crown of creation would not have to eat or need a butt-hole.

    2. Why did this material form even come into existence in the first place ? And all its variations, inequalities, and deficiencies? To make/create is a lack and not a demonstration of power. What is all-encompassing / total / complete / perfect (which the God of my imagination must be) has no need to create or make any- thing (which by definition is limited/incomplete/deficient).

    3. The god of the Jews, Christians, Muslims commanded to not kill, but he slaughtered the first born of the Egyptians, commanded Abraham to kill his son (subjected the old man to go through the pains of attempting to do so, not to mention the pains inflicted on Sara). Is this an example of do what I say but not what I do? No wonder that the believers of this god (Jews, Christians, Muslims) throughout centuries have all enjoyed killing in the name of their god.

    4. The so-called son of god, Jesus, commanded to forgive, but he cursed the fig tree because it didn’t provide him the fruits he needed (my imagination can make a Jesus that doesn’t need to eat, and hence, no need to curse). He did the same with Judas (Jesus should have thanked Judas who helped him accomplished his death-wish). In both of these examples, the reason Jesus cursed is because he CAN and the fig tree and Judas can’t curse back (my imagination could play nice and tell Jesus that it’s ok, all is well, he doesn’t need to be a savior, or my imagination could play the same masochistic game of Jesus and equip both the fig tree and Judas to curse back at Jesus that he dies a thousand crosses and resurrect a thousand times and repeat!). And don’t forget Jesus’ Final Judgment. Is this another example of do what I say but not what I do?

    Namaste,
    Theo

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