This might be the crux of where you and I diverge, and why I feel that some faith is not of the same quality. (I am just saying that, I don't mean that to be disrespectful, just an opinion)
Hey it's cool-no stress. I like talking with you in these posts, always a pleasure :)
There are some other posters who I feel like choking but the Lord told me to love them or leave them be!
Whenever I read what you wrote (and it is a very common premise among Christian theists) "Who am I to judge? Am I qualified to judge?" I stop. Lately, I would simply answer, "Yes, you are qualified to judge."
I dunno. If you believe in a Creator then He is pretty special. He made the universe and everything in it (and out of it) then that is cool in my book. If I was the Creator I would have likely lost my patience and got rid of humans long ago. However, we are made in God's image so He loves us and the world He made for us. If you have children of your own you will understand. Anyhow, do I think my kids should judge me and tell me how things should be? Do I think they should tell me how to deal with their siblings? Do I think they have understanding regarding the things I have to decide?
I read such expressions and realize that they also express a limit to what can be explained or proven. To that, ALL of us have that limitation, myself included. So in that, it seems you are prepared to "take a few items on faith", we are no different.
Those damn JWs! Hey, they might have messed it up for many round here but I tell you, as "Christians" we are chalk and cheese. In fact, I don't regard that they are actually following Christ at all. Their "christ" is a mirage. He is God, not an angel. He is alive and well in His own "flesh and bones", not a "spirit creature".
However, the tradition from which your faith springs has a couple of inherent problem areas. As a former JW, I have seen first hand how group think faith, pre packaged and tied with a bow is dangerous. I am also reminded so often of how JW's are continued to encourage not to think, not to question, or to take their questions to a pre set limit.
That is cultist, you realise that now. God made us individuals with a brain, a conscience and free will. We are too exercise it, not to have it crushed and bullied by anyone. God wants us to submit to godly authority but I am afraid the GB and JW elders are absolutely not from God and neither is their "organisation". As the church, we are encouraged to think, participate and contribute in ways I don't think you can imagine unless you have seen it function firsthand.
Thus, to promote faith in Jesus is much different imo, then personally believing him to be god. The (not so subtle) difference between the faith you and I discuss is that I strongly believe we should look inward, question, and put faith in the fact that if god exists, he is happier to have us question and doubt.
Think about it, gods a smart person. (for arguments sake). She knows she hasn't been around, that evidence, real evidence of communication and intervention are not around. And then she gave us this brain. She wants us to use it.
So in my view, there is no way god will ever censure us for doubting, or not believing. I would never hold it against anyone to not believe I exist if I never talk with them. Is it any different with god?
I have long though about the need for faith. Also what is faith? Why does God like it so much? The answer I have arrived at is that if we saw God wholly for who He is then we would feel compelled to serve Him and do what is right. However, God doesn't want robots, that is clear. So for now we have total freedom to do anything from love Him to loathe Him or blaspheme and profane Him. However, one day He will sort us into two groups, one that want to do the former and those that have chosen the latter.
What if the real "test" is that god wants to see who falls for man made institutions of faith, as opposed to those who figure out that god wants us to look inward instead?
It's a totally different kind of faith at that point....
I don't know if I understand? IMHO faith is something that is on the inside of us, unseen in our spirit but we need to exercise it. Faith without works is dead James 2:17 James 2:26 Hebrews 11 You see, faith says I can walk across a bridge and it won't fall down. That faith is unseen until I start walking and in fact it is unless or dead until I do.
Now when you exercise it and you find that your faith was not misplaced then it grows. Before too long, it becomes second nature.
The trouble for most here that through no fault of their own, their faith was misplaced in the WT so they are highly cautious to exercise it again.
Well, what have you got to loose? I am not saying to join a church. I read my bible and prayed for a year before I did that. So there is nothing to loose. You can tell God how you feel, have a moan if you like, ask Him some questions. He is going to love that and I am sure you will be thrilled when you get some real tangible answers. Really, I have heard many people say that they sincerely asked God "if you are real then come and show me" and before too long they got some real answers in surprising ways.
Going to church was a huge step of faith for me too, I had spent 20 years keeping out of them! However, although there were a few difficulties (to do with my own problems I might add) the benefits far outweighed them.
All the best,