Are you a Christian? How often do you challenge your beliefs?
Until 6 months ago, I had faith in Jehovah, Jesus and the Bible. I was not a JW ( I had been DFd 15 years ago) but I was planning on going back. I questioned some basic beliefs on the WTS and discovered I had been lied to for over 35 years. I had lost my religion and was looking for another way of reaching God since thats why I originally wanted to go back.
But then i asked myself. If the WT had lied to me about Jehovah and his purposes who else had also lied? I was afraid but I decided to challenge the bible itself and eventually i went to challenge the God himself.
Before that I hated reading the posts that talk against the existance of Jehovah. I was certain I was only misled on how to worship him but I decided to challenge my beliefs. So I know exactly what it feels to read Atheist threads and post.
My question to you is. how often do you challenge your belief in the Bible? in Jesus? in God? Do you accept the fact the WT is just a lie but you accept everything else? Are you afraid of finding something you dont want to find?
All I am asking is: If you still believe in Jesus or God, are you afraid of challenging that belief? I dont want you to answer if you do believe in god or why, rather to do a research your conscience and tell me honestly what you think and feel regarding challenging your beliefs. Lets see what must Christians honestly thinks. Besides noone is gonna disfellowship you anymore if have doubts.
The order of challenge for me:
- The WTS
- Christian Religion
- The Bible
- Non-Christian Religion
Everyone of them got an "F". Well, the Bible might have gotten a D+ for some value historically [not much] and some good prose [some]. All the rest flunked out pretty quickly once I opened my eyes and then my mind.
I revisit sometimes my arguments - but it is just a 'case review'. None of the old files have been 'reopened'.
Well I have left the WT and I have challenged my belief. I know God is real, more real than you.
I did challenge belief in God for several months after I left the Jw's. I concluded that I do believe. Now I challenge beliefs within Christianity. Am I a preterist or a futurist, pre-trib, mid trib or post trib. Right now Im a dontknowist.
I consider myself a warrior of the true God in the complete symbolic sense. Breaking through walls of lies, not afraid, not afraid to loose family, friends (which already am), etc.
I first broke through the lies and false teachings of WT. Then my next was checking the bible, and that is still a work in progress, as I'm checking that AND many ancient newly found manuscripts, AND books which were NOT cannonized.
The only things I will state for 100% certain, there is for sure super natural and good/evil forces at work. Even many non cannonized books, along with the bible, have very startling things. This is a very hard and time consuming path to take, and feel guilty even questioning some things, I pray for God to understand what I'm doing and that from my being born it's obvious so many lies I am not doubting him, I am wanting to make my beliefs and worship pure and ask his help.
There seem to be two lines or two paths, which are opposite eachother and both making out to be the truth. You would think it would be easy to identify which one is false, its not. They are so perfect and have every base covered, that you realize this 'conspiracy' would be beyond human if it was only book or books of men. You also see how some things are supposed to be done or followed then it's opposite saying that doing or following the said things is what is bad.
So far I believe in most books of the bible, and my understanding of it has been greatly enhanced, and all the books are now flowing together. It's no longer a book of history (old testament), prophets of Jesus coming and Israel abandoned, Jesus life, early christians, foretelling of last days till the end, in that order. Now the ENTIRE bible is alive and linked to one great event, and all of the history and events of the past were to clue is in and foretell the future, they are all pieces of a puzzle.
I also know for sure he is helping me, because things I'm seeing, getting understanding of, and realizing make so much sense and so perfect, yet up till now not published or talked about anywhere, nor did I ever see before when reading, I do not take credit as my own intelligence for this. It's like he is teaching me, he KNOWS what I know, and after I understand or get to a certain point on matters, I'm given additional information.
That's all I'll say on the matter for now :) It won't make sense to anybody who is not on the same path, I know that much.
I challenge my beliefs all the time, much in the way EndofMysteries said... research, research, research. And I too feel like the Holy Spirit is guiding me in my search. I have been down many different religious/spiritual paths and I always get led right back to God and the Bible. There have been many times that "coincidences" seemed too uncanny and the answers to questions I had suddenly snapped in to place in a way that was so profound I couldn't even begin to explain all that was realized (a.k.a. "insight learning" according to behavioral science). I take nothing at face value, not even bible translations.
How often do I change beliefs? Not very often, and not very far. It would be more apt to say that I've adjusted them, not changed them wholesale. This has happened for me in the wake of SEEs (Significant Emotional Events), and I suspect that is true for many (most?) who come here. It comes with the self-reflection that happens when something really miserable or really wonderful happens in my life.
Am I Christian? That's a loaded question because there are some many interptrations of what that means. The Ex and the rest at her KH wouldn't say so, because I'm not and never have been a Witness. The RCC would say yes, but a sinful one because I don't "go to church" on anything resembling a regular basis (no suggestions pro or con, please). I would say yes, because I accept and try to practice the moral teachings of the Gospels.
I am not sure what "beliefs" you mean. If you are talking about essential doctrines of the historic Christian faith, then I really do not challenge them myself. The reason is that most of those doctrines have been epounded on for over 2,000 years, and there is very little to debate, IMO.
On the contrary, I do challenge myself on secondary doctrine, e.g., areas in which there is variant beliefs within the historical orthodoxy. Currently I am challenging my view as a premillenialist. I am finding that I am moving towards an amillenial/partial preterist view. I have also moved from Arminianism to Calvinism. From fully open to the gifts of the Holy Spirit to a more cautious view.
I think that God allows His followers an element of leeway in these secondary doctrines. This is something that is wholly fronwed upon by the WTB&TS. With them there MUST be absolute unity with no room for individuality.
The possibilities are that God exists or He doesn't. If He doesn't, Christianity is bogus.
If He does exist, either He is maximally benevolent as He claims, or He is not. If He is not, Christianity is bogus. And, it only takes one incident of refusing to do something that is good for people or society, or creating anyone solely to run His errands without getting any reward, to prove His malice. It also takes one incident where God has initiated the use of force, threats of force, or fraud against anyone else or their property to kill this premise.
If God is maximally benevolent, then either Jesus died for our sins, or he did not. If he did not, then Christianity is bogus. Muslims believe that we are directly accountable for our own sins, and that Jesus did not die for our sins (it is more of a works-based religion than Christianity represents itself to be).
If Jesus did in fact die for our sins, than either the religion we are practicing follows the Bible or it does not. If it does not, then Christianity itself is legitimate but the religion we are practicing is not truly Christian.
Hyper Analysis is simply how my brain works. So, even if I take something at face value for a time, eventually everything gets questioned, sifted, taken apart. I had a period of time where I was not sure about the existence of God, but the more I explore science, the more pattern I see, the more structure ~ the less I think it came out of no where. That is not to say that I don't believe in adaptation, or that things change and evolve over time. But I do believe that there is evidence for design and thoughtful creativity in all of nature.
As far as my spiritual beliefs, I have been a seeker my entire life. I would have catagorized myself as a "doubter", but in a conversation today, someone reframed it as being a seeker. I like that. I am looking for what is real and good. I hate the man made rules that are imposed by organized religion and yet, mankind has the propensity to organize everything.
I am currently taking a class at a Catholic University ~ Mary Magdelene that is challenging everything I have ever thought, and caused me to examine all of my prior biblical learning. For example, I am currently questioning how we can accept the Bible cannon that is used for the NWT when it was decided by the same counsel at Nicea that accepted the teaching of the Trinity and was ordered by Constantine who was not even a Christian until his deathbed conversion.
When the bible says, "all scripture is inspired of God", and we know that there were numerous letters and sacred writings being circulated among christians, does this saying apply to those that were not included in the cannon but only later found in the desert or some cave??
These are my current ruminations. So, yes. I challenge nearly everything all the time. And, I don't recommend it. I often wished that I could just be stupid and innocent and accept on faith everything that has been taught me. It is a much easier existence. Happy, carefree, without angst.
That would be my vote every time.