Why Do You Believe What You Believe?
Because different faiths, with their intrinsic traditions, often contradict each other, we are left with a simple truism: “They cannot all be correct.” Therefore, it becomes imperative that a person examines each one carefully and cautiously.
Examining your faith, and its traditions, may seem inappropriate or even disrespectful at first considering the expectations of one’s family or culture. Even more so are the beliefs imposed upon people by an authority figure or organization with such forcefulness that there exists an expectation that a person will uncritically accept those beliefs.
Sometimes faith and traditions are introduced to a person in a subtle manner, but more often than not they are accompanied by overt threats of relational, financial or even physical harm should one chose not accept them without hesitation. I once heard a pastor tell the congregants from the pulpit that the reason a family was killed in a car accident is because they had incorrectly left the protection of that church. Consequently, it often takes a great deal of courage to carefully and thoroughly examine the motives, agendas and qualifications of these authorities in our lives, along with the ideas that are being advocated by them.
But the hero of the story is never one that passively goes along with the crowd or perpetuates the practices handed down through the ages. The champion we admire is the man or woman who has the courage and wisdom to see things in full view; in the proper light. And if necessary embraces what is right and acts accordingly.
If you are under a spiritual authority that does your choosing and thinking for you, let me encourage you to step back and start thinking for yourself. Do not settle for simple answers or succumb to authoritarian pressure to just conform. Jesus Christ, an authoritarian figure with impeccable credentials, said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:” So keep asking, keep seeking and keep knocking on that door, because in doing so you shall receive the promise. “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”