Lately I’ve been asking myself a lot of hard questions. I’ve also been trying to teach myself long multiplication because my mathematical abilities are atrocious but that’s another story.
I’ve been wondering about the Christian concept of “Salvation”. What is that? Why do we need it? Is it fair? Is it unfair? You know, the usual queries. I won’t address that specifically in this post but I will lay down the groundwork.
I am someone who craves certainty. This probably says something about me… Perhaps that I am insecure. Because if I wasn’t insecure, I would have no issue with uncertainty (I’ll try elaborate on this a little later)
And so I find myself asking, “How do I know that what I believe is true? How can I be sure?”
It is difficult to find valid evidence to support my beliefs. I cannot rely on spiritual experiences, weird coincidences or other people’s testimonies as they are personal and relative experiences. So as pieces of evidence, for me, I find myself torn as to what to think.
This, some will say, is a lack of faith. Maybe so. Or maybe it is a deepening search for authentic faith. Either way, it means I examine the very core of what I believe and I have to be brutally honest with myself, which can be scary.
Ultimately though, as someone wise once told me, the only thing we can be certain of is that nothing is certain. It is a scary step to admit this as it makes me vulnerable. I personally feel that sometimes when people aggressively hold onto their beliefs and are uncompromising, it is because deep down they are afraid they might be wrong. I am like that often. Hence, being okay with uncertainty brings a peace and removes the fear of being proved wrong. Because, yes, I could be wrong! As I write I realise that this is all very reminiscent of Alan Watts, who I love but don’t agree with on a couple of key points. (digression)
But, I still search for certainty, I haven’t reached that Buddhist/Wattsian level of detachment and so, in order to try and understand what I believe, I try and strip down my beliefs to their essentials. In my search I usually start at, well, the start. Here I ask the cosmic void, who are you? Who caused this?
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. – Ancient Creation Text by Moses… potentially… but probably a whole host of anonymous authors.
So, I weigh the evidence and rationalise that something can’t just appear from nothing (and not the scientific version of nothing, which is actually something but as in nothing… which we can’t even imagine because you can’t imagine nothing. So stop trying to. Or you could look at my bank balance, that might come close) and I conclude that something must have caused all of this. It had to be a creative force, beyond human understanding.
In having determined that their must be some kind of Divine Being or God, I then have to decide who I believe this God to be. Here it is up to me to look at the various Faith traditions and the world around me to determine what I believe about God. This is where being objective becomes particularly difficult as I am inevitably influenced by my cultural upbringing and environment. That being said,my view of God is that He is a loving, creative being who is actively involved in His creation and who reveals Himself through people, sacred tradition, sacred scripture and ultimately in Jesus Christ.
Now you might ask, given the fact that I said earlier that I crave certainty, how I can jump to such specific conclusions when I am not able to logically work out why I believe them?
Great question! I don’t know either. Except to give the trite and unsatisfying answer that I just do.
I speak about this a bit in some of my other posts about God and Jesus.
Suffice to say, I cannot be certain and I find it very hard. But if there is a God, and He created me, do I not belong to Him? Do I not owe Him everything I have because it is His anyway? And if He placed me on this beautiful earth, surely there must be a purpose for that too?
One thing that I has been growing in my heart over the years is the realisation that Love is the most important aspect of my life and faith. If I can truly love, in a self sacrificing way, wanting the best for others, then I am taking steps in the right direction. And if that is what I desire, can I assume the same and more about the Being that created me?
There are questions, but God is in the questions.
All this I have put to the test of wisdom. I said, ‘I am resolved to be wise,’ but wisdom was beyond my reach – whatever has happened lies out of reach, deep down, deeper than anyone can fathom. Koheleth (Ecclesiastes) – circa 3rd Century BC