For the last few months, I’ve really been looking into trying to discover the very basis of my own faith. Why the heck do I believe what I believe? There are times when I feel that believing in the God of Christianity makes perfect sense and is completely logical, and other times I can only muster an internal shrug and think “I dunno, I just do”. I’ll take it a step further and say that there are moments that I don’t want to believe in Christianity and/or it’s philosophies, but I still can’t deny the reality of it from the experiences of my life.
I spend much time contemplating these thought processes, and they have been popping into my mind as I’ve been pondering the birth and direction of the website and all of the work that goes along with it. While preparing questions to ask different people for their PigTale feature, one of the first questions that comes into my head is “Why do you believe in X and do you ever have doubts that it isn’t true?”. I’m honestly not completely sure why I ask. Perhaps it is because of my own doubts that I don’t know that I have, or it could be simply because asking that question is important for accomplishing what PigTales are all about, in looking at and breaking down perspectives. Even as I wrote my own Pig Tale (which was a lot harder to do than I expected), my instinct was to try to include or even defend my Christianity, when the intent of my PigTale was not supposed to be about my “Salvation story” at all. Why would I want to do that?? I’ve always thought that if one feels the need to constantly defend or impose their beliefs, it must be because either their belief or the thing they believe is weak, so it has been kind of annoying to find myself in that camp every now and again. However, I think this season has been a very good one for me and has pointed out how crucial it is to be in tune with the foundation of my faith. It could be just me that deals with these sorts of things, but I’m sure that I’ve observed countless numbers of others that have been in the same boat, so I’d like to share some of my experiences and thoughts that I’m currently wading through.
I’ve gone through a few different periods of trying to prove my faith. I’ve owned many Christian T-shirts, I was in a Christian rock band for a while, and I was pretty involved in online theological debate sites for a good bit (I converted soooooo many people doing that), just to name a few. In general, I’ve done a lot of Christian stuff. These things are not necessarily bad; some of my fondest memories are of jamming out and playing small shows with my good friends while wearing Christian T-shirts. The problem with those things is that each of them functioned at some point in time as a way to validate what I believed in, probably to myself just as much as the people around me.
Of course God is real, can’t you see how cool I look in this V-Neck? The way I look to the sky as I beat on these drums is evidence that Christianity is the way to go.
Those thoughts didn’t really cross my head at the time, I don’t think, but a report of the condition of my heart would most likely come back showing them as the results. Living in those moments can be very exciting and it is extremely easy to get lost in them, especially considering that we live in a culture that indoctrinates us to constantly be fighting for our faith. The trouble is that they fade away and all of the induced confidence and excitement that I had been riding the coattails of would seemingly abandon me. Then there I would be… Just kind of… There… and always followed with the haunting questions of whether or not it was really God in the first place, concluding with a reevaluation of the foundation of my faith and/or the chasing of yet another spiritual justification.
It’s almost comical how many times I have been on the hunt for new ways to back up my faith only to have reality (call it God) knock me on my ass time and time again. Each time, I would be pointed to the real reason I have the belief in the first place, and it would be up to me as to what I did next. I’ve been at a point where I find it to be tiring to struggle with something that seems so trivial and I’m realizing just how silly the pursuit of validating truth actually can be. All that being said, I believe I’ve landed somewhere that I can find some rest.
As cliché as it seems, truth is truth, and truth will outlast all that is false. Truth doesn’t need me to prove it in order to be true. It just is. If the God of Christianity that I believe in is true, He doesn’t need me at all.
There was a time that I would be frustrated with that notion, but I’ve come to realize that I’m not nearly as great as I’ve thought that I am and Jesus is much greater than I could ever give him credit for. In many ways, I find it to be refreshing and motivating (oddly enough) to know that I’m unneeded in the grand scheme of my faith. (SPIRITUAL SIDENOTE FOR CHRISTIANS: I have grown to have a greater appreciate for the gospel message since I have started to digest these concepts a bit more. Small example: A God that doesn’t need me has CHOSEN to love me and die for me.) Believe me when I say that I am not claiming that there aren’t great, practical reasons to believe in God, and I’m definitely not fighting against outwardly expressing our faith; so settle down all you uppity folk.
I am merely suggesting that the second I started relying on Christian stuff/reasoning as the basis of my Christian faith was the exact second that the basis of my faith was false.