Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Why I believe (Pt.3): Belief in "Christianity"

As you may remember from some time ago, I was trying to critically examine and explain my beliefs in other aspects of my faith such as my belief in God and my belief in the Bible. In this installment I (finally) want to talk about why I view those previously mentioned beliefs through the lens of Christianity (and by "Christianity" I mean in the most basic sense of belief in the life and teachings of Jesus, and not necessarily all the mainstream christian views)

First, it is inevitable to say that one of the reasons I believe in Christianity is because of my environment. I grew up in a Christian home that regularly attended services and sent me off to church camp every summer for a solid decade. On top of that I've spent countless years around Bibles, C.S. Lewis books and plenty of friends and conversations associated with the Christian faith. So while I've come to amend many of the beliefs instilled by said environment, I suspect Christianity is always going to affect my world-view in some form or another, like it or not.

My emotions also play a big part as to why Im a Christian. While there are things in the traditional mainstream faith that emotionally disturb me (like eternal punishment), a great deal of other things appeal to what seems to be ingrained in me as subconscious truth, if you will. For example, the idea that our salvation is not our work but God's work is very appealing. As well as the christian belief that Gods love for us is unconditional and everlasting (but more realized in the universalist's theology of course, which is part of why I embrace that as well).

The idea of the afterlife is perhaps another big one, because I just cant imagine a world where countless cruel things happen without something on the other side to balance it all out, and not let those who died in poverty or slavery or poor health be given the short end of fortune forever. There is many an injustice that goes unrighted in this world and I cant imagine there isnt something on the other side to make right what has gone wrong. If God exists and has a good plan for us, I would imagine no experience in this life is ultimately meaningless and therefore it is my hope that He will one day show usall the meaning we missed, as well as its value on the other side.

The last reason is simply my life experiences (which I guess ties in with emotions too, as they affect how I perceive said experiences). Not that I've had too cool of experiences, but I have seen a few "demons" being cast out of people in the name of Jesus. Ive also "spoke in tongues" on several occasions, at least the first time being something Im pretty sure was genuine. Those times were some of the most peaceful and divine moments in my life. When Im away from seeking God, I feel empty and like I need something more. So I try to seek him in the ways that have worked previously, because thats usually when I feel the most peace and direction in my life, and are most loving and guiding to those around me.

Perhaps you're thinking that I just believe a bunch of stuff because I want to, and it sounds sensible to me? And thats probably true to some extent, but I think everyone else does something similar whether they realize it or not. The reason being for that is when it comes down to it, we all need to organize abstract concepts like love, justice, and mercy in some way to give our lives meaning. Not that one has to be christian, let alone religious, in order to organize and interpret such things, but I personally find that a modified-Christian paradigm provides a good foundation for achieving just such an organization. And I feel a sense of truth radiating from many of its key ideas and perceptions.