Broken-down Poetry: Why do you believe?


Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Why do you believe?

I'm debating on what I should talk about. What's been on my mind lately has been relativism. But I don't think I'm ready for THAT blog. I have a lot to think about still. Don't worry, I'll get back to it eventually.

In light of relativism, however, I do want to explore the age old question of Why Do I Believe What I Believe? Because, to be fair, I can't tell you what I believe about relativism before I understand why I believe what I do.

So back to the basics.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God because...

As Pastor Paul would allude, there are different stages we're at in our Christian journey: Childhood, Adolescent, Young Adulthood and Adulthood. Each stage answers that italicized question differently.

The Child:I believe Jesus is the Son of God because the Bible says so and my mommy and daddy told me that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and they said that if I say I'm sorry I will go to heaven and heaven is really cool. My Daddy said there I can eat aaallll the cookies I want. I love cookies. And cookie monster. I love Sesame Street.

Interpretation: The Christian child (and I'm saying that they're a physical child as they are spiritually) believes Jesus as their Savior because their parents did first, or possibly a Sunday school teacher or camp counselor. They do not go "searching for Truth" as a teenager or adult would--it's presented before them. I think it's fair to say that a seven-year-old will put his trust in Jesus if his parents told him to. That's the nature of a child: to believe what Mom and Dad say.

Also, a spiritual child (I'm going beyond the physical age of a child, but one that is new to Christianity) tends to have limited knowledge of Christianity. Their focus may be on salvation only or the forgiveness of sins, rather than any more complex Christian concepts.

The Adolescent: I believe Jesus is the Son of God because the Bible says he is and I have put my trust in him. So far I haven't had any reason to doubt him. Most of my friends believe in God too, and they go to my youth group. The ones who don't believe in him I try to get to go to youth group. I love learning about deeper stuff in the Bible like eschatology, the gifts of the spirit, angels, prophecy, and those crazy stories in Judges about fat kings and women with tent pegs. Sometimes I don't like youth group because it's dull and the music sucks. My friends and I like to come up with ideas on how to change it so that it won't be dry, but that doesn't really work.

Interpretation: The adolescent Christian (again, I'm speaking of age rather than just spiritual maturity) has an understanding of what they believe more than a child. They understand the basics and then some. Whenever there are trials, there seem to be only two responses: they either run to a friend or youth pastor for Christian guidance (and thus stick with the faith) or search for God in something different than religion (drugs, sex, friends, video games, pop-culture, etc). I don't want to say that all teenagers' faith is flighty, but even I had to rely on my peers and my mentors to keep me from falling from Christ. I needed Tom to remind me who I am (a leader!) and Ashley to keep me from willful sins.

A teenage Christian's spiritual undulation tends to reflect that of the youth group. Pastor Paul said this to the college age group, and though I hate to admit it, I think it's true. When one person felt dry, the rest of the group did. I remember Ash and I wasted hours of sleep talking about how we were going to "fix" youth group because it felt so dry. Everyone felt dry. And when we were on spiritual highs, everyone else was as well.

The Young Adult: I believe Jesus is the Son of God because not only does the Bible say so, but because I have committed myself to him, and I have seen the work he has done in my life. I don't always understand why I still sin sometimes or why evil is so prevalent in the world, but I will still rely on Christ. Sometimes it's annoying that I can't logically explain or understand God, but I guess that's where faith comes in. It's hard, but I'm going to trust Him anyway.

Interpretation: A young adult Christian has a firm foundation for what they believe. They have let God move in their life enough to see it in themselves, not just in the ebb and flow of the youth group. Young adults have the questions; they know they don't always have the answers. Some may struggle with always needing logical evidence for what they believe (i.e. ME) or others struggle with understanding why bad things happen to good people, but they are okay with not having all the answers. (Or, well, mostly okay.) They ask the questions, look to the spirit for guidance, but rely on faith to get them through.

And so comes the "Adult Christian." But frankly, I am not one and I don't think I could explain thoroughly because of that. I could make some guesses as to what an adult Christian is like: one that has solidified their faith enough to accept answer-less questions, or one that can expand other spiritual "age groups" to understand others. I don't know. If you have answers, feel free to comment.

I guess I just want to understand where I am at and where I am heading. I want to know my questions are normal. I want to know why I believe what I believe. Is it because of my Sunday school teachers, or my youth group, or truly because I believe it?


No comments: