Monday, September 28, 2015

Help for Those who Struggle with Faith

Are you "struggling with faith"? Trying to figure out how it is that Christianity seems to make sense to so many people?  The miracles and supernatural just doesn't ever happen in reality, and you can't help but notice that ancient cultures weren't the best at interpreting the things they saw happening around them.

I have great news. You don't have to struggle with it any more! There's an easy way to be done with the struggle for good.  What's more, by never struggling with your faith again, you can live a life that's even more free and fulfilling you ever imagined. You'll never wonder why bad things happen to good people or why God created cancer and malaria.

First, we need to carefully understand the problem itself.  "Struggling with faith" is negative language. It makes people feel shame and guilt over your reasonable doubts. A more neutral phrase might be "doubting your deeply held beliefs."   Put this way, it's not so negative, is it?

Doubts are a natural reaction when we're asked to believe something incredible without supporting evidence. There's nothing wrong with your doubts. In fact, they're very healthy. You would insist on reasonable evidence for any other belief in your life.  In fact, it would be unfair or dishonest to give your religious beliefs a free-pass.

Most people learn their religion as a young child.  They accepted stories as truthful before they had the critical thinking skills to fairly evaluate the claims. This isn't just true for Christianity. It's broadly true for all religious beliefs. Now that you're an adult and you've learned to evaluate things rationally, you're entitled to reevaluate.

So what will you find when you rethink things? What conclusions are you willing to accept? Can you give yourself permission to reach the scary conclusion? It's okay if you discover you were wrong all this time.  You're not bound to your religion by some kind of curse. You can change your mind and keep all the values that are important to you. You work ethic, love, and honesty aren't your religion's values. They're your values. You can keep them.

So how do you put an end to your struggles with faith? It's pretty simple. Stop struggling. Let go of the obligation to believe what your parents taught you. You have the right, even the obligation to figure out what's true for yourself. And it's okay if you reach a different conclusion.

So congratulations for your new-found doubt. Congratulations for bravely questioning the things you've always just assumed.  And congratulations for giving yourself permission to reach whatever conclusion is rational.

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