It’s not as if I’ve never had questions about my faith. It’s not as if I’m deliberately ignorant.
But I’ve decided that the next chunk of time, however long it may be, will be an evaluating phase. I will try to look at my beliefs in as critical a light as possible. I will look at other systems of belief as objectively and logically as possible.
I think I put this off for so long because it’s so cliche. Kid is raised on beliefs, eventually challenges them, gives them up. Usually there are hurt feelings involved, both to and from parents. I wanted to avoid that with every fiber of my being. So instead of challenging my beliefs at the beginning of adolescence, I put it off as long as possible. Until now.
What is driving this act is the question, “Am I only believing this because it’s how I was raised?” In all actuality, that question itself is pretty weak and I don’t believe that to be that case. However, it’s still as good a jumping off point as any. Really, I had been taken to church semi-regularly as a child. Around when I turned 12, something clicked, and I jumped in headfirst into what was being taught. I embraced it so passionately, I would believe I reignited my father’s faith, and we started attending more often.
I am a logical person, and my current set of beliefs are, I believe, logical. Systematic theology especially appeals to my sense of having many systems working together in harmony. In the past eight years, I’ve never encountered anything that caused me to question my thinking. That sounds naive, but I actually have a pretty stringent filter on what is being taught to me; sometimes, I sort of wish I could turn it off. My mind intentionally tries to subvert and twist the pastor’s words, tries to find the faults. I have raised a couple eyebrows over the years, but those are usually quelled with further clarification. Anything that isn’t, I have saved in memory. These things I don’t believe to be a failing of the faith itself, but in perhaps how it was conveyed.
So that’s the plan. This could take the next month, six months, year, decade. I hope to accomplish this as soon as possible, but beliefs are an incredibly deep and complex area to dive into. I will continue attending church to get that perspective, but I will explore the rest too.
The thing is, if I were in another faith, say, Judaism, the people at my church would want me exploring other options so that I would come to them. And if their faith is truly the one, then it should have no problems being what I finally decide on even as I try to gain some perspective.
Things will only get harder from here on out. It’s time to leave the bubble, and go explore.