This note might appear extremely vague. I started this only intending to write 2 shorts lines. I ended with a few pages, and cut it down to what I thought was most important. The original first line read, “This note probably has no significant meaning.” The opposite couldn’t be more true.
In religious-philosophical schools, skepticism is often referred to as the doctrine that true knowledge or certainty in a particular area is impossible. In laymen terms, it is the doctrine that absolutes absolutely do not exist. The doctrine itself is an absolute. It either contradicts itself, or more likely, provides an implicit self-exception to the idea of non-absolutes.
Well, I started out writing this just to point that out, but I do see something interesting to this, if you’ll stay with me. It seems as though this idea of skepticism is more or less a bunch of technical jargon and loosely based philosophy. In its era of origin, it seems to me that it was used by scholars to appear to know something about that which they know nothing. Perhaps I’m being a little critical. Nevertheless, here’s my point:
God. Heaven. Earth. Hell. Satan. Angels. Demons. Love. Christ. Relationship. Salvation. Judgment.
Thoughts pop into your mind, schemas. You have a conceptual framework for all of these words. You know something about each one of them. Do you know everything? No. Are you 100% sure about everything that you do know? I would argue, no.
I think a lot of times we come up with spiritual jargon to pretend we know more than we really do. Maybe we do it so that we don’t appear dumb. Maybe we do it out of good intentions, but are still ignorant enough to not realize we don’t truly know what we’re talking about. Maybe we do it for other reasons, unknown.
The point I’m trying to make, is we can’t possibly know everything about religion and spirituality — about God, the heavens and earth, etc. During the New Year, people are always creating new agendas and goals, reevaluating themselves, making themselves better, focusing on what is important…you know what I’m talking about. If we’re going to re-evaluate ourselves, why not start first with what is most important? …our relationship with God.
Why do you believe what you believe?
What are your beliefs based off of?
How much of what you think you know do you really know?
Are you inhibited by any spiritual jargon?
What makes your beliefs so concrete that you believe in them and practice them daily?
I don’t ask these questions condescendingly, but to provoke thought that might evoke a reaction of positive change. It is easy to assume that we are on the right track spiritually, especially when our intentions are good. Most of the time, we like to think we have it altogether. We become very arrogant. A lot of you reading this probably even think this is only for the new Christians, those who are still learning at a rapid pace. Though, I intend this article especially for those who have been Christians for a very long time and are very secure in their faith. It is a scary thing to me when we become so secure in our own selves that we don’t consider our fault as plausible.
Perhaps we could learn something from the early skeptics: none of your beliefs are absolute. None of your beliefs can even be proven true. However, through self-examination, your faith can sustain your beliefs. Just don’t make the mistake of letting your beliefs sustain your faith. Put faith in God first, then focus on your beliefs. Christ did not first ask his disciples to meet together so that He could explain all the reasons why He was the legitimate Son of God, and then ask them to follow Him. They followed first, and then received revelation because of their faith. Their knowledge of Christ did not precede their faith in Him.
I would challenge you to reevaluate your own beliefs. Take inventory of your spiritual life. Over the course of our lives, I can’t imagine that we only collect perfectly accurate information regarding spirituality and religion. Focus on why you believe what you do. Does your faith sustain your beliefs, or vice versa. Pray about it. Look it up in scripture. Talk about it with a friend. Don’t put this off until next year, and until the next year, and the next year, and until…the day you die.
I urge you, in this new decade, take hold of your faith. Become strong in your relationship with God. Focus first on your prayer life with Him. Through that, everything else will follow. Love will consume everything that you do. Revelation will permeate your thoughts. Religion will be acts of service rather than schools of ideas. Church will be community rather than the latest techno-gadgets and fancy lights to attract people. God Himself will draw people into Him. All you will have to do is accept them wholeheartedly when they come. And how do you do that? Start by taking hold of your faith. The rest will follow.