Sunday, November 24, 2013

Faith and Religion: Sitting in Uncertainty

Faith is weird.

There, I said it. It doesn't really make sense to me. Although I have strong emotions and on every Myers-Briggs test I take I score as a Feeler, I tend to think things through slowly and make decisions using my rational mind. And to my rational mind, faith and religion are weird. Believing in a God doesn't really make sense to me.

Oh yes, it makes sense that we need community, and good religious communities are powerful. It makes sense that people want to believe in something Bigger than ourselves. It makes sense that people want to believe that this world isn't all there is. To my rational mind and because of my sound understanding of psychology and sociology, these things make sense.

I understand the logical reasons for faith and religion. I know why these things exist, and I see that for some people, they're really good things. And they haven't been all bad for me either. I know that when people are part of a good religious community, their mental health is better (conversely, according to new studies, solely spiritual people who practice faith and belief alone have worse mental health).

But I feel like I'm having a religious crisis. I was raised in a conservative Evangelical Christian family. Church a couple times a week has always been a part of my life. Talk of Jesus and God permeated everything. I got baptized when I was a kid. I joined the church when I was a teen. I've identified as Christian for as long as I can remember. But I don't know if I can identify as one anymore.

Now that I'm a young adult, I find myself trying to sort through what I actually believe and what I tried to convince everyone that I believe. I'm trying to figure out what I believe and what I said I believed so that I'd fit in and be accepted. I just don't really feel it anymore. I don't know that I ever did. I see people being emotionally moved by religious songs and messages and sacraments, and I often feel nothing (and yet I find myself weeping when I hear Beethoven's 9th Symphony). These things don't grip me the way they do other people. Is this an Autistic thing? I know some of my other friends on the spectrum have told similar stories.

I want to believe. I do. I think faith is beautiful. Religion, when practiced in a way that serves to better yourself and others, is beautiful. Jesus and what he did and stood for inspire me. I love his teachings. I love large parts of the Bible. The Psalms are powerful. The Proverbs have the wisdom of the ages. I love the idea of being created in the image of the Most High. These are all awesome things to me, in theory. But in my gut...I'm not sure I feel it.

This is the first time I've allowed myself to acknowledge my discomfort, my questions, my uncertainties. Being raised in the Church put certain pressures on me. There were expectations. So I went along with the flow, trying all along the way to convince myself that this could work for me too. But I'm not sure anymore. I'm not sure.

I think this will be a long journey. A long journey of becoming and uncovering. But I realized that before I can even start to find some answers and certainty, I had to be honest with the fact that right now, I'm nothing but a bundle of questions and doubt.


  1. Questions and doubt are a great place to be at. I feel ya. I went through a very similar stage and life style when younger. I have belief in a God but nothing like what I used to and I dont think most would get it. Perhaps better explained I believe in Love which to me is God...I dont identify as christian and I dont feel those things either. In fact, I wept in easy A and felt closer to God yet my christian friend walked out saying it made her feel of the devil...I honestly think its personality...and I dont believe in the devil so that makes it easier on me:) LOL
    I love your honesty. I love that you are walking still in your journey and I will be careful not to give too many of my own opinions because each journey is valuable where it is at. I love that you blogged too- I have been so should comment on my latest post so I can hear your thoughts.
    Anyway, we can discuss this more on the phone sometime...

    1. I figured you would relate to a lot of this. You can definitely share your own opinions. Of course this is a personal journey, but I think spiritual journeys are best when they are done in the context of community, so I would always value your experiences and opinions. :) Yes, we should definitely discuss this more in our next phone call. Thanks for empathizing with the fact that this is a difficult transition!

  2. P.S. I can honestly say that I have certain uncertainties...its like being autistic...its a paradox...or Aporia ( impossible possibilities) I think belief is an impossible possibility...and I have never felt more free thinking this way...but boy was it tough to transition at first so i feel your pain.

  3. Hi there:) I meandered over via Kmarie and thought I'd drop a comment. I understand what you mean about not feeling it when others are moved by things at church. I am not. I am conservative and I'm a Jesus follower but I don't call myself religious. I just love God and am glad I get to have a relationship with Him. I don't find worship music at church to be my time of worship. I'd rather be at home alone listening to my own music, or talking to Him about my kids. Thats how I feel worshipful. I think worship can be and is so different for everyone. Some when they are in nature…some with art…music…probably a lot of thing. It's great that you are searching. I am definitely a feeling type of person as well. I find I can't do as much when I don't "feel it."Actually, for things like marriage for instance, I have often prayed to feel it. I know love isn't a feeling all the time but I do pray i will feel love etc. I think you could probably pray the same thing. To feel God's love for you. I know we can't trust our feelings alone but we each learn in different ways and if thats the way you need to learn I am sure God will meet you there. C.

    1. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! I appreciate your thoughts and value hearing about your own beliefs and experiences. I have definitely been praying that feel God's love. I know we can't rely on feelings alone, but feelings do matter to me a lot, so they are significant...and I think God understands that. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  4. Mmm Rae.. I so so resonate and relate... "What you said.. I think this will be a long journey. A long journey of becoming and uncovering."

    This.. is so totally life in a nutshell.


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