Sometimes we can be too afraid to ask hard questions in regards to our faith. Whether we’re afraid of the answer differing from our current beliefs or intimidated by questions that we don’t immediately know how to answer, isn’t it better to challenge our beliefs in order to make them stronger?
Challenging one’s faith and beliefs is an important step in understanding them and knowing how to defend or explain them.
Growing up, I listened to the preacher’s message during the service, and then listened to my teacher in Sunday school. I believed what they told me, and those lessons helped shape and influence my faith and beliefs. But after church, I also talked with my parents about what I learned. If the preacher read a verse from the Bible, I wrote it down so I would be able to show them after church. Instead of listening to the preachers or teachers and simply taking those lessons as they were presented to me, they encouraged me to show what I’d learned and find Biblical support for it myself. By doing so, I made my faith and my beliefs my own by analyzing the lessons others presented to me.
Idioms such as “blood is thicker than water,” “great minds think alike” and “jack of all trades” are commonly used and understood. The irony of these sayings is that they can also mean the exact opposite of how the general population has defined them, depending on the context and way they are used.
There are a couple authors who have claimed that the original meaning of “blood is thicker than water” actually referred to the notion that the ties between people who have made a blood covenant are stronger that the ties formed by “the water of the womb.” For the record, there are no known historical sources supporting that claim, but it’s an interesting twist. People have also added phrases to the end of the other sayings I mentioned earlier, changing their connotation and meaning: “great minds think alike, but fools seldom differ” and “jack of all trades, master of none.”
There are plenty of other sayings like this that are understood to mean one thing, but are sometimes misused or added to in order to mean the opposite. This can also apply to Bible verses. Things such as idioms, quotes or verses from the Bible can easily be taken out of context and used in a way to support any claim, which is why you can’t simply trust every source. It’s important to question and check any information that you’re given, especially in regards to faith and beliefs.
By challenging our faith, we can learn how to better understand our beliefs. We can also learn how to articulate what we believe and why we believe what we believe, making us better equipped as missionaries.
For the most part, we came to Harding to grow and learn — not just academically but also spiritually. So, don’t allow yourself to leave here the same as you were when you came. Take advantage of the spiritually supportive culture here. Not only are there professors who can help answer questions and guide students through their studies, but also peers who could have the same questions or maybe even the answer someone’s searching for.
Don’t be afraid of doubting or questioning your beliefs. Use the opportunity to grow stronger in your faith and work to understand exactly what you believe. Find a mentor, or several mentors, so that one day you can be one for others. Most importantly, own your faith and make it yours — not your parents’ or teachers’.