Doubt or Faith

From the February 2007 issue of Focused Press

I’m a PR Student, but whenever I have the chance to take an elective with a more unique focus I take it. Last semester I took an Anthropology course called “Prehistoric Societies,” which was about early humans and their progressive development to present day people. This semester I chose “Christian Traditions,” which is a history of the Christian church. I find the course very interesting. Just recently we learned about the reformation including such characters as Luther, Erasmus, and Zwingli.

But this course, with the information it contains, is opening my mind and has brought me to question my own faith, Catholicism.

I believe in Jesus with all my heart, but I question the accuracy of the bible and, even more, I hesitate when hearing varied interpretations of the bible. Jehovah’s Witnesses, for example, believe blood transfusion is bad based of a handful of scriptural quotes, which in all likelihood were badly translated cooking warnings. Because of this belief, dozens of children have died unnecessarily refusing blood transfusions. Where did Jesus say to give up on your children? Where did Jesus say that in two thousand years Christians shouldn’t be able to share their blood through amazing medical advances? He didn’t. Jesus didn’t say that. So, how accurate is the bible after two thousand years and countless revisions and translations. What was lost? What has changed?

Breaking it down in my own mind Jesus, as controversial as he was and still tends to be, had a fairly simple message. To me, it reads as: “Love everyone, put God first, don’t judge, and do good to your fellow citizens.” And that’s good. That’s what this world needs. Killing is bad. Discrimination is bad. Judging is bad. We are all equal in the eyes of God. And I don’t know where we went wrong.

My doubt is not based on the spiritual nature of the church. I continue to believe that there is a God and that Jesus is one of the most influential, righteous men to ever grace the earth. Was He God? That’s not a matter of logic, but rather of faith and faith is not chosen, but rather it is given. Faith is a gift and for those of us who do not naturally come by it, faith is a journey.

I find that my faith has had its peaks and valleys. At one point I wanted to be a priest. At another I had a bizarre problem with whether or not I’d like heaven. (If there’s nothing wrong how can we appreciate eternal goodness?) As I struggle with my current doubt I’ve begun to wonder how much longer this yo-yo will continue. And happily, I’ve found my answer.

I was in church last Sunday and a man sitting across from me seemed to be having a spiritual struggle of his own. His head rested in his hands and has face was construed in a confused glare. In my mind he seemed to be going through the same sort of doubt I was going through. And as I telekinetically consoled his spirit the answer to my question donned on me. Perhaps not the answer, but certainly a conclusion that appeared to make sense. Being Catholic… being any faith is not a declaration. You can’t just say, “I’m a Christian,” and let it be. The answer isn’t that simple. Faith is a question, that throughout our lives we attempt to figure out. Churches are there to guide us, but the journey is our own. It has valleys and mountain peeks. Being Christian is the process we all go through to find our conclusion.

I still doubt, but that’s okay. It’s okay to question now and again. It’s okay to be thrown off balance. As long as you keep trucking along you’re on the right path. The yo-yo never stops. Life is just complicated like that.

See you next month.

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