G.K. Chesterton, an English thinker, once wrote that “When man ceases to worship God he does not worship nothing but worships everything.” When you have a crisis of faith, do not be quick to discount or abandon your beliefs, because if you do you will just be exchanging them for another set of beliefs that may or may not be better.
There are many “gods” that people worship in lieu of Divinity. Some put their faith in scientists who believe that they have all the answers (which isn’t scientific at all) and claim that they have no need for God. Some put their faith in government and, in times of crisis, demand that all their problems be solved by it. Some put their faith in the “gods” of money, sports, celebrity, status, or power. These are only a few examples, but the commonality among all those who clamor for your attention and, yes, faith is this: no matter in whom or what you put in place of your religion, you will not be giving up faith.
No matter what you believe, it’s important to evaluate from time to time why you believe. I like to ask myself the following questions whenever I reflect on my faith:
- Do my beliefs make me happy? Do they improve my quality of life?
- How did I come to believe the way I do? What faith building experiences have I had?
- What could I do to strengthen my faith?
- Are others who practice my faith generally good people?
- What are the fruits of my faith? Does it help me to make the world a better place?
In general, humans have been asking themselves the same questions throughout recorded history and probably before: where did we come from? Why are we here? Where do we go after we die, if anywhere? I’ll let you in on a secret: nobody has all the answers to those questions. Not scientists, not clerics, not atheists, not Bible study teachers, not talking heads on television. To be sure, God has given us general principles and truths. We have indeed made great strides in science and technology. We still don’t have all the puzzle pieces, though, which is where faith comes in.
We all have doubts from time to time. We all have questions. It’s important to remember that this is normal and expected. I mentioned earlier that a scientist who claimed to have all the answers wouldn’t be a particularly good scientist. The same statement applies to religion. It’s okay to admit that we religious people don’t have all the answers, but we can’t let that invalidate the answers that we do have!
Just as the fact that we don’t yet have a cure for cancer is not a valid reason for giving up penicillin and the MRI, having unanswered questions of faith is no reason to give up religion. In essence, continue in the things you have learned, remember where those things came from, and hang in there!