I had an interesting conversation with my mother and sister the other day. They are both Christians and believe in the second coming of Christ, and also believe that global warming and climate change are not real, or that they will be "snatched up" before anything too bad happens to our planet. As I was questioning their logic and beliefs on the subject, they brought up religion (which seemed like it shouldn't be related to my original topic at all, but apparently for some Christians, climate change = topic of religion).
Anyways, my sister said that she feels so strongly about her beliefs that she has no reason to question them. After thinking about it for a minute, I wondered if anyone else really took the time to question what they were taught or, even more, what they believe. If so, has it changed the way you feel about religion or your purpose in life? Do you think it was beneficial to you to question your beliefs? Did it strengthen your beliefs or shatter them altogether?
Interesting question. Personally, questioning my beliefs has strengthened them. It hasn't been because I always found a clear answer either. Some things do not have clear answers. Usually, it has been my questions have lead to unexpected directions with much bigger answers...opening up new questions! Life is a journey of discovery after discovery, I find.
I did, and naturally think it is a good idea to do so. I ended up leaving Christianity, which doesn't really encourage questioning things, and converting to Judaism, which all but requires it.
I'm always skeptical of people who say they have never had any reason to question their faith. I suspect in most cases they believe that's a testament of loyalty to their religion, and that they'll be rewarded somehow for it (particularly in Christianity and Islam, where there are explicit reward/punishment considerations).
I for one think it's depressing that some people think the ethos of the universe is governed by a demand for obedience and unquestioned fealty, and that questioning things is the work of some evil force (probably because I think the exact opposite).
I don't question the core of my belief (salvation through Messiah Yahushua). However, I do question certain practices and priniciples as they relate to christianity which led me to convert also from Christianity to Judaism.
If you believe Jesus is the Messiah, then you are not practicing Judaism, you are practicing Christianity (maybe Jewish-flavored Christianity, but Christianity nonetheless).
Nothing against your beliefs or Christianity in general, but Christian beliefs are incompatible with Jewish ones on many levels.
I've questioned certain interpretations of the Bible that I was taught, but never questioned my core belief, no. Like your sister, I have no reason to. Not only does the word of God stand as the ultimate authority, but the Holy Spirit himself is the one who authored it and who instills our Faith. To question either the Spirit's essense or the Lord's written word (the basis and fundamental aspect of it) beyond the obvious human doubts that we all will have at one time or another is akin to mimicking the devil's subtle questioning of Adam and Eve and even his questioning of Jesus when he went to the wilderness to be tempted. Jesus's answer was "It is written".
Global warming (like some other topics) isn't usually a major concern of Christians. Because we know that God's the Creator and that He will do what He wants with this earth. Eventually, He tells us, that will be to make the earth melt with fervent heat. Now that's "global warming"! But not man's idea of the topic. When men say they want to save the planet earth, they're trying to do something that only God has the power to do if He should so want to do so. It doesn't mean we can't re-cycle items and try to control automobile emissions, etc. It just means that, in the finality of it, we aren't the ones who call the shots; He is.
Have you ever questioned your turn from the Truth?
I don't understand why some people feel they have no need to question their beliefs. If we only get one life, and nobody knows for sure what happens after that life is spent, shouldn't we be more concerned about making positive that we are living a life worth living?
I am just curious, Brenda, how you came to be a Christian. Was there a time when you were a nonbeliever?
As for questioning my turn from the "Truth," you should read my hub published earlier today. I question what I believe every day and I am constantly reaffirming and changing my beliefs based on what I learn about the world around me and conversations I have with people.
An Athiest will ask us to question our beliefs.
God said to test then (and ourselves) and see just accurate they (we) are.
Yes, I like that. I like to think of it as testing for accuracy rather than questioning the truthfulness.
I have tested mine too many times to count.
The inaccuracy that I have found within my belief system was in the interpretations, not scripture themselves.
It is imposible to correctly understand any written words when we have a preconceived understanding of that which we are going to read.
Well put, Jerami. I too have found interpretation to be the problem, not inaccuracy, when I really looked into the question.
I am curious of something. Do the answers "you"(not you personally per se) have found all come from one source? Or were they cross-referenced between multiple sources? And by what means are they validated?
The answers that I came up with came after I read a couple of verses and realized that the simplest of meanings for that verse is not what church was teaching. I then found another example and another and another.
I read some history which seemed to validate my suspicions.
YOU read those verses and YOU decided they were misinterpretations? There are 38,ooo registered denominations of Christianity, they too found misinterpretations.
The question remains, whose interpretations are correct?
2 peter 1:20 Knowing this FIRST, that no prophesy o the scripture is of ANY private interpretation. Sooo, there is NO interpretation which is correct.
To read a thing exactly as it is written and understand; is not to interpretation it!
Matthew 15:4 (NLT) For instance, God says, 'Honor your father and mother,' and 'Anyone who speaks disrespectfully of father or mother must be put to death.'
I guess this means that alot of kids should be put to death. If we are to follow your logic of how to read and understand the bible.
I can not argue with that kind of logic.
Don't mean I get it,
Jesus is referring to:
Leviticus 20:9 For every one that curses his father or his mother shall be surely put to death: he hath cursed his father or his mother; his blood shall be upon him.
This does not mean that today, 'a lot of kids should be put to death'. The reason Jesus referred to leviticus in the first place was to make an example of how the pharisees tradition nullified Gods rule.. honoring mother and father is one of the 10 commandments.
Aren't you glad jesus ended the OT law!? I bet you are
prophecy of the scriptures... only the OT is referred to as scripture because the letters the apostles wrote, some weren't even around yet. Peter is referring to what we call, the OT here.
All hebrews were well acquainted with the torah, OT and because of this universal knowledge that they all had from childhood on up - these scriptures were of no private (individual) interpretation, it was common knowledge. It was all very well understood what was being talked about.
I agree with this statement completely ... You just don't know how totaly I agree.
Peter is saying that those prophesy in the OT can not be interpreted (at all)
And I suppose you are saying that it is OK to interpret anything that is written in the NT.
This sounded a bit brash and I apologize, I started to delete it but then the question remains.
Just how much privlage can we take interpreting those things that Jesus said.
Are you saying that there is no correct interpretation at all and that no one can ever have correct interpretation?
Who has the correct interpretation?
If an interpretation is needed to understand the Bible, and there are tens of thousands of interpretations, at least, that would gives less and less credence to the fact a correct interpretation exists.
Why then bother trying to interpret Gods word and just read the Bible instead and take it word for word?
like which one?
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
here we have a classic well known scripture that looks like an easy read.
But is it.
We have words like begotten son, believes, perish and eternal life. The jist of this verse is pretty straight forward. God handed over his son to be crucified that those who believe can have eternal life and we know God did this because God loves us or whosoever, which is everybody.
But what about perish? What does perish mean... we have eternal torment in hell as stated by the catholic faith, is that perishing?.. at first glance no it is not perishing. Then we go to strongs concordance to see what the greek word for perish is: G622 the base of the word is cessation, ceasing to exist. then we get destruction and destroy fully. Now we have a conflict of teaching. Tormented in hell forever or to be totally destroyed and cease to exist. Since hell is a different area of study we will stick to perish as meaning; destruction to be destroyed fully. But wait, doesn't christianity also teach of the immortality of mans soul/spirit? Destruction once again doesn't fit this teaching. Well we discover later that the immortal soul is not biblically accurate and that immortality is found only in the tree of life.
Genesis 3:22 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.
Safe to assume that the tree of life gives eternal life and that perish means to cease to exist.
keeping this short... is this my interpretation or did i let scripture make the interpretation for me.
Not sure, but we could probably find out the meaning of those words as used in the context of the times as opposed to how they are used in modern text today.
It would be extremely difficult to impossible to do that.
The cultural matrix is just too different for us to ever truly understand what the people then meant by their writings. It's not simply the "dictionary" meaning of the words, but the connotative value and the cultural meaning as well. We cannot truly understand that culture - we can't even understand the different cultures in modern day times!
I would agree with you in terms of when the stories for the Old Testament were written. During the time of the Christ though, the Greeks and to some extent the Romans managed to give us a very good understanding of that time, their culture and meaning of words through their tremendous efforts in documentation and cataloging.
Isn't deciding what a passage means to you technically an interpretation?
Food for thought indeed!
And then if/when they are validated, is it not by a another human being, inspired of God or not?
Seems like we are going in circles ,but maybe the circle expands as well,and who knows where we will end up.
The interesting thing about a circle...it is an infinite line with no beginning or ending.
The best one can do, is to find what is "truth" for themselves, with the understanding that not everyone is going to reach those same "truths".
About 12 or 13 years ago I began investigating mis-interpretations, and found that just about EVERYTHING that I had been taught were mis-interpretations.
Whether we realize it or not, a great majority of the bible centers around prophesy. And yet, after 16 1/2 centuries, the church hasn't unlocked the mystery of these prophesy.
That is because there is no mystery that misinterpretation did not create.
Hi Ms. Hschica, Welcome to Hubpages. I suspect your post will generate a fair amount of comments in this forum where needlessly attacking religious beliefs is the sport of choice for some.
My opinions aren’t usually worth very much but that never stops me from passing them around.
Questioning my beliefs is a life long activity. It doesn’t matter if my beliefs are religious, political, or related to some other subject. However, before asking if my tenets are true or false, right or wrong, sound or invalid, I first ask “Why do I believe what I believe?”, “Where did my beliefs originate?“, “How did I come to adopt my beliefs in the first place?” In other words, I try to know the source of my beliefs before testing them for accuracy.
Applying my own intellect and logic certainly changes the way I feel about religion or my purpose in life once I establish my ideas and ideals are truly mine and not someone else‘s. I see great value in questioning every facet of life. I rely heavily on verifiable facts and challenge any and all opinions from others that are not supported by verifiable facts. When I choose to believe in myths and metaphors I acknowledge them as myths and metaphors and don’t treat them as facts. When I endeavor to be true to myself, some beliefs are strengthened and others are shattered. My goal is to make the sum of my life’s choices the product of my own judgment and not one based upon the conclusions reached in the minds of others.
Golly, I runeth over. I hope I contributed something. I am looking forward to reading some of your hubs in the future. Let me know when you publish. Meantime, I urge you to follow your bliss. Q.
Thank you for your reply. I am certainly used to those that seem to "attack" other people's beliefs, though that was not the purpose of my post. My family is largely Christian, mostly either non-denominational or Catholic, as are most of the people in the are I live in, so I do not have many people with varying opinions on such topics.
Supporting my beliefs with verifiable facts is important to me as well. I was always taught to "follow" and I've only now began to see the importance of thinking for myself. At one point I told someone that I believe in "what feels right to me" and I was told that was foolish. This is one reason why I don't agree with many of the things I was taught as a Christian: you are constantly encouraged to agree with whatever you are taught and constantly discouraged from disagreeing, especially when it involves putting any doubt in Christianity's validity.
Really, I am very excited to have found HubPages. It is very hard for me to find people to have intellectual and intelligent conversation with! I intend to publish my first hub very soon, but with three jobs it is hard for me to find time to write! I will certainly let you know when that happens, though! Thanks for your contribution to my post!
If someone says they've questioned their beliefs but have held them or it has strengthened them, they haven't really questioned their beliefs at all, just reaffirmed them.
I'm thinking one first questions them, then tests them, and decides either to throw them out or confirm them. It's a process.
I have spent years questioning my beliefs. As a Christian, I always questioned, which may explain why I went from one Christian denomination to another. Then I began to question belief in a god, and came to the conclusion that there isn't one. However, although I am an atheist now, I question this too. I think it is always necessary to question my beliefs, and this means, they are always evolving. What I believe may change slowly or suddenly, by discovering new information. I now take my atheism as seriously as I ever did religion. As I stand now, I am almost 100% certain that there is no god, although this does not stop me in moments of despair, saying "God help me!" I believe that a belief in God is hard-wired into the brain, and this may have an evolutionary benefit. Therefore, although, I can only speak for myself, I do wonder how many convinced atheists still have a small part of their brain which looks to God. I also wonder how many convinced religious believers are really truly convinced. Maybe the fact that there are so many strong arguments between atheists and believers, is because both groups are really trying to convince themselves, by acting as though they are trying to convince others.
For me, when I was a "believer," I think fear was what caused me to remain convinced that my beliefs were valid and true. However, I don't think I was ever truly convinced... I probably just made myself think my beliefs were 'correct,' if one can even put it that way.
You make a good point about both groups trying to convince others to convince themselves in the process. I think this is where the importance of paying attention to one's own thoughts and feelings about personal beliefs come into importance. Only you can convince yourself if your beliefs are true. Just because someone else believes the same thing as you do (even if it is the majority of people in your life) does not make it true or any more valid than if you were to believe something different altogether.
Christians are not even to try and convince others. When we are asked we say what we believe is truth and leave it at that. God will water what is said.
Remember Nicodemus.. the pharisee who came to Jesus at night, he was about 50yrs old, a teacher of the law and prophets. He asked Jesus a question. Jesus essentially told him, "all that you have learned is about the physical, but i bring you news of the spiritual". 2 yrs later, Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea were burying the body of Jesus.
God gives revelation we just plant the seeds.
Glad you are over that fear doctrine stuff. Gods Love is the only reason.
I do wonder how many convinced atheists still have a small part of their brain which looks to God. I also wonder how many convinced religious believers are really truly convinced. Maybe the fact that there are so many strong arguments between atheists and believers, is because both groups are really trying to convince themselves, by acting as though they are trying to convince others.
I have often wondered the same thing!
I have never doubted the existence of a God of some kind.
I never thought that God is a jollie Old man sitting in a chair, who collects our wish lists.
Since I was an early teen I have wondered why religion taught some of the things that it does when the book that it teaches from seemed to be saying something totally different.
I guess that I have almost always had my doubts about the man who said he was representing God.
I continue to doubt my understanding of what this God of Abraham is or wants.
I say, just because someone has a wrong concept of a thing, does not mean the thing isn't there.
I don't doubt that many atheists, if not most, "look to God" if that is the right term to use.
Most of us would like for there to be a purpose to our lives. Many would like to have a father figure watching out and protecting us from harm. In that respect the atheist would likely "look to God".
It does not, of course, indicate any form of belief. I would love to have a lamborghini but know and accept that it won't happen. I would like to have a naturally occuring purpose to my life and a guardian angel looking over my shoulder but realize neither exists.
However much I want it, it isn't going to happen.
As for seeking "purpose" for our lives, this was something that is constantly on my mind. I believe that everyone has a different direction they would like their life to go in, something they would like to focus their life on. For some people, it is music. For others, it is providing assistance to people in need. For me, serving a God that told me to condemn my own sister for being a homosexual did not satisfy my need for having a purpose in my own life. Serving a man who was supposed to be my life partner and love me and care for me, but hurt me instead did not satisfy my need for having purpose in my life. It was only until I dropped these "Christian beliefs" and focused on the things I enjoy doing and the people I enjoy being around, as well as finding beliefs that felt right to me and made sense to me from a logical standpoint, that I realized I could be truly happy with myself as a person and with my life as a whole.
Well yeah life is interesting. People do need to have purpose and that can become so very worrisome. I have been an artist, musician, horticulturalist and a few other things, but all ended at some point and the vacancy still was not filled because I couldn't find something else to substitutionally fill it with.
Being a christian, i don't have to worry about purpose. God does that for me. Its in his hands. So lifes worries have become whatevs and i feel more complete now than ever.
Sorry to hear about the hurts.
But what IS your purpose then? And will you be satisfied with that once your life is over?
I have heard Christians say that heaven is just a place where everyone praises God 24/7. If that is true, why don't Christians do that while they are on earth? (That doesn't sound like much fun to me, by the way.)
I will find out my purpose, when i am ready for it. Until then it is not a worry or a necessity. I've been a christian for 2yrs 3 months, there's no rush.
2 Peter 3:13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness.
Sounds like we can trust our neighbors lol. New earth sounds cool too.
this sounds even better:
Revelation 21:1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away;
Revelation 21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (this speaks of love for his people)
Revelation 21:3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
Revelation 21:4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
Revelation 21:5 And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make ALL things NEW. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
Vague but kewl
Heaven is where we don't go so to compare what the created beings without free will do and what we will be doing is not applicable in my opinion, but thankful... you betcha.
I do know one thing for sure! There are millions or trillions of things that do exist which I know nothing about.
I can not prove this! I just know it.
And I am confidant that this species of human is not the highest form of inteligence in the universe. Nor is this the only dimension of reality that exists on this plane.
I can not prove these things. But I ffeel that I know this to be true.
Many of todays "Truths" were considered to be a crazy mans fantasy ; 200 years ago.
I am sure today is no diferent.
I often wonder how primitive we will seem to the peeps that inhabit earth 1,000 yrs from now or two... i speak as an unsaved man, i know we do not have that long. I am sure people in 1642 thought they were top tech and people in 1950 thought they had amazing cars....
yet Gods truths remain steadfast throughout time, no matter how smart we get, not cheating on our spouses is still the best advice around.
I found that questioning my beliefs has strengthened them. When I earnestly began to seek the truth about our world and my life in the Bible, my understanding was increased.
Were there dinosaurs? Yes. Is there such a thing as global warming? Yes, but the answer to why is not what most would expect. Why am I here? Found it. I am more at ease with myself and our world because of the truth.
There were plenty of hard times before Jesus brought me to Him. There has been and will be more hard times. The Bible explains why.
Seeking the truth diligently will strengthen you.
Referring to the Bible for explanations does not question the Bible or the explanations.
It clears up questions we, where God is concerned.
The bible is unique. It is the only God centered book around. If there were other God books around we could go to them, but the bible is the only approved and accurate source for information on God. Even some christian books are not totally right on.
I do not question the bible. I am intrigued by some of the puzzles presented in the bible, but the bible stands without contradiction, being the only source, complete and inspired by God.
Why go anywhere else? Not asking you, just stating a christian fact.
How does that fit in with not having a correct interpretation of the Bible or knowing which is the correct one?
Its the one that research points too and the correct one is the one God leads too. The king james is my favorite but the New American Standard Version is good also. Amplified is kinda cool. Interlinear, Strongs concordance, Eastons bible dictionary.
Christianity is like anything else once you get involved, understanding increases and a whole new world opens up. Options become available where before there were none.
A sincere desire to know brings Gods assistance.
But, no one really knows the correct version, right?
But, no one really knows if one of them is a correct interpretation, they just happen to be favorites?
Research hasn't helped at all because there isn't that much research to go on. As well, when we do research, we find those versions you mentioned above to have changed over the years.
It seems more like a correct interpretation is the one that makes people feel good, the one they have deemed to follow along closely with what they want to believe.
Yes interpretation??? When I read what you wrote above, I agree with you when using my own enuciation, punctuation, tone of voice that directs intent, etc; I would agree.
Yet it is very likely, I would not want to agree, hearing you read the same thing?
It seems to me that interpretation is what we do when we read or hear something that does not explain the intended message in totality, and then we assume or interpret.
Not exactly , but kinda-sorta.
That's a problem I have with most scriptures, they don't explain the intended messages well and leave far too much for interpretation and we wind up with tens of thousands of variations of those intended messages, wherein the original message was probably lost.
I have said it on here a hundred times and nobody pays much attention; that misinterpretation of scripture begins with the book of Daniel. When we begin with one miinterpretation, and build a belief system upon that, your only possible destination
is confusion. Then you have to misinterpret just about everything else in an attempt to make sinse out of it.
When truth goes north and we go south; we will NEVER catch up with it at least till we are half way around the globe.
If you've read the Bible, then you know pretty much what's in there as far as you can interpret. Why not just take what you know so far from it and begin building your own set of morals and values and forget about interpretations and the confusion it creates?
You could also just forget about the Bible altogether and just build a set of morals and values you believe are right for you.
If I may add my two cents to this subject, the problem with the Bible, in my opinion, is that its words are not many to be taken literally. Look at the time when the Bible was written. Stories were told in the form of "myths" I guess you could call them. Just look at all similar literature that was written at the time. Even Jesus told parables, which interpreted simple concepts and added his own meaning to teach a lesson. Therefore, why should the Bible be interpreted literally in any form if history points against this?
In the past few days my beliefs seem to have changed a lot. I have now reached the conclusion, that the reason everyone is so angry, is because no one really knows what they really believe. People pretend to be certain, and quote chapter and verse to prove a point. But in reality the reason we are all arguing about what we believe is because by trying to convince others, we deep down hope to convince ourselves. With the fact that everyone in the West now lives in a multi-cultural society, alongside people who have so many different religious beliefs, makes questioning our own beliefs far more likely than was the case in past centuries, when most people shared the same beliefs. Whilst the religious battle it out between themselves, whilst joining together when it comes to attacking the atheists, and the atheists battling against everyone of religion, it is making for a very unstable world. Whilst the relgious are gaining in strength and influence in the West, the atheists more than ever before feel the need to fight the religious, and society therefore moves from one extreme to another. I am beginning to fear where it might all end, especially when I am witnessing the destruction of British society, I am imagining all kinds of Apocalyptic horrors. However, I think the whole of Western society will experience huge changes in the years to come, economically, politically, religiously, and it will be impossible not to examine our beliefs, whatever they are.
If you will notice I may answer some question that is presented but will rarely get involved in an argument. When the conversation looks as if someone is just wanting to argue, I leave.
There simply is no point in arguing with someone who is not interested in a solution or a point of view.
A well rounded person knows others opinion. You do not have to get there by arguing.
To A troubled man,
You said searching the Bible does not question my beliefs or the Bible. In actuality it does. If you read Job Chapters 38 - 41 you see science that has only been proven in this era. It is thought that Job was written during the Genesis era.
When I see science that was not proven until the 19th century being written about in ancient texts it proves to me that intelligent design is in process. Hence the Bible is a reliable source.
You will have to read the text and compare it with any encylopedia. The science is there.
Sorry, but I see no science in your holy book, please show me.
Can you create a planet? Can you put it in space with all the gravitational forces and magnetic forces along with the right tilt etc. etc. so that it supports life and does not destroy everything around it?
This is what God was asking Job when He asked Him about the Pleiades and Orion.
There is more science in the Bible than you are willing to accept.
Seeing as the first 5 books of the bible (in a completed format) wasn't put down in writing(was almost exclusively orally passed down) until the Time of King Solomon (became king in 967 BC). And during this time frame, "astrology" or reading the signs of the stars was quite popular. I don't doubt that the writers of the story of Job knew of "science"(as you call it) and included it into the story line for merit purposes. The majority of the book of Job was written by the Elohim school of thought. Where as Genesis was written by at least three different schools of thought, The Priestly (P), The Elohist (E) and the Deuteronomical (D) schools of thought. It is thought as well to have Yahwist (Y) influences as well.
What was written is not astrology. Is is about the "influences" surrounding Orion and the Pleiades. Any common encyclopedia will clarify this.
I never said it was astrology...I said that astrology was popular during that timeframe.
And reading the "influences" of any constellation, would by todays standards, fall into the realm of astrologists or mediums.
Not if you are reading the intent of the Word and not your personal interpretation. It is plain up to that point in scripture God is relaying facts not astrology.
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