Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Why Do You Believe What You Do?

I watched a documentary a while back about Mecca. The video followed three Muslims who were going on Hajj. It explained much about Islamic belief and Mecca that I did not know. To that end, it was an interesting video. The part that I found most interesting, though, was the American woman who had converted from Roman Catholicism. She had an Irish last name and hurt her family badly (she said) when she converted. They did not dwell much on that aspect of her conversion, but her conversion story was interesting to me.

Little seeds planted along the way help form our beliefs
 over time - what seeds are you planting?

Growing up, my parents took me to church each Sunday. As a very young child, my mother took us to many different churches, trying to find the right one. She was raised in the understanding that "All churches have something, and no church has everything." Under a philosophy such as that one, presumably, almost any Christian worship place would be acceptable. However, clearly not all were within her acceptance levels, because we continued our search.
Her attitude did allow her to find meaning of some sort in any of the churches we visited, or that she worked in. And I think my mom's attitude gave me the "permission" I needed to jump from a Protestant background, back to the Episcopalian roots in which I was baptized, and on to the Orthodox Church, which I believe now to be the Christian church as handed down from the Apostles.

The Muslim convert on the DVD said she had heard a radio call-in show one day in which a caller asked, "If Jesus was God, why did He have to worship God?" And her Catholicism was shattered from that question. In that moment, she began her turn to Islaam. For me, such a question is not enough to question my belief in Jesus - and in fact, reaffirms it in some ways.

I am grateful to my parents for raising me with a faithful attitude and cultivating a strong belief in Christ even from a young age. Mom was not one of those who sat with her Bible for hours on end, but gave us a Christ-following example through her actions; my step-father actively studied his Bible nearly every day; and my father read Bible stories to us at bedtime for years. Maybe the three didn't work well together in every aspect of my upbringing, but their individual actions each reinforced the idea that having faith in God is something important. 

I am not looking to convert anyone through this post, or to convince others of why I disagree with Islam as the "right" religion, more to begin a dialogue about why we believe what we do. I found it curious that one question could lead someone onto a path so wholly different than that in which she was raised. And why that question, which threw out every other part of her upbringing? 

What reinforces your beliefs? Are you guarded against what would change them? Are you open to changing them if it is the right thing to do? 

* If you'd like to be part of this discussion and are of a different following than my own, I would like to highlight guests who would like to write or be part of a post on the topic of belief. Let me know if you're interested!*


  1. I suspect it wouldn't have taken much to shake her beliefs.

  2. Yeah, I thought so too - that perhaps she wasn't very firmly rooted in her faith


I look forward to hearing your thoughts!


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