Last week, my post about the nature of belief (check it out here) drew a lot of disagreement. Yes!
I think a lot of it came from me trying to tackle a gigantic subject in few words. Well, I’m back to try again from another angle.
Faith is like an onion.
It has layers. When I say that we can’t choose to believe or disbelieve in something, I’m talking about the very center of the onion, deep down in there beneath conscious thought.
At this level, you either have it or you don’t. There is no thought involved. No decision-making. You can’t select anything at this level. The religious/spiritual decisions you make (like which religion to follow) happen a few layers up.
To be clear, when I say you can’t choose to believe in something, I’m not talking about life experiences that change you. I’m not talking about the church you go to, or the philosophies you like. I’m talking about the very core of belief or disbelief that you can’t just consciously change in an instant (like I said before, just choose, right now, to disbelieve your faith–nobody addressed that in my previous post and I’d like to see someone who claims they can just choose at will not to believe in their faith).
I’m not saying people don’t change religions throughout their lives–they certainly do. We all see it all the time, don’t we?
Just not spontaneously.
The question of missionaries came up as a response to my previous post. I am not saying you can’t be talked into changing religions. You obviously can. You can “see the light” and convert and start going to a church. You can suddenly, through new experiences, new exposure, whatever, shift your beliefs.
BUT THAT’S MY POINT!
That isn’t you selecting a new religion. It’s something shifting inside you because of these new experiences and exposure to new stuff. You didn’t just suddenly decide, “You know, today I’m going to see the light and become a Muslim.” Nope. You didn’t decide that. Life changed you whether you liked it or not.
So there you have a little more of my thoughts on faith. What do you think?