In some of the books and blogs I’ve been reading lately, the authors have talked about becoming agnostic or atheist because they are no longer able to believe in God or Christianity. They say they “can’t” believe.
What does this mean? Does this mean that they are unable to will themselves to believe somehow? Does it mean that the preponderance of evidence is so strongly against God or religion that their intellect will not allow them to believe? I’m not quite sure I understand.
Until a few years ago, I didn’t understand doubt at all. Faith was easy for me. It’s still not too difficult most of the time. There are times, though, when doubt creeps in and I feel like I have to make myself believe again. It’s almost like I could “not believe” if I became careless. Does that make sense. But, then, a few hours later, faith goes back to being easier for me. (It’s a little harder now than it was in my 20s, but it seems easier for me than it is for some people.)
So, is faith a choice that we make? Do we say that we believe in God even though we don’t understand and our intellect is pushing us away from it? Or is faith a gift? God gives us the faith that we need to believe? In that case, why would God give some people faith and not others? Is faith the part of the equation that we need to do in our spiritual walk? Or at least need to be open to faith?
I have far more questions than answers on this topic. I’m inclined to say that being open to faith is the step we have to take – even when our intellect questions things. That’s not to say that we overrule our intellect, but that we allow for the spiritual things to coexist with our intellect and see where that takes us. I think.
What are your thoughts? Do you believe in God? In Jesus? In Christianity? Is it easy for your to believe? Do you have to consciously choose to believe? Is faith a choice or a gift?