It sounds so “professional”, doesn’t it? “Building a belief system”- like you are creating some commercial organization, or something.
Despite the stoically cold and unemotional sound of it, it is what we all do during our lives. Whether we are believing in our parent’s trustworthiness (which usually comes as a given), what we are told, what we learn, in Santa Claus, or even whether God exists or not, we depend on our beliefs to help guide us through life.
Hopefully we believe that ethical and moral behaviour, as defined by our society, is the way in which we should act towards others. Isn’t there an old adage that goes something like, “Honesty is what you do when you know no one will ever find out.”? We who have a belief system based on honesty and respect for others (and their property) believe in this.
So how do you build a belief system? You start with something that you believe in. DUH!!
If you believe in God, you have a really good start, but if it is that God doesn’t exist, or that He exists in some way other than what others believe, it is still something. No one can not believe in something, because even total apathy is something you believe in.
The question I was discussing with friends the other night is how do you know what to believe? We hear so many different things from so many different religions (and non-religions which are treated as a religion) that it is really hard to know who is right about what, and that was the question posed to me: “How do I know who to believe?”
My answer was, “You don’t, and that stinks” (I think the actual descriptive adjective I used at that time was somewhat more graphic.) But that is how it is. No one can be absolutely certain what to think or who to believe, at least not when first starting. So what do we do?
We take a leap of faith. We believe in that which seems right to us. I pray that God will be influencing each person’s heart when making that initial choice, but the choices we make are influenced by other things, too. Such as, what we learned from our parents (whether as a positive or a negative experience), what we learned from our friends, our teachers, our religious leaders, and (unfortunately) from TV. I have to include TV (and maybe nowadays I should include YouTube and the Internet) because it is such a major part of our lives now.
So we start with believing what is comfortable for us, and we move on from there. As we discuss our beliefs with others we hear their beliefs, and we compare and we re-evaluate, so on we go through life, constantly learning and adjusting our beliefs.
At some point, though, we have to take a stand. Sooner or later we will conclude that what we believe in is not open to change. I feel that way about my belief in God and Yeshua as my (actually, everyone’s) Messiah. I have always felt a calling to know God better, and I went through many years of not believing in Him at all; I cursed Him and His name often as a child, and I felt torn and confused, I believed we were all our own Messiah and that salvation was an individual thing, that there was no death only reincarnation, that there was no reincarnation, that …well, let’s just say I went through a lot of beliefs. After going through them all, I finally settled on what I truly believe in, what I have had proven (to me) to be the correct belief because of actual, real events in my life, and what I can say is more than a faith-based belief because for me it is a fact, a reality, an unchanging and unchangeable truth upon which I can now feel totally certain.
And here’s the hard part, the part that still stinks…I had to come to this absolute and unmovable position initially by a leap of faith.
In the long run, Brothers, Sisters, Friends, you need to make a leap of faith and choose to believe in something. What you are told, what you learn, what others tell you is true is all part of the process, but ultimately you must choose for yourself what you will believe. And it gets worse- you have to be willing to stand up to others when you choose that belief. You can’t go through life changing your moral and religious beliefs. I am sure there are people that do, and I can only feel pity for them. Without a belief system, you are building a house on sand instead of rock, and you will always be shifting your moral and ethical position. You will be a leaf blown about in the wind instead of a strong tree upon which others can depend for support. And you will never feel secure in anything.
I believe that God exists, as He is described in the Bible, and that He sent Yeshua to be the Messiah He promised and told us about throughout the Tanakh (The Old Covenant.) I believe that the New Covenant is the continuation of the Old one, not a separate book about a new religion. I believe Yeshua (Jesus) taught the Torah, and the Torah is what He stood for and believed in. He never taught that we should act any way but the way we are told to act in the Torah. And all the other writings in the New Covenant support that.
I also believe that Yeshua died and was resurrected, and that His death allows me to be saved from my own sinfulness, which is a real part of my innate nature. I also believe that I can be a sinful sinner but still be a good person; at least, “good” as society defines “good.” Which, I also believe, from God’s perspective isn’t good enough. That’s why we all need the Messiah.
I came to this belief system after more than 40 years of searching for it, and now I am totally comfortable with it. As I say above, I am convinced that it is correct because of the events in my life since I chose to accept this belief system for myself, and I am unmovable in it.
If you say I may be wrong, you have the right to believe that- I was where you are. The character Morpheus from “The Matrix” movie at one point had someone say to him that others didn’t believe as he did, and Morpheus answered that what he believes doesn’t require others to believe the same.
I believe, and I would hope that you believe as I believe, but you don’t have to. I respect your right to believe what you do, and am willing to discuss what I believe, but am not willing to allow you or anyone else to tell me what I believe is wrong. Maybe wrong for you, but no one can say it is wrong. Even if I vehemently disagree with what you believe in, I can’t say you are wrong, only that what you believe in is wrong for me.
God gave us all free will, and I respect God’s opinion and His choices. Even if you say there is no God and never was, my answer will be that your belief that God doesn’t exist is because He allows you to make up your own mind.
That’s what this is all about: initially, every belief is a leap of faith, no matter what you believe. Yeshua said we are all a slave to something, and I think we should be a slave to our beliefs; otherwise, what good are they? Let me say this: whatever you believe, make sure it is your choice to believe it. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should believe, especially about God.
You need to be certain that what you believe is your choice because God will hold each and every one of us accountable for what we believe.
Believe me when I tell you that.