Distinguishing Between Familiarity & Genuine Belief

As I have mentioned numerous times in previous posts, something I often wonder about is how to determine wether I desire to have faith in the Bible because I grew up in it and have a good deal of familiarity with it, or if it is because I genuinely believe it to be true and would still do so had I not grown up in Christianity.  I am routinely troubled with this thought, and it often acts as an impediment to my will to believe.

The more I think about it, the more apt I am to retire the search for an answer and just let the journey take it’s course.  But that still leaves the voice in my head suggesting that my desire for faith in the God of the Bible is merely a result of the fear of leaving all I’ve known for the majority of my life.  This is a disconcerting thought.

So to any of you who have also grown up in Christianity who left the faith for a time, I’m interested to hear about your experience with this if you dealt with it at all.  How were you able to get to the point where you felt confident that your belief was indeed real, and not just a return to it for the sake of comfort and familiarity?

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2 thoughts on “Distinguishing Between Familiarity & Genuine Belief

  1. I personally went through such a difficult time in my life that I was near suicidal-not knowing what to do. Christ himself spoke to me in my despair in a voice that wasn’t audible but quieted everything else, and brought me indescribable peace that brings goosebumps now 25 years later. He said “you really haven’t given Me a chance”.
    The paltry faith I have put in Christ at the time has continually produced hope ever since.
    Occasionally He fills my heart and mind with thoughts that I know are originated from myself.
    And though sometimes I am ashamed of the ‘faith community’ for actions that mostly seem mostly faithless… It is good to see people struggle through their own intelligence, comparing it to wisdom, and choosing wisely.

    • Gary – Thank you for sharing this. I appreciate your honesty and thoughts. Having no wish to discount your experience, I’d like to ask you this because I am genuinely interested: How were you able to have confidence that the inaudible voice you experienced was the God of the universe, and not a coping mechanism or survival instinct to bring you out of your difficult time of life? Our minds can be convinced of nearly anything with enough work (for example, the Heaven’s Gate group of people who committed suicide thinking they would join the alien spacecraft traveling behind the Hale-Bopp comet). How then can we be sure that it’s the work of a real God and not our minds giving into something that is not real?

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