I was skimming through a TIME Magazine article the other day and was struck by a graphic that compared the various views of heaven that several major world religions hold. That’s when a thought struck me. I wondered if that’s not how many people decide their religious beliefs—buffet style. That is, I asked myself if many people today don’t choose a belief (or an entire religion for that matter) merely based on how it stacks up when compared with another one. Whichever belief suits the prospective believer best wins, as if all the various beliefs of all the world’s religions were laid out on a buffet line to be looked over and chosen only if the hungry seeker deemed them palatable. And even closer to home: Do I do that?
That’s not really a good way to go about it, to be honest—choosing your religious beliefs (or even your entire religion) that way, I mean. It shouldn’t be as much about what suits me. My main concern should be centered on what saves me. It’s not a matter of which belief appeals to me the best. What should interest me most is whether or not the belief under consideration is true. After all, I’m a firm believer in the fact that I don’t determine reality. Simply because I believe something does not make it true. It follows from that conviction, then, that determining whether or a particular religious belief is true is much more important than whether or not I like the idea.
How do I determine truth? I seek my shepherd’s voice. What does Jesus have to say about a particular belief? What words from God’s written word—the Bible—is Jesus speaking to me about the matter at hand? That may not be a satisfactory answer for many, but for me, that thought fills me with indescribable peace. I think it’s because I trust the good shepherd so much. I’m sure that when he says his sheep hear his voice (present tense, indicating an ongoing reality—something that’s true right now), I, his sheep, will in fact be able to discern his voice and know his will, and in that way, he will lead me to truth. And even when his voice does not give me the specific response I would like, he’s still so trustworthy that I’ll humble myself and wait for all to be revealed the day I stand before him face to face.
So how about you? How do you decide what you believe? Leave me a reply. I’d love to hear from you.