Sometimes when I’m wondering about my faith, I try to tell myself that I can just choose to believe. But can I? Do one’s beliefs exist independently of one’s thoughts?
How about the other way around? From where I stand now, I guess it ought to be possible to choose not to believe. But I wouldn’t say I’ve made that choice. My current lack of belief seems to be something that has simply happened to me. Perhaps the same could be said of my beliefs in the first place.
A couple of weeks ago someone was talking about spiritual gifts, and mentioned, from one of the biblical lists, the “gift of faith”. Aha! I thought. That’s what I’m lacking! I spoke briefly to my minister afterwards (it was not him who had been preaching that morning) and he dissuaded me from that train of thought; the “gift of faith” in that context is, apparently, faith to get through or deal with a specific time, rather than the more general faith that I feel I’m struggling with.
So, can I choose to believe? I don’t know. I could try, but I don’t want to feel I’m deceiving myself. Should I nail my colours to the mast and choose not believe?
Nah. Not just yet, anyway.