Crisis of Faith, or Crisis of Convenience?
(This blog was originally published by Dan Leadbetter on August 24, 2015)
I have had a few friends recently go through what they call a “crisis of faith.” I know there have been several times in my life where I’ve had my faith rocked (like the time I found out my parents were really Santa Claus), or when I found out there wasn’t an actual Tooth Fairy with unlimited financial resources, or an Easter Bunny (to this day, I still don’t get the rabbit/egg connection). I personally had never gone through a serious doubt about the existence of God, but it intrigued me to dig a little deeper about what my friends were going through. Which got me thinking about what actually is a crisis of faith? Well, according to Wikipedia (the source of all knowledge of the Internet world):
Crisis of faith is a term commonly applied, especially in Western culture, to periods of intense doubt and internal conflict about one’s preconceived beliefs or life decisions.
So in the context of my friends and what they are going through, it seems it boils down to whether or not there is a God. And to further that line of questioning, if there isn’t, why should we/I try and live a moral life when in the end, it doesn’t really matter and life just … well … ends? I find that line of thinking really fascinating. Because the insinuation is there’s really nothing bigger than myself so why should I live my life according to someone else’s belief or notion about what’s right and wrong for me. When talking about murder, rape, stealing, torture, and such, I think that for the most part, even people going through a crisis of faith can pretty much agree that there are some things that are just not “right.”
This internal questioning got me wondering; is it really a crisis of faith, or more of a crisis of convenience?
Being a follower of Christ isn’t convenient … at all. It means a daily dying to myself (and the sin nature that lives within me) and being for and towards others. Now this literally plays hell with my inflated sense of entitlement, as there are time when I want to do what I want to do. It seems that when I feel I can’t or shouldn’t do something, that’s precisely the moment I have a crisis of faith. Like the verse says in Song of Solomon 2:15; ” … the little foxes that spoil the vineyard,” I think it’s the small inconveniences that can chip away at our faith, and rubs up against our sense of entitlement. That entitlement leads to arrogance, which leads to pride which ultimately leads to death.
My internal conversation goes something like this: “Well, I really want to (insert your personal favorite sin here), and it’s not going to hurt anyone else, so why shouldn’t I? I mean I (insert you personal favorite rationalization here; such as work hard, do a lot of serving at the church, etc), so it shouldn’t matter, and I deserve it.” Making the decision to NOT do something that sounds like momentary release or fun takes a sacrifice. And in the context of my crisis of faith, I’m not really up for that sacrifice because it’s not convenient. That being said, I find it so interesting that people who’ve gone through a crisis of faith, usually return to faith when they discover that “doing what they want” is really just being a slave to something else altogether.
Look, I’m not making light of anyone going through an actual crisis of faith. I get it. And I think it’s good to question what you believe and why you believe something as that strengthens your conviction. What I will challenge you on is if your crisis of faith stems from the desire to indulge momentary comfort. Just be clear about why you do what you are going to do. Saying, “I’m doing (insert favorite sin here) because I’m choosing to” is vastly different that the cop out of, “Well, I’m not sure if there’s a God or not, so it really doesn’t matter if I do (insert favorite sin here)”.
My prayer for you this week is that you get real and clear with God. It’s okay to question what you believe, it’s not okay to use that questioning to throw out everything you know in your heart to be right. May God grant you wisdom, peace, and power this week.