Have a little faith– but in what? whatever our religion, we’ve all asked ourselves tough questions we might not always get concrete answers to.
“i was raised in a very religious family, but i don’t necessarily believe the same things–what should i do?” There comes a point when we start to question the things that used to be, ehem, gospel truth. “The first thing is to reflect on the root of disagreement. You also need to be able to express what you do and don’t believe in,” says theologian Steph Puen. “You are entitled to believe in what you want,” adds professor of theology Miko Galvez, who recommends having a serious discussion if there is tension. “Allow all sides to talk, not because you want to convert the other, but so that you can arrive at some mutual understanding and respect. Put yourself in their shoes so that you can appreciate why they believe what they believe, all the while being respectful and keeping emotions in check.” And try to remember: like in any relationship, the differences you have don’t necessarily diminish your love. We always hear one form of it or another, especially in trying times: “God has a plan for you.”
“It’ll happen in due time.” “Bahala na si Batman.” And while it may be comforting to hear that someone has your back, relying only on that faith could be keeping you from true happiness. “I’m suspicious of the idea of ‘God’s plan’ that simply unfolds for people, as if we are just passively waiting for things to happen. Pushing it to the extreme would be dangerous— blaming higher powers for our own failures or refusing to accept responsibility for our mistakes,” says Galvez. “Catholic theology stresses that creation is ongoing in the sense that God sustains all creation; thus all of creation depends on God,” adds Puen, clarifying, “However, we shouldn’t passively wait but rather cooperate; we aren’t puppets. Waiting may be part of it, but it should never be a passive—it is an active waiting and working with God to do good.” In a word, no. “There’s a common misconception that doubt is the opposite of faith—as if asking questions were a bad thing! Doubt has its place as it allows people to grow and to mature in faith,” says Galvez. If you’re bothered by wondering where you really stand, Puen recommends taking the time to reflect on the things that are important to you. “Figuring out one’s faith and beliefs alone can be difficult; a community, confidante or spiritual director helps. It is also helpful to understand what one’s purpose is, and where you want to direct your life—being able to articulate this helps clarify what you believe in and what principles you espouse in moving towards that purpose or goal.”
“i’m tired of waiting for ‘God’s plan’ to happen. is there really a greater spiritual power looking out for me, and should i just keep waiting?” “i don’t know what i believe. is there something wrong with me?”