Here’s a common situation that has been occurring throughout human history:
IMAGINE you are sitting at home in your little village, where you’ve lived ALL YOUR LIFE. You barely have news of the outside world, nor do you really care too. Honestly, you probably just don’t give it much thought. THERE’S ENOUGH TO THINK ABOUT ALREADY… you figure. Now all of a sudden, one day, a large army walks right into your peaceful village and demands that you ABANDON your beliefs and adopt theirs.
I think that most people would feel rather INDIGNANT at the idea. Something like a red sign in their heads flashing the words “OH HELL NO!” I mean, who wants to be forced to change their beliefs?
But wait a second… Have we even addressed what either of those beliefs are?? What if I were to say that you lived in a tribe of incestual cannibals, and the conquerors were telling you NOT to eat people and NOT to sleep with your immediate family… would you be less resistant to them then?? Just because you have strong beliefs, doesn’t make those beliefs righteous or correct. In most cases, YOU DID NOT EVEN CHOOSE YOUR OWN BELIEFS. It was the society and environment that you grew up in.
A big part of MATURING, I think, is questioning those beliefs, in order to DECIDE FOR YOURSELF IF THEY ARE VALID. This includes beliefs about anything: yourself, your family and friends, your future, your past, your religion, the world, etc. If you don’t question your beliefs then you’re just taking a shot in the dark. I think it’s especially important to DEEPLY QUESTION your religion. REAL FAITH cannot be cultivated in a heart that afraid to question its beliefs. If you’re afraid to question your beliefs, then you clearly have some doubts about them being true. THAT’S FINE. But you must question them, and REALLY question them, (and ask God for guidance, I would suggest) in order to SINCERELY consider them as TRUTHS.
Did YOU choose your beliefs? Or did the MEDIA and SOCIETAL PRESSURES choose them for you? It’s unpopular (almost looked down upon) to be deeply religious in much of the USA today it seems. In television shows, any religious person is always portrayed as FANATICAL or wierd somehow. I get the feeling that many people (including myself) feel that they would be seen as such if they expressed their faith openly by in any way, such as by bringing God into a conversation (even casually). And HOW ABOUT PRE-MARITAL SEX? How NORMAL has it become in the minds of westerners. It’s pretty much considered CRAZY to even think about marrying anyone WITHOUT sleeping together first!
DID YOU CHOOSE THESE BELIEFS? And, more importantly, do you have the power to un-choose them if you’d like to? If you can IDENTIFY these beliefs (many of them are subtly ingrained in our subconscious and so it can be difficult to even realize that we have these beliefs) the you stand a chance to CHOOSE WHO YOU WANT TO BE FOR YOURSELF.
So don’t get too upset and defensive when someone challenges your beliefs, telling you that you’re wrong. TAKE A GOOD, LONG LOOK AT YOUR BELIEF and find out if it’s really valid. The other person may in fact be right. And if they’re wrong, then no harm has been done by considering the issue more deeply. Often you’ll find that nobody is right or wrong, THEY’RE JUST DIFFERENT VIEWPOINTS.
Regardless, don’t be mad about it. Appreciate people who make you feel uncomfortable. They are the ones that you can learn the most about yourself from.