The idea that the strength of our convictions is not a new one to me, it is one that I have thought about before. Years ago, I took a philosophy course that required I start the semester with a world view and end the semester with a world view. I have always been interested in the different religions of the world so I was taking this class not to fulfill a credit requirement but for fun. I had already completed the typical philosophy 101 course where I learned the difference between fallacies and how to determine which kind of argument was which.
This was the learn about different kinds of belief systems philosophy. My professor was a firm believer of eastern mysticism, therefore most of the class focused on that particular area. We went covered Christianity in a very obligatory fashion, it went by so fast. I did learn that at the time I was a Christian Existentialist. I was the only Christian who spoke out regularly in class.
It was a small class made up of quite a range of students. I was an "nontraditional" student; I had kids and had been married for a while. I remember writing my world view as honestly as I could. I proclaimed my love of God, my belief in Jesus Christ as my savior. I explained quickly my background and how I came to believe.
I wrote that I had been raised Catholic but never confirmed, how I doubted at a young age, how I rejected Jesus as a teenager. (I grew up in the bible belt and I can remember answering a lot of questions about that!) I never rejected God but I doubted Jesus was who He said He was. I was always open to debate on the subject. I explained how I came back to Jesus. How I could not believe that this is all there is, how the miracle of life couldn't be a fluke, how I couldn't bear the thought of nothingness after death.
I enjoyed learning about other cultures and their beliefs. I enjoyed debating theology (with the limited knowledge that Catechism classes had left me) with my instructor and classmates. I knew enough to get by and was articulate enough to sound like I knew what I was talking about.
At the end of the course after we had written our final world view and on the last day of class, we were handed back our papers. As he went around passing them out my professor would say something small to each person as they took their paper. When he finally got to me he stopped, looked me dead in the eye and said to me, "Normally, when a student's world view does not change, I fail them. But I can tell you have worked hard to get where you are and I am impressed."
Friends, my final world view that I submitted went a little something like this:
"I am a Christian. I believe that God created the world, that Jesus died for my sins. I have learned in this course that I am a Christian Existentialist."
Even as a what we call a "baby" Christian I stood firm in my faith. Since the day when I was pregnant with my first son and I realized that there is more to this crazy thing we call life, I have stood firm. As the years have passed and I have grown in my faith and understanding, I still stand firm on the foundation of the knowledge that God created the world and Jesus died for my sins. I wonder what I would have to offer the others in that class today. My faith has grown exponentially and I admit I have been sidetracked and I have committed my life to Him over and over again but I always know that God is faithful to me, that He gave His one and only son for me, that He has chosen me and called me by name! What an amazing and loving God I have!