How Am I Supposed To Believe?

All religions stake their claim as the source for ultimate truth. The Torah, The Christian Gospels, The Qur’an, The Vedas, The Bhagavad Gita, The Book of Mormon, The Guru Granth Sahib, The Avesta of Zarathustra, and many others all claim to be divinely inspired, and the source for ultimate truth. If we are to accept that all of these books are the inspired word of God, then we are faced with the problem that they do not agree with each other, essentially meaning that they cannot all possibly be right in claiming divine inspiration. How then are we to decide which of these claims are true, and which are false in light of the fact that there is no compelling evidence in favour of any one of them?

 

If you are reading this, and you believe that one of the books listed is the inspired, infallible word of God – the only source of truth – then how do you explain those who believe exactly the same about a different book? Are they misguided? Then why is it that they would claim it is you and not them who have placed their faith in the wrong text? Who exactly am I supposed to believe?

 

If religion is supposed to be the quest for ultimate truth then why is it that almost all religions disagree with each other? Surely the outcome of a quest for ultimate truth would be agreement? This is the opposite of what we see, even if we confine our analysis to one religion alone. Within any given religion there are rival sects and movements, all in disagreement about the supposed ultimate truth of their scripture. Over time, more and more sects split off from one another – they are actually getting further and further away from agreeing upon the truth over time, rather than closer. In light of this how could I possibly decide upon one particular version, of the many interpretations of the so called ultimate truth contained within one text out of a whole set of conflicting texts that all claim the same thing?

 

Even if there is one true interpretation of one true text, how am I supposed to decide which one it is? There are those who claim to have experienced the truth of their particular God, but you find these people in all religions so their testimony is not very useful. There is absolutely no evidence that one particular God, or one particular text is true, and that all the others are the mistaken and misguided attempts of fallible humans. You can find websites that claim to have evidence in favour of a particular Holy book – the only problem being that you can find similar websites making similar claims about all Holy books. How am I supposed to believe in any of them? I feel that it is more likely that all of them are the mistaken and misguided attempts of fallible humans, and I shall stand by that until someone can provide evidence to the contrary.

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8 responses to “How Am I Supposed To Believe?

  1. “Within any given religion there are rival sects and movements, all in disagreement about the supposed ultimate truth of their scripture.”

    This statement is true, however, there can be a remarkable amount of agreement across the denominational lines. I feature 36 local churches from a variety of denominations on my website, and most of them agree on the gospel.

    But more importantly I want to answer your question: How do I know what’s true?

    My answer: Go to the source. Pray to God. God loves you and wants to save your soul. He will give you what you need. BUT YOU MUST PRAY WITH HUMILITY! Remember, He is God.

  2. To the God who is in control of the universe. I believe specifically that the God of the Bible, who raised Jesus from the dead is the God of the universe.

    However, if you are confused which religion is right at this moment in life, (or if they are all wrong) Go ahead and pray to the God who rules the universe to show you the way. If He is all powerful, then He can hear your thoughts.

    Nevertheless, Like I said before, you must PRAY IN HUMILITY. Remember who you’re dealing with. God responds to the desperate prayer of the needy person. I do not know how He will specifically respond to you, but if truth is really what you want, then ask Him for it.

    “Seek the Lord while He may be found, Call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him; and to our God, For He will abundantly pardon” (Isaiah 55:6-7)

    • Okay so supposing tonight I pray to God, asking to show the way, and this leads me to Islam. Who is right? You or me? There are people who will claim that they prayed to God, and that God is specifically the God of Islam, others will claim that they prayed to God, and that God is specifically the God of Christianity. The Muslims would all say that the Christians are praying to the wrong God, and the Christians would say likewise about the Muslims. All of whom would quite confidently say that their God listens to, and answers their prayers.

      Prayer does not answer the truth claims of any specific religion because all religions will state that their God answers prayers. So who am I supposed to believe?

  3. “Even if there is one true interpretation of one true text, how am I supposed to decide which one it is?”

    Look, I am not trying to argue with you and prove that I am right. You simply said you wanted to find the truth (see the quotation above). I am showing you how. I am not interested in responding publicly to you anymore. The battleground now is within your heart, a place that no one can see besides you and God (if He exists). What happens next is between you and Him.

    I’ll be praying for you, though.
    Take Care,
    Daniel

    • I was asking the questions to make a point; all religions make equal claims of absolute truth, which leads the outsider (some one who doesn’t believe, like myself) to a situation where it is impossible to distinguish between the truth claims of each denomination of each religion.

      I would be like having several people come forward to confess a crime – you cannot know who really did it based upon this alone – you need further evidence, which no religion has.

      If you don’t want to respond to me publicly any more then that’s fine, but you have to understand the point I am making. To an outsider like myself, there is nothing to differentiate between your beliefs, and those of a Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, Muslim, Jew etc etc. In this situation there is no way for outsider to decide what to believe, and therefore atheism, or agnosticism is perfectly rational.

  4. Now you admit your true intent. I thought you were honestly searching for the truth. But now you admit that your goal was not to find the truth, but to make a point. The humility with which you asked the question masked the fact that you already thought you had the answer.

    I too am trying to make a point, and I hope you pay attention to it, because your personal salvation hinges on it. My point is that we live in a vary confusing, hard to understand world infused with all kinds of problems and schisms. It takes more than intelligence to find the truth in a world like this, since all humans have limited intelligence anyway. We cannot find the truth on our own, but we need God’s help.

    I could argue with you about this stuff if I wanted to. I have studied a lot of these questions and strongly believe that the scientific, textual, and historical evidence is on the side of Christianity. But you don’t actually need me to help you with this since all the evidence is out there already for you to look at.

    The person whose help you need is God’s. He does not want you or anyone else to go to hell (II Peter 3:9). That’s why I believe He will show you the answer if you ask for it IN HUMILITY. If you keep trusting in your own intelligence to figure it out yourself, then you are hopelessly lost. The dumbest person in the world has a better chance of finding the truth then you in that case, because God gives the truth to those who love Him, but not necessarily to those who are intelligent.

    Please don’t let your own arrogance get in the way of a relationship between you and God. Do not let your desire to prove your point in public keep you from HUMBLY asking God in private to show you the truth.

    You must agree with me that there is some justice in the fact that God does not necessarily reveal the truth to those who have the highest IQ’s:

    “For you see your calling brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the mighty… That no flesh should glory in His presence” (I Corinthians 15:26,27,28)

  5. //I too am trying to make a point, and I hope you pay attention to it, because your personal salvation hinges on it. My point is that we live in a vary confusing, hard to understand world infused with all kinds of problems and schisms. It takes more than intelligence to find the truth in a world like this, since all humans have limited intelligence anyway. We cannot find the truth on our own, but we need God’s help.//

    Okay, I understand you think that God has helped you towards the truth – which you believe to be Christianity, but I could go out there and find someone who believes the very same thing about Vishnu or Allah. How am I supposed to believe them?

    Now I’m sure you would say that direct experience is the convincing factor that I have yet to encounter. However direct experience is renowned for being unreliable. A simple trip to a mental health ward will tell you this with great clarity. Some people there will claim to have convincing direct experience of being controlled by aliens through the TV screen or something similar. This is a pertinent example of the degree to which human beings can delude themselves. The fact that all religious groups contain people who claim to have direct experience of their God does nothing to indicate truth, it is merely an example of widespread, socially acceptable delusion.

    //I could argue with you about this stuff if I wanted to. I have studied a lot of these questions and strongly believe that the scientific, textual, and historical evidence is on the side of Christianity. But you don’t actually need me to help you with this since all the evidence is out there already for you to look at.//

    I have studied the scientific evidence in great depth, and there is absolutely nothing in there that would indicate the truth of the Christian religion, and anyway a Muslim would claim exactly the same thing; The Koran is scientifically accurate. Well it isn’t, and nor is the Bible.

    I have also looked and the textual evidence in support of Christianity, and it does not provide strong evidence at all. The writings of Paul are the earliest we have, and they remain strictly vague on the life of Jesus. The Gospels were not written by the authors whose names they were given at a later date, they were not written by contemporaries of Jesus, they were written in Greek (as opposed to Arahmaic – which the apostles would undoubtedly spoken, I say spoken because it is highly likely that they were illiterate also), compiled from oral tradition (and for the later Gospels some of the earlier texts; Mark and Q) and they strongly disagree with each other on a number of factual and doctrinal claims. The Gospels are also biased heavily in favour of Christian theology, and have been changed in translation and copying over the centuries, there is absolutely no reason to consider them reliable.

    As for historical evidence, I am unsure what you mean – there has been no archaeological evidence found in support of much of the Old Testament stories – a few places and references to people mentioned are found, but the exodus from Egypt and the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites resolutely did not happen. There is also no archaeological evidence in support of the New Testament – and the only accounts we have of Jesus’ life are completely unreliable.

    //The person whose help you need is God’s. He does not want you or anyone else to go to hell (II Peter 3:9). That’s why I believe He will show you the answer if you ask for it IN HUMILITY. If you keep trusting in your own intelligence to figure it out yourself, then you are hopelessly lost. The dumbest person in the world has a better chance of finding the truth then you in that case, because God gives the truth to those who love Him, but not necessarily to those who are intelligent.//

    I have no reason to seek God’s help when there is no reason to assume his existence. Asking God if he exists, to me is as pointless as asking the tooth fairy whether she exists. That approach is ridiculous, what I need is evidence, before I bother asking God anything. You are essentially championing ignorance here – which I find ridiculous. You have to love God first in order to get the truth? How can I love someone whom I have no reason to assume exists? This is utterly backwards, no wonder there is a positive correlation between intelligence and lack of religiosity.

    //Please don’t let your own arrogance get in the way of a relationship between you and God. Do not let your desire to prove your point in public keep you from HUMBLY asking God in private to show you the truth.//

    It’s not arrogance it is rationality and skepticism. For the record there was a time when I humbly asked God in private to reveal himself to me, and I was never granted the privilege.

    //You must agree with me that there is some justice in the fact that God does not necessarily reveal the truth to those who have the highest IQ’s://

    What a nice excuse. God decides not to reveal himself to people with high IQ’s, do you think it might just be that people with high IQ’s don’t believe in God, not because he has chosen not to reveal himself, but because people with high IQ’s are more likely to question his existence?

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