A post to the Jack’s Winning Words blog some time back had this little quote from Bob Dylan – “Ya either get faith or ya get unbelief, and there ain’t no middle ground.”
Few probably associate Bob Dylan with faith, but his observation about faith is certainly true. What seems to happen all too often is that people who have faith get turned off by the practice of religion. Faith is the belief in God, whereas religions are all codified and ritualized practices that lay claim to being based on that belief; but which, in reality, represent the intervention and interpretation of man in the practice of one’s faith.
It is easy to become confused and maybe even put-off by the rules, dogma and rituals that man has imposed upon those who seek to share their faith by joining a religious organization. That is especially true for younger people who have reached an age where they question the validity of everything; especially the rules of behavior and practice imposed their religion. If not before, college is certainly a place where that questioning take hold of young lives for a while. Eventually one is able to separate out the things that are man-made in religions from the foundations of faith and belief in God and become able to accept some of the practices of organized religions in order to share in the celebration of that common faith in God. It is in the quite peace of prayer that one reaffirms one’s beliefs and faith; and, it is in religious celebrations and church services that one shares the joy of that faith.
So, questioning or challenging the practices of some religions is not bad or to be confused with questioning one’s faith. Centuries ago, Martin Luther challenged the Catholic Church and the practices of granting religious indulgences. That challenge eventually led to the split from the Catholic Church that led to the formation of all modern Protestant denominations. The fact that there are so many different denominations and variations within denominations just further shows the hand of man in religions. The base upon which all are built remains the belief in God and His Son, Jesus, and, as Dylan said, “You either got it or you ain’t.”
You will figure out for yourself which of the many choices of churches is right for you; but, always keep your faith clear and central in your life and the rest will work itself out. The hand of God will always prevail over the hand of man.