Finding Faith

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by Ben Huot

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Many people brought up in the faith end up giving it up later on for ethical reasons. What gives? I have not raised kids myself, but I still remember being a young adult and my parents raised me well. The military trained me well too. So from those experiences I have some ideas.

I think this boils down to the over emphasis on sheltering a kid, so when they grow up, they are unprepared for the difficulties of independence. I went to public school all the way from elementary through college. I also went enlisted in the Army. I think that is an example of not being sheltered.

I do have my own faith and I base it on different reasons and experiences than my parents had. I do not have these views, because I was raised in the church, although those experiences helped me as well in my faith.

One thing I have learned, living in the city I do, which is known, for being hostile to faith is that non-believers are not necessarily immoral or hedonistic. They can and many times do have values, but it many ways these values are in opposition to those of the Bible. With all the divisions in the Church, at least some of us have very different values.

One of the issues that bothered me from an early age was suffering. At a young age, my mom suffered from bad health. Later I learned the depths of suffering, that happens in war, in military training. Miraculously, I was not deployed into a war zone (although I very easily could have). I left the military with chronic allergic pink eye and a few years later found out I had Schizophrenia.

So the issue of suffering was both personal and very real to me. This is one of the reasons why I studied major world belief systems for so long. This is also why I especially focused on those originating in India and China. I even adopted some of the ideas of the Chinese philosophers. Many in the Church think this is morally wrong, but this is mostly due to ignorance.

If you study philosophy in college, as a major, you generally only study the Enlightenment strain of thought. You have to study religion as a major to get a basic understanding of world belief systems. Many people in Christian circles are highly educated, but not so much about Asia outside Biblical Israel. The time between the Middle Ages or Premodern Period and the modern world is almost completely forgotten.

Even major universities in America seldom publish books on topics about Asian history, literature, or belief systems. Many people honestly think that Christianity’s geographic center was in Europe, until modern times. This is very much not true at all by the way. We have missed this era called the Early Modern Period and so we are shocked by the politics of Asia today. For over a thousand years at least, only Asia was basically the world that mattered.

We study history and literature the way we do, because of political and religious reasons. People from both parties would be wise to challenge this for different reasons. Just studying the history of America and only English language literature is not preparing people to live in today’s world. This is in addition to the obvious racial and religious assumptions inherent in this decision.

This basically reinforces this idea that we need to get the rest of the world to follow our ideas, so it will solve all their problems. What an extreme form of arrogance, but this is our foreign policy since World War II. We are taking on the same ideas of the British empire, but are more effective at hiding it, from our homeland population.

To find faith for young people, we need to pray for them, they need to seek God with all their heart, and wait for life experiences to reinforce what they were taught as children (if they were raised in the Church). For people who have not been taught the faith in their youth or had trauma as children, we can develop personal relationships with them. These friendships can allow them to have some idea of who God is and why they might want to be reconciled with Him.

But defending the faith intellectually does not prepare young people for most the spiritual challenges they will face as adults. Keeping them ignorant of evil was never possible, after the fall of Adam and Eve. In todays world, there is no way to shelter a person sufficiently, to keep them from finding ways to do evil.