Did you know there are over 600 different organized religious bodies in the world? Now if you asked me how many belief systems there are in the world, I’d need to say that I don’t know. I don’t know how many people are in the world, and everyone has their own belief system. There are also many divisions/denominations within these religious bodies. We may label our belief system as Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. These labels only tell part of our belief systems. Each of our belief systems are as unique as we are. No two people hold the exact same belief system. I encourage first to look beyond these labels and try to know what the other person really believes. I also encourage you to take a good look into what you really believe. Here are a few thoughts/questions to help you with this process.
Do you believe in a higher being?
What do you call that being; why?
How would you describe that being?
All of this and more help us understand our relationship with this being.
If you don’t believe in a higher being, is there anything else like fate that has an impact on the future? If not, what does have an impact on your life?
Do you believe in life after death? What does that look like? How does that impact your life today? Could there be life after death even if there is no higher being?
That takes us in to the question of a soul. Is there a soul? Is there something of us that transcends our physical being? If so, did it exist before we were born? Does it exist only while the human vessel is present and alive? Does it extend beyond the death of our physical being? Can our soul be separated from our physical being?
The final topic I’d like you to think about at this time is morality. We all have a code of morality. Even the worst criminal has a code of morality; it’s just one that, fortunately, most don’t agree with. What has effected your code? Your answers to the questions in the first three topics have an impact on that. Family, friends, teachers, religious leaders, books and other writings have also had an impact. Other things that come up are questions about punishment, forgiveness, unconditional love. Our code of morality is as unique for us as our system of beliefs.
Take a little time and write down what you believe. The more you are sure of what you believe, the better you will be at understanding the beliefs of others and be open to consider what they say about their beliefs without feeling threatened.
1/31/2016 10:28:58 pm
I have a strong belief in God and try to follow the beliefs and morals I was taught. I also am open to others' beliefs. But I have always struggled with the unknown. Like space and time and most importantly the afterlife. I am scared of not being anymore. In fact over the years I have had panic attacks thinking about it. The only one I have ever told about this is my husband. Many times he has helped me through the attacks. I've had trouble talking about this with my minister, because I am always being told what a strong faith I have. So I don't know for sure what I think about the afterlife. I do believe what the bible says. I think it's more of the fear of the unknown.
2/1/2016 10:11:22 am
A strong faith doesn't mean you don't have doubts. A strong faith is continuing to move forward in spite of those doubts. I think your minister should welcome a discussion about this, and you should not be ashamed to bring it up. Thank you for having the courage to share it here!
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