The following post is an excerpt from Mary Jo Sharp’s new Bible study, “Why Do You Believe That? A Faith Conversation.” You can also read more from Mary Jo at her blog

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As a young minister’s wife, I began doubting my faith in God. I think several factors played into this doubt.

First, I was a former atheist, raised to respect persons of all backgrounds, including religious backgrounds. I had been skeptical about and suspicious of religion, particularly Christianity. I thought religion was for “weird” people who were pretty well scammed into giving their money to a church in return for eternal rewards.

I hadn’t spent much time studying my beliefs or Christian beliefs. Rather I reflected the influence of Hollywood and television toward a distrust of religion and religious people. If God was really like George Burne in the Oh God movies – a nice old man who popped in and out of people’s lives to give advice – I didn’t have much need for that kind of being.

I thought I was smart enough to figure life out on my own, and the corruption I saw from some high-profile church leaders troubled me. I certainly didn’t want to be associated with the kind of dishonesty shown by TV preachers who claimed moral authority and then transgressed those very morals.

I came to faith as a result of a high school teacher I respected. He gave me a Bible and said when I had difficult questions about life, he hoped I would turn to the Bible. In College, after a couple of years of reading the Bible and going to church on my own, I became at Christian at the age of 20.

After becoming a Christian, I was disturbed by the notable disconnect between the people who professed the truth of God’s Word and their lack of adherence to the truth. As a young minister’s wife (and a young believer) I saw a lot of ugly things in the church: gossip, slander, false humility, authoritarianism, destructive jealousy, inflated egos, devastating moral failure, and more. I seemed to rarely encounter a person who felt responsible to live as though God’s Word were actually true. They could preach it, discuss it, and sing about it, but living like it was true seemed to be out of reach.

Worse yet, I found myself failing over and over. So I began to wonder if there was any such thing as a real believer in God.

For me, all these factors came together to create the perfect storm for doubt. I began to ask why I believed in God and how I knew God was even real. During this time, I went looking for the answers to my questions about faith.

I had stumbled into the field of apologetics. As I read arguments for and against belief in God, I began to see that belief in God was reasonable and well evidenced. It was not just based in feelings. I also began to see Jesus as a real person, who was really God, and who really had the solution to humanity’s problem. I began to gain confidence that what I had believed about God was not just a fancy or a whim but was the actual truth about life.

I began to realize that I, and we as Christians, needed to do three things: For ourselves we need to discover the real answers to our honest questions. We need to become sufficiently adept at handling the truth so we can feel confident, and we need to be about the job of sharing the truth.

For a digital sample of “Why Do You Believe That?” and more information about the Bible study, click here.

Comments

  1. We just completed this study at our church, and I’m sorry to say that we found it lacking. Long on technicalities, short on rubber-meets-the-road info. Lost 3/4 of our members along the way. We’ve done many, many other studies, but this is not one I could recommend.

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