I notice that my sense of faith is parallelled with my intelligence. all of a sudden I am asking bigger questions, larger questions, bigger doubts and higher ideas of significane with life and death and the soul.
I began to realize that they way I see the world and interactions clearly mirrors the my spiritual point of view along with my morality.
That night I lay in my bed and asked myself indeed why did I become a protestant. What is it that makes me a protestant and why do I stick with this kind of faith notwithstanding my affinities with other world religions?
To begin with I would like to put out a disclaimer, I am not a perfect christian and I never intend to make this post as a way to force my belief or to profess that the way I see things are right. I believe that there are better people who are more credible and more intelligent than me in terms of faith.
The thing is faith for me is still a matter of choice, and not a matter of who’s telling the truth. Because no matter how many times logic and reasoning comes into light if you are convinced and ou are comfortable with your own beliefs then chances are you will follow that.
As much as possible I try to steer away from that kind of thinking, I want to be as much as possible “skeptic of my own skepticism”. Perhaps in the end there’s really no answer but what matters is how you try to find that answer.
I invest highly on books, on spirituality even though sometimes I bother myself with what confucious think does not matter which is the afterlife as his point of reference is reality that which we can manipulate and understand. I get his point, and I understand his ideas though I still think that spirituality is a tool to find meaning in everything even motivations to be exact.
So why did I become a protestant?
The reason I become a protestant is an issue of trust, the family I grew up with is a devout roman catholic, I went to an exclusive catholic school, I prayed the rosary and I memorized the litany of saints, I even dreamed of becoming a priest.
But then there is one thing that I learned and that is reading the Bible.
I found out that it all becomes an issue of authority, the dogma of roman catholicism revolves around the authority of the pope and the vatican while the authority of protestant beliefs stems from the bible.
That is what confused me, that is what opened my mind to the issues of belief. I started asking questions that even my elders can’t answer, I tried reading books and devoured them according to my understanding.
I found out that no matter how contrary one reads it all boils down to biased perception. That no matter how refuted a statement is and no matter how viable the arguments are if one believes that he/she is right then there is no sense in trying to change one’s point of view.
This can be fully appreciated in the video below with regards to the veneration of Mary versus the words of the bible. What I also find difficult to understand is how people seem to nitpick the sciptures to justify their actions and their traditions even though it also contradicts with the main idea of the text.
It even goes even as far as to adding new books (the apocrypha) in the bible to justify certain practices, but that is another story.
The whole argument soon is dragged to the authenticity of its sources and eventually resorts to circular reasoning in the end. It is best to understand the entire arguments in the letters to the great christian writer C.S. lewis when he was asked a question on Roman Catholicism see below:
April 20(?), 1945
Dear Mr. Lewis,
Please forgive the boldness of a stranger in imposing on your patience, but I want advice, and dare to seek it from you. I am an Episcopalian, and one of the many people, I am certain, who have been led by your books to a reconsideration of Christ, of Christianity, and of the Church.
But the pursuit of one of your books — The Pilgrim’s Regress — led me to Sheed and Ward, and from there it was but a step to an inquiry into the claims and history of the Roman Catholic Church. (It has been suggested that this was a regress indeed!)
My situation at present is this: I find the case for Rome entirely compelling, and I am not immune to the shameful tendency of putting a personal belief into the form: “Any reasonable and honest man will have to admit, etc., etc.” The point is that you are the principal check to this tendency since you are a living disproof of the assertion. The consideration, “This is convincing to my mind” simply does not become a decision as long as it is balanced by “For some good and sufficient reason it is not convincing to the mind of C.S. Lewis.”
I would not dare ask you to write to me what you consider to be the arguments which throw the decision to the Anglican and against the Roman Catholic Church. But I do dare ask you if you would do me the great favor of recommending the books which, in your opinion, present these arguments most persuasively.
I shall be extremely grateful for any guidance you can give me, and can only plead, as my excuse for picking on you, that you picked on me on the happy day I bought your books.
H. Lyman Stebbins
May 9, 1945
Dear Mr. Stebbins,
My position about the Churches can best be made plain by an imaginary example. Suppose I want to find out the correct interpretation of Plato’s teaching. What I am most confident in accepting is that interpretation which is common to all the Platonists down all the centuries: What Aristotle and the Renaissance scholars and Paul Elmer More agree on I take to be true Platonism. Any purely modern views which claim to have discovered for the first time what Plato meant, and say that everyone from Aristotle down has misunderstood him, I reject out of hand. But there is something else I would also reject. If there were an ancient Platonic Society still existing at Athens and claiming to be the exclusive trustees of Plato’s meaning, I should approach them with great respect. But if I found that their teaching was in many ways curiously unlike his actual text and unlike what ancient interpreters said, and in some cases could not be traced back to within 1,000 years of his time, I should reject their exclusive claims — while ready, of course, to take any particular thing they taught on its merits.
I do the same with Christianity. What is most certain is the vast mass of doctrine which I find agreed on by Scripture, the Fathers, the Middle Ages, modern Roman Catholics, modern Protestants. That is true “catholic” doctrine. Mere “modernism” I reject at once. The Roman Church where it differs from this universal tradition and specially from apostolic Christianity I reject. Thus their theology about the Blessed Virgin Mary I reject because it seems utterly foreign to the New Testament; where indeed the words “Blessed is the womb that bore thee” receive a rejoinder pointing in exactly the opposite direction. Their papalism seems equally foreign to the attitude of St. Paul toward St. Peter in the epistles. The doctrine of Transubstantiation insists on defining in a way which the New Testament seems to me not to countenance. In a word, the whole set-up of modern Romanism seems to me to be as much a provincial or local variation from the central, ancient tradition as any particular Protestant sect is. I must therefore reject their claim: though this, of course, does not mean rejecting particular things they say. I’m afraid I haven’t read any modern books of Roman-Angelican controversy. Hooker (Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity) is to me the great formulation of Anglicanism. But the great point is that, in one sense, there is no such thing as Anglicanism. What we are committed to believing is whatever can be proved from Scripture. On that subject there is room for endless progress. However you decide, good wishes. Mention me in your prayers.
Amongst anything else I observe that most Roman catholics approach their beliefs out of pure faith, that is never questioning and just obeying which I really don’t espouse. As much as possible I want to understand my faith and I want to understand my practices even though it might take most of my time. I just find it important and entertaining as well to see the entire issue that will eventually confirm my fears or my beliefs.
I just hope that in the end I could do justice and contribute to the greater good of faith.
See the following books for more info: