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Fighting for My Beliefs: How Do You Know What You Know?

It’s scary to think that up to this point in my life, I’ve just been letting other peoples’ views define my own. My parents have always decided what my religious beliefs were, and embarrassingly, Twitter, of all things, factored into what my political beliefs were — and the two were almost always contradicting one another. Even so, I still never gave it much thought. I believed in what I believed and that was that; I was never really one to ask questions or delve into anything further. If it sounded reasonable enough to me, cool. If not, I won’t pay it much attention. 

Man sitting with leg crossed reading a newspaper that is on fire.
Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash

But this mindset changed when I finally started to take my faith in Christianity seriously. The more I read the Bible, did devotions, listened to sermons, etc., the clearer it became that there is an increasing need for Christians to always be prepared enough to defend what they believe in. I always panicked at the hypothetical situation where someone truly interested in Christianity could potentially ask me, “how do you know God is real, and what evidence do you have?” If I continued to be in that passive, “to each their own” mindset, the sad reality is that I would be left speechless and therefore, unable to help them.

If you’re familiar with YouTubers Rhett and Link from Good Mythical Morning, you would know that in the past few months they’ve released a series of videos discussing their past experiences with Christianity and their eventual “Spiritual Deconstructions” on their more intimate podcast channel, Ear Biscuits. I had actually never heard of them before, but I’d already been listening to John Piper’s podcast, Desiring God (which I recommend for getting someone’s perspective on topics regarding Christian life) and naturally, their videos ended up in my recommended list. The first video I watched was “Rhett’s Spiritual Deconstruction,” the result of this new term having caught my eye. What the heck is “spiritual deconstruction?” Does that mean they’re going to analyze what spirituality means to humanity as a whole? COOL, I naively thought. Little did I know, Rhett’s “spiritual deconstruction” would leave me saddened but also indirectly perpetuating the doubt in my own faith, making me more aware about questions that I, by myself, could not answer and also couldn’t find explicitly in the Bible. 

YouTube homepage
Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash

I didn’t want one video to completely destroy the one thing I considered (and still consider) to be the most solid in my life, so I set out to find answers. It started with figuring out my emotions. Why was I so easily shaken and doubting my faith now, just because I agreed with maybe half the things Rhett said and empathized with some of his reasons for no longer believing in Christianity? The answer was this: Rhett’s video revealed my lacking sense of stability; I needed to do the research myself. I needed to build up my foundation of knowing the Bible was the solid truth that I aimed to base my entire life on and most importantly, why. Through this short period of confusion and (minor) identity crisis, I became more interested and committed into delving deeper. While this is still an ongoing process for me, I have been enjoying researching what various people have to say about how science and faith can coexist, as well as reading Christian apologetics like Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis (yes, he also wrote The Chronicles of Narnia) that grounds me in my faith even further. I can now combine the growing practical knowledge gained from these resources with the love that I’ve already experienced, and continue to experience with God from a personal level.

When it comes to politics though, I am still figuring that web out. With the help of my friends who are more educated on policy and social issues, university classes, books, and also keeping an open mind to understand both sides (especially aware of the algorithm websites use to only show you one side of arguments, which can lead to bias), I am able to form my own educated opinions on issues I feel passionately about. 

The more research I seem to do, the more I am reminded that this phenomenon of asking questions isn’t at all a new thing, we just have to be proactive enough to find the right answers. 

Hayley is currently a fourth-year student at UC Davis, majoring in Human Development with a minor in Communication. You can often find her listening to True Crime podcasts, watching classic movies (yet, her true favorite is 'Ratatouille'), and obsessing over cats.