How firm a foundation
They have a saying in the excavation business, “What goes up must first go down.” I have a corollary saying: “And if what goes down is shoddy and weak, what goes up will eventually fall down.” Not as pithy, but it makes the point. The strength of a structure is dependent on the reliability of its foundation.
Including a belief structure. No matter if we’re theist or a-, Christian or non-, Catholic or Pro-(testant), we have reasons for our beliefs that act as a foundation for them, a foundation which can be anywhere on a spectrum from spider web flimsy to rock solid. From “I like to think that would be true” to “all the historical, archeological, philosophical, and scientific evidence supports it.” Have you examined your foundation to see if it’s strong enough to support your beliefs?
My husband is an excavating superintendent, so when we built our house he personally oversaw the laying of the foundation. Therefore, though I know nothing about construction, I know this building is sound. Why? Because I know him and how much he cares about doing things right. I know that his employers have given him great responsibility because they’ve seen what he can do and heard him talk about what he knows. I know that he loves me and our family so had our safety and well-being in mind when that initial and all-important phase was in process. And I have decades of experience living in this block and mortar, cement and wood structure and can personally testify that it has not sunk, leaned, or wobbled, there are no cracks in the basement walls, and it even survived a minor earthquake with no damage.
Those are the reasons which form the foundation for my belief in the stability of my house. Suppose I had never thought about it, but simply worked, slept, ate, and raised my children in it just assuming it would not fall down on us. It still wouldn’t have because the determining factor is not whether or not I ever thought about it or what I believed but the strength of the foundation. But if in fact it was extremely weak, my negligence and apathy might have cost my family and I our lives.
Similarly, if one is negligent and/or apathetic about one’s spiritual beliefs, it could cost them their eternal life, or at the very least some real spiritual goods like peace, joy, and assurance. Unless what they just accept without question happens to be true. But for something as crucially significant as one’s eternal destination, doesn’t it make sense to go beyond unexamined acceptance?
In this very simple graphic (which pretty much exemplifies the limits of my artistic skills) I depict some of the reasons which form the foundation for my own spiritual beliefs. Each is individually strong, but taken together they constitute a nigh to indestructible foundation which has kept my beliefs intact through personal trials and impersonal attacks from skeptics and unbelievers.
But there are many whose belief structure is supported by weak, pliable pillars that read…
- It’s what I was taught
- I’m comfortable with it
- It’s true for me
- Millions can’t be wrong
- The Bible says so
- My church leaders say they have the authority
- I like to think that would be true
Even taken comprehensively that’s a very weak foundation. Many of those reasons were all I had to support my beliefs at one time. Which is why my previous “home” eventually fell when I began to experience the tremors of doubt and confusion, and the winds of an unsatisfied longing.
But my Father built me a new home, and he’s an even more reliable builder than my husband. This one is never coming down.
In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. – John 14:2-3