I know a lot of people swear by it, but I’ve never found “belief” to be a reliable way of describing what is (or isn’t) happening when I plant myself in a pew.

14 comments for “Belief

  1. How about “duty” or “avoidance of guilt”? A pew is where you go to hear the word, not do it. Does benchwarming count as a “doer of the word” activity?

  2. Adam, is this as deep as you get? I’m thinking you go because you are ‘supposed to’. As you mature you will figure it out.

  3. Adam, I definitely agree that “belief” doesn’t fully describe why I go to Church. It plays its part, certainly, but love, a sense of community, and an obligation to that community also play their parts. And those don’t even reach the totality of why I worship with the Saints; I plant myself in the pew because it is right in a certain ineffable but very real way.

  4. There’s a difference between the statements “I go to church on Sunday morning” and “I go to church on Sunday morning because …”. The first just describes a fact about the world and about myself, whereas the second attempts to explain that fact and (to the extent I can venture a coherent explanation of my own actions) offer a justification.

    But what a person gives as a justification and defense for their choices may not be an accurate explanation — we don’t always understand why we do what we do, much less why others do the things they do. Here’s a commentary from the apostle Paul (Romans 7:15-19 NIV) that illustrates the difficulty we have in offering an accurate explanation or justification for our choices and our actions:

    I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing.

    Beliefs are what we generally offer as justifications for religious choices. But what’s really going on inside a person making ethical or religious choices is much broader and deeper, I think.

  5. Even simple questions can be deep. I heard of a philosophy prof who gave a final exam with one simple question: “Why?”. Although, the person who got the ‘A’ simply answered “Why Not?”. A guy could build a dissertation about faith around your supposely immature question.

    I suppose if Jesus blogged something simple here like “Love one another” he would be chided for not being more sophisticated.

  6. Ooh! Adam, what a fantastic tease! I loved the opening line and was eager to read the post…then found out that the opening line was the post. I would love to hear you fill in the millions of questions drawn to the vortex of your statement. But I also enjoyed everyone’s comments above doing just that.

  7. I like this post, however intentionally ambiguous.

    To some it is given to know, to others it is given to believe on their words. I don’t mind the term believe, but I feel it only applies within the window of time when someone is initially acquiring a testimony.

    I like the way Paul worded it better, in 1 Corinthians 13:12 – “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

    I feel like having a testimony is “knowing in part,” It is not a comprehensive knowledge, but a puzzle piece (like President Uchtdorf’s metaphor in his Damascus talk) of sure knowledge, made of a handful of essential principles of the Gospel. To paraphrase Elder Anderson, I don’t know everything, but we know enough. I also like Nephi’s “I know that He loveth His children, nevertheless, I do not know the meaning of all things.”

  8. I second Bradley’s comment. Short and sweet. Offering the palette to others ….and gets called shallow.

  9. @ 7 Bradley “I suppose if Jesus blogged something simple here like “Love one another” he would be chided for not being more sophisticated.”

    Truest and funniest post on here I’ve ever read!

  10. Actually, when you consider what the Savior said it’s quite sophisticated. To love one another, as he has loved us. When you think about the ways he showed his love for us – creation, teaching, ministering, healing, revealing, uplifting, and culminating with bearing the burdens of the world. It’s quite a tall order.

    To try to pattern our love in principle and where possible in detail after the way he showed his love is much deeper than to just show love for another as we would like to.

    So in that light, I think sitting in the pew is just a shard of the reflection of my belief, and what I do after I get out of that pew and why (hopefully the above) more fully represents what I believe.

  11. Perhaps the better word to describe what we do when we sit down in Sacrament Meeting is “hope”. We are there in expectation of being spiritually fed, filled with the Spirit, through our participation in the Sacrament and through our participation in the presentation of a brother or sister’s thoughts and feelings about Christ and the Gospel.

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