What I mean is, why does it matter what I believe? I have never understood this. Of all the traits necessary for eternal life, I belief is the most terrifying. For years, I thought it meant you had to believe that Jesus of Nazareth existed. Then it came to mean that you believed Jesus was Son of God and died for our sins. Now, apparently, the whole structure is built on belief from the Church to the Bible. What is belief?
Why is belief necessary? Can’t I just do the best I can with what I know and try to follow all of the commandments and rules? How far does the belief go? If many biblical narratives are allegorical, what parts do I need to believe in and how concrete must these beliefs be to be valid. Furthermore, if eternal damnation is on the line, why is the whole thing so muddy? Simply within Christianity, some folks hold fast to different translations, traditions, and interpretations. I’m saying this as an incoming convert from non-practicing Southern Baptist. Look, these folks aren’t out here intentionally believing in the wrong thing. They aren’t. They are doing the best they can with what they have. Also, they aren’t going to change, because from birth they have been taught that changing one iota from their tradition means eternal hell. So, I mean they are set in their ways. Yet they BELIEVE it and are SURE of it’s truth. It’s also one of the problems I have with the doctrine of Hell (like it cares what I think). If I had really, truly believed in Hell like I was brought up to believe, I would have been too scared to even consider Catholicism. In fact, I will go so far as to say that changing or doubting your religion while holding to the presupposition of Hell is insanity. It makes no sense to challenge or ask anything if you could have an aneurysm mid-thought and go to hell forever. Yet, because of its consequences, I switched to Catholicism. But if I had taken it seriously, I never would have looked up from the KJV bible.
I have so many doubts. I didn’t until I started to become Catholic. Just seeing another set of people with immovable faith that think they have it correct has been shattering. Although, I believe Catholics have the best claim to this faith. Most people in my area say Catholics aren’t Christians and that they are going to Hell. Catholics say they have the fullness of the faith. Honestly, I understand the rebuttals and arguments from both sides of the aisle, but a solid question remains. How is it that literal souls are in the balance yet two (or many more) groups believe opposing things while claiming to believe in the same thing? Assuming there is no malice here, it just seems odd. It especially seems odd that it will throw them into Hell. I mean, I was raised to think Catholics were the Devil.
Part 2 in comments