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I was raised Christian. I am Armenian, and my parents were raised Christian (however my grandmother was raised Catholic).

Every so often I think about my religion, and I can't help but think about whether it's true or not. I know that it's more on a "believing is seeing" basis rather than "seeing is believing," but sometimes I have trouble accepting the Christianity is the true religion of God when there are all these other differing religious opinions in the world. How do we know which one is true?

I still believe in Christianity, but I just want to know if it's okay to have thoughts like this.

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closed as not constructive by HedgeMage Aug 31 '11 at 0:33

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have you looked at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unitarian_Universalism ? –  Tyler Gillies Aug 29 '11 at 4:29
    
Closing as not constructive. Christianity is here to share expertise. Our Q&A format is not suited to providing value judgements or personal validation. Please don't treat our site like a forum or support group -- it's a source of information. –  HedgeMage Aug 31 '11 at 0:32
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A new question has been asked that is a generic version of this with the addition of some specific guidelines for answers as well as some extra scope-limiting factors here: Is it OK to question God about doubts? –  Caleb Aug 31 '11 at 22:32
    
Everything more than this is just gravy - Mark 12:30-31: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” –  user1054 Mar 23 '12 at 14:21
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7 Answers 7

It would be unnatural to never have doubts. If you blindly accept everything you are told then you will end up believing in lots of contradictory things. When you have a doubt, turn it into a challenge to get answers. Read the scriptures to find answers and pray for affirmation and your doubt will be replaced with confidence.

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You make an excellent point here--challenging yourself to find answers through your doubts is a good way to both become more confident in Christianity and learn more about it. Thank you. –  Arbiter Aug 28 '11 at 1:34
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Yes. And God's grace is such that you can just be honest. Consider Mark 9:24, one of my favourite NT verses:

'Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”'

Doubt mixed with faith is natural. Jesus' response is not recorded - so apparently He was neither surprised nor condemning.

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I appreciate that you provided a bible verse because this one especially shows the true mercy of God and his willingness to help you believe. Thanks very much for your help. –  Arbiter Aug 26 '11 at 1:40
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I hate to be the only one to throw down scripture on this, but I think it's important in order to get a full view of this answer.

James 1:6 NIV

But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Romans 14:23 NIV

But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.

With that said, we also see the disciples having their doubts too.

Matthew 14:31 NIV

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

I end with Jesus in Mathew asking the perfect question. Why do you doubt? Understand that reading the bible is what brings faith. When you begin to read and learn about who God is, your doubts will disappear. If you have doubts, READ MORE!

That's whats great about the Bible, it's a foundation that is worthy of relying on.

Now don't get me wrong, we all have had our doubts. But if you doubt you can fix that.

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I think it's worth noting that Matthew 14:31 is referring to Peter. We should not let our doubts turn us from Christ (they could be a part of spiritual warfare), but we should, as you said, confront our doubts and "READ MORE!" –  a_hardin Aug 25 '11 at 15:22
    
small edit :) I was actually changing topics at Mathew so I made that more clear. –  Jonathon Byrd Aug 25 '11 at 15:28
    
Reading? Doesn't work for everybody. If I doubt, a book that tells me it's the truth doesn't cut it (and why should it?) God himself, now he cuts it. If you believe just because it's written somewhere, and not because you actually experienced meeting Him personally (throught Jesus and the Holy Spirit, natch), then what do you believe? See Miguel de Unamuno's "believe only in the God idea, not God Himself". –  Jürgen A. Erhard Aug 28 '11 at 4:41
    
The bible days that faith comes through reading the scriptures. –  Jonathon Byrd Aug 28 '11 at 18:10
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My father once told me that choosing the right person for your wife is a much bigger decision than choosing the right religion (and he has degrees in theology, so I like to think he knows what he's talking about).

The reason being that if you break the union between a man and a wife, chances are you're not going to be welcome back. However, God always welcomes you back with open arms after you stray.

So, rather than thinking "Is it OK to have doubts", just be glad that even if you were to totally leave the Christian faith, if you were to become muslim, buddhist, or atheist, if you ever come back to Christ, he will love you just the same as if you had never left.

The parable of the Prodigal Son really sums it all up (found in Luke 15). We are the son. God gives us everything we need, but we still squander it all away on earthly things. The meaning within the story is deeper than it appears. Demanding your inheritance like the son did is basically saying "I wish you were dead". The son wished his father dead, and then lived a life of debouchery and sin. And yet, his father didn't just welcome him back, but threw a party and killed the fattened calf.

Another one is the parable of the lost sheep (Also Luke 15, and Matthew 18). We are the sheep, God is the shephard. He goes after the solitary lost sheep, which others would have ignored, because they still had the 99.

The third parable in this story (also, Luke 15) is the lost coin. A woman finds a coin that most would consider worthless, and she throws a party that would surely have cost more than the lost coins value. We are the lost coin, and God celebrates when one of us comes back to him, regardless of our perceived value by society.

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"a union between a man and a wife is eternal" - I've not come across that before: could you post some references for perusing? Thanks :) –  warren Aug 24 '11 at 22:45
    
@warren - it's in the wedding vows we took - when I get time I'll find them. Anyway, that's kinda not the point of the answer (the anecdote is a useful way of getting the OP's attention), it's the rest of the answer that's important. Also, I think my father might have had alterier motives, as I had recently become engaged. –  Mark Henderson Aug 24 '11 at 22:49
    
For the sake of integrity, I've removed that statement for the moment. If I get time I'll find the reference and put it back. –  Mark Henderson Aug 24 '11 at 22:52
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It's reassuring knowing that I will be welcomed with open arms if I ever find my doubt overpowering me. Thank you for your answer. :) –  Arbiter Aug 26 '11 at 1:36
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Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. –  Tyler Gillies Aug 29 '11 at 4:32
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Absolutely yes! It is okay to have doubts. In fact, doubt is an important part of a journey of faith.

A good friend of mine (and many others) likes to say

The opposite of faith is not doubt, but apathy

I would venture to say that God would much rather us be honest doubters than dishonest believers.

God can handle all of our doubts. He is not offended when we ask "Are you even real?", "Are you really listening to me?", "Can you even hear me?", "Why don't you answer my prayers?", "If you're good, why did you let that innocent person die?". He invites us to seek Him from where we are. We don't need to build up a false sense of surety.

Scripture is littered with doubters as others here have mentioned.

I'm glad Wikis At Area 51 mentioned Mark 9:24, "I believe, help my unbelief". This is the cry of a father with a sick child -- someone struggling with believe in the face of the realities of life. This is a great prayer to pray!

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Thanks for that quote. In fact you addressed my question perfectly--I often ask myself "Why does God let innocent people die?" Whenever I begin to doubt, I ask myself questions just like the ones you said, but like you said, I feel that when I doubt, I understand more and more. Thank you! –  Arbiter Aug 26 '11 at 2:32
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Doubt is a logical process for someone who wish to know what is true and don't stay captive of wrong traditions. I don't know someone who believes in God and at least one time in it's life didn't doubt about God's existence, Bible's inspiration, his denomination truthfulness. Many people in the Holy Scriptures had doubts. From Moses to Jeremiah and in NT Thomas. The first two had doubts about themselves, "am I the correct person for this appointment?" and this was a logical process to convince themselves. In the other had Thomas doubted Jesus. He asked more proves a logical process until convince his mind that the man before him was Jesus.

About your question:

I have trouble accepting the Christianity is the true religion of God when there are all these other differing religious opinions in the world. How do we know which one is true?

Here is what helped me. Let's say you want to find the height of a door. You asked someone near you "What is door's height?" he looks at it, and say's 2.30. You ask another says 2.50, someone else 2.10. The best way to find the height is simple: the meter. In the same way the meter for Christian truth is the Bible. God in this book helps us to understand what people do his will nowadays. For example ask yourself the following questions and try to ask honestly:

What denomination base its teachings on the Bible? 2 Timothy 3:16,17 & 1 Thessalonians 2:13

What denomination worship only God and make his name known? John, 17:6, Matthew 4:10, Psalms 83:18

What denomination show genuine love for one another? John 13:35, Colossians 3:14, 1 John 3:10-12; 4:20, 21.

What denomination accept Jesus as God’s means of salvation Acts 4:12, Matthew 20:28, John 3:36

What denomination is no part of the world? John 18:36, Acts 5:29 & Mark 12:17

What denomination preach God’s Kingdom as man’s only hope? Matthew 24:14, Psalms 146:3, Matthew 6:10, Daniel 2:44

True Christians, in my view, fulfill all the above requirements that Bible sets. If you have honesty be sure that God will drive you in the correct path.

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First of all, be assured that you are more than your thoughts and emotions. You are made in the image of God, a mystery that can't be contained as a sum of thoughts. A moment's reflection will reveal that not all the thoughts in your head can properly be called your own---earworms, for instance. Doubts may similarly have crept in from the outside, or been instigated in you by some trick. Other times we sin, and then begin to have doubts of our own volition. In any case, doubting thoughts are a more or less universal phenomenon in the Christian life, and in that sense are normal. Very holy people have doubts: even John the Baptist sent for Jesus asking if indeed He was the Savior. Doubts can be very painful, but we are tested by fire.

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