Is that feeling deep in the heart unique to your belief?

As I mentioned before, my Christian friend in high school was the first person I ran into that had certainty that he had the answers to the big questions of life, and he knew it deep down in his heart.  While I thought he was the first person I had met who had this kind of certainty, I had lived all my life with someone who had a similar kind of thought process yet I had never realized it.

I converted to Christianity the summer right before my Sophomore year of college, and I spent several months writing a very long letter to my parents explaining the reasons I believed Christianity was both true and also “completed Judaism”.  That’s a long story in itself, but on to my point – when I went home to visit my parents my mom said to me “don’t you realize that what you have done is not Jewish?”.  My reply was “but how do you know that modern Jewish belief is correct?” to which my mom replied “I just know”.  That was pretty much the end of the discussion and then my dad took over from there.  Growing up my mom never really talked much about her beliefs about God, and her beliefs weren’t quite as “spiritual” as other people, but she basically had grown up believing that the worldview of Judaism was the correct worldview and she had never questioned it.  She had never come across a reason to doubt it, and so she was sure in her heart about it.  While she wouldn’t have called it a “holy spirit” telling her, the thought processes involved there are really quite similar.

As I mentioned here in my senior year of college I met someone who had beliefs that were very contradictory to my own, and he was so incredibly sure that God had told him of the truth of his beliefs.  The group he was with believed that the only people who would be able to avoid Hell would be those who gave up all their possessions to follow God as described in verses like Matthew 19:21.  I had my reasoning for why it was misinterpreted, but it didn’t change the fact that he knew in his heart that God had told him the belief of that group was true.

When I left the Christian “fold” I began to search other beliefs to see if they made any more sense.  I spent about a year fellowshipping with the Bahai’s (great group by the way), and there was a girl in there that I had a long discussion with about belief.  I asked her if she was sure of the Bahai faith and she said she had no doubt of it.  Then of course I asked her why, and she said that she just knew it.  At that point I was quite frustrated with this response and I explained to her how I had met people of several opposing beliefs who had this same response and I asked her how she knew they were wrong.  Obviously this went nowhere.

The Mormons were also more than willing to speak with me of course, so I met with 2 missionaries for several weeks.  As you can guess they were quite sure of their beliefs, and once again the truth of it was buried somewhere deep within their hearts.  In fact after showing me videos and explaining their faith to me they basically told me that it was the pride of my heart that kept me from believing the incredibly obvious truth of Mormonism – been there done that; I had heard this all before and finally realized that my search needed to take a more objective course and also one that accepted uncertainty of the big questions of life.  Embracing uncertainty in life isn’t an easy thing for a lot of people especially due to the fear of the unknown, but I do know several people who are quite content with uncertainty (my wife is the best example I know of this) and that gives me more strength to embrace it as well.

So if you believe that the feeling down deep in your heart proves that your worldview is the truth and everyone else’s is inferior, you may want to consider that a lot of other people feel the same way about your worldview being inferior.  While I may not be able to convince others of this fact, I am very convinced of this myself.

9 thoughts on “Is that feeling deep in the heart unique to your belief?

  1. I think people want to belong to something bigger than themselves so badly they will experience strong feeling of attachment. The same feeling is felt the first time a military unit full of recruits is marched in formation with new shiny uniforms. Something chemical is released into the brain, and we just know that our cause is on the side of good and justice. People looking on from the outside only see mindless drones.

  2. That’s a really good analogy. Perhaps more obvious there too because it can’t be right that both sides in a war are on the good and just side. The vast majority of citizens are moved strongly as well given the deep feelings of patriotism and the propaganda that demonizes the other side.

  3. Pingback: Other groups I explored – I liked Unitarian Universalists the most | Truth Is Elusive

  4. You’re welcome Susan. I’m glad you’ve found it useful. I’ve just been reading through a few of your posts and find them very interesting as well. Seems like we have a very similar approach.

  5. Pingback: You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling | Truth Is Elusive

  6. I reblogged this at The Benevolent Thou. It reminds me of a quote I read somewhere to the effect; “When a person of faith comes to understand why he rejects all other faiths, then he will understand why they reject his.”

    It certainly is a very enlightenment moment.

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