Because it's true
I recently met up with one of my husband's good friend's wives. I don't know Mai very well but was happy to have the opportunity to hang out with her for a day and get to know her better.
One of the things I couldn't wait to ask her about was her religious choices. Like me, she was raised pretty much without religion. Her dad is agnostic and her mom is Buddhist, but neither of them ever talked about religion much. While she was in school at a notoriously liberal Ivy League college she decided to convert to the Eastern Orthodox faith. (I think it's safe to say that she may be the only person ever at this school to go in agnostic and come out Eastern Orthodox).
As we ate cucumber sandwiches outside and watched the kids play in the yard last week I asked her how on earth she ended up choosing Christianity. Why not Buddhism? It seems like she would have been drawn to that since Buddhism is the hot "spirituality" on college campuses right now, and it's extra-cool that her mother, who is of Vietnamese descent, is the real thing. It seems like that would be a very tempting path for a college student exploring her religious beliefs.
I expected a lengthy intellectual discourse on the sociopsychological merits of the various schools of thought in modern religion, but the simplicity of her answer caught me off guard.
"I did explore Buddhism first," she said with a shrug. "But it's not true."
Seeing that I expected a bit more of an answer, she elaborated, "As soon as I started looking into Christianity I saw that it spoke the truth. The things it teaches about God, the meaning of life, what the afterlife is like, etc. were to me just obviously more accurate than what Buddhism taught. If one religion is telling you that two plus two equals five and another tells you that two plus two equals four, you go with the latter."
She went on to explain how she ended up with the Orthodox church as opposed to the other branches of Christianity, but I was stuck thinking about her simple answer to my question.
I realized that that was pretty much why I had chosen this route too. For all the doubts that still linger, I have yet to encounter another religious worldview (including atheism) that was a better fit for explaining life as I know it. And the more I research the historicity of the New Testament, the actions of the early Church Fathers and even the history of the Church the more I think that these people are telling the truth.
I think I've been overanalyzing a lot of the issues I have with my beliefs right now. In all my mental thrashing around and self-analysis I've lost sight of the big picture. Every time I get lost in thought, frustrated that I still have doubts, that I haven't seen any concrete proof of God's existence, I should take a moment to ask myself why I'm still even bothering to explore this religion. After all, back in my "open-minded" days (read: open-minded to everything except for Christianity) I explored a variety of different belief systems but never stuck with any one. So why now do I go to Mass every Sunday; spend way too much time updating this blog; bend over backwards to find time in my schedule to read Lewis, Chesterton, Geisler, Groeschel and all the other Christian authors whose books have overtaken my bookshelf? If my doubts are so deep and so strong then why am I devoting more and more time from my busy schedule every day to pursue Christian thought and activities?
Because I think it's true.