Quick Personal Reflection on (My Struggle With) Orthodox Belief

I ask God to forgive me if I am obstinate in my cynicism, and for Christ to preserve my cynicism if it is right to do so. I cannot give myself wholly to any particular Church: nothing in me is convinced of the peripheral claims of Christian sects. I am a firm skeptic when it comes to most theological doctrines, and very minimal in my state of belief.

Am I sinning by continuing to hold all in suspicion but the most central doctrines of Christianity? I cannot believe them, although I am constantly harassed by doubts in the justification of my doubting. I am in rebellion against the largest Christian movements, but not in virtue of my views on atonement, incarnation, Trinitarianism, or moral teaching. Rather, I allow myself to remain unfettered by questions of inerrancy, and take a (as some might charge) lax view of Biblical authority—in doing this I ground justification for those doctrines I mentioned above differently than most. Nor do I place myself under the rule of any specific liturgical tradition or organization. I openly dislike many of the practices of the Church in worship, and do not hold many Church “leaders” in high regard.

These traits of mine have caused tension between myself and other Christians, often leading others to question my membership in ‘the body of Christ.’ I have constant anxiety over my salvation, my status as a Christian, my soundness of mind, my relationship with God, and, worst of all, my sincerity in belief. This is not my fault, and I must admit that to myself so I can honestly pursue God.

But I am moved by Christ’s words. I desire to develop my character towards God through Christ. I believe in the Father as creator, in Christ as savior-crucified, His having made salvation attainable by all, and His death, burial and resurrection. I take Christ to be divine and worthy of worship, yet not the same as the father. I believe the spirit is not Father, nor Christ in person—but as to its own personhood, I remain skeptical, though again considering it distinct from the Father and Christ (the Son). Further into trinitarian metaphysics I do not feel comfortable entering into. I believe the Church is Christ’s messenger and established to preserve and provide epistemic access to God through Christ. I believe this has been done in great part via the writing, collecting, preserving and presenting of the New Testament documents and themes. Anyone who truly desires and seeks salvation via Christ, and anyone who seeks God in whatever way He is apprehended is saved from His sins, their penalty, and natural consequence.

I can’t lie to myself nor others to convince myself or them of my membership and security in the Christian religion. Am I to put comfort over honesty? Am I to respect persons more than truth and goodness?

What must I believe to be considered Orthodox? There is no unified conception of orthodoxy, and this vacuum has been used as a bludgeon against me (sometimes rightly, but many times unjustly). If much more than the doctrines I have vaguely described above is added as a requirement for orthodoxy, I worry that only the most fortunate philosophers will meet those requirements. This is my starting point in developing an account of orthodoxy: to prevent ruling out too many honest people.

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