Thursday, September 25, 2014

Choosing your Faith | Book Review

Book Title: Choosing your Faith: In a world of Spiritual Options
Author: Mark Mittelberg

There are different religions aside from Christianity. And within Christianity there are different denominations which are estimated to be around 41,000 in number! [See other Christian statistics here] And also within Christianity, you can find the different cults that twists the Word of God.

Because of the different religions in the world, different denominations that we have in Christianity, and also the different cults within Christianity that will try to confuse us, we find ourselves at a crossroad. We will see that these different faiths will try to convince you that their faith is better than the other. Comparing interpretations, or views and even lifestyles. It is like comparing the statistics of basketball players to see who is the better player. Just how people compare Kobe Bryant and Lebron James to Michael Jordan, when it is obvious that Michael Jordan is the greatest player of all time! :)

Joking aside, this book will show you that faith is reasonable and will challenge  you to question and test your faith and beliefs.

I. The Book:

The book starts off by asking the questions "Choose a faith? Why would anyone even want one?" and it is a valid and reasonable question to ask. For Christians, we are bombarded with different kinds of beliefs, faiths, doctrines and it is reasonable to ask "what faith do I choose to follow?" For skeptics, they could ask "out of all these religions, what is true?" For non-theists, even if they don't follow a specific set of belief, they are still bounded and guided by faith. Faith is an inevitable truth of the world. We trust that tomorrow, the sun is still there, that the earth orbits around the sun, or that your family and house will still somehow be intact. From page 10 of the book, the author tells us that we live our life by faith every day.

No doubt about it -- you live your life by faith every day, even in the mundane details. You may have what seem like good reasons for your faith, which is fine, but you could also be wrong about some of your conclusions. And some of those mistakes could be serious, even life threatening. 
More than that, even if you're a thoroughly nonreligious person, you're living with the hope that your nonreligious beliefs are accurate, and that you won't someday face a thoroughly religious Maker who, come to find out, actually did once issue a list of moral requirements, which you routinely failed to pay attention to.
"Oh, I never worry about things like that, " you may say. But that statement itself is an expression of faith that it's okay not to concern oneself with such things. You don't know that they are unimportant - you just believe that to be the case. That's part of your own particular version of nonreligious faith.  
We all live by some form of faith. The author, Mark Mittelberg, reasons out that faith is a radical truth that everyone  has. He also goes out to point out that however strong you trust your faith, if it is not true, it is still dangerous. Then throughout the book, he talks about six ways to test out our faith. He calls it the six "faith paths" that people tend to have when they choose their faith. And throughout each chapter, he identifies and explains these six "faith paths" - the problem, the results, the good, the bad, etc.

Six Faith Paths

  1. Relativistic - subjective; created in the human mind; “it works for me and fits my other beliefs”
  2. Traditional – beliefs and traditions that have been handed down though generations
  3. Authoritarian – beliefs imposed by an authority figure or organization
  4. Intuitive – ideas from instincts, intuition, or “street sense”
  5. Mystical – based on encounters with supernatural beings or through mystical revelation
  6. Evidential – use of logic and sensory experience to evaluate beliefs
The author also went on to tell 20 arrows that points him into the Christian faith. These arrows, or reasons were supported by logical and probably tested reasons on why he believes what he believes.

II. The Verdict:

I recommend this book because it is thought provoking, and guides you into how to challenge and question your faith. The author, Mark Mittelberg, does not tell you what to believe, but rather helps you think critically about your faith. At the end of the book, he tells his faith and beliefs, and challenges you to test your faith too.

..really knowing, following, and serving Jesus has been an incredibly exciting walk of faith - one I've never regretted and that I'm confident will never end. And it's from that perspective, as one not just convinced of truth but also experiencing an exhilarating relationship with the Creator, that I encourage you - no, strongly urge you - to consider choosing your faith as I did.

III. Notable Quotes:

"The testing and trying of truth has given me a confidence that 
Christianity is not a blind trust of a mere leap of faith."

"I hope these thoughts will strengthen your faith - not just because of tradition 
or authority but because they hold up factually and logically."

"Logic and sensory experience are God-given tools we must use to test truth claims, 
and ultimately to decide what to believe."

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