Thoughts on the Strength of Faith
Warning: This has some religious thoughts but a necessary topic regardless.
Last night, I was made aware of the origins of the song I Have Decided to Follow Jesus where the words are written by a martyr who died in India. I'll copy and paste what Wikipedia says about the tune.
"According to Dr. P. Job, the lyrics are based on the last words of Nokseng, a Garo man, a tribe from Meghalaya which then was in Assam, who along with his family decided to follow Jesus Christ in the middle of the 19th century through the efforts of a Welsh missionary. Called to renounce his faith by the village chief, the convert declared, "I have decided to follow Jesus." His two children were killed and in response to threats to his wife, he continued, "Though none go with me, still I will follow." His wife was killed, and he was executed while singing, "The cross before me, the world behind me." This display of faith is reported to have led to the conversion of the chief and others in the village. The fierce opposition is possible, as various tribes in that area were formerly renowned for head-hunting." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Have_Decided_to_Follow_Jesus)
This tune has made me think very heavily about commitment and faith. I am a Christian and I don't hide that fact, but I also believe I need to give a certain amount of respect for other faiths regardless of what I believe. But when faced with certain death, how can I be certain I would have made the decision to keep the faith or denounce the cross. I find myself to be very driven in my faith and my professional life, but I don't like to take any more risks than I have too. I couldn't even imagine putting my family on the line for my faith, and it makes me consider if I don't have a strong enough faith to stand for what I believe in.
But on the same line of thought, almost every person is going to deal with harassment of some sort. Not a day goes by where I don't see someone insulting Christianity, or Christians insulting atheism. Perhaps a racist comment will come up, or some form of an offensive comment to the LBTQ+ community, and it is really disheartening. To even have an opinion makes you a target nowadays. I hold my faith and beliefs very strongly. Most can be heard on my podcast and have caused me to have many... uh... aggressive conversations with my peers and contemporaries. Perhaps in that mindset, I have truly decided to follow Jesus and am standing up for my faith. Perhaps I am not, and I need to work harder, too.
I wish that people would show more compassion to each other in their beliefs. Honestly, people have lost the art of discussion and seem to want to produce conflict instead of reducing it. People have gotten so angry with different beliefs that it isn't feasible to have an honest discussion. I think our last presidential election really proved our inability to simply talk, listen, and stimulate the intellect. I encourage everyone to open discussion in an honest and sincere way and to show some compassion for the people who need it.