Q Does God care about me?
a God made people so that He could unite with them, love them and make them happy. He cares deeply for every single person, and is present and active in the most minute details of every person's life. His presence is the source of every good feeling and true thought that we have, and He never stops working to bring people into heaven.
Q Do I have to believe certain things to get to heaven?
a Getting to heaven has to do with what we do as well as what we believe. There are two key beliefs that, when brought into action, impact our eternal destination: the first is a belief in God. The person who believes in God looks outside of him or herself for guidance, as self-guidance often springs from selfishness. The second is a belief that one must turn from evil and embrace goodness. We often do our greatest good by controlling our natural evil instincts. The Lord's Word can aid us. The more we know about Him, the easier it is to believe in Him. In the same way, the more we know about the nature of evil and the quality of goodness, the easier it becomes to reject evil and embrace goodness.
Q How to I reconcile my doubt with my desire to believe?
a Few people just "believe." Rather, believing is a process. Doubt is a natural part of our spiritual development and plays an important role in the process of converting knowledge to belief. When we doubt something, we have to test it, and by testing it, we can come to the conviction that it is indeed true. What is important is what we do with our doubts. We can say to ourselves, "I don't understand so I won't believe." This kind of doubt closes the understanding and destroys belief. Or we can say, "I don't understand, but I'll suspend my judgment until I do," and then keep on searching until the matter becomes clear.
Q Can I go to church when I'm doubting?
a This is probably the best time to go to church. Sometimes when people doubt, they fall into a negative doubt, thinking, "I don't understand, so I won't believe." These thoughts can lead people into a downward spiral ending in denial. But the purpose of going to church is to inspire us; we may see a topic from an angle we had not thought of before. Going to church may not cure all doubts, but people with an affirmative attitude may find insights that help them resolve their doubts.
The Rev. Dr. Andy Dibb is the Dean of the Theological School in Bryn Athyn and is involved in the training of ministers worldwide. For more information, contact him at [email protected].