Continuing with the exploration and reflection through a series of articles written in a conversational language about Catholicism, about God, about Jesus, about the Church and many other faith related topics. Here we present:
Question 6 – Are you born a Christian?
Being a Christian is not congenital or hereditary, but of course you get a lot from your parents. Your family has a big influence on who you are and who you become. This also applies to what you believe. Yet, the Christian faith is not just passed on from parent to child.
You don’t choose your mother tongue, you receive it. That doesn’t mean that you can’t learn other languages later on, but the language in which you grow up always retains something unique and definite. You can’t leave it behind you. For faith, it’s different. If you grow up in a Christian family, you can stop believing. The other way around is also possible: you were born in an unbelieving or non-believing environment, but one day you start believing in Jesus*.
Education and environment are important, but in the end being a Christian is the result of a personal choice. You become a Christian. Even if you have been brought up in the Christian faith. Sooner or later you have to go for it yourself. Someone else cannot decide this in your place. Christian faith and freedom* go hand in hand.
The personal choice, however important, is not enough. Some would like to believe. They do everything they can to believe. Yet, they find that they don’t have the faith. At the end of the day, faith is something you receive. It is offered to you and then you can say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to it. Christians call this mystery the grace* of faith.
– How and when did you come to your faith?
– Which people, experiences and events are or have been important in your faith story?
Feel free to leave your thoughts, reflections or comments below.
Watch this space! Coming up: Question 7 – Can a human being meet God?
Follow these links to go back to Question 1 – Is believing exceptional? , Question 2 – Is Faith for simple souls? , Question 3 – Can you be a Christian and yet doubt your faith? , Question 4 – Can a believer be critical? and Question 5 – Can faith and science get along?
If you wish to learn more about this resource follow this link “52 Questions and Answers about faith”
About the author:
Nikolaas Sintobin, SJ, joined the Society of Jesus in 1989, following a short career as a lawyer. He was trained as a Jesuit in Brussels, Paris, and Santiago de Chile. Today he is a spiritual director who is keenly interested in online ministry and discovering new ways to help people find God.
This text is republished with the permission of Messenger Publications, Ireland. To buy a hard copy of the book click here.