Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Christian Dissonance

I have recently been pondering dissonance and its affect on faith. Many former Christians claim dissonance as the reason for leaving the faith. And I have experienced this disharmony myself. It can be very painful. But you have more than one option when dissonance occurs. You can run from the discomfort; or you can wait to see how God will choose to resolve the chord. Several of my friends have resorted to the former and have distanced themselves from Christianity. But one friend of mine experienced the latter:

Two years ago, my friend Joe suffered a major crisis of faith. Halfway through Christian college, a series of hurtful experiences led him to seriously question his beliefs. With his former "perfect" life crumbling around him, Joe remembers asking himself, "Why do I have to believe this? Why be part of a group that hurts more than it helps?"

Growing up in a Christian home, Joe knew all the basics of Christianity. He'd given his life to Christ at a young age and even felt called to full time ministry as a teenager.

But suddenly, his faith didn't seem to ring true. He began making sinful choices, which heightened these feelings and isolated him from Christian community. "I was ready to throw it all away," he says.

A few weeks ago, I heard someone say that dissonance is the number one reason people leave the faith. "If a person is claiming a set of beliefs while living in a way that violates those beliefs," he said, "he will eventually give up on his faith to escape the pressure."

We all experience this kind of disharmony at times in our lives. Googling dissonance and faith, I came across the blog of an ex-Christian. He wrote: "Christianity promised life fuller and more abundant. Instead, it separated me from life. It made me miserable."

Sadly, I don't have to go to the blogosphere to hear words like these. I've heard them from many of my own friends. Dissonance, defined here as "inconsistency between the beliefs one holds or between one's actions and one's beliefs," occurs when a person's perceptions about themselves and life fail to match their beliefs.

While sometimes painful, dissonance exists to be resolved. I believe it points us to a God with knowledge and ways so much higher than we can fathom. And it is that tension that produces the beautiful music that God plays in our lives.

Read the rest of the article on Boundless.


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