Are we making ourselves believe?

My question is, “How do we know we are not making ourselves believe something that is not true?”. I guess Im asking, how can christians be sure what they believe is true and every other religion and ideology is not. Because other religions all believe they are the truth, and there is only on truth. So they have to be making themselves believe something that is not true…right? How do we know we aren’t doing the same thing?

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Hello @gabrielk

Very great question! Let me share with you I have learned from the course RZIM once offered, “The Foundation of Apologetics.” In Session 4, Ravi Zacharias discussed the components of our worldview in corresponding to truth.

Ravi often reminds us that truth by definition is exclusive, every religious worldview that claims to be the truth excludes itself from any other claim.

In the Session 4 of Foundation of Apologetics, Ravi presented the components of worldview in alignment to truth, in which Christianity rise above any other religion.

1.) Our ultimiate pursuit is to know the TRUTH.

2.) There are two laws to know the truth:
• Law of Correspondence - every claim must have relation to reality
• Law of Coherence - every claim must be consistent in and of itself

3.) There are three tests for truth:
• Logical Consistency - it must be consistent in logical thinking
• Empirical Adequacy - it must have sufficient and compelling evidence to present
• Experiential Relevance - truth must also relevant to every individual in terms of experience, emotion, and longing

4.) There are four questions to truth:
• Origin - where do I came from?
• Meaning - what gives my life meaning?
• Morality - how do I differentiate good and evil?
• Destiny - what happens when I die?

These four questions asked to every religious truth claim, applying the test for truth and the law for truth. We come to the conclusion that Christianity rise above any other truth claim. Christianity does not only claim to true, but can sustain the claim itself. And no other worldview comes close.

P.S. Other worldview claims to be true. Christianity also claims to be true and proves it, because truth in Christianity is not only argument, but a person – truth revealed in the person of Jesus Christ.

This is just the answer in a general sense.
Thank you for reading. I hope this helps!

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Hi @gabrielk, I have asked myself that very question before. It has taken some effort on my part to understand my beliefs more solidly so I know I’m not deluding myself into another false religion. Sometimes, it can be hard to dig deep, for fear of what we may or may not find. I have found that by unpicking my beliefs, using the approaches @domingoosabel mentioned, that Christianity can stand solid as truth. This has left me confident in what the Bible teaches.

Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

I think it is reasonable to explore why we can be confident in our hope in Jesus, and be assured that whilst we do not see everything yet, we can reasonably trust the promises of God that we find written in scripture.

Some areas to explore as you consider this topic are:

  • There are such things as absolute truths
  • Religions contradict each other; therefore, they cannot all be true.
  • Fulfilled Prophecy concerning Jesus verifies the Christian faith
  • The Claims and Deeds of Christ can be verified and trusted against other religious figures
  • There is extensive evidence of Christ’s resurrection

Whichever way you look at Christianity versus other religions, it’s important to realise that the whole of our faith hinges on the resurrection of Jesus. If Jesus truly resurrected in physical body from the dead, then it’s a strong indication that Jesus was indeed God.

You might enjoy reading through this article, Did Jesus rise from the dead?. This topic is an important place to start, as they write:

This is one of the most important questions of all of history. If Jesus arose from the dead, then what he said about himself is true. If he did not arise from the dead, then what he said about himself is not true. Jesus claimed to be the only way to God (John 14:6). He claimed to be able to forgive sins (Luke 5:20). He also claimed to be divine (John 8:24; 8:58 with Exodus 3:14). Therefore, his extraordinary claims are tied to his resurrection.

This is a good talk on the evidence for the resurrection: ‘Evidence for the Resurrection of Christ’ by Mike Winger - https://youtu.be/Q936WgiD7j8

The other question to look into is the validity of our scriptures. After all, many belief systems have holy scriptures or writings that they hold as authoritative or supernaturally inspired. What makes the Holy Bible any different? Again, if we can verify that the Bible is authentic, inspired by the Holy Spirit, and validated by secular as well as Christian scholars, we can trust that what it says must also be true.

This page entitled, ‘Manuscript evidence for superior New Testament reliability’ goes through evidence for why we can trust what the New Testament says. This would also confirm what we believe about the person of Jesus. Likewise, taking a look at Evidence of biblical inspiration will help separate out why the Bible is different to any other religious text.

These are just some areas to explore. You’ve asked a really important question, that will take time to dig deeply into. I hope that you will find some of these resources I’ve linked helpful. I will leave you with the conclusion from the first link I put here:

Only in Christianity do we have the extremely accurate transmission of the eyewitness documents (gospels) so we can trust what was originally written. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the way the truth and the life (John 14:6). All this adds to the legitimacy and credibility of Christianity above all other religions – all based on the person of Jesus. If follows that if it is all true about what Jesus said and did, then all other religions are false because Jesus said that He alone was the way, the truth, and the life and that no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6). It could not be that Jesus is the only way and truth and other religions also be the truth.

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Thank you so much for this answer. I am now going to research this with the sources you have given me.

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We rightly assume that false is not true; and that only true is truly true. Right?

Meanwhile we know that false often presumes to be true and may try its best to act like true even when it’s not.

But that doesn’t make it true. does it?

Using the example of True Love: Let’s say you’re married…
Let’s say your wife “loves” you with all her brain. And let’s say she puts all of her mere brain-power into trying to be a good “loving” wife.

What would be missing? And what would enable you to perceive the missing parts? What would enable you to know??

How is it that we can we know the answers to questions like these?
And how can we be certain whether the answers we come up with are actually right?

Hopefully this little rhetorical self-dialog points out some of the indicators which demonstrate that we actually can know.

I would say this is not a complete answer to your question. But it is a unique consideration worthwhile pondering among the others.

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When I think about this I don’t think I can make myself believe in something. My belief is not internal. On the contrary, I believe because of external evidence. Therefore, if I find external evidence that through its preponderance supports a particular fact, I can believe that fact to be true.

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They (other religions) are not making themselves believe something that is not true, but rather the devil has blinded their eye’s from the truth, for

“the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God , should shine unto them.” 2 Corinthians 4:4.

So, “how do we know we aren’t doing the same thing?” Because it is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob who has opened our eyes, to believe! As that is why Paul preached the Gospel. “… to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.” Acts 26:18. For of such is the power of the Gospel. as “it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes.” Romans 1:16.

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