Making a decisionAugustine, the church father of the fifth century, was very close in his youth to the groups inspired by the Manichaeism, a major Gnostic religion of his time, founded by Mani, an Iranian prophet. It is interesting to note why he didn’t finally accept to follow their teachings. He found that they are not always pertinent regarding their own identity. They were able to contradict the positions of others and not necessarily capable to explain their own philosophy with conviction. Here is the quotation from his book “De Utilitate Credendi: “But what reason, on the other hand, recalled me, not to be altogether joined to them, so that I continued in that rank which they call of Hearers, so that I resigned not the hope and business of this world; save that I noticed that they also are rather eloquent and full in refutation of others, than abide firm and sure in proof of what is their own.” (p. 2.)

We can also have the same attitude. As we hear the position of others, we are very talented to discover the errors in their reasoning. However, we don’t spend enough of time to clarify our own position, to be familiar with what we strongly believe, and to determine what the important values in our life are. Thus, we are easily shaken in our convictions and the result is that almost insignificant things can change the directions of our entire life.

The apostle Paul said it eloquently: “I’m not ashamed [of my faith] for I know whom I have believed.” (2 Timothy 1:12)

Therefore, take time to understand who you are, what you believe, and what is the essence of your identity.  And when you discover your certitudes, don’t spend too much time in fighting the positions of others. May all your focus be on the truth that you have discovered. Fight for the truth you know and be kind with those who don’t know what you know. May through this standpoint you become more tolerant of others and less confused about yourself. And this is really worthy of all your efforts.