Personal and God which changes John’s views. Throughout

Personal faith is not a corporate belief it is individualistic, while an organized faith is a corporate identity and has terms in which one follows in. This is true of the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Having personal faith creates one to see their own beliefs from within. One having confidence in themselves causes them to have their own personal faith, and trusting in God creates a personal bond between them and God which creates personal faith. Furthermore, personal faith consists of beliefs, confidence, and trust that comes from within, rather than societal norms. Personal faith roots from beliefs within oneself. Belief in God requires knowledge in an individual’s personal faith. This is true of the character John Wheelwright. As John opens the novel he states, “I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice – not because of his voice, or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother’s death, but because he is the reason I believe in God; I am a Christian because of Owen Meany” (Irving 1). In this quotation, it indicates John’s beliefs towards religion, how he became religious and how he followed in Owens footsteps. Owen Meany expresses his beliefs on religion and God which changes John’s views. Throughout the span of John’s life, there is a struggle to find truth in religion and personal faith and which is to be true and the one to follow in. The faith within his best friend Owen, demonstrates the inner battle John faces while determining his beliefs towards religion and God. Throughout the novel, Owen reflects on his own belief as he states, “belief is not an intellectual matter” (Irving 112). As Reverend Merrill always emphasizes the importance of religious doubt. But to Owen, you either believe in God or you don’t. On the other hand, John criticizes religion as he questions the difference between religion and faith. He believes that religion is studied, and faith is based only on beliefs, and also views organized religion to be more corrupt than beneficial. Beliefs towards religion and faith can be confused in regards to what is real or not. J. Denny Weaver states, “As the narrator then unfolds Owen’s story, what brings the narrator to faith is the series of coincidences that occur in Owen’s life, which Owen and eventually Johnny believe are the action of God, along with Owen’s premonitions of his future that eventually prove true” (Weaver 14). This quotation goes on to saying John portrays his confusion towards religion and faith, instead of connecting with either option. As John goes to church, he admits to a large amount of doubt, in comparison with Owen, Owen is very religious and has no doubts in God’s existence. However, Owen dislikes organized religion, as a relationship with God is much more important rather than rituals and beliefs. Moreover, religion and faith differ from individuals as some refuse to accept a relationship with God, and just follow others footsteps. The role of personal faith is shown through confidence in oneself. Confidence in oneself encourages personal faith. This is true of the character Owen Meany. Throughout the novel, Owen demonstrates an abundance amount of confidence during a conversation with John as he states, “You absolutely know she’s there – even though you can’t see her?” he asked me. ‘Yes!’ I screamed “Well, now you know how I feel about God,” said Owen Meany. “I can’t see him – but I absolutely know he is there!” (Irving 8). In this quotation, John still has his doubts about Christianity, since he does not understand how Owen can be so devoted and confident to a God that he cannot see. In Owen’s final attempt at making a comparison about his own faith to John, Owen decides to question John’s beliefs in Mary Magdalene’s statue during the night as it cannot be seen to his own eye. He makes this comparison to John to his own as he cannot see God with his own eye but in his own belief he knows God is there. Furthermore, Owen expresses his feelings towards other religions and his own and goes on to believe his beliefs and thoughts are real and true. As a result of Owens expressions, John’s influences of religion include multiple comments, questions, and actions by Owen and greatly influence John and causes him to become more obscured in what to believe in. Eventually, throughout the novel, Owen Meany believes himself to be God’s instrument since he has supernatural visions and dreams. Owen has a vision in which he claims to have the knowledge of the exact date and cause of his death. He then volunteers himself in the army in order to fulfill his fate of death, and his intuitions turn out to be exactly true. New York Times, William Morrow states, “Owen Meany does seem to possess a kind of moral certainty and acts as one who is in possession of one piece of information that cannot be explained in the natural world after a lifetime of a witness, the novel’s narrator comes to believe in God” (Morrow 1). In this quotation, he is stating eventually John believes in God because he sees Owens beliefs in God and his intuition feelings of his future that eventually come to be true. John struggles as he is caught up trying to find his beliefs in God, there is a struggle within himself based on organized and personal faith to follow in which is to be true. Owen Meany influences John’s religion and beliefs, he would also not be a Christian without Owen. A religion of any kind is strongly influenced by peers and surroundings. Owen’s faith leads him to believe the miracles in his life are destined and it is Owen’s acceptance of fate that is extremely important. As a result, John is greatly affected by Owen’s beliefs. John is exposed to religion which positively guides his future decisions. Therefore to enable an individual is beneficial if it is on the right path. Trust in God is displayed in one’s personal faith. Trusting in oneself and God will reflect upon one’s personal faith. This is true of the character . The novel reflects this theme as Owen states, “Watch out for people who call themselves religious; make sure you know what they mean – make sure they know what they mean” (Irving 504). This quotation highlights different religious meaning and beliefs to many. There will always be differences between what one’s beliefs are and individuals, even if they belong to the exact same branch of Christianity. When John thinks about Owen’s time on earth, he begins to wonder that God would not have let his own child die so young. This leads to other questions such as why Owen knew everything that he knew, and why he had such faith in a God that eventually let him die so young. Though this may sound like John is questioning religion as a whole and what his beliefs are towards God, Owen still affects him greatly and causes John to move closer to God and change his feelings towards religion. The concept of trust is difficult to grasp as J. Denny Weaver states, “Somehow, it is claimed, apart from and without our understanding of it, God uses or needs or works through and directs the evil in the world as well as the good. And faith, then means to accept and to believe that it is good in the evil that happens – whether in the Romans who killed Jesus or in the baseball who killed John’s mother or Owen’s death ” (Weaver 12). In this quotation, he is saying God works in many ways and sometimes not always in the good but he is always to be trusted in his ways. Since Owen believes that he is God’s instrument and that God has given him a purpose which is to save children and die for them, he also believes that God gives everyone their own purpose in life. Throughout the novel, John’s faith is one of the main focuses and Owen’s impact on John’s religious convictions is evident from the beginning. In and of itself, personal faith consists of beliefs, confidence, and trust comes from within, rather than societal norms.  Personal Faith is the force of believing in oneself and God rather than following in an organized religion.


I'm Mary!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out