Monday, February 1, 2010

God: Part IV

The other night I told Jeremy, “I want to believe in God.”

“Then believe in God,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s that easy,” I said exhaustedly.

“I think it is.”

One of my favorite quotes, which I apparently lost, goes something like this: “Sometimes life requires us to make decisions based on facts of which we are only 51% sure.” I may never have every answer, maybe that’s why it’s called: faith.

I am far from ever exploring all possible questions and possibilities related to the topic of God and faith. But I’m taking hints from the rest of the world. If there isn’t an answer yet, there may never be. And if it comes down to a decision to believe one way or the other, I don’t want to just stubbornly hang out in the middle for the rest of my life.

My wise brother-in-law, Ben, tells me, “I think, to some degree, you’ll always be in the middle. Life isn’t requiring a full-fledged decision of you one way or the other” (He’s so good at helping me breathe). “Some days you might believe whole-heartedly, without a doubt, that there is a God. Other days, you’ll relate more to non-Christians. You’ll sway back and forth. Making a decision one day, doesn’t mean that at some point you can’t say: I don’t know.”

He confirmed that I don’t have to lose friendships with anyone if I decide that Christianity is for me. Judgmentalism, hypocrisy, staunch fundamentals, and rigidity don’t just come with the Christian title anymore than radical, extremist, and creepy do.

I want to accept not knowing. I want to be okay with being wrong. If I insist on being right about this, I will stubbornly hang on to my hypothesis that God is a myth, created to make ourselves feel better, and I’ll never find truth, especially if it contradicts everything I wanted to be true. We are all biased, but I don’t want to be jaded.

Creationists and evolutionists will never agree.

Philosophers will debate about truth until the end of time.

The government might just make a National Saturday law (wouldn’t that just bring the Adventist house to shambles?)

Angry Christians will still stand on street corners holding signs that scream: “God Hates Fags!”

Wars will be fought and people will die, all in the name of Allah or Buddha or God or _______(any other name for a higher power).

Someone will get a “genius” idea, sway a large following with Kool-Ade, and say, “Jesus told me to do it.”

These situations will always exist. There is no easy answer. But the crazies shouldn’t spoil the whole batch. All I can do is continue seeking truth while fully aware of my own biases. I can surround myself with good people whom I trust. I can take another look. I can consider another perspective. I can say, “I don’t know, but I’m willing to listen.”

Right now, February 1st, 2010 at 5:32pm, I can say:

-I believe in a God

-I believe Jesus existed and there are plenty of things I can learn from Him

-I believe the Bible is one of the oldest and most historically-sound documents we have, it might be worth my time to read

Of most everything else, I don’t know. I still don’t think I’m a Christian, because I’m not in love with Jesus or “following” Him anywhere. I still don’t think I’m an Adventist, because I like to wear jewelry, say “bad” words, and I can’t tell you one of the 28 Fundamentals Beliefs.

Yet, I do believe what Jeremiah 29:13 says, “"When you come looking for me, you'll find me.”Yes, when you get serious about finding me and want it more than anything else, I'll make sure you won't be disappointed."


Listen here: Adddison Road, "What Do I Know of Holy?"

(Thanks Kylie Schnell)


Emily said...

i do and always will love you and appreciate your honesty. here's my thoughts as i read yours:

i hear you talk a lot about God and Christianity based on people. here's the real truth-- humanity is humanity and it doesn't matter if we choose to label ourselves as one thing or another. Christians and non-Christians both laugh, cry, sleep, eat, and use the bathroom. and they are tangible and visible and within reach and so it's easy to base our perceptions of Someone or Something on what we can see and touch and speak to. but from the beginning Jesus never asked anyone to label Him or His truth. don't confuse Christ and the church... the church is made up of us - humans - and we more often than not get in our own way. people do things and say things in the name of "something" all the time, but that doesn't mean it's right or a true representation of what that "something" is. i'm pretty sure the bible doesn't have any mention of Kool-Aid. :) but we do a pretty good job of being a pretty bad representation of the truths and ideals it asks us to live out.

like you, i have a lot of questions about God and the church. my questions may look a little different and may not be as vocal as yours (i admire your bravery, by the way), but i question still the same. and while i don't have the answers and may never have the answers to my questions, here's what i've decided:

what other people do aside, here's what i can do: i can choose to believe in God, or not. right now, i choose to believe in Him because if i do and He turns out to not be real and i lived my whole live living a lie, what did I lose? i spent my life trying to be more compassionate, kind, and loving because i believe He was and wants me to be too. i lived in a community where i found love and challenges all the same that make me a better, more loving and patient person all the more for loving those that love me back and trying to understand those that don't. i had something to "pin" all the beautiful and miraculous intricacies of life on, and i found something that gave me purpose and focus. i found peace and healing for my anxious heart. if i didn't have something to believe in all this time, i'm not sure that i could look the same at all the suffering, bigotry, danger, and disaster all around me and still have a happy heart. so if i died tomorrow believing in a God who wasn't real, what did i lose, really?

keep questioning, heather. but don't let us who aren't living in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ confuse you about who God, (whether or not He is real or divine) or even a really good man who lived a really long time ago, truly is.

love you. i mean that! :)

Ben said...

Heather, as I read your words I remembered one of my favorite quotes, and I wanted to share it with you.

"How do I make more than a fumbling attempt to explain that faith is not legislated, that it is not a small box which works twenty-four hours a day? If I 'believe' for two minutes every month or so, I'm doing well."
--Madeleine L'Engle

Katie said...

i reeeeeaaaaallly disagree with emily and jeremy. i don't think it is easy to believe in god. that means believing in something you can't see, hear, taste, touch, or smell. and emily adds to the mystery by asking you to believe in it without obtaining evidence from the lives of the professors of that faith. believe what you will--emily and jeremy, i do not begrudge you your faith--but how is it easy to believe in god? you have to disregard the evidence presented by your senses. you're asked to ignore the example of the lives around you. and a belief in god is in direct opposition of the majority of scientific discovery.

i think there are still plenty of good reasons to believe in god--hell, i believe in 'something,' i just don't claim to know what it is--it just is certainly not easy.

emily's paragraph about believing in god actually mirrors my thoughts as well. what do i lose by NOT believing in god? i also am spending my life trying to be compassionate, kind, and loving, not because of a god, but because i believe it is the best way to live, and i believe in goodness and love. i also live in a community where i find love and challenges that make me better; i also have wonder for the intricacies of life. i have peace, healing, purpose, and focus. and i find so much more hope believing that there is NOT a god up there deciding not to intervene in human disaster. and if i'm wrong and there is an afterlife, i think i'll get to go--because i've lived well. if it's a place where people like me can't be, then i think hell will be better anyway, since that's where my friends will be too. :)

i didn't mean to go on so long, or to get riled up about this. i guess i just didn't want my "side" of the "issue" to be silent. i have found SO much truth, beauty, love, and freedom outside of christianity--far more than i ever did in it.

Emily said...

for the record, i never said it was easy to believe in God. i don't think it is. i think it's very, very hard at times. i believe in spite of this because i think that just because something is hard doesn't mean that it is not worthwhile. also, sometimes things don't need evidence. sometimes they just are. sometimes you have to be ok with not having all the answers.

Seth said...

Heather, I think your in the right place and have the right mind set.

I don't think you should based anything off of what others tell you but you should listen to them and evaluate what they have to say. I think you are doing both.

I also don't think that anyone will ever tell you that being a Christian is easy. It's hard to do what's right it's hard to believe in a God that you can't prove. It's hard to choose to accept there are things you can't understand and won't ever understand.

I for one could never deny the existence of God. Not because I'm perfect or even a great "Christian" but because of the experiences I have had in my life. The biggest of those is my brother.

He was born with epilepsy - he had seizures. From the time he was born he never had a normal EEG. For several years he had seizures during some of them he stopped breathing and one almost died but my mom gave him mouth to mouth until the paramedics arrived and were able to stabilize him till he came out of it. The doctors said that he would have epilepsy all his life.

Well one day when he was 10 I think he went in for and EEG and it was normal all his doctors were amazed didn't understand it and couldn't explain it. If I remember right they did second one just to make sure but with the same results.

Some would choose to ignore this or decide that their must be an explanation. I'm just sharing part of my experience. Others would ask why he was healed but not other people, I don't know I'm not God.

Just sharing a little of my life. Heather, I will pray for you when I think of you.