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Monday, January 31, 2005
Here's the thing. I believe in God. Now, I realize this sets me up for some contradictions. I believe God created the world, yet I know the world is more than 6,000 years old. I can't explain why dinosaurs aren't in the Bible. I can't explain a lot of things. I believe in life after death, yet sometimes I get so scared of dying it throws me into a panic. I'm not a Biblical scholar or particularly interested in debate in general. I'm OK with this. My belief should not be an affront to you, nor a challenge.

What I want to know, is why can't you just let me have it? I do not go around hitting you over the head with particularly weighty versions of the King James with the Apocrypha (paperback New Testaments, maybe, but never hard cover). I just believe. Perhaps it's because it's what my mother and father's mothers and fathers believed. Or because I had an extremely winning and attractive Sunday School teacher when I was in 5th grade. Or because it's true. What is that to you? Why would you want to talk me out of that? Why would you want to pull my rug out from under me and force me into an agreement with you of a reality that would not only change my life, but make me very sad? Why is it your job to "enlighten" me?

Perhaps it amazes you that an intelligent woman of 28 who has traveled and has a degree and a good job could believe in something that you feel is akin to a fairytale, or at least simply a cultural myth. I call it faith. You call it ignorance or denial. I call it mine.

I do not always make choices that fit in with what I purport to believe. Live with it, I have to. I'm just one woman, trying to make it through my life the best way I know how. I examine things in my own time. I have chosen a system of belief and faith that usually works for me. I believe that it is true. An atheist I once knew said to me "I don't talk about God with people anymore, you can never talk someone out of what they believe...and if I ever did, I would feel awful." Those are wise words. Why would you want to take away someone's faith?
posted by LoRi~fLoWer
  • At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the “pulling the rug out” metaphor, and most likely that is what’s so intimidating/upsetting/angering to those who would argue with you. The whole premise of Christianity requires radical action one way or the other. If you believe he (Jesus) is exactly who he claims to be, it consumes everything you are. If you don’t, you have to be willing to brand him a liar – there’s no other option. (I am, of course plagiarizing one of the most plagiarized men of all time –‘ Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.’ C. S. Lewis)

    People don’t like the idea that their eternal destiny isn’t decided by an idea conjured up from inside them. They like options, choices, and ultimately, control. Your belief is off-putting because it pulls the rug out from under THEM.

    ...and by the way, you don't need to explain (or even fully understand) the life cycle of dinosaurs or the actual age of the earth. God is not restricted by the science he created.

  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger Colin said…

    It's funny for me to read this from the opposite perspective that I usually have on it... I'm an agnostic (to paraphrase a friend, atheists have too much faith in themselves). Yet, I've had people trying to convert me or force me to make a decision on religion for a long time. Will having a religion affect the way I live? No, because I think if my lifestyle is already pretty catholic (in the lowercase universal, and to expand on the definition, accepting) and then some.
    Anyway, on the Bible, there's no reason to expect the Bible to contain all knowledge, and I do think it's foolish to limit oneself that way. Back when the Muslims ruled a large part of the world and were the most learned culture, they believed that not to use their reason was an affront to God, because He gave us reason, and thus expected us to use the gifts given to us. To assume that God has given us all the answers is an insult both to God and to us.
    For the record, I also try not to convert people away from their religion, though I'll admit that I get offended by people who use their religion as a shield from reality. Ok, I've babbled a lot in this comment, I should stop.

  • At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    That’s very true – God does give us the ability to think and to reason, and he does expect us to use it, but over extrapolating that argument can lead to a dangerous pattern of self-reliance (the same pattern that ultimately led to man’s expulsion from the garden of eden). The Bible does not claim to have all the information there IS to know, rather, it is our source for all we NEED to know… it should be the measuring stick against which we gauge all decisions, thoughts, actions, etc.… so, as we go through life absorbing and processing new information not specifically addressed in the Bible, we already have a perspective for how we should see it before it comes to us.

    It’s also important to remember that this gift of reason is exactly that – a gift – but one that was given to us by a creator who has far more understanding and knowledge than we could ever have. (“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways….As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways.” Is. 55:8-9) God made us in his image, and with that comes a great amount of responsibility, but he also “remembers that we are dust” (Ps. 103:14) and wants us to fully rely on him for wisdom…. We aren't going to know everything, nor should we try... At the end of the day, he wants us to have spirits like children (Ps. 131:1-3 – My heart is not proud….I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me….like a weaned child is my soul..) There is no room for pride in a statement like that.

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