Saturday, January 26, 2008

Why do I believe in God?

I had a comment on one of my favorite posts (Nugget of Truth: The Bridge) asking me why I believe in God. I think this is the most important question I have ever been asked and I am happy to answer. Sorry if this gets long, I am just going to be completely authentic and free flow it.

To be honest, I started off believing in God young. My parents went to church, so I went with them. I never saw any other belief system, and I was only 6 years old when I decided Jesus was the way to go. Some may say I was brainwashed, others lucky. I did not really know any other way. I wouldn't know another way for a long time. I had a great childhood growing up in churches and learning Bible stories, verses, singing praise hymns, and always feeling loved (by my family, my church, and my God).

In junior high and high school I start to see more of the world outside. My vice was romance novels. These took me to places I had never been, emotions I had never felt, and dreams I had never thought to dream. These put my mind in the clouds and started me down a path of living my life more in fantasy and theory, rather than reality.

It wasn't until college when I broke up with a guy who in my mind was going to be my husband, but in real life he had only asked me out on a handful of dates, he had written me notes and emails (more informative, than romantic), and we had only held hands like twice in the 5 years we were "dating" that I realized I was living in a dream world.

It was in the period after this breakup that I first began to doubt there was a God. Seems crazy to me that it took 14 years to doubt, but it did. Actually before this time I thought it was a sin to doubt the existence of God. Whenever I had friends say they doubted God or that they thought religion was a man made invention to control people, I would freak out and think they were automatically going to hell.

I realized that the choice I made as a child had to be backed up, or it was useless. My heart believed in God. I knew I had felt His presence in my life. That is why I made that decision as a child. But, I wasn't so sure about my head anymore. I began taking religion classes (funnily enough from a Jewish rabbi) as my electives and began learning more about the Old Testament and where Christianity came from. I was at a public university, so these were not "Jesus is the only way" classes, but "just the facts" type classes. I am grateful for that. It was more what I needed at that time in my life.

During my childhood I had some amazing experiences sharing and teaching about Jesus. I went back and reflected on those. Were they real or just more of this fantasy life that I had been living? I found that my searching and my reflecting made my belief stronger, not weaker. Unlike my fantasy world, what God promised came true in real life. I saw that without belief in an afterlife and eternal consequences for your actions, there is really no purpose to living at all.

I also saw that people in the Bible doubted. Thomas doubted, but Jesus did not say to him "Get out of here you doubter!" No, He addressed that doubt and gave Thomas the proof he needed to make him believe again.

I will not lie and say that after college I never doubted the existence of God again. That old thought still comes back when I least expect it. As soon as it does, I journal and I search once again and see the evidence in my life and the lives around me of His presence. I stand firm that there is a God. That Jesus is His Son and lived, died, and lives still. That we are not an accident that just happened. I will never know everything. I will never have all the facts. I really don't care about ALL the facts. My brain cannot handle all the information that is out there proving and disproving the existence of God.

So what it comes down to is faith. And faith is a choice. Without all the facts, do I still believe in God? That is a loud and resounding YES.

Dear anonymous commenter: I hope that wasn't too preachy. I was just trying to tell some of my story. Feel free to post more comments. I really don't want to debate and argue, just wanted to give my worldview on this. I hope that is what came accross.

1 comment:

Ben Clapton said...

Great story, and thanks for sharing. I often feel that my faith is quite personal, and don't feel comfortable sharing with complete strangers. I guess part of that is a fear that they won't understand.

I personally have a line from a DC Talk song "Mind's Eye" running through my head after reading your post:
"Faith is the evidence of things unseen."