I have a suggestion.
Before you read this, put a big, brown paper bag over your head.
That way, when your head explodes from reading this, it won’t make such a mess.
That someone else will have to clean up.
Just trying to think of others.
So, here goes.
This Essay Is On Your Belief In God.
Want to know what the truth is about Your Belief In God?
Do you think it matters that You Believe In God?
Well, if you do think this, You Are Wrong.
It really doesn’t matter if you believe in God or not.
What matters is if God believes in you.
Take a moment.
Walk around the block if you have to.
I understand – really I do – Just How Important Your Belief In Your Belief In God Is To You.
Before I point out the reason that your perceived belief in God is mostly nonsense, let’s look at some stunning examples of the What’s-Important-Is-That-God-Believes-In-You concept.
Example Number One: Saint Paul.
Formerly known as Saul.
Who took great pride in killing Christians.
Why did Saint Paul kill Christians?
Because he believed in God.
At the time.
Or his perception of God.
Or the model of God that his priesthood wanted him to believe in, so he would kill the competition that was Christianity.
Priests. God. Belief.
Not the best combination of factors.
So we have Paul hating “our” God, but “our” God musing over the concept of Paul and going, Hey, This Is A Guy I Need.
And, clearly, “our” God was right.
So this is a mighty fine example of how one person’s belief really doesn’t interfere one wit in how God views him.
God believes what He believes.
But let’s go further back in the Bible.
And stop at Job.
Who on the surface seems like the Perfect Example Of One Who Believes In God.
But does Job?
Or does Job bank on God?
Put up with God?
Tolerate the games that are being played in his life by God?
Because Job can’t really believe in God.
At least not “our” God.
Because Job winds up saying: Just who do you think you are anyway doing this to me?
God to Job: I’m God.
And what does God say before this whole mess begins?
Satan, I believe in Job.
And here is another example of God being right.
But then God is absolute so he has this really annoying characteristic of being right.
All the time.
With us being wrong.
All the time.
I should know.
But we can go back even further in the Bible to explore this dynamic.
Example number three: Cain
So we’ve got one boy looking at another boy and saying to himself, Geeze. He gets all the goods from God. You’d think I didn’t even exist.
So this is a fairly excellent behavior of one who doesn’t believe in God.
Not “our” God anyway.
Cain believes in a God who should be fair.
But what does he know? He was only the almost-first person on Earth.
We are so much more wise than he.
We never complain when we think God is unfair. Giving that guy more than he gives us.
Anyway, back to the story.
Cain commits the first murder on Earth.
But, again, to be fair, this is before the Ten Commandments came down from on high.
Cain Does Not Believe In God.
So what does God do?
Makes Cain Untouchable.
Makes Cain sacred.
You hurt him, I hurt you.
I will hunt you down and make sure you regret what you did to Cain.
Seven times regret.
That’s a lot of regret.
You could kind of sit around for a number of lifetimes and wonder just what was happening there.
Cain didn’t really believe in God.
But God surely believed in Cain.
And his well being.
Could be that God wanted Cain to feel the guilt of his act for a long, long time.
But even that is a belief in Cain by God: perhaps a hope of Cain’s repentance.
You have to admit: it’s something. Life, that is.
Cain you can live and never be killed by another.
That’s another path to explore.
But the real focus here is on the second part of this lesson:
What Matters Is That God Believes In You.
Instead of putting all your apples in the basket that reads: I Believe In God, start paying attention to who you are and how you are matching up with God’s plans for you.
You could argue that to do this implies a belief in God.
I didn’t say you couldn’t believe in God.
It’s just that is doesn’t really matter that much to God.
Because we are relative.
Our belief in God, what that includes, how we respond to it can vary from minute-to-minute.
Here’s an example.
A number of years ago I wanted to hear what a pro-life argument sounded like. What words were used. How were the arguments presented.
So I had the idea of joining a Roman Catholic forum for pro-life issues.
Here, I thought, would be articulate believers in freeing preborns from the threat of abortion.
What was it I said above about always being wrong?
And I read some more.
And managed, somehow, to keep breathing.
It was unbelievable.
It was a lion’s den.
Unsuspecting Roman Catholic young women who had had an abortion but were desperate to find a path to forgiveness and redemption were torn to shreds in the blink of an eye.
Some tried to cling on. They wanted an answer. A real answer.
And they got the official Roman Catholic answer (at least the one presented in this forum): You Are Scum. You Are Filth. You Should Be Dead.
Interesting pro-life argument.
But what I don’t have to guess about is that were I to go to each and every one of those Defenders Of The Faith they would assure me in loud and possibly violent terms that They Believed In God.
And just look at the very real damage that the Muslim’s belief in God can do.
Does this chaotic “belief in God” matter to God?
See Example Number One: Saint Paul.
Answer: Clearly Not.
Who You Are Is Who You Are To God.
Don’t forget: God is Absolute.
He doesn’t see things the same way we do.
And there is, after all, only one unforgivable sin in the Bible.
So whatever percentage One is to all the sins that we commit, clearly most of God is about forgiveness and repentance and those kind of things.
It’s just this one tiny, little sliver of sin (barely perceivable) that gets an Absolute Answer from God.
Well, from the Holy Spirit, technically.
But who’s counting?
So how do we square ourselves with the idea that our beliefs aren’t little chips that we collect to show God What Good Little Girls And Boys We Are?
Well, the first thing is to take ourselves seriously.
We should invest in believing in ourselves.
Not for superficial things, like how our car reflects our coolness.
But things that God might be looking for.
Guiding people to the healing that they need.
It’s truly amazing how many people I come across who are writhing in spiritual pain but will not do anything to heal it.
Perhaps this is the most interesting way that some Christians show their belief in God:
I’m in pain. It’s all your fault. It’s not going away because you won’t help me. I hate this pain. I hate you.
Oh, and God, I believe in you.
As a pain-causing bastard.
But it’s a belief.
So I’m good.
So that’s a good place to begin: find healing for your pain.
Love others as much as you can.
And show up and show yourself to God and ask, Am I Someone You Can Believe In?
And wait for the, Yes.
Because just asking that question will mean a lot to God.