Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Why do you believe [in God]?"

"Why do you believe?" - That was the question I was asked early on Sunday morning and I have been mulling it over for the last 8 hours.

Why do I believe in God?
I suppose the simplest answer is because I have believed in God for as long as I can remember and I cannot imagine not believing in God.
Those who know me, know that I am not adversed to questioning and scrutinising religious teaching, scripture and authority. I do it all the time. It's my questions, my doubts and my criticisms which shape my faith.
But never, not in my darkest moments or times of doubt have I not believed in God.God simply is part of my life.

In my mind seeking God is deeply ingrained into the human psyche, whether we are religious or not, or believe in God or not. Perhaps we call that seeking by different names.
I know that I can only speak from my own perception and experience, so forgive me if I do, but I sometimes wonder how atheists can deny that God-shaped hole in their lives. The only way I can imagine it being denied is, well, by denial.
(I am sure many of my atheist friends will disagree. And that's okay. I'll probably hear about it.) :)

To any who at this stage feel inclined to say "So you believe in God. That's fine ... but which of the thousands of G/gods out there??" I would reply that I don't think it matters all that much. Religions are simply human attempts to put the concept of God into human words.
Different religions seem to emphasize different attributes of G/god(s) and at the same time share many similarities.
But outside of all those human concepts G/god(s) does exist or not. Regardless of what we believe about him/her/them (or not).

Why then am I a Christian?
I am sure much is to do with culture and familiarity. If I was born in Afghanistan I'd be more likely a Muslim, if in India a Hindu. It just so happens that I was born in Europe into a Roman Catholic family.

I think my criticism of Christian doctrine may put me on the periphery of Christianity. I quite like the words of Richard Rohr who calls it "being on the edge of the inside". That sounds like a good place to me!
Occasionally people have said to me that I am deist, not a Christian.
I disagree.
Despite being on the edge of the inside, I feel quite firmly part of the Christian faith. Perhaps it's the person of Jesus that keeps me there. Jesus, who said "If you have seen me, you have seen the Father" and "I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you" leaves me believing that his teachings, words and example are worth reading, mulling over and putting into practice.

By that I don't mean blindly following what others tell me. Quite the contrary. It requires me to dig deep and search for myself what it means to "be like Jesus" in this world here and now, wherever I go and whoever I meet.
I know how Jesus' teachings fitted into first century Palestine because the gospel writers left their records.
And I know from Paul's letters how he felt it should be applied as he travelled to other countries and engaged with other cultures.

One of the beauties of the Christin faith is that we believe that we are all flawed and prone to make mistakes. And that gives me the right, or even the responsibility, to scrutinise what others think and say about my faith. And to discern for myself whether they are right or wrong.
The gospel writers and Paul are not here to live according to Jesus' teachings in secular Britain in the 21st century. But I am!

So yes, I do believe that one day I will meet God and that I will account for the things I said (and didn't say) and that things I did (and didn't do), as well as my thoughts and attitudes towards others.
And it won't do any good to say "I did these things because my pastor or vicar or imam or guru or teacher or parent or husband etc told me so".
It will be down to me, and me alone.

Will I always be a Christian? It may be arrogant to claim that I will, although I cannot imagine ever not to be.
But wherever my faith journey takes me, I don't think I can ever be an atheist and not believe that God is here.

There you have it, @hellboy2112. I don't know if it answered your question, but it has passed a rainy Sunday.
Much love. :)


  1. I loved this anke! And as sure as eggs is eggs (reference to your baking) there's things we wld disagree on too, never mind the atheist feckers! Isn't it a wonderful world when you do a blog on God for Hellboy!! It amused me no end!


  2. I loved this anke! And as sure as eggs is eggs (reference to your baking) there's things we wld disagree on too, never mind the atheist feckers! Isn't it a wonderful world when you do a blog on God for Hellboy!! It amused me no end!


  3. Thanks, sis. Much love back to you xx

  4. Atheists don't have a God shaped hole to fill. Only people who need God(s) to complete them have the need to manufacture a hole of pseudo emptiness!

    I enjoyed this blog, and you are a very sensible, intelligent rationalist.

    1. Thanks, friend. I did expect that expression to raise a few eyebrows. 😉
      As always, I can only speak from my own experience and perception of the world around me. I never assume that it must be the same for others - even if I may not always be able to imagine their perception.

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  5. A well-written post my friend. I agree with much of what you say, not least "being on the edge of the inside" and that Richard Rohr is well worth the read.