Monday, March 21, 2011

Why Do I Believe in God?

When you walk as much as I’ve been walking over the last couple of months, you get a good amount of time to think. That said, most of my “thinking” while walking in January and February was spent considering how stinking cold I was and whether or not I’d be able to feel my nose after I got warmed up. Other times, my mind just wandered around from subject to subject and nothing of real significance came of it. Once in a while though, I get onto a track that takes me someplace mentally while my feet are taking me someplace physically.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about why I believe in God.

A few days ago, I had an interaction on Facebook that started this process in earnest. I saw a status update where a young woman that I know said: “tell me all your thoughts on god”

Now, I think she was simply quoting a lyric from a pop song from a few years ago, but you know people…you and I…we just can’t help but respond to that. In one of the responses, a fellow said (and I paraphrase): The probability of there being a god is so slim that no reasonable person would believe in one, and any reasonable person would reject the idea. He went on to say: Most people aren’t reasonable though. They are idiotic and believe in things for which there is no evidence.

Could I just let that sit? Should I have just let that sit? Either way, I didn’t let it sit. I responded: The probability of life in the universe is much too low for any reasonable person to accept that it exists...except that it does. The chances of the exact right conditions to exist to bring about life and be able to sustain it are much too low...but it is here. People who bet on probabilities are akin to people who buy lottery tickets. Chances are you'll lose. Not interested in a debate, but I wanted to share another view. I believe in God, and I believe in science. The two are not in conflict in my view.

Still, the guy’s statement got me to wondering about just why I do believe. If you are a believer, have you ever wondered why? If you aren’t a believer, have you wondered why not? I suspect that there are more unbelievers that know why they don’t believe than there are believers who know why they do.

So, I got to thinking about it.

The first answer is that I’ve done a great deal of studying of the Bible, and have been a practicing Christian for many years, so obviously, I’ve been struck by the message of the Scripture and seen its effect in people’s lives, including my own. Some could say that I’ve been so indoctrinated by the years of study that I couldn’t see things any other way. I have to believe because of what I have stuffed into my own mind. Perhaps I’ve brainwashed myself.

But, I think my reasons go back further…before all my personal study.

Well, the next potential reason that I believe would possibly be because of going to church. Since I was young, I’ve gone to church, listened to teachers and preachers whom I respected talking with conviction about Jesus and God, and my young, impressionable mind latched onto that and the seed of belief sprouted. I was indoctrinated to believe by what I heard taught.

But, I still think it goes back further…before I was a church-goer. After all, I didn’t really start going to church until seventh grade, and I remember believing in God long before that.

Could it have been my dad that planted the seed of faith in my mind? Well, maybe. From an early age, he did tell me that there was a God, and that I should love Him. Could that have been the start of it all. Possibly. But, he also told me other things that didn’t stick. He was of one political party, and I’ve pretty much gone over to the other one. He and my mom preferred country music…I grew up with Merle Haggard, Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, George Jones, and Conway Twitty…but, that’s definitely not my style. He told me how wonderful eating the fat off the side of my pork chop was, but you’d see me gag if it even got near my fork. He and mom smoked like wood stoves, but you won’t see me lighting up. And on I could go.

So, what got it all going?

Frankly, I don’t truly know completely. However, I really think that within each of us the seed is there. I think the seed of faith is placed there by God himself, and how well it grows depends on how we water it and how we keep the soil. I think to get rid of that seed of belief, you have to intentionally yank it out by the roots, and even then…like grass…it very well may grow right back in. Spiritual droughts in our lives can kill off the greenery, but just water it again, and there it is all fresh and new.

I think that my dad put water on the seed that God had put inside me, and the church fertilized it. Once the plant had sprouted, I began to work the soil around it, and it kept growing. Sometimes, little weeds of doubt grow up around it, but I have to clean those up as they come, and keep pruning, fertilizing, and watering that plant because it never outgrows the pot of my heart.

I can’t speculate about any individual’s personal faith or lack thereof, but I really do think that the seed is there in us all…in our DNA. How about you? Do you have the seed?

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