Today’s Reading: “I believe in God.”
We now reach the point of no return. The proverbial line in the sand that seems to separate the “good guys” from the “bad ones.”
Theists vs. atheists. Believers vs. non-believers.
Isn’t it sad that these four words, “I believe in God,” can bring such hatred and division amongst the human race?
For those who say, “I believe in God,” there seems to be little or no understanding for those who would say, “I don’t believe.” And for those who can’t or won’t place any of their trust in a higher power, there’s little grace for those who must lean on a deity in order to make it through this thing called life.
But before we go any further with all this separation of believer vs. non-believer, might we stop a moment, take a deep breath, and see if there is any common ground in our human existence?
And speaking of human existence…did you know that human beings are the only creatures on the planet that debate the issues surrounding the existence of God?
Dolphins, chimpanzees, and rattlesnakes don’t, as far as we know, discuss the pros and cons of spirituality. The earth doesn’t argue with the moon, sun, and stars over issues of divinity. Even our most advanced technologies of science refuse to debate the “God” question.
If you have an I-phone handy, ask Siri (or Alexa, if you are a Google-ite) the following questions…
Siri, does God exist?
Siri, should I believe in God?
Siri, where should I go to find God?
Notice how all of Siri’s responses to these questions will be non-committing.
I’m really not equipped to answer that question, Marty.
That’s a topic for another day and another assistant.
An interesting question, Marty. Humans have religion. I just have silicon.
Isn’t it interesting that the all-wise-and-knowing Siri refuses to enter the fray? And what does that tell us about the good folks at Apple or Google, who seemingly want to have their fingers in nearly every aspect of our lives, but refuse to allow their technology to be weighed down with this human-only dilemma of what to do with God?
So, there you have it.
If you were looking for science or technology to solve your God-question, you can shut that door. And if you’re waiting for your pet dog or cat to tell you the truth about the Divine, you’re most likely gonna have a long wait.
Or will you?
In truth, if the existence of God is dependent on creation’s ability to speak, we just might have an open and shut case on our hands!
A prime example is the story of John Muir, the naturalist, author, and environmental philosopher who became the father of wilderness preservation throughout North America and beyond. Born into a strict Scottish-American household in 1838, John Muir’s father was a highly religious, harsh disciplinarian who worked his family from dawn to dusk. Muir refused to believe in the merciless, judgmental God of his father, leaving home in Wisconsin after college, and eventually finding his way to California’s San Joaquin Valley. It was there, at age 30, as he walked through waist-high wildflowers and into the high country of the Sierra Nevada for the first time where Muir wrote: “Then it seemed to me the Sierra should be called not the Nevada, or Snowy Range, but the Range of Light…the most divinely beautiful of all the mountain chains I have ever seen.” It’s here, as he herded sheep, making his home in Yosemite, where “John of the Mountains” finally found the God of all creation.
And this is just one prime story of how a non-believer became a believer, not by studying religious creeds of others but by experiencing God for themselves. Too bad, there isn’t more room in our religious circles for non-believers to be given much more open space to explore the depths of God as John Muir did. I wonder sometimes if those who believe in God might offer much less words to others and allow God to actually speak for Himself?
As I see it, the statement of “I believe in God” should not be a loud shout, yelled at others so that all might hear, but a small whisper or quiet prayer that’s directed more to ourselves and to our God than to others.
I believe in God.
Not because others have told me to.
Not because Siri refuses to answer my question.
Not because a tree in the forest suggested it.
But because…well…now, that I think about it…that’s for me and God to know.
How about you?
My prayer: Father God, the psalmist says it well…
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge. They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them. Yet their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. (Psalm 19: 1-4 NIV)
All creation calls out Your name. I hear. I see. I respond. For Your name’s sake. Amen.
My questions to consider: How has my exploration of God been similar to John Muir’s? Where have I had to reject the creeds and teachings of others, so I could freely explore the depths of God for myself? Am I open to others having to take a similar type of journey and how might I be a supportive friend to those who are on that road?
So, what are you experiencing today as we are Contemplating The Creed?
Over a seven-week period, you and I will take a deeper look at The Apostles Creed. In order to keep all the blog sessions organized, we suggest you bookmark our Contemplating the Creed home page for ease of use.
If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!