Wait, what? You believe in God?
Well, this is awkward, I think, as I put away my C.S. Lewis book on the bus.
In a world of open-mindedness and supposed peace between people of different backgrounds, where is it that a believer fits in? And don’t write me off at the word ‘believer,’ as it has been used to define madness and justify cruelty. Take it as it was meant; take the entire message as it was originally meant, and give no more credit to those who corrupt it. Aside from the constant attempt to define religions and see differences between them, there seems to be a greater, and much more dangerous, assumption being made. Why is it that we all assume that everybody around us doesn’t believe anymore? Does it mean that I’m not normal, when a friend mentions the ludicrous idea of believing in religion and I try and remember those Bible verses that my parents made me memorize? Are they even worth remembering? Am I?
We seem to think that being intelligent means having free thought. Okay. But what if that thought is free of inspirations? What if it is free of beauty? What if your free thought calls my thought polluted, simply because I accept an explanation for the things that I cannot explain? If my free thought is free of magic and unexplainable forces and the abundance of love from something that is more than human, then I don’t want it. And, for me, it goes beyond any small portion that I am fed in church on an early Sunday morning that I may or may not remember during the week. It is the promise; it is the resolution that comes with the belief in something more. I see God in the face of a lion as much as I see him in the rush of a stream. Am I cliché because I believe that it’s true? Am I a cliché just because I have seen and I have known what it is that I see?
In the midst of a religious discussion with friends, I suddenly feel the awkwardness of being too close to a stranger on the train. I move away, do they see me here, do they notice? No? Good. Then I won’t have to ruin their image of me. I won’t have to be the person that they can’t define. But if my brother says that he feels, deep in his soul, that he is destined for greater things, then what is it that calls him to that? Can I really ignore that something greater must exist, something that I can’t explain? And I’m okay with that, really. I’m okay with the fact that we can all agree to disagree – that we can all admit that there seems to be something unexplainable at work. If nothing else, I can accept the state of our confusion as a grand species. However, what I cannot accept is the warped reality in which we all seem to be newly accustomed to living. We seem all too comfortable with making the grand assumption that ‘nobody believes in God, so let’s all just not talk about it.’
I cannot accept a humanity that does not possess any kind of curiosity about God, because with curiosity, then at least we were getting somewhere.
I can’t explain a lot of things in life; but does that mean I regard them as nothing at all, as phantoms, as parts of my imagination, as mere coincidences, as mistakes? I am told that I am silly. I am told that I misunderstand things by believing in God. Oh. Okay.
In John Bunyan’s ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress,’ the main character carries a burden on his back until the end, when he loses it. Religion helps him to get rid of his burden, of his hardships in life. But what if the burden is the religion itself? If that’s the case, then I accept the burden. I accept that my curiosity will make me uncomfortable. Am I alone or are there others out there that are afraid to find their voice? Go ahead, shout it out: ‘I believe in God, and I’m not a jerk.’ That wasn’t so hard, was it? It’s our own fault, too. And we have to acknowledge the grotesque acts that are performed in the name of religion, the hate and the animosity felt towards people simply because of something that they believe. But, we have to face this fact rather than run from it, for as soon as we run from religion, we stop searching for truth.
We sit across from each other, me in my computer screen and you in yours, and we try and make sense of our differences. We try and decide what cannot be decided upon; we try and explain what cannot be explained. We define ourselves by what it is that we do not believe – and why? Why can we not find some commonality in a moment, in a feeling? For a moment, don’t be afraid to be a cliché. And listen to me. If you have ever looked into the sky at night and felt someone looking back, if you have seen a gesture of human kindness in the face of great terror and known it to be a sign, if you have felt that deep joy within your soul that seems to have been offered and not sought, then know that someone else has, too. You are not alone, for as I sit at this computer and type a grand inquiry, I also make a proposal. Let us not anymore be afraid to seek.
Have you ever felt the wind and thought it a hug from the divine? Because I have, I have.