Yes, I know I shouldn’t be giving away secrets like this. Your family members would probably come after me with a mob of villagers carrying torches and pitchforks if they only knew what I was about to divulge.
[Look left… Look right… Coast is clear.]
It’s okay if you don’t really believe in God.
Yes, I’m talking about the Christian God specifically at this point, but it applies just as well to any other God.
Oh, come on… Wipe that horrified look off of your face. No one is coming to haul you off to be tortured on the rack or burned at the stake. Things aren’t quite like they were five hundred years ago during the Spanish Inquisition.
Some people seem not to ‘believe’ as strongly as others. Are you one of these people? Let’s look at an everyday situation that you might encounter and see how you might react to it.
You are at work, or at school, and at Noon you go to eat lunch. You sit at a table with a young woman that you know, but don’t really spend time with away from work. During luncch she casually mentions that she recently took out an insurance policy, and that the price was pretty reasonable. What was the insurance policy for? She insured her pets’ continued care in the event that she is bodily taken into heaven in the Rapture.
Please don’t snicker like that. The woman is absolutely serious. And yes, there is such a service available. The fee starts at US$110 for a ten-year policy, with each additional pet at the same residence costing only an extra US$15.
My question for you is whether you think this woman is a very rational person who happens to be looking out for the welfare of her pets, or if you think that you might want to sit at a different table the next time you have lunch because she sort of creeps you out.
Now let’s look at another scenario. I read about this in September, and found it to be rather interesting. This is from the ‘Answers in Genesis’ web site, in a post titled “Feedback: A Righteous Lie?”, written by Bodie Hodge.
A reader of the site wrote in to ask a question regarding lies. Bodie had written in a previous post that it was always wrong to lie. The reader asked if a person in World War II Germany who knew where a Jewish family were hiding would in fact be righteous to lie to a Nazi soldier who asked them where the family was. If the person lied to the Nazi soldier to protect the Jewish family, would that not be more righteous than telling the truth, knowing that the family would die horrible deaths in concentration camps?
This small part of Bodie’s post should give you the gist of his answer:
If we love God, we should obey Him (John 14:15). To love God first means to obey Him first—before looking at our neighbor. So, is the greater good trusting God when He says not to lie or trusting in our fallible, sinful minds about the uncertain future?
Bodie says that obeying God comes first, period. The possibility that you might save a family from horrendous torture and death does not compare to the damage you cause to your soul by lying.
My question for you is whether or not you would lie in an attempt to protect someone from almost certain, unjust death. Do you place the physical well-being of yourself and your loved ones above being completely faithful to God, or do you put your faith in God above all else, no matter what your reasoning might tell you? Does your duty to obey God come before everything else in your life?
If you don’t really believe as strongly as the people in the scenarios that I mentioned, why not? Do you think they take the Bible too literally? Who gets to say what in the Bible is supposed to be literal, and what’s supposed to be allegorical? Who told you which parts are which? Did you take their word for it, or did you come to those conclusions on your own?
Do you really believe? Why?
If you’re able to ask questions about your faith, I think that’s a good thing. Most people who would buy Rapture insurance for their pets, or would always tell the truth (or so they say), regardless of the consequences, would tell you that asking those sort of questions is evil, or is a tool of Satan, etc. For them, blind faith is the only true faith, just as their version of Christianity is the only true version.
Just do a tiny little favor for me the next time someone you trust, whether it be a relative, a friend, a minister, or whatever, tells you that you should be acting a certain way or should believe a certain thing in regards to religion. What’s the favor? You don’t have to say anything out loud, or do anything that might make someone think you’re crazy, etc. I want you to ask yourself why you think you should act that way or think that way.
If you really don’t agree with the person about that thing, then why do you act or believe other things they tell you? Who says what you must accept or reject? Do you accept someone telling you that that’s the way it is because the Bible says so? The way I see it, you have to make those decisions for yourself. Anyone who tells you differently is on some kind of power trip and is trying to control you. You don’t have to have faith in a God just because someone said you have to, no matter who that person is.
Please do that little favor for me. Maybe it will help you learn to really think for yourself. Maybe it will help you realize that you only have to believe what you want to believe.