After the risk

Asara asked some great questions about finding God from a risk-taking perspective. If a person takes the risk of believing in God, what would be the next steps towards a deeper faith? This was in response to my previous post, (Risk and Proof.) My answer got too long, so I thought I would write another post instead. Note: this is not how I came to know God of the Bible – it was more of an overwhelming invitation. However, if my life were different, I would probably venture down a similar road to the one I describe.

  1. The same argument of having to take a risk to believe in God (of the Bible) could be applied to believing in gods of other religions for sure. But not all religions believe in gods per se, some are more akin to an unconscious, universal force. I honestly don’t know how to gain benefit from faith in them because I’m not sure how a mindless force can prove its existence and be believed. It takes all faith and no proof. From religions that do believe in a god or gods, my guess is you have to test them to see if they are true or real. If you reach out to them, do they reach back? Me personally, I would only believe in a god who actually communicated with me. I can’t imagine a person who would believe in a distant God that never talks to people who believe in him/her. I *hate* one way relationships, either divine or human. I’m guessing other people do too. 🙂
  2. If someone is interested in God – the only way it seems they will move from curiosity to actual belief is if the relationship is reciprocated.
  3. When to move on… a good question. If there are no signs of reciprocation, then the next step would be more investigation. How does the god in question like to be approached? Are their any rules of engagement? I guess I would say to take a cue from human relationships. Are there good ways to interact, bad ways? I think humility is a key. As much investigation as possible needs to be done before you throw in the towel. You really have to study and research the god as much as possible before giving up after the first prayer and feeling nothing. This is pretty important, after all. Isn’t it worth a lot of effort? I would treat this inquiry like Edison trying to get the light bulb working. Involve other people you trust and see if they have any insight. When to give up? When you can be honest with yourself that you have exhausted all possibilities of receiving any feedback. You’ve done everything you could… time to move on. But you can’t give up searching for God. Just because one god didn’t work out doesn’t mean that there is no such thing as God, you can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater anymore than Edison or Galileo stopped studying the wonders of the natural universe because they came to a dead end in some area of study. The natural world was still there, and It’s my impression that we cannot deny that the existence of the supernatural one either.

One other important thing I noticed, when reading or talking to others who believe in a god: by the time you decide to follow a god, you have already become convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that he/she exists. Total surrender seems to be the hard part for most people, which is exactly like getting the wedding jitters or cold feet on your wedding day. This kind of terror hit me not then, but right before I proposed, but strangely never bothered me again afterwards.
You can see some of my ideals:

  1. You have to hear back from the God to actually have to have a relationship.
  2. One-way relationships are a waste of time.
  3. You need to work hard at trying to find God – and you need to study/research as much as you can.
  4. I’m a skeptic – you need proof that God exists after you take the risk of pursing him/her. You need to hear back. You need to know right down to your core that he/she is real. God must provide that proof. If God is God and created the universe and all, he/she should be able to convince you of their existence. If God can’t provide such a simple thing, the god you are reaching out to doesn’t exist, or he/she is a jerk. In either case, that relationship is a dead end.
  5. There seems to be two stages: belief in a god beyond any doubt, and then total surrender to him/her. I think of total surrender like being married: You can’t get married and treat your spouse like a roommate or a casual friend, you have to surrender your rights, time, money, and emotion into the relationship – this is the nature of true love, the foundation for all great relationships, and the foundation for human society at its greatest. This is not a surrender of your intelligence, your uniqueness, or your individuality – those are sorely needed assets in any relationship. Blind obedience to God is not at all what is meant by a ‘total surrender’ any more than being blindly obedient to my wife’s needs. True love cannot exist unless both parties are individuals acting in free will and being their own unique selves in a relationship where they put the other person first before themselves. You have to put god first in your life. This arrangement only works like a marriage – a relationship with a god is never casual or distant, but intimate and deep.

Leave a Reply