This was my personal beliefs essay for my Christian Beliefs class. Pastor John Peckham teaches that class and hes amazing. Enjoy.
Does God exist?
I believe that God exists for two reasons. 1. I experienced him when I was young. 2. I see him in everyday things.
I was sitting in a church once, eleven or twelve, and the pastor was talking about the crucifixion. He starts to describe Jesus, the usual story. Him praying in the garden and the arrest, the trial by Pilate and being taken away toward the cross. By the time he gets to this point in the story, though, I have begun to visualize exactly what he’s saying. I am no longer in the church. I don’t see the pulpit or the preacher. My family is no longer sitting beside me in the pew.
I am in the crowd now, watching a man carry a cross down the Via Dolorosa. I hear the people yelling. The women crying around me, Jesus has just told them, “do not weep for me; weep for yourselves and for your children.” I can feel people pushing me forward trying to get a better look. I can smell the soldiers in their leather and metal armor, sweat pouring down their faces as they try to push the crowd back. I am small and in the front; a good vantage point.
I see Jesus again. Struggling against the weight of the cross, lifting it onto his shoulders when he catches my look and stops for a moment. He looks at me, it seems, as if im the only one standing there. An expression that I cannot read then passes across his face and he says, decidedly, “i love you.” he recovers himself, remembers what he was doing before, drags the cross another step and turns around again. “i love you.” he says again. Another step and again and again. And every step until he gets to the bottom of the hill with the skull.
You maybe thinking, “ok so you had a daydream, big deal.” it was very real to me because I think it was God trying to make a point to me. First principle: I believe God loves me, deeply and truly, period.
Second principle: I don’t think that God can be put into a box. I believe that he manifests himself in various ways throughout various religions and society both religious and secular.
I believe that many great people other than the apostles and prophets that we read about in the bible experienced God and lived their lives to help others think and live consciously. People like Socrates, Lao Tzu, Gandhi, various native tribes in North America. These were ordinary people outside of our religious tradition but whom i think lived their lives to find wisdom and truth.
I believe that if you spend your entire life walking towards truth (even if you cant accept the picture of God that religious, well meaning people are continually pushing at you) if you keep walking towards the light, you will eventually find God sitting there on a rock next to the end of the road. He will look at you and say “What took you so long?”
As with St. Augustine in his classic christian memoir, the Confessions, he says that it took him 30 years of asking questions and believing other things before he finally accepted Jesus Christ.
I believe that we are all born as blind men stumbling along looking for light. For me (and apparently St. Augustine also) its extremely difficult to believe the things Im told about God. There is so much pain and corruption, people doing horrible things to one another, neglect, heartache and people not living according to the good principles that they teach. Because of these things, there is darkness and I find it extremely hard to believe in what most people call light. I believe, thought, that for us blind people, God is still looking for us, still waiting for us and hopeing we wont give up on him.
I believe God manifests himself in nature. In the beauty and elegance of trees and flowers and animals. The human body’s intrinsic order. The fact that it is capable in all aspects to adapt and survive. The mind’s ability to recognize itself and think about thinking and imagine abstract situations and consequences. The fact that an unborn baby’s hands look like little mittens at first and then are sculpted into fingers; proving that God still molds us and makes us into who we are. That he wants to make us better. Mary Anne Evans (also known as George Eliot) said, “it is never too late to be who you might have been.”
I believe that we can see God in the power of love. The very fact that it is possible for one person to love another. As friends. As family. As members of a group, reaching for a common goal. As lovers. One human being to another. That we are free to choose how we will love and if we even want to or not. I believe this all demonstrates that God exists because God is love. He is the good that happens between two people.
Every day we have a million chances to be like God. I think to myself, what if most of those chances didn’t get wasted? “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’” (Psalm 82:6)
So maybe i don’t always see him in a church. In all the standing and the sitting and the metaphors and lingo. Maybe i never get the rituals and the fancy clothes. I believe God will be calling and searching for us still until tomorrow and forever.