Most of my actions and choices are based on the fact that I believe in God and accept Jesus Christ as my Lord & Savior.
There are many opinions of mine that have been duly adjusted because of my desire to “not be conformed to the world but instead be transformed by the renewal of my mind”. However, there are some ideas my fleshy side still leans towards that my spiritual side has to regularly come in and “set straight”. I figure there are quite a few of you that go through the same thing. In the spirit of vulnerability, I’m sharing a couple of those ideas/causes I’d be fully on board for if I didn’t actually believe in God.
1. Existentialism: I went to a really great high school. I felt extremely lonely and unhappy in high school most of the time but I can’t deny that when it came to the academic coursework, they were spot on. My favorite class was English. I had a special fondness for the literary works picked out for us to read and review – classics from The Great Gatsby to One Flew Over A Cuckoo’s Nest to Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. These were carefully selected works that broadened my world view and impacted my critical thinking abilities significantly…not to mention my vocabulary. One of such books that resonated with me was The Stranger by Albert Camus. The running themes throughout the story were that of absurdism and existentialism. The book opens with a line by the main character, Merseult, that reads “Mother died today. Or maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.” I found it to be surprisingly honest. His confusion, his seeming apathy…he was a character I wasn’t familiar with in the novels I had read beforehand. By the end of the book, I had several philosophical questions running through my mind. What is the point of life, really? If bad things happen, why bother being optimistic? Can anyone really be happy or are we all condemned to loneliness and superficial relationships? Needless to say, an existential gene had been activated in me and the idea that we all make our own individual meaning out of life seemed logical. Later on in my life I experienced God for myself and became overwhelmingly aware that not only is He real, but also how much everything in life fits into His grand plan for existence (even with our luxury of free will).
2. Euthanasia: The act of deliberately ending a person’s life to relieve suffering. This one bothers my heart a lot. I find it hard to just lump this as “wrong” even though it is considered a cut and dry immoral action in most Christian communities. I remember hearing the story of Dr. Kevorkian, the medical pathologist that was convicted in the late 90’s of second-degree murder for assisting an average of 130 terminally ill patients in ending their lives. I remember the outrage during that period and the general public opinion that he was wrong for his actions. I also remember not sharing the sentiment. All I kept thinking was, “If someone is in continuous physical pain and waking up each day feels like torture, why not let them leave?” Since then, I’ve developed a new sense of appreciation for suffering (from studying the life of Jesus and the great men/women of the Bible whose lives were interlaced with suffering) yet when I hear stories of people in excruciating pain, miserable to no end, assisted suicide still “feels” like a kind option.
3. Pre-Marital Sex: I believe in choice. I believe that each person gets to make choices for themselves in all areas of their life, sex and relationships included, and each person gets to reap the consequences of those choices (helpful or harmful). I would have no issue with pre-marital sex if I didn’t believe in God. I’d probably say “You only live once. Have as much fun as you’d like – just remember to carry the condoms with you!” But then I look to the Word and know that it’s not what pleases God. The damaging and reckless soul ties formed between random (and non-random) sexual partners. The constant headache and heartache of never-ending relationship woes. The idolization of sex. The daily distraction from building a relationship with God by this guy…that guy…the other guy…plus that one from before. The devaluing of the institution of marriage setup by God from the get-go. It would be silly to think God is in approval of this one.
4. Polygamy: I’d be all for this. I don’t consider monogamy a natural state of being – I see it much more as a choice and skill that requires intentional work and discipline. There are over 7 billion people on this earth – I surely haven’t just had eyes for one…or two. I must admit, there is something terribly attractive about “new” – new man, new relationship, new experience. Marriage doesn’t stop a person from noticing “new”. It takes a person with righteousness as a goal in mind (because God’s original design for marriage included one man and one woman) to make the choice to love/commit to one person and successfully maintain monogamy. Trust and believe, if I didn’t believe in God I’d have no problem getting married to John, Geoffrey, and Thomas. Let’s be thankful I do believe in God – with the level of STD’s running rampant out here, one sexual partner is risk enough :)
5. Prostitution: Again, I’d consider it up to each person to decide whether he or she wants this lifestyle. Through worldly, closed eyes, I see it as more of a business transaction involving two consenting individuals. Through spiritually opened eyes, I see it as a physically and spiritually demoralizing choice that causes more harm than help to all involved.
There you have it; 5 Things I’d Support if I Didn’t Believe in God. Thank goodness I do. What I am realizing more in my life is that who I am is much less about how I feel in any given instance but instead much more about who/what I believe in at heart. My feelings may change as the wind blows but it is my job to keep my faith stable and allow my choices to stem from it. And since I choose to have faith in God and the Word of God, I have to believe that His Word supersedes my feelings. The good thing about God? He knows more than I do.
He’s wiser than I am. There are some notions I struggle with because I’m human and don’t have the full picture in the way that He does. As a believer, I can’t “have it my way” and “have it God’s way” at the same time. Faith calls for full surrender to God and His plan. The beauty of faith is trusting that the Word of God is true, even if my human mind doesn't always agree with or fully understand it, and knowing that the Holy Spirit is my greatest guide when navigating through the sometimes grayish, murky-looking areas of life. One thing I can say about the Holy Spirit - He never steers me wrong; even if it’s on a path my flesh isn’t too pleased to be going down.
If you could only witness one of my tantrums :)