Being a young adult has proven to be a somewhat awkward time in my life. I’m not a child anymore, but I haven’t spent very much time being an adult, so I find myself sort of wandering blindly through these years, crossing my fingers that things will turn out alright.
It’s not a bad way to live, but it certainly makes me still feel like a child!
For me, this has also meant that I’ve started questioning things that I never thought I would question again.
I noticed that a lot of the responses to this daily prompt discuss God, and all the ways that He has helped my fellow bloggers to believe in Him. And I think that these are all wonderful testimonies, and yet …
Do I believe in God? Do I believe in his Son? Do I believe in the Holy Spirit? Do I believe in the One True Church?
Sometimes, I’m not so sure. Granted, if I try to put myself into a position of being an atheist, I’m not so sure about that either. Sometimes, I feel like a just don’t know. And I think that is one of the issues with Christian outreach today. Christians don’t talk enough about doubt.
I guess there might be some people out there who have such a strong faith that their belief in Him never wavers, but I find that really hard to believe. Sometimes, God is silent. Sometimes, it feels like He has abandoned you. Sometimes, such horrible things happen in your life that you begin to wonder if your God is really a loving God at all.
That has, at least, been my experience.
But I still hang on to my faith. I just can’t let it go. The main reason I can’t, is that the Christian message is so beautiful.
Forget, for a moment, the more mythical aspects of Christianity. Let’s focus instead on a few of the main themes of the Christian story.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16
The Christian message of love is one of self-sacrifice and servitude, and we are called to model ourselves after Jesus, who gave his very life for us. Not many of us live this central teaching well, for sacrificing ourselves for others goes against our very selfish human natures. And yet, this is my most treasured belief. That Love is about Sacrifice. Sometimes the sacrifices are small, sometimes they seem meaningless, sometimes they disguise themselves as hard work and drudgery, and sometimes they require feats of incredible bravery. But love really is about sacrifice. If you love your fellow man, you will give your time to him, your money to him, your clothes to him, your love to him. How many of us truly do this?
Not many. But this is surely an ideal that I want to live up to. Even if I stop believing in God one day in the future, I will never stop believing in the Christian message about Love.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” Isaiah 1:18
Most people would read this quote and think of forgiveness, but I read this and think of hope. The Christian message tells us that no sin is too horrible that it cannot be forgiven, and that no person is so lost that they cannot find their way back to God. That message is one that is centred on hope. Hope that the future can be better than the past, hope that even those who have committed the worst of crimes can realize their mistakes and make amends whenever possible.
All of us have done things that we regret, that we wish that we could take back or do over. Some of us have done worse things than others. Some of us may even have mental illnesses that influence our actions. But none of us need to be lost forever. And none of us should give up on our fellow man. Christians are called to reach out to the sinners, the criminals, and the lost. Christians are called to give them our shoulders to lean on, our presence to rely on, and our hope that we all can move towards a better future.
There are so many amazing stories of forgiveness and redemption. Even if it may seem impossible, I hope that I might be able to look towards hope and forgiveness, as others have, even if I lose my faith in God.
“There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28
The Christian message of equality between all people, who are all made in the image and likeness of God, is one of the reasons I have remained a Christian even during the times in my life when I have doubted God’s existence. There is so much overwhelming evidence of inequality today. The selfishness, self-absorption, and greed of our North American culture. The way we worship celebrities and the rich. The way we forget, and sometimes even promote, the many of the evils of our world. Human trafficking. Slavery. Poverty. Abortion. Homophobia. Sexism. Racism. Child pornography. Rape. Abuse. Genocide. Exploitation. Privilege. White Supremacy. Xenophobia. Stereotyping.
That list could go on and on and on. But, even through all of the horrible sins and transgressions of the leaders in my Church, I have never seen the Church’s message of the inherent dignity and equality of the human person change. We are all equal in the eyes of God. We all have inherent rights, no matter our age, our location, our race, our sex, our gender, our circumstances, or our past. We are all one.
Christians are called to stand up and defend human equality. Many of us do not. Many of us become complacent, lazy, or convinced by the messages of inequality in this world.
But many Christians do stand up. Many Christians do speak out and try to make a difference. And they give me a reason to continue to believe in equality and human rights. They give me a reason to remain Christian in my philosophy, even if I no longer remain Christian in my belief in God.
So there you have it. Three reasons why I still believe in the Christian message, even through all of my doubts about God’s existence, Jesus’ divinity, and my own journey into adulthood. I am sure that I will change as I continue to grow. I will keep spreading my wings, learning new things about myself and my beliefs. But I hope that I can keep following these three central messages, that even through the drudgery and repetitiveness of daily life, I can continue to believe in love, sacrifice, hope, forgiveness, and equality.