What Do You Believe In?
by Roger Lansdale
During another unappealing evening of searching for something to watch on television, I happened on the NBC show Third Watch. It is a show that chronicles the activities and interaction of a group of paramedics, police, and firemen in New York City. In this particular episode, the group was given the task of security and being on call for any emergency during a candidate's political debate at an elaborate hotel. As a result there wasn't the kind of action normal to this show, where the paramedics and police are responding to emergencies. Rather, this episode was all dialogue giving the viewer insight into some of the more personal feelings of the characters in this show.
In one of the many conversations that took place, there was one that particularly caught my attention. It was a conversation about belief in God. Basically, one paramedic had rejected belief in God because of all the hurt and results of distorted behavior that he had witnessed as a paramedic. His struggle wasn't whether there was a God; his struggle was believing in God. From this paramedic's perspective, God wasn't worth believing in since he allowed so many bad and sick things to occur. He wanted God to come and ride in the ambulance for one shift to see what he saw and to explain himself. In his words, "If the world were to take a vote 'for' or 'against' the God we've got, I'd vote for a new one." In response to this disillusioned person, a fellow paramedic said, "The problem is that if you don't believe in God, then the only other alternative is to believe in man which includes believing in self."
What a profound thought. I really hadn't considered it in that way before. If you and I don't believe in God, then the only other alternative is to believe in man which includes believing in self.
To believe in something means that we put our faith, trust, and confidence in that thing. It's to say that what we believe in has the answers. It knows what is best. It has the solution.
When you look at our troubled world and the troubles in our lives, the question that is often asked is why. Why would a man throw acid in the face of the mother of his child and thus severely burned eighty percent of her body? Why would a grandmother leave her infant grandchild in a hot car for hours while she played the slot machines at an Ontario casino? Why the murders? Why the rapes? Why the abuse? Why the failed marriages? Why the addictions? Why the children going bad?
Do not the answers to these questions and many more like them lie in what we believe in? You see, the fundamental problem is that we in our world for the most part have chosen to believe in man. We have decided that we know the answers. We have the solutions. We know what is best. And now we are reaping the results of what we have chosen to believe in. If we can be really honest with ourselves, our attempts of trying to be happy and bring about fulfillment haven't produced great results. There is little, if any room for boasting about success. Our world and sometimes our lives are in such a mess simply because of our basic belief system. In a very real way, man has created God in his image rather than allowing God to create us in His image.
The sad part is, that to believe in God and allow Him to create us in His image, has been so distorted and twisted by man that the vast majority reject this alternative. I would assert that what most see as believing in God really is just another form of believing in man. Many of the rules, regulations, and traditions that religion embraces support this assertion.
It seems to me that what is most needed is for people to go on the quest to find God--not a quest for religion, not rules, regulations or traditions. Neither is this a quest to affirm what you have always believed. Rather, it's a quest to find God anew, in order to discover whether He is worth believing in. The alternative is to continue on the road we are traveling when we believe in man and self. The results of this belief system haven't been all that encouraging. In fact, they are down right discouraging. Maybe it's time to truthfully, honestly, and openly consider the alternative.--via Gospel Herald and Pinehill Messenger, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, October, 2000
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