Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What if I'm wrong OR And Unwasted Life

Everybody has doubts.  Even the most steadfast believers have doubts.  I almost distrust people who are unequivocally certain (about ANYTHING).   But for me, the doubts don't come about wondering about whether I'll get to Heaven. If the Bible is correct, I'm forgiven; and my ticket to Heaven doesn't hinge on how good I can be.  Because if that's the case, I'm done!

No, my doubts are much broader than that.  Every now and then it will cross my mind, "What if I'm wrong about the whole thing?"  What if my "religion" is wrong?  What if Jesus was fiction?  What if what I believe isn't the right way?  What if there is no "right way"?  What if everyone is right in their own way?  What if there's no hell?  Heck, what if there's no heaven?  What if all that I've clung to as a believer is pure imagination?

Muslims completely believe in their theology.  Buddhists sincerely follow the teachings of the man who inspired that belief system.  Hindus hold so firmly to their belief that they form their diet around it.  Jews KNOW that the messiah hasn't come.  They really don't seem confused about this.   Atheists, being pretty religious about what they believe, look at all of us who hold to  anything other than science as foolish and weak.  All these other "believers" are just as committed to the tenets of their faith as I am to mine.

Even among Christians, there are so many different takes on our God and how we are to follow Him.  Believers in Christ often have extremely opposed view points.  Theologians, who have devoted their entire lives to studying God's word, often disagree so acutely that it's hard to believe they were reading the same book!    But where everyone seems to completely agree, is the individual notion that their way is right and everyone else has been duped.

Sometimes I'm struck by this arrogance, MY arrogance.   What makes me so sure I'm right and everyone else is wrong?  What makes my faith in Christ any more precious than those who worship Allah or Buddha?  I'm so quick to see them as believing a lie, buy why can't it be me that's believed a lie?

These doubts can be dizzying, and so I try to steady my brain by asking myself, "Okay, so let's say you're wrong, Serene.  Then, at the end of the day, did your wrong cause hurt to others?"   Seriously,  did my being wrong about my beliefs cause pain to others? Make them feel judged?  Unloved?  Stupid?

If believing that my Creator loves me so much that He took human form to sacrifice Himself for me so that I could hopefully GET how much He loves me; makes me love others, then have I believed badly?  If understanding that Christ's love for me frees me from looking to every other unsatisfying thing on this planet for love and acceptance, in turn, makes me want to love others, then is that an awful thing?  If feeling accepted and cherished by God makes me want to accept and cherish others, then even if I turn out to be wrong; will my life have been wasted?  If God's patience with me causes me to be patient with others, did that patience hurt anyone?  Because I really believe that to die to myself, my wants, my desires and treasure God's love for his creation, is that making me hurtful?  I truly believe that every time I do something foolish, say something hurtful, look the other way at a need I can fill, God forgives me and reminds me He loves me. And because of the faith I have in this, it prompts me to be a little kinder, a little more understanding and hopefully more forgiving when I see those same human faults play out in the lives of others, whether they are "Christians" or not.

If what I believe in my heart is a lie, but that belief brought love, joy, kindness, acceptance, generosity and forgiveness to my life and the lives of people around me, then what harm has come from it?    The only harm that could come would be if I elevated the DESIRE to be RIGHT over being loving.  When I'm so fixated on convincing others that my way is right, then it's easy to forget that, if my way really is right, then I can trust my sweet God to show them.  And all I need to do is love.

If my life is spent loving because of my belief that God loves me and ALL His creation, then what does it matter if I'm wrong.  Yes, this is what I believe.  And yes, there are doubts.  But I've come to the conclusion, "So what?".    It's kind of hard to consider a life spent loving a wasted life.  So if  reincarnation is true and I come back as a turtle, I'll just be one happy (hopefully loving!) turtle!

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