The God in Whom I Do Not Believe

People often tell me why they don’t believe in God: he has not answered their prayer; he has allowed someone close to die; he does not do away with all the evil and suffering in the world; the Church is full of abuses. I have to agree that I don’t believe in such a pathetic God, either. I don’t believe in someone who is merely there to rubber-stamp whatever I want; who doesn’t take me seriously enough to allow me free will but wants me to be a puppet on a string; who only has time for those who are good. I don’t believe in a God who is capricious, small-minded and mean; whose existence can be ‘proved’; who is as finite as I am.

You see, the arguments against the existence of God that many people use are actually rooted in unthinking petulance. I asked God for something, but he didn’t give it (question: why should God give you what you ask?); God took away someone I love (question: what kind of love desires what is good for itself rather than what is good for the other?); I want there to be nothing difficult or cruel in the world (question: what kind of world is that?); I want the Church to be full of saints (question: isn’t the Church meant for sinners in the process of becoming saints?)

The God in whom I believe is a Person of infinite tenderness and love, of breathtaking beauty and intellect. Eternity will not allow me to plumb the depths of God, how much less this brief life on earth! But this I can assert with absolute trust and confidence. Whatever I believe about God is so much less than the truth of God. ‘As the heavens are high above the earth, so are my thoughts above your thoughts.’ Ultimately, it is not a question of the God in whom you or I believe or don’t believe but of the God who is.

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12 thoughts on “The God in Whom I Do Not Believe”

  1. Life will go wrong. The central heating will break when the weather freezes, your car will crash, you will loose your job, people who were important to you will no longer be there, your health will fail. That’s life. But God is the One who leads, who directs, who teaches. Who comforts and strengthens, who creates and loves so completely that His love cannot be measured. He will always be there. He makes life bearable until we gain the chance to stand one on one with Him in Eternity.

  2. One of the bazaarest things I heard on the radio was an atheist opining that if only us theists opened are eyes to see the many different varieties in nature such as the many types of grass we would stop believing in God. His logic being if God was real he would have only created one spieces of Grass! mmm – not much of a creater then!

  3. I sometimes wonder who the God is that some people believe in? Not because I doubt his existence, but because others cause me to wonder if their God is a destructive, hurtful God, who has given them nothing but grief.

    Where is their gratitude and thankfulness for the life God has given them, the freedoms that he has gifted to them, their ability to be the best that they can be?

    Their God gets a grudging acceptance as being there, but on sufferance, as if, the next time he doesn’t do their will they’ll be off to the next God shop to see if they can get a better deal.

    I know that I sound unkind, but it’s difficult to compare their God with the God of love that has made himself known in my life and who is placed central to it. The one, whom through whose grace, I’ve had a good life and am privileged to share with others his good news through service in my parish and perhaps in new ways in the next few months. The God who has given me, much more than I can ever thank him for or repay in acts. The God of Love, who puts everything in place and time according to his plan for each of us.

    I pray for those whose God is the type that I don’t recognise and rejoice that the God who is love is my God.

  4. A world without suffering – what kind of world is that? I think that’s what most people believe heaven is.

    In addition, I think you’re being unfair. Many people pray and see no evidence that anybody listened, answered, is loving, is miraculous etc … that is not petulance, it is observation and disappointment in the promise of the church.

  5. Thank you so much for the excellent simplicity of your thesis and especially its conclusion, which I’ve reposted with accreditation on my blog. (We were in touch about the time my blog was launched after the Christian New Media conference of 2011.)

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