God exists. I believe He does. But my son recently asked me, that if God didn’t exist, would I want to know (I think Nick was collecting info for a project at his Bible College). My answer was yes. I never explained myself and he never asked for clarification, but I’ve been pondering this for a few weeks.
Some people describe Christianity (or a belief in any religion) as a crutch. They say it’s to pacify some kind of fear of death. If my belief was for that purpose, then I would be getting Christianity ALL wrong. As much as I don’t fear death (I didn’t when I was an atheist either), I think belief in Jesus makes my life much harder. I would want to know if God doesn’t exist, because I could really cut back on some hard things I now choose to do in my life that are based on my belief. First and foremost, I could spend every weekend free of commitment to my church family…sleep in, watch football.
I could stop giving large chunks of our money to causes to help others. I could stop letting others use our stuff (like our home or our cars). Because of God, I share more than is sometimes comfortable, because I believe He owns my money and my things. I pray, and I feel God dictates that I use the things He’s given me to help others. Not only does He ask me to share, He wants me to do it joyfully. It’s hard giving up what you work for and sharing your space with others with a giving spirit. I’m learning to do this.
I could hold a grudge and get revenge. I know that getting back at someone can sometimes give you satisfaction. Letting things go is not easy. When someone hurts you, you feel in your heart that getting back at them will give you some kind of justice. Trusting God with that justice, and learning to love when you are hurting is a HUGE challenge for me. As a believer, I have had to pray through many hurts and learn to forgive. I’ve had to give up on opportunities to “get them back” for what they did, and just let things go. Years can go by, and I have to let go all over again. It’s really not easy to live in forgiveness.
I could hate, swear, get drunk, eat like a glutton, be sardonic, exclude people, mock weakness in others, gossip…all without guilt. I know some of you are thinking that I’m not the type to do these things, but I think I am very capable of all of it. Sometimes, deep in my heart, I think it would be easier not to use kindness. It would be easier to yell at people (like in traffic). I would probably find humor in making fun of others. I wouldn’t have to dig deep to find extra grace for people who rub me the wrong way. As I follow Jesus, I find myself challenged to often bite my tongue.
I could spend more time at my leisure. For 12 years I have been working with teens because God called me to do so. I go once a week for Bible study (which takes me 1-3 hours to prepare for), twice a month for large group gatherings, once a month for Youth Staff meetings, countless Starbucks dates with teens wanting to share their heart, and much time in prayer. I have to show love, even when a student is making bad choices and breaking my heart. All of this is a challenge and it would be easier to stay home and hang out with my friends at my convenience. God calls me to care for His teens.
So, yes, if God doesn’t exist, I would want to know. Then again, all these things have blessed my life on a deep level. The crazy thing is, I don’t know if I would understand the blessings of grace, giving, and caring if I didn’t know God. It is through the way He challenges me to do these things that I have learned the joy in them. It is through the challenge to be more like Jesus that I find joy in things I probably wouldn’t care about if there were no God.