Sunday, February 10, 2013

To Believe or Not to Believe

I remember sitting around on Facebook, wasting time reading posts, and getting irate at all the images and posts regarding Christianity. I believed in God. But I didn't want it shoved down my throat every five minutes. Yeah, I get it, God exists. Pray and ye shall be saved. Message received. Now shut up!

The truth was, yes, I might have believed. But I didn't have a relationship with God. I didn't truly understand what it meant to say that I believe. I still don't fully understand any of this. But now, I am trying. And, I am seeing the flip side.

Now, as I sit around on Facebook, wasting time reading posts, I find myself getting irate at all the images and posts against Christianity. Were these around before when I was getting tired of the religious posts? It seems every five minutes one of my friends posts a picture or comment about how there is no God. Or if there is a God, he's just some creep playing a game and we're the chess pieces.

It seems the more I try to learn about Christianity, the more I am faced with adversity on the topic. And, the more I realize just how many of my friends are non-believers. Just how many of my friends are as I used to be.

I would never try to push my views on them (I don't think... although, I may let a comment or two slip through...). But, I don't want others pushing their views on me, either. And I don't want those views pushed on my children. Yes, I do want my children to have a well-rounded knowledge on both sides - and when they are older, they can then make the decision to believe or not. Ah, but wait... I claim I want them to have a well-rounded knowledge on both sides. But, this is easier to say than it is to practice.

I have my children attend Sunday School and confirmation classes. I have them attend church. This, I always have done to a degree (we were pretty lax with the Sunday School and church... but my older kids have been confirmed). But now, I am trying to open the household up to God a little more. My son says "I love you, and God loves you" on a daily basis. I tell the children to pray when things are going tough. I offer to contact a pastor when I know I can't provide the spiritual comfort someone is in need of. One of my daughters and I discuss teaching Sunday School and attending Bible Study. We discuss God and the Bible in our home. But with this increase of God, comes an increase of anti-God. And, if we go with my earlier statement of wanting the children to grow up with all views, than this should be acceptable. Is it? Is it acceptable to teach a child that God exists and God is love and God will be there.... and to also teach a child that God does not exist, or if he does, he is not love and will not be there?

I also must take a look at my friends, and their influence on me and my beliefs...

I have several somewhat friends who do not believe in God. Or, they may believe in a higher power, but not in the Christian God. In general, I do not see a problem with this. We can have some fairly intellectual conversations and debates regarding the topics. But, what about those close to us? Our very close friends and family and spouses? What do we do when someone we love and trust and deal with daily doesn't believe? Why should it bother us if someone doesn't believe?

I stumbled upon another blog just a bit ago, and on there the author has a relatively good post regarding when your spouse doesn't believe. In my opinion, this can be applied to anyone close to you - but spouse is a good discussion choice simply because we usually think we're marrying someone with the same beliefs as us, as this is what makes marriage easier (sometimes). Anyway... if you care to read this article... "When your spouse doesn't believe in God".

I won't repeat everything said in that article (read it if you want to hear his views), but there was one point in there I will add here. In discussing this topic with a friend of mine, I was told to pray (it's a common response to any religious issue... pray for the answer). But this article takes that concept of prayer just a step further. He says not to pray that God changes your spouse (or friend, or brother, or parent, or child, or whatever) ... but rather, you should ask God to change you.

Change the way you look at the situation. Change the feelings of resentment and anger you may have towards the non-believer. Give you the strength to continue in your journey without worry over the other person's journey. As the author of the post says... "we are responsible to people but we are not responsible for people."

Basically, the point I"m trying to make, is that I don't know the right answer. I don't know if you should only surround yourself with believers. I don't know how children should be raised when they are in a house with parents who believe different things. I stumble with all of this just as much as the next person. So, all I can do, and all I can suggest, is to pray. Pray that God guides you in your own beliefs, and helps you to accept those who do not believe, and shows you the answer to how to deal with loved ones who believe differently than yourself.

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