Here’s my latest ‘Credo’ article that appeared din today’s Newark Advertiser.
“There’s no use trying,” [Alice] said: “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
(from ‘Alice in Wonderland’)
This column’s title means ‘I Believe.’
It’s clear that when it comes to faith in God there are many people who don’t believe and I certainly respect people who hold that position. You can’t prove God exists, nor can you prove there’s no God. But sometimes I wonder whether what puts people off Christianity in particular is their perception of what you have to believe to be a Christian.
Not everyone is like the Queen of Hearts who can believe six impossible things before breakfast.
So, if you’re one of the people who thinks that you can’t be a Christian because you can’t believe what Christians do – I’m a Christian, and here are a few things I don’t believe:
I don’t believe that God created the world in 6 days;
I don’t believe that there was a big boat filled with animals,
I don’t believe that every word in the Bible is literally true;
I don’t believe that you get into trouble with God if you fall in love with someone of the same gender;
I don’t believe you go to hell depending on what you believe or don’t believe.
There are lots more examples I could give but they’ll give you the idea.
Of course some Christians do believe all these things and if that works for them then that’s fine. My point is that to believe in God or to be a Christian it’s not necessary to believe in things that you find impossible to accept. At least not in my church it isn’t.
To me a few beliefs really matter:
I believe that there is meaning in existence and I find that meaning in God;
I believe that you can find a lot of truths about God in the Bible, without having to believe every word in the Bible is true;
I believe that you can find a lot of truths about God in other places too, not least in nature and in other people’s lives;
I believe that Jesus Christ’s life and teachings were about showing us how to live in the world in a better way to make it a fairer, more just place for everyone living here;
I believe that if more of us tried to live in the Jesus way it would transform everything.
Jesus never made any demands of his disciples as to what they should believe about him. What he said was that they should believe in him: that is believe what he was saying to them about how they should live.
And it’s good advice as to how to live a good life – whether you believe in God or not.