– Written 4th August 2009
At the risk of sounding like a heretic, I say: don’t spend life searching for God. Spend life searching for truth. Truth is paramount in all things.
You see, if you spend your life looking for God, you will most probably find him. Whether he exists or not, you will find him. But if you spend your life searching for truth, then if he does not exist, you won’t find him, and if he does, you will.
I am distressed by the number of Christians who sneer at, or at least fear for, those who spend their time exposed to other people’s views – listening to the case for atheism, watching movies or reading novels that say something contradictory to the Bible, studying philosophy… etc. “But it will challenge your faith,” they say, “It’s risky,” they say, even “It won’t be good for your relationship with God”.
What is that? To the people that say this to me, I love you, but you’re wrong.
Tell me, if God really is real, what could I possibly have to fear? What possible risk could there be? If anything, they’re expressing some idea that the truth of God’s reality is weaker in some way than mistaken contradictory musings.
It is a tragedy that Christians might only grant themselves exposure to views that will preserve their faith. This is not hunger for God, or devotion. It is fear. Fear that your precious beliefs are wrong. We need to stop searching for affirmation of our faith and start looking solely for truth. Because the truth is paramount, it is more important than anything. First of all, you must consider from time to time the possibility that God does not exist. Because if the truth is that he doesn’t, then we should throw away our belief in him; it would be right to. If that is the truth, then that’s all there is. God’s proposed existence is not above that.
You see, if God is, then he is “above” truth – he commands it. But that’s only if he really does exist. If there is one thing that God cannot be above it is the truth of his nonexistence. So if I am on the quest for truth and find for certain that God is not real, then that is a good thing, because I have just escaped a lie/error/wish of man. I know, believer, you just got that chill when I said finding out that God is a lie would be a good thing. I understand why you would feel that but it does just show how entrenched you are in your mindset that he is real. And I believe this is closed minded. Consider things from the opposite of your point of view. To say that there is a “risk” of being led to believe that God is fake, then, is deceptively one-sided. It is a possibility. Nothing else.
So why should I not fear? I shouldn’t fear because if God really is real, then the search for truth must lead me to him. It must, because he is the truth. And I can say with confidence that it will, having met him personally. But not only do I believe there is no danger, but I believe there is a benefit. To sit comfortably in your beliefs is like backing down from a fight. Sure, the man who backs down will certainly retain his life – he couldn’t lose, but did he win? Had he fought, and defeated his opponent, he would end up in mainly the same position as he would have had he backed down – alive. But he would have been better for it, more resilient and more assured of his abilities, as well as having an enemy that is dead. You haven’t won anything if you never gave yourself the possibility of losing. This is a long and pretty way of saying that if you allow your faith to be challenged, your resulting faith will be stronger, with less soft areas of fear, and more areas of actual assured knowledge. And that is what I say to those of you who believe that studying other ideas is bad for your relationship with God. It is not. I would say God is a strong advocate of truth. He wants us to find it.
But what I want to do is issue out a challenge. Mainly to Christians but one that applies to all people.
Never conclude. There is no reason to. How many times in your life have you made a conclusion about how the world is only to discover later that you were wrong? What was that conclusion then, other than an obstacle in the way of your realisation of the truth? Bruce Lee said that, although commonly referred to as a Master, he was not a Master, but a student Master. He said no-one is a Master until they die because not until they die will they stop learning. This is true for our beliefs as well. Life is full of belief and then correction, seeing things one way, then another. But for many Christians it is not the truth that holds their faith steady (because they haven’t consulted the unbiased truth), it is just their stubbornness and closed-mindedness. I’m not saying this is you, but I know it does happen. I know I have been stubborn and unwilling to listen before to arguments that sounded too convincing. But I know that is not the way. It is not the way God wants us to seek him.
Somewhere along the line, many of us decided to conclude that God is real and that we would no longer search for truths potentially outside that notion; because we have that question figured out. And from there we sit down forever more. But that means that even if a perfect proof for atheism came our way we would still believe in God. And I ask you, do you truly believe in something if you haven’t exposed yourself to the opportunity to believe something else? Do you?
I’m not asking you all to search vigorously for the rest of your lives and spend no time living. I just think that there is something wrong with a stubborn belief, even if it’s the right belief. Too many of us are sat down in our Christianity, without the possibility of moving. You don’t have to leave your position of being a Christian. Just STAND UP in your Christianity. There’s a difference between the two. Don’t sit where you believe and say that’s the end. Don’t conclude. Be free and loose to move whether you end up moving or not. Always be open to the possibility that you’re wrong. Allow yourself the freedom to believe whatever is true.
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Don’t conclude. Have an open mind.
Don’t seek God. Seek truth. I’m confident you will find him there.
- “I am the way, the TRUTH and the life.” – Jesus of Nazareth.