Has anyone ever asked you “Do you believe in God?” Of course they have. Your response is almost more intriguing than the question itself, if you ask me. You may answer the question confidently. The matter may be fairly simple. It’s a yes or no question after all. If you have no hesitation, does this strike you as odd to have such a profound question decided so easily? You suddenly become the one with all the answers.
Perhaps you’re the type who answers “I don’t know.” I mean, it is such a monumental question that “I don’t know” seems almost a given. How can anyone believe in God with certainty? Yet, does it also not strike you as odd that you could live your life in such tension? Is not the existence (or non-existence) of God extremely significant in the big scheme of things? It would seem that such a question demands a definitive answer on your part. What if you’re wrong?
Would there be hell to pay?
Another question that taunts us regularly is “What is real?” Growing up in a Christian home, certain things were obvious to me. There was a God. He was real. Angel were real. Heaven was real. Hell (gulp) was real. For all of you who were never raised in such a household, I can not stress enough the degree to which I mean “real.” God was as real to me as grass, trees, and skinned knees.
I have since grown up and learned of other perspectives that muddy the water (and for good reason), possessing their own merits which demand my reflection. After learning of the various streams of theology present throughout church history, I came to find differing opinions about the reality of hell. All of a sudden the game had changed. What if all those other things were up for debate? What if nothing had been decided?
I came to the personal conclusion that hell did not exist. I also came to the conclusion that my belief in hell had no bearing on whether I would even go to such a place if it did exist. Why would it matter? How could it? If the only rationale for believing in hell was the fear it induced to keep you in line, that’s a pretty crappy reason (and further evidence the whole thing was bullsh*t).
But then I came to a far greater revelation. Hell did exist.
You heard me right. I don’t believe in hell, but hell obviously exists.
I once took pride in proclaiming that I did not believe in hell any longer. But such a statement ignores the genocides in Sudan and Rwanda. It says the Holocaust never happened. It spits in the face of every child slave, every infant ripped from her mother’s arms. It looks the other way as workers are exploited, as women are raped, as children are orphaned by decades of bloody civil wars. We cannot say hell does not exist.
Does Heaven exist? To deny Heaven is to deny lovers their wedding night. It is to drain music from our ears and hearts. Without Heaven there would be no smiling children or roller coasters. We cannot say Heaven does not exist.
Is there a God? Well, if your God is love, he is within those who love. Is God everywhere? Wherever you go, there he can be found if love is with you still.
Don’t let your ego blind you from what is truly real. To dismiss an idea is to dismiss a reality it represents. You have the power to create and destroy, to give life and to take it away. To make your beliefs into gods is to hand your fate over to them. They will rot and crumble as you cry out for answers.
You may decide there are no Angels, but their songs may reach you still. One may be calling out to you from the living room.
They want another juice box.