For book club this month we read Godless by Pete Hautman. The book is written for young adults and won the National Book Award. The author describes the book as a “coming-of-age story, a comedy, a tragedy, a drama, an adventure.” Jason Bock, who has been raised as Roman Catholic, questions his faith, his parent’s faith, and the existence of God. The book is more about religion than about God.
The main argument (in the midst of all the regular arguments against God) is expressed by the author on his website: “The Bible and church teachings did not alway (sic) supply the answers I sought, so I looked elsewhere. What did I find? I found that I did not (and probably never would) know enough about the true nature of the univese (sic) to tell anyone else what to believe, and I came to distrust the words of those who presumed to do so. I also learned to recognize and respect the power of religion, and of faith.”
I find it interesting that the response of so many people to so many religions is tolerance. They question me, as a believer in Jesus Christ and His salvation alone, as to how I know my belief is THE right one. They belittle me because of my narrow-mindedness. I often wonder if they question Hindus. Or Buddhists. Or Atheists.
But the most intriguing part is why people who continually search for the one and only right answer in so many areas of life give up on any one right answer when it comes to God. I distinctly remember math classes – from arithmetic to geometry and algebra – where there was only one correct answer. Same in Biology and Chemistry. Same in English and French. Amazingly, little red marks on my papers let me know that not only was there just one correct answer, but that I had not written down that one correct answer.
Why do we applaud Einstein’s Theory of Relativity? Newton and gravitation? Kepler and the laws of planetary motion? Because they found the right answer! Do we honor the guy who stated that the earth was flat? Or that the sun revolved around the earth?
And yet, when we see all the different religions, all the different gods, the desire to find the right answer fades into the background and we become tolerant of all possibilities. The desire to be right, the desire to discover Truth, the need to find the correct answer fizzles into complacency or even fervent comparativeness. What is it that makes intelligent people stop seeking to find the right answer in one area when it drives them in all other areas? Why do they shut down all further discussion? An example is the author’s humorous offer on his website: * If you would like to share your personal religious beliefs with me, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have respect for people who research and study to find answers. I appreciate well-written and documented reasoning for belief. I have little respect for people who take what they have heard and compile a treatise based on a lack of knowledge, ridicule, and scorn. From Richard Dawkins’ The God Delusion to Godless the arguments against the existence of God (as revealed in the Bible) are based on a lack of knowledge of the Bible. Scripture and religious sacraments are referenced (and ridiculed); however, too many errors are apparent for me to appreciate their conclusions. And, similarly to Hautman, I distrust the words of those who presume or infer that they know all about what I believe.
I am content in my belief in God and knowing that He is the Creator, Almighty, I AM, Jehovah. I do not need to explore other religions. I will gladly share my faith with others. However, I also know that faith in the one true God is a personal thing. I cannot tell or force anyone to believe what I believe. My heart sorrows for those who do not know God, but I am not angry with them. I do not hate them. I do not wish harm upon them. Each of us makes our own decision, right or wrong, and we must live with the consequences of our decisions and actions.
However, I do challenge everyone to seek the Truth. Start as many already have – by asking God to reveal Himself to you – and be ready when He does.