Did you enjoy the last letter. I actually enjoyed writing it and the process that preceeded it. The thought that went into it. Sometimes I think I write you letters because they give me encouragement to spend time in thought. Thought’s good. Tell me, do you take time and think things through? Do you think about what you believe? The things you really believe that are fundamental to your life? I know you would tell me that you believe in God. You and many millions of others, but what do you all mean when you say this? Go on, describe your god to me. And now the fun begins and I normally let my wickedness off the leash, but I’ll contain it today.
So…your god is love. Is that, your god is loving or are you telling me that your god is actually love? Love, OK. Well tell me what you mean by love. Explain it to me.
OK, I get it. That’s really interesting but, help me here, if this god is what you say then why are children dying, why are innocent people suffering?
People lose their way when they lose their why.Gail Hyatt
Now I must warn you, at this point in this sort of conversation things normally start to unravel and people either become confused or angry. Often, then will come a moment when there will be a comment that goes something like this: “I don’t know, but I just believe and I don’t want to talk about this anymore”.
You see, people can tell you what they believe but, often, they really don’t know why. Maybe they grew up over there and over there that’s what they teach. They have always believed it and never considered thinking it through. Perhaps they were warned off thinking it through (some belief systems reinforce their existence by condemning anyone who would dare to question its beliefs. Some even suggest that their god will turn away from the individual which is a little inconsistent as they have just told you that that same god is Love. Crazy or what?). Now if warning people off asking questions isn’t a receipe for disaster, for racism, sexism, elitism and a whole lot more “ism’s” I don’t know what is.
Whenever we hear an opinion and believe it, we make an agreement, and it becomes part of our belief system.Don Miguel Ruiz
Let’s try something else. Something not religious. What else do you believe? Marriage is sacred. OK, so you don’t believe in divorce? No? So what do you say to the husband whose wife has just committed adultery…for the third time? How about the wife whose husband is a raving narcissist who’s just put her in hospital…AGAIN? Now you’re not sure are you? Maybe divorce in rare instances?
Sometimes I have to remind myself how vulnerable some peoples belief systems are and then reframe from asking questions.
Tell me have you ever sat with a small child who asked and asked why something is as it is? You answer the question and immediately receive the reply: “But why?” And every further answer is met with another “why” until you just have to answer with: “It just is” or something similar. So take that process and try applying it to your beliefs. When you hit a question that you struggle to answer, don’t give up but go and seek to understand. Gain knowledge. Really understand what you believe and why you do so, your core beliefs that guide and determine how you live your life. Ask them ‘why’ over and over and see if they stand up. Here’s a starter, one of your fundamental beliefs, God is Love. In a world of injustice ask yourself why you believe that and see if you do really believe it.
What if I told you your beliefs don’t make you a free thinker. The ability to change them based on new information does.TheMindsJournal
Today more than ever it’s important to know why you believe what you believe and be able to tell the world why you believe, even if questions come back. Don’t ever have a core belief based solely on someone else’s say so. Have it because you’ve tested that teaching and it stood up.
Isn’t there a teaching in your Bible that teaches of those who are “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. That warning is there for good reason.
Yours, looking for a believer to torment,
2 thoughts on “Surely you don’t believe that!”
Hello Wic. I found your blog through a comment you left on Endastories. This post really struck me. I was raised in the Church of Jesus Christ of Ladder Day Saints. There is much good there. Volunteerism and love thy neighbor is an important value. Be honest. Be industrious. Anyway, they also teach that their religion is the only true religion and the only way to return to God. As a young girl (probably six or seven), I still remember asking my mom, “What about the Catholics? They probably think their religion is true, just like we think ours is.” My mother replied, “Well, they’re wrong.” Now, I feel like I have to say here that my mother was one of the most loving people I know. She accepted anyone and everyone into her home with open arms. But on this point of religious bigotry, she was steadfast. Today I am asking myself what beliefs do I hold that I haven’t dug into as you suggest here. I suspect I have some work to do. Thank you.
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Christie, great to meet you. From what you wrote we seem to have vaguely similar paths that we have trod to reach this point. Want to follow and join the journey of discovery because, for me, that’s what it is? If you get a moment read https://letterstopogue.com/2020/03/08/heres-a-good-thing/ which picks up some of what you’ve said.
Whatever you decide, thanks for taking time to comment. It’s always an encouragement when someone engages in this way. Wic.