Here’s a question Christians like to ask atheists and others that don’t believe what we do:
“What if you’re wrong?”
It’s the trump card of questions. If you’re wrong and I’m right, then that really sucks for you. Oddly enough I’ve never seen or heard of anyone being legitimately converted to the faith because of this question. Probably because it has nothing to do with a relationship with God and everything to do with fear. I won’t lie, I got saved a few hundred times when I was a kid because I was scared of hell.
I think a lot of Christians mean well when they ask someone a question like that, but it’s not something I find myself asking anyone these days. I don’t like the tone of it, or maybe it’s that I don’t like the tone it’s usually spoken in.
I guess I wasn’t completely honest when I said I’m not asking anyone that question. I actually ask it all the time. It’s just that I am asking myself it.
What if I’m wrong? I’ll be honest, and I don’t mean to break the heart of anyone in the church, but I question my faith.
I question my faith a lot.
A whole lot.
And for some seasons of my life I question it daily.
There are some mornings when I’m walking to work listening to a story in the Bible, and I stop and think, “Whoa, I actually believe this stuff?” I end up asking myself the trump question of “What if I’m wrong?”
What if I’m wrong? What if I die and there is no heaven, and instead it’s just like a Denny’s that everyone sits in for eternity or something? What if I should have been a Mormon, and I missed out on receiving my very own planet? (I would name my planet “Tatonyine” by the way.) Or what if everyone gets into heaven, and I could have done more things I always considered to be sin? You know? Maybe I could have lived it up a little bit more.
What if I’m wrong? I wish I could say I have unshakable, unmovable faith that never considers these things, but I just don’t. I wonder a lot. I wonder the same questions as everyone else: “How could a supposedly loving God allow [that] to happen on the earth he created?” How could a just God allow Kim Kardashian to have 18 million followers on Twitter? I wish I could give answers but I find myself answering with “I don’t know” way more often than you might have guessed. And some atheists and non-Christians make some pretty challenging statements that I can’t always easily brush off.
So here I am in my life. Trying my best to “stand alone on the Word of God,” but at the same time I’ve never seen God. I’ve never died and gone to heaven. I thought I did once but I was just eating at Golden Corral for the first time. I have to come to grips with the fact that I could be wrong about all of this. But if I’m completely honest, I’m probably too scared to switch religions any time soon. I mean I’ve made it this long, right? It’s like, “Well, I’ve been a Dolphins fan all my life, and the one year I go and buy a different t-shirt they’ll win the Superbowl. Just my luck.” Of course NFL patronage comes nowhere near comparison to the matter of my soul’s eternal rest. Still, some days all I have that keeps me in the faith is, “Heck, I’ve believed it for this long, why change it up now?”
But here’s the thing—I think it’s all right to question your faith. If you ask me, it’s what the difference between real, battle-bruised faith and blind faith is. Faith that doesn’t just believe what parents handed down, but faith that has been tested. Faith that has wrestled with angels. Faith that has had to change its mind on some issues.
I try to live my life in accordance to the teachings of Jesus, and I believe in the words of the Bible. I think there was an actual man named Adam. I believe that God flooded the entire earth at one point. I believe that a prophet named Jonah hung out in the belly of a great fish for a few days. (If you think I’m crazy then read this blog I wrote a while back. I know I sound nuts.) I really enjoy being a Christian. I don’t enjoy everything that comes with it, but I don’t regret my life.
So what if I’m wrong? Well, if I’m wrong and I lived a life following out the teachings of Jesus the best I can then I think that I will have lived a life to be proud of. Love your neighbors. Forgive those that wrong you. Don’t be greedy. Learn how to keep your mouth shut. Those are good principles to live by, and I don’t think I’ll be on my deathbed wishing I would have given less than I did or wishing I was still angry with people.
Am I completely sure of my faith every day of the year? No. But at the end of the day when the dust settles and the fights and debates are over, I find that I am more confident than I realize. The fact that I still have any faith is a testament to what my faith stands for. And if I’m wrong then I’m wrong, and I hope to see you all on Tatonyine for some Grand Slams and orange juice.
But what if I’m right?