I am often asked how I can believe in God when there have been so many wars caused by religion. The implication is that if only people would leave behind their convictions about the existence of a God the world would be a much better, more peaceful place.
‘Faith is believing what you want to believe, yet cannot prove.’ Sadly many people, including many Christians, live with this definition of faith. For some it feels liberating. It means being able to believe in anything that you want to – and the more silly the belief is, the more faith you have.
The issue of free-will and predestination is one that has raised its head in every generation of Christians. Do we exercise choice, or has everything already been decided? The resultant mental gymnastics leave many feeling confused, and others feeling disappointed. Did you choose to read this article, or has God already determined that you will… or won’t?
It was Woody Allen who once made the remark: “What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case I definitely overpaid for my carpet.”
It is amazing to think that some people actually believe they are good enough to get into heaven. Perhaps it is because we read so much bad news in the papers about others that we are quick to conclude that by comparison we are superior, and so deserving of a place in eternity.
The question you have most been dreading comes – What is wrong with sex before marriage? What on earth are you going to say? It is the 21st century after all, surely God doesn’t hate you enough to make you say something so ridiculous and old-fashioned that you will lose all your friends? In the gospels, Jesus was asked many difficult questions and he frequently responded with a question, before answering more fully. He did this so often that I think we are probably meant to notice it and learn something.