As a response to: “What topic should I discuss on my blog?”, I’ve been asked to speak about my previous and current certainties. Well, let me tell you that the process for writing this article was not easy: I sat at my computer, I reflected for a few minutes, then I realized I was hungry, got myself some mango, and came back to sit down. I typed out some topics I could cover, I got up to grab some water, then I sat down again. I stared at my categories, trying to make sense of them for several minutes, then I told myself it would be much more relaxing to watch the corny television show that I am hooked on lately. Then, the day passed, and today, I tried again, but finally I did something else and I went to visit a friend. Well, here I am trying to escape, clearly. Oh whatever, I’ll give it a try…!
I will begin by describing what I believed before (and I’ll use the PRESENT tense, so it has a better flow). I will share main points only, because my beliefs were complete and complex. To those who understand christian terms, let’s say I could have called myself an evangelist presbyterian christian.
Inspired by God (and not dictated – for me the difference is important), the Bible is the Word of God, saint and complete. When I say inspired, I mean that the men who took part in its writing did not hear a voice in their head, but they followed a drive within them. Written by over forty different authors over a long period of time, the Bible tells the story of God’s love for humanity and his plan for it: a plan for life, profound happiness and intimate connection with Him. Every story points towards one man: Jesus. The debates on the textual veracity of Genesis – was the world created in 7 days or in millions of years – miracles or the Apocalypse – prophecies on the end of the world – have no importance to me. I cherish this book, because in many instances, God speaks to me through my readings. For me the spirit behind its words is what matters, more than the technical and peculiar details.
I believe in a personal God, a God who has a passion for his creation and yearns for a personal relationship with each human, not to condemn them, but to showcase their true potential, their gifts and their strengths and help them live a fulfilled and eternal life. He is trinitarian, therefore there is one God revealed as three people: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. He is above all things, omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, he is never exceeded by my choices, will never abandon me and will always love me. He offers salvation for free.
Being saved from eternal death to live an eternal life in God’s presence. It is given freely by God, with the only condition to believe in the sacrifice of his Son Jesus, crucified for our sins.
Son of God, 100% man and 100% God, historical character who once existed and whose life was filled with miracles, as described in the Bible. Jesus is the Savior, the only path on which humans can reach God and connect with Him. Through his death and his resurrection, he is the perfect and ultimate sacrifice. He is the one through which all prophecies from the Old Testament are accomplished and due to his blood, we are forgiven for all our sins and we are saved. I pray in His name, and over the years, I discover more and more on this character and all his nuances. I wish to base all my choices and thoughts on his way of being. I too want to love others unconditionally, forgive, stand tall in the face of nonsensical laws, have a faith that moves mountains and practice the servant leadership (a leadership where the leader himself has a spirit of service and love). The indescribable Jesus from my youth has become a three-dimensional God, in the flesh and bone, close to my heart. I am a real christian “What would Jesus Do” (do you know those bracelets? They spell out WWJD).
According to the Bible, life after death is summarized into two options: live in God’s presence or live in a separation from God. So I believe. For me, paradise will not be a life led in white pyjamas over the clouds, playing the harp eternally and singing hymns. And hell will not be a huge sea of fire where Satan and his demons enjoy hurting the mean sinners who will have forgotten to pray for forgiveness before dying. I believe paradise is a space of ultimate perfection, because being in the presence of God means to be immersed in Love, Pardon, Justice, Compassion and Truth, all that is most beautiful and perfect on this earth. Hell, on the other hand, would be a space separated from God, so a place where we dive in the absence of love, light, truth, etc. God does not send humans in hell, it’s more the human who chooses to go there by refusing to accept the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross for his sins. God desires everyone’s salvation.
The community of believers, children of God, but also a place for resourcing, joy, reception and love.
Far from being at the center of my beliefs, I find it’s important to mention, since I had to battle with the idea of Satan during my life crisis. He is for me God’s nemesis, rebel angel, who tried to rise above and fell back down. He is very powerful and it takes me a lot of time to realize that nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that he is omnipresent, omnipotent, nothing “omni”… which changes my view of him. We could say that I saw him as God’s equal, since I believed he was so powerful and dangerous. Even if my view of him was transformed, I still believe he is present and dangerous.
And then BOOM BAM POW, my world shatters. There began a tsunami inside me, a long tsunami lasting over years; everything dies and gives way to something new. What had to remain, remained. A christian asked me the following questions recently:
Do you still believe in God?
Do you believe God is a person?
Do you believe Jesus is God’s Son, God on earth?
Do you believe in the redemption God wanted to accomplish through the sacrifice of his absolute son? Do you believe in the absolute?
And you know what? I don’t know anymore. And to be honest, I remember telling myself at that moment: he is not asking me the right questions… my paradigm has changed so much that these questions become as futile as the question on the creation of the world in 7 days. Today, my beliefs are in such motion that it is difficult to explain them to myself. I believe I only have 4 certainties:
What is it made of? No idea. My experiences have revealed a God exists, loves me and respects his promises, but I met people who had revelations from Allah, other guides and I don’t know who… To me, it’s about interpretation, signs, perspectives, beliefs. We attract what we believe, so if I believe in Jesus, I will see Jesus in the signs life sends me. However, if I believe in spiritual guides, then maybe that’s the way I will interpret the signs. You follow me? And if I believe in nothing at all, well life will serve me by confirming over and over again that there is nothing at all. Let me tell you about a story that blew my mind:
While I was hiking with a group during a trip, I met a Swiss couple. We meet, discuss and then the man shares a story about his wife, who at a certain age, started to have skin problems. She sees a doctor and he asks her if she had any Asian roots.
-Well no! Why?
-Because the disease you have has only been seen in that region.
Confused, she goes home and later, she talks about her skin disease and the doctor’s conclusions with her father. He then admits his story: born in France, from a French mother and JAPANESE father, his own father came to Europe during the war, fell in love with a woman and got her pregnant. The problem: he also had a wife in Japan; therefore he got dishonored from his Japanese family and his Japanese roots became a taboo topic in the family. His grand-daughter (hiking the mountain with me) never knew her father was half Japanese, DESPITE HIS FACIAL TRAITS! Supposedly, his traits were very Japanese like. Her husband ends the story by saying: “You know, when something is not even a possibility for you, although it’s obvious and in your face, it’s impossible for you to see it.”
This story taught me about the power of belief and disbelief. If I want to see something, I will see it, and if I don’t want to see something, I won’t see it. For me personally, I had too many experiences with the spiritual world to say there is nothing there. I am very aware of my subjectivity in all of this!
I admit that my vision of God today is unclear. It seems that this word had such a particular significance for me that it is difficult for me to say “I believe in God” now. Yes, I believe in something, but I don’t know what shape or form it/he/she has. One thing is for sure though (based on all the experiences I had), God, life, the Universe, guides, Krishna, or other, loves us deeply for all that we are.
I can no longer believe in the black or white, pure or impure, true or false. As I explained in point 1, I am aware today that everything stems from beliefs, life experiences, our interpretations of those experiences; that what seems to be true today might be less true tomorrow. As you might have picked up from this article (French), I stopped looking for the truth, rather I look for what’s more true to me at the moment. That’s also important, since the present moment is the only temporal element that I have control over. I always remind myself that the elements providing meaning to my life and beliefs, that compose my present today, will not necessarily be the same in my future present. Yikes, do you follow me?
I must admit this: I am a fan of Jesus, the man he was and the revolutionary values he shared. Although my vision and beliefs have changed, a hidden part of my heart was so profoundly touched that I keep a particular admiration and affection for him. For now, I can’t speak to my certainties about him, because they have been transformed into uncertainties (the meaning of some of his teachings, miracles and his divinity), but I keep navigating that every day!
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