Monday, September 3, 2012

Challenge #1A

First, check out the original post--The Heart of the Question

Going into my senior year of college, I wasn't prepared to meet the people that I did. By that time, I had thought I had already developed "enough" friendships that would last and wasn't really planning on really connecting with people that year. Sounds awful, I know. And it was awful. It was an awful plan, too. A plan that clearly backfired because I met some of the most phenomenal, life changing, challenging, and important friends that year.

My senior year of college, I was challenged a lot. I was challenged in ways I hadn't been challenged before. One person who challenged me a lot was a girl I met my last year at NAU. She didn't challenge me in a bad way, but she most certainly challenged my thoughts, my motives, my words, and my actions both knowingly and unknowingly. She and I have almost nothing in common. I think our list of commonalities is a total of like four things. We don't look anything alike, we don't have the same interests, we don't necessarily value the same things, we don't believe in the same things, we don't study the same things, we aren't from the same place. Despite all of that though, we got along really, really well. And somehow, we developed a solid friendship, one where we trusted each other and talked about real things. Out of all of the people in my life my senior year, I think I valued her opinion the most. I valued what she thought, about me and about the world. I trusted her with myself.

We had a lot of conversations, especially about the concept of God. She was the first person ever in my life to really present a logical case to me that not only is possible that He may not exist--but that if He doesn't exist, that doesn't have to be a bad thing. Every other person and every other argument I had ever heard said "God may not exist, and that would suck".

When I was deciding whether to commit my life to Christ or not, I remember basically thinking that that would mean that I am in. All in, completely, 100%. I was accepting Christ and all that He stood for as Truth. And that, if there were 100 things and 99 were true and 1 was false, that would shatter everything. I'm too logical and I'm not about to pick and choose what parts I think are true and what parts are not. It was like a true/false question. It can be almost all right, but if any part of the statement was wrong, the entire thing was false. I knew that if I were ever challenged, I would not be able to just ignore the challenge. I knew I would have to investigate and discern what was what. Throughout most of my life, I was able to do that fairly easily. I was able to listen to people and explain things in a way that made sense. Not until this girl came along was I challenged in a way that I didn't think was possible.

I don't think she thought I was taking her seriously the afternoon we talked and she brought up this idea. But I was. I have been wrestling with this idea for the past few months. When I was 16, I struggled and questioned God's character. I didn't understand suffering or evil. All I knew was that it happened and it sucked. But I had never seriously questioned God's existence. I grew up in church world. And my roots are in the Baptist church (where you don't question anything. Not to knock the Baptists, but really, it was discouraged to question God.) My friend couldn't believe that I hadn't ever questioned His existence. Me, the girl who is "logical to the point of recklessness" and whose logic gets her into trouble countless times, never questioned the fundamental aspect of her beliefs. I wondered, but I didn't question.

So back to the challenge--What if God doesn't exist? What if that's not a bad thing?

Admittedly, I don't think I would have really thought as much about it if that question came from anyone else but her. But they came from someone who I valued and trusted and admired. And besides, she gave me a good argument. No matter what the topic is, no matter how strongly I am for or against something--if I am presented with a logical argument and reasonable ideas as to why I may be wrong or why something/someone else is right, I will consider it. And if I find the other person's findings more reasonable or more logical, I will begin to alter myself to align with logic.

So these questions scared the bejeezus out of me. The thought that God may not exist never really scared me, but the addition of, "..what if it's not bad that there isn't a God" DID scare me. She and I kind of came to one conclusion--that if there isn't a God then Christianity and all that it is doesn't matter at all, but if there is a God, then it's the most important thing in the world. (I don't remember exactly, but I think it was something like that.)

This has quickly gotten very long, so I'll try to wrap it up...

I think I'm almost able to respond to these questions. Not fully, and not quite yet. But almost.

What do you think? Does God exist? Are there gods that exist? Is it a good/bad thing if He does? Doesn't?

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