I had a conversation with a friend recently about religion. Well, not religion really, but about God. I differentiate the two in that religion is a human invention—God, and one’s relationship with God, on the other hand, is something very much different.
I know, I know, I’m in dangerous territory here. Many people become defensive; critical, even hostile sometimes, when someone brings up religion or politics. I am sure the hair on some atheists’ necks out there is standing at attention about now. I also imagine that those who consider themselves to be (based on my willingness to confess a belief in God) my intellectual superiors, are scoffing or chuckling as they read this.
I’m very familiar with the arguments “against” a belief in God: “Who’s to say which God is the God,” and, “Look at all of the pain and suffering caused by religion throughout history. Aren’t those ‘terrorists’ claiming to be acting on behalf of their concept of God.” And then there’s the “I just cannot honestly say that I can believe in (a) God, if He allows such suffering in the world.”
These are all valid points that deserve answers. In deference to the space limitation here, I will attempt a short answer—these all concern the topic of religion, not God. The question is not about whether one goes to church or follows some set of rules. The question is: How is your relationship with God? Can you step out of your ego; out of the evil shadow of fear, long enough and to recognize Him?
It’s not my intention to offend anyone or make anyone feel uncomfortable; on the contrary, my earnest hope is to connect with someone who may be reading this right now—anyone—who might just be feeling a little like, oh I don’t know, maybe how Robin Williams was feeling in the hours before he made the tragic decision that he made.
I have a message for anyone feeling lost at this very moment—you are loved. You have choices, and there are very good reasons to choose and affirm life. God’s love is so real and so pure, that he has freed us completely. He does not force us to have a relationship with Him. To my way of thinking, that is the proof of His existence, and I encourage anyone who might be in pain right now to ponder that point. Accepting His love is the liberating choice you seek.
So, what about science? That’s a long conversation for another time. Suffice it to say that all of the psychology, medicine, technology, counseling, and yes, even religion, were apparently of no use to Robin Williams at the point where he came to that last, final decision.
A good friend recently passed away. He was a brilliant man—a columnist for ALIVE, named Paul Hirsch. We had a long and sincere conversation several months before his passing. He basically called to say “goodbye.”
In that conversation, I asked Paul if he believed in God. His reply was, “I do now.” I knew at that moment that Paul had made the most important choice of all—he chose life.
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live. Deut 30:19 (KJV)