Why Bother to Believe AT All?

I perceive God as Tri-une; impossible, unlikely, nearly incomprehensible. I apprehend God in Jesus, (the, not a) Christ, foretold by the prophets, announced by angels, pursued by powerful foreigners, born of the Blessed Virgin Mary, his death twice ordered by the Jealous Powerful (at His Advent, again at the Cross). Jesus lived a perfect life, died an atoning death, triumphed over sin, death and Hell, appeared to various persons after His resurrection, ascended into Heaven, bearing all His wounds for us, seated next to the Father, interceding for clumsy sinners like me, returning one day to make all things right

Yes, it would be so much easier to believe none of this and nothing else besides. Belief elevates us. The least belief lifts you to a new height. Elevated persons are easier targets. Non-believers can offer a Screaming Screed, hunch over and lie low. I have yet to meet a real unbeliever who knows how to listen, which is, one supposes, the means by which an unbeliever becomes an unbeliever. Believers naturally listen, which is, I am certain, the way we become believers.

Sulphuric jeremiads against noisy unbelief aside (why does it take so many words for the unbelieving to say they have nothing to say?), I now turn to the topic at hand, as evidenced in our title above, “Why Bother to Believe At All?” Let me say, as usual, I speak only for myself and no one else; not baptists whom I love, or methodists I learned to reverence or the Roman See or the Anglican-Episcopalian I want to hear (they are catholic lite; all the religion, half the guilt). I speak for no one. You will note no one jumps up to disagree with me on that point, even if every other point I make earns a snort.

I do not believe because I choose to believe. I deride those of my tribe or any other who claim their belief, in point or in the set of connected points that make up a line, believe simply because they choose to believe. Such a declaration does two things, both of them less than satisfactory. In the first place, one who chooses to believe he chooses to believe makes himself the hero of the piece; the star, if you will. You and I are supporting characters. If we get to sing an aria instead of populate the chorus it is at the pleasure of the casting agent. And, second, if we believe only we choose to believe, then we may believe in anything, we know not what or whom.

I believe because something prompted in me needs Ultimate Answers. That is, I have to have some direction in the Greater Questions. Something in me, or, more likely, Someone above me, demands of me a steady search for answers that involve us to questions that perplex us. I love history, biography, politics, issue-oriented life inspection but all these topics runs in circles, interrupted only on occasion by geniuses. Even the geniuses may not grasp hard to the Ultimate Answers or the Great Questions. Lincoln was caught up solving slavery. Churchill loved his island almost as much as he loved his Scotch and himself.

Jesus, The Christ, inspired persons to seek out the Ultimate Answers to the Great Questions. I will only settle for monotheism. I admit I am more comfortable in the Western religion because I am Western, but, all thing being even, I accept (not choose; there i a huge difference) Jesus the Christ as that One whose example (and whose reminding spirit) makes the enthused to seek out the Great Truths.

I bother to believe because believing bothers me. In fact, it simply will not leave me alone.

 

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