People don’t like to talk about God.
He just seems to be a bit of a taboo, to be honest. It’s like people don’t like the taste of His name in their mouths. Any mention of him seems to be a ticking time bomb; and everybody knows how politically correct you have to be these days. God forbid if you use His name around an atheist; they might spontaneously combust or something.
Whenever He is mentioned, it is usually in reference to a group of specific things, which all seem to be interlinked:
- The Generalisation of Religious Afflictions (i.e. “All Christians are hypocrites. All Christians are homophobes. All Christians are narrow-minded and old-fashioned.”) which links to…
- The Instability of Religion (i.e. “Religion is an organisation for man’s own ends, I mean, look at all the extremist groups because of it. We should just give up on the idea of God.”) which leads to…
- Attributing Blame (i.e. “If He existed then how could God allow that to happen?” “If he existed then why would God let innocent people die?”) which leads on to…
- The Denouncement of Religion (i.e. “God doesn’t exist, so I shouldn’t believe in anything.” “The selective nature of miracles means they are simply a fluke of nature.” etc.) which leads to…
- The Politically-Correct Silence (i.e. “We can’t seem to confine God to our mortal-minded boundaries, so rather than try to understand Him, we’ll just not mention Him in reference to anything positive).
What I find particularly interesting, though, is that the very same people who so adamantly deny the existence of God are the same people who are jumping on the “If God exists, then why is there suffering?” band-wagon. And the same people who are the ones questioning His existence are the very same people tagging their photos #PrayForParis #PrayForSyria and all those other #PrayFor tags that nobody actually seems to recognise the religious sentiment behind them. (Who exactly do you intend to pray to if you don’t believe in the same deity you are claiming to pray to?) And yes, I know that the whole “Pray For [insert name of afflicted country here]” is a fluke of Social Media for people to get more likes and followers, but people need to recognise what they’re saying by tagging that in the first place.
Now, don’t get me wrong, this post isn’t me saying “The evidence is irrefutable for God’s existence,” because I know for many that it’s not. And, like I’ve said many times before, there are times when I’m sure many Christians doubt their own faith or beliefs. Unfortunately, I cannot offer anybody any solid evidence as to God’s existence. I could tell a billion stories of times where I’ve experienced or been privy to what I could only call miracles. But I know that they would serve very little purpose. This post also isn’t me saying “Everyone, it’s time to stop being cynical and to believe in God” because of course, that would do very little in the grand scheme of things. If people don’t believe in a deity whose existence has been widely disputed and many times scientifically disproved, then what is the opinion of a mostly uneducated 16 year old going to do?
But I thought that maybe, since I’ve never actually spoken about it before very much before that maybe I’d talk about what I believe in, and why, because people never seem to understand. And yes, I may potentially get some hate, seeing as this is probably NOT going to be a ‘Religiously-Politically Correct’ post, in contradiction to the post title. But that’s okay. I don’t mind. My beliefs aren’t necessarily the most popular, and that’s okay. But I’m going to try and teach you something about me while I’m at it, because why not? Would it hurt to be religiously-aware?
So. Let’s start from the beginning.
I am a Seventh-Day Adventist. This is just a denomination of Christianity, but it’s one of the more recent denominations, as it’s only been around for a couple hundred years. (Since the late 1860s). Whenever I say to people, “I’m an SDA” (which is just a contraction) I usually get one of two responses:
- “What is that?”
- “Oh, you’re the ones who don’t eat pork and keep the Jewish Sabbath.”
I would just like to clarify. If you are currently in the first camp, then, to put it simply, we are a denomination of Christianity who are fundamentalists. What we are not (as some people believe we are) is a cult.
If you are currently in the second camp, then you’re right, but you’re also wrong. Not eating pork is not the foundation of our beliefs (although it does form part of our health laws; and it’s not just pork, there are other meats we don’t eat as well), and the Sabbath (which is Biblically from Friday sunset to Saturday sunset) is not Jewish. The Sabbath was there long before Judaism existed. So, no, the Sabbath that I observe is not intrinsically Jewish.
So. Fundamentalism. I get lots of fun responses for that, so I’ll just add some points to that. Yes, I am a creationist. I believe that God created the world in 6 days and rested on the 7th (which is where the Sabbath comes from). I believe in Jesus, that he came and died, and rose again. I believe that everything in the Bible happened as it was described, and I try my hardest to keep the commandments and laws of God in the Bible. (And no, I don’t feel like these are restrictive or conservative or narrow-minded. And I don’t follow them because I just want to get into heaven either.)
If anyone wants to drop the ‘not wearing mixed cloth’ or ‘women must be silent and submissive’ argument (because I’m sure that someone will) then you’re more than welcome to do so in the comments.
I believe in God and the Bible. I don’t just believe in it because my parents believe it or because I’ve been brought up in it. When I was a bit younger, I did doubt my beliefs a lot but I’ve learnt to trust and believe for myself. What I’ve learnt is that if you only believe in something because your family does or you feel like you have to, then there’s not really any point in believing in it, or pretending to believe in it. Because, effectively, that’s what you do.
We don’t believe in Hell. At least, not in the way that it is an endless place of torment where the ‘souls of the damned’ burn forever. That whole idea of hell was conceived by the Roman Catholic Church in the Middle Ages, and we don’t believe in that, because nowhere in the Bible does it state that that is what Hell is. It is also in complete opposition to our view of God. God cannot be benevolent or merciful if Hell exists.
Two of our main foundational beliefs are laid out in our name.
The first part in bold reflects the belief we have about the Sabbath. We worship on the Sabbath and observe it because in the Ten Commandments it makes reference to keeping the Sabbath day holy. It also reflects that the Seventh-Day is the Sabbath day, and the Seventh-Day by definition is Saturday. Hence Saturday being my Sabbath.
The second part (Adventism) reflects the belief we have about Jesus’s second coming. So, I believe in the prophecies of the Bible about Jesus coming back again soon. In short, I believe that He is going to come back soon, and there are lots of instances in the world right now that are happening in accordance to the Biblical prophetic books, and the predictions made about Jesus’s second return to earth.
Another one of our foundational beliefs is our health message. The basic idea is that the more you follow it, the healthier you will be. Biblically, we’ve been recommended to eat a vegan diet, and those who do so typically live a long and healthy life.
Our denomination was founded in America, and one of the main founders of it, Ellen G. White, (who is possibly the most well-known and respected women in our denomination) wrote lots of books and texts based on the Bible, which we refer to more widely as the Spirit of Prophecy.
Okay, so now the less ‘politically-correct’ things, I suppose. Our stance on abortion is that if it is being used as birth control then it isn’t right, but in other cases, like rape, or potential birth defects or severe risk to mother or baby, then the woman should make a choice herself. We don’t agree with homosexuality (it speaks against this specifically in the Bible, and we are fundamentalists) but we’re not homophobes. We don’t condemn people for being gay, they’re people nonetheless, and they have the same rights as everybody. There isn’t a stigma against this. (I’d like to take this moment to point out that disagreement does not equal hatred or intolerance. For example, I disagree with other religions; that does not mean I hate them or am intolerant of them.) We believe in abstinence, so not generally in favour of premarital sex, but it doesn’t mean there’s any particular stigma against this either. The whole principle is that it’s not for us (who, essentially, are all sinners) to judge other people, because we’re all on the same boat. And the principle thing for us as well is that no matter what we do or what we’re like, God still loves us.
That’s one of the reasons that I believe in God. Because it takes an immense amount of love to die for someone who has constantly tormented you, mocks you, hates you, and yet you still love them enough to lay down your life. I’m at question to whether I would lay down my life for some of my friends, but I know without a doubt that I would not be the first person putting my neck on the line for someone who I don’t like. So I think there is literally no greater love than the love that Jesus had for me, and the whole world, when He gave up His life for everybody.
It’s okay if you think I’m a Jesus freak or whatever, LOL. I’m alright with that. And this post was not meant to be a sermon, but you know, if it came across in that way, then ah well. But I just thought, hey, why not be different, and write about what I believe in for once, rather than trivial things?
And what harm would it do?
Have a good evening everyone,