Is there a God or not? Is there life after death?
Have you ever asked those questions? I’m betting that most people have. In fact, if I were a gambling man, which let me hasten to assure you I am not, I’d be willing to bet a whole lot of money on it.
We are thinking people and those who think ask a lot of questions. These two questions are big ones, and although they have been tossed around for thousands of years they continue to be asked today.
And yet they are, essentially, very simple questions because there are only three ways to answer them: “yes,” “no,” or “I don’t know.”
Now if we were to pose those two questions to every single adult living on planet earth today, my guess — and you might well disagree with me — would be that on a global scale the ‘yes’ responses would outnumbers the ‘no’s, while on a national scale perhaps the ‘no’s’ might outnumber the ‘yeses’.
Hard to say though, because of course there would also be a large percentage who would answer, “I don’t know.”
If you are attaching labels to people you might want to describe the ‘yes’ crowd as believers, the ‘no’ people as atheists, and the “don’t knows’ as agnostics.
My many years as a priest, however, have taught me that it is always a mistake to try to put people into compartments or neat little boxes.
Why? Well, for two reasons: one being that they almost always refuse to stay there. The ‘I don’t knows’ in particular are likely to keep hopping out of their box to join either the ‘no’ crowd or the ‘yes’ crowd. That tends to mess things up.
The second reason is that labeling people is unquestionably divisive.
If you, a believer say, refer to somebody else as an atheist, you automatically set yourself apart from that person which leads to an ‘us’ and ‘them’ mentality.
In our world today, already divided in so many ways, that is the very last thing we need.
The human intellect can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God, although many have tried and continue to try. Since God cannot be seen with earthly eyes and remains invisible, belief come down to faith rather than scientific evidence, and it is perfectly normal to experience moment of doubt, especially at time in our life when God seems distant from us and when we feel weighed down by anxiety.
Even the prophet Habakkuk in the Old Testament cried out to Go, “How long shall I cry out to Thee and you will not hear me?”
Yes, sometimes it is hard to go on believing in an unseen God, which is exactly why God (who is by definition all-knowing) sent His Son Jesus Christ to light the way for us whenever we stumble in the darkness of doubt or disbelief.
My own belief is that God loves each and every one of us whether we profess belief in Him or not.
When we are tested by trials and hardships those of us who are blessed with the gift of faith are able to place our trust in Christ and believe in the God of mystery who remains hidden from view throughout our earthly life.
For, as Saint Paul reminds us in his first letter to the Corinthians, “Now we see through a glass darkly; but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as also i am known.”
All will be revealed to us in time.
For now though, let us hope, let us trust, and let us believe.
— Fr. Jozef Kobos, SDS, Church of the Ascension, French Creek.