This isn’t a religious question. The connection between most religions and God are tenuous at best. Churches are more concerned with internal matters and God tends to get lost in the process. Besides, ultimately it’s a question you have to answer yourself.
First of all, there is the question. When raised for other than purely intellectual pursuits, it is largely a ruse. It mostly comes from people who for various reasons, are unable to be vulnerable and trust.
Perhaps they’ve been hurt and are afraid to risk being hurt again. Others feel shameful and unworthy and cannot open up for fear of having their beliefs confirmed. Others are stuck in their intellect, safely protected from the pain of their emotions. And then, some people blame God for their misfortune and can’t get past their anger.
A lot of people in our culture allow themselves to be run by their rational minds. Our scientific and engineered society and our educational system encourages people to live in their heads. We are taught to turn to our intellects rather than our hearts. Conversely, emotions can be powerful and can present a difficult challenge to the more placid higher self.
So rather than deal with the tumult of unpredictable emotions, many people opt for the temporary sanctuary of the rational mind. That leads to a safe (but vanilla) life, but interestingly, one that is also permeated by bouts of depression.
God speaks to you through your heart and your conscience. If the channel is clogged with thoughts, not much else is going to get through. And truth be told, sometimes that’s exactly what you want. You don’t want God’s input because what he asks of you runs completely counter to the ego demands of the small self.
And that brings us to the sub-plot in this drama – the small self – the ego. God and ego cannot exist at the same time. So, if God doesn’t exist, you don’t have to give up your ego . . . End of story.
If, however God does exist, then you’ve got some stuff to deal with. Most people reply, “Thank you, I’d really rather not.” I don’t think I have to tell you how far that one is going to fly . . .
The fundamental human drama revolves around the death of the ego, and most people mistakenly view this as the death of the self because the ego is all they have known. They do not realize there is more, simply because they have not experienced it.
Being angry at God is a little like being angry at the shovel that dug the pit you’re in. But that’s easier than examining why you dug the hole in the first place. I am not unmindful that life puts people in difficult circumstances, but always, and I mean always, it is to give them the impetus to change their negative and destructive beliefs about themselves. Now, no one likes being put in that place. And if you don’t want to go there, being angry at God our doubting His existence is a good way out. But it is avoidance, plain and simple.
People want proof of God. After all, you must be able to trust someone if you’re going to put your life in their hands. It’s called faith. But this too, is largely a ruse. Consider that the basic rules He laid out for us, whether you believe in God or not, are a pretty good foundation for life – don’t lie, don’t cheat, don’t steal, don’t covet your neighbor’s wife . . . that sort of thing. Really, it’s a pretty good way to live. The only thing He asks of us is to live a good life. Especially when you add the last Commandment given by Jesus at the Last Supper, “Love one another as I have loved you.”
So, what if you were to go about your days disbelieving in God, but living your life according to those (or similar) guidelines? You could do a lot worse! Frankly, God doesn’t care whether you believe in Him or not. He does care about how you live your life, however. But if you were to try things my way for a while, you’d find that the real issue would surface pretty quickly and it’s not going to be about God.
If you are reluctant to believe, your resistance really isn’t about God. It’s about surrender. What is being challenged are the false beliefs you cling to. And that is a big part of your development as a spiritual being. You’ve been hurt and your superficial beliefs have been shaken. That was intentional. We want real faith – real unshakeable faith, not the shallow surface stuff. So now comes the real test: will you be able to move beyond your pain and the protective shell of the small self and reach for the truth?
Look, I already believe in God, so these things are easy for me. I look at a flower and say, “How can you not see it?” But I also remember what it took for me to get here. There was a time in my life when a flower was just a flower, too. Now, I still don’t like mosquitos, but I stand as proof that a remarkable transformation can happen. And if I can get there, believe me, you can too.
The work isn’t easy – the small self can be incredibly tenacious as you probably already know, and dealing with it can be downright gut wrenching – but there are two things you need to keep in mind: First, you’re going to have to do this at some point, with these same issues. Only later will be a lot harder than today. But you’re gonna have to do it. And secondly, it’s absolutely worth doing – that much I can promise you.