Every Belief Has a Because


“I don’t believe something just because it’s written in an old book.”


The conversation a few yards away had pulled my mind from antiques and collectibles at the estate sale.  Overheard words exchanged between pondering customer and confident sales assistant touched on heaven and forgiveness and death. One voice was musing out loud, hoping that forgiveness was possible and heaven was real. The other voice would have none of it.


“When you die, you die. There is nothing after that.”


Confident.  Certain.  Condescending, perhaps.


“I don’t believe something just because it’s written in an old book.”


But you do believe a lot of things, ma’am. I thought to myself. And you believe them on some basis.  Your belief has a because.  As does mine.  So, what is your because?


Because I read it in a new book.  Because my friend said so.  Because I saw it on Youtube. Because I watched a documentary. Because I heard a podcast. Because I think so.


So, how reliable and solid and knowledgeable is your because?


Beliefs span a broad range of importance.  We have beliefs about life after death, and life after Star Wars. We have beliefs about whether abortion is bad and whether dandruff is bad.  We have beliefs about soles and souls. We have beliefs about God and beliefs about ants. All beliefs are not equally weighty.


The weightier your belief, the more carefully you should consider your because.


Years ago, our family had so much left over after packing a 24-foot U-Haul that we bought a large utility trailer to haul the leftovers, Beverly Hillbillies style.  Pre-trip I replaced a trailer tire. On moving day, I drove the truck; Joy and kids followed in our van. An hour into the trip, I had this thought: Did I tighten those lug nuts after the replacement?  I answered myself: I probably did, but I’ll check at our next stop. It’s not a big deal.


Cue the “Bates Motel” music and the wincing of auto mechanics.


I was tragically mistaken.  Upon stopping to for dinner, I was stunned to discover that the trailer tire lug post holes were ground out so badly that if I had jacked up the trailer, the tire would simply have fallen off.  I had been minutes from disaster for my family or others.  Why?  My because was mistaken.  My because was an opinion: “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”  Given the stakes of my belief, I should have given greater thought to my because.


The question of whether there is a god and whether humans are more than simply a collection of atoms and whether we are eternal and have a life beyond a beating heart seems to fall into the “higher stakes” category.  You have beliefs about each of those things, just like the gal I overheard.  What is your because?  Or should I say, who is your because?


Your because is ultimately always a who.  It is the author of the new book or the documentary producer or God or your mother or the video creator or the friend or the doctor or you.  You are never simply depending upon a book or video or recording.  You are depending on a who. And if you probe the because enough, don’t be surprised to find that it is you.  You are depending on you.  Having heard all of the facts, interpretations and opinions, you have drawn a conclusion.  Your opinion is the because.


This was me in the U-Haul. The because was my opinion. I had a hunch that loose lug nuts were a problem, but I was confident that nothing could happen in driving just two more hours. My because was a who. The who was me.  And I was mistaken.  About something really serious.


Dare I trust my opinions or “hope thats” on matters of even greater weight?  When it comes to life questions with high stakes, I have learned to trust a weighty old book.


All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.  (The Bible, 2 Timothy 3:16-17, NLT)


I see the creative, powerful, good and beautiful hand of God in the world around me, and I listen to Him.  I trust the words of an old book because of who wrote it.  My because is God.



[Feature photo by skeeze on Pixabay.com]









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