I’ve had something of a revelation this morning, related to the old stand by question, “do you believe in God?”
Historically, I thought that this question was about belief in God. On reflection – I don’t think that it is. I think that it’s more akin to “how’s it going?” Perhaps a bit more serious and intimate – but not much. When someone asks “how’s it going,” the appropriate answer is “not bad – yourself?” or a similar platitude. This is just a drop of the social grease that lets us get through our days and years without killing (too many of) each other.
I think that people who ask “do you believe in God,” are really asking “do you agree with me?” “are you one of us?” or maybe “do you think I’m a good person?”
This would explain a lot about how freaked out people get when I answer “no,” and also explains a lot about their total inability to explain this “god” or “belief” thing they’re interrogating me about.
This goes double for people who ask about a relationship with “Jesus.” They seem unable to quantify to any extent exactly what that means besides “we’re all cool – right?”