April 20th, 2021

All Psyched Up: What do you believe?

By Dr. Linda Hancock on April 2, 2021.

Well, we are entering Easter week – a time when Christians throughout the world celebrate! But there are many different perspectives and practices for those who claim to be Christian.

Here are some of versions that I have heard when individuals were asked if there is a God in their life:

• Absolutely not! Some people believe that all we have is today and there is no afterlife. Responsibility for one’s success and failures therefore lies within each person who makes choices and then, when it is time to die, they just go to sleep.

• I have the denomination of my family. Reginald Bibby, author of “Fragmented Gods” reports that many people view religion as a la cart services for weddings, funerals and baptisms only. When asked about their faith they often respond by naming the denomination of their grandparents.

• I used to believe but… It is difficult for some who think that God should give them everything that they want and then realize that isn’t the way things work. Many question how God can be trusted in a world where children suffer and die young, disasters occur and people fail in their endeavors.

• Hopefully. Crossed fingers and wishes would imply that there is a God but not everyone has personal experience to verify this. Deep down they do believe that someone is watching though.

• I think there is “something” out there – It’s hard to imagine a God without arms, especially for those who have had a human father who was not loving. Many cling to the idea though that there is a power greater than themselves but don’t call it “God” or have the words to describe it.

• I don’t go to church – Unfortunately, churches, which were not only a spiritual setting but also a social hub for communities in bygone days, are not as populated as in the past. Judging a person’s faith, however, should never be based only on their church attendance.

• I really don’t know my Bible and got tired of the way people act – Those who don’t research the possibilities that their iPhone offers miss out on many fascinating features. It’s the same with not knowing the Bible. This limits the interesting lessons and wisdom that can help navigate daily life. Rejecting God because many who claim to be Christians act in a non-God-like manner also limits possibilities to study and learn about God for oneself.

• I am really more spiritual than religious. God is not confined to man-made churches but can be found in nature and many unlimited inspiring encounters.

• God is my friend – Have you every been awed by a small child who knows, likes and trusts his/her imaginary friend? The child carries on a conversation easily and is able to describe all the characteristics of their friend in a very simplistic manner. Many treat God in the same manner.

• I couldn’t have lived without God – A testimony is a story that one tells about miracles or the ways that they believe God has turned chaos into peace. They give the credit for their growth and maturity to God’s intervention.

The idea of Christianity encompasses one God who has three forms – God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. This is kind of like having water, ice and steam.

We all travel through life with beliefs, many of which are passed on from generation to generation. Some are learned from parents, teachers or friends. Others are developed through social interaction. Some we can explain and others we just can’t explain. Even not believing in something is a belief. And we certainly can’t force others to believe anything unless they are willing. Faith is a personal adventure!

This Easter season I hope you will take some time to examine your beliefs and decide whether they are working for you or need adjustment.

Maybe you would like to adopt the stance of a small child who has an imaginary friend. The simplicity of this will guarantee that you have someone to walk with throughout your life and know that you will never be alone again!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Dr. Linda Hancock, the author of “Life is An Adventure…every step of the way” and “Open for Business Success” is a Registered Psychologist who has a private practice in Medicine Hat. She can be reached at 403-529-6877 or through email office@drlindahancock.com

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