I have a certain difficulty to say that I believe in God. For the people who know me, this may come as a surprise: I go to church to the majority of services and I act, at least outwardly, as a Christian. Still, I think it is meaningless to claim that I believe in God or that I have chosen Christ. Perhaps even more than meaningless: dangerous. It is one other temptation.
To say that I believe in God implies a choice: I, the mighty human being that I am, has chosen God. This is problematic on various levels, but I only mention three here. First, because it places God and the devil on the same level; second, because, as choice, has me as principle; third, because it is a crazy choice (and in this craziness we find the solution).
- How can I choose between God and the devil? In what sense is there a choice? You can choose between two options if they are equal opportunities, similar paths. But a choice between God and the devil takes place outside of freedom. If the only freedom is found in Christ, then I can no longer choose God freely in the space of disease in which I find myself. The “freedom to choose” that we have in the state of bondage is a pseudo-freedom. Paradoxically, I “choose” only in the absence of freedom, and I am free when there is no choice to be made.
- If I choose, I posit myself as the center of the universe. It is perhaps the highest arrogance, and I make it right at the moment when I perceive myself as the most faithful human being. I have chosen God. Behold, the mightiest being of all, one who can choose God for himself.
- Can I choose the cross? No. I do it only if I’m a crazy man. Tell me how many parents would want their children to end up on the cross–the promise of Christianity. Perhaps there are some who say, “go to the cross, because you will receive rewards in eternity.” It’s just a way to make the cross more appealing, one more version of a failed theodicy that explains evil by the promise of a good in the afterlife. But the cross is not to be chosen. It only is the expression of love, the opening of the arms in a universal embrace, in which all are welcome. The cross is not a choice. If I do choose it, I am a crazy man, and not a fool for Christ. But can I say “no” to the cross while being in love? Refusing the cross means rejecting my being, the possibility of love.
It seems to me that there is only one moment in which I can meaningfully say that I believe in God: when I am menaced with death if I don’t deny Him.