“If I said that I hated God, I seriously doubt you would be okay with that.” A young friend said this to me in one of our intellectual discussions about life.
This statement demanded further curious questions. Questions like: So do you really hate God? You said “if” so is this really how you feel or not? What in your story or past has caused you to feel this strongly about God? Do you think God exists or does he not exist? If you don’t think he exists, then why does it matter if you hate him or not?
But what stuck with me was the statement at the end: “I doubt you would be okay with that.” What does it mean? Why do I have to be okay with your beliefs? What does it mean to you if I’m not okay with that? Are you okay with hating God? If you are okay with that, why does my opinion matter? Surely God’s opinion on the matter would be far more important than mine.
Are you okay with that? I find that when someone asks this question, it’s a roundabout way for seeing if you are going to judge them or love them. They are putting out a test for you to see what your underlying beliefs are. They want to know if you are going to accept them or reject them. And chances are, they already think you are going to reject them, which is why they phrase the question the way that they do.
For me, I will always choose to love them. After all, I am not the judge. God is the judge. If you are asking me if I think God is okay with that, it’s probably a completely different answer. But that’s not what you asked. You essentially asked me if I will love you as you are without preconditions. If that’s what you are asking me, then the answer is yes because God already loves you and will keep loving you whether you acknowledge his existence or not. He doesn’t need your belief in him to exist. I don’t need to convince you that he exists in order to keep believing that he does.
So in this mindset, we can be okay with each other. I’m okay with you not believing in God as long as you are okay with me believing in God. And since we are so “okay” with each other, some day perhaps we can actually discuss our beliefs without being afraid of rejection. And because we are friends who care about each other, perhaps some day I can tell you why I believe that God exists. But until that day, I will love you just the same.