Religion column by John Thoutenhoofd
When the followers of Jesus thought it wise to keep children away from him he instead told his followers to bring them because, he said the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. Believing in God and having faith shouldn’t be that complex.
I volunteer for the faith-based program Friday Night Basketball. We teach skills and encourage kids to “keep the faith.” The goal in our short spiritual talk times is simplicity. So I lead them through some simple questions with simple answers.
The first question is “Does God exist?’ Although I love getting into the details concerning the complexity of the universe, I am convinced that all of these point to a power and a being larger than them all: a creator. So a reasonable defense to the question of God’s existence is one word “complexity.”
The second question: “Are you like God?” We claim to be unique in the universe because of our self-awareness and other personality qualities. I am assuming that our creator would possess the same. God is self-aware and has personality traits. I don’t believe “I am God” but I do believe I am like God. The short answer is “Yes I am like God because He made me like Him.”
The third question: “How does God speak to you?” If God exists, then you would think that God would communicate to us. One player humorously summed up “that small still voice inside of us” as “spiritual vibes.” God speaks to our mind, our conscience, and our heart. He speaks through thoughts, situations, and I believe through the Bible. If you respond to those promptings, you are acting in faith to those “vibes.”
The fourth question: “What is the goal of life?” In common language, the goal of your life is to hang out with God. He wants to be a part of your waking thoughts, your daily choices and actions, and all of your reactions and responses. The only thing you can offer him that has any value at all is you. Nothing material has any ‘wow’ factor for Him. The goal of life is having a faith relationship with God.
The fifth question: “Why are there so many bad things in the world?” Contrary to the belief that we are inherently good, I am convinced otherwise. There is a self-centered seed inside each one of us that if we feed it, the consequences will be pain and suffering. Anytime we see goodness, it is when someone chooses other-centeredness. The most reasonable faith interpretation for this evil in the world is found in the Bible and it calls it sin.
Jesus said that to enter into the kingdom of God we must become like children. So we must ask ourselves: do I have faith?
– John Thoutenhoofd is a volunteer life coach at Central Heights Church