What is your view of God?

What is your view of God?

Working as the college pastor for Holy Cross, I’m constantly surrounded by different ways of thinking and have to work cross culturally. Let’s face it… no matter how “hip” I am in my own mind… the reality is abundantly clear to all. My music, style (or lack there of), preferences and even the history that shapes me is very different than the 18-22 year olds that I work with.

As I work with these young people, I’m surprised by their basic assumptions about God and Faith. Christian Smith categorized the typical American teenager view of God in the following bullet points:
  1. A god exists who created and ordered the world and watches over human life on earth.
  2. God wants people to be good, nice, and fair to each other, as taught in the Bible and by most world religions.
  3. The central goal of life is to be happy and to feel good about oneself.
  4. God does not need to be particularly involved in one’s life except when God is needed to resolve a problem.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.
What do you think? Have you ever evaluated your basic assumptions about God and Faith? Do you see God as engaged or remote? Is God doing anything actively in the world? Is God distant, remote, uncaring or meticulously involved and engage in your life?

Your basic assumptions shape how you will try to understand God. Consider the Rich Young Ruler in the Gospel of Mark. He approaches Jesus and says, “Good teacher” – and Jesus engages just on that honorific! Jesus sees an assumption in those two little words that will shape the rest of their interaction. The rich young man assumes that religion teaches us that there are “good people and bad people… try to be like the good people”.  Jesus, on the other hand, teaches that there are “bad people… and God”. A pretty radical difference!!

Just consider the typical teenager view, above. Number 5 says, “Good people go to heaven”. Is that true? According to Jesus, the answer might surprise you! And that’s where the Gospel starts to make sense. We are bad… but He is good! And it’s on His merits that we get in, move forward, and experience joy.

So – What are your assumptions?