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What do I believe?

April 25, 2011

A month or so ago one of my friends asked a good question: “Do we really believe that Christ has been raised from the dead?” This was a good question primarily because of what followed it. Normally, I hear this framed as a way to say, “Because if you did you’d have emotion X and if it goes away like emotions do that’s a terrible thing.” Instead, he asked whether we acted as if we actually believed this. How do we go about our lives? Does it look like we believe that Christ has been raised or not? What would that look like?

This made a lot of sense to me. As I thought about it I realized that there are things I believe as surely as I believe that gravity will not suddenly shut off. So what is it that I believe?

I believe in suffering. I believe in death. I believe that the thing you call love is to real love what a bucket of broken glass is to a square meal.

I believe that suffering is written into the very fabric of the world. If you live in the developed world, if you’re middle class or better off, if you rolled the dice right and got a functioning family, a working body, and a decent brain you can dodge for a bit. If you don’t have these things even dodging probably won’t help. If you were lucky every day it wouldn’t be lucky. And so some day you will suffer.

I believe that suffering is written into who we are. I want what I can’t have and so I suffer. I have what I don’t want and so I suffer. I am what I don’t want to be and so I suffer. If I had what I wanted, someone else would suffer. That’s the nature of the game – some things are zero-sum. I have, so you don’t. The dreams of the nobility are built on the backs of the poor. So again I suffer so that you won’t suffer. I suffer in the hopes that by suffering I can someday suffer less.

I believe in evil. I believe that somewhere near you something terrible is being done. I believe the night holds dark secrets and the light of day is no guard against them. I believe that some of us are monsters and that, of course, it is suffering and a source of suffering to be a monster.

I believe that the bones of the world are hard and cold. I believe that we are all at war, endlessly, unceasingly. If your dreams were fulfilled, mine would be denied. If you remain independent, unbowed, my aims will always be frustrated. So it is war, subtle and quiet or loud in its terror, but it is war. I do not want what is best for you. I want you to cease to be, to be entirely consumed by my ends and my aims.

I believe someone out there is succeeding in this. I believe someone else’s humanity is being crushed.

I believe in death. I believe in the bitter end. I believe that you can face it, but I do not believe that you can bear all things.

I believe that all flesh is grass.

I believe there is another way.

I believe the world is upside down. I believe that winning is a form of losing. I believe that life has conquered death.

I believe that the war can end. I believe that I can change. I believe that someday the sword will drop from my hand forever. That someday the rules themselves will change. I believe there is another world. I believe it is a better one. I believe it is already here, and I believe that it is yet to come.

I believe that He has walked through death for me. I believe that it could not hold him. I believe in the resurrection and the life. I believe that it comes to us now, faint flickers in the darkness of this world. I believe in the path that winds its strange way towards that light.

I believe that God is changing us. I believe that we are not stuck this way. I believe that I can be transformed. I believe that the suffering can end. I believe that evil will be swept away and whatever remains of us will stand eternal.

I believe that the light is not the darkness. I believe that Christ is not like us. I believe that there is a vast gulf between what is and what is coming, between terror and peace. This is why it matters. And, of course, I believe that God will win.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. April 25, 2011 1:59 pm

    I believe this is a great post. Thanks!

  2. Erich permalink
    May 1, 2011 9:29 pm

    Hey Eric, thanks for writing this, what you said is deeply true as well as poetic and beautiful. If it’s alright, I’d like to offer my own take on this question: If you believe in the resurrection, I think you will treat difficult situations in your life differently. If you truly believe that Christ was resurrected and that you have been chosen by God to share in his resurrection, rather than losing hope when things are going terribly, that’s the time at which you will feel the most hope. It’s not necessarily the time when you fight the most, but it is the time when you trust the most. Rather than abandoning a course of action when the chips are down, since you believe in the resurrection that can become a time when you simply continue to act according to the morals found in the gospel, because you know and believe that by striving to do right you will prevail. Come setbacks, suffering, and even death, still you will hold fast to your beliefs, and by such “acted out faith” you will overcome those things.


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