CAUGHT in bed with a woman, Bob Hope is reported to have exclaimed to his wife: “It’s not me”!
It’s no surprise she didn’t believe him because it is hard to deny the undeniable.
It’s reminiscent of the joke French writer Gustave Flaubert told about a man taken fishing by an atheist friend.
The atheist casts the net and draws up a stone on which is carved: “I do not exist. Signed: God.” And the atheist exclaims: “What did I tell you!”
To believers, there are indications of God’s presence throughout this world, but some people have difficulty perceiving them because they are unsigned.
And for some who look for signs of God in religion, the dogma stifles any recognition of a creator’s all-embracing compassion and non-discriminating love.
Leo Tolstoy, author of War and Peace, said the kingdom of God was within us all – we were born with it – and no one had need of religious dogma. He said superstitions, science and religions were impediments to achieving freedom through love alone.
It seems that God dislikes religion. Don’t get me wrong; not all places of worship are “religious” – not the best ones anyway.
The word “religion” is derived from the Latin word “religo”, meaning to “bind up”.
Christianity was not meant to be a bound-up religion but a relationship with a loving God. Of course, men and women have tried throughout history to force Christianity into a religious mould with man-made rules and regulations set up to govern and contain the faithful.
The Apostle Paul realised this in the early days of Christianity when he observed the worship of idols in Athens and said “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects.” The men of Athens probably didn’t realise it at the time but Paul was delivering an insult.
We have a human craving for certainty. It’s what encourages some people to become uber-atheists exhibiting a religious sort of zeal.
They can’t be certain that God exists and therefore conclude He definitely doesn’t.
Seeing is believing but it works the other way too. Believing is seeing. Knowing God is simply the progressive realisation of the presence within us.