Have you ever found yourself wondering if God is real?
I think for me, the concept of God being real has always been something I’ve believed in and deeply struggled with.
Do I believe that God is real? Yes.
Have I always believed that? No.
Do I struggle with the concept of God based on religion? All of the time.
For full disclosure, I have always grown up in a world and an environment where God is real. I come from generations of ministers, pastors, deacons, bible believing, praying people. I grew up in church; I know all about the workings of church. Because my mother has a degree in Christian Education, I know the word and can debate you on historical facts.
But have I and do I always believe in the bible? That would be a big fat nope as well.
In this blog series, I want to explore that; and by that I mean the concept and the idea of God being real.
Since I was about 20 years old, I have deeply struggled in my concept of faith, God, religion and Christianity. I grew up in a relatively small, but well known Missionary Baptist Church in my hometown of Mobile, Alabama. My pastor, who was also my great Uncle, THE Rev. Dr. Melvin “Ted” James Perryman (God I miss him, I miss him sooo much!) founded this church called Arlington Street Missionary Baptist Church. Now, if you’re from the 251, that church used to be located in the ‘Maysville’ community at the intersection of Leo and ironically, Arlington Street. The church still sits there, but under a new name and new leadership.
Anyway, I grew up in that church and man, it was EVERYTHING! I remember being about five or so and wanting to get baptized. It’s one of those stories I’ll never forget. We were at this 3:00 program (where all my church folks at? Y’all know about them 3:00’s! haha!) at my granddad (my dad’s godfather’s church)’s church. Now, I slept through church until I was like, 10 or 11, but this day I remember vividly. I remember the point in the service where they asked if anyone wants to give their life to Jesus. I took my shy, quiet, five-year-old self up to the front of the church and sat in one of those cold, metal chairs and said “I want to be baptized”. Everybody then thought it was so cute, but I was serious. I really wanted to be baptized. Anywho, my parents were sooo proud, BUT there was one problem:
I didn’t want my Uncle Ted to baptize me!
Nope, I wanted my Papa, THE Rev. Dr. Nathaniel E. Martin, to do it. I loved my Uncle Ted, but this was one of those times where I wanted my Papa. And he did it; we went over to this church off of Mobile Street, (I can’t remember the name of the church, but I think the Pastor is Levi Summers anybody from Mobile let me know if I’m right) and they baptized me.
It all seemed so simple to me back then; that was 21 years ago. Man, I wish I could go back to the days where understanding God was pure, innocent, and simple.
Now that I’m 26, I still believe in God; but the concept of organized religion and even the concept of God existing is something I wrestle with almost every day.
If you were to ask me who God is I would tell you to look in the sky’ to go to the beach and watch the ocean waves. I would even tell you to study biology, even look at animals. Everything around us is God. Of course that would piss off most Christians but I think that’s the problem: we try and separate God from the world, when God is just that-the world.
The actual idea of God possibly being real didn’t hit me until I was in a Philosophy 101 class and we were ‘debating’ the existence of God. Well, to be fair, we we’re actually ‘debating’ God’s existence; I went to a Christian college. While I’m sure most of my classmates knew God was real, I on the other hand been toying with the idea of his existence for a long time; for me he was a concept, but not truly real. Anywho, there was this really long piece in our book that talked about a watchmaker and how intricate a watch is. Basically, it compared a watch to creation and God’s existence; it seems like a weird concept but go with me you guys.
I want you to think about a watch. Look at the intricate detail and design of that watch. If you’re a person who likes to tinker with watches, I’d tell you to take it apart and examine all its pieces. Now, if you’re not a person who likes to tinker with things, I’d tell you to research how a watch is made. We all understand that a watch is essentially, perfect in its design, right? Like, somebody actually took the time out and sat there and thought about this tiny thing that tells time that you can wear on your arm. Watches (do people even wear watches anymore?) are intricately designed; each part of a watch has a special job and is needed to make sure that watch is in tip top shape, running effectively so that it can be distributed and sold to the masses.
You cannot have a complete watch if one piece is missing or in the wrong place.
A watch cannot exist without a master designer.
Now, I want you to take this concept of a watch and apply it to the universe. I want you to think back to your boring elementary school science classes, if your mind can go back that far. The universe, the world, the human body, they are all meticulous, well designed, well thought out things, right? Well, the human body is flawed but, that’s another topic for another blog post but, just think about the basics of the human body.
The human body has 206 bones (babies are born with more bones that eventually morph into the standard 206); your heart has the ability to pump blood throughout your entire body. Your mouth knows exactly when to start cutting teeth, when to lose your baby teeth, when to grow your adult teeth and when you’re old well, they fall out all over again. When you break a bone, your body knows how to mend those bones back together again. Quick, take a deep breath…now try and hold it as long as you can. Your body knows just how long you can survive without air. Your body knows how to breathe automatically without you consciously thinking about it.
Now, go outside and look up in the sky; the sun knows exactly when to rise and when to set. The moon and the stars know exactly when to come out into the sky. The leaves on trees know exactly when to shed and when to grow again. The universe knows how to keep spinning and revolving without us consciously thinking about it. The world is so delicate and intricately designed that there has to be someone or something that made all of this, right?
If every man made thing has a master designer then why not the world?
No, this piece isn’t to try and convince atheist to believe in God, it’s not to try and convert people into Christianity, but its moreso to explore the concept of God. The watchmaker analogy is what truly cemented the idea of there being a God, not my religion, not growing up in church, not even me getting baptized at the age of five. THIS, knowing that the world, in all of its ugliness, in all of its horrors, was somehow designed and created and it wasn’t by man’s doing is what keeps me believing in God.
What does that say about my faith then?
If it’s not the idea that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived and walked this earth for 33 years, performed many miracles, died on a cross, rose again after 3 days and is set to return isn’t what’s stopped me from becoming an all-out atheist then…there’s a disconnect between God and the church. Why don’t monotheistic (that means one-God believing religions or faiths) religions teach this simple concept of God? Why do we always jump straight to “Well, you have to believe in this being and this set of beliefs?” Why do churches and religion in general make the existence of God so complicated? Now, I’m a Christian, but sometimes, my faith frustrates me. Why is it that this basic concept, which involved ZERO aspects of ANY religion, able to cement my belief that God exists faster than this religion, this Jesus I love and I believe in?
If you go with me on this journey, I’m gonna explore that. I have to tell you now that I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that God is not that hard to get or understand. I also am aware that this is going to go over SO many people’s heads. I get that I’m going to piss people off because well, when you are presented with something that challenges what you already know, your mind automatically does one of three things-you except this new thing as truth, you outright reject it, clinging all the more to what you already know OR, you find a way to make this new thing work with what you already know to be true. Often times when presented with this concept, most people pick the first and second option but don’t think about the third.
The older I get, the more I realize that life isn’t meant to be all blacks and whites.
This series is for anyone who wants to read it; it’s for the person struggling in their faith, whatever that may be. It’s for the atheist who mocks religious people. It’s for that Black person who thinks that the bible is just a book written to keep Black people enslaved by the White man. It’s for that person who turned away from God and religion, but wants to come back to it.
Most importantly, this is for me; the girl who grew up in a world where God was always real but somewhere during the transition, she lost him.
As we go on this journey to, not necessarily finding God, but exploring him, I must tell you that my eyes are only going to give you what I know, and that is the Christain experience and concept. I am more than willing to take perspective from all faiths and even non faiths. I can’t say that we’ll always agree, but I wasn’t put here to agree with everyone. However, one thing I’ve learned is that there is common ground in everything. So if we find common ground on the concept of God, let’s keep the conversation going.
My only goal is that we all reach the truth, whatever that may be for you.
Peace, love, and Blessings to all