I was raised in a fairly traditional Christian family. There was much that I appreciated about this upbringing, and I still have an immense gratitude to my parents for raising what was, despite the faults that all families have, a loving and supportive family. Still, my beliefs, religious and otherwise, have changed a great deal from those that were taught to me, and as I have been confronted with raising my own family, I have begun to realize the need to articulate my beliefs more clearly. While my own thinking might tolerate a great deal of ambiguity about some of these things, a child’s thinking does not, and I am struggling to say clearly, concisely, and simply what it is that I believe.
What follows is a first attempt. It is not adequate for more reasons than I can list here, but I hope that it might be a place where I can begin thinking through these kinds of ideas with others who are like-minded. Though the following statements are very influenced by my Christian upbringing, they are only those that I feel that I can defend experientially, apart from any specific text or tradition.
1. I believe in a God who loves us, though I confess that I do not understand this love.
2. I believe in a God who comes to us because we are unable to come to God, though I confess that I do not understand how this is accomplished.
3. I believe that the only proper response to God’s love is to love God in return, and that it is only possible to love God through loving one another.
4. I believe that all true religion, in whatever faith it arises, leads to an increase of love, and that any religion leading to anything else, in whatever faith it arises, is false, absolutely.
5. I believe that God appears through the Christian tradition, through its scriptures and sacraments, though I suspect that this appearance is neither exclusive nor absolute.
6. I believe that the only essential theology is this: “God loves us, so we must love God through loving one another.”