…. I certainly count myself a Christian. Or, more accurately, I have friends who count me as a Christian. I have, moreover, tried to live a life I hope is unintelligible if the God we Christians worship does not exist.
I believe what I write, or rather, by writing I learn to believe. But then I do not put much stock in “believing in God.” The grammar of “belief” invites a far too rationalistic account of what it means to be a Christian. “Belief” implies propositions about which you get to make up your mind before you know the work thay are meant to do. Does that mean I do not believe in God? Of course not, but I am far more interested in what a declaration of belief entails for how I live my life.
It may be that I am not interested in “belief” because God is just not “there” for me. God is “there” for some… But God is not there for me in the same way. Prayer never comes easy for me. I am not complaining. I assume this to be God’s gift to help me think hard about what it means to worship God in a world where God is no longer simply “there.”
Charles Taylor has characterized “our age” as one of “exclusive humanism.” God is a “hypothesis” most people no longer need - and “most people” includes those who say they believe in God. Indeed, when most people think it “important” that they believe in God, you have an indication that the God they believe in cannot be the God who raised Jesus from the dead or Israel from Egypt.
I am a card-carrying citizen of “our age.” I live most of my life as if God did not exist….
…. It is not that I lack faith, but that I always have the sense that I am such a beginner when it comes to knowing how to be a Christian.
“How” is the heart of the matter for me.
Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah’s Child: A Theologian’s Memoir (London: SCM, 2010), pp. ix-xi.