Just about everyone has an opinion about God. Right now, there are about 7 Billion people on the plant, with 1.2 Billion of them being Catholics and 800 million protestant Christians. That’s alot of people with opinions about God. For better or worse, what we think about God shapes how we interact with others, what we think about ourselves, and ultimately our worldview.
This is true across the board – whether you follow God, don’t believe in Him, hate Him, or believe in him but choose not to follow what He says. How we live our lives is directly tied into what we think about when we hear the word “God.” All the questions and comments that flood into our heads when this word is spoken tells us a lot about our Theology. Or to put it more pointedly: Everyone who has an opinion of what God is like is a Theologian.
If you do a simple google search for ‘theology’, the first thing that pops up is this:
▪ the study of the nature of God and religious belief.
▪ religious beliefs and theory when systematically developed.
While you may not picture yourself as studying theology books in the Library, or taking up Ancient Greek or Hebrew; you do have opinions on what you think God and His followers are like. And it is these opinions that have an incredible amount of influence in your life, and the lives of others. Below I list two of the biggest reasons I believeyou’re a theologian, and how it shapes your life.
Your view of God shapes how you see the world.
If you ask any person on the street or in a Starbucks about God, at some point you’re going to get an opinion of how God interacts with the world. You might hear things like ‘I can’t wait until God does _______’, or ‘I don’t understand why He doesn’t do _______’, or ‘How can you believe in a God when He isn’t doing _______’? It’s a big deal whether you’re a faithful Christian, a casual follower, or even an atheist.
If you believe that God is loving, caring and forgiving, you’re probably more likely to feel those some attributes to others. You’ll trust God more with the care of the world, and volunter to give people a helping hand when they need it. If you see God as more concerned with right and wrong, you may be a little more judgmental, or concerned with justice. You’d also be more concerned with helping only those that deserve it, and leave the undeserving ones in the world to themselves. If you think God doesn’t exist you’d still have a theological worldview. You’re view that ‘there is no God’, is still a view about God. You’d be more concerned with the totality of your life and that of your relatives, than others. It may not even be selfishness, but self-preservation in a difficult world.
To put it in ‘big picture’ terms, our view of God ultimately will shape our interaction with the world. We’ll either approve of what He’s doing and want to join in; try to be on the ‘right side’ of God so we can get to an afterlife; or simply do our own thing and hope for the best.
Your view of ‘religious people’ shapes how you see God.
We all know someone who’s Christian. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t have a friend, relative, or acquaintance that is doesn’t follow Christ. The big questions: does their life refelect their commitment to God?
I was recently doing a premarital marriage prep session with a couple I’m close with. They let me know in the beginning that going to church and following God really wasn’t something they were interested in. After talking for a little while, the woman confided in me that she used to go church and would like to start going again; however her experiences with ‘religious people’ were terrible and it turned her off of ever going back.
Unfortunately this all too common. She now has a perception of ‘if that’s how God’s people act, I don’t want any part of them or Him.’ As a pastor I always tell people to ask God to show Himself to them through their reading of the scriptures, through prayer, and worship. The reality is – people believe what they see, first. If they see God’s followers acting lovingly and graciously, they are more likely to see God that way; however if they’re judgmental and hippocritical then they’ll probably walk the other way.