When someone says, "I believe you," or "I believe in God," I wonder what they mean.
When you say you "believe," what do you typically mean?
I recently wrote about the word "mistake." I wanted to explore the fact that we tend to see this word through a negative lens, and that we don't have a word in English that describes a good mistake.
As I was mowing the yard this past weekend, I started thinking about the word, "believe."
I think this word has two layers. The first layer is that of knowing and the second is that of hoping.
If I know you are telling me the truth (or have a strong track record of honesty from you), then I "believe" you. There's a part of us that knows there has to be something bigger than us in the universe. When we say we "believe" in God, we are saying we know something bigger has to exist.
There's also the mystery of God and the universe. The unknown.
I believe (there's that word!) that when we use the word "believe" there is a layer that means "hope." We also use the word "faith" to capture this, as well. I believe that there is existence beyond our earthly life, but I certainly can't prove it. Therefore, I don't know it to be true. But, I hope it's true, and that hope is more than a mere wish. It's a belief. There's confidence in it.
What do you believe? In your belief, do you distinguish between what you know and hope?
I think the tendency of some Christians is to force the word "believe" to mean "know." That's when faith loses credibility and substance. That denies the harsh realities, complexities and chaos of the real world.
Imagine a world where "religious" people were collectively hopeful, rather than militantly knowing.
I think that world would give many something to believe in.
Chinese word of the day: Believe
characters 相信 make up the
word believe. In Pinyin, it is xiāng xìn. In Mandarin, you pronounce this like "shee-ang shin." Say each harshly and quickly like you are chopping wood with your mouth.
Strange and fascinating fact:
I love how the word "believe" has the word "lie" right smack in the middle of it. Have you noticed this? This was brought to my attention by U2 through their song, "The Fly" during their Zoo TV tour in the early 1990s.