Christianity from an Existential Perspective..

What is God to you?

There was a man, gifted with the ability to see into people’s hearts, in search of truth. He travelled the world to speak with the most renowned and spiritual men humanity had to offer. He asked them all a single question, one which he himself could not answer – “What is God to you?”

He approached a famous preacher, who drew thousands of people to stadiums whenever he spoke. “What is God to you?” the man said. The preacher replied in a most harrowing voice “He is our glorious Father in Heaven, who knows all and sees all!” The man became confused, as what preacher who actually believed that God could see all things would privately act in a manner that he deemed inappropriate for public consumption.

Later in the day, he stumbled inside a small archaic church building, and approached an old priest who was sitting in his office. The priest’s warm smile and welcoming attitude endeared all who visited him. “What is God to you?” the man said, greatly anticipating what answer this kindly old priest had to give. The priest, with a smile as wide as the horizon, said “My dear child, God is the benevolent ruler of the world; he is the healer of mankind.” Disappointed, the man became confused, as the gratuitous amounts of evil and suffering in the world belies such a definition.

After receiving his answer and walking out of the priest’s office, the man stops to see a layman kneeling in prayer in front of the altar. The man decided to ask him the question, as the determination in the layman’s face dazzled any onlooker. Interrupting his prayer, the man asks “What is God to you?” Turning his head sidewise with a firm gaze, the layman said – “He is my rock, He gives me strength to do all things!” The man became confused, as this layman was like any other; he relied on himself to accomplish ordinary things.

Before the man could walk out the door, he spies a gentle lady quietly practicing a song for next week’s service. Now willing to ask it of anyone, the man approaches the lady and asks “What is God to you?” Pausing between notes, the lady uttered her answer with a swoon, “God is the love of my heart.” While appreciating the sincerity in her answer, the man became confused, as this lady was a lover of many things, who sought pleasure and was heavily attached to her material possessions.

More confused as he was when he began his journey; the man exits the building feeling no closer to the answer he yearned for. While walking away from the church on a sidewalk, the man spots a beggar ahead, giving shoe shines for spare change. Before drifting past the beggar’s position, the man asks “what is God to you?” The beggar pauses, staring at the man quizzically, and moans “Coins first, answers later!”

The man grasps the loose change in his pockets and hurls it onto the beggar’s rag, eager to get his answer and keep moving. Without flinch or hesitation, the beggar says “God is nothing to me; I would not be able to live with myself if such a being existed.”

Initially shocked, the man was not confused; as it was the first honest answer he had heard all day.

-- By Timothy Neal