In the realm of Christianity, there is a word that is thrown around which has the potential of confusing those who hear it. It is one of those words that we say but never think about. Also, the perception of the Christian movement by those outside of it is that the entire goal of the religion is the transfer the meaning of this word to everyone on Earth. This word is “belief” (and its variations).
When I am telling a true story of great importance, and I want to convey a certain feeling or theme of the story; I desire that people believe what I am telling them. The point of conveying the truth of a narrative is to bring about belief in what the truth holds. If someone believes what I am telling them, then I have established a level of credibility or agreement with that person. This concept is what we typically think about when we throw around the word “belief”.
So, when I am calling on someone who does not “believe” in God to somehow “believe” in God…this act can become confusing because the recipient of this information often struggles to find the point. Why would it make any difference that someone simply agrees with what I am saying? If “belief” has an eternal implication, can it simply be turned on and off by answering a question in a positive or negative fashion?
The problem exists because, as Christians, we are using the same word for a completely different meaning. When we use the word “belief”, we are not talking about telling a story and hoping others nod their heads to express credible reception of the information. Belief, when talking about a life of faith, means that the direction of a person’s life has been re-calibrated Yes, we may agree with the main facts presented in the Christian system of faith, but there is more emphasis placed on the re-purposing of life than there is behind the traditional definition of “believing a story”.
When people see violence, hatred, and prejudice in the name of faith, they are actually not seeing the results of belief, but the human take over a vague idea. So, in essence, some who say they “believe” do not actually display proof of it.
We need to stop using the word “belief”, and instead use the word “release”. Released to show the world the origin of true joy.