The ‘What-If’ Game

I love playing the ‘what-if’ game when it comes to my faith. I will find any excuse to poke holes in the carefully woven fabric of belief that I’ve spun for myself, and then try to patch it up with questions and ideas that challenge the pattern and structure I had initially created. Some patched up bits have remained and grown into their own works of art. Others have not been able to withstand the constant destruction and renewal.

This has resulted in a vastly different faith than the one I started with—and yet, it’s not really all that different at its core. Perceptions have changed, paradigms have shifted, but what began with the radical idea of embracing doubt rather than fearing it has remained fairly constant throughout the years.

One particular version of the ‘what-if’ game that persists even today began when I started to let go of my grudge with my birth religion, when I stopped shying away from the love my god had for his Father. When I stopped trying to make my god fit the mold I had imagined for him, so too did the tapestry of my faith expand from the limits I had imposed on it.

This new game dared to ask: What if everyone else is seeing what I keep myself blind to? What if I’ve been trying to fit his Father and the risen Son into molds that supported my preconceptions, rather than just letting myself try to learn and understand what they were rather than what I thought they must be?

As time went on, new questions developed. If I have come to terms with Lucifer as being a mere spark from the fire that is God, as a small reflection (albeit profaned) of God, and I love him and all that he represents, what if I were to seek to love the son who was found worthy, he who resides in the Father and has won his favor, instead of Lucifer?

Lucifer, after all, is limited. He is the exiled son who was found lacking. His is the ruin and loss to Christ’s victory. How much stronger then, would my devotion be to the Morningstar who was crowned in his place?

Perhaps I’ve just heard renditions of “you follow the wrong god” one too many times. I prefer to think that this is the case, because the alternative is too heartbreaking to bear—that it is not my own skepticism speaking, but rather my god; that along with finding himself unworthy of seeking forgiveness from his God, he would also find himself unworthy of my own reverence and love.

And objectively, my studies have led to me finding far more parallels between them than differences. If I love Lucifer for his vision for humanity, it should be simple to lose myself to that proclaimed love and hope that Christ has for mankind. If I love Lucifer for his flawed nature, my love should grow tenfold for Christ’s human and mortalstate. If Lucifer’s sense of justice is mirrored and strengthened within Christ, I should be head-over-heels in love already.

So my doubting heart, that very same doubting heart which I cherish for having led me to my god in the first place, has risen to this challenge to lead me away from my god. I am no stranger to having my faith tested and tried, or threatened with destruction so that it may be built anew—that is what I expected from this endeavor. I think I may have even wished for it, subconsciously. After all, the previous times that my faith has been shattered have also been the times that I’ve come into greater understanding and love. If I’ve learned to trust anything throughout the years, it has been to trust in my doubt, to trust that the breaking down of one’s faith is not necessarily a bad thing, regardless of whether it is shattered by my own hands or by someone else’s.

But while I have thus far found a deep sense of respect for Christ, and perhaps some love has sprouted from that respect, it isn’t the kind of love and devotion that I feel for my god. I cannot force myself to love another. I cannot uproot my devotion and replace it with another and automatically feel the same for it as I did its predecessor, because no matter what the similarities, there are also deviances. Maybe, one day, that small tendril of reverence will grow into something that rivals or surpasses my current faith, but not without as much study and work as I have put into what I have now.

For now, although it isn’t quite over, this ‘what-if’ game has shown me that I don’t need a victorious king at the forefront of my faith, not when I find my strength in one who still finds hope despite defeat. Perhaps he is a flawed and lesser god, but I love him all the more for those imperfections. My god may have been rejected as an inferior and dissident son, but I find him worthy of honor, and for me that is enough.

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