A Conversation

This dialogue is based on a real incident. I want to honestly explore why it should matter to believe in God. Is it critical, now or perhaps for the future? Is God then optional?



How can you live without knowing God?

I had asked her over a couple of beers.

I realised He didn’t figure in my hopes,

Yet loomed large in my unreasoned fears.


You were brought up a Catholic then,

And fed all that guff about mortal sin?

Terrorised from an early age by people

Who claimed to officially speak for Him.


So was I, but somehow never lost sight

Of the God hidden behind all the grief.

It wasn’t just the negativity, as I grew

I found there was no ground for belief.


Because you can’t see and touch Him,

He doesn’t exist? You must have proof?

Is that so bad? Why bother with a being

Who, at best, is always distant and aloof?


There is no proof, either to uphold or deny,

But we might find a reason for believing.

Even if that were so, it’s wish fulfilment:

We create a crutch – that’s self-deceiving.


Isn’t it better to live in the joyful hope

That our deepest yearnings will be met?

That’s rosy, but is it true? Better surely

To be honest even in the face of death?


Honest, maybe, but grim – to love someone

And yet to face the prospect of total loss?

That crutch again! Lord, cushion me from

The pains of love and life – oh such pathos!


Take up your cross and follow me – not

The mantra of the timid and the feeble…

Yes, but positing an almighty father figure,

Is akin to becoming an emotional weeble!


We beg to differ, but maybe we can agree:

What matters is to give ourselves in love.

And you don’t need God or church to be

A good person when push comes to shove.


Granted, but I have to be honest with you,

You’ve settled for less and there’s much more.

I still have hopes and dreams, and… yes:

Anticipation. There is so much to live for!


There’s good, there’s better, and there’s best,

And God calls us to be all we can be.

That old nonsense about perfection, bringing

With it failure, guilt, and despondency.


Living with the tension of being and becoming

Seems more positive than settling for less.

Imperfection but on my own efforts is still

Preferable to having to pray and confess.


Yes, but to know the name of God, and

To lose yourself in prayer and praise!

And every drug has its side effects and

You can work yourself up to a holy daze.


But he who lives in love, lives in God,

And God will ensure that all will be well.

There’s that arrogance of the religious!

We have the Truth and you can go to hell!


Sorry, but belief should be strong and firm,

Though always clothed with real humility.

Not what you say, the way that you say it?

Just don’t get me started on religion’s CV.


Flush the baby out with the bath water then?

Focus on predator priests and the inquisition.

Well, you claim to be the light in our darkness:

When will open government reach the Vatican?


I do fear the Church’s current path – good

Pope John would turn in his sarcophagus.

So, get your own chapel in order before you

Come laying down the law for the rest of us…


I like the image of the Church as the woman

Caught in the act of sin – Jesus stood by her.

Pity that those men in scarlet and black don’t

Share your view – they could teach North Korea!


God does matter, and we all have the means

To find Him, and our life span is all too brief.

I’d better get meditating then – anyway it’s late,

Maybe we could all do with turning a new leaf.


I want you to know that God is close to you,

And may I also say you’re not far from Him.