“God Talk Checklist,” which you’ll find below, is something I came up with for our Coming of Age group. The youth who are participating in the Coming of Age program will be writing a statement of religious identity to present during a worship service in the spring. So how do you get someone to come up with a statement of religious identity? Well, in our society, many people equate God and religion, so one good place to start figuring out your religious identity is to think about where you stand on the God question. That’s what the checklist is designed to do — get you thinking with some degree of precision about where you stand on the God question.
Because the youth and adults who were present tonight found this to be a useful tool for starting a conversation about the God question, so I thought I’d share it here. Remember that it’s designed to be used in a group setting, where you fill it out and share your responses with other people. The checklist starts below the jump.
“God Talk” checklist
This checklist is for you. Feel free to change the questions or the wording if you need to do so.
Circle any that are true for you. If you circle something, you’re not saying that’s something you actually believe — you’re just saying that you could not possibly conceive of believing in God if that statement were true.
Personally, I cannot believe in God if:
- if I have to believe that God is some guy with a white beard in the clouds
- if I have to believe that God can send people to hell after they die
- if I have to believe that God is three different beings all crammed into one being
- if I’m supposed to believe things that are just plain irrational or unreasonable
- if I have to believe that God is all-powerful, and yet still lets innocent children get hurt
- if I have to believe that God is pure goodness, and yet there is so much evil and hatred in the world
- if I have to believe that God is all-knowing, and yet God has not told us how to make the world a perfect place
Circle any that are true for you. If you circle something, you’re not saying that’s what you actually believe — you’re just saying that you could conceive of believing in God if that statement were true.
Personally, I could believe in God if:
- if God were a man with a white beard sitting on a cloud
- if God were a woman
- if God were something that gave me inner strength when I needed it
- if God personally answered all my prayers
- if God were the same thing as the scientific laws that run the universe
- if God preferred poor people, rather than people with enough to eat
- if God were Nature, animals and plants and everything else in the natural world
- if God included everything in the universe: all people, all animals, all the stars, everything
- if the word “God” really meant the highest and best of humanity
- if God means the same thing as love
1. Do you believe in God?
- (Don’t care)
a. If you checked either “Yes” or “No,” in three or four sentences describe the God you do or do not believe in.
b. If you checked “Maybe”, describe both the God you can not believe in — and a God that you maybe could believe in if you thought it were true.
c. If you checked “Don’t care”, in three or four sentences describe what you think is the most important thing in the universe.