Belief-O-Matic

I just took a “Belief-O-Matic” online test telling me what religion most closely fits my beliefs. I heard about it from a friend, and have to admit curiosity got the better of me, so I tried it. I’m not going to tell you which particular religion the internet thinks fits me best, but will admit that I am squarely within the Christian camp. This column, rather, is about how we got to the point that religion can be reduced to a 20 question multiple choice test.

For years now I have been concerned that our educational system seems so caught up with standardized multiple choice tests. Does one’s ability to darken appropriate squares really translate into one’s ability to succeed in life?

Even more than my lack of faith in standardized, multiple choice tests, I am extremely skeptical of anyone who thinks that religion can be so simply summed up with a set of beliefs deduced therefrom.

Don’t get me wrong; what one believes does matter. And I enjoy theological discussions, even debates as much as the next person. But I have also learned over the years that God is not nearly so worried about my ability to correctly articulate my beliefs as He is about my living in a relationship with Him.

Jesus even said in Matthew 25, in the parable of the sheep and the goats, that what is important is what one does, not what one says. He is interested in how we live our lives more than in how well we explain what we believe.

I admit, though, that this attitude of mine comes from this very basic belief: there is one God, and He lived among as Jesus to teach us how to live as humans in relationship with God. Whether or not you’ve got everything figured out, God still loves you and wants you to know that.

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