I have been asked this question by several Christians, and it's a good question. I suspect they might expect me to say, "I believe in sacrificing goats to Cthulhu," or "I believe in daily orgies." Oh, wait. It's the Christian Bible that supports animal sacrifice for seemingly just about any reason. I'm so confused.
I wish I didn't care about religion one way or the other. Try as I might, I seem to be unable to stay under the radar. I do not mean to pick on Christianity, but I am surrounded by Christians who are after my soul. I haven't had any Buddhists encouraging me to convert. No Hindus have told me that unless I believe in their deities I will burn for eternity in Hell. Nobody other than the Christians seems to care.
So, here's my answer. I don't believe in any god. I especially don’t have faith in the Christian god. I am not completely without beliefs, however. I believe that, in a general sense, what goes around comes around. I believe in the importance of freedom of religion and separation of church and state. I think that mankind creates concepts of “god” because, as complex as we are and as much as we have evolved, much of what happens to man over time is seemingly violent and random. Even though I don’t believe in a god who dictates morals, I think it is important to live according to ideals that make good moral sense.
I believe that I have the duty to protect my children from being taught mythology, albeit modern, as science in school. I believe that Jesus could have been a real person and would be mortified at the actions of many of his followers now and throughout the past 2000 years.
I know that all life on this planet evolved from a common ancestor through the process of natural selection, and I know this because of the overwhelming evidence in support of the scientific theory of evolution. There is a huge difference between faith and knowledge.
I do believe we have a creator of sorts - the Earth, the cosmos, the stars. I believe that there is a divine melody playing in the universe, and I don’t need to assign a composer to it. It is there to listen to or not.
I believe that the creator, if there is such an entity, is inherently ineffable. I think that religions are created by humans, and are a weak guess at what or who may be at the root of the cosmos. Deep down, when I ask myself what will happen when I die, I don’t have an answer. I highly doubt that any one group of homo sapiens has somehow, out of the infinite possibilities that could have been settled upon, picked the exact form of the creator around which to form a religion. Do I believe in some force greater than myself, than mankind? Yes. I don’t know what it is and I don’t need to know. I don’t think it cares what I think: It just is.
I am a passionate, soulful person on a path of my own. As Martin Luther said when asked to recant his criticism against The Catholic Church, “Here I stand. I can do no other.” If I had to say I believed in a deity to save the life of a loved one, I would say it, but I would believe it even less inside.
My “creator” lives in mitochondria. It is in the beautiful blue atmosphere of the Earth. I see it reflecting back at me when I look at pictures of the Whirlpool Galaxy. It is in my back yard. It is in this moment. It is in each breath.
To the Christians in my life: Your religion, churches, books, and deities don't add to that at all. They confuse and contort sacred simplicity into twisted, damaging, processed, dangerous, impersonal, power-hungry, egocentric, and befuddling nonsense. Please, if you care about me like you claim you do, don't ask me to read your book or go to your church. Just know that when I am in the moment at the top of a mountain, or just walking down the street, I've got my own thing going and don't need the trappings of your religion to make sense of it.