A popular question in this little town is "Do you believe in God?" (Might be interesting to research how and why the question became so popular in this little Mississippi town....might be interesting to contrast the history of heinous violence and injustice that have figured so prominently in the state's history with the implications of the question "Do you believe in God?"...)
Anyway, I mention it because the sermon yesterday at the Lutheran church where I have a standing gig as pianist was about belief. "Belief in the one true God" was the way the minister referred to it repeatedly and, without ever saying the words "Jew" or "Jewish", he sought to illustrate the hypocrisy of belief that is demonstrated by rituals and rules. The biblical vehicle he used was Jesus' conversation with the Pharisees (text). The minister prides himself on what he calls his "witticisms" so most sermons include some real-world example; this week was a story about him watching the film "Fiddler on the Roof" with a friend.
Reflecting on the sermon today, 24 hours later, sitting with coffee and a cigarette in the privacy of my own home: "Do you believe in God?" and "Do you believe in the one true God?" are different questions. Granted, the second version is tacitly embedded in the first version most of the time. At least here in Holly Springs MS; but a more expansive and uncluttered contemplation is possible with the first question.
Were this minister and congregation willing to entertain the question of belief in God, without the qualifier "the one true," they would potentially be one step onto a road toward the light of reason and away from the bigotry their faith embraces.