I used to think that what people believed about life was a more or less intellectual thing and did not reflect the sort of person they were. Whether you were a religious person or an agnostic did not necessarily indicate the state of your inner being. And if your instincts leaned towards right or left that did not say much more about you than your background or principal points of concern. In other words, that belief was not a moral matter.
Perhaps that was true at one time but it isn't now. Today, as the lines of good and evil, truth and lies, right and wrong, are being increasingly clearly drawn, it is proper to acknowledge that what you believe is an outward sign of what you are. I must qualify that statement by saying that there are always other factors involved, your age, your cultural background, your education, how you have been brought up and so on, but these are to the argument as nurture is to the nature/nurture argument which is to say, they are largely secondary.
Of course, many people now don't believe anything very passionately. Their beliefs, such as they are, are held lightly and do not determine the course of their life or involve strong feeling. But even such people as these are responsible for their beliefs, and, to that extent, their beliefs do reflect what I am going to call their spiritual worth. Some people were enthusiastic Nazis or Soviet Communists, others, presumably the majority, just went with the flow. But even these latter cannot be said to be innocent of the crimes of those two regimes. Similarly today, no one who goes along with the spiritual desecration of the world is an innocent bystander, even if those who do simply go along with it are much less culpable than those who actively pursue this path and work to bring about the ends that will increasingly separate Man from God.
We are all adults and we are all responsible. We all have the voice of truth within us and we have the choice as to whether we will listen to that or not. If we do not, that is an active choice and it means that we are rejecting truth. To reject truth comes from self-will and it is hardly exaggerating to call this an act of evil. The true and the good, the real good, are one and the same, and to deny one is to deny the other. If you deny good, what else can you call that except evil?
The world today is being brought to the point when everyone must make the decision as whether to acknowledge the reality of God or deny that. This is a serious test of the human heart and it will not be made easy. We might want a sign to help us along but, as has been said, it is a wicked generation that looks for a sign. As a matter of fact, it will be easier to deny God, or the true nature of the living God, than to accept him. It might even be made to appear wicked to bear witness to the true God. Why? Because this is the test, to believe when belief is regarded by the world as a sin, a sin against humanity as it will be painted. That way the real state of the heart is brought out.
The most important decision anyone can make in life is a spiritual one because that determines the path you take and the sort of person you will become. It shows where you wish to invest your being. And this spiritual decision is not simply about spirituality. It is about what sort of spirituality and, when all is said and done, it is about the acceptance of Christ for Christ is the highest manifestation in this world of spiritual truth and your ability to see this, to resonate with it, if you'll forgive the slightly New Agey expression, marks out what sort of person you are. But I must add that, just as people make God in their own image, so they do Christ. He is often cut down to fit our own prejudices. Go back to the Gospels, especially that of St John, to see what Christ is and what he isn't. Don't reinterpret him in the light of modern political ideologies for if you do you will be one of those people to whom he says, "I never knew you: depart from me".
What we believe reflects what we are. What we reject also reflects what we are. There is an argument that different people might simply be focusing on different aspects of the whole and that the truth lies in a reconciliation or integration of various beliefs. No one is completely right and no one is completely wrong. I'm afraid this won't do. Like all false arguments, it has elements of truth but there is a fundamental reality that must be acknowledged first before these lesser subsidiary truths come into play. If that is ignored then the lesser truths don't have much significance. For instance, pagans might be open to aspects of reality that Christians do not acknowledge. Indeed, they are. However the reality that the spiritual Christians uphold is of a higher order and more profound nature than that of the pagans. It is more comprehensive, deeper and, quite simply, truer. Likewise with right and left. The right, when true to itself, sees everything in the light of God, the left sees everything in the light of humanity or that nebulous concept 'the people'. Both may be valid. One is considerably more so. They are not equivalent.
I am what I believe does not mean that I fully am that here and now, but that what I believe reflects my real values and the direction I wish to travel. It shows what I want to be and what I think I should be. I venture to predict that the coming years will bring matters into even greater focus, and prevarication or fence sitting will become harder. We will have to choose and that choice will determine our future path. This is what awakening is all about.