Those who have walked this transformative journey through death to resurrection (“the Paschal Mystery”) are the ones who have the authority to say” I know God.” They are drawing upon a Life larger than their own. It is not a belief system but an actual “knowing”. Instead of just “I believe there is a God”, God becomes a “well springing up within us” (John 4:14), a lived experience and a constant Presence.
So what if you believe there is a God? Is the Gospel a giant college entrance exam? I believe there is a God myself, but—big deal—that’s just in the head. It asks almost nothing of me. It doesn’t change my life or yours. Mere belief systems largely create defensive and offensive people trying to prove that my God is better than your God, and I am better than you. Is this not evident from our history? Most groups defended their petty image of God and religion, even with war and torture, with little concern for the poor, the outsider, and those who had to suffer because of their beliefs. Jesus went wherever the pain was, and far too often, we have instead been the creators of pain for others. We have been in the wrong place and utterly wrong position to meet the real Jesus.
(Richard Rohr, Adapted from The Authority of Those Who Have Suffered, emphasis mine)