“Religion is everywhere. There are no human societies without it, whether they acknowledge it as a religion or not.” – Octavia Butler
There is a practical reason for believing in God. Religion should make us feel better most of the time. Religion gives one a reason for hope. It gives us a reason to do good things for others, to be thankful for what a person has and reason to be humble, knowing that there is a much greater power than one’s self. Logically, if there is no reward (heaven) for doing good, and no punishment, (hell), for doing evil, there is no practical reason for being moral and not doing whatever one wants for one’s own benefit, if you can do it without getting caught and punished criminally.
On a pragmatic basis, our society and culture should have fundamental Judeo-Christian ethics. That moral philosophy can be reduced in the simplest form to the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and the Ten Commandments: Don’t lie, cheat or steal, don’t murder, don’t be unfaithful to your spouse, don’t be jealous of your neighbor’s wife or of his property or success, honor your parents, and be faithful to your God.
Until recently most Americans believed that a church offers a good foundation for honesty and morality, supplementing and enhancing what parents can teach their children. It also teaches kids that they are not the center of the universe. It gives them an entity to pray to in times of need and a God to give them solace in times of trouble. Religion also gives them a reason not to despair when confronted with the death of loved ones.
Many people state that they believe in God, but don’t believe in, or belong to, any organized religion. A look at the history of scandals in organized religions is often cited as a reason for this position, but this might be a bit of a cop out. There are so many different denominations in the Christian and Jewish faiths to choose from, that a search would find some more acceptable than others. Also, an all knowing God has to be well aware that his human creations were fallible and would break Commandments, laws and rules. It would be no surprise to God that churches in our earthly world have even the most egregious scandals. The point is that good churches reinforce family teachings and Judeo-Christian mores.
Knowing the imperfections of his human beings, a good and righteous God possesses two divine qualities that he would have us emulate: forgiveness and mercy. That is why King David could be forgiven for his adultery with Bathsheba and his arranging the death of her husband. That is why Jesus could demand that those who were sinless, should cast the first stone against the adulteress, and then tell her to go and sin no more. An all knowing God can be merciful and forgive those who are truly regretful and repentant. These are qualities that we should emulate.
That is not to say that a society should not punish crimes, but mercy sometimes requires that we look at extenuating circumstances before sentencing an offender for the crime. That is why we let convicts out of prison when they have served their sentence and why we are asked to “forgive those who trespass against us.”
If the history of the last century has taught us anything, it is that countries that base their societies on Judeo-Christian precepts with a foundation of Constitutionally limited government, have freer, safer citizens than those nations that are created on the discredited theory that the government is supreme. In other words, the atheistic theories of communism and fascism.
1 thought on “Reasons For Believing – Buz Blog”
Very well said Buz. I find great comfort in my daily readings that remind me I am a spiritual person just having a human experience. I remind myself thoughts of anger towards another is not in keeping with Christian faith in the 10 commandments. After all, they are not the 10 suggestions.
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