Wednesday, October 31, 2012

What Do I Get Out Of My Faith? In the Sense of…

1.   Eternity: The Christian faith teaches that we must build our lives on eternal principles. Worldly values and practices just won’t work in the long term. Life is more than what we see in the here and now. There is a long eternity before us; and we must be building something that will result in the blessings that Christ came to offer. After all…He IS the way, the truth, and the life. Nobody will come to the Father except through Him!

2.   Morality: Morality is commonly considered to be the sense of what ought to be. That is a pretty good definition, but…it does not take into consideration where that “sense of ought” comes from.

Psychologists have tried and tried to figure out the answer to that question; and they have not come up with a satisfactory answer, yet. One of the most current and comprehensive psychological approaches to the answer of where man’s sense of morality comes from is in the book, “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt. Mr. Haidt is not a Christian, by any sense; but his reasoning and conclusions are worth thinking about. One conclusion to which he arrives is that each person has some innate awareness of right and wrong. He points out that that awareness becomes directed to various conclusions depending on the influences impinging on the individual, e.g., selfishness, community pressures, or sanctity in its varied forms.

Moral psychologists cannot come to a conclusion of where morality comes from with their rationalistic viewpoint; but…they need to use morality, because they have to live in the world, and they recognize that without morality, we would all live in a chaotic world.

The conclusion to which I come from reading psychological literature is that psychological rationality does not provide a believable pathway to understand man’s moral inclinations. Only God is a believable cause for man’s sense of right and wrong.

3.   Accountability: Without the vertical dimension to life, i.e., looking to God for guidance and accountability, we lose our understanding of life.

Being accountable to God, we realize our need for forgiveness. We need forgiveness because we are sinful creatures; and our life, thoughts, and activities are shot full of unacceptable things.

Some religions have decided that forgiveness should only be given to those who “deserve it.” (Muslims believe this.) If forgiveness were only for those who deserve it, forgiveness would not be forgiveness. If a person receives only the things that he deserves, then he is only being paid his wages for his earned product.
4.   Charity/beneficence: There is a great gift of love in the Gospel! We must constantly be giving it away—to our enemies, as well as to our friends. Without this unearned charity, our religion (and even our faith) becomes empty.  

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