“Syd, look at this quote,” Mary exclaimed, bursting into the room with her laptop in hand, “It says the same thing you’re writing about.” I had been working on the first chapter of the book, Fear and Wonder. Mary had been searching for a book on Amazon when the following promotion for A. W. Tozer’s classic book, The Attributes of God, popped up on the screen: “No question is more important than ‘What is God like?’”
I believe the two most important questions we must face are “Is there a God?” and if so “what is God like?” How we answer them should influence every aspect of our lives until the moment we exhale our last breath.
I do not offer evidence for God’s existence in the forthcoming book since it is addressed to persons who already believe in God. The evidence for a Creator is almost overwhelming if anyone is willing to objectively consider. Great minds have written books providing evidence for God’s existence. If you are still struggling with doubts about God, I recommend two contemporary books: The Reason for God by Timothy Keller and No God but One by Nabeel Querishi. Nabeel was raised in a devout Muslim family but after fighting against the evidence he crossed the line and become a follower of Jesus Christ.
So, what difference does it make whether or not I believe in God?
In the August 8, 2017 edition, our local newspaper reported the results of a research project published in The Nature of Human Behavior Journal. The purpose of the study was to determine if faith or a lack of faith in a deity affects our personal moral decisions. More than 3,000 persons in thirteen countries were asked if a “sociopath that had killed several people and dismembered their bodies was more likely to be a teacher who believed in a god or a teacher who did not believe in any kind of deity.” Overwhelmingly, those surveyed (including professed atheists and agnostics) believed the sociopath was more likely to be a non-believer.
The survey does not suggest religious people are not capable of heinous crimes. More than one person has fallen off the edge of sanity in their religious fervor. We recoil when a mass murderer justifies their crime because “God told them to do it.” History is replete with evidence that horrible acts of violence have been carried out in the name of religion. Consider the atrocities of ISIS and Boka Haram carried out in the name of Allah. What about the lynching of blacks carried out by professing Christians who were members of the Klu KIux Klan?
The survey demonstrated that even skeptics and atheists tend to believe that faith in a deity ought to affect our moral choices. It only makes sense, because if there is no God there is no life after death. No judgment. So, let us just eat, drink and be merry (even murder) since tomorrow we die.
Without God in the equation, we are just part of the circle of life in the movie, The Lion King.” The lion eats the antelope; the lion dies and becomes fertilizer for the grass antelope will eat. I thank God, and with that expression I admit my bias that there is a God so life is more than playing a small part in an endless circle of life and death.
It is even fair to ask “Why be good if there is no God? Why not just squeeze all the gusto we can even if it harms another person?”
If there is no God, there are no absolutes- no right or wrong. Post modern belief that there are no absolute moral absolutes is justified. The door is wide open to create my own personal list of right and wrong.
Let’s face it, if there is no Creator there will be no life for me after they “close the lid on me.” (Those are the actual words of a military vet describing his eventual death when he was interviewed on a local television station here in Bend). Without God there is no judgment so it really does come down to Darwin’s survival of the fittest. The Nazis were justified to identify who didn’t deserve to live because they were unfit whether they be Jews or Poles or the disabled who were using valuable resources the rest of us deserve. Come to think of it, if there is no absolute right or wrong why even track down war criminals to face charges that really don’t matter?
I have offered reasons why faith in God ought to prevent me and you from doing things that harm others. I now share a positive motivation for choosing to do good.
I believe I will someday face my Creator so I want to please Him, not out of fear, but because I love Him. I want to do the right thing because God has done so much for me. He didn’t abandon me to perish like I deserve. He came to rescue people like you and me.
Romans 5:8 states “God shows His love for us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Think about it, the only innocent person to leave sandal prints on the shores of Galilee has already paid the death penalty I deserve. Therefore, I choose to do good because God, who is the very essence of love and source of all that is love, has first loved me!
It doesn’t get any better than that.