In recent years, I''ve heard much talk about faith and spirituality in diverse sources. Some research has showed that regular church-goers tend to live longer, more stress-free lives than people who do not regularly attend church. Given that finding and other data, some suggest that having acting spiritual life provides benefits to an individual. As such, certain people in the health field encourage people to become active in the community, including a church or synagogue, say, and to even offer up a prayer regularly. Apparently, participating in such activities and performing such actions may lead to a healthier, happier, and longer life.
While such research and suggestions are interesting, I''d like you to think about the matter from another perspective. If you follow the advice of going to church or synagogue and praying purely for the health benefits, you''re approaching these activities with the idea of improving yourself. To put it another way, you''d be having faith in something simply because the feelings of faith will prove beneficial regardless of whether there''s a God to have faith in. If you enter into religious rituals for the benefit those rituals provide, then it''s the rituals that provide the salutory effect, not the object of those rituals: God. The faith, then, is really self-centered, and your faith would be in faith or in religious rituals, not in God, Yahweh, or Allah. Also, the beneficiary of your faith or actions would be you, not other people and not God, Yahweh, or Allah.
But what if God actually exists? Let''s consider some basic characteristics of God that I believe are common to the 3 major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In all 3 religion, God is presumed to be all-powerful, all-knowing, and omnipresent. He created the universe and everything in it and maintains an active interest in the affairs of the human beings who inhabit this one small planet we call the Earth. If we assume, just for a moment, that those characteristics are true of God, what does that mean for us? ...next