Today’s guest post comes from Lee Woofenden, who blogs at Spiritual Insights for Everyday Life, a rich and thoughtful site that will, I’m sure, give you many hours of blog reading pleasure. This is a wonderful post that I’m sure you will enjoy.
I grew up in a family that was materially fairly poor, but spiritually very rich. I grew up in working class neighborhoods, wearing hand-me-downs from my older brothers. Yet despite modest material circumstances, our world was rich withspiritual love and understanding.
My parents were steeped in a deep, thoughtful, and satisfying faith that went back several generations on both sides. Yes, they inculcated that faith in us. But more than that, they lived their faith. This meant giving us love, respect, and practical guidance through the many events and issues of our childhood and teen years.
Their lives expressed their faith. Here are a few key points:
1. God is pure love and pure wisdom. These are behind everything God does.
God loves all people, saint and sinner alike, regardless of race or religion. There is no anger in God, no desire to punish us for our sins. There is only a loving desire to lead us out of evil, pain, and suffering toward what is good, true, and joyful.
2. Jesus Christ is God come to save us from our own evil.
There was no need to assuage God’s anger or satisfy God’s justice. Jesus was not saving us from God, but from ourselves, and our own downward spiral into selfishness, greed, and lust for power over others.
3. God saves us by touching our hearts and minds and changing us from the inside out.
God will not step in to fix the world that we humans have broken so badly. Instead, God is continually reaching out to us from within, touching every receptive heart with the will and the strength to go out into the world and bring justice, comfort, and joy where there is injustice, pain, and sorrow.
And yet . . . is it true? Or is this just a lot of wishful thinking?
That’s the question I faced in my late teens. I realized that as beautiful as all of this was, it was simply what I’d been taught. How did I know it was really true? I realized that I could go either way.
· I could reject what I had been taught about God and creation, and become an atheist.
· I could accept that God is real, that God is love, and that we are all here for a reason.
Whichever choice I made, I knew that I would convince myself that I had made the right choice. I realized that my mind would go wherever my heart went.
Ultimately, it is not reason or logic that determines what we humans will believe, as necessary and useful as they are in making sense of this world of ours. Ultimately, we humans will believe whatever we think will bring about the most good for those we most love and care about, whether that is ourselves, our family, our country, or humanity as a whole.
When faced with that ultimate question in my late teens, I chose to believe in the God of love, wisdom, creativity, and compassion that I had learned about all though my growing up years.
Why did I choose this rather than disbelief and atheism?
I decided that this belief would bring about the most good in me, and in how I would touch the world around me.
With that choice, my belief and my purpose in life was set. Despite the rocky road I have traveled since then, I have never looked back. My faith gives meaning and purpose to everything I do.