“Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Christian, do you know why you believe what you believe? It is easy to take for granted that the things I learned in Sunday School are true. But if I am confronted on the street or in the classroom about my faith, must I confess, “I don’t know why I believe it?” or can I say, “I know why I must believe it”? People who are not Christians don’t have to struggle with these questions. They can go on and believe whatever they want to. Usually people who do not go to church give one of the following four answers about religion in general.
I don’t really think religion matters anymore. It’s old news. Give me something new.
Religion is irrelevant, because Science has really proven all I really need to know anyway.
There are so many different religions, really, who can know what’s right?
I am going to practice my own faith my way. I don’t need the church or organized religion.
Dear reader, I am not going to try to persuade you to become a Christian in the few short paragraphs I have here available to me. If you are not a Christian, then there’s nothing I can say that you probably haven’t heard before. If you aren’t a Christian in America, you’ve probably been approached by countless preachers and Christians to try and convince you otherwise. But you’ve demonstrated you just aren’t going to bow to that kind of pressure. You’ve got all the answers, right? You’ve got it all figured out, right? Why do you need religion? Aren’t you living happily and joyfully on your own without God? Well, perhaps you might give this author another opportunity, not to convince you of God, but to ask you some honest questions.
Doesn’t religion matter?
Is it possible for science to have all the answers?
Can all religions be true?
What is your faith apart from the Church?
Religion has become an issue in the issue of national security. The people who piloted airplanes into the twin towers on 9/11 were motivated by religion. The men who took young girls from their parents in order to marry them in Texas were motivated by religion. When David Koresh and his band at Waco were burned to death, they did so because of religion. Even if you don’t have a religion, your life is affected by those that do. That doesn’t mean that any of those religions were right, but because religion matters to some people, it impacts us all. On the other hand, the Sisters of St. Francis built St. Elizabeth hospital, which saves thousands of lives from ill health was established because of a religion. The women’s shelter in Frankfort, Rainbow Haven, was established because of religion. Thousands of men and women, even some of your neighbors, spend their Sunday mornings in this Church, because of their religion. Religion, even if it doesn’t matter to you, matters to people you know. It has contributed in saving the lives of people you know. Does religion matter?
Many put their faith in Science as the answerer of all questions. If anything is worth knowing, then science will be able to establish it as fact. Yet anyone that has a passing knowledge of science will tell you that science is limited in its scope. Science can only theorize a general truth based on visible, tactile evidence. This evidence comes from multitudes of experiments. For any “truth” to come from science must be the result of a repeatable series of experiments. It is based on probable chances, approaching virtual zero, to establish such truth. For example, a certain model of car will be tested for its ability to survive a crash. A number of experiments will be performed, involving different kinds of impacts, to test the car for survivability. When you finally buy that car, you will never be able to buy a car that has been tested, but a car that was built the same way. Even if every experiment “proves” that that car is safe, it is merely a good chance that the car you drive will protect you in an accident. You don’t know if your particular car is the exception to “rule.” So it is with all “truth” obtained from science. It is a probability of truth, rather than absolute truth. Can science have all the answers?
Some religions are better than others. Certainly, no one would advocate Naziism is better than Buddhism. Yet all religions have something to say about where we came from and where we are going. The reason there are so many religions is because they all differ on one or both of those two points. No two religions can both be true, because in some point or another, they are mutually exclusive. In essence, the one who examines religion must make a judgment call between two religions, whether he believe one or the other. He cannot possible believe both, unless he doesn’t believe in any of them. Can all religions be true?
One who takes his religion out of the church perhaps does the most damage to himself. Some religions would encourage self-awareness and personal discovery, including Christianity. Yet, self-awareness and personal discovery will only take you so far, since you are limited in your perspective and ability. You will eventually run out of things to talk to yourself about. You need interaction with someone else. You need other people, at least to give you an objective opinion. You need other people to practice things like, oh, say, love and kindness and helpfulness and so forth. What is your faith apart from others, like the Church?
I ask you to consider these questions. Feel free to write in some answers, your own answers, to these questions. Please, carefully consider your responses. Your eternity depends on it, because you have to be right.