“Imagine there’s no heaven, easy if you try. No hell below us, above us only sky.” –John Lennon
It’s attractive–the idea of no religion. Nothing to divide people. No ultimate standard. No God. No judgement.
John Lennon’s utopia was imaginary and impossible. The reason is because people need to understand why they are on this earth and how they got here and who is responsible for their being here and what this implies. Hence, religions.
God-fearing people live their lives as though God is watching. Religion has exploited believers in numerous ways, so I don’t particularly want to associate myself with the common understanding of religion. I want to distill my faith to the basics, one of which is a belief in an eternal God who sees all. From here I move on to his son, Jesus Christ, and the significance of his life, death and resurrection. I am a believer in Christ because my research has led me to the conclusion that the evidence for his life, death and resurrection is overwhelming.
Mine is not a defence of religion, or of faith, or of belief in God. Mine is a call to an honest search. Jesus said, “Straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it.” I cannot find your way for you. You have to find it for yourself. For me it meant casting aside my previously held beliefs and then examining every piece before I decided which ones I would pick up and keep. It is a brave thing to do. You don’t know at the outset what the outcome will be.
I watched a small bird hop around on my balcony and I allowed my imagination to wander to what went into the design of this little winged creature. Then I thought about the seeds it was eating, and the plants that produced those seeds, and the sun that shone on the plants, the rain that fell on them, the soil that nurtured the plants. I thought of the seasons. I thought of the galaxies. I thought of the perfect distance of the sun from the earth so that we are not scorched and do not freeze. I thought about the exquisite balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide. I thought about gravity and the rotation of the earth around the sun, and the moon around the earth. And on and on and on. I thought about all the things that are not explained by the theory of evolution. Let’s remember it is only a theory. And it was a theory introduced as a reaction to the concept of religion and the possibility of a Creator. It is a theory that, when you really think about it, makes no sense at all. But people don’t want to think. Deep thinking scares them. It shakes their fabricated reality.
There is no possible way that this earth is an accident that happened over billions of years. So the only other alternative is that we are dealing with a Designer. A Designer with intent. From this point on I think it is reasonable to believe that this Designer wants to communicate with his creation. This is where religion begins. And there are many ways that religions have explained and tried to understand God.
It is the order of the universe that makes me a believer in a Creator. It is the fact that we have a conscience that makes me a believer in the righteousness of a Creator God. Up to this point most religions are similar but from here they begin to branch out with many tangents. I do not believe that all religions lead to God. God transcends religions. Religion is just a series of beliefs organized to understand God and to attempt to know how to respond to him. What I believe is that righteousness is at the heart of true religion. And I believe that God bridges the gap between his complete righteousness and our partial righteousness when we seek him and put our faith in him. However, this does require a type of re-birth, a dying of the old, a seed falling into the ground and a new life springing forth. The nature of God transcends all, even our human understanding. I cannot explain or describe God any more than I can explain or describe the wind and even this is a totally inadequate analogy. But I have felt God. And I worship him. I seek him with all my being. I desire to fulfill the design he had in creating me. My knowledge of God gives meaning to all I do.
My faith journey has been a life-long process and I have discovered many wonderful resources along the way. A book I recommend, and which profoundly impacted my search, is written by the late J. I. Packer, entitled Knowing God.