Why Believe in God?
By Pastor Tom Anderson
Why is God important in a world of gene editing, digital currency and Google? God may be interesting to some--on par with an interest in stamp collecting but is God in any way essential?
We need God to teach us right from wrong. Ernest Hemingway observed, “So far, about morals, I know only that what is moral is what you feel good after and what is immoral is what you feel bad after.' This describes well the modern process of moral decision-making. It reduces to the emotions and preferences within the self. But can human beings thrive in such a world? Would you hire a contractor who said that he didn’t follow industry standards--he just used techniques he personally felt good about? You can see where this thinking is going.
But it’s not just hypothetical. This summer as American cities were burning, Vicky Osterweil published her nationally promoted book In Defense of Looting. In 288 pages she seeks to demonstrate the moral good of rioting, burning and looting. Stranger than the book itself was the appreciative reception of the book in established national media and universities. Can the incoherence and absurdity of today’s moral thinking be resolved? Not without God. “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
We need God to give life meaning and purpose. Where can we find meaning for life? Is it in wealth, achievement, pleasure or celebrity? These are pursued energetically in every generation only to discover the same emptiness voiced in Ecclesiastes 2:13, “Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun.”
A godless universe is ultimately meaningless. So the atheist H.L. Menken concluded, “The cosmos is a gigantic fly wheel making 10,000 revolutions per minute and man is a sick fly taking a dizzy ride on it.” Is it any wonder that rates of clinical depression and self-harm are rising in the godless modern world? It is God alone who endows life with meaning: “All things were created through him and for him...and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16, 17)
We need God to give us hope. Injustice, suffering and death are often used as justification to reject God. Faith in God it is said, does not exempt us from the tragedies of this world--so why bother with God? Yet to overcome tragedy, one must have a source of hope.
Where does hope come from? By force of will one can choose to be optimistic but even the strongest human will gets worn down by the constant cycle of cancer, cruelty and catastrophe. Eventually, all gives way to despair.
Optimism is grounded in will power but hope is grounded in God. Hope is an act of defiance against the tragic cycles of this life. Hope declares there is a way forward and human life is not trapped in a closed circle of bad news. Hope is a statement of human destiny attached to the goodness of God. Even in desperation the believer cries out, “Why are you cast down, O my soul and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.” (Psalm 43:5)
Hope, Meaning. Moral clarity. Yes, it makes perfect sense to believe in God!