PurposeIt's Christmas time again, so why not post a blog about why it's good to be a Christian? The purpose of this post is to show that a Christian Worldview is superior to other worldviews, even if you are an Atheist. (By 'worldview', I mean one's philosophy of life). This will be done in two ways. In Part 1, I will show that there are only advantages to an individual and to the world if all were to adopt a Christian Worldview. In Part 2, I will show that the Christian Worldview gives the best explanation of as to how the world is, and why humans are the way we are.
The Atheistic Worldview
Let's say that you don’t believe in God or any other higher intelligence. Where does that leave you? Well, it leaves you - body, brain, and all, as the result of random processes, and natural laws. And what does that imply? Bertrand Russell gives an honest, excellent description of the result of such a belief system:
"That Man is the product of causes which had no prevision of the end they were achieving; that his origin, his growth, his hopes and fears, his loves and his beliefs, are but the outcome of accidental collocations of atoms; that no fire, no heroism, no intensity of thought and feeling, can preserve an individual life beyond the grave; that all the labors of the ages, all the devotion, all the inspiration, all the noonday brightness of human genius, are destined to extinction in the vast death of the solar system, and that the whole temple of Man’s achievement must inevitably be buried beneath the debris of a universe in ruins…."
Beautifully written. But if this belief system sounds good to you, read no further.
My Christian Worldview
Now let’s say you believe in Christianity. Because there are thousands of different Christian beliefs, I will enumerate my core Christian tenants:
1) We are to love God with all our heart and all our mind and all our soul.
2) We are to love all others, even our enemies.
3) We are to treat others as we would wish to be treated.
4) We are to use our talents to make the world a better place.
5) We are to help the poor.
6) We are all Children of God, and thus He has given each of us a ‘spark’ of Himself. Thus, we humans are brothers and sisters.
7) It is up to us to grow toward God by developing this spark of Christ within us - to be perfect as our Father in Heaven is perfect.
8) Because we have free will, we are responsible for each of our thoughts, words, and deeds.
10) Each person has the right to life, liberty, and to be secure in their own property. Thus, each person has the right to live life in the manner in which he or she sees fit, as long as this does not interfere with the right of others to do the same.
11) Children are our greatest resource, and families with loved and well-reared children are the bedrock of a true civilization.
Christ said, "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea." (Matthew 18:6-7)
I'm sure that many Christians might have a different list, but it can't be denied that all of these are a part of Christ's teachings. It is of interest to note if that I am not assuming any belief about Christ’s identity. This is because I believe Christ was interested in us doing God's will, and was not so concerned about who we think he is.
Let's see if I can justify the (very modest) claim that everyone should be a Christian, as defined above.
Advantages of the Christian Worldview
Number one above is accepted by all Christians, and indeed by most religious people. But what about Atheists? Consider the power, my dear Atheist friends, of loving God with all you heart, mind, and soul. If your heart, mind and soul are focused on our Creator, and His love for us, it would be difficult for fearful, hateful, or angry thoughts to enter our hearts. This would benefit us all. As Earl Nightingale famously said, "We become what we think about."
How about this prayer for Atheists: "Dear God, if you exist, please help me to become a better person, to help others, and to use my talents to make the world a better place." It sure couldn't hurt to say this, and it certainly could help.
The second belief above about loving others, even our enemies, is one of the most powerful statements ever made. I interpret this to mean that we are to want and desire the best for every person on Earth. What would it mean, for example, to love a terrorist? It means we want the best for him - we'd want him to turn away from his erroneous ways, to ask forgiveness from those he has harmed, and to do the best he could to make up for the harm he has caused.
The next three beliefs about treating others with kindness, using our talents to help make the world a better place, and to assist the poor, are beliefs that all people of goodwill share.
The sixth belief that we are all children of God, and that each of us was created with a spark of God within us, is certainly not something Atheists believe. But this belief is equivalent to the belief in the brotherhood and sisterhood of man. And that belief can only lead to good.
The belief about being perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect, can easily be thought of as, "Keep growing and getting to be a better and better person." Hard to disagree with that.
Beliefs eight and nine deal the fact that we have free will and are therefore responsible for our thoughts, word, and deeds. Not much to disagree with there.
Then it continues with the idea that we get back what we put out - the idea of Karma. I certainly can't prove this scientifically, but it is the spiritual equivalent to Newton's third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. So believe in Karma or not. But the world would definitely be a better place if everyone acted like they believed in Karma.
The tenth belief about having the right to be secure in our life, liberty, and property is also accepted by most people of good will. One point to emphasize with respect to Christianity, is that Christ never taught us to harm those who did not believe what He taught. So Christianity is in harmony with the First Amendment to our Constitution - that our rights to our beliefs, our words, our writings, etc., should not be infringed.
And finally, the belief that loved and well-raised children are the bedrock of a true civilization is also accepted by most.
Sadly, and all too often, many children around the world are not loved or well-raised. Christ's quote above that leading children to sin is one of the worst sins one can commit will come back to haunt these so-called parents.
I trust that this post was convincing enough that my readers would consider adopting my Christian Worldview. Think about this: It couldn't hurt!
In the second and last part of this series, I attempt to show that adopting my Christian Worldview explains the world as we know it, and explains ourselves and our cultures better than any other worldview.
Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer and Graduate Adviser in the Computer Science Department at The University of Texas at Dallas. The views expressed here are those of the author. You are welcome to comment upon this blog entry and/or to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. ___________________________________