Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Why Everyone Should be a Christian - Even Atheists - Part 1 - There Would be Peace on Earth


It'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.

9) Cause and effect operates in the realm of human interactions as well as in the realm of physical laws. Hence, the consequence of each person’s thoughts, words, or deeds will return to that person in kind. For example, loving thoughts or actions that benefit other people’s lives will come back to us as loving thoughts or actions which others show toward us.  Similarly, negative actions will result in negative repercussions. To summarize, “As ye sow, so shall ye reap.” Most Eastern religions call this Karma.

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 tfarage@hotmail.com. ___________________________________


Unknown said...

What a fantastic subject you have chosen for this time of year. I am impressed by your well-organized thoughts on an undertaking of such magnitude, certainly better than I could have done. After reading, I found myself dwelling on a couple of points:
1) I find your opinion on karma very interesting. I cannot say that I fully agree that there is karma on Earth. In particular, the quote "as you sow, so shall you reap." is a little vague to me as written in the Bible. Does this really mean "as you sow [on Earth], so shall you reap [in Heaven]?". I actually find myself leaning to the belief that evil will likely not be punished during our mortal lives, but afterwards (if warranted). And I say "if warranted" because there is a chance that "bad deeds" will be forgiven thanks to God's Grace which I'll get to in the second point...
2) This is such a timely blog, there is one thing I might have added, which is the way Christianity is completely different from all other religions that involve a Deity. I'm going to take a quick swipe at it here, but I'm sure you could write it more clearly. In the Christian religion, God forgives us first (this is the gift Christ gave us all on which Christmas gift-giving is based, also known as Grace or Forgiveness). We Christians then out of thankfulness show our love for God by trying to become better humans and following excellent teachings which include the basis of the Core Tenants listed. What differentiates Christianity then is that a person cannot "earn" their way into Heaven by "being good;" they get in by accepting the gift of Heaven by God's Grace (forgiveness). Many people have this backwards and I hope that I stated it clearly.

Tim Farage said...

Thank you for your comment. I do think we get back what we give out, whether on Earth or Heaven. I understand that many Christians believe that through Christ our transgressions will be forgiven. But I don't believe this. I believe that we must pay, "unto the last farthing" for all that we have done.

Unknown said...

Although I'm approaching P(anyone reading this far in a comment of a blog)=0, I cannot resist.

And rather than trying to play tennis with you by assuming you're referring to Matthew 5:26 (Jesus' take on the 10 commandments) with that quote, I'd like to try a different tack...

So I'd like to argue for your original premise that There Would be Peace on Earth if everyone became a Christian who believed that through Christ our transgressions would be forgiven,. And I only have so many characters, so I have to be brief and here are the highlights:
1) Three awesome examples of the unique views of Jesus are shown through the parables of the Lost Sheep, Workers in the Vineyard, and the Prodigal Son.
2) Each of these shows an "unfairness" whereby it appears that one or some are favored more than others.
3) These are often upsetting parables for people since it seems that punishment or consequences are not sufficient for the actions of the favored.
4) But the truth is that these are illustrations of how we should be joyous when others are welcomed back to God's Grace.
5) If everyone was a Christian (internally, with all of their heart) then first of all the inequitable treatment of people would stop.
6) But just as important, Christians (by modeling Christ's teachings in these parables) would be able to forgive previous inequitable treatment and thus we could arrive at Peace.

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