Friday, January 29, 2010

The Comfort of Faith

(Yeah, how's that for a typical christian blog title!? Oh yeah! lol)

A comment I've heard at least on a few occasions from atheists is how they do not (or no longer) understand how people honestly find comfort in their "Christian" beliefs. While I think such accusations depend entirely on which particular beliefs and interpretations one associates as "Christian", I thought it might be fun to blog about what I find comforting about my particular beliefs, and then relate that to how I see the atheist perception. Please note that I am not saying Christianity (or my version of it) should be believed over atheism or any other belief system simply because it may be theoretically more comforting. Rather, I simply mean to describe some the ways I do find it more comforting and leave it at that.

Comfort of purpose
One of the things I find comforting about my faith is the comfort of having a purpose in life. The atheist will argue they have purpose as well, but the difference is, is that they personally create and define what that is...where as mine (at least, I believe) was created and defined by God. Which one is more comforting is, of course, up for debate and really depends on how you look at it. But I think there is something much more comforting about the belief that I was created with a divine purpose, rather than purpose just being some abstract and imaginary concept that I can construct to justify my existence.

Even if I were to find the later take on purpose as more or equally comforting as the first, there would be the whole issue of my constructed purpose being completely "on my shoulders". In other words, the fulfillment of my purpose would rest entirely on me and thus the possibility of me failing my self-made purpose would be very real. However in my view, while I may be able to mess up minor details in regards to my purpose, I believe that God will not leave it unfulfilled(at least in the big things). He will work through me and my life circumstances to bring about the tasks He wants me to complete, ultimately ending in my main purpose which is to love and fellowship with Him long after I am physically dead.

Comfort of Afterlife
The idea of an afterlife has always been comforting to me to a degree, though looking back on my traditional Christian views on it (where some experience unending paradise while the mass majority experience unending suffering) I can certainly understand how some don't find the idea as particularly comforting. But now that I believe that all will attain fellowship and paradise with God in the afterlife eventually, its much easier for me to grasp the overwhelming comfort that the idea of the afterlife brings. Knowing that I will still exist in some form consciously even after my human life is over is part of the comfort, as I must say that does seem more appealing than the atheistic alternative of just ceasing to exist altogether. But even more comforting is the thought of seeing loved ones again, along with the rest of resurrected/perfected humanity and being able to look back on all our successes and failures to see the glorious outcome it created.

Comfort of Unconditional love
Unconditional love is one of those abstract concepts that I don't think we as humans are truly capable of demonstrating, at least not in our earthly/imperfect selves. I think its certainly possible to love someone your whole life no matter what, but it is so very rare. And because of our imperfect nature and imperfect can also never be guaranteed. Even when unconditional love does exist, I think the one who loves (consciously or subconsciously) still has a line where, once crossed, all hope of relationship will be abandoned or at least postponed. This is perhaps why so many people who get married and commit their lives to each other end up in divorce, because while there may always be love, it has reached an impasse.

And while in traditional Christianity, God does reach such an eternal impasse with humans if certain conditions are not met, it is my belief that He does not. It is my belief that God will continue loving us and working on us as moral beings throughout this life and the next. And to know that at least one person will never give up on you, and never stop loving you even after you die, is perhaps the most comforting thing I can think of.