Many non believers are incredulous (no pun intended) that there are people who believe in the God of Jesus. With widespread education, scientific advances and so much knowledge at our fingertips, they are amazed that some folk still hold on unprovable notions of a god and a supernatural world. “Seeing is believing” as the saying goes.
As such, many nowadays hold religion in all its myriad forms – forms that often rival and contradict each other – as irrational gobbledygook. Some would consider faith in a divine being to be the refuge of the mentally challenged – a pathetic panacea for those who are incapable of facing life’s ups and downs. “Pie in the sky” indeed.
For me, the Good News of Jesus, as laid out in the New Testament and interpreted by the Church through many centuries, is not irrational. But neither is it simply rational. It is supra-rational. By that I mean that it can never be proved, but it does not follow that there is no inherent logic to Jesus’ message.
There is both a logic to the Gospel – based of course on certain foundational suppositions – and also a profound resonance with what is most central to our human nature. So we can profess a logic and a correlation with our innermost and universal drives.
One fundamental supposition, without which the Christian faith doesn’t make any sense, is that we are created by God as immortal. As such we will never cease to exist and the reality that we call ‘death’ is simply a transition from one state into another: the departure from this life of limited years and its mix of joys and sorrows, and the arrival at the proper destination that God has intended for us. The departure from a temporary but crucial span of existence, and the entry into the permanent and unending span that is our true destiny. A tale of two lives…
Whether we believe this or not, we should still be able to understand that – if this is so – then religious concepts such as sacrifice, martyrdom and redemption can begin to make sense, and that they do have a fundamental logic. For the Christian, this life matters, but it is always coloured by the prospect of the life to come. And the virtue of ‘hope’ begins to take on a profound significance as we look towards heaven and – crucially – it gives a lift to our life here and now. Hope is fixed on the future but its value is found in what it does for us now. Authentic faith should always celebrate the present moment.
It is also important to state that, as well as having a real logic and coherence – based on faith in Jesus’ words – the Good News correlates with what is at the core of our nature. By this I mean our universal desire for happiness, and for that happiness to endure for as long as possible. What person, if they’re honest, doesn’t want unending happiness? Without faith in a loving God, our expectations are hugely limited: life tells us that joy can be fleeting and even the most wonderful experiences and relationships will come to an end. The Good News of Jesus is that our desires can be completely fulfilled: we can achieve eternal bliss – indeed, this destiny is already given to us by our Father God. His free gift.
If we grasp the Good News and accept its basic conditions, then we may not have all the answers – who does? – but our life will make sense and it will hold out the most wonderful prospect that enables our spirits to soar above this life’s vicissitudes.
I have to wonder just how many believers really absorb this truth rather than just ‘going through the motions’ of religious practice? The Gospel of Jesus is indeed Good News!
In His love,