We find hints of God everywhere, even in Parade magazine, and some tantalize us with their implications. Marilyn vos Savant, whom Guinness' records as having the highest recorded IQ score, responded in her column to a question from a fellow Mensa member (Mensa members must have an IQ in the top 2%). The question had been discussed in the reader's group, "Why are we here?"
Savant replied, "I think it depends on your spiritual beliefs. If you have a religion, it provides the answer. But if you don't believe in a god, the question contradicts your thinking. Having a reason implies having a purpose, which indicates an intelligent being for cognitive power with intent. That's what people call a god. So if you don't believe a god exists, you can't believe a reason exists. You must settle for assuming we got here through some natural processes and that's that" (permission to reprint granted).
Basically, she claims that without a religion we can't determine a shared reason for existence, and I like her logic. However, think of what that implies. If we have no innate purpose for life, then individuals choose their own purpose and it leads to chaos. Much like a verse repeated in Judges, "In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit" (Judges 17:6). "King" functions as a metaphor for spiritual leadership, the foundation for having a purpose for life.
With no common authority for morality, who can tell others what is right or wrong? It's all opinion, and opinions are like noses--everyone has one. So, without a god to believe in, each individual determines right and wrong. We've seen that tendency become typical in our country over the last 50 years, as secularization and relativism squeezed out the previous Judeo-Christian ethic as the basis for a common cultural morality. And what has happened with abortion? Living together before marriage? Single parent (usually mom) families? A rising crime and imprisonment rate?
Even the Bible agrees that is logical, if no God exists, if we have no existence after death, "If the dead are not raised, `Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die'" (I Corinthians 15: 32). Pleasing ourselves is all we have. And what pleases me may not please you, it may damage you. But do I care?
Yes. Because the evidence for a Creator, the God of the Bible, overwhelms the alternative belief systems. Because that God cares for me. Because that God gives a purpose for me. And part of that purpose is love and care for and act in the best interests of others.
Have followers of Jesus consistently demonstrated that? Of course not. But the reality of God gives us goal to do so, and most of us do better with that than on our own.
So what does this imply? First, if we follow Jesus, we craft our morals on him, not our desires, because he gives us our purpose. Second, we can gain confidence that logically, faith improves life by providing a purpose.
Very simply, following Jesus means we follow Jesus.
Kick Starting the Application
Have you ever pondered the need to believe in a god to have a logical purpose in life? What do you think of it? Have you crafted a purpose for life based on following Jesus? How extensive is that? How consistently do you intentionally use it for regular decisions? If you don't now believe in God, what do you think of Savant's position?
(By the way, if you haven't yet read Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, I encourage you to give it a shot. It's transformative for followers.)