Wednesday, September 23, 2015

If it ain't true, it oughta' be!

Social science has finally found the key to happiness!  A recent research study has found that the most accurate indicator for happiness in life is membership in a faith community and adherence to the values taught by the faith.  A relationship with a loving Supreme Being gives meaning and purpose to life, hope and courage in times of stress or loss, and serenity as the end of life approaches.  Some of us have known that for many years out of our own personal experience!

I was born into the lap of the church – and there I grew up!  I was loved and cared for, encouraged, enjoyed community, and responded to challenges.  I was given freedom to ask questions and pursue answers that were different than those others had discovered.

I remember the days when church benches were full on Sunday mornings, and activities continued through the week.  The spiritual realities of life were respected and honored.  Faith was not just a personal pilgrimage but a journey with treasured companions.

Now, in the seventh decade of my life, things have changed.  Many church benches are empty and I see more and more of my society rushing from task to task.  Folks run from one entertainment to another without time or interest in the movement of the Holy Spirit.

An atmosphere of cynicism and doubt has poisoned many searches for truth.  “You can’t prove God exists,” they challenge.  “I can’t see, hear, smell or touch God so why should I believe in God?”  “I’m a self-made person.  What do I need God for?”  “ I just can’t believe any more that all those old stories about Jesus are true.  I mean all that Bible stuff about kindness and forgiveness, and meekness and humility just isn’t realistic in today’s world.”

That may indeed be an accurate description of our 21st century society.  And it is quite possible that some of the tenets of faith people have been taught are not true.  But our society craves happiness, hope, meaning, compassion, community, and peace.  These are the gifts of a loving  Creative Power above and beyond us and the tangible things of our lives.  Now even social science research agrees: there is a positive connection between happiness and faith in God!

So, to all the cynics, nay-sayers, atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and doubters, if  God – and God’s incarnation in Jesus – ain’t true, it oughta’ be!