Thursday, March 5, 2009

Not an Opiate, but...

Today I found so much interesting material to blog about that I just had to make a second post! A recent study shows that those who are religious may have "a more optimal level of anxiety." In particular, they are not as likely to beat themselves up over mistakes.

Personally, I tend to be very hard on myself for making mistakes, and it's almost surprising for me to read this study. Maybe my personality is such that without religion, I'd be going completely off the deep end!

It also may surprise others, who believe that religion actually creates guilt. In reality, however, everyone already knows they aren't perfect, even by their own standards. To look at all the world religions throughout history, it would appear that a nearly universal human desire is atonement, the ability to blot out guilt.

Christianity, perhaps more than other modern religions, puts a heavy emphasis on atonement, and teaches that the source of atonement is absolutely reliable. I wonder what would happen if this study were repeated with distinctions made between religions. Do Christians tend to forgive themselves more easily, when the Christian teaching on atonement is internalized?

The authors of the study made it clear that "Whether God is real or not is irrelevant to this study." But if you turn it around, the results of this study do seem relevant to whether God is real or not. Might this not constitute empirical evidence of spiritual transformation? Maybe it's kind of a lame bit of evidence, but it's something.

I really do think things like this constitute evidence for God's existence. It's not as simple as saying that if believing in X makes your life better, then X must exist. But God is supposed to be the foundation of all reality, not simply another object that exists in this universe. Just as in mathematics we start with foundational axioms chosen kind of on the basis of their logical results, so it also seems logical to check the existence of God against its logical conclusions.

If God exists, then yes, you do matter, and you are loved, more than you can realize in the short run--even when things go wrong. That's a pretty good way to approach life.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love to hear feedback!