We live in a world where God, faith and spirituality are taboo; where religious books are being burned and desecrated; where religious people are often mocked as naïve, outdated, brainwashed or incapable of thinking for themselves; where believing in God gets you fired, censored or cancelled in academia. I often joke with my students that I am God’s lawyer – I have had to defend God’s existence, and the right of human beings to believe in Him, for much of my life. But there are very important benefits to believing in God, and I think the whole world would do well to “wake up and smell the coffee” in this regard. Let me tell you a few:
1) The concept of God’s existence requires you to submit to the idea that you are not God. That there is something far superior and supreme who you are answerable to. This breeds both humility and accountability in humans. It means humans don’t get to do whatever they want to whomever they want. The concept that “We are all equal in the eyes of God” leaves no room for bullying, shaming, discrimination, abuse, cancel culture, theft, murder etc.
2) That leads me to the next point: Without God, there is no absolute ethical or moral standard for all human beings. Everything becomes subjective to human thought, and we know where that leads.
3) God’s existence as creator of the earth and the concept of intelligent design is empowering. It means that you were put here for a reason. You are not a random fluke, you belong on this earth and you have a mission to do that no one else can accomplish. You are not redundant or superfluous.
4) God has your back. There is always someone watching over you. Taking care of you. Loving you. What can be more comforting for us mortal humans? A famous, secular Israeli singer once said that he thinks believing in God is like taking drugs – it makes you feel warm and fuzzy temporarily but it has no substance. In his view, believing in God is escapism. He is right and he is wrong. Belief in God does give you a warm and fuzzy feeling, but not because you are escaping but because you are embracing; embracing the concept that you are worthy of God’s love, that He believes in you.
5) Belief in God forces you to let go of the illusionary belief that you are in complete control of your life. That is liberating. It means that God is in control, and that everything happens for a reason. Yes, we have complete control over ourselves and the choices we make, but we have very little to no control over the rest of the world or what happens to us in it. We can try and influence our situation and our lives for better outcomes, but total control over what happens to us is a whole ‘nother story. We cannot control natural disasters, cancer, car accidents, pandemics, terror attacks etc. As Dr. Leo Buscaglia put it: “There are two big forces at work, external and internal. We have very little control over external forces such as tornadoes, earthquakes, floods, disasters, illness, and pain. What really matters is the internal force. How do I respond to those disasters? Over that, I have complete control.”
6) The Bible tells us that human beings are created in the image of God. What a beautiful thought. It means that we are Godly, spiritual, holy and pure at our core. We have the ability to transcend the mundane, the base and lowlier elements of our existence. We can always reach greater heights.
Of course, I am painfully aware that you can be the best lawyer on earth, and be on the right side of the law, and still lose the case. People will believe what they want to believe, and no one can control or force anyone into believing in God. But that won’t stop me from trying to win the case! I think that God is good for the world, and I hope to remain God’s lawyer until God wins.