By Dan Blair, a marriage counselor and family counselor.
While various human beliefs and interpretations of Christianity have played a part in creating havoc in personal and political realms, there are benefits to believing in a loving and personal God. Belief in God has persisted in spite of all the failings of followers. Benefits of faith in God are themselves topics of research. Each is also based on one’s faith (which is often based on what one wants to believe). Everyone has faith; the object of one’s faith differs.
Belief in God affects your view of suffering. Some believe that because of God or other reasons suffering has value or is redeemable. Some think there is too much suffering and that lessens the likelihood of God. Either way, benefits of faith remain:
- Gratitude. A renewing of reasons to feel thankful.
- Ongoing social support.
- Random acts of kindness and organized movements to relieve suffering.
- Optimism where good comes from bad.
- Strategies for coping; making meaning out of difficulty.
- Full forgiveness and the freedom it gives.
- Stress management.
- A reduction in overthinking and social comparison.
- Lasting accomplishments.
- Great retirement plan.
We all worship something or someone. The faith of Christianity is also based on intelligent design of the universe and life itself, historical manuscript evidence, archeological finds, accurate prophecy, and the unlikely probability that the Bible written over thousands of years could maintain its integrity and unity. Christians worship a God who is more than a personal crutch; He is a stretcher that carries you. “I have swept away your sins like a cloud. I have scattered your offenses like the morning mist. Oh, return to me, for I have paid the price to set you free” (Isaiah 44:22).
The belief is based on the historical Jesus, rejected and crucified on the most recognized symbol in the world, the cross. After his death his followers were swept away and scattered. How did Jesus in relatively short time transform fearful followers to men and women going to their deaths for their beliefs, to transforming a view of humanity of persons and forgiveness, and inspiring all of the institutions, music and art that have roots in Christianity? One cannot reference the calendar or the year without referring to the life of Jesus. For most though, people remain unconvinced until they see God working in their own lives, through regular prayer, Bible reading, and church attendance.
For more information on the reliability of the Bible see this short article.