• Dara Kountz

Belief Versus It Feels Right

I like to read advice columns and I keep coming across an attitude that bothers me: The letter writer has joined a religion because it feels right.

Hopefully, you can see why that statement annoys me. If not, let me explain.

Religion has one purpose: to guide you in preparing your soul for the afterlife.

Christianity is particularly clear about this. How we live our life on Earth affects what happens at death. The Bible states again and again that there will he a judgement after death and the obedient will have everlasting life due to their sins being covered by Christ’s blood while those who were not obedient will face God’s judgement coated in their sins.

I realize some people are not going to agree with the previous passage and I’m not going to start that discussion here because that’s not what I want to talk about.

To follow God is to believe that He is the Creator and that the Bible is His Word.

Meanwhile, joining a religion or congregation because it feels right has nothing to do with belief. It is reducing religion down to a gym membership. I prefer to work on my body here cause there’s more machines while the other place has too much yoga. That works for gyms because the end result is the same-improvement of the body. We all know different bodies work differently and what will help one person tone up or lose weight doesn’t do much for the others.

Religion is not like that. The intent is the same-to prepare our souls for what comes next. However, although our bodies work differently, our souls work the same. Each religion states how the world came into being, who is responsible and what their plan is. To actually achieve the plan requires obedience to the plan and part of that obedience is an actual, down to the bones, belief that the religion’s holy texts are correct.

Why does it have to be down to the bones belief? Because, bad things happen to good people and, during those bad times, if you don’t have belief, true belief, then there is no comfort from religion. It will not ‘feel right’ and you will leave it as quickly as a gym that’s too cold for your taste.

Without true belief in God, you will not get the benefits. You will not know the peace that can come from crying out to Him in pain and confusion and worry and begging for His help and receiving the calming knowledge that this pain, whatever it is, is only for a little while, the knowledge that God is in control and something good will come out of this pain. That good may be hard to see and it may be nothing more than a deeper strength and faith but those are valuable.

Joining a religion because it feels right will bring you the ability to socialize with good people and I can understand that desire. However, without belief, how long until you feel contempt for those who truly believe? How long until you smile in condescension as a believer tells about what God did for them? How long before you start feeling like a fake singing about a judgement that you don’t believe is coming?

Because here’s the thing, when you believe, it’s not about finding a congregation that feels right, it’s about finding a congregation that IS right. And once you find the congregation that is right, it will feel right even when you go to other congregations.

When I travel, I attend services at the other congregations and I enjoy it. I always feel at home because I am with fellow believers. My husband and his family find it a bit odd because I don’t show my usual shyness when going to an unfamiliar congregation’s services. And all I can do is try to explain: I’m not nervous because these aren’t strangers. They are family members who I haven’t met yet but who I know love me because of one reason – we are all believers and therefore, at our core, we’re all family and familiar. I know their core because our belief is our core. Our belief affects us and molds us.

So, yes, it bugs me when people treat religion like a gym membership because they’re missing what’s real, they’re making light of something deep and meaningful. They’re looking for costume jewelry and ignoring the value of a priceless gem right under their nose.

I fear for our society’s disconnect from believing in anything greater than this earthly life every time I read ‘I’ve recently become *fill in the blank* because it feels right’. I pray to see more ‘I recently became *fill in blank* because I’ve researched their beliefs and texts and find them to be logical and true’.

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