This is, sort of, an opposing view for this blog’s usual atheistic outlook.
This alternate take on religion was taken from an exchange I had with a friend about God and religion. The context is too elaborate to get into here, but it had to do with the social and psychological aspects of faith and religion.
Their bottom line was, essentially, don’t over intellectualize religious faith, as it is ultimately a natural and organic reflex on the part of human experience. Take the time pay the almighty his due respects, even if you don’t like it, and then get on with your week.
EDIT: I didn't do a great job of presenting their case below. Maybe it's just my personal bias in regards to the "supernatural". I went back and underlined the key aspect of their argument below. It was more involved than that (again, I thumb-nailed it) but you get the point.
God Is Like Grandpa & Grandma...
Ideally, you talk to them a few times a week on the phone.
Ideally, you visit them at least once a week.
When the SHTF you immediately turn to them for help and a shoulder to cry on.
No matter how ancient they seem, you’re occasionally surprised at how tough, agile and competent they are when it’s most needed.
You recall their wisdom throughout your life....even though you thought you had ignored them at the time.
You condescend to their knowledge when things are great, but cry out for their council when ill winds blow.
As a child, you looked upon them like a mighty king and queen, before whom even dad and mom seemed to bow in reverence and awe. That impression returns tenfold the older you get and the more life throws at you.
You can extract further from there. And there are obvious implications about cultural preservation, traditions and societal harmony. That was also a natural part of our discussion.
It’s interesting just as a reminder to pay your dues to the elderly as you will, if you are lucky enough, be one of them, sooner than you would like to imagine.
And there is, I’ll admit, a certain logic in the “going through the motions” approach to religion or, more specifically, “God”. After all, this is how you achieve a healthy personal lifestyle (diet, exercise, hygiene, work ethic, being dependable to friends and family, etc). There are numerous temporal and material rewards in life by, daily, “going through the motions”.
In that context, freethinkers and trend-buckers tend to end up homeless, in prison or facing serious illness without medical insurance or a family infrastructure for support.
This is the opposite of the whole “personal Jesus” idea, in which you have a “personal relationship” with God and spend countless hours in exploratory prayer and going through the bible like a lawyer over a contract.
Instead, give the King his due honor and rights in the recognition that you are one of numerous peasants in the kingdom and he is the King.
In taking a knee to God regularly you are more quickly going to come to understand that you aren't God. Humility and the true understanding of just how fragile and temporary you are, go a long way in having a more peaceful and harmonious life,both for yourself and those around you.
You can grumble about him or resent his rule, but once a week, take a knee, pledge your loyalty and declare, “long live the king”. Then get on with your day-to-day activities. Simple as that. You may bite your tongue while you’re doing it, but the act itself is more manifesting of the true spirit and purpose of faith in God than 10,000 bible studies.
Actions speak louder than words.
Love your family. Pay your taxes. Honor the King. Call Grandma. Brush your teeth. Just simple, basic, functioning. The rewards are strictly material, physically and psychologically, in the it's better to give than to get approach to interaction with the world. That there might be an added post-life reward would be akin to an unexpected Christmas bonus.
I’m not saying I buy it, but it is, to me, a far better presentation of the functional idea and purpose of faith in a god than most apologists give. And that includes Lewis and Chesterton.