Saturday, January 31, 2009

FAITH, BELIEVERS & NONBELIEVERS


clay mono type 10x10"

Is it necessary to believe in God in order to be righteous, moral, honest, loving, compassionate? Does the belief in a God provide one with a set of values that connote be otherwise obtained”. If so, whose God should one believe in?

For the sake of this narrative I am defining a believer as someone who believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ and accepts the bible as the word of God. A non believer is one who accepts neither of those propositions. Agnostics straddle the fence and may or may not accept part of those beliefs. (There are also the “Christian agnostics”, but that is another matter for another time.)

Beyond the obvious difference in a belief in a higher power, how does a nonbeliever differ from a believer? Are there apparent character traits or behaviors that makes a nonbeliever easily identifiable as such? Do nonbelievers live and act differently? Just how do you tell them apart?

One could point to church attendance and participation, but for years I attended church and was not a believer. I’m willing to bet that there are many others who have, or are, sharing that experience.

What about personal values, a term that has been so misused and thrown about that it has become almost meaningless; do they offer a clue to a persons belief system? Consider the following:

love as demonstrated by how others are treated,
compassion and forgiveness,
moral and ethical behavior in private, public, and business life,
tolerance and respect for people and ideas that differ from our own;,
respect for ALL life, including criminals and "collateral" civilians,
honesty and integrity,
respect and commitment to family and friends,
acceptance of responsibility to self and to family, friends, and work,
willingness to share and help those in need,
respect for the planet.
love and service to country.

Is it possible to know someone demonstrating none, some, or all of the above values and be able to predict their “believability level”? I think not, and that is what infuriates me when I hear or read that without religion we have no moral compass, no sense of responsible, ethical behavior. There are people who believe that a nonbeliever is not fit to serve this country. Believers do not have a monopoly on moral and ethical values. Behavior defines us far more than our beliefs do.,

4 comments:

Nikki D. May said...

Where do Jewish people fall in your believer/non-believer definition?

dog face girls said...

Thanks Bill.

Peanut said...

I agree with you.

jeannette stgermain said...

It's such a complex issue. In both camps are people I like to be around, and people i rather avoid.
On the other hand, it's not our good behavior, or even good beliefs that save us in the end.