Christian Philosophy Lite: Enlightenment gives reasons to believe in God
By Raymond Smith
Feb. 10, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 9, 2012 at 8:10 p.m.
Throughout the ages man has felt dwarfed by the universe and sensed that there must be a divine creator.
Moreover, since he was at the mercy of the elements, there must be some controlling force. Having some sense of good and evil, he lived in fear of an offended god.
Often, there were multiple gods - gods of the weather, the hunt, fire, agriculture, war, love, health, etc. Since these gods were the ideas of men, they often attributed human frailties to them, such as jealousy, vindictiveness, lasciviousness, war-likeness and so on. And with so many gods, he really felt boxed in.
Some were goddesses, like Isis, the wife of Osiris, god of Egypt. In Babylon and Assyria, Ishtar was a goddess, as was Athena of the Greeks and Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty
Canaan, in the time of the prophets, had Baal. The Ammonmites had Molech, the Moabites, Chemosh. I could go on and on. All over the world, every country had its gods. The Aztecs had Huitzilopochtli. Today, religionists agree that the true god must be monotheistic.
The purpose here, however, is to tell how almost all of these gods have passed into the dustbin of history since man has become more enlightened.
Enlightenment has given us many more reasons to believe in Jehovah God, while that same enlightenment has shown the fallibility of the gods of nature.
In fact, today, more and more scientists have come to trust in the God of the Christians. These discoveries reveal a lot more to us about the real God. The knowledge of him has done away with superstitions.
We are still dependent upon him, but we see much more clearly how he is operating in the world. His reign is not vengeful, capricious or warlike, but his is a reign of love.
We consider now why he created the world and populated it, so we can understand his love and concern for that creation.
Unlike all the false gods, he has given us his holy word, the Bible. In it is the history of the world's beginning, instructions on how we should live and promises of things to come, including a glorious afterlife when we have finished our course here on Earth.
God is not one of fear and dread, but of joy, peace and thanksgiving. As we think deeply about the beauty and utility of the world about us, we are brought to, as the poet said, a feeling of "wonder, love and praise."
The gospel of Christ has such an appeal to these people that thousands are accepting this new way of life all over the globe. No other faith can attract people like this faith of love and forgiveness. It is our duty to promote it.
Raymond F. Smith is president of Strong Families of Victoria.