Survival of the Fittest

Last night we watched a documentary on Islam. I was expecting the experts interviewed to give historical facts but to belittle religion in general. You know…something like, “Muhammad’s visions came as a result of his philosophical nature and his desire to infuse this life with meaning. His wanting one god instead of many is just more evidence that he needed to oversimplify the world into manageable proportions.” It seems that non-religious people are often interested in rendering belief as child’s play. I don’t understand this. They may think they are positing their maturity by depending on their senses, but isn’t this just another way to avoid the unknowns and make themselves comfortable? That said, should we as Christians, people of faith, accept their claims of our comfort seeking with only a “look who’s talking” response?

This morning, I was perusing some old notes from a class on the Bible as literature. In the section on Ecclesiastes, I found this sentiment: “Sometimes we as Christians follow Christianity in order to find meaning. This too is vanity. Our world is devoid of meaning so that we will long for something better, out of this world.” After I read this, I couldn’t help but do a double take. Then religious people really do knit security blankets for themselves, not in the way that the scholars might claim but real nonetheless. When we adhere to a doctrine simply because we want an easier earthly life or a guaranteed spot in a future one, we are pursuing God in order to make meaning where there is none. Solomon does not end his book with “Fear God and keep His commandments…” because he believes that obedience will bring you happiness. He ends in this way because he knows that ultimate happiness comes from serving God just because He is, and ultimate meaning will only come through God’s final solution: the end of sin and an eternity in heaven. Our service to God shows the world that we trust in God’s personhood and His ultimate solution. How often am I a poster child for secularism, making decisions based on my own gratification and survival?

Surprisingly, the scholars in this mini-series haven’t yet tried to relegate religion to a survival construct. We’ll see. There are more segments to watch. But I guess I should be watching myself too. Sometimes my life is all too Darwinian.