As we begin 2015, I wanted to share an insightful secular perspective on faith from Ara Norenzayan, a social psychologist from the University of British Columbia.
In a moment, everything can change: a drunk driver can kill a loved one; a tornado can destroy a town; a doctor can issue a terminal diagnosis. As climate change wreaks havoc on the world in coming years and natural resources potentially grow scarce, then suffering and hardship could fuel religiosity. “People want to escape suffering, but if they can’t get out of it, they want to find meaning,” Norenzayan says. “For some reason, religion seems to give meaning to suffering – much more so than any secular ideal or belief that we know of.”
The “for some reason” part is not a mystery to a believer in Jesus. The reality is that we each have a hole in our hearts that only finds satisfaction in acknowledging, following, and worshiping our Creator God. Suffering, perhaps more than anything else, points us toward an answer that can alleviate our troubles, filling that hole for all eternity.
I look forward to our journey together this year as we help countless (God knows the number) Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists discover the blessing of finding the One True God who sent Jesus to satisfy our deepest longings by being our advocate, friend, and the ultimate sacrifice that makes eternal life possible.