Isn’t Religion Just a Psychological Pick-Me-Up?

I hear people talking ALL the time that religion was simply created to give humans an extra little “push” to get them through a tough day. In specifics, let’s just talk about Christianity. My first question to a skeptic would be this statement made by Charles Colson.

“If we were making up our own god, would we create one with such harsh demands for justice, righteousness, service and self-sacrifice as we find in the biblical texts?”

Charles Colson

What’s The Point?

First off, what is the point of being a Christian? If you truly are seeking the thing that will satisfy you with earthly riches, power, and pleasure, then I would go seek something else. The God I worship calls for a putting away of my old self. Putting down the things I may want because they cause destruction in the long term, as was seen through the first humans, Adam and Eve.

It’s true, following God with your whole heart will give you blessing beyond belief. But it isn’t necessarily money. It’s hope. It’s grace. It’s forgiveness. It’s joy. They are more transcendent feelings. You know that you are safe from the world, no matter what. It’s the greatest feeling in the world. So yes, there is joy in it. Immense joy, but not the kind of joy you would get for yourself.

What about other beliefs?

If I was a person seeking happiness, I wouldn’t turn towards Christianity. It demands too much for me to give up simply for enjoyment. I don’t see how it can be a pick-me-up when it demands that you turn away from the regular human habits. No, there are much easier beliefs that allow for pleasure. What about atheism?

Oh well now that’s kind of tricky. Instead of Christianity being thought of as simply a psychological belief, what about atheism? Atheism allows one to reject all outside assumptions of influence on the world. It takes away an objective moral standard. This worldview allows you to do practically whatever you want to do, as long as it benefits your life and your offspring. That seems like something that would be more pleasurable to follow if I was looking for a way to drown my sorrows.

But the problem is…

The problem with this is that there is still no true joy. There may be seasons of happiness, but never a constant one. What we see is a longing for something bigger. Something that holds it all. While this may still be a psychological benefit, it doesn’t fit into an atheistic theory. If atheism were true, then why would people seek a God.

Seeking God would limit their actions if they choose to follow it. This does not fit in with a world where every decision should be based on being the fittest. The fact is, we all seek something. But the only thing worth seeking is an eternal God, everything else has no value.

2 comments

  1. Great points and I agree. Wholehearted Christianity, as you pointed out here, involves a denial of self and utter reliance on Christ. To people who are just seeking a quick psychological ‘lift’, I would think that kind of sacrifice would not be appealing.

  2. Great article Ben! True happiness and joy can only come from a life of pursuing Christ. Nothing else compares. No material possesion, amount of money or job status can bring the same lasting joy!

Comments are closed.