by John Shore
People hate doubt and uncertainty in their lives. What we want is security. We need to know things are all right, not hope or wonder if they are.
And the more important something is to us, the more surety we need to have about it.
And what do most people in the world count as among those things about which they need the most certainty? That’s easy: Themselves.
In order to feel as secure as possible about themselves, people need to have all the mental and emotional certainty they can possibly muster about these three things:
1. The Big Picture. God, no God, which God, etc. Everybody keeps and maintains within them a Big Picture paradigm they’re sure is true.
2. Their relationships with others. We are nothing if not intensely social, one way or another.
3. What’s going to happen to them when they die.
hose are life’s constant Big Three. They boil down to: What was going on before I got here (the God question), what is happening while I’m here (the people question), and what will happen to me when I’m no longer here at all?
Past, present, and future, baby. No one goes through life without structuring their relationship to those three things.
And what single thing supplies complete answers to all three of those concerns? Religion. A person who believes in a religion automatically has comprehensive answers to virtually all three of the biggest areas of their concerns.
Which is why 95% of people on the planet cleave to one religion or another. (The very definite belief system of atheism is in effect also a religion—but for now we’ll let that go.) Religion comforts people, in every big and important way they need comforting.
What do we Christians say? That we’re saved! And that’s exactly what we mean: that we’ve been saved from fear, that Jesus was God who came to earth for the singular purpose of making sure we got that we don’t have to live with fear and doubt about who God is, how we’re supposed to live, and what will happen to us after we die.