If you are a Christian, do you think you would continue to follow the religion if you didn't have struggles in life?
Evangelicalism seems to get a lot of followers by the premise of "we know you have been struggling ........Jesus can help".
And that is great but is that the right way?
Is this why people go to church? Because they are struggling? Is this why most people don't go to church, because their life is fine?
Is this true for spirituality?
If life was peachy would anyone care about spirituality?
Would you be on this site??
You are correct; from a purely pragmatic standpoint, why would a person change anything if they are already completely happy with their current life?
People go to church for many different reasons. Some reasons are social ones; to be with like-minded friends, to participate in a support framework, to cultivate relationships. And of course, many people started going to church because they were struggling with a life problem.
Ultimately, I believe a person chooses to go to a church or adopt a religion because they are looking for meaning.
There is a deep, instinctive need in us to meet certain intangible needs; religion, in theory, provides a platform for living life according to well-defined higher principles, a structural framework that provides the security and freedom to live our lives to our highest potential.
I, by a set of wild and ill-thought-out circumstances, ended up in the Deep South, The Bible Belt, in southern Mississippi....(I grew up in Northern Illinois, comfortable in outer Chicago Suburbia...little did I know...) Here, there is a church every three miles. By this, you would guess that everybody is suffering pretty bad here...There is Sunday School at 9 or 10 am. Then Church Services at 10 or 11. Then, you go back to church Sunday night for more...and Wednesday night, too!
There are Christian T-Shirts for sale at my local pharmacy where I get my meds. There are those white signs in front of most of the churches, with little messages that say things like, "Jesus is THE Reason for the Season...all year!"
Please don't get me wrong. I am not trying to say this is wrong. What I am doing is trying to set the stage, so-to-speak, for what I have to say in response to this answer.
Suffering , and why we suffer, is as old a question as Adam and Eve. According to some people, we suffer because we are born sinners, and suffering is our lot because of what Eve did in picking the wrong fruit to eat...Other people say we suffer because we subconsciously attract suffering into our lives...i.e., we think the wrong things, and mystically, this sets up a vibration we send out into the Universe which the Universe answers back by sending us problems and misery. These people say if you change the vibrations you send out, the Universe responds by sending you good stuff instead of suffering...fruit baskets, lucky happenstances and money flow like honey, if only you think right...
I do not think that the answer to this is quite so easy. If suffering was really alleviated by going to church or practicing a religion, then EVERYONE would pray, go to church, and be happy. But as I walked around Wal-Mart tonight, mostly to escape the broiling heat as much as to get cat food, I saw a lot of people who didn't look to me as though they were happy, joyous, and free. Instead, they looked cooked, tired, achy, and impatient. As I stood in line, everyone agreed that because of the heat being so bad this summer, another Katrina is bound to happen...(I think that may be correct, but you can watch Al Gore's DVD and figure out that one for yourself.) So if there are all these churches, why isn't everybody smiling? Obviously, something is either missing at church, or religion is not the answer to life's troubles...or something like that.
Personally, I grew close to God for two very important reasons: He initiated contact with me, and I had a visit from Mary when I was 24.
God and I have a weird relationship...But despite that, it is good to have Him around. I like believing in God. I like praying. I like God-incidences, and they happen a lot! He says, pull into that shoe store, and I do, and the next thing I know, I am deep in conversation with my young salesgirl about the book I am writing, and she is laughing as I describe what I am writing about, and affirming, without knowing it, that I am doing what is right for me. I don't turn to God because I suffer; I turn to God because I think that my soul craves God like the desert craves water.
It is as simple as that. I think we all are "imprinted" with some sort of spiritual needs..well, most of us- I still have not figured out atheists... but I think that I just feel better when I am close to God. I still suffer, but it's nice to know that my Lord knows about it, and is sad for me, and my prayers are in His in-basket, waiting for answers.
I think humanity has a deep need for something spiritual, suffering or not.
Living in the South has made me aware of the difference between going to church and being spiritual. In the end, being spiritual and having a relationship with a Higher Power just works for most people.
Philosophers have been studying suffering for centuries. Why? Why? Why? they ask. I dunno. But when doors seem to close, all the windows fly open. (Maria Von Trapp)
I have suffered greatly since moving to Mississippi. It is not an easy place to live. But I also have grown spiritually, and am stronger for it.
Hope this all makes some sort of sense.
answered 04 Aug '10, 11:17
I believe people may, however, the Christian past is not an easy path! You don't get saved and then have an easy life with everything taken care of effortlessly. It is a constant agreement of being active in your faith. To be active in your faith you can't have an easy life, it is similar to joining God's soldiers. Once you agree to join, you are in the war in active duty to expand and bring the kingdom of God to earth. You have to be a prayer warrior everywhere you see suffering it is your duty to pray for that to be righted, healing for yourself and others in body, mind, spirit and soul. You suddenly see far more problems, worries and suffering in your life and others and this is because you hold the key to changing that. When you have the solution all of a sudden you see the problem very clearly, but you not only take on the solution you take on the responsibility of carrying the light. When you say "I agree to be the abode of God" you also are agreeing to letting God not only live in you but through you.
So it is far easier to live the world's way and just as Nero did "Play your harp as you watch Rome burn" In other words doing nothing but going along with your own and the world's suffering is the easy path.
answered 05 Aug '10, 09:09
Very good question. Personally my most intimate encounters with God was when I was going through very difficult times. My sufferings have drawn me close to God for answers and comfort. There is not much now that can move me. I now have peace, joy, happiness, and unconditional love. I see this life and what its all about in a totally different lite.
I accepted Christ as my personal savior and Lord when I was 12yrs. I am now 45yrs. I stopped attending church 6 years ago when my life seemed to be spiraling downward. The reason is I knew there were more to this life than what I was being taught year after year at church on tv etc.
If I had no struggles would I have come to know the same peace, joy, happiness and unconditional love that I have grown to know through my meditations and prayers and conversations with God. I don't know.
What I do know is depending upon what you were chosen for in this life. Rather you struggle or not you will not be at peace until you realize and begin to for fill your purpose in this life.
This answer is marked "community wiki".
I believe that suffering serves as wake up call to faith, for some. Religion and Spirituality, Religion offers through Faith in something. For Christians it is Faith in Jesus for salvation. For the spiritual person they possess the Faith Of Christ, this is the faith or conciousness that puts you on a journey of the soul. Knowing that you have meaning and purpose. That you are connected to the Universe and not separated. Remembering and experiencing the Universal Laws.
answered 04 Aug '10, 06:33
Surely going to church should be to give thanks for what we have, as well as asking for refief from suffering. Personally I do not go to any church but that does not stop me from giving thanks many times a day.
answered 05 Aug '10, 07:24
Great answer Jai, thats all i can say. Graham
answered 02 Sep '10, 13:53
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