Why are some people so religious

Belief - more than the opposite of knowledge

Are religion and science really opposites?

“I believe,” says a father when he comes to Jesus with his sick son. Then he adds: “Help my disbelief!” The father is worried. So far nobody has been able to help the son. He asks Jesus to heal the Son "if you can". Jesus hears the skepticism and replies: "All things are possible to him who believes." That touches a chord in the Father. He answers this contradiction in five words, which is so human that many can probably understand it.

Make sure that belief goes nowhere

The story is in the Bible, in the Gospel of Mark, chapter 9. How often do people want to believe, but their experience has made them skeptical and nourishes the concern that faith will lead nowhere. Faith does not come alone - doubt accompanies it. Even so, this father keeps his hope. It remains so strong that he goes to Jesus with his timid faith.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews at the end of the Bible offers an ideal idea: "Faith is" a certain confidence in what one hopes and a non-doubt in what one does not see. "That means: He who withstands doubt and a quantum Keeping hope, those who are willing to believe God can have more experiences with him. Faith thus becomes a relationship with God. Trust in him can grow, it can endure doubts and unanswered questions.

More than the opposite of knowledge

Belief in God is more than the opposite of knowledge. This opposition is outdated. It grew strong in the 19th century, when the natural sciences flourished. The researcher Charles Darwin offered explanations of how life on earth came about over long periods of time through evolution, a steady development. This seemed to contradict the accounts of creation in the Bible. It describes how God creates the earth in seven days, like an artist a work of art. Some believed that just like the evolution of living beings, the development from religion to science also progressed: At the beginning there was a lot of faith and little knowledge, but then knowledge would continue to grow and challenge religion for the field.

The theologian and philosopher Friedrich Schleiermacher, on the other hand, held that piety had its own sphere, that it was the “feeling of absolute dependence”. Before we humans achieve anything, we are given life and blessings, says faith. In the meantime it has become clearer that the Bible does not want to bring us closer to natural history, but rather tells about God and his actions. And many natural scientists see that their research results apply to their own area and not to faith at the same time.

"Faith gives form to a life: I am certain that I come from God and go to God, that God accompanies and sustains my life."

Michael DienerMember of the EKD Council

"Faith gives form to a life: I am certain that I come from God and go to God."

Michael DienerPreseses of the regional church communities in the Protestant Church and member of the EKD Council

We humans are dependent, because we do not give our life and its meaning to ourselves. "I believe that every life needs a form, an orientation," says Michael Diener. "Faith gives form to a life: I am certain that I come from God and go to God, that God accompanies and sustains my life." Michael Diener is a pastor and the president of the regional church communities in the evangelical church, and he belongs to the council the EKD.

"God also speaks to people who are not religiously musical"

Do all people find access to God? Some say of themselves that they are “religiously unmusical”, as if one were receptive to religion or not. As far as faith is concerned, Germany is still divided. In the old federal states two thirds of the people belong to one church, in the new federal states only one third. “I see,” says Michael Diener, “that some people have a difficult path to faith. But in the end, belief is a relationship, not factual knowledge. I notice that God also addresses people who are not religiously musical - through special stations in their lives, perhaps illness and death experiences. "

And how do you find faith? “A lot can help,” says Michael Diener, “upbringing and role models for example.” But we humans do not come to believe by ourselves, he is convinced: “Faith also comes to us. God is looking for us humans, he comes up to us, he gives us faith. Therefore, both apply: We can influence our path to faith, but we cannot control it. "

The Holy Spirit likes to be helped

So you can't make believe. The Bible says that one can believe, thanks to the Holy Spirit. But he likes to be helped. Anyone who notices that faith is becoming important to them can, for example, attend a church service. Every Sunday all participants speak the creed together, as Christians have done for centuries and in many parts of the world. You can just let yourself be drawn into this community. Or read the Bible, because it is the book of faith in God. Many parishes offer basic faith courses lasting a few weeks. Anyone who opens up to faith will almost certainly get a chance to encounter God, a hope that embraces a life, and Christians whose community supports one, especially when their own faith is gnawed by doubt.

wt