A Catholic Monthly Magazine

What drives your faith?

Bill Lambert

Bill Lambert

From ancient times to the present day most religious worship throughout the world is based on fear… terror of a wrathful deity who demands sacrifice to appease him.

In the Old Testament times the widespread worship of Baal required that parents sacrifice their first-born child to gain his favour. The Old Testament turned around this religion of fear. It is likely that the somewhat strange story of Abraham intending to sacrifice Isaac was intended to contradict the worship of Baal, and outlaw human sacrifice forever.angrygod-dannyhellman-480

Just at the moment that Isaac was for the ‘chop’, God revealed himself as a God of love, not fear. It was this difference which singled out the Jewish faith from any other religion. But even the Jews didn’t quite get the message. They still expressed their worship largely by sacrifices and a strict obedience of hundreds of detailed laws and observances.

What especially characterizes our Christian faith is the message of Jesus that God loves us infinitely because we are his handiwork - regardless of our faults.  Loves us so much that he would die for each one of us. All he asks is that we respond to that love.  And love our neighbour in turn.  Our response must be motivated by faith and trust. “Perfect love casts out fear” says St John. (1 John 4.18)

So the question arises for each one of us.  Do I live my faith in craven fear of God?  Am I driven solely by a sense of duty?  Or am I motivated primarily by a response to God’s love for us?

Some of the protestant churches – especially from the Calvinist tradition – put the servile fear of God first. I’m afraid many Catholics do the same thing, driven by scruples, worshipping a God of self mortification.

Like the pagan religions they believe that everything in this life comes at a price.  The difference with Christianity is that God’s love comes for free.  The only price we must pay is to have a total faith and trust in that love.

For me the message of Christ is primarily to thank God for all his blessings, and to respond by sharing them with everybody around me.

So what about you? bible-christian-psychics

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