Why Should I Follow a Religious Faith?
Everyone believes in something. Atheists believe there is no God, even one that might be hiding in the dark corners of the vast cosmos. Other people don't care about the question, believing it doesn't matter one way or another. So we might say that everyone has a religious faith. But most people believe in God. Why? Because, as the Holy Scriptures say,
From the moment the world was made, the unseen essence of Allah—his eternal power and divinity—have been obvious when observing the creation. As a result, people have no excuse. (Romans 1:20)
Belief in God makes sense, in large part because of the evidence all around us. Take, for example, the beauty of a flower or the incredible complexity of life. But what kind of faith should we follow? After all, there are many religions. The answer to that question is not simple, and it deserves our utmost attention.
People often believe for the wrong reasons, such as:
To fit in with society. But strong people want truth more than they merely want to fit in.
Just in case. But Allah wants sincere believers, not people looking for an insurance policy.
Pressure. But faith is too important to simply believe what others tell us.
To feel better about themselves. That may be a result of faith, but it's too small to be the foundation.
Because their parents do. But what if our parents also believed for the same reason?
To find a good spouse. Though important, marriage is small compared to eternity.
If we believe for one of those reasons—even if what we believe is right—we're people of faith in name only, not in heart. There's a word for that: hypocrisy. It comes from the ancient Greek language and means to act in a play. In real life, it's not enough to be a good actor. God Most High isn't fooled. We need to be sincere. To do that, we must scrutinize what we've heard and search for what is right. As the Scriptures say,
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NIV)
The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. “For in him we live and move and have our being.” (Acts 17:24-28, NIV)
Sincere seekers will examine both the words and the life of the world's religious leaders. Among them, Isa is universally recognized as one of the greatest. When you consider him, you'll see that he doesn't give us the freedom to hold wildly different opinions about him. He forces us to consider him either a liar (but that's unlikely, given that he died for his beliefs), a madman (that's also unlikely, given that he lived such a consistently good life), or he is who he claimed to be—our Lord, the Son of the Most High, the Messiah, and the savior of all who go to him.
Choosing a faith can cost us a great deal, even our earthly life. Many of Isa's disciples have been persecuted and a considerable number killed because of their faith. But compared to eternity, this life—precious though it may be—is small.