The Argument: I don’t need a bunch of rules telling me how to live my life or how to be a good person. I’m doing fine and I’m a good person already.
That’s great, so was I. However I still had a huge void in my life and was full of bitterness and frustration, and I still had no purpose.
Being a ‘good’ person doesn’t get you anywhere, either by religious standards or otherwise. In fact if you want to succeed according to society’s standards you really have to be more of a ‘bad’ person. Significant wealth, power and fame, everything we all need to be content and happy according to society, often can only be gained through lies, cheating, backstabbing and sacrificing relationships. Not your typical ‘good’ person stuff.
So if that’s not a lifestyle for you, then it sounds to me like you’re already interested in living the way God desires you to live.
Here is an excellent video from Ravi Zacharias regarding the question: “Why should someone follow Jesus if they already live a ‘good’ life?”
Contrary to popular belief, the Bible doesn’t give out a list of rules and regulations people must follow to be ‘good’ and get into heaven. I’m not exactly sure where this theology came from or how it got to become so widely accepted. If you actually read the book, and look at how Jesus and the apostles instruct Christians to live, you should see a pretty drastic difference between what you thought of Christianity and what it actually means to follow God. In fact the Bible explicitly states that no actions or deeds anyone can perform, no amount of rule-following or ‘good behavior’, etc. will result in being saved (Ephesians 2:8-9, Titus 3:4-5).
The basic principle behind the whole ‘following God’ thing is this: love God firstly, and secondly love your neighbor as yourself (Matthew 22:36-42, Mark 12:28-34). Conveniently the Bible also states what real love is (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) which is a bit different from society’s accepted definition which is more of a, ‘be nice to those who are nice to you’ type thing.
There is no, you must go to church on Sunday, give xx% of your income to the church, sacrifice animals a few times a week to atone for your sins, etc. There is no, you cannot have fun, you cannot watch certain movies, you cannot have an alcoholic drink, you cannot eat certain foods. None of that is what Jesus and his disciples taught (at least not from anything I can see in the Bible).
Most people think that all religions are just meaningless rules and laws. But I beg to differ, at least about Christianity anyway…
Jesus teaches how to live a truly free life, not one restricted by rules. I’ve never felt more freedom than I do since I decided to follow God. I choose to go to church because I find it encouraging and I want to learn, not because I am obligated or need to follow the ‘rules’. I choose to give money to charity and the church and support missions and aid organizations because I have been blessed with much more than I need in order to survive and I want to help others, not because I have to follow some regulation and not because I want to feel good about myself or try to convince myself that I’m a ‘good’ person.
There are many movies I would no longer watch because I don’t find them entertaining or beneficial. In fact movies with excessive violence, cursing, crudeness and/or sex I now find I dislike due to the way they make me feel, whereas before I wouldn’t have cared or even noticed really. Is it because God has a ‘rule’ that I must dislike that stuff? No, it’s because my mentality and emotions and sensitivity to things which may negatively affect me psychologically and spiritually have changed.
Being a Christian is not about following a set of rules from an old book. It’s about developing a relationship with a loving God and extending that love to other’s around you. It’s about hope and a future.
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