(Ninth in a Series on Fighting Depression)
I’m not knocking atheists. Some of the smartest people I know are atheists. A lot of them have high sensitivity and empathy too. It’s just that believing there’s no creator, no one who cares about the universe, no destiny, no afterlife – yikes. No amount of prosac could cheer me up with that worldview.
Agnosticism isn’t much better. There may or may not be a God, is a position with a little more humility; it doesn’t claim omniscience. But still, depressing. Not knowing if there is or isn’t a creator who cares, destiny, afterlife – that’s a quagmire.
Religions – those theologies and behavior codes that set us up for divine approval – those are the most depressing of all, because we can’t measure up. If getting to obedience or holiness or enlightenment is up to me, I’ll fail. I can’t even focus long enough to get the clothes into the dryer, let alone follow long paths or hold up heavy pillars or keep crushing commandments.
So what’s a good world view for depressive types?
I’ve taken a long time to think about this. Here’s what I’ve found to be the most cheerful and logical world view:
- Good is better than bad. We just have this wiring, even when it doesn’t make sense for the survival of the species. Kindness is better than evil, compassion is better than brutality, love is better than apathy. So if that’s how humans are wired, it follows that something or someone good created us. There has to be goodness and love at the heart of the universe.
- Personality is a real thing. No human is a replica of any other human. Even my identical twins have such different spirits that I could tell one baby from another with the lights off. So it follows that our creator is some kind of person. We’re created and sustained by a good person with loving intentions.
- Something has gone wrong. Duh, no need for elaboration there.
- If there is a loving creator, that person would want to rescue us from evil and suffering.
- If a good God wanted to rescue us, there would be a reliable record of some kind of Messiah showing up in a way everyone could understand. That being would have to demonstrate divine love and power, and do nothing wrong. Yeah, you know where this is going.
- Jesus checks all the boxes. Yes, following Jesus makes me much happier than atheism, agnosticism or religion.
It’s worth a try. Jesus said, “Come, follow me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I’ll give you rest.” (That’s in Matthew 11:28 in the Bible.)
Buying into Jesus’ rescue story has improved my life immesurably. I have found following Jesus to be the best way through and beyond depression.
Homework: If it were true that God loved you and had come to rescue you from evil and suffering, how would that change your schedule this week? Give that altered schedule a try. See what happens.
Anything helpful to add? Click on the title, then scroll to comment after the article. For the first post in this series, click here.