Religion and Obligation – But I don’t want to obey?…
People often don’t like religion because they don’t want to obey
A lot of people react to religion and want nothing to do with it. Not because they’ve considered its truth claims but because they feel it is constricting. Interestingly, we got our modern English word “religion” from the Latin word religio meaning “obligation” or “bond.”
So, it has been recognized for a long time that religion is binding. The question is, why? Why should anyone obey a religion?
If the religion’s truth claims are accurate then there would be a good reason to obey. Otherwise, I’m not going to be bound by a religion just because that’s what my grandma believed… No. If you’re going to tell me what I can do and not do, you better offer some good reasons why I should listen.
God demands obedience
1 Kings 8:60-61 says, “The LORD is God; there is no other. Let your heart therefore be wholly true to the LORD.” It is admittedly a big claim that “the LORD is God,” and He alone. But if that claim is true it seems to make sense that the LORD could demand obedience.
So, the question it seems we need to answer is not: “Should I obey?” But: “Is it true?” A lot of times it seems we’re tempted to go at it a different way. We’re tempted to think: “I don’t want to obey, therefore I won’t consider if it’s true.”
We can see the ridiculousness of that thinking when we apply it to a different context…
Imagine you’re driving on the highway with me. I’m going 95 when the speed limit is 70. You’re concerned because you know there are often speed traps in the area. Also, you don’t want to die. So, you say, “Perhaps you should slow down. There could be a speed trap.”
I, however, am rather content with the speed I am going. But you see a police car ahead. You very kindly warn me: “Um, that’s a police car… See it?! He’s right there! Slow down!”
But I don’t listen. I want to drive fast so I ignore the possibility of a cop car.
Religion and obligation
Ignoring information that might be pertinent because we want to do what we want to do might be problematic. Just because we don’t want there to be a cop to enforce the rules does not at all mean there is no cop.
I understand people not wanting to be obligated by a religion. We all naturally want to be in charge; we want to do what we want to do. We want to be God. But we can’t be God if God is God.
If God is, then God is in charge. He is God. If the religion is real, it necessarily leads to obligation.
That brings up the very important question: “Is God?”
If you don’t want to obey , the wrath of God abides on you.
“ He that believes the Son has everlasting life and he that believes not the Son shall not see life but the wrath of God abides on him”