Religion is about belief and behavior. How we behave depends on what we believe. The “what” and “why” of life feed into each other. By doing a certain thing we understand why we are doing it. We start to do it by first believing it worthwhile. Behavior is determined by belief, but belief is also determined by behavior. Praxis is acting and doing. Theory is thinking and understanding. We live according to what we believe. We believe according to the way we live. There is a circular interplay. True religion is an integrating force in our lives, so that the whole person is really an integrated personality. Religion is not a view of life, but a way of living. A person’s view of the world reflects a way of living. We express our ethical beliefs in both a concrete and symbolic way. We have to understand what is being done, in order to understand what is said. Religion is a life style, not an idea. Are you challenged to be yourself? Do these religious practices increase your identity? Do they challenge you to be freer? Do they open new horizons? Do they have value? Is your human existence better off? These are the questions you must ask about your religious practice.
The problem of God
Do we accept anything beyond our own concerns? Is there something about life besides us? Do we have ultimate concerns about something other than ourselves? Do we accept the concept of mystery in our lives? Various religions use different names for the transcendent mystery that goes beyond what we can understand. However, many religious traditions call this transcendent divine reality “God.” We, as human or finite, seek the great and the mysterious. This mystery stands as the foundation, the center, the purpose of human existence. God within a religious belief system contains the answer to the question of the meaning of life. What counts most? What is important for understanding and living? Is God the answer or the problem?