The practical consequences of religious belief

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.

Good consequences (Prov 27:17-27:19)

“Iron sharpens iron.

One person sharpens the wits of another.

Anyone who tends a fig tree

Will eat its fruit.

Anyone who takes care of a master

Will be honored.

Just as water reflects the face,

So one human heart reflects another.”

It takes iron to sharpen iron. You can help another person to become sharp and witty. If you take care of a fig tree, you can eat its fruit. If you take care of a master, you will be honored. Just as water reflects your face, so the human heart can reflect another person. Human interaction has some very good consequences on others.