Like the gym to the body, like a library to the mind, so is a church to the soul.
Like exercise for the body, like reading for the mind, so is prayer for the soul.
Like health to the body, like wisdom to the mind, so is religion to the soul.
Health and longevity have become the paramount concerns of modern society. There is great concern about the food we eat. Is it high in fat? Sugar? Was it organically grown? Does it contain preservatives or was it bioengineered? Where can I get the best selection of healthy foods? And, it seems that daily an expert will release the results of a study revealing the myriad of ways in which exercise is good for the body and mind. These revelations and recommendations are contemplate by the masses as they choose between jogging, swimming, biking, circuit training, cross training, yoga, pilates and tae-bo. Finally, aging baby boomers alarmed by now fragile formerly agile minds, their faulty memories, anxious to prevent dementia or alzheimers are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on books, games and services that deliver cognitive training.
Honestly, I believe that nearly all of this time, energy and money is well spent. However, we only live 80 or so years. We will then have an eternity to spend enjoying our goodness or regretting our badness. Therefore, I also believe that equal time should be given to the health, development and training of the soul. Doing so begins with the establishment of belief, the commitment to religion and the lifelong development of a deep and abiding faith.
You might already have an idea of how goodness feels or who you think God is but that is just your intuition. In what important area of your life do you rely solely on your intuition? Choosing a college? Buying a car? Picking a spouse? Picking out what to wear on Friday night? Religion tells you who God is based on the distillation of the experiences of millions of holy men and women. A useful and informative guide adding detail to the picture you have already begun creating in your mind.
Practicing a religion that protects human rights, respects human life, and promotes freedom will make you a better person and make your community a better place to live. ‘Those values are not exclusively religious?’ No, but they are only present in countries that have evolved from a Judao/Christian tradition. Furthermore, while these values are not the sole property of religion, they are best practiced and protected in these religious traditions.
What if I don’t need religion to be a good person? Well, what if I don’t need to work out to be skinny? Does that mean I am healthy? No it doesn’t. Same for religion: practice it anyway. It will keep you in spiritual shape.