I Believe in God because of Manners

faith, I believe / Sunday, November 10th, 2013

I believe in God. I love God. I can barely contain myself and I want others to know Him and love Him and live WITH Him as well. This is why I share what I believe. Not to judge or make myself sound ‘smarter’ or ‘better than though’. I’m NOT smarter – no fancy degrees or Masters or Doctorates here. And I’m not “better than” anyone. But I do love God. And that’s all I want for myself AND for YOU. 

So far, in this I believe in God series, I’ve shared that I believe in God because:

  1. I am here writing this and thinking about it. (Reason and Logic)
  2. Beauty and awe seen in nature (Creation).
  3. 2 +2 = 4 not 3 or 4.99999 (Absolute truths exists)
  4. Mystery. There are things that we can’t explain.

Today, I’m thinking about #5 – I believe in God because there is a moral code that has existed throughout humanity’s existence. (Good exists.)

When I think of this, I think of an article I recently read as part of a reading forum our pastor is hosting. The second article we read was about The World’s Oldest Virtue. I guessed it would be about love but, to give it away, the world’s oldest virtue is actually “etiquette” or good manners.

If you think about it, it’s so true. From the beginning of time, even back to our so-called “cave-man” days, people have exhibited the need to show good manners. I’ll highlight this part of the article to exhibit my point.

“Since time immemorial, etiquette has been used to establish the principles of social virtue, as well as the rules, symbols, and rituals of civilized life. Historically, it preceded the invention of the law as a restraint of individual behavior for the common good, surely making etiquette the oldest deterrent to violence after fear of retaliation. Developmentally, it still precedes the teaching of moral concepts in the socialization of children.”

In other words, before any one ever said so, or forced it so, people instinctually wanted order. They also understood the ‘golden rule’ before it was written – “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This sense of order and etiquette stems from something deeper – R.E.S.P.E.C.T (“find out what it means to me”….ahem…sorry my mind is like a radio.) Ahem. Which of course stems from LOVE.

Anthropology has always fascinated me ever since my aunt took me to visit the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City. All those old decayed bones and artifacts seemed a little boring to me as a child but now, as a questioning adult, they are clues to our past and provide answers to who we were but also to who we are as humans. 

With that, I was especially intrigued with this part of the Oldest Virtue article:

“Evidence of the prehistoric practice of etiquette—such as communal eating and ceremonial burying of the dead—has served to define civilization in its earliest manifestations.” Suddenly those old clay hand-made pots in museums hold much more than fossilized food pieces. They tell us a story. They give us an answer.

What does this news about the world’s oldest virtue tell us? That the magic words, “Please” and “Thank you” weren’t just invented by our parents to annoy us? No.

What this evidence tells us is that humans – from the very beginning – are created with a desire to do GOOD. Our lives are about much more than survival. We aren’t merely another species of animal with a minimal purpose of individual survival and multiplication of our species. We are more than that. 

It is evident that we all are designed with a Moral code imprinted in our DNA, doing good for others is part of our nature. 

But why? Why would we have this desire for order?  Why would we care about waiting our turn, sitting down together and using bowls and utensils to eat instead of just rummaging through the forest like animals? Why would we go out of our way – even intentionally inconvenience ourselves – to do something good for another person, even if was to our own detriment?

Why would any of that matter if we were just ‘random’ life forms that have evolved from some distant residue from a big explosion of a huge chunk of rock out in space billions of years ago?

It wouldn’t. Even if we did evolve (which is a reasonable thought), why would we now care about etiquette? Why would we care about doing good things for other people? Why would we have laws and why would we have prisons? Why would we have charities and non-profits? Why would anyone try and do anything with their lives except to look for food and try not to get eaten? Why would we look for love and try and give love?

We wouldn’t. If there was no God. If there was nothing before this universe and, more importantly, nothing after this life and this universe as we know it, we wouldn’t care about manners, respect, charity, tolerance, gratitude, kindness, or love.

There would be no real good in this world. No reason to do good for others and no reason…for anything of value really.

That would be horribly and tragically depressing.

Thankfully, there IS a God! And He IS alive and well! He is who IS and IS always…IS. J

And I don’t just believe that to make myself feel better. I believe it because it IS TRUE. The evidence is all around me. The greatest evidence and proof of God’s existence is found in you and me. In the little and big acts of kindness, respect, and love we see. Yes, there is a whole lot of bad in this world too. And I’ll get to that. But you can’t deny that there is a whole heck of a lot more GOOD in this world. Even if you can’t see it through all the hate and ugliness plastered on the TV and computer screens and screaming at us through the sound waves. But it’s there. GOOD exists. And, therefore, so does God.

“God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.” (Genesis 1:31)

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