Mankind’s Quest to Please God
“THERE has never been any human society in which God has not been a part, usually a controlling and creative part. That is true even of those societies that set out to be deliberately secular.” So says John Bowker in his book God—A Brief History. In one way or another, the quest to find God and gain his favor has been a thread woven through the fabric of human behavior. Around the world, many have a sincere desire to please God. Of course, how they try to do this varies according to their beliefs.
Some believe that all that is necessary to gain God’s favor is to live a good life. Others feel that they win God’s approval by performing charitable acts for the poor. Then again, religious ceremonies and rituals are important to millions of people.
On the other hand, there are those who believe that God is beyond their reach—too distant or too occupied with other matters to pay attention to ordinary people. The philosopher Epicurus of ancient Greece reportedly believed that ‘gods are too remote to do you any more harm than good.’ Nevertheless, many who have such thoughts are religious. Some may even offer sacrifices and perform rituals in hopes of appeasing their dead ancestors.
What do you think? Does God really take note of our efforts to gain his favor? Is it possible for us to touch God’s heart and please him?
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COVER: Courtesy of ROE/Anglo-Australian Observatory, photograph by David Malin