Why Does Belief in God Matter?
There is a litany of other practical reasons to acknowledge a God greater than yourself, and they apply as much for the knights of old as they do for the boys of today. From the love of God, they find a reason to conquer selfishness, live with virtue, discover their purpose, and embrace hope.
Acknowledging God provides security because we recognize that immutable truth and ultimate authority is not found in mere humans. Without this foundation, might makes right and whoever happens to be in charge gets to make the rules.
The idea of this kind of relative truth does not sit well with most people, which is why we seek to overthrow tyrannical rulers even if it means we personally do not get to rule. It was this awareness that drove the top knights in thirteenth-century England to force the selfish King John (the little brother to Richard the Lionheart) to sign the Magna Carta, which established that there were principles and laws, under God, that superseded even the king. In addition to providing the foundation for how and why we live, belief in God also gives us:
A Reason to Live Outside of Oneself
Charlemagne realized that a mighty warrior who recognized no higher authority would be a mercenary— hiring himself out to the highest bidder or preying on whoever came across his path. When selfishness reigns supreme there is no one to trust because everyone is out to seek his own good. Peace is an impossibility on every level. Anarchy and chaos become the unrelenting reality.
It does not take long into the parenting journey to discover a universal truth about people everywhere. It is a truth on full and sometimes embarrassing display among our toddlers and preschoolers, manifesting itself best in the form of tantrums. That truth is that people are selfish. If you are the honest sort, you will recognize these temptations and tendencies in yourself as well. With the rise of rampant narcissism and the culture of self-promotion that social media affords, it is perhaps more obvious now than ever before. Learning to honor God gives you a reason to subdue your inherent selfishness and focus on the needs of others.
A Reason to Live with Virtue
Love for God recognizes that there is something, someone who is transcendent. There is definite right and wrong, and it is love and loyalty to God that motivates people to act in ways that benefit others, that build culture, and cultivates community. Loyalty to God fuels loyalty to leaders, it fuels fighting against injustice, and it fuels caring for the weak. Without God, who decides what is unjust or wrong after all? It would merely be at the whim of whoever is in charge and will rapidly change when some other selfish person gains control.
A Reason to Live with Purpose
There is an innate drive in most of us to find purpose in what we do. We all want to know that our lives matter, that there is a reason for us being here at this time, in this place. Acknowledging God and seeking to honor him also gives us a reason to live with purpose because we realize God has a role for each person in this life.
Although we are told to follow our dreams to find purpose, the reality is that living only for our dreams does not ultimately satisfy. Even the most amazing feats can ring hollow as Tom Brady Jr., quarterback for the New England Patriots revealed in a 60 Minutes interview: “Why do I have three Super Bowl rings and still think there is something greater out there for me? . . . I reached my goal, my dream, my life. It’s got to be more than this.”
Michael Phelps, one of the most decorated athletes in Olympic history, also felt adrift after his great victories of the 2012 Olympics. He revealed, “I was a train wreck. I was like a time bomb, waiting to go off. I had no self-esteem, no self-worth. There were times where I didn’t want to be here. It was not good. I felt lost.” His perspective radically changed after a friend recommended he read The Purpose Driven Life, a book that, Phelps says, “turned me into believing that there is a power greater than myself and there is a purpose for me on this planet.”
+ Passing On Our Faith
We live in a time when many care little for anything outside of themselves and what satisfies their own desires. Many boys are adrift without drive; they seem lost without hope. Turning to the knight’s Code of Chivalry, we are reminded to inspire our boys to love and honor God. As parents, we are in a unique situation to bring our children into our own faith traditions, to have deep conversations, and to model what it means to love and honor God.
We get to show our boys that living a God- entered life provides the framework for the kind of purposeful and fulfilling life that we all crave. We have the opportunity to invite them into this grand adventure and help them understand that faith is not just a heart thing; faith in God affects every other area of our lives as well. It is a lifelong quest well worth embarking on.