August 28, 2015

BE THANKFUL... (self-reference alert):

Does belief in God enhance gratitude? (Christopher Kaczor, August 21, 2015, Washington Post)

Does belief in God influence the span, frequency, intensity or density of gratitude?

If we believe in God, we have a greater span of things for which to be grateful. For example, our life is not a mere chance happening, but ultimately the result of a loving God's providential care. Gratitude requires a benefactor who intentionally provides a benefit. Without God, our life is merely a chance accident of reproduction. Given faith, however, our existence is not a chance occurrence, but a divine blessing. Indeed, all the seemingly random good things in life can be seen as gifts from a loving God, for which thankfulness is appropriate.

Since believers have more for which to be grateful, they are also grateful more often. If every good thing in life is ultimately the result of the creation of a loving God, occasions of gratitude abound. In the words of the Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, "The world is charged with the grandeur of God." Flowers, sunsets, warm breezes become gifts of the Creator.

If we believe in a good God, our gratitude intensity is also enhanced. God's benefits are truly gifts given out of love, not bribes meant ultimately to manipulate us. If God is already perfect in every respect, God's blessings are entirely for the good of others. God is a perfectly altruistic First Giver who both models generosity and serves to increase the intensity of the believer's gratitude.

Finally, belief in God increases gratitude density. A lovely meal in a restaurant can lead the believer to be grateful not only to the waiter, the cooks, the truckers, and the farmers, but also to God, who is the ultimate cause sustaining everything and everyone in existence. Behind each of our human benefactors we can also add a heavenly benefactor.

...every day.

Posted by at August 28, 2015 5:50 AM

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