How Do We Explain Worship?

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“Man cannot live without worshipping something.”
– Fyodor Dostoevsky

 “We have not, it seems, the power to abstain from worship. Instead, we swallow the sweet poison, substituting lesser gods for God.”
― Philip Yancey

“Wherever the people do not believe in something beyond the world, they will worship the world. But, above all, they will worship the strongest thing in the world.”
– G. K. Chesterton

“Every person, religious or not, is worshipping something to get their worth.”
– Tim Keller

Hungers of the Heart

Shank copyIf you were to seriously engage any religious philosopher in conversation on the concept of love in other religious teachings you would probably be surprised at what surfaces. In Buddhism the very founder, Gautama Buddha, renounced his wife and family in search of inner peace. In Hinduism the concept of love is more that of pity. In Islam, at best, submission is demanded to a compassionate god, but the more one reads the workings of this compassionate god the more compassion seems a vacuous term. Only in the Christian faith is life with God always portrayed as a relationship of love. However, in Christian terms, love does not stand merely as an emotion or even an expression. In a relationship with God it ultimately flowers to worship. All earthly relationships as we know them will someday end. It is in worship alone that wonder and truth coalesce and our hearts become enriched by His love. That enrichment which results from worship feeds all other relationships and helps us to hold sacred our commitments. This concept is far too profound to ignore . . .

D. H. Lawrence was right when he said the deepest hunger of the human heart goes beyond love—Jesus called that “beyond” worship. And Wolfe was right; there is that sense of cosmic loneliness apart from God. Jesus said, “I have come that [you] may have life, and that [you] may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10 NKJV). In Christ that loneliness is conquered as the hungers of the human heart are met and the struggles of the intellect are answered.

–Ravi Zacharias,
Can Man Live Without God

When Facts Become Wonders

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Worship is an act of awe. Artists who have detached themselves from a religious grounding, don’t fly but merely float away. Their creativity has no reference point. They try to be original. They try to be different. They try to shock. But endless shock merely makes us senseless. We have lost our true appreciation of surprise because we have the purpose of creativity precisely backwards. “The function of imagination,” says Chesterton, “is not to make strange things settled, so much as to make settled things strange; not so much to make wonders facts as to make facts wonders.

–Dale Ahlquist,
G.K. Chesterton and the Use of the Imagination

Artwork: Toil Today Dream Tonight, by Vincent Van Gogh

When Worship Gets Warped

3581611768_1ab4d3b473_mIf you do not worship God, you worship something, and nine times out of ten it will be yourself. You have a duty to worship God, not because He will be imperfect and unhappy if you do not, but because you will be imperfect and unhappy.
                ― Fulton J. Sheen