The Bible narrative of man's relationship with God begins with the story of his first disobedience and all of Christian theology is summed up in verse 19 of the fifth chapter of Romans:
For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Obedience is the theme of most Bible stories—Noah, Job, Abraham and Isaac—but few believers understand the degree of obedience demanded by Christianity. Oswald Chambers, who wrote the devotional, My Utmost for His Highest, put it this way:
Are you prepared to let God take you into total oneness with Himself, paying no more attention to what you call the great things of life? Are you prepared to surrender totally and let go? The true test of abandonment or surrender is in refusing to say, “Well, what about this?” Beware of your own ideas and speculations. The moment you allow yourself to think, “What about this?” you show that you have not surrendered and that you do not really trust God. But once you do surrender, you will no longer think about what God is going to do. Abandonment means to refuse yourself the luxury of asking any questions.
I don't believe I have met many Christians who go that far, but I did know one. When I was a teenager working the soda fountain in a drug store, the owner of the photography shop next door became intoxicated with Roman Catholicism. He began to display religious pictures and statues along with cameras and photographic equipment. Gradually the religious items displaced the merchandise and customers became fewer, but he persisted in his delusion despite the pleas of his friends and family until his business was utterly ruined.
Does anyone else know of examples of this type of total devotion?
I agree, Kathleen. I think trying (and failing) to reconcile natural disasters with the concept of an omniscient, omnipresent, omnibenevolent god destroys faith for a lot of people. It was a key motivator for me. I could never figure out what the hell Original Sin had to do with, say, the destruction of Pompeii. It sure seems like the universe behaves precisely as one might expect it to without a god.
Make that two.
Unfortunately, too many from which to chose.
The surrender of one’s will to god is not really an act of belief exactly. It is an evasion - an attempt to deny some part of reality. The ones who will listen to reason and keep questioning religious doctrine are those who have no reason to deny reality. They have just be overwhelmed with demands and repetition.
However, they are not infected with any permanent guilt, meaning they chose to live and to accept all that entails. As an effect, they have greater self-esteem from having not only choosing to live but accepting the consequences of that choice. They know they are worthy of living without even needing to understand it. (Took me forever to conclude this…)
Now, those who refuse to listen to reason…well, they have much less self-esteem. Living for them has been a series of someone else is to blame, god-will-forgive-mes, and I-meant-to-do-rights. They have not chosen to live but rather to get away with living.
But what they don’t know (and as a fact of reality) is that without self responsibility, self-esteem is nearly impossible. This is why they are infected with permanent guilt. This is also their real reason of why a god must exist for them. They have given up their wills (i.e. they are not responsible), so the bad stuff is no longer their faults and as long as it is not their faults, they can block the knowledge that they are not worthy of life.
It is after all, just a part of god’s plan…
Acceptance of an invisible king is a strange idea, but a widespread notion. It's what's behind those bumper stickers that say "Jesus is Lord" — meant to show that Jesus is supreme ruler of the earth, over all other rulers and that Christians surrender themselves to his rule.