Have You Ever Wondered—
Is It of Any Benefit to Be Religious?
WE LIVE today in a world where people often ask, “What is there in it for me?” So it is not surprising that people would ask whether being religious brings any real benefit. When asked in sincerity, the question certainly deserves an honest answer.
WHY DO SOME FEEL THERE IS LITTLE BENEFIT?
When “benefits” are mentioned, some persons immediately think of material things—money, a better job, an improved social standing, or something similar. Being religious does not automatically ensure that one will have any of these. Because of this, a person might conclude that a religious way of life has no genuine advantages.
Of course, in today’s world we need money. But often a good job, prestigious social standing and many material possessions are viewed as more than merely a means of sustaining life. They become symbols of success and happiness. However, do these material benefits always bring genuine happiness?
WHAT BRINGS GENUINE HAPPINESS?
“I just can’t go on like this,” sighed the distressed young man who was described as “one of the biggest stars in the country, loved by millions, earning hundreds of thousands of dollars” and in the prime of his life.
“But, Freddie,” responded his manager, “all these things that are troubling you are coming to an end. . . . So it’ll cost you a little money . . . it’s only money and you can make more money. This is going to be a tremendous year for you!” The manager’s words fell on deaf ears. In one last bitter conversation, he telephoned his ex-wife and pleaded: “Kathy, I can’t go on. I love you and I love the baby very much, but I just have to find peace.” He then pressed a gun to his temple and killed himself. The money and the fame did not make up for a lack of peace of mind.
A woman married to a multimillionaire’s son also showed that material things alone cannot bring real happiness. She said: “My marriage was painful and unfulfilling. And though there was plenty of money, it was unbearable.”
Yes, peace of mind, a harmonious family life, a good conscience, contentment and rewarding friendships all are factors in attaining happiness. No amount of money can buy these. But the Bible shows how to acquire them, and it indicates that all of them are related to being religious.
Yet, you may know people who say they believe the Bible, who go to church, and yet are NOT happy. So you may wonder. . .
CAN BEING RELIGIOUS REALLY BRING HAPPINESS?
To gain happiness requires more than simply professing to believe the Bible and belonging to a church. “Happy are those hearing the word of God and keeping it!” explained Jesus Christ. His words show what being religious really means. It includes hearing God’s word—either by reading the Bible or listening to it being discussed—and obeying what it says. This is what brings genuine happiness.—Luke 11:28.
Many persons have been freely helped by Jehovah’s Witnesses to study the Bible and to learn how to apply it in their life. The benefits received by those who honestly applied what they learned from the Bible were outstanding. For instance, some of these benefits are revealed by statements made by persons newly baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses.
“I have lost my fear of death.”—C. G., 84-year-old man.
“After studying the truth of the Bible for almost three quarters of a year, I discovered that I had made greater personality changes than I ever would have considered possible.”—L. T., former convict.
“Alcohol had almost paralyzed my hands and arms. I was surprised that I was still alive. I had long written off the rest of my life. But, by means of a study of the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I finally found out what life is all about.”—K. H., a former juvenile delinquent and alcoholic.
“Despite my sickness and the handicaps I have because of it, I can still lead a happy and satisfying life.”—H. F., middle-aged woman afflicted with cancer.
Just think: How much money do you feel a person would spend to be able to cope mentally and emotionally with serious illness, even to the point of being able to conquer the fear of dying? How much would a parent spend to cure his or her child of alcoholism and to transform him into an obedient, respectful youngster? Such benefits are priceless. Yet these are what a genuine study and application of the Bible—being religious in the proper way—can bring.
So being religious can really bring happiness now. But First Timothy 4:8 (“The New English Bible”) says that “the benefits of religion,” of true devotion to God, are not only for “this life” but also for “the life to come.” Does this betoken even greater benefits for the future?
WILL THERE BE FUTURE BENEFITS?
Yes, because God promises to remove the wickedness and corruption from our earth by a “destruction of the ungodly men.” He then will see to it that this earth is turned into a global paradise where righteousness will prevail. Everyone will do the right, kind and just thing, for love will permeate all of society.—2 Pet. 3:7, 13; 1 John 5:3.
Imagine the benefits when the words of Revelation 21:4 are fulfilled: “And [God] will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
Why not let Jehovah’s Witnesses in your locality assist you to become more familiar with the Bible and this marvelous hope? Experience their happiness and prove to yourself that being religious in a proper way is of benefit indeed.