Religion: The Good Shepherd

What a person believes about the existence of God has great impact on one’s mental and emotional and moral approach to life.

To believe that no god exists implies a belief that this world developed out of nothing for no purpose. It came into being out of random accidents of nature and the brutal survival of the fittest (and/or the brutal elimination of the weaker). With no god, there is no one above us to give value to our lives or to impose a moral compass to life. With no god, there is no one to help us when we are in need, and no one to hear or care about the cries of our hearts. With no god, there is no one to hold us accountable for anything evil we may do. With no god, there is nothing to look forward to when your heart stops beating except the decomposition of your carcass.

The famous atheist Richard Dawkins affirms this assessment. He claims, “Life has no higher purpose than to perpetuate the survival of DNA…life has no design, no purpose, no evil and no good—nothing but blind pitiless indifference.”

Deceased atheist Bertrand Russell spoke of the emptiness and futility of life: “We stand on the shore of an ocean, crying to the night, and the emptiness; sometimes a voice answers out of the darkness. But it is a voice of one drowning; and in a moment the silence returns.”

Yet Bertrand Russell’s daughter said of her father, “Somewhere at the bottom of his heart, in the depths of his soul, there was an empty space that once had been filled by God, and he never found anything else to put in it.”

But those who believe in the God of the Bible approach life—and even death—with a sense of hope and peace and conviction and courage, for the Bible tells us of a God who is described to us as a “Good Shepherd.” Interestingly, the “Shepherd” described to us in the Bible is not interested in the sheep for the sake of their wool or their muttons but for the sake of the wellbeing of the sheep. He even lays down His own life for the sake of the sheep.

Thus we believe that our lives have value because this Shepherd values us. We withstand difficulties in life with peace and hope because this Shepherd hears our cries, searches for us, and lovingly tends to us. We are convicted to turn away from wrong because this Shepherd leads us on paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. We are convicted to care for even the least among us because this Shepherd cares for every weak or lost lamb. We face even death with courage because this Shepherd will walk with us even through the valley of the shadow of death, and we will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

If you are searching for hope or meaning in life, I suggest that you consider putting yourself under the care of the “Good Shepherd.”

—Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at:

Tom Tripp is the Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church of Colusa. Pastor Tripp can be reached by e-mail at: