Doing what God wants you to
There has been a very interesting post and discussion over at Shira's house about the sacrifice of Isaac. Specifically, would you be willing to follow God's directive and do the deed?
It seems to me that if you are certain the directive is from God, and there is absolutely no ambiguity about what is being asked, then, as a believer in an all-Powerful, all-Merciful, all-Just(you get the idea) Deity, one must obey, believing that the All-Powerful has His/Her reasons, espcially ones that are not apparent to mere mortals.
Following God's word is easy when it coincides with what is pleasurable. And, if there are few to no rules, its even easier. Also, even orthodox Jews do not have monolithic certainty about exactly what it is that God wants us to do. However, I think that the hallmark of the religious person who has faith in God is that he or she is willing and does perform the acts that he/she believes that God has commanded, even when they are not pleasureable or seem reasonable. Now, one can argue that suicide bombers fall in this category. Unfortunately, that is true. Anyone can skew a religion(or even make up a religion) so that their actions conform to the beliefs. But, that is making the religion fit your beliefs, not believing in your religion.
What is the point? The believer in God walks around with the idea that they are doing God's will, and at frequent junctures stop and ask themselves, am I doing what God wants me to? Am I making choices consistant with my beliefs? This is a heavy burden to bear, but after all, if you believe, it is the only way.