What About Religion – What is true religion?
Which religion is right how can I know which one is correct?
Are all religions roads going to the same place? Will we all end up in heaven? Are they all right? Do they all hold some truth? Nearly every religion claims that it is the only right religion. It is very confusing to people who are looking for the truth or are looking for God. Who should they listen to? Who has the right answer? Which religion is right? Or are they all right? Are they all good, since they basically teach people to be good? Are they all good, since they basically teach people to be good? Are they all wrong?
There are so many different religions and philosophies in the world it is a maze of confusion for many to conclude what is right. They cannot all be true because they teach contradictory doctrines. To distinguish the true from the false one must examine the evidence. For instance when one examines the historical fulfilment of Biblical prophecy one must conclude that it is historically, geographically, mathematically and scientifically correct. One must explain seeming contradictions.
The word “religion” in the Bible means “ceremonial service and worship to God.” (From Latin- term religion-religio meaning “bind, connect”) denotes a set of common beliefs and practices pertaining to the supernatural and its relationship to humanity and the cosmos), which are often codified into prayer, ritual, scriptures, and religious law. (New World Encyclopedia). This word may be used to refer to any set of beliefs, whether or not this set of beliefs includes service and worship to God. This is the secondary definition according to dictionaries.
Religion can be defined as “belief in God or gods to be worshipped, usually expressed in conduct and ritual” or “any specific system of belief, worship, etc., often involving a code of ethics.” Well over 90% of the world’s population adheres to some form of religion. The problem is that there are so many different religions. What is the right religion? What is true religion?
Some religions have list of rules, do’s and don’t’s, that a person must observe in order to be considered a faithful adherent of that religion. This will make them right with God. Mormons believe works along with Christ are necessary for salvation. In Islam one must observe its five pillars. Judaism has hundreds of commands and traditions that are to be observed.
Other religions observe rituals. Roman Catholicism has its seven sacraments and holds that by being water baptized as an infant, by partaking in the Mass, by confessing sin to a priest, by offering prayers to saints in Heaven, by being anointed by a priest before death, etc., etc., God will accept such a person into Heaven after death. Buddhism and Hinduism are also primarily ritual-based religions.
Syncretism is the attempt to merge or reconcile and unify different religions or philosophies or parties into one i.e. one world church. We even fin among evangelical In the New Age deception Christ mystically indwells every human being, the idea that Christ lives in all human beings, whether or not they are Christians. Campolo agrees with this position and clearly has been influenced by it. “We want to convince the whole human race that there is a God who established the infinite value of every person, who mystically dwells in each person….” (Tony Campolo, A Reasonable Faith responding to secularism, p.59) “I do not mean that others represent Jesus for us. I mean that Jesus actually is present in each other person” (Anthony Campolo, A Reasonable Faith responding to secularism p.192)
Discrimination and discernment means to make a clear distinction. They are missing in the world and in the church.
Test Everything 1 Thess. 5:21-22
In this passage Paul tells us three things
a/ Test everything– that means analyse everything, test it and prove it, discern and judge the content.
b/ Hold fast good– guard it, keep it safe, protect it 1 Tim. 6:20.
c/ Abstain from evil – keep away from error don’t expose yourself to it. It is radical separation. Paul said “Let no one deceive you” 2 Thess. 2:1-3.
Don’t immerse yourself in cults, religions, philosophies or culture. It will take over your thinking but study the truth and when error, occurs you will spot it easily. We are to reject evil. Evil can look good and appealing to people, Satan has a way of deceiving people but he can also be up front with it and out right evil which appeals to some people. We have to ask ourselves three major questions.
1. How does it view Gods Word. Most religions and cults have their own scriptures or set of beliefs. They view these on equal par or superior to the Bible. They add to what the Bible says or take away from it or changes its meaning. They discourage their members from reading the Bible alone or deny it alone is the Word of God. Some interpreted it to suit their own particular heresy. The Bible alones is Gods written revelation. Without it we know nothing about God and what He desires. We could not please him or follow him. His word is a light unto our paths Psalm119:105. The OTclaims over 3800 times to be the Word of God.
2. How does it view God. Some view him as a man as the Mormons do and we can progress to Godhood as eastern mysticism also teaches, others view him as a monkey or animal as Hindus do, others see him as a force, others see him as limited and not eternal. Some deify man others humanize God. Some people are pantheists and believe in many gods
3. How does it view salvation. Religion sees salvation as a form of works. The grace of God is not enough, Jesus did not do enough on the cross we must help a bit. To must add to the work of Christ on the Cross, it was not sufficient.
There are Only Two Religions in the World
There are only two religions in the world – DO and DONE. However, strictly speaking Christianity is not a religion but a relationship with God. All religions other than Christianity require that men do something and work in order to be acceptable to God and receive salvation and eternal life. All other religions require man’s efforts to help God save him Christianity is the only religion where God reaches down and by grace saves man. Christianity is a personal relationship with God made possible through Jesus Christ because God is appeased and satisfied with the finished work of Christ on the Cross. Christianity looks upon the Bible as being the only source of infallible Truth. Christianity is based upon the historical fact of the crucifixion and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Logic would teach us that all roads do not lead to the same place and that is true about religions. It is a fallacy to believe that all religions lead to God. That is illogical. If there is meaning to the universe, it is to be found in the birth and death of Jesus Christ,
Religion Requires a System of Works
People believe they have to do something so as they will be “good enough” to please God and merit His favour. True Christianity, teaches that we can never be good enough to reach God’s standard or requirements, that is absolute holiness and perfection because He is a perfect, holy God. Paul explains how impossible it is to keep the Mosaic Law and that its purpose was that it is a “schoolmaster” to lead us to Christ because “…by observing the law no one will be justified” (Galatians 2:16). No man can reach the standard of standard of what Jesus called the “first and greatest commandment” in Matthew 22:37: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” We fail miserably to reach that standard and that is why God provided a substitute for us, Jesus Christ, His perfect Son who obeyed the Law perfectly for us. By faith in Him and accepting His work on our behalf, we are justified and made righteous.
True Christianity is not a religious system, but a relationship with God.
It is a relationship that He initiated and maintains. Christians believe that mankind was created specifically to have a relationship with God, but sin separates all men from Him (Romans 3:23; 5:12). Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ walked this earth, fully God, and yet fully man (Philippians 2:6-11), and died on the cross to restore the relationship that was broken by sin. After His death on the cross, Christ was buried, He rose again, and now lives at the right hand of the Father, making intercession for believers forever (Hebrews 7:25). By faith in His finished work we are adopted into the family of God and are “accepted in the beloved.” We are no longer enemies but His children and joint heirs with Jesus Christ. We are family (Ephesians 1:5). At the point of conversion we are baptised into the “body of Christ-the Church” (1 Corinthians 12:13) of which He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23), having been purchased by His blood (Hebrews 9:12). This is a wonderful unparalleled truth.
The Source of Information and Revelation – Is it Dependable
Christianity is unique in its source of information. The Bible alone claims it is the written Word of God and is infallible, inerrant and provides all necessary information that is necessary for faith and practice (2 Timothy 3:16). All religions have some sort of basis of information that outlines its beliefs and practices, but none have one source of information that makes the claims Christianity does about the Bible. Christians believe that the Bible is the inspired—literally “God-breathed”—Word of God and that its teaching is the final authority (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21). Though there are other religions that use prophecy, none are 100% accurate, as are those in the Bible, and none of them point to someone like Jesus who made incredible claims and performed incredible deeds.
Christianity is truly unique in every way and provides its fundamental basis is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection is fundamental to Christianity. Paul says if it is not true we are of all men most miserable and it is useless (1 Corinthians 15:14). Because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ the lives of the disciples were changed and they were all willing to die for the cause. They saw Him alive and touched him and spoke to him, after he had been crucified, dead and buried. Jesus proved that He was indeed God in flesh. No other religious leader has died and rose with so much evidence surrounding their lives. The resurrection is proof of who Jesus is and that He did accomplish what He set out to do. He was truly our Redeemer. Buddha did not rise from the dead. Muhammad did not rise from the dead. Confucius did not rise from the dead. Krishna did not rise from the dead. Only Jesus has physically risen from the dead, walked on water, claimed to be God, and raised others from the dead. He has conquered death. Christianity is unique because of the person of Christ who claimed to be God, and proved He was God in the flesh and performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, died and rose from the dead, and claimed that He alone is “the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6) and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. There a numerous prophecies verifying the authenticity of the Bible. In order to disprove the Bible these hundreds of prophecies need to be disproved.
Isaiah foreshadowed the virgin birth of JesusBible prophecy: Isaiah 7:14
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC
The Messiah would be born in Bethlehem Bible prophecy: Micah 5:1-2
Prophecy written: Sometime between 750-686 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC Matthew 2:1-6
The Messiah would come from the tribe of Judah
Bible prophecy: Genesis 49:10
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 5 BC Luke 3:23-34 and in Matthew 1:1-16.
Tyre’s fortresses would fail Bible prophecy: Amos 1:9-10
Prophecy written: About 750 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 333-332 BC was fulfilled in 586-573 BC
Tyre’s stones, timber and soil would be cast into the sea Bible prophecy: Ezekiel 26:12
Prophecy written: Between 587-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 333-332 BC
Nineveh’s army officers would desert Bible prophecy: Nahum 3:17
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC
Nineveh would be destroyed, permanently Bible prophecy: Nahum 3:19
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC
Zechariah foreshadowed the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver Bible prophecy: Zechariah 11:12-13
Prophecy written: Between 520 and 518 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 31 AD In Zechariah 11:4-17
True religion is a relationship with God. False religion is men trying to reach God , to gain his favour, it is a system of works or ritual. True religion recognises that only God can satisfy his commands of a perfect sacrifice and He provided it in Christ. (John 10: John 14:7; Romans5:8; 1 Cor. 15:3-4; 2 Cor. 5:21’ Eph. 2:8-9). It is by grace alone through faith in Christ with no rules or ritual.