MOST OF THE MAJOR FAITHS HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON.
Most of the major faithsinclude the idea of a higher level of consciousness, which is called a union with God; this is the ultimate goal of most spiritual practices. All major religions with the exception of the strictest form of Buddhism (Theravada Buddhism) teach:
That there is a God who is not a person, but who created the cosmos and who is definitely personal.
That it is possible to know and to experience union with this personal God.
That the entire purpose of life is to seek to do so in order to experience God
CHRISTIANITY IS DIFFERENT.
Christianity is different from other kinds of God-mysticism. We become fellow-heirs” with Christ and “fellow workers” with God until one day we will see God face to face.
Not many religions offer a Leader who chose to live with us and show us how to attain the reward of everlasting life.
Not many religions offer a God in the form of the Holy Spirit who fills our lives with divine grace in extraordinary ways: what some would think only as coincidence or good fortune.
Not many religions offer happiness, forever, as a prize for following a few laws
Not many religions throw life jackets to those floundering in a sea of frustration, sin, contradiction and evil.
Not many religions offer light in the darkness and a trail out of the wilderness.
There is an intellectual atheism based on modern philosophy; a protest atheism, which insisted on the incompatibility of belief in God with human freedom and fulfillment; and a pessimistic atheism, which sees in the enormity of evil prevalent in the world an overwhelming argument against the existence of God.
As a Gallup poll of 1975 shows, in only 6 percent of all Americans questioned claimed to be atheists or agnostics; 94 percent believed in God and 69 percent in life after death — about the same percentages as in 1948.
But while many pay lip service to the existence of God, it seems true that many have experienced the death of God insofar as traditional images of God no longer make sense for them. They feel God’s absence, rather than His presence.
In the last century, God dwelt there with hosts of angels and directed earthly affairs: bringing good and bad weather, sickness and health, happiness and unhappiness.
After being gradually undermined for several years by accumulating scientific knowledge, this cozy picture has all but vanished from human consciousness.
If we can’t think of God, then, as some kind of absolute monarch ruling the universe from above, how should we think of Him?
Allow us to speak of an ultimate reality that is somehow “beyond” that which is directly given in our experience and our own ultimate limit.
All of us are constantly running up against limits, which are basically of four kinds: a) external physical limitation caused by material objects which can restrict our activities; b ) organic limitations we experience when we suffer illness, weakness and exhaustion; c ) personal limitations in our dealings with others insofar as their ideas and intentions often run counter to our own ; d ) restrictions related to our awareness of moral and aesthetic considerations such as the distinction between good and bad, beautiful and ugly.
Through this experience of our own finiteness we become aware.
How, then, can we conceptualize this ultimate limit?
The only experience we have is of our bare finiteness.
An encounter with God will involve both the ‘experience’ of our finitude and the faith which, points to some dynamic reality beyond the limit.
God as the ultimate limit, God as He is Himself, is thus profound mystery, which is completely beyond our grasp or comprehension.
Only on the ground that God had in fact revealed himself could it be claimed He exists.
The One Who is Creator of the world, Who by His providence guides and sustains and directs all things to their intended purpose. “God” means the Lord, the One Whom we must serve and obey,
He is our final End and Source of eternal happiness. He is also the Father Who loves His children, faithful, forgiving and at the same time absolutely just.
For the believer, He is the most real of all:
A believer finds in the symbol “God” the means of seeing life as a purposeful experience and a way of viewing the world as imbued with a personal presence. It enables one to feel at home in the world insofar as it is ruled with order and purpose.
As long as one stays on a purely metaphysical or speculative level it seems impossible that we will ever be able to answer this question with any certainty.
From Dynamic Catholicism: A Historical Catechism Bokenkotter, Thomas.
WHAT IS RELIGION?
Religion is man’s search: for strength and courage to be gained from the spiritual, which is greater than any individual man. It is the Power beyond our control and upon whom we feel ourselves dependent.
The mind and will of God exists outside man, which is superior to all men. Man attempts to get in touch with His spirituality. Once contact is made (by listening) man desires to live in harmony with God.This contact operates by graceand flourishes by prayer.
THE MYSTERY OF RELIGION
Religion deals not in problems but in mysteries. A mystery may be difficult or impossible to understand, but you are still passionate about and involved in.
Such passionate makes clear, objective thinking difficult, and being involved in a problem means one’s perspective is limited. One way to solve such mysteries is to rely on faith.
A DIVINE CHURCH
Suppose the Church were not divine but only human. Suppose she were our invention. Suppose the Church, unlike Christ, had only one nature, not two: that she was only human, not divine, and as “modernist” or “liberal” or “humanist” theology claims about Christ.
In that case we ourselves would have to figure out the right understanding of scripture, without divine authority. We would have to discover the truth about the Trinity, and the two natures of Christ, and baptism, and the Eucharist, and saints, and Mary, and Purgatory, and the Church herself, and crucial and controversial moral issues like abortion and marriage and homosexuality and euthanasia and contraception and war and capital punishment and money.
Under this supposition, who could ever know with certainty the will of God?And how could the Church ever be one? There are actually twenty thousand different churches or ten main-line protestant denominations, each teaching its own sincere but fallible human opinion. It is hard to believe that God would want His Church to split into so many pieces.
You Can’t Just Be Spiritual; You Need Religion.
Many people say, “I’m spiritual, but not religious.” On one hand, you can be happy that you are seeking a deeper meaning in their life. On the other hand, you should be worried that you will stay satisfied there. Spiritualityis what you believe and how you find meaning in regards to a higher Power whilereligionis how I live out the truth and what is right in regards to a higher Power. In religion:
We can gain an intimate knowledge of Christ.
We are better protected from evil so as not to misinterpret Scriptures.
We need a Christian community for encouragement and support.
ONE CHRISTIAN GOD
We Christians (of all flavors) are under greater attacknow that at many or most times in the past, from atheists, secularists, Islamists and others. It would therefore seem to be in our best interests to put aside whatever our differences are or have been in the past and try our best to become what Jesus asked for…that we may all be one.
Even if all religions are true, even profoundly true, this does not mean that all religions are totally true (free from error) or equally true. For only one religioncenters on the only sane man who ever claimed to be the TRUTH.
No other religious teacher – except some egomaniacs, fakers, tyrants and money-mad manipulators – claimed to be God. Any other religion except Christianity could survive without its founder after making such a claim.
If Abraham or Moses or Muhammad or Buddha or Confucius or Lao Tzu turned out to be mythical figures and not real historical people at all, the religions that they founded would still survive, just as Shakespeare’s plays would still retain their power and appeal if it were discovered that Shakespeare never existed, that the name was a pseudonym for Marlowe or Bacon. But Christianity could not survive if Christ was a fictional figure. You can’t be saved by a fictional or a dead savior.”
HAVE YOU BEEN HURT BY A CHURCH?
The Church often wounds us deeply.People with religious authority often wound us by their words, attitudes, and demands. Precisely because our religion brings us in touch with the questions of life and death, our religious sensibilities can get hurt most easily. Ministers and priests seldom fully realize how a critical remark, a gesture of rejection, or an act of impatience can be remembered for life by those to whom it is directed.
There is such an enormous hunger for meaning in life, for comfort and consolation, for forgiveness and reconciliation, for restoration and healing, that anyone who has any authority in the Church should constantly be reminded that the best word to characterize religious authority is compassion. Let’s keep looking at Jesus whose authority was expressed in compassion.
When we have been wounded by the Church, our temptation is to reject it. But when we reject the Church it becomes very hard for us to keep in touch with the living Christ. When we say, “I love Jesus, but I hate the Church,” we end up losing not only the Church but Jesus too.
The challenge is to forgive the Church.This challenge is especially great because the Church seldom asks us for forgiveness, at least not officially. But the Church as an often fallible human organization needs our forgiveness, while the Church as the living Christ among us continues to offer us forgiveness.
It is important to think about the Church not as “over there” but as a community of struggling, weak people of whom we are part and in whom we meet our Lord and Redeemer. HENRI NOUWEN
These FREE series of ten biblical quotes are called:
GOD IS GREAT: GOD’S LOVE LETTERS
GOD IS GREAT God’s Love letters can be printed and folded in a tent shape. Cut them out and place each in rotation where you do your personal grooming or have your breakfast. They are ideal tool to help you memorized them.
To strengthen your fellowship with God.
To show you the goodness of God.
To build healthy, positive thoughts.
To provide curative comfort.
You may wish to send a FREE series of God’s Love letters to someone.
God divinely inspired the BIBLE . How do we know?Each of eight accurate predictions show a high probability mathematically. The probability of one individual fulfilling eight prophecies have odds of 1 in 10 17(1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000). Jesus Christ fulfilled all prophecies, therefore the Bible MUST BE TRUE.
The Old Testament indicates another 40 astonishing predictions.
Christianity experiences stunning growth—from approximately 3.8 million adherents in China in 1956 to an estimated 87 to 100 million Christians today.
In the end, one Christian conversion will benefit the whole family. The gifts of the Holy Spirit of healing and deliverance will help the whole family. A prayer of deliverance of evil spirits will leave any member of the family with a complete sense of peace immediately. A prayer of healing from a Christian disciple produces 80% healing. The remaining healing comes from continued prayer of praise and thanksgiving until all the healing is complete. This healing comes from the Holy Spirit through the power in the Name of Jesus Christ. No other god or deity or doctor uses this power. This proves the TRUTH OF CHRISTIANITY.
BILLIONS OF CHRISTIANS CAN’ T ALL BE WRONG!
Christianity is not a philosophy, but it is a relationship with God, your Creator, in Christ TODAY. It is not knowledge of abstract principles. How do we know this? Healing takes place TODAY in the Name of Jesus Christ.
Many Christian disciples use the gift of healing. They also use deliverance to deliver away evil spirits influencing people. These evil spirits cause depression, addictions and illness through all forms of stress. Only the Name of Jesus Christ makes healing and deliverance possible.
Jesus is alive today!He heals today (through His followers) and in many cases it is realized immediately. How else can you explain the explosion of Christianity, the world’s largest religion, on earth: 2.2 billion adherents, nearly a third (31 percent) of all 6.9 billion people on Earth.
Christians know and feel His Presence; they communicate with Him personally; Christian prayers are always answered.
This author has been given the Gift of Healing only because he is a Christian Lay Missionary, who travels two to three places every year. On his last trip to Columbia he successfully transferred his Gift to his Spanish translators, who were able to heal as he did. He has healed Muslims to their great surprise.
He also delivers away evil spirits along with their healing. All those who are delivered from evil spirits feel a complete physical sense of peace.
DREAMS AND VISIONS
God can give a message to those non-Christians to change their heart. God knows faith will be developed eventually. God will come to you in the form of dreams or visions. So be sensitive to any dreams or visions,when you ask God for it earnestly.
One thing we know for sure about our God: Our God is a God of the living, not of the dead. God is life. God is love. God is beauty. God is goodness. God is truth. God doesn’t want us to die. God wants us to live. Our God, who loves us from eternity to eternity, wants to give us life for eternity.
When that life was interrupted by our unwillingness to give our full yes to God’s love, God sent Jesus to be with us and to say that great yes in our name and thus restore us to eternal life. So let’s not be afraid of death.There is no cruel boss, vengeful enemy, or cruel tyrant waiting to destroy us – only a loving, always forgiving God, eager to welcome us home. Henry Nouwen
YOU’VE DIED! NOW WHAT?
What would you do if you were told that you only had
One week to live?
One month to live?
One year to live?
TO DIE ONCE AND THEN THE JUDGMENT?
Jesus taught about Judgment and Heaven and Hell. The Bible clearly teaches that righteous people will NEVERsuffer torment because they have a confident hope of IMMORTALITY, and that the wicked will suffer in a fire that NEVER goes out: “(He) will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.” Luke 3:17
When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.” There is no “reincarnation” after death in the Bible: “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment.”Hebrews 9:27
It is also contradicted by our Lord Himself:“You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world.” John 8:23
“Be ready, for the Son of man is coming at an hour you do not expect” Matthew 24:44loses not only its effectiveness, but its essential meaning.
Is there a particular reason you think God needs to create us to preexist before our lives here on earth? If every soul had once pre-existed with God, then Christ wasn’t anything specialto have come from God.
What divine authorityon reincarnation claims this? That could just be made up:”I don’t like the idea of Hell so I’m going to choose not to believe in it.” What they see is truly in the eyes of the beholder.
A DISTINCTIVE HUMAN SOUL
It fails to make the essential distinction between men and animals. Human beings alone are created in the image and likeness of God;and therefore, possess rational and spiritual souls: a human person is a body/soul composite.
Consider a person alleged to have reincarnated; would the person have been himself or someone else, or partly himself and partly someone else? Of course, either alternative is illogical. A human person is a UNIQUE INDIVIDUAL BEING with a spiritual soul and a material body.
Christianity and Christian Science cult are two utterly different religions,in origin, beliefs, practice, and purpose. It is but another of the numerous humanly-invented cults. The tragedy is that Christian Scientist do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ — who does all the healing in His Name.
Had Mrs. Eddy’s book on the subject, Science and Health, no human author, but owed its origin to divine revelation, why had it to be rewritten, altered, taken from, and added to, again and again, as was the case?
In 1885, she even employed the Rev. James Henry Wiggin, a retired Unitarian minister, to edit her book, eliminating the more glaring absurdities. He himself said that his chief concern was ‘to keep Mrs. Eddy from making herself ridiculous. To ask people to regard such a book as divinely revealed, even apart from its contents, is demanding more than reason will permit.
She did not hesitate to advertise the first edition as a book that ‘affords an opportunity to acquire a profession by which you can accumulate a fortune. She charged her students $300 per person, which was a lot then, to enroll in an eight year course (if they ever finished it, with all fees being non-returnable.) There is a charge for their spiritual healing and services. This kind of financing insured that this cult would take on a life of its own.
Her teachings are not based on the Bible. Her one aim was to adapt the Bible to suit her teachings. We have only her word for it that God revealed to her what she wrote.
For Christian Science salvation from sin is accomplished when one ceases to sin, or when one stops believing that there is such a thing as sin. In either event, the death of Christ has nothing to do with salvation; if Christ had never existed, it would have made no real difference (pg. 212.)
According to Christian Scientist, human ills have no real existence, and are to becured not by medicine but by mind-control: a process of ‘right-thinking. The “Scientists” have been legally forced, by court orders, not to prevent members from seeking medical treatment for their families. Continue reading Christian Science: Missing Jesus→
PARABLE OF THE WISE AND FOOLISH BRIDES MAIDS Matthew 25.1-13 (AO32)
Why did the five “wise” bridesmaids not share their extra oil with the “unwise” or “foolish” ones whose lamps began to flicker around midnight? It would have been the charitable thing to do.
The story makes it clear that some of the bridesmaids were ill-prepared to participate in the wedding rituals.
The bridegroom was a bit late. The foolish bridesmaids did not have enough oil to keep their lamps burning, so they missed out. Lesson learned.
If I were to improve the story, I would have created another “teaching moment”. I would have had the good ones actually give away some of their oil to the foolish ones to teach about the virtue of “sharing”. It would have achieved two lessons with one story — one about preparedness and the other about generosity.
THE END TIMES
The parable is a metaphor for the end-times, that time we find out our final destination.
Krishna is the so called God, or “Supreme Personality Universe” Followers go into the prayer room, bowing down to false idols, as there are many idols on a platform. The view of God is basically pantheistic, meaning that they believe God is all and in all. For Hare Krishnas,God is everything and everything is God.
They will always believe themselves above all other, on a special pedestal thinking they are the only ones destined for Godheadand everyone else are doomed.
The “monotheism” of Hare Krishna is a little muddled, however, as Sri Krishna has an “eternal consort” named Srimati Radharani; together, Krishna and Radharani comprise the “Divine Couple.”
The belief in reincarnation is explained as one’s works, good and bad, are measured and judged after death. If one’s deeds are good, he continues to be reincarnated into higher life forms; if his deeds are bad, he will become a lower life form. One can cease the cycles of rebirth and realize his oneness with Krishna.
The goal of the Hare Krishna is to reach “Krishna consciousness,”a kind of enlightenment, so that man is ultimately identical to God. This is an old lie dating back to the Garden of Eden: “You will be as God” (Genesis 3:5).
They believe that by spiritual austerity, by chanting, by rising early, and purifying yourself, that gradually you can evolve to a platform where you are completely free from material desire. “I don’t believe that anybody’s come to that platform,” observed one follower. In fact, you have feelings of guilt and remorse that you can’t always be on this platform, and psychologically you start to berate yourself.
They get you to the point where they don’t have any self-worth anymore. The only thing that is worth is serving Krishna (god): being a robot for God.
The cult phenomenonalways come all wrapped in a nice looking ‘package’ and sweetened with one form of bait or another only to sap one’s essence as well as their pocketbook. The purpose of all these cults is to defuse and distract. For those living in the temple, it is a true cult. (If you do not live in the Temple, you are considered a Householder and can live your life as you see fit, which is a vast difference.)
What happens to your life after death? New Age defines GOD only as an “energy force”. New Age Followers have not addressed this important question about the Creator. It is really not a religion that connects with one’s personal Creator. Would you not meet wish to meet your Creator one day?
Defining ‘New Age’ is a difficult thing to do, since it means so many different things to different people.
They teach you false descriptions and definitions of who and/or what God is. Most New Age teachings deny the truth that Satan exists. Most New Age teachings deny that Hell exists, and so they leave you with a false sense of security — feeling as though anything you do is “alright” as we’re all here just learning lessons, and we all wind up in the end, in the same paradise — back home with God, as we “evolve” our way back to our “Godhood.”
The reincarnation teachings are especially hazardousas people are lead to believe that we all live thousands of life-times, and we’ll get a thousand chances to “get it right.”
Your feelings are suppose to be your wisest guide in all matters. The Law of Attraction teachings cause people to act in reckless ways, believing they’re “safe” as long as they’re feeling good.
New Age is narcissistic: YOU ARE AN UNLIMITED SUPER-BEING: “There is nothing that you cannot have, or do, or be”… Human potential is limitless… “Conceive it and you can achieve it.”
Channeling is actually dangeroussince God forbids us to seek out or invoke unknown spirits that speak through mediums, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the Lord your God.”Leviticus 19:31
Reincarnation is either true or it is not true. It cannot be that for one person it is true and for another it is false.
Hindus believe that there is no “evil,” apart from the failings of human conscience, and Satan doesn’t exist. Nowhere does one mention the possibility of repentance or forgiveness.
Believers in reincarnation are left only with tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow, a constant returning until they “complete their life plans.” It tends toward moral laxity because no matter how bad someone is in this life, he gets another shot… and another… and another! If people have many different lives to lead, then they can play around a lot more and be a lot more experimental about how they will conduct themselves morally.
The human physical brain has no memory of past lives. We don’t have anything to improve on in that first life because we haven’t had a life yet….have we? I can learn from my mistakes only if I remember them, but there is no continuity of memory.
Is Reincarnation Biblical?
Jesus taught about Judgment and Heaven and Hell. The Bible clearly teaches that righteous people will NEVER suffer torment because they have a confident hope of IMMORTALITY, and that the wicked will suffer in a fire that NEVER goes out: “(He) will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable.”Luke 3:17
When “the single course of our earthly life” is completed, we shall not return to other earthly lives: “It is appointed for men to die once.” There is no “reincarnation” after death in the Bible: “Just as it is appointed that human beings die once, and after this the judgment.” Hebrews 9:27
Jehovah’s Witnesses are taught that all other Christian churches represent renegade Christendom, and only the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (which is the spiritual leadership of the Jehovah’s Witnesses) can be trusted.
The Bible describes how the apostles could pass on their authority to future bishops: “Let another person take over his work.”Act 1:20Why should we believe
(1) that the Catholic Church lost its God-given authority to interpret Scripture and proclaim doctrine and
(2) that the Watchtower is God’s official organization on Earth with his authority to interpret Scripture? How does one know that Jesus has given the Watchtower special authority? You Will Know Them by Their Fruits Matthew 7:16
Why did Watchtower teach the following?
Taught that the world would come to an end in 1914.
Said this was a miscalculation and the world would actually end in 1915.
Said the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob would be resurrected when the world would end in 1925.
Strongly hinted that the end of the world would come in 1975.
In 1995 stopped printing the following message about the end of the world in its magazine Awake!: “[T]his magazine builds confidence in the Creator’s promise of a peaceful and secure world before the generation that saw the events of 1914 passes away.”Deuteronomy 18:22 states that a person is not a prophet if he makes a prediction that fails to come to pass.
If God were really guiding the Watchtower, then why would he allow his “spirit-led” organization to lead so many people into error about the end of the world? The simplest answer to these questions is that men, not God, guide the Watchtower, and so it should not be trusted with our eternal salvation.
6. “We see no reason for changing the figures nor could we change them if we would. They are, we believe, God’s dates, not ours. But bear in mind that the end of 1914 is not the date for the beginning, but for the end of the time of trouble.” Zion’s Watch Tower (July 15 1894) p.226. Over time the Watchtower started teaching that the world began to end in 1914, not that it was going to end in 1914 (even though this contradicts the Watchtower’s assertion that 1914 was not the beginning of anything but the end).
7. This miscalculation was due to confusion over whether there was a year “zero.” Russell wrote, “In view of this strong Bible evidence concerning the Times of the Gentiles, we consider it an established truth that the final end of the kingdoms of this world, and the full establishment of the Kingdom of God, will be accomplished near the end of A.D. 1915.” Charles Taze Russell”The Time Is At Hand” Studies In the Scriptures Series II (1915) 99, 101, 242.
8. “Therefore we may confidently expect that 1925 will mark the return of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and the faithful prophets of old, particularly those named by the Apostle in Hebrews 11, to the condition of human perfection.” Joseph Rutherford, Millions Now Living Will Never Die (Brooklyn, NY: International Bible Students Association, 1920) 89-90.
9. “Whatever the date for the end of this system, it is clear that the time left is reduced, with only approximately six years left until the end of 6,000 years of human history.” The Watchtower (May 1, 1970) 273.
10. ‘When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word which the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously, you need not be afraid of him.” Deuteronomy 18:22
We accept the Bible as the inspired true Word of God. The writers were inspired, moved by the Holy Spirit: “No part of the Holy Writings came long ago because of what man wanted to write. But holy men who belonged to God spoke what the Holy Spirit told them.”2 Peter 1:21. The writings are inspired, as if breathed or spoken by God.
The message of the Bible never alters. It is always up-to –date, speaking to the issues of the day. Abraham Lincoln called it, “God’s best gift to man.”
The Bible is a guide to salvationthrough faith in Christ, and sufficient for doctrine, correction, moral and ethical instruction “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.”2 Timothy 3:16.