I was recently required to read the play, "Tartuffe" by Moliere for one of my literature classes. (Don't be intimidated if you don't know the name or the play. I didn't either.)
The play tells the story of a man named Orgon who becomes obsessed with a certain clergyman by the name of Tartuffe, heeding all that the man says. The problem is, Tartuffe is a complete fraud who is not there to help Orgon in his spiritual walk, but
rather to rob him of his money and family and basically take him for all he's worth.
Of course, Tartuffe doesn't appear that way. He says all the right things at the right times and his pious, self-righteous nature certainly makes him seem like a man of God.
There was one passage within the play that I found particularly intriguing:
"[There is] no one worse than those downright impostors. [Those men] whose faith [is] adjustable to fit their vices, who are disloyal, fleet, vindictive, cunning, and when the time comes to destroy an enemy, can brazenly disguise their fierce resentments behind a cover of what's good for Heaven; doubly dangerous because the weapons they turn against us in their bitterness are so respected, and because the passion, for which they are so genuinely admired, aims at our hearts a consecrated sword."
"This faking is becoming far too common...meanwhile our age has shown us, very often, glorious examples of true piety. They don't judge by appearances, instead their inclination [is] to think well of others. They don't form cliques, they don't approve of plotting: their only aim is to live righteously. They have no animosity against sinners, reserving all their hatred for the sin, and no urge to pursue the Church's interests more violently than it would itself."
In today's society, there are plenty of people parading around, claiming to have the answers to life's problems, claiming to be messengers of God, claiming that only they know the true path to God. The message sounds good. The people behind the message look good. And they make promises that truly make you feel good. With all that goodness, they must be onto something good, right? Not necessarily.
There are hundreds of faiths out there, thousands of doctrines. How are we ever to know which ones are true and which ones are false? Well, we can start by looking at the Word of God.
"Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this doctrine, do not receive him into your house nor greet him." (2nd John 1:9-10)
But then again, there are many faiths out there that preach that they do base their beliefs on the doctrine of Christ. How can we ever know if what they claim is true?
2nd Peter 1:19-21 states, "We also have the prophetic word made more sure, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts: knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scriputre is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit."
We can be confident in our beliefs when they agree with the Word of God and the teachings of Jesus Christ. If they don't, then there's cause for concern. Don't be deceived by what sounds or looks good. Don't accept everything that claims to teach God's true message. And be sure that you know what you believe and why you believe it.
We need to be on our guard against false doctrines and teachings. We need to be ready to investigate their assertions and search for the truth ourselves. And we need to stand up for that truth and challenge those false doctrines that have many people deceived.