Some say that religion was the catalyst for most of the wars the human race have seen and that we should do away with religion since it drives us to do illogical things in the names of our gods. Those who say those things of course forget the role that greed and human ambition played in the escalation of wars. However, it is true that many wars are fought and were fought in the name of religion and because of that people suffered more from religion than benefitting from it. Nevertheless, the question must be asked, with all the gods that are worshipped today, there must be amongst them the true God since it is logical to believe in a god for one and then logical to conclude that the True God exists.
How can I get to know the true God, amongst all the apparent deities out there? For one thing, we should never get to the point where we conclude that all religions worship the same god that will be rather naïve because a superficial study of the various religions will show us that they are by no means worshipping the same god. However, there is merit in thinking that the True God certainly want to reveal Himself to the world and that all the cultures of today worship a god because they realize that there is The True God. Here is where religion or false religion comes to the fore. Since there is The True God, it would be proper to worship Him; however, when we as the worshippers decide what is the terms and conditions of worship and when we define the god we worship, then we effectively fall into idol worship excluding the true God from our worship. Since it would be logical to think that the god determines how he should be worshipped, it would be presumptuous of the worshipper to determine the practice or terms of worship. The god should also define himself the worshipper cannot. This will bring up the question, how can a limited being define and determine the practice of worship of an unlimited being without the unlimited being’s help? We, who practice worship, should not and cannot start any type of religion, because of what we determined above, this would also make it obvious that the god should start the ‘religion’ as it were.
Therefore, the logical conclusion for us as we think on this topic is that the god should reveal himself to the people before they decide to worship him. It should not surprise us then that there is so much religion in the world, most people realizes there is a god, but in the procession of time, many of these people made up their own god as they felt comfortable with it and substituted the true God for what they decided the true God should be. That will mean; just because you know there is The True God, does not mean you are worshipping Him when you are busy with your religious acts. However, having religion or faith in a god is a definite sign of spiritual awareness, but the worshipper must realize that he/she should have faith in the true God and that there is potential that they might be worshipping a made up god unwittingly if they just blindly accepted whatever religion was presented to them. What I just stated is one of the big problems in the world today; someone started something out of ignorance many years before, but with time and with many followers, this ignorant belief gains momentum and respectability because of the amount of people who believes it.
The seeker of the true God should be aware that there are some questions that they should ask themselves if they grew up in some religious tradition, which they might have doubts about. Questions like, can I take what I have had strong belief in and just throw it away because someone said it is false? That will not be an easy thing to do; it will be the same as saying that you were a fool while you were worshipping a false deity. However, the conclusion that everyone in such a situation should come to is that it is better to look foolish and rectify the problem than to be foolish and not rectify the problem because of pride. When issues of everlasting life are discussed, there should really be no place for pride, admitting you were wrong would rather be a pointer to your integrity to admit being fallible than to yield to pride and be ignorant on purpose.
Coming to admitting that I might be worshipping the wrong god, who is the real God and how many gods are there? If we are going to be logical, which we should be, then we all should conclude that there could only be One God. Polytheism, when properly thought out, does not make sense, it is a fallacy because God is what theologians call ‘a necessary being’.
There cannot be two or many necessary beings can there. If there are more than one that would mean that none of them would be necessary, and then no need for them to be called God, they will just be like super beings. That will also mean that none of them can have the title of true God, since they all will have absolute power, which will also be a fallacious statement. Only One personality can have absolute power therefore there can only be One God because the phrase ‘absolute power’ when coupled to an entity excludes any other entity. In polytheism, there is then more than one god, which will mean more than one personality with absolute power and we just saw that cannot be. Just think of it, let’s say I worship a personality who says that he is the true god or I make myself a god and say he is the true god. The chances are that the next day, my neighbor who may not like me, could come up with a god that I did not think of, and his god in the eyes of some people might be stronger than my god, making my god essentially second best. That would be one problem in a society where polytheism is practiced. Let’s say the society honors all the gods, who or how do you choose a personal god? In addition, if your prayers are not answered will you move on to the next god to see if he will be able to help you? How can you have a relationship with your god, knowing that there might be a better one out there?
Let’s say you change from one god to the next, does that mean your last god was not really a god, or was he not good enough of a god to give worship to?
The fact of the matter is that there is by no means many gods there is only One there can be only One. It is a logical conclusion. We all have some kind of faith, but we all cannot be worshipping the True God since our faiths are diametrically opposed to one another in many areas, hence the religious wars. Religious wars are actually proof that we are not worshipping the same god. It will also be illogical for the True God to say to some worshippers he is like “this” and to the other He is like “that” and give them ‘holy scriptures’ which are at odds with each other. Somebody said that God is like a ‘giant elephant’ which people can only see a part of, therefore some worship the part they can see the others worship the part they can see and so on. The point being everybody worships the same ‘elephant’ in the end. That is a nonsensical analogy, the True God is a revealer of Himself, although not visible, yet in His creation, He is clearly noticeable. He has integrity, which means He will reveal Himself in the same manner to all. His attributes far exceeds our minds, therefore we can forget of trying to appropriate Him, He must reveal Himself to us and He has. He does not let the onus rest on a limited person to figure out certain aspects of Him and then allows the person to build a whole religious system around what they personally decided what God must be like. That would be irresponsible if that were true.
However, who is worshipping the true God and who is worshipping the wrong one? I do not want to end up with an; I am right and you are wrong scenario here so we should think this thing through thoroughly. We should ask ourselves some questions, questions like am I interested in the truth because not everyone can be right at the same time. Will I have the courage to say that I was wrong if I held on to the wrong faith movement? To belong to the wrong faith movement is not to say that you are stupid or ignorant, because it could just be that you were brought up in a certain culture where a certain belief system was prevalent and you as a matter of course got involved with what was prevalent.
Anybody can understand that, however just because popular culture includes the popular religion, does not make the popular religion, true religion. God is not voted in as God; therefore, popular religion should be questioned. Is the true God in your popular religion? I guess what I am getting at is will you, even if you are convinced you are right, consider if you have the right god and will you have the bravery to relinquish the gods of your fathers if those gods are not the right god? Are we interested in the truth about who God is and how He revealed Himself? The problem with today’s secular humanism is that we tend to want everybody to have their own opinion and then to allow everybody to believe that their opinion is truth. How can everybody be right in his or her own opinion? Truth cannot be relevant in the sense that it is up for discussion; therefore, there is such a thing as absolute truth. Just as all opinions cannot be truth, in the same manner we cannot say that all religions are true and that they contain the Truth. Since when could man determine truth without God?
Indoctrinating children, why false religion does not seem to die:
Let’s say 80 % of children accept the God or gods of their fathers, the question that can be asked then is; why would that be so? It will probably be so because of cultural practices that gets a child into a religious routine. When the child accepts the routine at sometime in their life, they will effectively be indoctrinated into the religion whether the religion is true or false or whether it be derived from true religion.
We tend to forget that no one is ever born a Christian, or Hindu or Moslem, but that somewhere in the life of the person he/she makes a decision to accept the god or gods of their fathers and then and only then had they made an life altering decision.
In other words, children are just children and are children of people who have a certain belief system; the child is still pure and undefiled with religion as long as he/she does not have the capacity to make a conscious decision for a certain faith or religion. We may not think of it in that manner, but we all indoctrinate our children into the faith we have, and indoctrination is to teach something uncritically. In other words, we sometimes want our children to believe something dogmatically because we say so, and not because they found it to be true. Remember, there can only be one truth because truth is absolute and unchangeable. Even atheists or agnostics do this indoctrination if they tell their children there is no god or that god cannot be understood, if I may make such an untested assumption. However, what right do we have to do that? No right, the person should choose his/her god or decide that there is no god. However, since the true God do exist, we who say we know Him must live out His ways before our children and others, teach them about God, pray, and know that He has the power to reveal Himself to our children when the time is right for the children to understand His existence. God actually gives us the faith to accept Him, when the time is right and when the opportunity presents itself.
What is interesting about children is that they are innocent because of their inability to make decisions that will affect their future because they are not allowed to make such decisions. However, what would be wrong of children when they enter adulthood is to blindly believe what others say is truth about everlasting life issues. Remember one of my assumptions right at the beginning of this article was that it would be logical that the true God would want to reveal Himself to the whole world, which would mean to every man and woman that would be ever born into this world. If that is true, then every man and woman should not just blindly accept what he or she is told about theology, but as a matter of faith, they should ask the god to reveal himself to them, because the true God would have the power to reveal Himself in truth.
A God that cannot reveal Himself apart of His worshippers may not be the true God. That is not to say that the true God does not use those who will evangelize you. However, the True God should show Himself to want to be intimately concerned with you apart from anybody else, it should be visible from His revealed teachings, and it should be visible from His followers. It will almost be as if, before you were born, He loved you and had a plan for your life because He wants to be your Heavenly Father intimately concerned with your welfare.
Now let us go to the next step in our discussion:
What types of religious beliefs are out there?
There are monotheism (only one god), polytheism (more than one god), pantheism (everything is god) and then non-ultimate god religions (these are not really atheists as such). There are other types out there, but for this discussion, those are irrelevant. Examples of the discussed religions would be:
Monotheism : Christianity, Judaism, Islam
Polytheism : Hinduism, ancient Greek religion, ancient Egyptian, ancient Roman religion
Pantheism : Shintoism
Non- Ultimate : Jainism, Buddhism (Siddhartha Gautama, the Buda, did not believe in a god as such, it might be different amongst his followers today)
Which of these systems will be logical to follow?
Well, like we saw before, to believe in more than one god is a flawed belief system, then to say there is no God is equally flawed since God and His invisible attributes are clearly evident in creation (see my previous article: The Logic of believing in God).
However, let us look at the religion types beginning with the non- Ultimate god group:
It is hard to believe that there is no god. This group has the same problem atheists or evolutionists have, that is to say, if you say there is no ultimate being, you must first prove this, but you cannot. These people follow moral codes without a moral code giver judging them or rewarding them for it. In other words, their moral codes and beliefs about life after death originate in them. They say there is spirituality to life, but no ultimate spirit.
This will lead us to a logical question, where did everything including the spirits come from if there is no ultimate spirit. The spirits cannot have created themselves. If people are born with spirits, then where did those spirits come from? If you have spirits who are equal to one another, you sit with the problem that the polytheists will face, who made whom?
The faith that god is in everything or is everything, that is, your dog is as much god as you are. They believe everything either made itself or came about in a ‘scientific’ big bang way. As I read up on this, it seemed to me that there are many opinions on how to describe pantheism, and it can get confusing. However, the flaw is how can you attribute godliness to just about everything, if we look at the definition of an ultimate being? To say everything is god or godly is to say nothing is god in the end, you might as well have been an atheist. It is not logical, like said before, the ultimate being will exclude any other, in addition, how do you perform worship then? Do you worship yourself, your dog, the tree in the back yard etc? I do not want to sound sarcastic, but if everything were god, then you would worship either everything or nothing.
As I said before polytheism does not make logical sense since, there cannot be more than one ultimate being. Even if you had one most powerful being, and then lesser gods, why would you call the being that is lesser than the most powerful one, a god? Why would you worship and pray to a lesser god? Why not pray directly to the one who has the most power? If we think about Greek mythology, those gods was actually immoral in their conduct. How can you have an immoral god? Who will set the standard if the god cannot behave himself? Then people say for instance that there is a god of fire and a god of the weather or a god of the river. Why would you need separate gods for separate things? Can’t one god be god of all? No, polytheism is logically flawed; there are just too many philosophical and logical problems with polytheism.
Here we have three religions that purport to believe in the same God. Monotheism makes sense. It make sense since One ultimate being, is a logical conclusion if faith in a god is brought to a logical end. What I mean is, if you would take your wildest conception of a god then you would not or really should not come up with more than one, let alone everything is god. If you think of the word God, it implies all powerful, all knowing etc. It also follows that this God will not share glory, like polytheistic gods, since if He would have shared glory it will mean that He would have esteemed another as Himself, therefore He will not be the only all-encompassing God. This being would be the source of all and everything, because He will not have a source. Theologians say He would be the uncaused cause; He would be the person who set everything in motion, the unmoved mover. He would be in creation, but apart from creation, He would be involved with His creation since He would have had a purpose for all He made.
Monotheism- The Jews:
In a historical perspective, the Hebrews/Israelites/Jews are given the honor of having the logic to figure out that there was only One True God. However, as we saw before that is a wrong assumption since the true God revealed Him to people and did not wait for the people to figure out that He was there. Therefore, it would follow that the true God revealed Himself to the patriarch of Israel since it would also be logical that a god would reveal himself first to an individual than to everybody. It would be logical since people differ and the god would choose someone that has faith and is faithful in his personality with which He will start a relationship and then by this person the god will influence others. However, more important than that is that God shows that He is a God of the individual and interested in the individual and not just in seeking people to worship Him. Therefore, God revealed Himself to the patriarch of Israel, which was Abraham, and then via him to his children, which should have made God their personal God as God was with their fathers.
Monotheism- The Christians:
The Christians believe in One God because they believe that the God of the Israelites is the only God, however there is one major difference. The religion of the Jews was never ‘the’ way to get to the true fellowship that God wanted with us or that we want with Him. Since everything in the law of the Israelites showed to a Person that would come to release them and the world from their bondage, it would follow that their belief system was incomplete without their Messiah. When the Messiah would come and reveal the way to the True God it would then effectively replaced what they had before.
However, when the Messiah came they rejected Him and gone on with their Law/religion, which was nothing but a ‘school master’, who should have taught them about The One that would come to save them and the world from the sin predicament they were in. The only reason why there are people called Christians are because of Jesus Christ, the Messiah of the Jews who paid for the sin of the world. In essence, if all the Jews believed in their Messiah, then the Jews and everybody else, who would come to faith in Jesus Christ, would have been one people today; that would be in faith of course. A major difference between Jews and Christians is also the doctrine of the trinity of the One God. Just for clarification, Christians do not believe in three God’s, that would be tri-theism, but in One God with three subsistence’s (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit). I must admit this is a doctrine hard to explain, but the Bible is clear that God is three and that God is One.
The belief system, which is called Islam, with its adherents, which are called Moslems, say they believe in the God of Abraham, which is the God of the Jews and the God of the Christians. However, there is a dispute here because even though on face value it sounds like they believe in the same people, which are mentioned in the Bible and Torah, if we would compare the Koran with for instance the Bible, it will be patently clear that the same person, personality, or god did not write those two revelations. The two books are diametrically opposed to one another in doctrine, in worldview and in the description of the god, which they say are supreme. Therefore, the god of the Koran is not the God of the Bible. Moslems reject the triune nature of the Biblical God. They reject the Messiah as the Son of God. They reject Jesus Christ as the way the truth and the Life.
They are not sure if they will have everlasting life after they die (opposite to what the Bible teaches). This point is maybe the most illogical of all, how can you live life and die and never be sure of salvation? According to them, if you die with more bad than good, you will not go to heaven, but how would you ever know if your good deeds will outweigh your bad deeds? To believe in a god that waits to give you assurance of everlasting life after you are dead cannot be logical. It would be then to bad for you if you really wanted to do good, but just missed out because you realized to late that your bad works out weighed your good ones. At the end of the day, a god that saves you on account of your works, either do not know what his creation became or do not care for them because we know that no one of us has the ability to be good throughout our lives.
Someone else have to pay for us to be able to have fellowship with the true God. In the end, it just has to be the True God Himself since no creature can pay for the sin of another creature.
Attributes of the true God:
Looking at the world and the state it is in shows us that something went wrong and is wrong. We may want to say we were made the way we are today, but that will militate against the thought of a pure God, a moral God. Why would a pure God make sinful, evil beings? That is also a logical flaw if we ever have thought that way. Something went wrong. Now, if we look at what went wrong and how this God would have fixed what went wrong, in that investigation we will probably find out who is worshipping the true God. This also puts the spotlight on the ‘self-help’ religions. Looking at the history of man, it will be clear that although man has become more sophisticated in technological terms, he certainly did not become better in moral terms whatever happened before in history is happening now in terms of man’s morality and his relationship to the rest of humanity. If a religion is teaching in a sense that man can lift himself up by his bootstraps and become better, that religion will be an obvious system of wishful thinking since man cannot become better than he is if we look at the whole of humanity.
The true God is not interested in the window dressing type of life change that only makes you socially acceptable while inward you are still struggling with many other types of human vices. The true God is in a word pure, however unlike the ‘usual gods’ that want you to reach a certain level of acceptable purity or want some kind of sacrifice from you, the true God wants and ‘needs’ you to be as pure as He is. That will be an absolute impossibility for any and every man or woman to reach and no religion in the world, which is of man, will ever tell you that you must be as pure as the god they worship.
What is said above is what characterizes the God of the Bible.
It sounds wrong to say that you can be as pure as the real God, but what do you know of the real God? If we will bring logic into the discussion again, is it not logical that an absolute pure God will not allow impurity in His presence? If He did not make impurity in you, He certainly will not accept you bringing impurity to Him.
Your sinlessness before Him must be absolute no defiling of any nature can come before Him, therefore if it is not His purity you have, then no other purity will do. Now for the obvious question, how can sinful me be as pure as purity gets, the Holiness of God?
The God of the Bible has the answer; nobody else gets close in relation to the doctrine of the Bible or the doctrine of the true God. As I said before, when it comes to rectifying the sin nature we that have, it all comes down to God who must come and save us because no creature can pay for the sins of another creature. Therefore, if God must save us lest we go into eternal damnation, it will also follow that God will impute to us His pureness, His holiness so that we can come before Him, as holy as He is. There is no way that we can work out our own holiness and present it to Him, the Bible calls our “goodness”, “filthy rags” it is just not good enough. The doctrine of the Bible and God is that we broke His initial commandment and came under His judgment. However, he knew that we would not be able to become sinless again by ourselves so therefore He became a man through a woman and was born into the world. In addition, as the first man sinned and made his offspring sinners, so will the Son of God live sinless and die for His fellow man so that everyone who will believe in the work of The Son and confesses this belief will become sinless again to God by His Son Jesus Christ.
Some questions about doctrine, whose doctrine teaches that man, went from good to bad. Whose doctrine teaches that there is only One God and this God had a plan that would ensure that even though His creation fell, that He would restore His creation. Whose doctrine teaches sacrifices for sin? Whose doctrine teaches that the sacrifices show to One ultimate sacrifice? Whose doctrine teaches that the sacrifices of man cannot pay for their sin, but only One blameless sacrifice from one blameless Person?
Answer, the God of the Bible’s doctrine. Most religions teaches morality and good works will get you to ‘heaven’, others teaches that there is no heaven or hell for that matter and that through many lifetimes you can get to know the universal conscience and become one with it. Others say there are no God and nothing tangible to live for after you die, but those are all illogical if there is nothing after death, life will be of no value or would have no purpose. If there is not punishment and reward after death, life would have been “a cruel joke”, like one person put it and there would have been no purpose. The ‘morality’ of some would have been useless and needless since there would have been no good and no bad. The criminal in life would have understood life better than the moral person in life since he would have seen that there is no point to life and that doing what he wants because he wants too was in fact the right way to go if there were no consequences after death.
The logic in following the God of the bible is that God satisfies all the philosophical questions you can think of. All the 'why’s' of life He can give an answer to or will give an answer to. That does not mean that we will know all about life this side of death but we will understand all that happened here one day. That also does not mean we are kept in the dark by God either, but understanding every little point of life is not a prerequisite for knowing and following the true God. There are some who want to know every little thing and want every question answered before they want to accept God, but that is not what they need, they first need to know God before they need to know why this and why that happened to them. Knowing the true God is more important in your life than knowing why someone died or why you have the life you have or why whatever, to put it like that.
The God of the Bible never intended a religion that you must follow and know to get to know Him; He just intended to have you know Him without any frills. God was always the God of the individual. God was, (in His terms that will be, He is) the God of Adam, the God of Abel, the God of Noah the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Josef, Moses, Joshua, all these men did not belong to a denomination or any specific religion, they just knew God.
They had firsthand experience with God and that is still the way God wants to relate to us today, no pastors, ‘priests’, ‘fathers’, ‘popes’ etc should be in the way of you and God, who are these people anyway? They should only be part of God’s way to get you to know Him better, although I must say that there are some erroneous titles like priest, father and pope that should be done away with. However, the God of the Bible is the True Only Ever God. That is not according to me or according to my religious viewpoint that just is. It sounds dogmatic, but we may be dogmatic about the truth since truth is absolute and not up for discussion. Like I said before not everybody can be right, and everyone can understand that. Therefore, in the area of who is the right God, there will be those who will be right and those who will be wrong. Speaking about who has the right religion, we learnt that the worshipper does not define the God, but the God defines Himself, the God of the Bible defines Himself. He attributes to Himself the Bible as His Word, which was written by men, but inspired by Him.
He is the only God that calls Himself “I Am” that is just genius, He has many attributes, but when Moses asked Him His Name, He said, “I AM That I AM”. He is not; He was not and will not be He is ever present. Have we ever heard of any other God who in His Name and in His own description defines the essence almost of what a God should be? Then the coherence of the Bible of God is just outstanding. Many tried to prove it wrong, with the consequence that they ended up following it. Let me end of with some reiterations, we do not define God He is too big for us to even put into words, let alone build a doctrine about Him. He defines Himself. We do not write what we believe should be His words and directives, He tells us what to write about Himself, He defines Himself and He defines us by His Word. We do not attribute actions to Him, He reveals Himself via His Word and followers and deeds that shows to Him. We do not make believing in Him an exclusive right to some “ism”, He loves the world and everybody in it therefore everybody must know Him not the select few.
The bottom line is; if you do not know the Bible, you do not know God, the true God. The only God that makes sense because He has the power to reveal Himself to the world, while the rest needs to be carved out of some substance or had their origin in the mind of some man.