He That Has Ears To Hear, Let Him Hear (Matthew 11:15-30)
Challenging both secular wisdom and religious doctrines. - Will our descendants know moral virtue?
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Last Updated Saturday August 11, 2012 12:32 AM -0400
The fool hath said in his heart, There
is no God.
They are corrupt, they have done abominable works,
there is none that does good. Psalms 14:1
Are all religions paths to the same God? Jehovah
Witness or Islam?
Only one "prophet" claimed He was God. Only one "prophet" rose from the dead.
"...for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins." Jesus - John 8:24b
Neither is there
salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given
among men, whereby we must be saved. Acts 4:12
Foolishness of God"
o The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that does good. (Psalms 14:1)
o Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. (1 Corinthians 3:18-19)
o Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor. (Proverbs 14:9)
o Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor. (Proverbs 14:9)
o Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of your words. (Proverbs 23:9)
o For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. (Romans 1:18-22)
o But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)
o Does Atheism Require More Faith? Article by David Limbaugh
o I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist Geisler, Norman
o Exposing the Confused and Illusory World of Atheism Announcing the publication of: "Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist," (Tradition and Reason Press, Inc.) by Moshe Averick
o At that time Jesus answered and said, olor="maroon">I thank you, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knows the Son, but the Father; neither knows any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. (Matthew 11:25-27)
o And this is eternal life that they would know You, the only true God, and Whom You sent Jesus Messiah. (John 17:3 Power New Testament)
"I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: 'I'm ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God.' That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic -- on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg -- or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to." --British author C.S. Lewis (1898-1963)
Blessed is the man that walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law does he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the LORD knows the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalms 1
Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seems to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise. For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He takes the wise in their own craftiness. 1 Corinthians 3:18-19
Thus says the LORD, your redeemer, and he that formed you from the womb, I am the LORD that makes all things; that stretches forth the heavens alone; that spreads abroad the earth by myself; That frustrates the tokens of the liars, and makes diviners mad; that turns wise men backward, and makes their knowledge foolish; Isaiah 44:24-25
The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows his handy work. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night shows knowledge. Psalms 19:1-2
The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that does good. Psalms 53:1
O LORD, how great are your works! and your thoughts are very deep. A brutish man does not know; neither does a fool understand this. Psalms 92:5-6
Fools because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted. Psalms 107:17
For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. Proverbs 1:32
The wise in heart will receive commandments: but a fool who idly chatters shall fall. Proverbs 10:8
He that hides hatred with lying lips, and he that utters a slander, is a fool. Proverbs 10:18
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkens unto counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
In the mouth of the foolish is a rod of pride: but the lips of the wise shall preserve them. Proverbs 14:3
The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit. Proverbs 14:8
Fools make a mock at sin: but among the righteous there is favor. Proverbs 14:9
A wise man fears, and departs from evil: but the fool rages, and is confident. Proverbs 14:16
A reproof enters more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. Proverbs 17:10
The foolishness of man perverts his way: and his heart frets against the LORD. Proverbs 19:3
Speak not in the ears of a fool: for he will despise the wisdom of your words. Proverbs 23:9
The thought of foolishness is sin: and the scorner is an abomination to men. Proverbs 24:9
As snow in summer, and as rain in harvest, so honor is not seemly for a fool. Proverbs 26:1
Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit. Proverbs 26:4-5
As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool returns to his folly. Proverbs 26:11
He that trusts in his own heart is a fool: but whoso walks wisely, he shall be delivered. Proverbs 28:26
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written. The just shall live by faith. For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God has shown it to them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse; Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonor their own bodies between themselves; Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections; for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature; And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers. Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents. Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful; Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 1:16-32
For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, has God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are you in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. 1 Corinthians 1:17-31
But the natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14
For years I have been quoting a book by
Peter Stoner called Science Speaks. I like to use a remarkable
illustration from it to show how
proves that Jesus was truly God in the flesh.
I decided that I would try to find a copy of the book so that I could discover all that it had to say about Bible prophecy. The book was first published in 1958 by Moody Press. After considerable searching on the Internet, I was finally able to find a revised edition published in 1976.
Peter Stoner was chairman of the mathematics and astronomy departments at Pasadena City College until 1953 when he moved to Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. There he served as chairman of the science division. At the time he wrote this book, he was professor emeritus of science at Westmont.
In the edition I purchased, there was a foreword by Dr. Harold Hartzler, an officer of the American Scientific Affiliation. He wrote that the manuscript had been carefully reviewed by a committee of his organization and that "the mathematical analysis included is based upon principles of probability which are thoroughly sound." He further stated that in the opinion of the Affiliation, Professor Stoner "has applied these principles in a proper and convincing way."
The book is divided into three sections. Two relate directly to Bible prophecy. The first section deals with the scientific validity of the Genesis account of creation.
Part One: The Genesis Record
Stoner begins with a very interesting observation. He points out that his copy of Young's General Astronomy, published in 1898, is full of errors. Yet, the Bible, written over 2,000 years ago is devoid of scientific error. For example, the shape of the earth is mentioned in Isaiah 40:22. Gravity can be found in Job 26:7. Ecclesiastes 1:6 mentions atmospheric circulation. A reference to ocean currents can be found in Psalm 8:8, and the hydraulic cycle is described in Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Isaiah 55:10. The second law of thermodynamics is outlined in Psalm 102:25-27 and Romans 8:21. And these are only a few examples of scientific truths written in the Scriptures long before they were "discovered" by scientists.
Stoner proceeds to present scientific evidence in behalf of special creation. For example, he points out that science had previously taught that special creation was impossible because matter could not be destroyed or created. He then points out that atomic physics had now proved that energy can be turned into matter and matter into energy.
He then considers the order of creation as presented in Genesis 1:1-13. He presents argument after argument from a scientific viewpoint to sustain the order which Genesis chronicles. He then asks, "What chance did Moses have when writing the first chapter [of Genesis] of getting thirteen items all accurate and in satisfactory order?" His calculations conclude it would be one chance in 31,135,104,000,000,000,000,000 (1 in 31 x 1021). He concludes, "Perhaps God wrote such an account in Genesis so that in these latter days, when science has greatly developed, we would be able to verify His account and know for a certainty that God created this planet and the life on it."
The only disappointing thing about Stoner's book is that he spiritualizes the reference to days in Genesis, concluding that they refer to periods of time of indefinite length. Accordingly, he concludes that the earth is approximately 4 billion years old. In his defense, keep in mind that he wrote this book before the foundation of the modern Creation Science Movement which was founded in the 1960's by Dr. Henry Morris. That movement has since produced many convincing scientific arguments in behalf of a young earth with an age of only 6,000 years.
Peter Stoner's Calculations Regarding Messianic Prophecy
Peter Stoner calculated the probability of just 8 Messianic prophecies being fulfilled in the life of Jesus. As you read through these prophecies, you will see that all estimates were calculated as conservatively as possible.
Multiplying all these
probabilities together produces a number (rounded off) of 1x1028. Dividing
this number by an estimate of the number of people who have lived since
the time of these prophecies (88 billion) produces a probability of all 8
prophecies being fulfilled accidentally in the life of one person. That
probability is 1in 1017 or 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. That's one in one
Part Two: The Accuracy of Prophecy
The second section of Stoner's book, is entitled "Prophetic Accuracy." This is where the book becomes absolutely fascinating. One by one, he takes major Bible prophecies concerning cities and nations and calculates the odds of their being fulfilled. The first is a prophecy in Ezekiel 26 concerning the city of Tyre. Seven prophecies are contained in this chapter which was written in 590 BC:
Four years after this
prophecy was given, Nebuchadnezzar laid siege to Tyre. The siege lasted 13
years. When the city finally fell in 573 BC, it was discovered that
everything of value had been moved to a nearby island.
Two hundred and forty-one years later Alexander the Great arrived on the scene. Fearing that the fleet of Tyre might be used against his homeland, he decided to take the island where the city had been moved to. He accomplished this goal by building a causeway from the mainland to the island, and he did that by using all the building materials from the ruins of the old city. Neighboring cities were so frightened by Alexander's conquest that they immediately opened their gates to him. Ever since that time, Tyre has remained in ruins and is a place where fishermen spread their nets.
Thus, every detail of the prophecy was fulfilled exactly as predicted. Stoner calculated the odds of such a prophecy being fulfilled by chance as being 1 in 75,000,000, or 1 in 7.5x107. (The exponent 7 indicates that the decimal is to be moved to the right seven places.)
Stoner proceeds to calculate the probabilities of the prophecies concerning Samaria, Gaza and Ashkelon, Jericho, Palestine, Moab and Ammon, Edom, and Babylon. He also calculates the odds of prophecies being fulfilled that predicted the closing of the Eastern Gate (Ezekiel 44:1-3), the plowing of Mount Zion (Micah 3:12), and the enlargement of Jerusalem according to a prescribed pattern (Jeremiah 31:38-40).
Combining all these prophecies, he concludes that "the probability of these 11 prophecies coming true, if written in human wisdom, is... 1 in 5.76x1059. Needless to say, this is a number beyond the realm of possibility.
Part Three: Messianic Prophecy
The third and most famous section of Stoner's book concerns Messianic
prophecy. His theme verse for this section is
- "Search the Scriptures because... it is these that bear witness of Me."
Stoner proceeds to select eight of the best known prophecies about the Messiah and calculates the odds of their accidental fulfillment in one person as being 1 in 1017.
I love the way Stoner illustrated the meaning of this number. He asked the reader to imagine filling the State of Texas knee deep in silver dollars. Include in this huge number one silver dollar with a black check mark on it. Then, turn a blindfolded person loose in this sea of silver dollars. The odds that the first coin he would pick up would be the one with the black check mark are the same as 8 prophecies being fulfilled accidentally in the life of Jesus.
The point, of course, is that when people say that the fulfillment of prophecy in the life of Jesus was accidental, they do not know what they are talking about. Keep in mind that Jesus did not just fulfill 8 prophecies, He fulfilled 108. The chances of fulfilling 16 is 1 in 1045. When you get to a total of 48, the odds increase to 1 in 10157. Accidental fulfillment of these prophecies is simply beyond the realm of possibility.
When confronted with these statistics, skeptics will often fall back on the argument that Jesus purposefully fulfilled the prophecies. There is no doubt that Jesus was aware of the prophecies and His fulfillment of them. For example, when He got ready to enter Jerusalem the last time, He told His disciples to find Him a donkey to ride so that the prophecy of Zechariah could be fulfilled which said, "Behold, your King is coming to you, gentle, and mounted on a donkey" (Matthew 21:1-5 and Zechariah 9:9).
But many of the prophecies concerning the Messiah could not be purposefully fulfilled - such as the town of His birth (Micah 5:2) or the nature of His betrayal (Psalm 41:9), or the manner of His death (Zechariah 13:6 and Psalm 22:16).
One of the most remarkable Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew Scriptures is the one that precisely states that the Messiah will die by crucifixion. It is found in Psalm 22 where David prophesied the Messiah would die by having His hands and feet pierced (Psalm 22:16). That prophecy was written 2,000 years before Jesus was born. When it was written, the Jewish method of execution was by stoning. The prophecy was also written many years before the Romans perfected crucifixion as a method of execution.
Even when Jesus was killed, the Jews still relied on stoning as their method of execution, but they had lost the power to implement the death penalty due to Roman occupation. That is why they were forced to take Jesus to Pilate, the Roman governor, and that's how Jesus ended up being crucified, in fulfillment of David's prophecy.
The bottom line is that the fulfillment of Bible prophecy in the life of Jesus proves conclusively that He truly was God in the flesh. It also proves that the Bible is supernatural in origin.
Distributed by www.ChristianWorldviewNetwork.com
Does Atheism Require More Faith? Article by David Limbaugh
I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist Geisler, Norman
Exposing the Confused and Illusory World of Atheism Announcing the publication of: "Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist," (Tradition and Reason Press, Inc.) by Moshe Averick, an ordained Orthodox rabbi and Jewish educator for 30 years. (Available on amazon.com and kindle.) Endorsed by talk-radio host Michael Medved and accomplished academics, Nonsense of a High Order reclaims the intellectual high ground for the rational believer in the 21st century. With his razor sharp logic and rapier wit, Rabbi Averick exposes the gaping flaws in atheistic ideology in general, and in the modern "militant atheism" of writers like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris, in particular. "Very persuasive, often amusing...and rich in ready-to-rumble argument and insight." -- Michael Medved, syndicated talk-radio host "If you have ever felt bullied by schoolyard atheists like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, I have good news...Your big brother, in the person of Rabbi Moshe Averick, has just stepped onto the playground!" -- Dr. Diane Medved, best selling author of The American Family "In his masterfully constructed section on the Origin of Life, Rabbi Averick has dramatically spiked the ball back into the court of the non-believer." -- Dr. Edward Peltzer, Senior Research Specialist, Ocean Chemistry (Monterey, Ca.) "Rabbi Averick turns the tables on atheists by exposing the irrational faith-based nature of their "reasoning." -- Dr. Richard Weikart, Professor of History, California State University-Stanislaus, Author of From Darwin to Hitler: Eugenics and Racism in Germany Copies for review available upon request. For interviews we will provide you with a list of helpful interview questions.
LINKS: Rabbi Averick's Website --- Atheist Reactions --- Christian blogger
Jesus and Muhammad compared By William Federer - What motivates fundamental Muslims to violence? Much effort has gone into answering this. Muslim apologists are quick to point out Christians have also committed violence. Secularists suggest anybody who believes in God is prone to violence, conveniently ignoring the atheistic killings of the French Revolution, Stalin’s purges and Mao Tse-tung’s Cultural Revolution.
...One can examine the life of Jesus from the four Gospels. One can examine the
life of Muhammad from the Quran, Hadith and sources like the Sirat Rasul Allah.
The Quran is a collection of private revelations Muhammad received between A.D.
610-632. Conflicting versions were passed down orally until Caliph Uthman
standardized them around A.D. 650.
...Jesus never killed anyone. Muhammad killed an estimated 3,000 people, including beheading 700 Jews of the Banu Qurayza tribe in Medina, A.D. 627:
...Jesus never owned slaves. Muhammad received a fifth of the prisoners taken in battle, including women. (Sura 8:41)
...Jesus never married. Muhammad had many wives.
...Jesus never forced followers to continue believing. After Jesus made a difficult saying, “many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve, ‘Will ye also go away?’ Then Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.’” (John 6:31-69) Muhammad forced followers to continue believing, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.” (Hadith al-Bukhari, Vol. 9, Bk. 84, No. 57)
Jesus taught God was our Father (Matthew 6:10). Muhammad taught it was blasphemy to call Allah your father (Sura 5:18)
Jesus taught man was made in God’s image. (Matthew 22:20, ref. Gen. 1:26-27, 9:6) Muhammad taught Allah has no image. (Sura 42:11, Sura 112:4)
Jesus taught “forgive those who trespass against you.” (Matthew 6:10-15) Muhammad taught to avenge trespasses against your honor, family or religion.
...Jesus did not retaliate when violence was committed against him, saying “Father, forgive them.” (Luke 23:34) Muhammad retaliated when violence was committed against him, ordering the death of his enemies.
...Following Jesus was voluntary, from the inside out. Following Muhammad could be coerced, from the outside in.
...A martyr in Christian and Jewish thought is one who dies for his faith. A martyr in Islamic thought is one who dies for his faith while killing infidels.
...Christianity teaches God wants a personal relationship with each individual. Islam teaches individuals cannot have a personal relationship with Allah, as he is transcendent and unknowable.
...Jesus’ religion is known for forgiveness and love. Muhammad’s religion is known for obedience and fear.
...None of Jesus’ Apostles led armies. ...All of the caliphs who followed Muhammad led armies.
...In the first 300 years of Christianity, there were 10 major Roman persecutions, and Christians were fed to lions in the Colosseum. Never did Christians lead an armed resistance against those who attacked them. In the first 300 years of Islam, Muslim armies conquered Arabia, Persia, the Holy Land, North Africa, Spain, Southern France, Central Africa, and invaded vast areas of Asia and Asia Minor.
...Jesus’ teaching on how to treat enemies:
Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you (Matthew 5:44).
Resist not evil (Matthew 5:39).
If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to them the other (Matthew 5:39).
If someone takes your coat, give them your shirt (Matthew 5:40).
If someone make you carry something one mile, carry it two (Matthew 5:41).
Forgive and you shall be forgiven (Matthew 6:14).
Judge not, that ye be not judged (Matthew 7:1).
Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9).
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy (Matthew 5:7).
Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not kill, but I say who ever is angry with his brother is in danger of the judgment (Matthew 5:21-22).
Treat others the same way you want them to treat you (Luke 6:27-36).
Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick, whatever you do to the very least you have done unto me (Matthew 25:40).
Muhammad’s teaching on how to treat enemies:
Infidels are your sworn enemies (Sura 4:101).
Be ruthless to the infidels (Sura 48:29).
Make war on the infidels who dwell around you (Sura 9:123, 66:9).
Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day (Sura 9:29).
Strike off the heads of infidels in battle (Sura 47:4).
If someone stops believing in Allah, kill him (al-Bukhari 9:84:57).
Take neither the Jews nor the Christians for your friends (Sura 5:51, 60:13).
Never be a helper to the disbelievers (Sura 28:86).
Kill the disbelievers wherever we find them (Sura 2:191).
No Muslim should be killed for killing an infidel (al-Bukhari 1:3:111).
The only reward of those who make war upon Allah and His messenger will be that they will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off, or will be expelled out of the land (Sura 5:33).
What motivates fundamental Muslims to violence? Where Jesus was a religious leader, Muhammad was a religious leader and a military leader, thus the effort to separate the militant aspect of Islam from the religious aspect is an attempt to split Muhammad.
The closer one follows the example of Jesus, the more peaceful is one’s motivation.
The closer one follows example of Muhammad, the more militant is one’s motivation.
What the media won't
tell you about non-Christian religions.
Aren't all religions fundamentally the same? Don't they teach the same basic ethical principles, and worship the same God? To the media, the answer is an obvious "yes" -- but the real answer is an emphatic "no." Now, in The Religions Next Door: What We Need to Know about Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam -- and What Reporters Are Missing, Marvin Olasky tells the truth about about non-Christian religions -- and the danger of believing that all religions hold different variations of the same tenets.
Olasky, a journalism professor at the University of Texas, and editor-in-chief of World magazine, also challenges the way religion is reported in the media, revealing that not only do the media invest little in religion reporting generally, but the reporters they do hire tend to reflect the secular, anti-Christian ideologies of the newsrooms which they serve.
But the heart of Olasky's book is his straightforward treatment of the four major non-Christian religions -- for each of which he provides a concise yet thorough account of its history, beliefs, rituals, and key figures, plus a glossary of terms. "It is neither wise nor compassionate to remain uninformed . . . when one culture may be threatening another, to settle for the most superficial coverage of that culture's belief, or to assume that both cultures have essentially the same understanding of who God is," Olasky warns.
A tiny sampling of Marvin Olasky's insights:
How many reporters and editors at leading publications attend religious services weekly? Five in ten? Four in ten? Three? (Keep going, you'll get there)
How syncretism -- the attempt to merge religions under the assumption that they are all basically the same -- creates an illusion of similarity that can be dangerous, especially when it applies to reporting on religions with militant aspects
How the favorable treatment Islam has gotten from the press and in schools has fostered its growth in America
The profound differences between God and "Allah," and between the "paradise" of Islam and the Heaven of Christianity
The theology of Islamic jihad and "self-martyrdom"
Why Islam has no concept of "inalienable rights," but accords a subservient status to Jews and Christians, known as dhimmis
How Hindu belief underlies India's caste system -- and why the subservient status of 240 million "untouchables" may lead to the greatest civil-rights conflict of the 21st century
How Hindu scripture and theology contributes to the epidemic of "sex-selection" abortions of females in India
Why Buddhism is a religion of doubt -- not only in the existence of God, but of reality itself
Why Buddhism is especially appealing to those who have lived as hedonists -- such as 60's rebels and Hollywood stars
The Hebrew Scriptures: how archaeological research is vindicating the accuracy of the Old Testament
How Judaism changed after the destruction of the temple in 70 A.D.
How Hitler's anti-Semitism arose not from Christianity but from racial theories stemming from the Enlightenment and Darwinism
Why journalists never write about the way Christianity has survived and thrived
Why the lack of religious belief among most journalists does not leave them neutral toward religion, as the like to think
Order your copy of The Religions Next Door
See also The Fourth Man and Some of God's Hebrew Names and their meaning.
George Lucas, in a magazine interview,
made a comment that represents what many people think today about world
religions: “I remember when I was 10 years old, I asked my mother, ‘If
there’s only one God, why are there so many religions?’ I’ve been
pondering that question ever since, and the conclusion I’ve come to is
that all religions are true.’”1 Madonna concurs: “I do believe
that all paths lead to God. It’s a shame that we end up having religious
wars, because so many of the messages are the same.”2 Sixty
percent of young people today would agree that all roads equally lead to
The Bible is very clear that Jesus is the only path that leads to God. Jesus said to Thomas, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through me” (John 14:6). 1 Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
Ironically, though, Christianity is not the only religion to claim to be the sole path to God. Most other religions (as you can see in the chart below) teach that their beliefs are true and others’ are wrong. According to Islam, the Qur’an is the true word of God and the only avenue to salvation. Mormons believe that ultimate salvation is found only through Joseph Smith and the Mormon Church. But it seems Christianity takes all the heat for saying this.
When it comes to the fundamental teachings of world faiths they can all be wrong, but they can’t all be right. Consider the differences between Hinduism and Islam. Hindus believe in many gods (polytheism) whereas Muslims strictly believe in one God (monotheism). For Hindus Jesus is one of many Gods, but for Muslims he is merely a good prophet. In fact, according to Muslim doctrine, to believe in more than one God is to commit the sin of shirk and to destine one’s soul to hell for eternity. The afterlife for Hindus involves a karmic process of paying off debt with the purpose of becoming one with the impersonal Brahman. Muslims believe in Heaven and Hell for people upon death, according to how they lived their earthly lives in relationship to Allah. While there may be surface similarities between these two faiths, there are core disagreements on the fundamentals. They can’t both be true.
While Madonna and George Lucas are wrong
about the fundamental beliefs of world religions, they are right about
secondary issues. For example, most faiths have some form of the “Golden
Rule.” Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you” (Luke
6:31). Buddha said, “Consider others as yourself” (Dhammapada 10:1). Other
religions, specifically Islam and Judaism, are monotheistic and affirm
there is only one God (of course, they get it wrong when it comes to who
that God is and what He is like). So while the core tenets of other
religions (particularly when it comes to the nature of God and the nature
of salvation) are generally false, we must be careful not to dismiss truth
discovered in those religions.
If a religion says to love your neighbor, to serve the poor, or to treat people equally, then we have common ground. This is precisely what Paul did on Mars Hill (Acts 17). He didn’t completely dismiss the beliefs of the Athenians; he used truth in their beliefs as common ground to discuss the resurrection of Jesus. Respecting other faiths can go a long way in our witness to non-believers.
While many religions claim to be able to
lead people to truth, Jesus uniquely claimed to be the truth. In other
words, Jesus did not merely consider himself a path to God—he considered
himself to be God! This is why Thomas fell down when he saw the risen
Jesus and proclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28).
Jesus did not merely make grandiose claims about his identity and ask people to blindly accept him; rather, he backed them up with compelling proof such as the working of miracles, the fulfillment of prophecy, and ultimately his own resurrection. Of the major religious figures of the world, for example, Confucius, Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Krishna, only one—Jesus—is reported to have resurrected from the dead. This report, further, is backed up by a compelling body of historical evidence. Jesus stands out as unique among the religious figures of the world.
The resurrection of Jesus confirms for the whole world that Jesus is Lord. The apostle Paul, who had seen the risen Jesus, writes that Jesus was “declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead” (Romans 1:4). This is why the gospel of Jesus is considered good news. If Jesus truly is God in human flesh, then God is like Jesus. It means that God is not remote, arbitrary or unreal. He is a God who loves us and who came to earth so we could know Him in a personal way.
On a subway in London I [Sean] met a woman of the Bahai faith. She proceeded to tell me that she embraced all religions, and that as long as people held their beliefs with sincerity their religion was true for them. Despite her attempt to be inclusive, she was just as exclusive as any other religion or belief, for even she excluded the exclusivists! Philosopher Ravi Zacharias notes:
All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions do not say that all religions are the same. At the heart of every religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not and accordingly, of defining life’s purpose. Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive.4
Jesus did not come down to earth to
exclude anyone but to lead as many people as possible to the knowledge of
God. Unlike some religions that exclude females, those in poverty, or
people of certain races, the message of Jesus is inclusive for all.
Colossians 3:11 says, “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a
Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized,
slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us.”
Christ makes no human distinctions—he died and rose again so that all
people could have a personal relationship with the living God.
Time, April 26, 1999.
2 Q Magazine, March 1998 issue, http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/underworld/437/qmagazine.htm.
3 Christian Smith, Soul Searching: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of American Teenagers (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005), 74.
4 Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods (Nashville, TN.: Word, 2000), 7.
Who is Jesus? (Choose a language) Who is Jesus Christ? Is Yeshua (Hebrew for “Jesus”) really the promised Messiah of Israel (Hebrew for “Christ”) of the Old Testament?” Is Jesus Christ truly the Son of God … literally God Himself, the Divine living within human flesh? Were Jesus Christ’s claims that of a Liar or Lunatic … or is He really Lord of the universe? You may want to take a tour of some of the major highlights of Jesus’ life. Or you may want to preview what people were saying before Christ was born. Of course, you may want to check out Jesus’ claims about himself. Some may be interested in learning about the muscle Jesus exercised and the miracles he performed. Knowledgeable people will agree that Jesus Christ has made quite an impact on the world. You may even come to learn that Yeshua is indeed the promised Messiah of the Old Testament. If you prefer, you can take time to further investigate Jesus Christ’s claims in the New Testament. But after all is said and done, the key question for you is, “What does all this information about Jesus Christ have to do with my life?” Or, you may have other questions. The following describes how you can begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ today, experience forgiveness of your sins, receive eternal life, and gain a whole new purpose for living.
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