ARE YOU RELIGIOUS?
Updated: Oct 24, 2019
RELIGION | [ri-lij-uh n] | noun | A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe.
By definition, Atheists, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Agnostics, Muslims, Jews, Human Secularists and even those who call themselves "non-religious" are all indeed RELIGIOUS.
Ask Yourself Three Questions:
Where did I come from?
Why am I here?
What happens when I die?
Stop and Think...
Your answers to those questions inform how you perceive, interpret and interact with the universe around you. They are the very foundations of your world view, which is the lens by which you bring the cosmos into focus. Stop and think deeply about what you believe. Is it rooted in fact or faith?
Whether Atheist, Zoroastrian, or something in between, the cause and purpose of your existence is a faith based proposition. Religion, sacred or secular, cannot provide scientific proof for the origin of the universe or the meaning of life. No one has yet to construct an experiment in which a universe is created, let alone studied and repeated. Even if this were possible, it could only be done in the present. Empirical conclusive proof, however, can only be gathered under the same conditions in which the universe actually came into being, in the past. The experiment, therefore, as grand and impossible as it already is, must also include a time machine. Absolutely no scientific proof exists for the cause of the universe. What you believe, whatever that may be, is rooted in faith, not science.
Regardless of religion, there can be only three possibilities for the cause of the universe:
The universe created itself
The universe is eternal
The universe was created
Of the three, #1 is easily dismissed. If the universe had a beginning then it could not have created itself. Something that doesn't exist cannot create. The statement, "In the beginning nothing created everything" is absurd. The universe is not self-existent. It is either eternal and uncreated or it was created by something eternal and uncreated. Stop and think about that for a moment.
The statement, "In the beginning nothing created everything" is absurd.
Let's suppose that #2 is true and the universe is eternal. How then does it exist in space and time? Something without beginning or end has nothing in between, no present 'here and now'. An opera without beginning or end cannot have an intermission. It never began! The movement of time conclusively testifies against an eternal universe. You are reading this in the present, and now that present is the past. Past, present and future are temporal concepts that do not exist in eternity. The mathematical term infinity illustrates just how well we understand this reality. Infinity does not exist in this universe. It is an abstract concept. It is neither a real nor rational number. Consider the following question: If you count up, once every second, will you ever reach infinity? No, you won't because you can always +1! The very fact that your count had a beginning is no small detail. Belief that the present universe is eternal, created or not, requires an unreasonable faith.
INFINITY | ∞ | noun | a number larger than any number
Yet, there is a universe. You are reading this. You exist. The universe can neither be self-existent nor eternal. The cause, therefore, must be external to the universe. By definition, supernatural. Neither consisting of mass or energy nor tethered in space and time. Uncreated and eternal. An infinite something or someone. That is, a being greater than any other being. God, the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe. The statement, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is not so absurd. Belief in God requires faith, but it is a reasonable faith.
GOD | [god] | noun | the one Supreme Being, the creator and ruler of the universe
Just as a painting is a credit to the painter, a building to the builder, and a book to the author, creation is a credit to the Creator. How can you know without any doubt that there is a creator? Look around you. Creation is proof that there is a creator, and in it He put all of His attributes on display. Romans 1:20 says, "since the creation of the world His invisible attributes and His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made." The ground beneath your feet, the air in your lungs, what can you can touch, taste, see, smell and hear. The evidence for God is overwhelming and the purpose of the universe and all that is in it, including you and I, is to give credit to, or glorify, God.
The statement, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" is not so absurd.
Sadly, Romans 1:21-22 continues that even though men and women knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks. In fact, they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creation rather than the Creator.
God's crowning achievement in creation was mankind and, accordingly, He placed special worth in all of us (Genesis 1:26). So much so that he would sacrifice Himself in the person of Jesus Christ in order to redeem all of mankind back to Himself, to as many as would believe in Him (John 1:12). Yet, we turned our backs on Him (Isaiah 53:6).
To understand why you absolutely need Jesus Christ, you must understand this next point: God is good and just. So much so that He must and will punish sin. While it is true that He is loving, compassionate and gracious, forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin, it is also true that He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7).
Maybe this will make more sense if I explain it in familiar terms...Would a good and just judge let a criminal go free? Even if the criminal did good things--gave money to charity, went to church, volunteered at a soup kitchen--that won't dismiss his case will it? What if he said he was sorry? Just imagine asking a judge for an acquittal on the basis of your guilt! Only a corrupt judge would let a criminal go unpunished. Justice must be carried out! Likewise, if God is good and just then He must and will punish sinners. So much so that the Bible says, "the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death" (Revelation 21:8).
Here's the real problem. The fact is, no one is without sin (1 John 1:8). Take an honest assessment of yourself. Search your own heart (Mark 7:21). Have you ever lied, stolen (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), lusted (Matthew 5:27-28), been angry without cause (Matthew 5:21-22)? No matter how white the lie, it's still a lie. No matter how small the theft, it's still theft. Those are just four of the ten commandments. What about taking God's name in vain? Using "God" as an interjection or figure of speech (e.g., OMG) is a very serious sin (Exodus 20:7). Does it even make sense that you would use the name of your creator in place of a curse word? Do you understand that it is precisely because God is good that He will see to it that justice is carried out? (Hebrews 9:27) No one is without sin (Romans 3:9-18) and because God is good and just He will not let sin go unpunished (Revelation 20:15). Oh what a pitiful existence ours would be if that were all there was to it (1 Corinthians 15:19). BUT GOD is also rich in mercy (Ephesians 2:4-5)!
God has provided a way for you to escape His judgment (Romans 5:8-9). This is what John 3:16 is all about. Jesus Christ, the Son of God (1 John 5:20), born of the virgin Mary (Luke 1:35), God in the flesh (John 1:14), who lived a sinless and perfect life (1 Peter 2:22-23), stepped into time and space and "paid the fine" for you on the cross (Romans 8:1-2). God punished Him instead of you (2 Corinthians 5:21). He rose from the dead three days later and defeated death (2 Timothy 1:10). God is both righteous and just in that your sin will not go unpunished. He is also full of grace and mercy so that those who repent and place their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved from the wrath of God, being justified and made righteous in His sight by the substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross for them (Romans 3:26, Psalm 103:12). We did the crime, He paid the fine.
There is nothing you can do to earn this righteousness. No amount of "good deeds" will atone for your sins in the courtroom of eternal justice. Salvation is the free gift of God (Ephesians 2:8-9). Every other religion requires you to work your way in some part into God's grace. Christianity stands alone on the finished work of Jesus Christ, the truly blameless lamb of God and only one worthy of God's favor (Hebrews 9:12). Judaism, Islam, Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Mormonism and every other religion require some part of your own efforts to save yourself, as though all of your deeds will be weighed on some cosmic scale when you die. The Koran says that even Muhammad did not know if his reward would be paradise. The Bible says you can be sure!
"We did the crime, He paid the fine."
Today is the day, now is the time, you are not promised tomorrow. No amount of good deeds will bribe a good and just judge. You must repent and put your faith in Jesus Christ like you would a parachute. It's not enough to believe in a parachute before you jump, you must put it on! Likewise, "put on" the Saviour. You won't survive the jump without Him.
Becoming a Christian doesn't mean that you'll live a sinless life but it does mean that you'll repent (turn away) from the sin in your life (Mark 1:15). Ours is a daily walk of repentance and faith. There is no mediator between God and man but Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). You don't need to go through a holy man or priest to settle your account with God. Speak to Him in plain speak, perhaps in the quietness of your mind. He created it, He knows your thoughts! There is nothing magical about the words you use and there is nothing mystical about how you use them. Jesus says to avoid vain repetitions (Matthew 6:7). Just pray from your heart! Read David's prayer in Psalm 51. Let this be a model for your own repentance and growth. Your prayers can be longer or shorter.
Here is the good news that Jesus Christ called the gospel:
“But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ Died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.” (Romans 5:8-11)
Good News Indeed! And that is the good news He told His followers to carry to the ends of the earth (Mark 16:15).
If you're not a Christian but want to know how you stand before God right now, click HERE. If you're a new Christian and want some direction for growth, click HERE. I am always glad to hear from readers. Contact me HERE.