Religion—and the True Faith

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Religion—and the True Faith

Courtesy of the rise in the public profile of the Vatican and the rise of Islam, religion is headline news.Yet it is as confused as ever in answering the basic questions of life.
From the February 2006 Trumpet Print Edition

It is once again fashionable to talk about religion. Yet the discussion of this subject, considered passé in the circles of post-1960s academia, though once again permitted within such circles, is now often couched in the language of political correctness. There are even efforts to legislate against the incitement of religious violence—a violence that, especially in these times, seems peculiar to the religion of Islam. Some legislators view incitement as stemming from a person just discussing this subject in public without using the requisite politically correct terms. Thus, while it is fashionable to discuss religion, it is increasingly verboten to discuss it in terms that reflect the reality of the particular history and current practices of an individual religion and its real impact on society.

Thankfully, it is not the editorial policy of this magazine to subscribe to the politically correct. We strive instead to reflect reality—the reality that God is working out a definite plan for the fulfillment of the incredible potential of every human being who has ever drawn and will ever draw breath.

Religious Confusion

There are three primary religions of man that are considered monotheistic—maintaining belief in one supreme Creator: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. All three revere the city of Jerusalem as a holy city. None agrees fully on the way to worship the one God they all espouse.

Logic demands that if there indeed is one God, then it ought to follow that He would define the proper manner in which to worship Him, and reveal that way to man. Yet these religions differ vastly in doctrine and in practice.

One of these religions, Judaism, claims that the Old Testament writings preserved from ancient times by the Jews are the revealed instructions to man as to how to worship God.

Varying divisions of Christianity lay claim to the same book, the Bible—incorporating both the Old Testament preserved by the Jews (albeit in differing versions) and the New Testament preserved by the Greeks—as the basis of their religion. Yet they disagree on their interpretation of its teachings.

The third of these great religions places faith in another book as the Creator’s revealed knowledge of how to worship and obey God: the Koran of the Islamic faith.

Within each of these monotheistic religions, there are many diverse branches, differing among themselves on religious beliefs and practices to the point of confusion as to just what it is that represents core doctrine.

If religion is, indeed, the opiate of the masses, as Lenin declared, then among these religions there is a brand to suit all tastes. The question arises, is there one true faith? If not, then based on the assumption of all three of these religions that there exists one supreme God over all, has that God destined mankind to a life of confusion over the very basic questions about the reason for human life? This is a fundamental question with which countless generations of thinkers, philosophers, religionists and educationalists have wrestled for 6,000 years of documented human history.

Honest Questions

In reference to the refusal of many men of science to face this most fundamental of all questions about the nature of our being and of the universe, British historian Paul Johnson recently stated that such men of knowledge “are not going to confess their own ignorance, indeed, their intellectual impotence” (Spectator, Nov. 12, 2005).

Johnson is one of those historians (akin to American historian John Lukacs, or the late Allan Bloom) who is sufficiently humble so as to challenge the pomposity of the West’s intelligentsia. He couches his writings in easy-to-understand prose and is always prepared to thumb his nose at the establishment of academia.

Paul Johnson is a deep thinker. He dares to consider, deeply, those questions that most scientists tend to discount due to their inability to come to terms with their outstanding relevance. He dares to consider God!

In that same weekly column in the British Spectator magazine, Johnson challenged the individual who is considered to possess one of the most brilliant of mathematical minds, Dr. Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time. Referring to a tv interview during which Hawking was asked the question, “What existed before the universe began?” Johnson quoted Hawking’s reply: “That’s a meaningless question.”

To this Johnson retorted, “Oh no, it isn’t. … No question is meaningless if it is prompted by a genuine thirst for knowledge. Physicists expect us to believe their claim … that not merely something but everything was created out of nothing, thus breaking the fundamental law of physics. … [T]hey fear that trying to answer [questions about what happened before the ‘Big Bang,’] or admitting that they are meaningful, will involve them in debate about the three-letter word which, to them, is the final obscenity—G-O-D.”

Zeroing in on his own unique quest for answers to this question, Paul Johnson admits, “Since an early age I have always been puzzled by God” (ibid.). Yet, unlike the men of science whom he derides for ignoring these most basic of questions, he has obviously been honest about his search to find the answers to his puzzlement about the Creator. He indicates that he started with the intellectually correct, yet politically incorrect, logical foundation for his quest: “The fact of an all-powerful God, who transcends all the laws of physics, and equally supplies order in the vacuum left by their non-existence, is the only explanation ….”

Johnson’s questions are akin to those asked by every true and honest thinker down through the ages: “If God had always existed, why did He suddenly decide to create the universe and humanity? Why did He do it then, and not earlier or later? … He created space and time at the same moment. But what was His motive? What did He hope or intend to achieve? What exactly is God’s plan?” (ibid.).

Here is a man now in the eighth decade of his life’s experience—a true scholar, well traveled, who has written volumes on the human quest for meaning in life—who has spent most of his own lifetime in an intensive search to find the answers to the very realities of the universe—of why it exists, what is its past and what is its future.

Chances are that many of the regular subscribers to this magazine are involved in a similar quest.

Dr. Johnson, in fact, does get so close to the answer: “Only when we eliminate the material dimension altogether do those who believe in God acquire an overwhelming advantage” (ibid.). In other words, to take a leaf out of Herbert W. Armstrong’s book, if we seek to prove the existence of God we simply need access to that which he termed “the missing dimension.”

Paul Johnson gets as close as any human being can in this search for God, without direct access to that “missing dimension.” He realizes that there is an essence that is part of the human persona—a literal non-physical component, a spirit in man—which gives a direct connection to man’s Maker, who is the source of that spirit. This reality, which Paul Johnson has discovered, is a literal extension of the divine Godhead. It is a logic that stems from the knowledge of the very nature of God. Johnson expresses this reality thus: “God is essentially a spiritual rather than a physical being, and if He exists outside space and time and all the factors which owe their complexity to them, then the problems of existence begin to seem soluble” (ibid.).

That said, one needs a guide from one’s Maker to work toward resolution of these “problems of existence” of God.

Proof of God

There is but one source that contains the requisite proofs of God’s existence—the very documented Word of God. We call this collection of divinely inspired writings the Bible. But to the average man, this most published, most translated and most widely distributed book in the world remains an enigma. It is subject to countless individual interpretations. Numerous professional theologians call the concept of its inerrancy into question. Hence the confusing multitude of various Christian denominations, each claiming a right to understanding its truths, yet none of them in complete agreement.

The plain truth of the matter is, unlike other so-called holy books, the Bible can be proven to be the inerrant Word of God. The most powerful of proofs of its divine source and its consistency in declaring truth is fulfilled Bible prophecy!

It is a fact that a whole third of the Bible is prophecy for the future, most of it in the process of being fulfilled in our day! Indeed, we who live in this age are among the most privileged of people, for we are surrounded by, involved in and indeed part of the fulfillment of the most dramatic of all prophecies in the Bible!

For the past 15 years, this magazine has thundered the proof of the fulfillment of these prophecies. Month by month, as current events link with history and biblical prophecy, the Trumpet has offered the most dramatic proof of the accuracy of biblical prophecies, some having been originally documented over 3,000 years ago!

Never was it more crucial to convey this message of prophecy to this world. In fact, the future of mankind depends on the continuance of the enterprise to which God gave a divine commission to preach and publish the Bible’s prophetic message to the whole world.

That original divinely commissioned enterprise has historically been called the Church of God (Acts 20:28). God declared of His Church, at its inception, that it would never die (Matthew 16:18). Thus it must be extant today in its original Spirit-led form, under its God-gifted original manner of government and administration (Ephesians 4:4-16), preaching the same message given it originally by God (Mark 13:10). Otherwise, God Himself is proven a liar! And God, by His very nature, cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Romans 3:4).

Simply find that Church—the proven continuance of the one true Church that teaches God’s law and has the revelation of prophecy (Isaiah 8:16, 20; Revelation 19:10) and of God’s plan for the salvation of humankind (Hebrews 10:12, 26)—and you will find the answers to these burning questions about the real meaning of life!

The Way to Life

Honest searchers for truth must sympathize with a man of grand intellect such as Paul Johnson: a cultured, erudite teacher of history, a student of the fine arts, a common-sense commentator on human affairs who has genuinely spent all his life, from precocious childhood to his senior years, pursuing the answers to questions about God. The honesty of such a quest is the very opposite to the dishonest denial of the validity of such questions by the bulk of intelligentsia. As Johnson declares, their intellectual impotence is proven by the fact that they “have no explanation of being. Their attitude is simply an abdication of thought, a cosmic despair in the ability of the human mind to devise any explanation of the most interesting and deepest problems of existence” (ibid.).

Paul Johnson at least has the vision, following his lifetime’s quest for God, to understand a great overarching truth—that man possesses “an essential element or dimension with God, thus explaining the … belief that we are all ‘made in God’s image.’ And because the spiritual takes no account of dimension, number or complexity, each of our souls has intimate and all-encompassing dealings with God …” (ibid.).

Paul Johnson makes just one critical error in his musings on the meaning of life. He states, “Death of the body is thus an insignificant punctuation in the life of the soul, which continues indefinitely” (ibid.). Yet the Book of books plainly declares, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die” (Ezekiel 18:20). The corollary of this would be, “The soul that is sinless, it shall live”! This presupposes that in order then for the soul not to die, one must find out the meaning of that term sin, then ensure that the soul finds the way of becoming sinless. Such knowledge opens up the way to eternal life!

But even before we begin that quest, we need to find out just what is this thing called “soul.” The answer to that question gets to the very heart and core of what a human being is, why he is, who created him and just what is his eternal destiny. These are questions that still puzzle esteemed thinkers such as Paul Johnson. After decades of searching for the answers, Dr. Johnson muses: “What remains puzzling is why God decided to create a temporal universe, and a material dimension, subject to space and time, in which to put the souls of his creatures to the test of life. The answer may be infinitely complex or infinitely simple” (ibid.).

Indeed, the answer is infinitely simple (2 Corinthians 11:3). So simple that it can be only understood if we literally take on the mindset of a child, being willing to be taught by God, wiping our mind clear of all previous bias and confusion, and allowing the clarifying light of biblical revelation to reveal the wonder of the meaning of life to us. As the Son of God declared, “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). That conversion is a literal mind-changing, life-changing experience that links the human mind with its Maker, thus opening it up to revelation of God-breathed truth. It literally opens the human mind to a choice between eternal life and eternal death. It’s a choice that all must face eventually so as to fulfill their reason for being.

There is a book that will guide you in your search for the answers to these burning questions. It will lead you to the biblically proven, inerrant answers to these eternal questions. It will help open up your mind to your incredible human potential. In fact, that is the very title of this book which we offer you, free of charge upon request: The Incredible Human Potential. Write now to the address nearest you as shown on the inside cover of this magazine for your own personal copy of this vitally eye-opening book. Don’t put it off!

The fact is, your life can be finite. You can die … forever! On the other hand, you can choose a life-changing experience that will guarantee that you will never die! There is a choice! You owe it to yourself to find out now just how to make that choice and start immediately fulfilling your incredible, God-given human potential!