IS IT TIME FOR SOME
TO HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS
ABOUT THEIR RELIGION?
RECENTLY VARIOUS RELIGIONS in
an uncomplimentary way have been highlighted in the media headlines (not
unjustly, but just as a matter of factual reporting). Muslims hijacked
passenger planes with the sole purpose of causing massive destruction,
misery and the taking of thousands of innocent lives. Roman Catholic priests
on a rather wide scale are being sued by those who have experienced sexual
abuse and molestation at their hands. Leaders in an increasing number of
mainline "Protestant" denominations, and even whole denominations, it seems,
have officially accepted the homosexual "lifestyle" and the concept of
same sex marriages.
In view of these statements, we have some questions. What we have
to say will be a "no! no!" in a pluralistic society preoccupied with being
politically correct in what is said (with little concern about details
of right and wrong). To a fuzzy mentality permeated by humanism, truth
is looked upon as relative, and not absolute. "If it Ďworksí for you, it
is truth to you." In essence, everybody is right. But if everybody is right,
nobody is right. Truth must be absolute, or it is not truth at all. It
does not contradict itself. On that premise we continue this article.
Second Thoughts for
Can a religion that inspires men to do the awful things
that happened on September 11, 2001 be of God? Can a religion that had
to depend on the ravaging sword in its inception and expansion have much
going for it? What about the teachings of the Koran that would encourage
this? Does this religion feel so inadequate that it must threaten its adherents
with death if they should change their beliefs? Canít it stand alone on
its own two feet in the arena of thought? Must those who believe otherwise
ever be subject to oppression and persecution? It boils down to the question,
are radical Muslims radical because they are radical or because their religion
On a web site of secular Muslims, a former Muslim speaking of Mohammed,
asks, "How can a man of more than 50 years old have sexual feelings for
a girl of only 6 [Ayesha, one of his many wives]?" He goes on to say, "As
a normal and respectable human being I canít believe in a man who is a
pedophile." He further asks, "Why is it that a woman is lower than a man?ÖWhy
is it that a Muslim can have 4 wives? Can a woman not have 4 husbands then?
And why did Mohammed have more than 4 wives?" Yes, why didnít God take
four ribs from Adam to make him four wives, instead of just one? Becoming
one flesh, they mutually were to respect one another in dignity.
These are just second thoughts in passing, the edge of the iceberg,
in considering the Muslim religion. There are more prodding questions about
salvation from sin and the grace of God that need to be asked? What about
the Lord Jesus Christ (born of the virgin Mary) aside from whom there is
no salvation? (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; Ephesians 2:8,9)
Second Thoughts for
Could there be something basically wrong with a religious
system that sanctimoniously and universally prohibits marriage among its
leaders and at the same time glaring sexual irregularities are found to
be practiced among them on a rather wide scale? The implication is that
the unmarried state of the supposedly celibate priest is more holy and
that being married is less honorable, but is that what the Bible teaches?
Didnít Godís creation of everything climax with Him making man, described
as being "male and female" (Genesis 1:26,27), and with the observation
that everything He had made was "very good" (Genesis 1:31)? Didnít God
say that it was not good that man should be alone (Genesis 2:18)? Didnít
the New Testament writer in Hebrews 13:4 say, "Marriage is honourable in
all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers [fornicators] and adulterers
God will judge"?
And consider this. Although the apostle Paul was unmarried, he asserted,
"Have we not power [the right] to lead about a sister, a wife, as well
as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas [Peter]?"(1
Corinthians 9:5). How is this explained when Peter, whom Catholics claim
to be the first pope, was married (and other apostles were married)? (Mark
1:30) And according to the New Testament, one of the qualifications of
a bishop was that he be a married man with children (1 Timothy 3:1-5; Titus
1:6,7), and furthermore, his jurisdiction was simply a local church (Philippians
1:1). How does Catholic practice measure up to this?
Furthermore, does history bear out the fulfillment of such prophecies
as found in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and 1 Timothy 4:1-5? Paul foretells a
falling away from the original church with a human personality at the head
exalting himself as God. Has anything like that come to pass? And in this
falling away, some of the tenets of their faith and practice would be "forbidding
to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats" (1 Timothy 4:3). Are celibacy
and such supposed asceticism being practiced today in the name of religion?
While we are having second thoughts, what about the claim of apostolic
succession? It is claimed that Peter was bishop of Rome and the first pope.
According to the New Testament, apostles were the official spokesmen and
eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ in getting his church going (Acts
1:1-8,22; 2:32; 4:33; 1 Corinthians 9:1). We ask, do eyewitnesses have
successors? Consequently, can there be any such thing as apostolic succession?
And if Peter started the church at Rome, and was its first bishop and the
first pope as claimed, why was Paul so discourteous as to not even mention
his name when he wrote the Roman epistle? Twenty-four people are greeted
by name in Romans 16, and Peterís name is not to be found.
When a person honestly considers all of the ramifications and implications
of these thoughts, conclusions that must be reached are very disturbing.
If the major premise is wrong, that which follows can not be right. We
could ask many other questions, but the big question is whether we will
accept these second thoughts that have been thrust upon us.
Second Thoughts for
Some Denominational Bodies
As stated, leaders in an increasing number of old mainline
"Protestant" denominations, and even whole religious bodies, look upon
the homosexual "lifestyle" as acceptable and have in essence accepted the
concept of same sex marriages. We will not bother to identify them. The
news media keeps us informed and posted on this.
But for the Bible believer, all of the afore said is utterly unthinkable!
Consider all of these Scriptures, beginning with the account of Sodom and
Gommorrha in Genesis and ending with the New Testament Scriptures: Genesis
19:1-25; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; 1 Kings 14:24; 15:12; 22:46; 2 Kings 23:7;
Romans 1:24-28; 1 Corinthians 6:9,10; 1 Timothy 1:9,10; and Jude verse
3. Read all of them. Among them Leviticus 18:22 stands out, "Thou shalt
not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is an abomination." (Is there
a problem in understanding this? Obviously not!). And in the New Testament
Romans 1:26 and 27 stand out, being hard to misunderstand, "ÖGod gave them
up [the pagan Gentile world] 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 [penalty] of their error which was meet [due]."
Other sins are listed, and this section is concluded with Paul saying "that
they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same,
but have pleasure in them [consent with them] that do them" (1:32). In
1 Corinthians 6:9 Paul does not hesitate to tell us that the practicing
homosexual will not go to heaven.
So, how can religious leaders, or anyone, put their stamp of approval and
acceptance on such perverted practices (practices that will cause a person
to be eternally lost)? It would seem to us that for at least two reasons
they could do this. (1) They donĎt believe and respect the Bible anymore,
and (2) they are ignorant of what the Bible teaches. It is hard for us
to believe that educated, religious leaders are that ignorant of what the
Bible says. Therefore, unbelief must be the factor. But with many in the
rank and file membership of these denominational bodies, not knowing the
Bible may be involved (coupled with the corroding influence of unbelief).
The gravity of the situation must be realized. People caught up in
these bodies need to have second thoughts about their religion. But with
many it may be hard to do this, for the distinctive vitals of their faith
have long been sapped. Yes, the old denominationalism was wrong, but this
takes apostasy to a new low. The very acceptance of the inspiration of
the Scripture, the virgin birth and the deity of Christ are involved (as
well as holiness of life).