IS IT TIME FOR SOME RELIGIOUS PEOPLE 
TO HAVE SECOND THOUGHTS 
ABOUT THEIR RELIGION?
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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.
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 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.
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Second Thoughts for Muslims
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 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 is radical?
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 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.
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 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)
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Second Thoughts for Catholics
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 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"?
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 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?
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 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?
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 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.
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 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.
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Second Thoughts for 
Some Denominational Bodies
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 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.
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 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.
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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).
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 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).
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