Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Basis for Faith and Morality, Part 2 of 4

Scenario 2a: illogical faith
I will set down first the example of blind religious faith for a start, to compare and contrast against historic Christianity. The Jehovah’s Witnesses, as founded by Charles Taze Russell, is a good example of blind faith. In the late 1800’s Charles Russell became disillusioned regarding the cardinal doctrines of Christianity: the Trinity, the deity of Jesus Christ, the person and deity of the Holy Spirit, the atonement of Jesus Christ, the reality of an eternal Hell, and the immortality of the soul just to name a few. At odds with what the Christian church espoused and taught, he began a systematic opposition of Christianity that taught God was strictly monotheistic, Jesus was Michael the archangel, the Holy Spirit was an energy source, Christ’s atonement was only for the obedient or righteous, sinners were annihilated, not sentenced to Hell, and when the body died the soul was annihilated.

Charles Russell did not have any theological or pastoral training and no learning in the dead languages of Hebrew, Greek, etc. When questioned at a trial in regards to Mr. Russell’s education, he was asked if he could identify the Greek letters of the alphabet, which he reluctantly admitted he could not. Despite this fact he re-wrote the Bible basically in a series of books called Studies in the Scriptures, and claimed that someone reading the Bible without his interpretations would not perceive God’s message; while someone only reading his book (not the Bible) could clearly perceive it. He set up a precedent based on false and blatantly mistranslated passages of the Bible to conform to his teachings, passed this off as truth, and became the first president of the Watchtower Society. I will not heretofore address his errors; for anyone interested they may read Is Jesus God? at the top of my Blog. You may also search Hell? Yes. which defends the Bible’s teaching of a literal Hell, not merely a common grave to which all the dead came to.

Self-styled “Pastor” Russell was ill-equipped to dispense truth to people, seeing as how he intentionally perverted Scripture’s clear teaching purely because he disagreed with what the Bible said regarding it. Since he could not reason out the teachings of the Bible (bereft of the Holy Spirit; since he denied the Spirit’s existence) he forced the Bible to conform to his thinking, rather than allowing the word of God to conform his thinking to its truth. Isaiah wrote that God’s thoughts are not our thoughts; His thoughts are higher than ours as Heaven is above the earth, Isaiah 55:8-9. Yet Mr. Russell made reason the master of Scripture, and tried to conform the major doctrines into a molding of his own creation, which largely echoed the Arian heresy of 326 AD. The superstructure that Jehovah’s Witnesses have placed their faith upon are the rebellious and carnal teachings of an uneducated man who single-handedly attempted to change the Bible’s message from grace to works and God’s Son from Jehovah to Michael, a created being. Yet John wrote against such men, warning us that every man who did not confess that Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God, came in the flesh as a Man, spoke by the spirit of the Antichrist, 1st John 4:1-3. The question then is this: does one place their faith in the 2000 years of steadfast testimony regarding the Bible’s translation and Christ’s person? Or does one place their faith in one man who claimed to restore to the world the true religion of Christianity after “organized religion” massacred it by the insertion of doctrines that Russell rejected? Yet there is a single papyrus fragment of John’s Gospel in existence, which has John 1:1-18 on it that dates to 150 AD. It says, translated from the original Greek, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” John 1:1. For someone who wants their faith to rest on the bedrock of truth, we need to have a more solid foundation than the capricious opinions and wranglings of unsaved men.

Scenario 2b: illogical faith
“Coexist.” It is a mantra seen on bumper stickers, T-shirts and key chains. It represents religious unity for the sake of earthly peace. It also assumes that every religion is essentially equal and valid, and while there may be minor discrepancies, the moral and ethical teachings found within far outweigh these minor issues. Do they?

What do religions teach about God, salvation, and Heaven/Hell? Christianity teaches that God is a Trinity: three Persons in one Being. Salvation is received when one believes in Jesus Christ, receiving forgiveness of sin due to His merit. Heaven is the abode of those who receive this imputed salvation; Hell is the dwelling place of those who reject the offer and die in their sin. Islam teaches that god is one, Allah, and Christ is not God. Salvation is earned by being righteous in accordance with obedience to the Koran’s teachings. Paradise is filled with rivers of wine and harems of virgins; while Hell is peopled with the unworthy; many of whom happen to be women. Buddhism teaches that there is no genuine god; man’s goal is release from passions so he might attain enlightenment or Nirvana, which means "blow out," like an extinguished candle. Consequently, Heaven and Hell are rather moot points to a Buddhist. Hinduism teaches a cornucopia of gods (300 million at least) and that salvation is attained by removing the debt of bad karma through reincarnations and achieving union with the universal soul which assimilates one’s identity. Again, Heaven and Hell really have no genuine point in Hinduism, of which Buddhism is a derivative.

These four major religions (the largest four on earth) cannot agree about these three fundamental principles; it is the height of absurdity and lunacy to amalgamate them, while ignoring “minor” differences, like most of what each religion says! This is blind faith: placing one’s hope or trust in a foundation that is a logical and theological nightmare. The law of non-contradiction states that two contrary views cannot both be true. People are constructed to think in antithesis. If something is right, something else is wrong. If everything is right (just various shades of right) and nothing is wrong, then both right and wrong have become meaningless terms. Can something honestly be called “right” if even its polar opposite is equally so? This exercise in insanity is sadly en vogue today.

A comparative example:
In hopes of bringing the bizarre logic of this concept to light (all religions are the same), let us transfer the argument to something else and apply the principle. Henceforth all fruit, be it orange, apple, banana, strawberry, etc. shall all be known only as fruit, because of the general similarity in fruit. A pineapple is an orange is a mango is a raspberry. Any seeming differences between fruit is merely a product of your flawed perception; fruit is only fruit and we should cease calling it by names that segregate, which only causes confusion and division. Instead, focus on what is very similar in every type of fruit; what all fruit has in common: which is in fact quite little depending on the fruit in question. Some give people allergic reactions more frequently, some have a lot of seeds, some have hard husks, some are poisonous to eat, some we even turn into ketchup…perhaps you get the point by now. The reason we call fruit by various names is because the differences that exist between them are genuine and irreconcilable. Ignoring the obvious would give many people fruit they dislike, are allergic to, or find poisonous. If so in such a simple thing, how much more willingly blind must we be to pretend all religions are inspired by God as roads that lead to Him?

Food for thought:
Some consider right and wrong (or good and evil if you prefer) to be eternal realities upon which the world has always operated. Parsees and Hinduism are prime religious examples. Yet while right or good can exist of itself, wrong or evil is only something good that was perverted. There is nothing genuinely evil that does not have its source in good; that is, it takes something good and corrupts it; nothing new is created. God created man in His own image and called us good; when we sinned we corrupted the image of God that we were made in; evil is perversion or corruption of that which is morally good. The need for the new birth through faith in Jesus Christ is evident: we need to be restored or renewed to the image in which God originally created man, Colossians 3:10. Only when man is regenerated through faith and receives new life is he capable, according to God, of doing anything God considers good. Why? We are dead in sins and trespasses.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, emphasizing how easily man substitutes his own human logic for God's ideas. as Romans 1 states, they reinvent God to suit themselves.

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