Brian and I have been watching Leah Remini’s television series exposing Scientology, and it is more than intriguing. It amazes me that that this is called a church, or a religion, and that people are forfeiting their families and lives to be a part of it.
The people she interviews are all Scientology apostates; they’ve left the church after much abuse and heartache. They’ve left behind their families and friends. They’ve moved on. To where? Another religion? Another faith? To nothing?
Everyone is searching for something to believe in, something to belong to, something that answers the deep heart-longing for more than this life has to offer, and there are numerous entities waiting to lure us in.
In the search we try on one religion after another like we try on jeans in the fitting room. We spend a little while in whatever faith system is popular at the time, and then if it doesn’t feel comfortable, we take it off and try on another.
Religion becomes little more than a taste preference; we switch faiths as easily as we switch our coffee brands. Do this and this, or that and that and whichever tastes the best we stay for a while until another friend introduces us to a new flavor.
Or we try to combine all religions into one universal faith system like a casserole. We decide that all roads lead to heaven and we pick and choose the doctrines or dogmas that we find particularly palatable, leave the yucky stuff behind, and create our own unique blend of religion.
Why do we even want religion? Why do we feel like we need to make the world a better place? Why do we pursue a relationship with the universe, with our fellow man, or with God? What is it that pulls us in the direction of religion?
Solomon, in all his wisdom, told us in Ecclesiastes 3:11 that God has set eternity in the human heart, and I think that because of that, we want, or long for, something eternal; we have a deep desire to understand the whole of things. We yearn to understand how things work, not just in our lives, but in the universe. We want to know how things work eternally.
And that requires some type of religion. In religion we understand that when we die, we don’t just end – there’s more to us than this physical life — and we hope our religion will tell us how to get there. In most religions, it is by doing – in doing, you better yourself or you please God. There is work to do, so let’s get on with it.
What can I do to make God love me, how much must I do to earn his favor, how do I better myself so that I merit heaven (or a better place in the next life, whatever it might be)? Where can I find out what I need to do, and how much of it? Where/how/can we find truth? Is there truth?
We must begin at the beginning if we are to arrive at truth. In the beginning, God (Genesis 1:1). Either we believe in God, or we do not. If we do not, then does it really matter? If we do, then we must begin where he began: in his revelation of himself to us. We must begin with: in the beginning, God created all things. God is creator. He created everything, including mankind.
Then, that perfectly created man, the man who walked with God, chose to sin, and as a consequence of sin, all mankind was separated from God. Since God, in his holiness, cannot abide sin, we sinful humans are separated from God.
Therefore, we turn to religion as an attempt to reconcile ourselves to God, to overcome the sin barrier that separates us. However, on our own we cannot, no matter how many good things we do, overcome sin. It is part of our spiritual DNA. We are born sinners. Sinning is what we do. There are no scales to balance, it is futile to try.
God, knowing that we would not be able to save ourselves from this bondage to sin, loved us so much that he sent his one and only Son, so that all who believe in him shall have eternal life (John 3:16). Jesus died so that we might live.
When we embrace his death in our place, and on our behalf, when we admit that we cannot breach the divide on our own, and when we ask him to become the Lord of our lives, then we are reconciled to God. In that reconciliation, there is peace, and the search for meaning, for eternity, finds its rest. Once you know the truth, the truth sets you free.
That said, I’ve heard people declare that they’ve tried on being born again – Biblical Christianity – and it just didn’t fit and therefore, they’ve moved on to other religions. However, one of the things about Christianity that makes it different from other religions is that it cannot be tried on and then set aside.
Christianity is about moving from spiritual death to spiritual life. Once you are born again, you cannot be unborn. If you find you can move away from the Christian faith, then you were never truly a Christian, you were only playing a role. The Apostle John affirms that anyone who can go shows that they never really belonged (1 John 2:19).
Christianity is not a matter of taste preference. It is about taking into your being the truth of God’s Word. God says, in Psalm 34:8, “Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.” There is only one way of salvation, and there is only one name by which we are saved: the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you searching for truth? Do you desire reconciliation with God? Are you longing to know the wholeness of things? Only in Jesus will you find everything you are looking for.
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