In Chapter Twenty-Six
Tom never thought much about religion. It appeared a pompous trade, complete with slogans, jingles, and wheedling for cash by shoving collection baskets in people’s faces. Now, his lack of knowledge about divine truth concerned him.
Humans, from birth, are conditioned by what we can see and touch. Faith is beyond our natural horizon. The way to faith begins by reaching out to what is beyond us.
What is faith? Faith is trusting in something you cannot prove but know to be true, like love. You love someone and you know this to be true but you can’t prove it. ( see John 3: 5-6 )
I love God, and some reading this will declare: “preposterous!” But I know I do - and we do not know each other, so that dissolves further discussion.
Many thrive on the gray area regarding most faith-based thought. It gives people less accountability of their actions. If someone wants to do something that they know intuitively is wrong, the easiest avenue is to ‘muddy’ the waters and pretend there is no decidable right or wrong in the situation. This makes all choices balanced, less chances of consequences or guilt; they are now free to do whatever.
Have I investigated other religions? Of Course! See how much I researched for The Other Side of Courage? Would I do no less for my own departure from life? Rather than diving into all the possible ways man has devised his own concept for an after-life, I’ll choose to discuss the major flaw with the fastest growing religion in the world: Islam.
Allah allows for wrong-doing if good-deeds offset the bad. Wow, seems okay, right? Here’s the flaw. Let’s say a man is awaiting judgement into paradise. Though he had several wives, his past has the problem of sex with his young slaves, but Allah says: “Well, you kept your young concubines well fed and clothed, so that removes the issue of rape.” See a problem? (Oh and YES, Islam allows for slavery)
Here’s another issue with Islam. It is the words of one man and his visions. The Old Testament (the Torah) is authored by more than forty people over the ages with the same message. The New Testament has four Gospel authors, again, all with the same message of God’s love for mankind.
Here’s the general flaw of any religion but Yahweh’s / Jehovah’s. Unless you are a machine, people's one true desire in life is to be loved and give love. People were made for that purpose.
We were meant to have a personal relationship with God. When you find your love for God, nothing else will matter – except the desire to do good.
People are meant to be loved and things to be used. Sadly today, too many humans love things and use people.
Christianity is also unique because God took all of man’s sins upon Himself because of His love for us: meaning a gift of grace. Love negates sin. How? If a man or woman sleep around in casual sex, that is sin.
If a man and a woman love each other and “celebrate their love” and a commitment for life, then that Holy matrimony.
God is not judging. He doesn’t have to. Sin comes with natural consequences. Ask anyone suffering with AIDS; an unwed teen mother; a smoker with Emphysema or an alcoholic dying from Cirrhosis.
What is sin? In Greek, it means to "Miss The Mark!" Like missing the intent of something. Such as confusing lust with love....
Yep, there are “social Christians,” but there are still those who are true believers, and students who walk in the faith and then there are those who love God. How can this happen?
Power does not come from self to change the heart. On the contrary, Ezekiel 36:26-27 clearly points out that God alone gives you a new heart and causes you to walk in His ways. As this event becomes a reality in your life, the seven deadly sins of gluttony, envy, sloth, wrath, pride, lust, and greed will lose their power in your life.
Ezekiel 36:26-27 says, "I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.”
From Chapter Thirty-one, Pastor John tells Tom:
“I do know that if humans acted naturally out of love, then the world would be a wonderful place. But, as long as people seek to satisfy their ego or greed, wickedness will prevail.”
When you find your love for God, you won’t want to sin. But, we (including me) are human. It doesn’t mean you won’t sin but you’ll move quickly to correct yourself because you don’t want to lose that love you feel for God; it is unique and precious! But, take comfort that God loves all of us and he’ll always forgive you if you ask. You are one of His children.
This happens daily with me… (Hey, I’m not perfect!)
Much overwhelming evidence exists to will help someone know the truth, if they choose to look. Did you know there are more than 5,000 documentations of Jesus' existence, certifying more than 100 facts exists regarding his birth, life, execution and resurrection. Did you know that more than 500 people saw Jesus alive after his crucifixion? Pontius Pilate even said, upon hearing the "rumor" that Jesus was alive: "If he is alive I'll kill him again..." Wow, really? That's arrogant. I'd would have been searching for Him to ask, "How does this resurrection stuff work?"
Revelations 3:20: Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in...
It's a GIFT, all you need to do is believe!
How can you reliably investigate Christianity for yourself?
Read or watch the DVD:
The Case for Christ
by Lee Strobel
Another book is Cold Case Christianity by J. Warner Wallace:
A Cold Case Detective investigates the Gospels.
Please Note: Lee Strobel and James Warner Wallace were both atheists when they began their individual quests to debunk Christianity.
The video The Perfect Stranger explains
much really well. YouTube Trailer below.
Why do I bother telling you what I have learned? Lets say you and I are get on an airliner in Dallas Texas. You tell me that you are going home to Los Angeles, but you don't have a British accent and I know this airplane is going to Gatwick in the UK.
Should I remain quiet and let you think you're on the right plane - or should I say something? It would be a spiteful person to let you fall into the legal mess of deportation.
Besides, I did not make you click on the crucifixion art...
God's love is real and can happen for anyone. See this article by a leftist, lesbian professor who despised Christians. Click on the Train Wreck sign. Webpage opens in a new window.
God's grace is free; really! Christ paid the bill....
Grace: according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary
"unmerited divine assistance given humans for their sanctification"
ADDENDUM: If He exists…
Several audience members for The Other Side Of Courage have posed this question to me: if there is a God why hasn’t He shown Himself to mankind? Several reasons come to mind.
Uh, first: for the same reason it’s a bad idea to step inside a nuclear containment vessel. Few humans have been righteous enough to stand in the presence of God. Samson’s parents thought they were going to die. Moses met with God more than once and it changed him physically enough that some people were afraid to go near him. Me, I’d go “POOF!” Now a vapor… Makes you wonder if someone met God and it didn’t get recorded.
Next and more importantly, God wants love, not conquest. He wants a relationship with us. Mutual respect, mutual acceptance. Partnership. Concepts that escape many humans. If God just appeared, we humans would be so awestruck that we would immediately collapse. Just look how some people act around famous people. He isn’t looking for power or dominion, of that He has plenty.
A miracle would, by definition, be a non-natural phenomenon, leading many rational and scientific thinkers to dismiss them as physically impossible.
God regularly works through nature yet, as a creator, is free to work without, above, or against it as well.
So when God intervenes on our behalf in the development and conclusion of normal we think nothing but in hopeless events and outcome, we are elated.