An Axiom of Religion
Dr. Jay Worth Allen
What a man worships, that's what he serves.
All religions are not alike. Christianity, as it happens, is the only religion built around, and because of God’s love. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Because of God’s love, Jesus came to earth to save sinners - a category into which we all fit. He loves us. He forgives us. He accepts us. Now all this may seem dull, repetitious, maybe even mundane to educated, Church going folks - but it’s not universal.
Hinduism is a religion that established a caste system which revolves around helping people escape the great chain of being - being reincarnated from one miserable life to the next. A Hindu crippled beggar is in his state, says Hinduism, because of the consequences of one of his previous immoral lives. There is no escape from man’s transgressions in Hinduism - only existence after existence after existence of being born into another earthly life after another earthly life after . . . you get the point. And you don’t get to pick your new life! You might reenter the earth as a man, a frog, a roach, or a whatever until you hopefully remove your tendency to sin by your own endeavors and float off into some spiritual destiny. This spiritual destiny is unexplained in Hinduism because no one has ever reached this level of awareness or being to tell the tale.
Buddhism is a reform of Hinduism that rejected the caste system, but still seeks escape from the suffering of being by attaining non-being. Which as we all know is an impossible task - even as a non-being being you still have eat and go to the bathroom, etc.
Islam is a religion built on forced conversion and conquest. Islam does not put a value on love or forgiveness. The Shi'ia have still not forgiven the Sunni for the death of Hussein at the Battle of Karbala in 680 A.D.
In Western culture, Jesus has become the universal symbol of love, acceptance and forgiveness. Invoking His life gives everyone the chance to start afresh. That's why the Christian religion has a such personal appeal to all. Christianity transforms people's lives - everyone from Presidents, Kings and on down to you and I.
We in the West are incredibly lucky to have inherited our Christian tradition. There is no forgiving others in Islam - only the beheading of enemies (the Prophet practiced it himself). Finding your spiritual destiny in Islam means becoming a jihad warrior. Even in Buddhism confession is not like the Christian confession - there is a knowing of forgiveness and atonement in Christ. Instead, Buddhism involves confessing to your fellow monks that you have not yet succeeded in obliterating the desires of self and cutting all ties with the world – confessing their sins one to another, and then keeping them!
This truth of universal love, acceptance and forgiveness saturates our Western culture, creating a grand equality among all people - believer and non-believer alike. Long before Thomas Jefferson wrote "All Men are Created Equal" or the French philosopher declared the "Universal Rights of Man," the apostle Paul declared, "In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, you are all one in Christ Jesus." With that deceleration we love our brothers as ourselves. But, contrary to other religions, we also love our enemies. We love our enemies because we realize our enemies are also a part of God’s created humanity. This ideal of the fraternity of humanity is what has enabled us in the West to establish democracies, abolish slavery, and create peaceful societies - so that even today we continue to try to wipe out every trace of inequality among sexes, races, and classes. We’ve failed in our trying many times, but because of our Western religion - Christianity - we still put forth a good effort.
Religions shape the personalities of whole cultures. Religion is a template for a society. What a religion says makes an enormous difference in how a society and individuals within a society act in life and in history. In fact, religion is history itself. Or as my dear wife likes to put it, “History is His-story.” I like that. We live in a civilization which has been created by Christianity. Because Christianity is in the very air we breathe, the water we drink and the ground we walk, it's easy for us in the West to forget its role - or even worse, to assume that we don't need it at all.
“They soon forgot His works; they waited not for His counsel, but lusted exceedingly in the wilderness, and tested God in the desert. And He gave them their request, but sent leanness to their soul” (Psalms 106:13-15).
(excerpt from Ch. 6, “If You Can't Lick-'Um . . . Join-'Um” in A Brief History of Redemption by Dr. Jay Worth Allen)
An Axiom of Religion
Published: 5 January 2010 on Freed In Christ! blogsite.
© 1998-2012 dr. jay & miss diana ministries, inc. all rights reserved
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