What is religion?
Most of the dictionaries available will offer a number of definitions and meanings. (1) belief in, worship of, or obedience to a supernatural power or powers considered as divine or to have control of human destiny. (2) any formal or institutionalized expression of such belief. (3) the attitude and feeling of one who believes in a transcendent controlling power or powers. (4) the way of life entered upon by monks and nuns. (5) something of overwhelming importance to a person.
Is religion man-made?
Religion and for all that is worth, is actually just another alternative for mankind’s integral quest of self-assertion with the Creator. For as long as the human race keep thriving on the boundaries of the unknown in search of the last link with the Creator, it is all the more only unfolding too bluntly that we humans are, indeed lost. In the course of pursuing that link with the Creator, the human race is crucially being tested with their allegiance to the Creator. Whether we admit it or not and, usually we don’t (because of pride), we humans unfortunately and regrettably had been found to have awfully gone astray as our allegiance to the Creator are being tested. And that means only one thing. We failed miserably in the test…not just Adam and Eve! So it’s clear now that no one has the authority to put the blame on them for causing us to born this way.
Like it or not, the reason that we’re being tested is not because we could be made scapegoats of, but because our Creator has a purpose for us. That is where the most important treasure we are missing out on. Have you found out what you’re missing yet…in your life? If you haven’t, that’s because you’re lost like a sheep without a shepherd. And that brings us to another treasure to find, the priceless shepherd. This actually made it invariably the top priority here that most people failed to see. Once you found the shepherd, you will find the link to the treasure. And that link will open the door for you to become reconciled with the Creator and have a relationship with Him. Obviously that’s where the treasure is. Don’t you think?
So now we know the first most important thing you have to do is to look for your shepherd, not to create one which will do more harm than good! Sadly, that’s exactly what many ignorant people are doing. They are so confused and lost with getting their priorities right. Why? Because they do not know who the real and good shepherd is that can lead them back to the right path. Don’t they know by now? Do you? It’s the millennium already!
As a result of such ignorance looming, many “man-made” shepherds came into existence. Hence, that inevitably gave birth to all kinds of religion which would be shaped and crafted according to human’s likeness and fancies. And worse, without second thoughts, they are blindly worshiping something out of superstition that only make a mockery of God’s purpose for creating us. If you take the example of God who created man in His image, and then man turned it around and created “God” in his own human image and worship it instead. It’s much like the real and original God is being “recycled” to become a somewhat lesser “god” that only serve to make ourselves feel good and not God. Why? It’s all because of ignorance. Be very afraid. Ignorance is the most powerful trademark of a ‘devil-in-disguise’ as we can find out about…
……The case of idols worshiping?
If you base a person’s belief on either one of the definitions or meanings that described what religion is and could be. It means only one thing. And that is; just about “anything”, whatever shapes or objects whether it would be seen or unseen with the naked eyes, it could be regarded as a form of religion that one can “worship”. It can also mean that as long as anyone who hold fasts to a belief that is “something” very important and “superior”, that something is already regarded as a “god” in the heart of a person even if it’s just a stone or a piece of wood craft, etc.
If such a vague and vain belief is good enough to constitute as a religion for anyone, that’s exactly where the most vulnerable thing that would happen. And, it is this dangerous and misguided belief that is putting a wedge between humans and the Creator. That is why, people can easily be led into believing there are millions of ways in creating their “own salvation” that will in the end be also leading back to the one and only Almighty God, whether substantiated or unsubstantiated, and whether with or without God’s endorsement.
You see, when such sparks start to spread like wild-fire, don’t you think it is inevitable people get the notion that God does not mind even if He would be worshiped as a stone, a piece of wood craft or in whatever way? Don’t you also think that people again will get stuck with the notion that God does not mind even if anyone enters His kingdom whether by the front door, the back door, or without going through any doors, because as long as they believe they are pledging their “allegiance” to God, they will have the right to enter His kingdom somehow or other without having to go through Him?
Does this even sound right, let alone considering it as a possible and proper link? It does not even describe anywhere close to where the treasure is or who the shepherd is that can guide us to the treasure. If you think this is the right link – you’re right. If you don’t think this is the right link – you’re also right! That’s what will happen in religion. What is right for one may turn out wrong for another. And when there’s so much contradiction and conflict of interest, how then can religion help people to come back to God?
You’re the one here who’s awfully lost and looking for the shepherd to guide you home safely and soundly. Only you are the judge to decide whether religion provides the possible and proper link. If we push ourselves further to look at other possibilities, it might give us a better vision and direction to find the right link, perhaps by looking into…
……The case of religious bigots?
Religion in more ways than none, is as dangerous as a loose-cannon. It can cause untold havoc when people embracing it are badly misguided as a result of failing to find that most important missing link. But this is the most unlikely negative impact that most ignorant people will see and felt. Such consequences will only serve to divide people and not unite as it’s ultimately only leading to radicalism that will destroy, not save humanity. It is then, no different from playing with fire simply because any lopsided ideologies or doctrines of men would be abused if fell in the wrong hands. What’s more – if there’s nothing solid, sensible or meaningful to substantiate that missing link that we all are looking for, humanity is only heading for more chaos and disasters – big time!
It’s only too obvious that religion of any kind is made and seen as something very good or very evil by people with vested interest. It can easily go haywire and out of control. This happens especially when people can become so obsessive as with fanatics that they could be madly driven to break down the fabric of society to an unprecedented apocalypse. This could be seen of late where “religious clerics” are going around comparing their religion others by challenging others to fiery debates in trying to prove this and that. Thus, making the episode of the debate becomes what looked like a TV game show that can even earn a new title that you can call, “My religion is better than your religion”. That’s because the only motive was to proclaim to the world that no other religions joined together is anywhere superior than theirs. If and when they feel their religion is unwittingly being “threatened” or “insulted” by those they branded as “infidels” for not embracing their religion in any way, these religious bigots can easily be provoked and become violent with streets protest of vengeance to kill, if their demands for apologies are not met. And it’s all because their “beliefs” make them feel it is “righteous” (their special rights) to act in such a way for the sake of defending their religion and their version of “God”.
In the wake of such terrorism in religions brought about by some people who are only too obsessed with pride in taking a religion to a new level, does it not make one wonders what good, a religion propagated in such way can do, to save a sinner? What does embracing a “religion” means to you now? Can such version of a religion be the correct link for you to come back to God? Here we are looking for the immediate link to save us from straying further and further away from pledging our allegiance to God, not to make it worse to the point of no return. Can proving the so-called superiority of a religion really help to change a person? To become what? To become more boastful? Or to become more than righteous? Or simply to become more holier than others?
Instead, this is what it’s going to do. Our curse of being lost are now even getting worse by the day as how proud, righteous and holy can we be when our curse still stayed unresolved. Does having any kind of religion provides you the missing link that is the top priority here? Can all the chest thumping and hullabaloo of religious bigots help you to ‘see’ where the link is that will help to reverse our curse? Is religion relevant after all? Only you can tell if you’re on the neutral. Are you? If you are, then maybe it might help if we look on another brighter side of possibilities and see what’s the chances of…
……The case of the do-gooders?
In most religions, it doesn’t matter which one, the main focus of their teachings is basically about doing the right thing and to show kindness always to everyone regardless of skin colors or creed. But the most important one is to “do good” to others and one would be rewarded in the next life. Is that not? And if anyone is to obtain enlightenment to receive “blessings” from above or to be accorded a “rightful place” above, one should always do good or be kind to others, and not to be “king” over others. Does this sound like the right link?
Maybe yes to some, maybe no to others. That depends on how informed a person is. Perhaps, this seemed to be an easy commandment to follow too…at least for the rich who can afford to donate “tons of money” as in pledging “half of the assets” in exchange for the hope of “redemption” from above. So who says money can’t “buy” anything after all? so, is there a need to look for the link anymore in this case?
But little did we know. The conscience that is endowed in everyone is a good enough natural law that is already engraved in the hearts of everyone from birth. So why would anyone need to go one big round to embrace a religion in order to know the commandments of doing what’s right which is, “be kind” and “do good” to others? Perhaps, by the time a kid is 6 years old and even without having a religion yet, that kid already can tell you this simple law. Still there’s the question looming. What can, “be kind” and “do good” have got anything to do with the missing link? To a certain extent…yes, it does! But ironically, it’s only reaching somewhere and “hanging” which is something so near yet so far away, because there’s still the missing link yet to recover.
So let’s not have this aspect of the truth unconsciously overlooked or missed out. Be that as it may. If you, as one of the “do-gooders”, are contemplating on pledging “half of the assets” in your lifetime in the hope of getting “redeemed”, there’s only one important question urgently need to be answered. Have you seriously considered getting your priorities right in the first place, and not get caught “hanging” half-way through the process? It’s only a simple problem to solve. Just ask the simple question. Shouldn’t you be seeking to get yourself right with the Creator first which is the most crucial criteria to fulfill here?
It would be a waste of time and effort otherwise. Wouldn’t it? No matter how much you may have “pledged”, it will come to nothing in the sight of the Creator, if your heart is not right with him in the first place. This is because you must realize that you have to, 1st – go through the proper channel before your nobility to bring about any benevolence would be recognized and accepted by the highest authority above. That is the reason why the Creator had provided us the one and only Mediator who is fully authorized, anointed and endorsed by Him for this purpose. Yet, humans have eyes and not ‘see’, have ears and not ‘hearing’.
Common sense will tell you that if a person who wants to start a charity organization, the person must first officially register with the correct authority in order to operate legally. Otherwise, it will be considered as illegal under the laws anywhere. Is that not right? It’s the same analogy here. You must first find the missing link which is your shepherd and…your only mediator.
After you have registered with the shepherd who is the only one spiritually licensed by the Creator, the shepherd will in turn help you to mediate a reconciliation between you and the Creator, because only the shepherd had the anointed authority to plead on your behalf for your relationship with Him to be approved. Then and only then, any benevolence, whether pledging “half of the assets” or not, will be recognized and accepted by the Creator who now should be acknowledging your return to Him because you were once lost but now is found. Make sense or not?
Another important thing is this. Before all of these procedures can be processed, you must first of all, understand and acknowledged your position as someone who is a “fallen” (meaning you are a sinner, like it or not) human being, and that of the Creator who, as a spiritual entity, has the power of sovereignty over His own creation that includes you of course. Because you are a sinner but as a human being that the Creator created and loved so much, and also who had unconditionally put His trust in you upfront, you were intrinsically brought into this world to help Him fulfill a purpose. You then failed Him instead that caused you to be cut off from Him and you ended up being “lost”. We all are, anyway.
But hear this. For all of the iniquities that we have brought upon ourselves, and thus having to suffer a grave consequence that would be eternal, there was no hope of saving us from this curse. Because the Creator is so full of grace and mercy, He had to come down to rescue us personally. He became our scapegoat instead and was led to be slaughtered as a sacrifice. In doing so, His precious blood became the only means to wash us clean of our sins and not because of our so-called righteousness of doing good and what’s right.
And because He didn’t like to boast about His coming, He did it with subtlety and humility. That’s why even His own chosen people failed to comprehend it as He wanted us to come back to Him through FAITH…that He was resurrected! And so are we the moment we believe in Him, we will be raised from the dead by baptizing in the name of the Father, the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Now do you have what it takes to get your priority right?
Once we know where we stand, only then, can we find out the truth why we are lost and what we had done that caused us to end up in such a pitiful situation. So what is there for us to be proud of when we are just nothing! Shouldn’t we in the least now be grateful and humble ourselves for goodness sake? Do we have a problem now? A serious one indeed! What shall we do then? For anyone, under any normal circumstances when faced with a problem whether big or small, common sense will tell us to look at the root cause of the problem. Have you done that homework?
What is the root cause of the problem in this case? Unless and until we found the root cause of the problem, we will forever be lost in eternity and can never be found. The biggest problem that is plaguing mankind is that people are generally ignorant of the fact that we humans are unable to “communicate” with the Creator and have a relationship with Him. Why? It’s because of a curse. Believe it or not, we brought it on ourselves. How? This curse was caused by the sins that we have committed against the Creator. And the sins we committed were the result of our disobedience and arrogance. Because of this curse, our relationship with the Creator were severed (cut off). And the heavy penalty we humans have to pay is…death. Plus, not forgetting there is another culprit also known as the “Deceiver”, who put us in the hotspot. It’s the Devil who is also another spiritual entity less powerful than God and was cast down to earth because of his disobedience too. But, he challenged the Creator to allow him to test the humans and see if humans obeyed him or the Creator. And true enough, it turned out that we humans failed the test even until today and hence, unmistakably failed the Creator big time. Because of that, we humans have to pay a heavy penalty. That’s how we have brought upon ourselves 3 major curse to deal with and that is Sin, Death and the Devil!
For all of these 3 curse to be lifted and disappeared, it’s very crucial that we humans must find the right antidote. It’s like, we are being poisoned and we need the right antidote to reverse it or die. Although we are physically looking alive on the outside, but actually we are already “dead” inside… if you are looking at the spiritual point of view. Imagine the horror if someday we found out we were like walking zombies and didn’t know it all the while!
But lucky you and me. Because the Creator still loved us so much, He didn’t want us to end up like this, so He graciously decided to give us an antidote as could be found substantiated in John 3: 16. The antidote has been available for a long time already. Isn’t it surprising that we still failed to act fast to get hold of the antidote in order to be “resurrected” from the horror of being like “walking zombies”, and be born again as a new and real human being?
As soon as we understand what was the root cause of the problem that became mankind’s worst nightmare and be smart enough to recognize what is the antidote that is waiting to be taken, only then shall we humans be absolutely 100% FREE from the curse. But the problem is, there are other ‘devil-in-disguise’ around claiming to be the right antidote out there too. How to know if we have found the right one or not?
To begin this journey of hope in finding the right antidote to the biggest problem of mankind which is the curse, we already have done some homework earlier. After narrowing down the possibilities to save troubles and wasting time finding, there are only 2 possibility that could be the right antidote to take. So it will be one big happy ending for the human race once and for all. Are you ready for a happy ending? That is, only if you found the right antidote and not hesitate to take it.
One, of course, is religion that most people are familiar with. You may have discovered by now about the irrelevancy of religion that failed to click with the description of the antidote. However, it is still, by far the most obvious choice for a lot of people because it is the easiest one to follow as it’s largely based on fulfillment of laws and rituals which only need to be seen to be done “physically” and “technically” as in the case of saying prayers for example. You see. It’s not about how “righteous” it sounds that one can say in a prayer, it’s about how humble, yet silent and meaningful a prayer is! It’s the ability to discern that makes the difference here, not the ability to boast.
Here’s a parable about those who thought highly of themselves as “righteous”, and despised others even in their manners of saying prayers.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as the other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted”.
The other one is based on FAITH which is rather “difficult” and “impossible” for a lot of people who find it hard to comprehend because it’s about a normal human being known as Jesus while he was alive on earth. A lot of people probably don’t think he is qualified until today as he was only a human being like us. Also, history have revealed that he could not even save himself when he was put to death on a cross as a “criminal” by an angry mob all because he claimed he was the only “antidote” that will save anyone from the curse as can be substantiated in John 14:6. Can he be the antidote for you?
Sadly but unmistakably, there are still plenty of people who are the same today. What’s transpiring and unveiling today seems to be exactly the same scenario when Jesus was facing the darkest hours in his life as he stood being accused of blasphemy. The angry crowd that consisted mostly of the Pharisees and scribes who were the self-righteous religious teachers, were crying out to the Roman governor of the day, to release the other convict named, Barabbas instead of Jesus whom they condemned as one deserving to be punished with death for speaking blasphemy against God. Aren’t people today the same, preferring “Barabbas” than Jesus?
It became clear that this is an antidote that is not easy for a lot of people to swallow because it requires something a little extraordinary in order to take it. Do you have what it takes? FAITH. And that’s exactly what those self-righteous religious teachers failed to have. Are you like one of them now? Yes, this is it! If you don’t have what it takes, you will just remain as a poor sheep that is lost forever without a shepherd because you rather “preferred” to have your shepherd annihilated instead. If you do HAVE it, you shall be able to decide easily by following all the posts on this blog.
It is not a difficult decision to make for some. But to others who are already involved in other religions will find it otherwise. In fact, it’s even impossible because their religious laws would easily spell death for a convert who would “betray” their own religion by committing apostasy. So it all depends if they have what it takes to face the animosity of their own. Finally, it’s up to each individual to figure it out for themselves where their destiny will bring them at the end of the day. Whether it’s worth paying the price to make such a decision that is not inconsequential at all, will definitely require a lot of soul-searching. It’s a decision that will ultimately determine your destiny…
……And that is either forever freedom and joy,
“It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found” – Luke 15: 32
Or, eternal misery and death!
“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: And Lazarus, which was laid at his gates, full of sores, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.
Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” – Luke 16:19-31.