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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Religion's Greatest Threat

For centuries mankind has been plagued by wars fought largely over religious beliefs. History is replete with stories of how different religions ... each thinking they were right, would rise up to oppose each other. It seems that the fight over which religion is true fueled the wars and differences of mankind for generation after generation.

I grew up in the era of the Cold War. It was the U.S. against Russia. Christianity against Communism. America was very offended by Communism's advance. We fought it on the Korean peninsula and in Vietnam. We've gone into lots of other wars too. The Iraqi war is said to be a war on terrorism. But let's be honest, terrorism has been the face of Islam as far as most Americans have been concerned. (I'm not saying it's right. I'm just acknowledging what is.)

Madalyn Murray O'hair ( might have been one of this country's most famous atheists. I remember my parents explaining to me that she was evil and controlled by the devil. Our pastor in church told the congregants to pray for her salvation. He asked us teens to pray that America would be protected from the likes of this villain. We were certain that she belonged to that evil club (with Communists) that threatened Christianity and everything else that is good, true and right.

I now believe we were wrong. Certainly communism, Islam and even atheism have wrought destruction in the world and given Christianity a run for its money. But for those of us who believe in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the one true God --- there is an even greater threat. Freedom of religion in our country and others has given rise to the freedom of heresy. We are being swamped today with such a broad variety of religions. Many, maybe even most, of them seem plausible. They seem believable. They seem good and right.

We are deceived though if we think they are okay. They are not. Despite the fact that many of them promote goodness and fairness and other virtuous concepts of life, that is not the criteria for eternal life. Many of the members of these religions are good people. Sadly, that is not the criteria for eternal life. Being a "basically good person" is not what Jesus said will be used for admission tickets to heaven.

The Bible tells us that the key to eternal life is faith in Jesus Christ. You must believe that historical Jesus is who He said He was. You must demonstrate that belief by obediently doing what Jesus said to do. That's it. Nothing else qualifies you for heaven or eternal life. Nothing else. No matter how good and right it seems, nothing else will get you into heaven.

So it seems that the enemy of mankind (Satan) has found a very effective weapon in the fight for our souls. He just overwhelms us with good religions that seem right. We'll get so distracted from the one true faith that we'll never get to heaven. And it seems it's working too. Christianity threatens to be undone by a culture that embraces spirituality and lets everyone believe whatever they want. Even if they're wrong.

Columnists Ellen Goodman has an excellent piece on this subject recently in the Boston Globe. (Check it out at In it, she describes the phenomenon that many churches today are experiencing --- of congregation turnover. People drop in and out of churches like they do the mall or department stores. We have approached religion as consumers, and continue shopping to find just the right fit for whatever mood we happen to be in at the time.

This, my friends, is Christianity's greatest threat. It lets smug little believers run all over religion throughout their lives, always in search of something better. Never finding something true. To be sure, evil is among us and it is taking over the world. It's name is spirituality. It's face is religion.

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