Pretty Cool to Design Your Own Religion

“My religion is a religion of love and my god is a god of love”.

Response: You seem to describe a “designer religion” – the notion that each of us can fashion our own god or gods to suit our wishes and desires.  We thus create god in our own image.  Here are some clues about choosing (or designing) our own gods:

  • Did your god create the heavens and earth, or did it all just happen by itself? 

Some religions, like Hinduism, are based on evolution.  And yet there are 10,000 scientists in this country who see evolution as an unproven theory, with stronger evidence for creation than evolution.  An example is the fossil record, within which the missing links are still missing.  (By the way, both creation scientists and evolutions embrace micro-evolution, such as changes in moths or birds.  It is on macro-evolution – the notion that a whale can evolve to a bear – where they disagree.)  There is even an emerging Intelligent Design movement of scientists who have abandoned evolution because the evidence of intelligence in design is too compelling to ignore.

  • Where do you want to end up after this life on earth?  

Every religion has a distinctly different ending for life.  So you might consider the following:

  • “Good” Moslem men go to paradise with 73 virgins and “bad” Moslem men go to hell;
  • Hindus believe that the end their life on earth leads to being reincarnated as a person, animal, or perhaps a mosquito, and (hopefully) eventually escaping reincarnation to become one with the All;
  • Mormons – get their own planet if they are good Mormons;
  • Atheists – turn into a pile of ashes and are buried or blown away by the wind;
  • Christians – go to heaven to be with the Lord; those who reject Christ and His offer of eternal life spend eternity in Hades; and    
  • Universalism – everyone gets to go to heaven, whether they want to or not.

NOTE:  These different perspectives raise these provocative questions:  

  • Are they all true?   (Is it even possible for all of them to be true?)
  • On what basis do you assume that we get to select the ending we want (paradise with virgins, have our own planet, one with the all, go to heaven to be with the Lord, etc.)? 
  • Are there clues as to which of these is most likely to be the truth?
  • Have you considered the evidence for Christianity: 
  • The Bible:  Written by 40 authors with widely differing occupations from 3 continents over 1,500 years, the Bible tells an integrated story that is woven together in a progressive story of human life, with God’s involvement over the centuries.  This unity is evidence of a common author (the Holy Spirit), who inspired and guided the writing of the books of the Bible, in contrast to other religions.
  • Fulfilled prophecy – Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection fulfilled dozens of prophecies, the odds of which happening by chance are truly astronomical.
  • The Flood – Over 130 cultures have stories / myths in their history that they are descendants of a family who was saved in a boat from a world-wide flood.  This is best explained by the story of Noah – that he really did build an ark, the Bible story is true, and these stories/myths are exactly what we would expect.  This is in contrast to evolution, which claims that a fish can turn into a bear if we just wait long enough.
  • Vast archaeological evidence that testifies to the historicity of the Old and New Testaments, rather than being merely an inspiring book authored by a charismatic religious or cult leader.  There have even been expeditions that have found Noah’s Ark, and brought back physical evidence of the ark’s existence. 
  • Evidence Consistent With Rules of Evidence – From a legal perspective, what does the evidence tell us?  Simon Greenleaf was the nation’s greatest legal scholar on rules of evidence, with his work known as the standard for rules of evidence, even by the U.S. Supreme Court.  A person of Jewish descent, Greenleaf was challenged by his students to examine the evidence for whether or not Jesus Christ was indeed the savior of mankind, or a great imposter.  He accepted the challenge, and after much study, became a Christian, compelled by the evidence before him.
  • Coming Back From the Dead – Evidence comes from many different sources.  Dr. Maurice Rawlings was a non-Christian cardiologist who lost many patients.  As his medical skills improved, he was able to bring many of them back from the dead.  About half of them did not want to come back, as they were experiencing great bliss.  About half of them were absolutely terrified that they were to die again and once experience hell.

A Personal Relationship with the Sovereign, Living God of the Universe

Christianity is unique in that it offers the opportunity for a personal relationship with the sovereign, living God, unlike other religions.  The sovereign, living God of the universe created us in His image, with the capacity and yearning to know Him and walk in His ways.  The Word of God reveals that He knows each of us, that He created each of us with unique gifts and talents, and that we have a purpose in our lives.  Furthermore, we will never experience true joy and peace (that transcends circumstances) unless we discover and live to carry out that purpose.  Have you discovered your purpose or mission in your life?

The central question for designer religions:  Anyone can develop a philosophy or religion – a conceptual framework for life and what happens after we die. 

  • But what is the source of their knowledge? 
  • Did they receive some revelation from the sovereign, living God about life and death (the only true authority about life and death), or did they just make it up? 
  • If you take a little from this religion and a little from that religion, to create a new (synthetic) religion, is it valid? 
  • Does your explanation for your eternal destiny explain what will really happen when you die?  The stakes are very high, as eternity is a very long time. 

Only Love, Caring, Justice, Joy, and Truth Will Endure

“Those aspects of life actually are all that endure in the largest perspective when they are made with eternity in mind…. Those acts include love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth.  That’s why every religion values those qualities.”

Response:   I am a fan of yours, and always enjoy reading your column.  But I did want to respond to your recent column entitled:  “Leaving a Mark”.

You mentioned that “those aspects of life actually are all that endure in the largest perspective when they are made with eternity in mind…. Those acts include love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth.”

I am in full agreement that having eternity in mind enriches our lives and those around us as we carry out our lives.  However from a Christian perspective, the largest perspective would really be eternity – heaven and hell, and how we have assisted people move toward the former (or not).  So we could treat people very well, but if we don’t help them see Jesus and learn about eternal life, we will not have helped them in the long run.  And eternity is a very long time.  As they burn in hell, they may remember how kindly we have treated them, but wonder why we did not introduce them to the sovereign, living God of the Bible and His Son Jesus Christ, who alone saves men and women unto eternity.

By the way, Maurice Rawlings is a cardiologist who discovered that about half of his patients that he revived from death came back screaming for him to save them, as they were in hell.  Very interesting, as it directly contradicts liberal seminaries, which often teach that hell does not exist.

“Those acts include love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth.  That’s why every religion values those qualities.”

Response: Is this really true?  The Bible is clear that there were other religions in place at the time of the Old and New Testaments, and they were condemned by prophets in the Old Testament and Christ and His apostles in the New Testament: 

  • Moses directly confronted the spiritual leaders of Egypt, who espoused another religion.  He could have said: “I know we have the same values, so I wish you well.”  No, he rejected their religion and their gods, and each of the plagues brought upon the Egyptians demonstrated that their gods were impotent against the God of the children of Israel. 
  • There are many other examples of the prophets of the sovereign, living God of the universe rejecting pagan gods in the Old Testament and their practices such as sacrificing their children by passing them through the fire.  (Similar to abortion today – over 50 million unborn babies to the gods of convenience, lifestyle, and reputation.)  The Judeo-Christian respect for human life as created in the image of God and of a higher order than animals is unique.
  • The New Testament is also full of examples of Christ and His disciples rejecting other religions.  Christ clearly taught that the (Talmudic) Judaism taught be the Pharisees and Sadducees was insufficient to go to heaven.  He told Nicodemus, a Pharisee, that he must be born again to go to heaven. 
  • When Paul spoke to the Greek philosophers in Athens, he noted that they had statues to many gods, then expounded on their “unknown god”, making the case that their unknown god was really the God of the Bible.  These were professional, hardened, skeptical philosophers, and yet he found a way to reach them.  But he did not reach them on the basis of shared values.
  • Finally, Jesus stated:  “I am the way, the truth, and the light; no one goes to the Father but through Me.” John 14:6  This claim to exclusivity is either true or false; there is no middle ground.  He was either who he said he was – the Son of the sovereign, living God, or a false teacher and charlatan. 

“Each of us finds ways to weave and wind through the time we spend here.  Many turn to religion in an effort to connect with the signal.  I’ve chosen Christianity.  I’ve also had friends of the Jewish faith.  Others over the years have become followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, all seeking the higher frequency.”

Response: You imply that different religions are merely different ways to reach the same goal (“the higher frequency”), sort of like a bicycle, motorcycle, car, or truck are all equally valid ways to travel to Memphis.

As the Bible describes multiple gods in both the Old Testament and New Testament, it follows that everyone who worshipped a “god” back then was not necessarily worshipping the God of the Bible.  A closer look at religions today reveals that not only is the nature of their gods quite different from the God of the Bible, but their eternal destinations are  also quite different.  They don’t all go to heaven, but to other places.  Here are just three examples:

  • Mormons believe that Jesus and Lucifer were brothers, and Jesus was more successful at persuading the council of gods that he should go to earth and represent them than Lucifer.  So god the father came to earth, had physical sex with Mary, and Jesus was born.  Furthermore, if you are good Mormon, you and your wife(s) get your own planet when you die, where you procreate new spirit babies that are then born on earth, just one aspect of reaching godhood.
  • Hinduism is also polytheistic, and if you are a good Hindu, after some reincarnations, you escape the wheel of samsara (reincarnation), and become one with the Atman – the All.  Similar to a drop of water falling into the ocean, the person then loses all personal identity. 

Furthermore, the positive traits that you mentioned: “love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth” are either absent or reinterpreted within the framework of Hinduism.  For example, Hindus are known for not helping the poor in India because that would interfere with their karma.  And their “truth” would include the perspective that Jesus was just one of many gods, and not even the main one.

  • Allah, the moon god, was one of the pagan deities worshipped by the people of Arabia prior to Mohammad arriving on the scene.  When he promoted his monotheism to the polytheistic inhabitants of Mecca, they chased him out of town.  He traveled to Medina, where he gathered his forces, came back and took over by deception and bloodshed.  He was a pedophile, a murderer, and a marauder who institutionalized deception (called taqiyya) within Islam, a practice embraced by Muslim leaders today.  Allah is not known for his love, and the only way you can be assured of going to paradise is if you die in jihad – religious war.  If you are a good Moslem man, you go to Paradise, where you have your own harem of 72 beautiful virgins.  (I don’t believe Muslim women end up with 72 handsome men).  The hyper-sexed Islamic culture is evident in Saudi Arabia, home of Islam’s most holy sites, where women dare not venture out of their homes without male escorts, and then covered up with a burka, lest they tempt a man to take advantage of them.  If a daughter or wife were to be raped, the father of the family would be duty-bound by Islam to kill her, thus restoring honor to the family. 

These elements are fundamental to Islam, and not merely some radical sect of Islam.  The “love, caring, justice, giving, forgiving, fairness, kindness, selflessness, joy, and truth” is largely absent within orthodox Islam. (I used to live with Moslems while in grad school in Missouri).

NOTE:  Just one of the ways that Islam is profoundly different from Christianity is how it treats women as second class citizens, even as property.  Ann Barnhardt is a brilliant, totally outspoken, former financial broker and devout Catholic who provides key insights into Islamic sexuality.  You can see her analysis here (part 1 of 4 parts)  Her videos provide great insight into the works of satan to destroy and pervert God’s ultimate creation – men and women, created in the image of God.

“Others over the years have become followers of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam, all seeking the higher frequency.”

Response: You mentioned “the higher frequency”.  By this do you mean there is some all-pervasive power that believers in religion can tap into?  Sooner or later most believers in power religion (tapping a higher power) discover that the source of their power is ultimately Satan, who comes as an angel of light, and employs his minions and multiple religions to move us toward the creation of a one world religion, one world economy, one world currency, and one world government.  By the way, we can see the foundation for this system now being established – economically, politically, socially, and religiously.

This is in direct contrast to Christians who live a life in the (Holy) Spirit, who worship and serve the sovereign, living God of the universe and His Son Jesus Christ, Who has sacrificed His life that we may be truly free.  Furthermore, in contrast to religion, which are largely man-made belief systems, Christianity offers a personal relationship with the Lord.  Jesus said:  “I am the good shepherd and My sheep hear My voice.”

Further evidence of the uniqueness of Christianity:

  • The Bible is not a single book, but a collection of 63 books written by 40 different authors with widely differing occupations from 3 different continents over 1,500 years.  And yet it portrays a common theme and a common message, indicating that it was inspired by a common source – the Holy Spirit.  The common theme is that of a sovereign, living God who is holy, just, and merciful – a God who created a universe of beauty and design, who created man in his own image with the capacity for choice, and a plan for salvation that satisfies His nature and requirements for holiness, justice, and mercy. 
  • Simon Greenleaf was the nation’s most eminent legal scholar on the rules of evidence, and the U.S. Supreme Court often referred to his books on tough cases.  A Jew, Greenleaf occasionally would speak disparagingly about Christianity.  When his students challenged him by asking if he had ever examined the evidence for Christianity, he replied that he had not, but agreed to do so.  After several months of examining the evidence for Christianity, Greenleaf converted to Christianity, convinced that the evidence was so compelling, he had no other choice.  A legal scholar, he rejected the religion of his upbringing for the truth and freedom of Christianity.
  • In the book “The Math of Christ”, retired U.S. Army Colonel Stephen M. Bauer identifies 40 prophecies from the Old Testament that have been fulfilled, and the odds that they have happened by chance.  He discovered that the chances that these happened by chance is one chance in 1×10 to the 136th power.  Some scientists believe that the earth is 10 billion years old.  Translating this into seconds, this would amount to a mere 4.8 x 10 to the 17th power seconds.  Among all religious, only Christianity has such a record of fulfilled prophecies.
  • An intelligent design movement has emerged from within the evolutionist

community (including some prominent evolutionary scientists).  These scientists have come to the conclusion that the complexity of the universe cannot be explained by Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, but reveals evidence of intelligence – of design by a conscious being.  All of which is totally consistent with the Biblical account of creation. 

Stepping back and looking at these issues from an overall perspective, what difference does it make?  The Bible not only articulates a world view and theology that is exclusive, it provides a strong admonition against those who teach other views: 

“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.”                         Galatians 1:6-9 

We cannot serve both God and mammon.  We will either love one and hate the other, or hate one and love the other.

I apologize for the length of this note to you.  I would welcome the opportunity to continue this conversation – by e-mail or in person.

Best regards,

Let’s Hear it for Humanism

“Naturalism or secular humanism is superior to Christianity as a belief system because it is less hypocritical, has greater faith, is more challenging, and is more daring”.


I agree that Christianity has the greatest hypocrisy, or at least the greatest potential for hypocrisy, compared to humanism. The standards set by the Lord for Christians are very high.  We are called upon to love our enemies, to go the extra mile when called upon to go a mile (as you may know, this refers to the Roman soldiers commanding citizens to carry their heavy packs a mile), to feed the poor, and be willing to die for our Lord and for our spouses.  We are also called upon to love the Lord with all of our heart, mind, soul, and strength.  How many Christians really love their enemies?  If Christians are really willing to die for their wives, why isn’t the divorce rate among Christians much less than that of non-Christians?  (It is not).  So the gap between the standard of behavior set by the Lord for Christians and those who profess to be Christians is large, at least in the U.S.

On the other hand, it seems that the standards of behavior set by naturalists would be more modest, perhaps even low.  Secular humanists talk about fulfilling their potential, which seems like it would be easier to do – even a natural process.  If there is no external standard – no standard set by an external entity, then we are free to set our own standards.  Furthermore, what is a standard of behavior for one person need not be accepted by another.  A consensus on how to live by some group does not hold sway over another group or individual.  And there are many groups – which one should we choose?  So if I am to develop a set of standards for my life – my moral code, I will likely set it low enough to be reached in my lifetime.  Hence less hypocrisy.

I might add that the standard set by the Lord for Christians can only be achieved through supernatural means, as the righteousness of Christ is imputed to His followers.  To carry this a step further, the Lord can work through us to do things that defy natural reason and transcend typical norms. 

Second, naturalism/humanism is a religion of greater faith than Christianity.  This is using the definition of religions as systems of ultimate beliefs.  (The U.S. Supreme Court declared some years ago that secular humanism is a religion.)  I agree – it takes more faith to believe that the incredible complexity and design of the universe, which is even more complex than a Boeing 747, came about by pure chance, than from some intelligence.

The Intelligent Design movement within the evolution community is problematic for evolutionary scientists, with prominent evolutionary scientists embracing intelligent design because the data drives them to it, and that nature, like Mount Rushmore, reveals evidence of intelligence, and intelligent design. 

Third, the most daring persons are naturalists – humanists.  I always think of Christopher Columbus, or Lewis and Clark as daring explorers, because they traveled to unknown lands with limited supplies and imperfect maps.  The most they could lose were their lives on this earth.  However, the journey beyond the grave is the ultimate journey.

Naturalists facing death with no certainty of what lies ahead, other than perhaps through speculative philosophy, are truly acts of daring.  And if naturalists are wrong, they will experience an eternal life of suffering, which I would wish on no person. Christianity not only describes the next life and the different destinations in the next life; it also describes how to get to heaven.  This is confirmed by fulfilled prophecies and 12 disciples who were transformed from cowards to bold witnesses for the Lord, all of whom except one was killed for his faith.

One clue about life after death comes from Maurice Rawlings (, a cardiologist who has brought many people back from death.  He discovered that about half of them experienced a light with great joy, and half were absolutely terrified, as they experienced hell.  Did they make this up?  How can a person make something up when he/she is clinically dead? 

Fourth, naturalism / humanism is the most challenging.

Richard Dawkins, a famous evolutionary scientist, stated:

“Nature is not cruel, pitiless. This is one of the hardest lessons for humans to learn.  We cannot admit that things might be neither good nor evil, neither cruel nor kind, but simply callous – indifferent to all suffering, lacking all purpose.” 

So the challenge is – if one’s world view does not allow for purpose – if we came about by the survival of the fittest, why live?  Why are we here?  If we are smarter and/or meaner than all the rest of the animals, so what?  We will just live a little longer perhaps – a life of emptiness.  What can you tell a friend who is considering suicide if we, like a pebble or rock, have no purpose in our lives?

If we are just animals, seeking to survive, what can we tell a mugger who wants to take our money and bump us off?  Who are we to say what he is doing is wrong?  Is he not just fulfilling Darwin’s mandate – to survive? 

Nations with no transcendent purpose ultimately embrace an ideology that favors the ruling class, usually based on utilitarianism:

“We keep you alive to serve this ship.  Row well and live.”

Roman Commander of a slave galley ship in the movie Ben Hur

Other than scapegoats (Hitler’s attack on the Jews), it means that the productive are kept, and the crippled and elderly are expendable.  If human life, like animals, has no purpose other than material production, us older folks are in trouble, as are the sick and handicapped.

In contrast, the Christian world view describes our creation by a sovereign, living God to carry out His work in the world. We are not merely animals but special creations, created in the image of God.  Discovering His will for our lives is the first task, but the second is perhaps more difficult – yielding to His will and being obedient to His call on our lives.

“For I know he thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”                                                                                                                   Jeremiah 29:11

Is Mormonism a Christian Denomination?

“Mormonism is a Christian denomination and I am a Christian.”


I want you to know that I have a high regard for my Mormon friends and the Mormon Church for the strong family values it espouses, its work with the poor, its incredible music, its emphasis on physical preparation, and its financial acumen.  But I don’t believe that its theology is sound. 

I realize this sounds terribly arrogant and presumptuous, but I am concerned about where you will spend eternity.  I ran across a cardiologist named Maurice Rawlings, who has had many of his patients die.  (He is either a great doctor who gets the worst cases, or a lousy doctor…)  He is able to recusitate many of them, and has discovered that about half of them experienced light and joy in heaven and didn’t want to come back, while the other half experienced utter terror in hell, and didn’t want to die again.  All of which compels me to realize that these matters are not merely academic discussions, but have to do with the REALITY of death and ask what is on the other side. You can see more here:

The other reason I have become very interested in really knowing about the spiritual realm and life in that realm is that this country boy is getting older.  The closer I get to the finish line, the more interested I am in what’s next. 

I share this concern with you as a friend, and hope you will accept it in that light.  I also hope that if you believed I was headed in the wrong direction (which you well may believe), that you would bring it to my attention.  Our friendship does not depend on agreeing on everything, because it is based on respect for each other as persons.  I have friends who are liberal Jews, agnostics, and Hindus; some of whom I can discuss these matters with, and some of whom I cannot.  But I treasure their friendships.  Our paths have crossed, and I am much richer for it. 

You may know this, but I was raised as a Lutheran, then became a subjectivist, a humanist, a Marxist, and have attended various churches over time.  I have enjoyed the journey, experienced great discussions about the meaning of life (usually with an adult beverage), and tried on these various world views.  But as I get closer to the end of this life, I realize it is time for me to become serious about what happens next, and its implications for those who I care for.  And I care for you.  Although I am by no means an expert on Mormonism, I understand its basic tenets vary significantly from traditional biblical Christianity, and include:

  • God the Father had a father, and used to be a man on another planet.
  • God is married to his goddess wife (a mother god), and has spirit children.
  • Jesus and Satan are spirit brothers and were born as siblings in heaven.
  • A plan of salvation was needed for the people of earth so Jesus offered a plan to the Father and Satan offered a plan to the father but Jesus’ plan was accepted.
  • God had sexual relations with Mary to make the body of Jesus.
  • There are many gods, and after you become a good Mormon, you have the potential of becoming a god with your own planet, you and your wife giving birth to spirit babies that are then born on earth.
  • Jesus’ sacrifice was not able to cleanse us from all our sins.
  • If it had not been for Joseph Smith and the restoration, there would be no salvation (including exaltation to Godhood).
  • There is no salvation without accepting Joseph Smith as a prophet of God
  • The book of Mormon is more correct than the Bible.
  • One of the most fallacious doctrines originated by Satan is that man is saved alone by the grace of God; good works are necessary for salvation.

Source:  “What Does Mormonism Teach?” by Matt Slick –

These are not minor differences of theology, but another gospel, which is condemned in _________ (quote the passage).

“My original reason for becoming a Mormon had to do with being granted full custody of two high-school age sons when their mother and I divorced and she moved to Guatemala.  They had been raised in that faith and I strongly believed that we needed a church family to survive.  Being a good father and husband, as far as we believe, will be the first questions asked when we return to be with our Heavenly Father.  If you can pass that test, and you two certainly can, then everything else should fall in place.

As you no doubt know, families are what we are all about to the extent that we believe that “families can be together forever!”  And I am banking on that to be true which is the reason we make such an effort to afford those privileges to those who have died before having an opportunity to accept Christ as their Savior.  But not for a second am I not grateful to be counted among your friends and those for whom you pray.”


The Bible is clear that entrance to heaven relies on a person repenting of their sins and accepting Christ as their savior.  The qualities of “being a good father and husband” are insufficient for salvation.  With regard to families in heaven, Jesus addressed this very issue in Mark 12:25, when He stated:  “For when they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven.”

“I don’t think I am any kind of exception, but I have always appreciated anyone who believed in an Almighty Beingwhile privately distrusting those who only believed in themselves.  My best friend since the 10th grade, as you may recall, is a Society of Mary Catholic Priest.  In fact, I probably have more Catholic friends than any others; stands to reason since there are a billion of them out there!  And my favorite movie is “Shoes of the Fisherman.”  We even sent our daughter to Catholic School in the eighth grade; great experience for her. 

My sister, a Disciples of Christ member, is about to marry her Baptist dentist.  My sister-in-law is a Methodist and we always enjoy the exceptional singing when we attend her church.  Interestingly enough, it was in a Sunday school class in her church that we first met my wife’s present boss, Morehead State University’s president, who was teaching that class.  I’ll never forget after that first lesson some 25 years ago, he looked over at me and without warning asked, “Ok, how giving us the Mormon point of view of this lesson!”  You can bet that for years afterwards I was prepared for that question.”


I too appreciate those who believe in the Lord.  Do you remember _______, who was the C.D. Specialist in Columbia?  I will never forget the time I drove up from Arkansas to attend a conference in Columbia, and arrived the evening before the event.  I went out to a Red Lobster, and ran into him, who was eating dinner by himself.  He looked terrible – like death warmed over.  Turns out, his wife had died a month earlier, and both he and she were atheists.  As far as he was concerned, she ceased to exist, like a mosquito that was swatted.  I haven’t heard, but he looked like he was about to follow her.

I, too, have had different religious experiences, which I have relished.  In addition to attending a variety of churches, I have lived with (male) Moslems, Jews, Buddhists, Catholics, and Hindus.  These have been wonderful folks, which I enjoyed getting to know.  But the questions I am faced with (particularly now, as our daughter is returning from India), are:

  • Are they all true? 
  • Is that even possible? 
  • How do we know what is true? 

I hope to interact with our daughter about these questions soon.  As you probably know, Hinduism is called “the embrace that smothers” because it claims to embrace all other religions.  Hence it is attractive to many.

Is Love Really All There Is

“Although I was raised as a Christian, I have explored other spiritualities and believe that the Universe, God, the All That Is, whatever name we attribute to a greater creative power, conspires to help us succeed, if we know how to tap into that power within ourselves.”  


Very interesting.  You have described a world view that is becoming increasingly popular in our nation.  In contrast, the Biblical Christian perspective would see the sovereign, living God and creator of the universe as a spiritual being distinct from the universe, His creation.  The God of the Bible is not only holy, just, and merciful; He is also personal – having a personality – as opposed to the universe, which is impersonal.  Biblical Christianity would say that within ourselves, we only have human power.  We have a body, heart, emotions, mind, and spirit, with the latter having the ability to connect with spiritual powers – good or evil.  Christians can become filled with the Holy Spirit, and I know of many miracles that have taken place as the Lord has worked through His people, just as Jesus promised.  Furthermore, individuals can become possessed by demons, sometimes attaining supernatural strength.  But they are in service to their master, the great deceiver named Satan.

Unlike New Age beliefs about tapping into power within ourselves (the higher power), the Christian perspective is that Christians are sinners saved by Christ, and that the power of the Holy Spirit can flow through us.  But it is His power, and not our own.

“My own beliefs and faith are rooted in the commonality and community between all spiritual beliefs – the core belief that Love is all there is.”  


While this notion is appealing, it overlooks the fact that “Love” is interpreted defined through the lens of each religion.  For example, I understand that devout Hindus believe that to help a poor person interferes with his/her karma, so it shouldn’t be done.  The poor person is living out the consequences of his past life, so he has to go through this in order to be born into a better station in his next life.

Love for a Muslim would entail converting non-believers to Islam, which requires their repudiation of all other religions.  While Christians also seek to win non-believers to Christ, we are also admonished to love all people, including our enemies.

How different religions see life after death is a clue that the “commonality of all spiritual beliefs” is more theory than real:

  • Devout Muslims believe that if they die in jihad, they go to Paradise, with access to 73 virgins (I don’t think Muslim women fare so well). 
  • Devout Mormons believe if they call out their wife’s name when they die, they get their own planet, where they can procreate spirit babies that are then born on earth as persons.
  • Devout Hindus, if they are good enough, eventually escape the Wheel of Samsara (reincarnation) and become one with all that is, like a drop of water falling into the ocean. 
  • Devout Christians believe they go to heaven, where they dwell in eternity in the presence of other saints and the Lord. 

By the way, a cardiologist named Maurice Rawlings received a lot of patients in bad shape over the years.  Many of them died under his care, and he was able to revive many of them with modern medical means.  He discovered that about half of them did not want to come back to life, as they were having a very pleasant experience which some described as being in heaven.  The other half came back screaming that they did not want to die again as they were experiencing hell.  This would not be the case if there was a “commonality of all spiritual beliefs” and “Love is all there is”.

”As the Dalai Lama said “Loving kindness is my religion”, I too believe. But this also entails, for me, embracing the duality of our nature and understanding that you can’t have light without darkness, beauty without ugliness – all very subjective, human-based concepts anyway.”


Biblical Christianity would define duality of our nature from two perspectives.  First would be the distinction between the physical world we inhabit vs. the spiritual world, which is just as real, but largely invisible to us.  Christians are citizens of heaven and ambassadors for Christ into this world.

The second duality would be for life in the flesh vs. life in the Spirit.  The fruit of life in the flesh is selfishness, deceit, violence, etc., while the fruit of life in the Spirit would be love, peace, joy, concern for others, etc.  An example of this would be when the early Romans threw their unwanted babies on the trash heap, they were rescued by Christians, who knew they were created in the image of God.

We are all subjects/persons (as opposed to objects), so from one perspective, we encounter the world subjectively.  On the other hand, historic Christianity is based on the premise that the world as we know it exists objectively, and is not an illusion.  Its existence does not depend on our awareness of it.  (If the bear craps in the woods, it is real, even if no one else knows about it). 

There is substantive evidence supporting the Biblical world view.  One example is the fact that the Bible was written by 40 authors from many stations in life, on 3 continents, in 3 languages, over 1,500 years, and yet has a single theme that runs through it, testifying to a supernatural author.  The fulfillment of over 40 Old Testament prophecies is another.

“Transcending duality is really the objective of Buddhism – to reach the point of the great emptiness, which isn’t an easy concept to grasp, but once in awhile, in my meditations, I get a glimpse.”


It sounds like “transcending duality” is to deny/transcend one’s physical reality and to dwell in the spiritual realm.  But rather than encountering the sovereign, living God of the universe as a Christian would, the Buddhist, in his/her highest state, seeks to find and experience nothing.  Perhaps it is similar to a drop of rain falling into the ocean; it loses its identity as a drop and becomes part of the ocean.

The image of emptiness which comes to mind is that of the survivors of the Nazi death camps in WWII – poor souls who stagger out from behind barbed wire, their bones sticking out from starvation, with a gaunt look on their faces.  Have these people achieved emptiness?  Can emptiness be forced on us, or do we have to achieve it by ourselves?

Finally, the Biblical perspective is that the spirit realm is inhabited by angels and demons.  Seeking to enter the spiritual realm without the protection of the Holy Spirit may even be dangerous, as it opens a person up to demonic influence and possession.

“If we accept that the world’s dramas are an illusion – a huge stage play – and we all have a starring role, it becomes easier for me to feel equanimous when things seem to be spinning out of control. That’s my spirituality in a nutshell.”


Yes, and if we accept that the moon was made of cheese, we would never starve if we could just bring a chunk of it back to earth.  While it is an intriguing intellectual exercise, it poses some real questions:

  • Then food would also be an illusion; so how would you account for hunger if life is just an illusion?
  • What would your loved ones feel or think of you if they knew we perceived them as just an illusion? 
  • If life is illusory, then moral constraints would also be illusory, would they not?  So anything goes, including mayhem and murder.

We had dinner with some friends recently, and the husband stated that life was an illusion.  His wife seemed a little startled, so she pinched him – hard, and asked if that was real.  He stated that it was.

Finally, when things seem to be spinning out of control in our lives, we can call on the Lord, who promises to be with us through thick and thin.