“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.