12 August 2013

The Religion of Men Rejected By God



WE have learned in the previous article that man separated from the religion of God, because God’s commandments or statutes have been rejected. God in turn, rejected man. In this article, we shall find out the religion of those who have been rejected by God.
Does the Bible tell us the kind of religion where we find people who have been alienated from God and rejected by Him?  Isaiah 59:2,9, give this testimony:

“But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear…Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness.” (KJV)

The verses tell us about the sad fate of man who has been alienated from god because of iniquity or sin.  Man did not outrightly dispense with religion as pointed out in the verses.  They have sought for light, but they found darkness.  Having failed in his efforts to see light, what did man do?  The Bible answer is:

“The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths; whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.” (Is. 59:8, Ibid.)

Devoid of the true light in serving God, man had made for themselves crooked paths or false religions.  Which is the true light in serving God, the absence of which plunges man into the crooked Paths?  Here is the answer of the Bible:

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” (Ps. 119:105, Ibid.)

The words of God serve as the only light that should guide man in his service to God.  Having been strayed from this light, it’s no wonder if man crooked roads or paths, false religions.  This belies the popular claim that all religions are of God. Which is the righteous path?  The judgment of God, according to the Bible:

“Righteous art thou, O Lord, and upright are thy judgments.” (Ps. 119:137 Ibid.)

If man will stray from the words of God and from His judgment, his mind will be enveloped by darkness.  He will inevitably fond himself in the crooked paths or false religions.  This unfortunate condition was responsible for the emergence of many false religions today.  Whose fault is this?  Can God be blamed for this?  Here is the Bible’s answer:

“Behold, this alone I found, that god made man upright, but they have sought many devices.” (Ecles. 7:29, RSV).

The existence of many false religions cannot be blamed on God.  The Bible’s testimony is that God made man upright but “they have sought many devices.”  Adam was made upright.  He was given a beautiful and peaceful home and all that could cater to his physical existence.  In God’s gracious design he was given the commandment and the necessary safeguard for the maintenance of his peaceful relationship with God, the necessary provision for his life, but he sought another device. It is well to recall what god has pronounced through the Prophet Isaiah, that men sought light but they have found darkness.  How true is this?  Is there something in man that urges him to seek light?  From Unger’s Bible Dictionary, on page 918, this is written:

“The term calls attention to the all important fact that man is a religious being,.  There is that in his nature which prompts him to some sort of faith and worship, With or without special revelation from God, requires the satisfaction and consolation and guidance which comes from faith in the unseen and the eternal.”

Man being a religious being, endeavors to seek light, but having been devoid of the proper light, as the Bible says, he found himself in darkness, in crooked paths, false religions.  What are these crooked paths?  Guide to the World’s Religion, pp. 98, 113, 137, 146 gives this information:

“…Hinduism offers several ways of salvation to men…there are three paths, called margas…KARMA-MARGA, or ‘The Way of Works’…JNANA MARGA, or ‘The Way of Knowledge’…(and) BHAKTI-MARGA, or ‘The Way of Devotion to a God’”
(The teaching of Buddhism about) “SALVATION.  The fourth Noble Truth, the Noble Eightfold Path which follow the middle way between self-indulgence and extreme asceticism, is the Buddhist way to find meaning in a world characterized by suffering, and is the way to the cessation of craving and to passionless peace.”
 “Salvation.  What must man do to be saved in Taoism?  The answer is simple but profound.  Follow Tao; learn its way and seek to conform to it.”
(The teaching of Confucianism about) “SALVATION.  The answer to man’s need was simple: return to the way of the ancestors.” From the COLLIER’S ENCYCLOPEDIA, P. 678: (SHINTO: way of salvation) “SHINTO…the indigenous religion of the Japanese people.  Its name is Chinese in origin and means ‘The Way of the God’s ‘The Way of the Sacred.’”

These are the crooked ways pointed to by the Bible. The great religious which arose as a result of the crooked paths established by men are: HINDUISM, ZOROASTRIANISM, JAINISM, BUDDISM, TAOISM, CONFUCIANISM, SHINTO, CATHOLICISM, PROTESTANTISM, ISLAM, AND SIKHISM.

Who are worshipped by men in these crooked ways of false religions?  What have become the object of their worship?  The Bible points out:

“Beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth.  And beware lest you lift your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them.” (Deut. 4:16-19.  RSV)

In what religion do we find these fulfilled?  From Life 1955, pages 36-37, we have this information – A few of the deities of the Hindus:

(1)      Graven images, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female—
a)   Brahman – Sarasvati
      Male and Female
b)   Vishnu – Lakshmi----
      Male and Female
c)   Shiva – Parvati – Kali---
      Male and Female
(2)      Likeness of any beast, any winged fowl:
a)   Hanuman --- monkey; Ushas – cow; Ganesha---elepant;
      Ashvins – head of the horse
b)   Garuda – “man bird”
(3) Likeness of any creeping creature, any fish ---
a)   Nagas – snake gods
b)   Makara --- monster fish
(3)      Sun, moon, star, EVERYTHING visible in the heavens…beneath the earth

From BIBLE AND CHRISTIANITY published by YEAR, on page 165, this is a startling revelation:

“… Hinduism regards the whole universe as an incarnation of God and hence everything in heaven, on earth, and under the earth maybe worshipped – a total of 333 million gods.”

Who else have been worshipped by man found in false religion? They worshipped even the demons or the devils, as pointed out in Deuteronomy in 32:17:

“They sacrificed to demons which were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come in of late, whom, your fathers had never dreaded.” (RSV)

Which among the religions of man worship the devil in fulfillment of this biblical statement?  GREAT RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD, published by the National Geographic Society, on page 155 gives us this information:

“So begins the legend of Padma Sambhava, the eight century Indian guru who spread the enlightenment of Buddha in Himalayan lands rife with worship of spirits, demigods, and demons.  He founded the Tibetan form of Buddhism with its priesthood of lamas, or superior ones.”

Aside from idols worshipped by man, what other evil was committed by man separated from God?  The Bible states, in Romans 10:2-3:

“I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but it is not enlightened.  For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness.” (RSV)

People sought their own ways, Different religions have been established because they refused to submit to God’s righteousness, hence, the emergence of many false religions, extravagantly claiming to be Christians and of God.  Is there a record of these proliferating religious sects established through human efforts?  In the 1972 World Almanac and Book of Facts, pages 390-391, this is clearly stated

“RELIGIOUS INFORMATION ---Census of religious bodies --- 216 major denominations.”

What greater evil has been done by man?  A good number have no religion at all as testified to by Job 21:14:

“They say to god, “Depart from us!  We do not desire the knowledge of thy ways.” (RSV)

What do these people say who have nothing to do with religion?  They say there is no God, as documented in Psalms 14:1-3:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none that does good.  The Lord looks down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there are any that act wisely, that seek after god.  They have all gone astray, they are all alike corrupt; there is none that does good, no, not one.” (Ibid.)

People of such persuasion are branded by the Bible as fools. Is there a group of people who deny the existence of God?  BIBLE AND CHRISTIANITY, published by YEAR on page 125 has this to say:

“The open struggle between Communism and religion began soon after the founding of the Communist state in Russia…the first step was to abolish religion within the boundaries of Russia, Lenin himself announced that the worship of God must cease in all the Russians.”

Does God give chance to people who have been separated from HIM to be restored to the right position with Him?  Malachi 3:7 records God’s injunction:

“From the days of your fathers you have turned aside from my statutes and have not kept them.  RETURN TO ME, AND I WIL RETURN TO YOU.”
(Emphasis Mne)

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