SHOULD YOU TRUST RELIGION?

EETech
EETech
Jul 31, 2013, 2:49 PM |
0

Why Question Religion?

 

Suppose you need to have surgery for a life-threatening illness. You would want to have the utmost confidence in the surgeon, since your life will be in his hands. Would it not be prudent to review his record of experience?

Similarly, it is wise to examine religion carefully. If you belong to a religious organization, you are, in effect, putting your spiritual life in its hands. This includes your prospects for salvation.

Jesus provided a standard to help us view religion objectively. He said: “Each tree is known by its own fruit.” (Luke 6:44) For example, when you look at a particular religion or denomination, what fruitage does it bear? Do its religious leaders place excessive emphasis on money? Do its members follow Bible principles regarding warfare and morals? Finally, is any religion deserving of trust? We invite you to examine the following articles.

“Each tree is known by its own fruit.”—Luke 6:44

 

Can You Trust Religion Regarding Money?

 

Estelle* was a regular churchgoer with several children. “I told my minister that I wanted to learn about the Bible,” she says. But he never offered to teach her. Finally, she stopped attending church. She continues: “The church officials wrote and basically said that if I could not be there, just send money. I thought, ‘They don’t care if I even attend; they just want my money.’”

Angelina, who has always been religious, said: “In my church, they passed the basket three times during each worship service, and we were expected to give each time. They were always asking for money. I thought to myself, ‘They do not have God’s spirit.’”

Do the religions in your area employ direct or subtle pressure to obtain money? Is that in harmony with the Bible?

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?

Jesus, the founder of Christianity, said: “You received free, give free.” (Matthew 10:8) The message of the Bible is priceless and should be available to all who want it.

How did the early Christians care for congregation expenses?

Each one contributed “just as he has resolved in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:7) The apostle Paul said: “It was with working night and day, so as not to put an expensive burden upon any one of you, that we preached the good news.” (1 Thessalonians 2:9) Paul worked as a tentmaker to support his ministry.—Acts 18:2, 3.

HOW DO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES MEASURE UP?

Jehovah’s Witnesses commonly meet in modest buildings called Kingdom Halls. How are expenses covered? They never pass collection plates, nor do they send out envelopes to solicit donations. Rather, any who appreciate the spiritual program can discreetly place a donation in a contribution box at the Kingdom Hall.

How should religion be financed?

This magazine obviously costs money to print and ship. Yet you will never see commercial advertising or appeals for money. The emphasis is on dispensing Bible truth.

What do you think: Is the spirit behind these arrangements in accord with Jesus’ words and the example of the early Christians?

 

Can You Trust Religion Regarding War?

 

Alberto served in the army for almost ten years. He recalls: “Our chaplain blessed us, saying, ‘God is with you.’ But I wondered, ‘I am going out to kill, yet the Bible says that “you shall not kill.”’”

Ray was in the navy during World War II. Once, he asked the chaplain: “You come onto the ship and pray for the troops and for victory. Doesn’t the enemy have the same arrangement?” The chaplain answered that the Lord works in mysterious ways.

If that answer does not satisfy you, you are not alone.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?

Jesus said that one of the greatest commandments of God is to “love your neighbor as yourself.” (Mark 12:31) Did Jesus place a limit on loving our neighbor based on where that neighbor lives or on what nationality he is? No. He told his disciples: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:34, 35) Their love for one another would be so extraordinary that it would be an identifying mark. They would rather give their life for one another than to take life from others.

The early Christians lived in harmony with Jesus’ words. The Encyclopedia of Religion notes: “The early church fathers, including Tertullian and Origen, affirmed that Christians were constrained from taking human life, a principle that prevented them from participating in the Roman army.”

HOW DO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES MEASURE UP?

Since Jehovah’s Witnesses reside in almost every country, individuals among them find themselves living on both sides in disputes between nations. Yet, they do their best to maintain the identifying mark of love.

Have religious leaders taught true Christian love?

For example, during the 1994 ethnic conflict between Hutu and Tutsi in Rwanda, Jehovah’s Witnesses remained completely neutral. Witnesses of one tribe sheltered Witnesses of the other tribe, often at great risk to their own lives. When two Hutu Witnesses who had sheltered their Tutsi brothers were caught, the Hutu Interahamwe militia said, “You must die because you helped the Tutsi to escape.” Sadly, both of the Hutu Witnesses were then killed.—John 15:13.

What do you think: Are the actions of Jehovah’s Witnesses in harmony with Jesus’ words about self-sacrificing love?

Can You Trust Religion Regarding Morals?

PLAY

“I went to college with many who claimed to be religious,” says Sylvia, who works in the health-care business. “Yet, they cheated on tests and took illegal drugs. Religion had no effect on their personal lives.”

A man named Lionel states: “My workmates lie and call in sick when they are not really sick. Religion is something that they have but don’t use—like a piece of furniture just for show.”

Religion does not exert a powerful moral influence in the lives of most people. Many today have “a form of godly devotion” but prove “false to its power.” (2 Timothy 3:5) Their religious leaders have not set the right example, nor have the clergy given their flocks the needed Scriptural counsel to live morally. Little wonder that many believe that God is not interested in the way they live.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE TEACH?

The Bible shows that God has feelings and that our conduct matters greatly to him. When the Israelites of old rebelled against God, “they would make him feel hurt.” (Psalm 78:40) However, there is great “joy in heaven” when a person sincerely changes his wrong behavior. (Luke 15:7) When a person comes to appreciate our heavenly Father’s beautiful qualities, his love for God will grow, motivating him to love what God loves and hate what God hates.—Amos 5:15.

HOW DO JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES MEASURE UP?

Jehovah’s Witnesses “promote strong family ties and develop productive and honest citizens,” states The Deseret News of Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. The newspaper added: “Members believe in a strong moral code. They believe smoking, overdrinking, drug misuse, gambling, sexual promiscuity and homosexuality are spiritually damaging practices.”

Have religious leaders helped their flocks to apply God’s moral standards?

How does learning about God’s personality help the Witnesses? “Fraud is common in the health-care business,” says Sylvia, mentioned earlier. “It would be easy to go along with it. But understanding how Jehovah* feels about it helps me to do what is right. I am happy and have inner peace.” Sylvia is convinced that living in harmony with her religious convictions has improved her life.

Is Any Religion Deserving of Trust?

 

If a particular religion has disappointed you, you may find it hard to trust any religion. But be assured that a religion worthy of your confidence does exist. When he was on earth, Jesus gathered a group of faithful followers and taught them to live by God’s standards. Genuine followers of Christ—conscientious individuals who endeavor to live by Christian standards—still exist. Where can you find them?

Estelle, mentioned in an earlier article, says: “I finally started learning the Bible when I began to study with Jehovah’s Witnesses. It didn’t take me long to understand John 8:32, which reads: ‘You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.’”

Ray, also mentioned earlier, notes: “By studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, I learned that God is not responsible for mankind’s suffering. I was thankful to see that while God has good reason to permit wickedness now, he also promises to eliminate it soon.”

Obviously, it is difficult to swim against the current of this world’s low moral standards. But it is possible. Many people desire assistance to understand and apply the Bible. That is why Jehovah’s Witnesses conduct free home Bible studies with millions worldwide. Each week, multitudes are learning what the Bible really teaches. As a result, they are drawing close to their Creator and building happier lives.*

Why not ask Jehovah’s Witnesses why they trust their religion?

The next time you meet Jehovah’s Witnesses, why not ask them why they trust their religion? Examine their teachings and their record. Then decide for yourself if a religion exists that you can trust.