The Role of Faith In Our Understanding Of Life
As we go through life, we ultimately realize there are forces guiding our lives we have no control over. The fact that we even exist, for one thing, is something none of us had anything to do with, and as we age and see our health and vitality diminish, we wonder what our future will be.
All of us possess free will to choose how we think about the world and our place in it. Of course, many people don't care and refuse to contemplate these deeper questions. Others refuse to believe there was intelligent design at work in our creation and believe we are creatures of evolution.-
Personally, I choose to believe each of us has been created by God, and that He remains intimately involved with our lives at all times.
The Folly Of Evolution
To me, the idea that we evolved as a result of random forces in the universe devoid of intelligent design is preposterous. To illustrate how ridiculous the theory of evolution is, I use the following analogy:
First, take a look at the Space Shuttle. It is the most complicated machine ever built by man. Now suppose you put all of the elements, materials and substances that go into building the space shuttle into a big hole in the ground and wait 10 billion years. Would it be possible for the entire Space Shuttle, launch pad and all, to simply evolve on its own through natural forces in the world and appear on its pad without anyone ever lifting a finger?
Of course not. The Shuttle began as a design, and was fabricated by intelligent beings. This is an obvious conclusion.
Next, take a look at the human body. It is our personal space shuttle, transporting us through the physical world and providing us with a comfortable environment in which to travel through life. In comparison to the Shuttle, the human body is infinitely more intricate and complicated than the Shuttle could ever be.
Now if the space shuttle could not evolve naturally without the aid of intelligent design and hands on fabrication, how could the human body evolve, which is infinitely more complicated than the space shuttle? And yet, this is precisely what those who believe in evolution are telling us -- that there was no design or fabrication of the human body or any other life form in the world -- they just simply evolved on their own and appeared naturally over billions of years.
Clearly, the whole idea of evolution is a monumental joke.
A Definition Of "Truth"
To me, there is such a thing as "the truth." It exists whether we believe it does or not. For centuries, philosophers have debated whether we can know the truth, and many have decidied we cannot. Those who have chosen this belief are called "agnostics."
And yet, proof of the existence of "truth" is simple. It can be shown through the following example:
Suppose there is a commandment in a religious book that states, "Thou shalt not jump off the Empire State Building." Now there are four reactions people can have concerning this.
1. Some people who see this commandment will get very angry and will say, "I don't think other people have the right to tell me how to live my life," and in indignation they jump off and die.
2. Still others are too young to read and don't know what the commandment says, and they jump off and die.
3. Still others are never told about the commandment, or they don't understand the language the commandment is written in. These too jump off and die.
4. And finally, there are those who see the commandment, realize it applies to them, and through wisdom and voluntary restraint in their behavior do everything they can to avoid following the crowd, and they live.
The conclusion? There are fundamental truths about life that exist whether we choose to believe in them or not -- in this case, the law of gravity and the reality of death. They also exist whether we understand them or not. And these truths extend beyond the physical laws of the universe to areas of conduct, both in public and private. Only the wise seek out these truths and apply them to their lives.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to believe in them, they are still true and the consequences for acting contrary to them are certain and terrible. Of course, you can choose to believe God doesn't exist and you will not be held accountable for how you live your life -- but one of these days you are actually going to die and then the truth of it all will be crystal clear. But then it will be too late to undo the things you shouldn't have done.
A Proof Of The Existence Of God
Can the existence of God be "proven"? Although this question has perplexed man throughout the centuries, I believe it can. This is my argument:
One of the fundamental principles guiding human society in all cultures since the foundation of civilization is the concept of justice. Since it is possible for a human being to commit crimes against others, all societies have developed a system of justice to repair the damage caused by the crime.
Let's examine the concept of justice using a simple example.
Suppose someone intentionally burned down your house and everything in it was destroyed. What things would have to be done in order to have your life restored to the condition it was in prior to the crime?
There are four basic things required. These are:
1. Restoration. Your house would need to be completely rebuilt just as it existed before the crime, and be furnished with the same contents.
2. Restitution. Since some of the contents of the home cannot be replaced, there needs to be a monetary payment to cover the value of the items destroyed, plus expenses to cover living in temporary quarters during reconstruction, time lost from work, and other costs.
3. Retribution. The individual who committed the crime needs to be punished, and to be put into forced labor to repay costs paid out for restoration and restitution.
4. Reparation. Since the crime resulted in tremendous personal suffering and loss, justice would not be complete unless there was an effort to repair the emotional damage. This would necessarily require some sort of monetary award based on the degree of loss.
In order for justice to be served, each of these aspects of justice MUST be performed or else justice is incomplete. Therefore, we may conclude that for EVERY crime ccommitted, the concept of justice requires these four essential components to be performed by definition, or else the concept of justice itself is flawed and is not an acceptable method to right the wrongs committed.
Since all human societies throughout history have deduced these basic principles and instituted them in the governance of their societies, we can conclude there is an inherent truth in the concept of justice that exists distinct from culture and society. This truth is universal, and if any of the components of justice are deleted or cannot be administered, we can conclude that the entire concept of justice collapses and is useless in repairing the damages inflicted in the crime.
If this is true, then what about the crime of murder? Since the victim is dead, how can there be restoration of life? And how can there be restitution for the years of life lost, or reparation for the suffering of the victim? Sure, we can punish the murderer, but since the other components cannot be administered, the entire concept of justice fails in this case.
That is, it fails if and only if the realm in which justice is administered is limited exclusively to life on earth.
However, if we postulate the existence of eternal life, and the existence of a Divine Judge who is able to administer the remaining three components of justice within both realms, then the concept of justice is preserved in all of its essential aspects. By definition, life and consciousness of the victim is restored in this realm, restitution is made through receiving life throughout eternity, and reparation is made through fellowship with a loving God who can comfort those who have suffered.
The existence of eternal life and a Divine Judge with dominion within both realms is the ONLY possible scenario where the concept of justice can be administered in all cases.
Therefore, given the universal application of the concept of justice in all societies, we can conclude it is a true and real concept, one that can be deduced through a rudimentary observation of the human condition. And given that the concept of justice MUST be administered fully in order for the concept to remain valid, we can conclude that the concept of justice can only exist in a universe that transcends life on earth. And since justice can only be administered completely by an eternal Judge who has dominion over both realms, we can conclude this judge must sxist in order for the concept to remain true and real. And by definition, this eternal Judge is God Almighty.
Finally, does this argument constitute a "proof"? Since the concept of justice is true, and the conclusion is reached through logic, the conclusion MUST be true. Either that, or you have perverted the definition of "proof."
All Religions Worship The Same God
According to the Bible, all men who walk the face of the earth can see the truth about God through what has been made. In Romans, the Apostle Paul states,
"For since the creation of the world, His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made...." (Romans 1:20)
Practically every culture and tribe of man that has existed on earth has developed some sort of philosophy to explain why and how things exist, and have attributed these things to some sort of Creator. Thus we have Zeus, Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Brahma, etc. -- every culture has developed a religion of some sort to honor and worship this all powerful Being.
And yet, what we fail to realize is that regardless of how the various religions refer to Him, it is the same God! As it says in Isaiah,
"Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other." (Isaiah 45:22)
The reason there are different religions is because man has descended from different tribes from all regions of the world. He is composed of different races, with different cultures, different languages, and different backgrounds. And out of these thousands and thousands of unique tribes of people from all corners of the globe, there are just as many interpretations of the same fundamental truths about the world. If you put two people from different backgrounds into a museum and ask them to describe what they saw, you will get two completely different descriptions even though they both saw the same things.
Regardless of the religion, there are certain truths that transcend all religions and are fundamental to the preservation of life, harmony and peace in the world. These truths can be deduced from casual observation of the human condition -- for example, there are behaviors that are clearly disruptive to peace and harmony, such as murder, rape, robbery, and the like.
If we were to distill all of the precepts of the world's religions regarding human behavior into one universal truth, you would arrive at the Golden Rule --
"Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." (Matthew 7:12)
If all men were to live according to this simple rule, the entire world would be at peace. This is the fundamental guide to all behavior in life, and the solution to all of the world's problems. This rule can be found in one form or another in practically all of the religions practised by man throughout history.
Unfortunately, as history has shown over and over, there are men from every culture who have misinterpreted and / or perverted the fundamental truths of religion and have committed great evils in the name of God -- declaring wars and killing thousands and millions of innocent people. For example, in recent years Islamic terrorists have declared "jihad" against western democracies, believing it is God's will to kill Americans and other innocent people in order to "cleanse" the world of infidels. However, there are two flaws in their thinking. First, they don't realize that the God they are seeking to please is the same God Americans worship, and the Hindus worship, and every other religion worships. There is only one God!
And second, God is the sole judge of the nations, and it is not our place to perform this task for Him. The solution to the world's problems is for all men to do just as Jesus taught and practiced Himself -- to love our neighbor as ourselves.
But how, you may ask, can all of the various religions of the world be united so all men are taught to observe this single fundamental truth? The answer is through Jesus Christ. As Christ stated,
"He who has seen Me has seen the Father..." (John 14:9)
"I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me." (John 14:6)
Through these two statements, the Lord Jesus indicated that He is the ONE and ONLY Lord God Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth.
Unfortunately, most people in the world believe their God to be the only God, and are unwilling to consider that their God has anything to do with the gods of the other religions. Even worse, in trying to proselytize nonbelievers, men of the various religions have fought wars in the name of religion incessantly since the beginning of civilization. But all conflicts of this type have been the result of man's thirst for power through conquest, rather than adherance to the Golden Rule.
And yet, the truth remains constant --
If any person wants to know the truth about God, all he needs to do is ask Him to reveal Himself personally, and He will.
When God reveals Himself, you will find that He has been there all along, but with all of the distractions and worries of life, you simply failed to notice. You will be surprised He is as visible as He is, and yet you just keep looking right "through" Him.
And when He is revealed, you will find that His truth is as plain as day, and that He loves you without regard to who you are, what you've done, where you come from, or what you look like. Anyone to whom God reveals Himself will grow to love others in the same way, and will see the truth about Jesus Christ, who loved everyone unconditionally, even those who tortured and killed him. This is God's standard of love, and as it takes root in your life, it will lead to an overwhelming sense of peace and security in your heart, which is visible to others, and is God's way of reaching out to others through you. This is the only way peace can be established on earth among men.
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