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crest-arch-bishop-smallRecent statistical studies have shown that among young people there is an increasing number turning away from or were never introduced to Christianity. Astonishingly these same studies show large percentages of these same young people have a growing desire to know what lies after death.   Their concerns seem to indicate that want to believe that there is something else rather than to accept the secular atheist answer that this is all there is.

Many of these youth—like their parents before them—become seekers, or those who closely examine or participate in various spiritual paths; usually outside Christianity as they have been indoctrinated by popular culture (and a media sympathetic to secular atheism) to believe that Christianity is an oppressive religion of hate and full of hypocritical people. Being predisposed to distrust Christianity they then turn to a plethora of religions from ancient far East paths, to new age Pagan and earth based paths; many of these latter being relatively new pursuits having only appeared in the last century or two, with absolutely no direct connection to ancient traditions.

Many of these seekers find inspiration in taking bits of this and bits of that path and combining them into something that at best only provides reconciliation for the individual; a personal belief system that provides reconciliation for all of the individuals shortcomings, failures, and sins. In essence they create their own God(s), the inner self.

A central tenet of Christianity is that acceptance of Christ as one’s savior is the only way to life after death. This concept accepted as a truth by Christians is highly criticized by all other competing paths and especially by even those that are atheists and do not believe in God or life after death but hate Christianity with every fiber of their being.

How can Christianity be the only way? The answer is simply either everything written in the Bible is true or it is false.   As Christians we believe the Bible is truth and Jesus showed humanity the only way to eternal life.

Jesus said he was God in the flesh;

“I and the Father are one.” John 10:30 NASB

Philip said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” 9 Jesus said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; John 14:8-11 NASB

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.

John 14:6 NASB

Ironically those that maintain that they are spiritual but not religious, often turn to the sayings of Jesus finding comfort and inspiration. They want to believe in the way of Jesus, a path of peace and love, but they ignore some of the basic teachings.

As I mentioned above many maintain that Christians are full of hate, that Christianity is an oppressive religion. So they focus on all the easy, feel good sayings and ideas such as the often misinterpreted saying in which Jesus said, “Judge not.” They maintain that as followers of Jesus they need not heed all the legalisms that they say Christians focus too much on.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. 22 Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23 NASB

Matthew 7:21-23 NASB

So Jesus not only claimed to be God, but maintained that to enter into the kingdom of heaven you had to obey the rules or laws of God.

The great British writer, C. S. Lewis, explained in his well-known book, Mere Christianity, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher; he’d either be a lunatic — on a level with a man who says he’s a poached egg — or else he’d be the devil of hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God; or else a madman or something worse.”

“You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”

Some people believe that all the religions in the world are basically the same. But that simply is not true. Christians and Jews believe in a personal God who has revealed himself to mankind. Buddhists and Hindus believe God is impersonal and unknowable. But God cannot be both personal and impersonal — both concepts cannot be correct.

But Christianity is also different from all other religions of the world in one other vitally important concept — the idea that God reached out to man to save him because man was incapable of saving himself, of finding a path to life after death.

So the question boils down to this; do you believe or want to believe that there is life after death?   If so which do you think has more merit, a religion that makes demands of you to pray in a certain manner, face a certain direction, worship by giving money or other gifts to statues, or a religion that teaches that God so loved the world that he gave his only son to die for the sins of the world, a religion that makes no demands other than for you to try to live by basic moral values?

Another way to look at it is this, if I spend my life living by Christian mores and values and when I die there is no afterlife, and then at least I have lived a life well spent.   But if I live a life catering to my every whim, seeking worldly pleasures and perversions, practicing a de facto worship of my material possessions and when I die and I am not only denied entrance to heaven but cast to the depths of hell, then while suffering eternal punishment my life of pleasure might not look so good.

Think about it…

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