This past weekend I had the privilege of taking my family to South Dakota and visiting my good friend, Pastor Cory Kitch and his family. While we were there Pastor Cory had the opportunity of ministering to a transient, Matthew, who was trying to get to Washington State.
During our time with Matthew we discussed a wide variety of topics. Being that Cory is a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, you can probably guess what one of the topics was. At one point I asked Matthew for his views and major objections against the Christian faith.
He first talked about his own personal experience that “verified” to him that he has been reincarnated from a past life. Then he explained to us that all religions are based upon the improving of our lives (I suppose like traveling around the country to different parties and not doing a day's work to support yourself?).
In an unrelated conversation I had recently on Face Book with a good friend, I was told I was being judgmental by arguing that Reverend Wright (President Obama's former pastor) is not a Christian. Now we argue and judge things to be right and wrong all the time. He'll play the Devil's advocate on abortion while I defend the Prolife position. He'll defend President Obama and health care while I argue against the President's position. He judges Glenn Beck as being a con artist when it comes to buying Gold from certain companies (Right or wrong that is his view). So why am I now being judgmental?
The answer to this question is quite simple. In both conversations, religion is completely subjective and private. Therefore to judge anyone on their religious experience or beliefs is tantamount to climbing into one's mind and judging their experience.
Religion to the common everyday man is simply outside the realm of normal means of knowledge. We know science is true because we supposedly verify our claims of knowledge. Even other fields of knowledge such as history are to some degree verifiable.
Yet the natural man can not be consistent in his worldview. It is interesting to me how I am told I should not be judgmental. Yet in order to explain to me that I am being judgmental, I am being judged by a religious worldview. The contradiction is so obvious and blatant, it never ceases to amaze me that the non-Christian doesn't see it, or perhaps he does and just suppresses that truth as he does all of truth that comes from his Creator.
Now another source for this problem is that though many Christians claim that the moral relativism of our non-Christian friends is bad for our culture, do we not in practice perpetuate the "private religion" in the way we preach the Gospel? How many churches proclaim the Gospel in the context of Jesus can save your marriage or Jesus can get you off of drugs or Jesus can help your kids with their homework, so on and so on. Then we in turn claim that Jesus is the only way. Only way to what? Having a better marriage? Statistically, Christians have just as high if not a higher rate of divorce. So I guess the only way to be worse than our non-Christian neighbors is use the Jesus formula?
As I attempted to explain to Matthew last weekend is that the reason all of man's religions are similar to one degree or another is that God's Law is written upon all our hearts. Due to our sinfulness, we twist all of God's truth. Hence the multiplicity of "revelations" (reincarnation or whatever) that come from the twisted hearts and minds of men.
We instead need the Revelation of God in history, not a private revelation from men. The Israelites have given to us the Gospel. Starting with Moses and God delivering the Israelites from Egypt and culminating in Jesus of Nazareth delivering sinners by dying and being raised from the dead. We now have the testimony of the Apostles of Jesus Christ. They point us to not our futile minds and thinking, but instead point us to the historical events and a Divine Person.
Therefore, let us learn from the Son of God and His Apostles what our true need is and the true teachings we ought to follow. And we must do this by using our minds and judging what is good, right and acceptable according to God's own revelation. As Peter states in one of his letters to the Church:
2Pe 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2Pe 1:17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,"
2Pe 1:18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.
2Pe 1:19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts,
2Pe 1:20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.
2Pe 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.