Truth In Religion
BELIEFS  l  HOME


It’s Time For Truth in Religion!

                    Religion wields tremendous power in our world today. One reason for this is because it provides answers to those age old questions:

  1. Why am I here?
  2. What is my purpose in life?
  3. Is there life after death?
  4. Will all people be ultimately held responsible for their actions?

                    Another reason for its power is that religious institutions actively, and many times very aggressively, promote their theological model of God. Some tell us that God is loving, forgiving, and merciful. Others tell us that God is always watching us and recording every mistake we make. If we don’t do what they tell us, this angry vengeful God is going to get us - and their God is the only one who can get us after we are dead! Our theological model of God can play a very powerful role in our lives.

                    Religious institutions also exert a great deal of power because of the role they play in shaping the moral and ethical values of many people. They use high tech media resources to reach millions of people every day of the week. Religion’s audience makes some of the world's top-rated television shows seem small indeed. Religious institutions have been very important vehicles for political movements - Civil Rights, anti-abortion, and more recently, the conservative takeover in Washington DC.

                    One last reason that religious institutions exert so much influence is because they control vast amounts of assets and economic resources. Not only do many of them teach their members a message of tithing, but they are recipients of estates and large endowments. They own prime pieces of real estate and engage in many funds-generating activities. A large number of American religious institutions are very wealthy, and use their wealth to exert power and influence in many areas of society.

What’s in Our Future?

                    Alvin Toffler wrote some very prophetic words in his book Power Shift:

                    We now face the ultimate political power shift. We can redesign democracy for the 21st century -- or descend into a new Dark Age. Organized religion, in one form or another, had a virtual monopoly on the production and distribution of abstract knowledge in the pre-smokestack era, the time before the Enlightenment, before the birth of democracy in the West. Today, forces are at work seeking to restore that monopolistic control of the mind. The resurgence of religio-politics around the world may seem to have little to do with the rise of the computer and the new economy. But it does

                    Religion is not the enemy of democracy. In a secular multi-religious society, with a clear separation of state and church, the very variety of beliefs and nonbeliefs adds to the vibrance and dynamism of democracy. Tolerance of diversity is the first commandment of the demassified society, including tolerance of the intolerant - up to a point.

                    Religions that are universalistic, that wish to spread all over the world and embrace every human being, may be compatible with democracy. Even religions that insist on totalitarian control over every aspect of their members' lives, but do not try to impose their control on non-members, may be compatible with democracy. What is not compatible are those religions (and political ideologies as well) that combine totalitarianism with universalism. Such movements are at war with any possible definition of democracy. Yet some of the fastest-growing and most powerful religious movements in the world today exhibit precisely this lethal combination. They are determined to seize power over the lives and minds of whole nations, continents, the planet itself. Determined to impose their rule over every aspect of human life. Determined to seize state power wherever they can, and to roll back the freedoms that democracy makes possible. They are the agents of a new Dark Age.

Accurate Information is an Absolute Necessity

                    Accurate information is an essential requirement for making good decisions in life. But when it comes to possessing accurate information about their religious institutions, almost all people fail - especially some of the most radical fundamentalists. Let me ask you a very personal question before you continue. I want to warn you that your first impulse will probably be to deny the truth of what you may discover about yourself. However, I would urge you to read Billy's story if you want to know exactly what’s at stake.

How Powerful Are Your Religious Beliefs ?

    (1) How much time do you devote to religious activities?
        A. 10%         B. 20%          C. 30%          D. More than 30%

    (2) How much money do you give to religious organizations or causes?
        A. 5%         B. 10%          C. 15%          D. 20%          E. More than 25%

    (3) How many friends do you have outside your religious circles?
        A. Many         B. Some          C. A Few          D. None

    (4) Do religious teachings influence the way you relate to any of the following:
        A. Spouse         B. Children          C. Parents          D. Employer / Employees
        E. Customers / Clients          F. Strangers          G. Government

    (5) How strongly do you believe that a person should always do God’s will?   Should they do it:
        A. Even if it causes them to harm or endanger someone else’s life?
        B. Even if it puts them in conflict with government agencies?
        C. Even if could cause the break-up of their family?
        D. Even if could cost them their life?

    (6) How do you know God’s will?

    (7) How much of your life is controlled by religious beliefs?
        A. Time - ________ hours per week         
        B. Money - $________ per month.
        C. How many hours of work did it take for you to make the amount of money in B? ____
        D. ______% of the relationships in my life.

Get the Facts About Your Religious Institution or Group

                    Full disclosure has been one of the most powerful instruments of change in modern times. Regardless of whether it came about through voluntary efforts or through tough investigations, once the public saw the facts, change came. Full disclosure is an instrument that was fashioned and shaped in our democracy. Full disclosure has been used to make some of the most powerful institutions reveal facts that they would rather have kept to themselves. There was a time when financial institutions weren't required to disclose the interest rates they charged their borrowers. It wasn't that long ago that warning labels were not required for harmful products. Only recently have food companies been required to accurately disclose the contents of what we eat?

                    The time has now come to let the light of truth shine into the dark recesses of the institutions who declare that they are the ultimate pillars of truth - religious institutions. I would hope that they would volunteer to provide members and prospective members with a full disclosure of all facts concerning their organization. However, I seriously doubt that they will. If they don’t, I am not advocating that a law be passed to require it. Instead, I am urging you to do two things. (1) You get the facts by doing a little investigative work. (2) Share what you find by sending us a copy (including your sources).

Information You Need to Know

History of Organization

  1. When was the organization founded?

  2. Who were the founders?

  3. Why was it founded?

  4. Was it a break away group from another organization?

  5. If so, what was the other side's point of view concerning the break-up?

Authority

  1. Is the local congregation independent, affiliated or a branch of another organization?

  2. What are the requirements for leadership? Ordination?

  3. What does the organization base its ultimate authority upon?
                A. Bible - Which one?
                B. Bible and canon laws?
                C. Bible and church doctrine?
                D. Direct revelation to leaders?
                E. Other _______________________

  4. What role do the members play in leadership?

 Foundational Beliefs

  1. Do they teach a salvation message?
    A. Who will be saved?
    B. What are the requirements?

  2. Who will not be saved?

  3. What will ultimately happen to the saved and unsaved?

  4. What role does sin play in the salvation doctrine?
    A. What is sin?
    B. Who is a sinner?
    C. How are members supposed to act toward sinners?

  5. What constitutes forgiveness of sin?
    A. How do you get forgiven?
    B. What if you don’t get your sins forgiven?

  6. How much of your money does God command you to give the organization?     
     A. What is this based upon?
     B. What happens if you don’t give it? Is it a sin? 
     C. What is to be done with the money that is given?

  7. Are you able to openly disagree with the leaders or doctrines of the group?
    A. What has happened to others who disagreed?
    B. What would happen to you?

                    When you answer the above questions accurately you will have the basic information you need to make good decisions about your religious institution and its doctrines - you will be an "informed believer". We have confidence in you and your ability to make the right decisions when you have accurate information.

                    Be sure and send us a copy so we can make it available to others who will benefit from it. Just think how helpful a library of this kind of information would be to those who are contemplating becoming a member. You never know; a copy of someone else’s report might be there when you need it in the future. There are only two kinds of believers - an informed believer and the other kind. Wouldn’t you rather be an informed believer?

BELIEFS  l  HOME

 

Free Web Counter
free counter

Thank you for visiting our site!
Sign up to receive BHC News & Updates by e-mail.

Tell a friend about BHC & FOLLOW BHC ONLINE -- click here.
Copyright 1999-2014 Biblical Heritage Center, Inc.
* Information on this website comes from a wide variety of sources and the inclusion of any source is not to be understood as an endorsement of the position, person, or group.   All comments or statements are those of the source and have been included for educational and research resources.
Jim Myers, Webmaster