This age has been called “the age of unbelief.” Don’t you believe it! The truth is this modern era is an age when people are so gullible they are willing to believe almost anything, especially if it is in print, promoted on television, accepted by celebrities, and does not conflict with their own beliefs with regard to God (or gods and goddesses, [little “g”]). In the marketplace of ideas today there are so many different concepts of spirituality from which to choose, a multiplicity of religious options (a plurality of faith communities), conflicting ideas of right and wrong, good and evil, truth and error, etc. We are living in a society that has now become so secularized, where good is often called evil, and evil is often called good; an age where God is humanized, man is deified, and sin in minimized (not only minimized, but actually sanctified).
Furthermore, when it comes to matters of faith, there are so many people who suggest it does not really matter what one believes as long as one is sincere. Do we no longer believe it is possible to be sincerely wrong? How is it that people can be so blind to this simple truth: faith is not necessarily a good thing! Our faith can be in a god of our own making, a god we have made in our own image, a false god that is not real, not personal nor knowable, a god that does not speak, a god that does not act, a god that is remote, always “at a distance” — that would be a good title for a song, or is that a song that has already been sung and widely applauded?
The value of our faith is determined by the object of our faith! J.B. Phillips wrote a book years ago entitled, “Your God Is Too Small“. How big is your god? It is not the size of your faith that matters most, but the size of your god! It was Jesus who spoke of the value of faith “as small as a grain of mustard seed” (the smallest of seeds), but such small faith can move mountains. Why? Because it is faith in a big God, a God for whom there are no impossibilities, the one true and living God! The God who speaks for Himself, who speaks to us in the inspired words of holy scripture, and who has spoken His final word in the person of Jesus, the Christ, the Word “made flesh” (John 1:14). Furthermore, if you want to know what the only true God is like, the God of creation, the God of revelation, the God of salvation, then look at Jesus, the Living Word, the Walking Word, who lived among us “full of grace and truth” (John 1:14), the visible manifestation of God (who is invisible, for “God is Spirit” (John 4:24; Colossians 1:15-20).
Isn’t it incredible that so many people contend that all religions teach belief in the same God? How far from the truth that is! Just consider some of the terrible things that people do in the name of their god, even to the point of believing that god sanctions acts of terrorism, and so-called martyrdom, and will reward such horrific acts in heaven. Furthermore, we are not hearing very much today in the press, or on television, about the persecution of other faith communities, the burning of churches, the bombing of synagogues, the slaughter of those who do not believe in the god of the perpetrators. Christians are being warned not to pray in public in the name of Jesus, for that is offensive. Are you offended when those of different faiths pray as they have been taught?
I expect Muslims to pray as Muslims. I expect Jews to pray as Jews, I expect Buddhists to pray as Buddhists, and I expect Christians to pray in the name of Jesus. I do not want anyone to be persecuted because of the way he or she prays. I expect people to pray in the name of the god they believe in, and I do not want my government, or my faith community, to tell other people how they should pray. We live in a land where there is religious freedom, but there are other lands where there is no such freedom, where freedom of religion is denied in the name of the god the people in those countries believe in. However, I am thankful that when they come to the United States they are not denied the freedoms we enjoy, for we believe that everyone is free to choose the god they will worship, the god to whom they will pray, or free to never pray at all (but no one is free to never worship, for everyone worships something or someone, even if it is only themselves).
Just this week we have learned of two churches that were bombed in Cairo, Egypt (the Coptic Church), where more Christians were killed because of their faith, because they dared to continue worshiping in the name of the God who “…so loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him might not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). During this Easter Season in America, let us thank God that we live in a nation where the doors of our churches are open, where the Bible is open upon the pulpit, where believers can assemble and worship in the name of our Risen and reigning Lord without the fear of being persecuted — and, at the same time, let us also give thanks that we live in a country where the doors of synagogues, temples, and mosques are also open, for this is a land where freedom also reigns!