"Religion" and "tolerance" are not the answers to this world's dilemma
Bottom line up front: It is time to set the record straight about God, "religion" and "tolerance".
Yahweh is our Creator; the Bible says so. He created Adam and Eve and the world began to be populated through them - which makes evolution a myth! Because man could never "get right" with God or cease sinning, He sent us His Messiah, Yeshua (Hebrew for "Salvation"). Yeshua martyred himself the Final SIN Sacrifice - not someone who came to negate or abolish God's Torah/original teaching and instruction (Matthew 5:17).
(NOTE: Our use of the term "martyr" is intentional because traditional Jews love to point out that "G-d never required human sacrifice!" Well, Y'shua wasn't a "human sacrifice" because nobody "sacrificed" Him. He was a Divine Sacrifice who willingly went to the cross/stake. As a human being, He had the choice to obey YHWH or not. As we see time and time again, He CHOSE to obey. He KNEW who He was....)
Religion is a man-made idea. Basically, religion is "the service and worship of God or the supernatural; a commitment or devotion to a faith or observance; or, a personal set or institutionalized system of attitudes, beliefs, and practices". The term "religious" means "relating to, or manifesting faithful devotion to an acknowledged ultimate reality or deity".
Religion, religiosity, or religiousness is the root cause of our misconceptions about God. Being "religious" is not obeying God. Somewhere along the line we've decided - like the serpent in the Garden of Eden - to question God: "Did God really mean those things He said? Why is He telling us what to do? Hey - we have intelligence; we have brains of our own!" Somewhere along the line we started putting Him in a box and doing the thinking for Him, and deciding how to worship and whom to worship. The problem is, GOD is now and always was, in charge. We are the creations, not the Creator.
Many, if not most, people are simply "religious". They either have their own ideas about who God is and how He should be worshiped; or they simply go through the motions and pretense of public worship while continuing their "carnal" ways in private. Yeshua said:
Matthew 7: 20 "...So you will recognize them by their fruit. 21 Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord!' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, only those who do what my Father in heaven wants. 22 On that Day, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord! Didn't we prophesy in your name? Didn't we expel demons in your name? Didn't we perform many miracles in your name?' 23 Then I will tell them to their faces, 'I never knew you! Get away from me, you workers of lawlessness!'...."
Yahweh revealed Himself to the Hebrews/Israel (Psalm 135:4, John 4:22, Galatians 3:16) who, in turn, presented knowledge of Him to the world (including the knowledge of our Savior, Yeshua HaMashiach/Jesus Christ - who was a Torah-observant Jew, whose Apostles (along with myriad disciples) initially spread the Gospel).
The two major faiths that sprang from Judaism are Christianity and Islam. (The rest of the world's religions are completely man-made and will not be discussed in this article.) Both faiths believe in Creation and God's Torah (the five Books of Moses), and in the basics of the "Old Testament" - but the similarities end there. For instance many Christians know they are "adopted children" of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and that they are "grafted in" to the Olive Tree because they have accepted Yahweh's Savior (whom they call Jesus). Unfortunately, they have misunderstood the many teachings of Paul to mean "Jesus nailed the TORAH to the cross" (Colossians 2:14), mistakenly concluding that man no longer has to adhere to the seventh-day Sabbath or the Biblical feasts, among other things.
Muslims, on the other hand, have borrowed Tanach ("Old Testament") Scriptures and twisted them to the point where they are barely recognizable. Muslims don't call Yahweh ADONAI or any of the other Names of God provided in the Bible. Instead, they simply use the title "Allah" which is Arabic for "God". They follow the teachings of Muhammed, a mere man (of dubious character), who founded Islam 600 years AFTER the death of Messiah. And while they do recognize Yeshua as a great prophet, they poke fun at our belief that He was God's Son/YHWH-Come-in-the-Flesh (never mind that "Allah" had three daughters).
Islam has totally veered off the mark as far as the Bible is concerned, and from the time of Mohammed, they have made the sword their means of Muslim expansion - which is amply evident today as they have once more begun what did in the past: beheading "infidels" (Revelation 20:4). Please see The Refiner's Fire's article, Mark of the Beast.
"Religious leaders" through the ages, too, have twisted Yahweh's original Word and, consequently, myriad "religions", sects, denominations and cults were spawned - every one of which serves to confuse any TRUE seeker! This includes traditional Jewish rabbis who have taught their people to deny that our Savior Yeshua HaMashiach, who was clearly foreshadowed in the Tanach (see Isaiah 53), was our Final Sin Sacrifice in keeping with Leviticus 17:11. He was:
- The high priest in the order of Melchizedek: Hebrews 5:10
- Our high priest forever: Hebrews 6:20
- Made atonement for the sins of the people: Hebrews 2:17
- Entered the Most Holy Place [in heaven] once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12)....
- For the eternal forgiveness of our sins (Col. 1:14)...
- For those who believe in Him (John 3:15). (More on this at Who is God.)
Let's examine some of the damage "the world" has done to the Word of God, beginning with the Hollywood crowd, who make no bones about the fact that they are willing to be in ANYTHING besides Yahweh/Yeshua/Jesus:
Several "celebrities" such as Richard Gere, Keanu Reeves and Leonard Cohen have been verbal about their belief in the man-made religion of Tibetan Buddhism; while Sting, Tina Turner, and comedienne Ruby Wax swear by Zen Buddhism. Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman, on the other hand, returned to Catholicism in recent years, while many rap musicians, led by Ice Cube, have begun to show an interest in Islam - the religion that has, over the last 25 or 30 begun to reinstitute its terror campaign against all "infidels".
Singer Madonna, who has much influence in the world - especially on our youth - with her decadent songs and lewd and lascivious behavior, is a perfect example of someone who has skewed the Word of God by mixing "religions". Madonna supposedly "believes in Jesus" yet practices Kabbalistic Mysticism which is a Jewish tradition based on a mixture of myth, magic, and astrology that strives to answer questions or find solutions for which only God has definitive answers. Madonna celebrates the Jewish holidays and has even taken on the Biblical name of "Esther" in deference to Judaism.
The hypocrisy of Madonna's influence concerning Kabbalah is that it was traditionally studied only by married, learned, Jewish men over 40. However, even some ultra-Orthdox Jews at one of the most traditional synagogues in Jerusalem, were willing to ignore and compromise their own traditions when Madonna showed up with her millions for a chance to enter and learn kaballah!
The thing is, someone who supposedly "believes in Jesus" should know the Bible well enough to know that God is our key to happiness, and that He hates astrology, witchcraft, magic, tarot card reading, fortune telling, etc., because those things serve to steer people away from Him. Let's examine what the Bible says about these things:
Isaiah 47: 13 All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. 14 Surely they are like stubble;
the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. Here are no coals to warm anyone; here is no fire to sit by.
Deuteronomy 17:2-5 says that those who worshipped the sun, moon, or stars were to be stoned.
Leviticus 20:6 says God will separate himself from those who go after mediums and familiar spirits.
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 says that practicing witchcraft, sorcery, soothsaying, interpreting omens, making spells, and being a medium or spiritist, are all terrible sins to God.
Deuteronomy 18:9-11 warns, "Let no one be found among you who sacrifices his son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft..."
Actors like John Travolta, Lisa Marie Presley and Tom Cruise for many years have been singing the praises of Elron Hubbard's Scientology. Cruise, whom "the world" has adored for the past twenty-some years, has been the most verbal about this man-made "religion" which pushes the ideas of inter-galactic travel, reincarnation and the possibility of a more fulfilled existence through mind control. (Please read The Refiner's Fire's article exposing and rebutting the idea of scientology). Many Hollywood actors are smitten by Scientology - after all, it caters to their egos, teaches them they are all little "gods". Unfortunately, these people and their skewed MAN-MADE beliefs are a powerful influence in a lost world floundering around for Truth!
Oprah is probably the best known talk-show host in the world. Her influence is undeniable because of her many "good deeds". Unfortunately, she too, has veered from the Bible and come up with her own ideas about God and spirituality. She seems to readily believe in whatever flavor of gospel happens along the pike, and is constantly adding to her vast repertoire of spiritual ideas. This is evidenced by the many guests she has endorsed, including the likes of Deepak Chopra who is, among other things, into transcendental meditation; and the wordy insta-guru, author Gary Zukav ("Communicating with your own soul gives you a glimpse of the most fulfilled, wise, compassionate, and intelligent person that you might become"), who seems to be a regular on her television show.
According to author Marcia Z. Nelson, Oprah's book club and her "edifying books" have helped thousands. She wrote: "Phyllis Tickle, who was editor of religion books for many years at Publishers Weekly and likes to describe religion books as 'portable pastors,' characterizes the Oprah books as 'morally sound material, by and large, that is credible and enriching'???Tickle was reported to have said: 'I have enormous respect for Oprah???Anybody who can better the living experience of thousands of people has to be respected. She may not be ordained but she sure is pastoral, and pastoral at a level that has a vast impact'."
While Oprah's books might be able to boast "morally sound material", her ideas about God and the Bible do not! Her ideas are Biblically UNSOUND, and are therefore catering to Satan's desire to steal as many away from God as possible before Yeshua's imminent return.
The "vast impact" of the Oprahs, the Madonnas and the Tom Cruises of this world have taken their toll when it comes to the REAL CREATOR and the Gospel of Christ - as has the "vast impact" of the many "gay" Christian pastors who have been "outing" themselves over the last few years and thus served to make believers look like hypocrites and kooks; thereby driving away many who might have otherwise accepted Yeshua as their Savior.
To make matters worse, in recent years, political figures - whether intentionally or unintentionally - have joined the bandwagon to destroy the REAL God. To wit, Clinton made sure he was seen in church on Sundays, while at the same time committing adultery and then lying to entire world about it. Prince Charles has openly condoned Islam via public statements defending Islamic law, praising the status of Muslim women, seeing in Islam a solution for Britain's ailments, and even setting up a panel of twelve "wise men" to advise him on Islamic religion and culture.
The most recent figure to add to the "let's be tolerant of other religions" nonsense is President Barak Obama who is a Christian with a Muslim family history, and who told reporter Howard Fineman several years ago: "My point, I guess is that all sides in the current environment have to be very careful how we talk about faith. I gave a speech recently in which I said that Democrats, for example, should not be afraid to talk about faith. But I think we've got to do so in a way that admits the possibility that we are not always right, that our particular faith may not have all the monopoly on truth, and we've got to be able to listen to other people. You know I think one of the trends we are seeing right now, and which I think is causing so much political grief both domestically and internationally, is that absolutism has become sort of the flavor of the day...."
"Absolutism"? The ONLY absolute is that Yahweh is the Creator, who sent His only Son to be the Final Sin Sacrifice! The Bible says so!
America has truly "gone to the dogs" in many ways! We've become a nation catering to criminals and blindly accepting as normal whatever God decreed to be evil or immoral! With 9/11 all but forgotten, we've steadily degraded into a nation tolerant of anything and everything, including the rapid acceptance of Islam, homosexuality (thanks, in part to yet another Hollywood influence, actor/activist/talk show host Ellen Degeneres) and abortion on demand.
Americans and the rest of the world desperately need to get into the BIBLE and learn WHO God really is, what He really says, and what He is doing in this world! People need to realize that more than 300 Bible prophecies have already come true, and are continuing to unfold before our very eyes - as can be seen by the tragic events in the Middle East - which just happens to be a battle that began long ago with the jealousy between Isaac and Ishmael.
Israel is at the center of God's heart, and it continues to be the center of world events. Muslims and those who sympathize with them desperately want to destroy Israel and the Jews. The Bible tells us that, in the end times, the entire world will go up against this tiny nation (Genesis 15:18, Genesis 35:10-12, Zechariah 12:3; 14:1-9, 2 Chron. 6:5-6, Ezekiel 20:14, etc.) - and, folks - it is happening right now! (A simple Google search on Israel will serve to reveal a myriad eye-opening insights.)
Luke 21: 20 "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near. 21 Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city. 22 For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written. 23 How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers! There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
God promised wrath for anyone who attacks Israel and the Jews:
Deuteronomy 7: 6 For you are a people set apart as holy for ADONAI your God. ADONAI your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his own unique treasure. 7 ADONAI didn't set his heart on you or choose you because you numbered more than any other people - on the contrary, you were the fewest of all peoples. 8 Rather, it was because ADONAI loved you, and because he wanted to keep the oath which he had sworn to your ancestors, that ADONAI brought you out with a strong hand and redeemed you from a life of slavery under the hand of Pharoah king of Egypt.
Genesis 12: 3 "I will make you into a great nation and I will bless you; I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you."
The Bible is unfolding before our very eyes and it certainly looks as if the prophecies of Obadiah and Ezekiel 38 are about to happen! "Gog-Magog" takes place when Israel is in unwalled villages and in relative safety....
Isaiah 17: 1 The burden of Damascus. Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it shall be a ruinous heap.
Obadiah 1: (Jacob is Israel and esau is the "Palestinians") 18 And the house of Jacob shall be a fire, and the house of Joseph a flame, and the house of Esau for stubble, and they shall kindle in them, and devour them; and there shall not be any remaining of the house of Esau; for the Lord hath spoken.
Ezekiel 38: 11 and thou shalt say: I will go up against the land of unwalled villages; I will come upon them that are at quiet, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates;
The bottom line is: The world NEEDS to sit up and take notice of God and begin obeying Him instead of following one's own desires and calling themselves "religious"! The Bible couldn't be any clearer about who Yahweh is and what He wants us to do. We are in the proverbial Twelfth Hour and there is little time left. ALL of our man-made ideas and concepts about God, along with our idols will be burnt up on Judgment Day. NOTHING can save us - including "religion" and "tolerance" - except our belief in the shed blood on the cross!