Recently an author’s statement caught my attention. She wrote that she follows a path of self-enlightenment by Buddha. I wondered what made her think that a dead man could help improve life in 2006.
I decided to sort out some information to pass along should I meet her or someone with a similar life philosophy.
One article, “Connecting With the Divine,” written by former atheist, Marilyn Adamson, at http://everystudent.com/features/connecting.html pointed out features of well-known world religions.
Men such as Buddha, Muhammad, and Confucius all identified themselves as teachers or prophets. None of them claimed to be God, and all of them died. Are these dead men qualified to help you and me?
What about the founders of the world religions?
Brief biographies reveal that none of these men claimed they would die for the sins of mankind.
Buddha, born circa 563 B.C. in Nepal, died c. 483 possibly of food poisoning. He began preaching after achieving “supreme enlightenment” at age 35. It’s claimed he escaped the cycle of rebirth. His teaching was a middle way between self-indulgence and self-mortification.
Mohammad, (570-632 A.D.) believed he had a message from an angel and warned of a Day of Judgment. Writer Mohd. Saleen wrote, “God’s Love Toward a Radical Muslim,” which has been posted at http://everystudent.com/wires/radical.html
Confucius (551-479 B.C.) taught ethics of virtue and humanism, but not a systematic theory of life and society. The belief is cornerstone to Chinese culture.
Hinduism comes from ancient India and has no single founder. They believe in many gods and reincarnation. Author Rabi Jaharaj wrote, “My Experience as a Hindu Guru” which is posted at http://everystudent.com/wires/rabi.html
Shinto comes from Japan, and is based on the rulers’ descent from the sun goddess. Veneration, festivals, and rituals are said to enable practitioners to live in accordance with divine will. They believe in a great host of deities.
What about modern religious thought?
Since all these men died are they in any position to give advice? Some might say, “We read books for advice and it doesn’t matter if the author is still living or not.” What about the New Age which does purport to give helpful and personalized advice?
An authority in astrology and psychic advice, Marcia Montenegro relates her fascinating life story, “A Strange-But-True Spiritual Journey” posted at http://everystudent.com/wires/marcia.html
Everyone who is serious about doing the right thing with their one and only lifetime will take a look at what everyone else is doing and saying, so they can make up their minds and follow their own path.
What about Jesus Christ?
With four biographies of Jesus and a total of 27 books by eyewitnesses in the New Testament of the Bible, we readily find major contrasts with other religions. Innumerable books have been written and sermons preached about Jesus, but here is a brief look at some of the highlights.
There’re some unpleasant teachings of Jesus:
1. Everyone has sinned.
2. God doesn’t like our sin and our sinful attitude.
3. There is punishment for sin. (Luke 13:5).
There are teachings only made by Jesus:
1. His death was to atone for our sins. (I Peter 2:24).
2. We can begin a relationship with God right now by asking for forgiveness. (I John 3:1).
3. There is no need for rituals, self-punishment, no uncertainties about the After Life. (Ephesians 2:8, 9).
There are some outstanding facts about his life and death:
1. He worked miracles, healed, raised people from the dead. (John 14:6-11).
2. He arose from the dead, and was seen by over 500 people in the next 40 days. (I Corinthians 15:6).
3. His coming and His life, death, and resurrection fulfilled over 300 prophecies which had been made more than 400 years earlier to the Jewish nation.
Want to take a chance?
You know people who are willing to “wait and see.” Why take a chance?
You know people who claim their good will outweigh the bad they’ve done. Why take a chance?
You know people who had godly parents and rely on that getting them past God’s requirements of a personal decision, a personal confession, and a personal relationship. Why take a chance?
You know some people who hate the idea of going to church, so ignore God. Why take a chance?
You do have a choice.
You can live your life to suit yourself. But, do remember that God loves you more than you can even imagine. He will forgive your sins, whatever you call that attitude or action. But you have to ask. Call it “prayer” or “conversation,” it’s better than advice from a dead man. ❤