Friday, July 28, 2006

Ridiculous Religion

Unfortunately, many religious practices are pretty ridiculous. This can be true, whether it is a fanatical terrorist who wants to blow things up in the name of his God, or a movie star like Tom Cruise who thinks you should pay some fee to a Scientology therapist to get things straight with your past lives that are bothering your psyche.
Isaiah the prophet wrote a long time ago about ridiculous religion. In fact, he pointed out three examples:
1) To worship what you make. Isaiah 44:9-20 ridiculed the carpenter who would take a piece of wood and put part of it in a fire to warm himself, and carve the rest into a god and bow down to it, saying "save me." But anytime somebody worships what they make, they doing the same thing. It is popular in American culture to take bits and pieces of belief from this church and that and come up with your own brand of religion that is comfortable for you. But if you made it, how can it be any bigger than you? The wonderful thing about the gospel of grace by faith in Jesus Christ's death on the cross, is that no person would have dreamed up such a message. It came from God.
2) To reject the One who made you. Isaiah 45:9-12 points out how absurd it would be for the clay to say to the potter, "Why did you make me?" or for the child to say to the mother, "Why did you give birth to me?" Likewise, the prophet says, how silly to reject the Creator of the universe. The astronomer Kirschner had an atheist friend who visited his lab and saw a globe. He said, "Who made that?" Kirschner replied, "Nobody made it, it appeared of its own accord." When the atheist friend said "that's ridiculous," Kirschner went on to say, "How is it that you are convinced that this globe must have been made by an intelligent being, but you cannot accept that the beauty of nature all around you was made by an intelligent being?"
3) To trust in ways that cannot save you. In Isaiah 45:20-23, the prophet points out how ridiculous it is to bow down to "gods that cannot save." Then he appeals to his hearers: "Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth. For I am God, and there is no other." Today that would be called narrow-minded. Call it what you will, but he is a fool who knows which door to open to escape a burning house, and refuses to go that way for fear that somebody will call him narrow-minded.

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