The Quest: Interlude

(This will be a purely religious article, just as a fair warning.)

In part five I will be covering the question “Where am I going when I die?”

This question ended up being so huge I had to split it into parts, so this post is actually covering the lead up to the question.

Perhaps it seems like a leap from my previous topics, but it’s really not. Every religion in the world deals with this question; and they fall into three broad categories:

1. Atheism. You go nowhere, become nothingness.

2. Almost every other religion. There is a heaven (and usually a hell but not always) and you get there by doing what certain gods (or God in at least three religions) wants you to do.

3. Judeo-Christian. Heaven and hell exist but man cannot attain heaven on his own merit, but must accept the help and mercy of God Himself, through Jesus Christ.

I can’t know which group you fall into, but I will explain why I believe as I do.

In the broadest category are other religions. When man acknowledges good and evil, usually the next step is to prevent what they think is evil and promote what is good. Which is where religion and government come from. A religion is government of the soul. The trouble I have with this, is that religion is without fail Man’s attempt to reach God, and no two people agree on everything. Especially right and wrong. Man trying to reach God on Man’s terms is so silly. Think about it. If a Supreme Being is really interested in us (and He made us) then if he intends for us to reach Him, He’d have to give us the means Himself. Imagine it like this, you want to meet with the President of the U.S.A. But you have no means to contact him, you can’t just look up his number in the phone book or waltz into his house. He has guards, security, he’s about as far above you (if you’re an ordinary Joe) as can be. You may obey his laws but that doesn’t make you any different from millions of others. But what if he wanted to see you? Suddenly it’s a breeze, you have ID, you have an appointment and instead of keeping you out the guards escort you in. That’s like reaching God. We really have no means in and of ourselves to reach God, but if He wanted to reach us, who could stop Him? Hold that thought.

Before we even go there, the issue of morality must be discussed.

(A brief teaser: So, if God is interested in us, likely He has rules. No one agrees on what they are, but He must have them. We humans consider certain religions barbaric and others more civilized. I am all for that, but my point is, if we’re the ones trying to figure out what God likes, it’s like looking in the yellow pages for the Commander-in-Chief. We need Him to find us. I’ll get to all that in Part Five.)

That being said, there are some things common to all men that I think show us something about God, since He made all men. (From conception.) I feel this is beyond me, so I am going to quote one of my favorite authors C. S. Lewis:

“Everyone has heard people quarrelling. Sometimes it sounds funny and sometimes it sounds merely unpleasant; but however it sounds, I believe we can learn something very important from listening to the kind of things they say. They say things like this: “How’d you like it if anyone did the same to you?”–“That’s my seat, I was there first”–“Leave him alone, he isn’t doing you any harm”–“Why should you shove in first?”–“Give me a bit of your orange, I gave you a bit of mine”–“Come on, you promised.”

People say things like that every day, educated people as well as uneducated, and children as well as grown-ups.

Now what interests me about all these remarks is that the man who makes them is not merely saying that the other man’s behavior does not happen to please him. He is appealing to some kind of standard of behavior which he expects the other man to know about. And the other man very seldom replies: “To hell with your standard.” Nearly always he tries to make out that what he has been doing does not really go against the standard, or that if it does there is some excuse. He pretends there is some special reason in this particular case why the person who took the seat first should not keep it, or that things were quite different when he was given the bit of orange, or that something has turned up which lets him off keeping his promise. It looks, in fact, very much as if both parties had in mind some kind of Law or Rule of fair play or decent behavior or morality or whatever you like to call it, about which they really agreed.”– C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, Chapter One.

I strongly recommend the whole book since I can but touch on the subject. Until next time, think on the values that everyone shares. Such as fairness, all people do not agree on what is fair, but all people agree fairness exists. Or courage. Honesty. Loyalty. Respect.

My parting thought is that this is the evidence of God’s rules, (though that term is rather crude,) but does this provide the way for us to reach God, and get into heaven? Is heaven worth believing in, and is Hell worth even thinking about? I’ll be considering that in the next section.

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