A. The World's Religions
In discussing the world's religions, I am putting them in the same category with pagan religions. The relationship of the world's religions to paganism is a documented historical fact, indeed, the ancestry of both categories of religions can be traced back in origin to the Babylonian worship established by Nimrod" What, then, is the true purpose of religion?
for that they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator ... (Rom. 1:25).
All cultures, after all, have tales of beings with supernatural powers who created and guided human beings in primitive days and who taught them various aspects of technology. Can such tales of gods have arisen from the dim memory of visits of extraterrestrials to Earth in ages not too long past? Instead of life having been seeded on the planet from outer space, could technology have been planted here? Might the extraterrestrials not merely have allowed civilization to develop here, but actually helped it?
It is an intriguing thought but there is no evidence in its favor that is in the least convincing. 253
Believing as we do, that much of primal wisdom was communicated by fallen angels, and that those angelsâ€‘ even if we assume that they had no other sources of informationâ€‘ would, with their penetrating vision and collateral knowledge, easily decipher the plans of God from His prophecies, we cannot wonder if they used what they so discovered for their own purposes. And what subtler scheme could they have devised than that of making the very utterances of the Almighty the basis of their teaching, in order that, by confusing the minds of men, they might induce them to reject the Son of God? 254
from such a source, we cease to wonder at its extent. The hints of an acquaintance with the spherical form of the earth, and with the fact of its motion round the sun, alleged to be found in the Vedas, are no longer incredible. We can listen with equanimity to the astronomical revelations of the Great Pyramid. Nor are we bewildered by the assertion that many of the vaunted results of modern science were included in the instruction given to the initiates of the Hermetic, Orphic, Eleusinian, and Cabalitic mysteries, and were familiar to Chaldean Magi, Egyption Priests, Hindu Occultists, Essenes, Therapeutae, Gnostics, and Theurgic Neo-Platonists.
For many centuries the true nature of the early systems of religion was unsuspected by Christians. It has been usual to regard Paganism as a mere brutal worship of stocks and stones, as a gross superstition, so utterly devoid of intellectuality that, when once expelled, it could never return and again deceive an enlightened and educated world, It was carelessly assumed to have sprung from ignorance and mental incapacity; whereas its wonderful power of adapting itself to the carnal mind should rather have suggested an emanation from those Powers of the Air which affected the ruin of our first parents. And to suppose that anything which comes from such a source need be wanting in intellectual vigor and beauty, would be a fully as great as that which represents the fallen Son of the Morning under the guise of a horned monster. There is little chance of escaping his snares unless we recognize the fact that the resources of intellect are yet at the command of himself and his hosts, that still "There is some soul of greatness in things evil." And so we might reasonably expect to find it faint reflection, at least, of this greatness in those who were inspired by fallen angels, and who learnt to own them as lords. Nor would such an expectation be disappointed; for if we investigate early Paganism by the light of recent discoveries, we soon perceive that many of its priests and initiates were distinguished as philosophers and men of science.256
Whenever scripture lifts the veil, and allows us a momentary glimpse of the Kingdom of darkness, we behold a community, malignant indeed, but perfect in order and government, and thirsting for the subjugation of the human race. For the empire of Satan cannot be completely organized till men be as obedient to demons as demons are to the rebel principalities and powers, and these last again to their great prince. And so, the denizens of the air are not merely stirring up an aimless revolt against God, but would fain annex the whole of our world to their own orderly dominion. 257
The Jewish idea of the word as applied to Heathen deities may be seen in the Septuagint version of the ninetyâ€‘sixty Psalm, where it is rendered by (GREEK WORD)(demons) Hence the fifth verse is made to mean, "For all the gods of the nations are demons; but the Lord made the heavens" (Psalm xcvi. 5). 258
This quotation involves the same doctrine. An idol, the creation of man's fancy, is nothing; but it is not possible that men could be moved to worship nothing: there is a real power behind. The Heathen think that they are sacrificing to Deity; but their offerings ascend to demons, and by their sacrificial feasts they establish a fellowship with unclean spirits similar to that, which exists between Christ and His Church.
It is plain, therefore, that the disembodied spirits which haunt the air are the beings whom the Heathen worship, the inspirers of oracles and soothsayers, the originators of all idolatry, whether Pagan or Popish, the powers that are ever striving by divers means to subjugate the human race to their away. 259
The entire purpose of religion is to externalize spiritual truth: to substitute worthless outward rituals, symbolism, and selfâ€‘effort for the truth that can only be apprehended in spirit. There is some "truth" in all religions, but it is truth that has been so distorted and mixed in with falsehood that it becomes not only useless but also deadly. How much we underestimate the subtlety of Satan! The most successful deceptions of Satan are not outright lies, they are lies woven around a kernel of truth; you cannot separate the lies from the truth- in order to get to the truth, you must first swallow the lies and thus become poisoned. Once the lies have poisoned your mind, you are then unable to obtain any benefit from the little that is hidden in them.
What about the sincere, devout people in these religions?
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. (Acts 4:12 NASB)
for Jehovah thy God is a merciful God ... (Deut. 4:31)
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion. (Rom. 9:14â€‘15)
And Isaiah is very bold, and saith, I was found of them that sought me not; I became manifest unto them that asked not of me. (Rom. 10:20)
And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel dwelling according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him. (Num. 24:2)
And it came to pass, as they sat at the table, that the word of Jehovah came unto the prophet that brought him back; and he cried unto the man of God That came from Judah, saying, Thus saith Jehovah ... (1 Kings 13:20â€‘21)
And it shall come to pass, that ye shall divide it by lot for an inheritance unto you and to the strangers that sojourn among you, who shall begat children among you; and they shall be unto you as the homeâ€‘born among the children of Israel; they shall have inheritance with you among the tribes of Israel. (Exodus 47:22)
Neither let the foreigner, that hath joined himself to Jehovah, speak, saying, Jehovah will surely separate me from his people; ... Also the foreigners that join themselves to Jehovah, to minister unto him, and to love the name of Jehovah, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the Sabbath from profaning it, and holdeth fast my covenant; even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isa. 56:3, 6â€‘7)
In this thing Jehovah pardon thy servant: when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in this house of Rimmon, Jehovah pardon thy servant in this thing. And he (Elisha, prophet of God) said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way. (2 Kings 5:18â€‘19)
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes; but Jehovah weigheth the hearts. (Prov. 21:2)
And to one who doesâ€‘not work but trusts him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned as righteousness. (Rom. 4:5 RSV)
Remember Helen Keller. If a person is sincere before God, their conscience will lead them to Him. I realize that I am treading on thin ice in saying so, but no doubt there are individuals in these religions who are regenerated, even though they do not realize the true name of their Savior. Who can surely say otherwise? The fact of regeneration is not an outward matter, but is a heart matter between them and God.
But now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the first fruits of them that are asleep. (1 Cor. 15:20)
What can be said with respect to the religions of the world is this: Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius and all other such religious figures are still buried in the grave; but Jesus Christ alone is risen from the dead!