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RELIGIONS OF THE WORLD
1John 4-15 "Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God."
face five main worldviews:
Naturalism – God does not exist and physical matter is all that exists
Pantheism – All is one, one is all, and all is God. Hinduism and
Buddhism share these views, with the new-age movement being an American
adaptation of those religions.
Polytheism – We must appease many different kinds of gods, goddesses
Relativism – There are no moral absolutes. Relativism is the most popular and destructive belief system in
America, designed for those who don’t want a religion. “Whatever works for
you,” is a favorite slogan of this persuasion. To claim that there are
absolutes is viewed as intolerant, bigoted and judgmental, "the three great sins
of postmodern society. "
Tolerance – Is a fairly new social trend that resembles a religion
the way people use it to discriminate between good and evil. Those who believe in
moral and spiritual absolutes are not tolerated.
– Def: “A cult is a spurious sect or religion that places its members in
bondage to its belief system.” All cults seek to make their members beholden
to the leadership for the sake of personal gain. All cults reject the trinity (the belief in Jesus as
God). All cults feel they must earn their salvation. All
cults disbelieve people can be saved by faith in Christ alone; they lack
the element of absolute trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross.
Evolution Secular humanism New-Age Postmodernism Baha’i Unitarianism WICCA Roman Catholicism Eastern Orthodoxy Islam Hinduism Hare Krishna Buddhism Jehovah Witness Mormonism Christian Science International Churches of Christ Unification Church (the Moonies) Gnosticism - see: New-Age; see also: separate article
(Naturalism) – Evolution is sister to secular humanism (they are inseparable).
Charles Darwin’s “Origin of Species by means of Natural selection”,
published in 1859, spearheaded the religion of naturalism (all is nature). He
believed that natural selection (survival of the fittest) had produced every
species of animal that ever existed. Science uses it to dismiss the “creation
myth” of the Bible. Natural selection through random mutation is the
functional element of Darwin’s religion. Microevolution refers to changes
within the species (adaptation), which is seen everywhere in nature, whereas
Macroevolution refers to alterations that create new species. Science has been
unable to validate Macroevolution. “Darwin’s Black Box” by Michael Behe
disproves Darwin’s theory of cellular Macroevolution. For this reason
Macroevolution is a failed religion.
There are no moral absolutes. Secular humanism has its roots in the 17th and
18th centuries after Galileo and Newton enlightened the world with their
science. The 19th and 20th centuries have seen an even deeper erosion of belief
in God as the creator of the universe. Secular humanism is paired with
Darwin’s theory of evolution, which makes atheism believable to those who are
looking for an excuse not to believe in the existence of God. Atheism is the
premise of “Humanist Manifesto” published in 1933. Since then secular
humanism has been the archenemy of Christianity. It claims that the universe has
always existed, that is, it was never created by a god. Secular humanism’s
relative ethics and morals are tied to its naïve belief in the basic goodness
of mankind. Evil doesn’t originate from within but is a social problem that if
eradicated evil would disappear. Reason and intelligence are the most
“effective instruments that humankind possesses.” Manifesto II states
that critical intelligence “infused by a sense of human caring,” is the best
method humanity has for resolving their problems. In contrast, the apostle Paul
said about people like the secular humanists that they hold “to a form of
godliness, although they have denied its power; avoid such men as these” (2Tim
3-5). Secular humanists are exactly 180 degrees from biblical Christianity.
New-Age – holds to all the tenets of secular humanism, and for this reason it is not a sect or a cult but a worldview that claims to offer a new way of thinking. New-Age is like a junk drawer that if a religious idea doesn’t fit any of the major religions of the world, it is thrown into the New-Age bin. New Age seeks spiritual awakening and emphasizes self-discovery. It maintains many of the tenets of Hinduism and Buddhism, and has its roots in Babylonian mystery rituals that are supposed to elevate humans to God-like status. It also has roots in nature worship, meditation, occult practices and reincarnation. It teaches Hinduism’s Monism (all is one) and pantheism (all is god). It also teaches the Chinese Taoism’s ying/yang philosophies; nothing is absolute and all is relative. New Age borrows from Gnosticism’s esoteric knowledge that is supposed to ignite a divine spark within and therefore negate the need for Christ’s atoning death. New Age is a hybrid of many religions, plus UFO and psychokinesis (bending objects with the mind). In the 1960s the Beatles introduced Transcendental Meditation to America after a trip to India and met guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. In 1968 “Hair” introduced “The Age of Aquarius”, which became the theme song for the New-Age Movement. New-Age believers are not interested in how the universe came into existence, but are interested in developing their “godlikeness”; since all is god and they too are gods. New-Age believers find salvation in themselves, defined as “awareness of one’s divinity”. Prayer is replaced with meditation, a journey within. All truth is relative and you find god within yourself without the need to be born-again. New-Age channeling teaches that we all create our own reality, there are no moral absolutes, and none of us will be judged by God. “If it feels good, do it.” The Bible forbids contacting spirits and getting in touch with the dead (Leviticus 19-31; Deuteronomy 18,10-13). New Age believes that all religions lead to the same place (Bahá'í). It seeks utopia; thus it falls under a post-millennial philosophy that claims Christ will come after a human endeavored thousand-year reign of peace. New-Age seeks peace apart from Christ, making them similar to Secular humanists. Germany's Third Reich sought utopia through eugenics, and we know how that went. They supposed that "the end justified the means;" this is also the philosophy of the New-Age movement.
– is secularism humanism on steroids. Instead of ushering in utopia,
modernism’s scientific wonders have created institutions that are oppressive
and tyrannical, sprawling metropolises plagued with too much crime and
overcrowding. No one thinks independently; we have all been molded by culture to
think in certain ways. We cannot judge the thoughts, ideas or actions of others.
You construct your own reality. Nothing is provable. There is no absolute truth
anywhere. We are all just products of our culture, cogs in a social machine
(read the book 1984 by George Orwell). One of the most dangerous characteristics
of the postmodern mind is its dedication to tolerance, which gives all
values and beliefs equal weight. What everyone believes or says is equally right
and equally valid. All beliefs, values and lifestyles are equal. They are
tolerant of everyone except those who say there are objective moral absolutes.
Postmodernism mocks the Christian who says, “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
Now we must love the sinner and the sin.
– In 1857 Baha’u’llah claimed to be the long awaited prophet to reform
Islam. Baha’i claims the world’s major religions are not contradictory but
equally true. Baha’i also believes that Adam, Abraham Moses, Krishna, Buddha,
Jesus and Mohammad were all equal, divine, sinless and infallible.
Baha’u’llah claimed to be more important than all the other prophets,
including Jesus. Its main goal is unity of mankind, to create an international,
political empire where Baha’ism would be the state religion of the whole
world. They deny Jesus Christ as God, the trinity, Jesus’ bodily resurrection,
and the need for His sacrificial atonement for sin.
– Claims that God is a myth, and that personal experience, conscience and
reason are the final authority. Unitarianism started in the second century. They
deny the trinity that Jesus is God, but believe that Christ was a created being.
These ideas were condemned at the Council of Nicea (325 A.D.), but their ideas
persisted. Their teachings are essentially that of the Gnostics. By the 18th
century Unitarianism had spread to America and dislodged Harvard University from
its Christian stance. Unitarian thinking formed the basis of liberal theology.
They agree on certain key points: They don’t believe the Bible is the word of
God. They don’t think God is a person but a force or possible even dead. They
don’t believe there is a heaven or a hell, and there is no need for salvation
through Christ. They are linked to secular humanism through their beliefs that
man is above God. Recently however, Unitarianism has backed away from
humanism’s atheistic views and have taken a more “spiritual” position,
though hardly biblical, more toward monotheistic pantheism of the East, a
hallmark of new-age spirituality. Neo-pagans feel comfortable among Unitarians,
even WICCA prophetesses find their teachings palatable. Unitarianism is lumped
in among the cults that believe man is innately good and improving.
and Neo-Paganism) – includes the Celts, Druids, Egyptian magic arts, Greeks,
Romans and Sumerians. They draw from Gnosticism, occult writings, Freemasonry,
Native American religions, Shamanism, spiritism and even science fiction. WICCA
and Satanism are very different religions. WICCA is a nature movement grounded
in reverence for planet earth. These are similar to many of the gods of Baal
mentioned in the Old Testament (1Kings 14,22-24). They are anti-authoritative;
they are against religious dogma; instead, they create their own beliefs, mixing
various views and practices to build their own personal religion. They think the
only way to know “truth” is through feeling or intuition. Their slogan is:
“Do whatever you want, so long is it doesn’t hurt anybody.” Tolerance
is enshrined at the apex of their religion, though they hold Christianity in
contempt for its exclusiveness with Jesus being the only way to God. Many
neo-pagans believe in animism, inanimate objects like rocks are alive, similar
to pantheism (all is god). Witches practice going into altered states of
consciousness and trances, described as “drawing down the moon/sun”. Witches
believe in their own divine nature, “Thou are goddess; thou are god.” They
believe in reincarnation (Starhawk); they do not have the Eastern view, but a
more positive one that takes the soul upward in its advancement toward godhood.
– believes in “sacred tradition”, the belief that bishops have the same
wisdom and insight as the original apostles and give their ideas equal weight
with the Scriptures. In Mat 16,13-20 the Catholics believe that Christ named
Peter as head of the Church, and his foundation has continued by the bishops
under the supervision of the Pope, who has supreme and universal power over the
whole church. He is considered infallible. Catholics are saved by grace through
faith, plus works: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist (communion), penance,
anointing of the sick, holy orders and matrimony. There are mortal and venial
sins. Mortal sins can result in loss of grace and separation from God. A person
must earn his way back to God’s graces to merit heaven. Purgatory takes care
of unpaid sins. Catholics worship Mary.
– They are just like Catholics except for the Pope. Their headquarters is in
Constantinople, but secondary mother churches are in Alexandria, Antioch and
Jerusalem. They agree with Roman Catholics and emphasize “Sacred Tradition”
over Scripture. A standard view is that the Bible gets its authority from the
Church and not visa versa.
– is composed of four groups: Orthodox, Conservative, Reformed and Messianic
Jews. It uses three books: Torah (the Old Testament), Mishnah (oral traditions)
and the Talmud (Jewish civil and ceremonial laws, consisting of the Mishnah and
Gemara). There are two versions of the Talmud: the older Babylonian and the
Palestinian Talmud. Jews believe in one God, while Christians believe in one
Trinity. Jews accept that Jesus was a prophet, but not the Messiah. Jews believe
man was not born good or evil, but was born free to choose between good and
evil. Jews believe man can gain salvation through commitment to the one true
God, and through moral living.
– People who didn’t know the Bible were Mohammad’s teachers; hence, it is
no wonder he developed theologically flawed ideas, which he incorporated into
the Koran. When he first started hearing from his god, he suspected jinn had
possessed him (supernatural beings that can take human and animal
shapes—demons). Muslims believe in the Torah, Psalms of David, Injil (gospel)
of Jesus and the Koran. They believe in predestination (fate, “If it is
Allah’s will”… kismet). Muslims deny the trinity, being the reason they
viciously attack Christianity. To the Muslims Jesus was just a prophet, less
than Mohammad. They deny Jesus’ divinity and say that He never died on the
cross. Islam in its purity maintains that people either convert to Islam or pay
– All is an illusion. “Self” is part of the divine. God is impersonal.
Their Bible is the “Verdic Literature”, 2000 – 700 BC. They believe in
many gods and pantheism. Hinduism is based on a social hierarchy where Bramah is
the highest social group and “untouchables” are the bottom rung. Hindus
believe in reincarnation and karma. Atman is the uncreated soul, and Moksha is
liberation from suffering and union with the infinite. Bramah is the ultimate
reality. Samsara is the endless process of being reincarnated over and over.
There are three paths to Moksha: the path of works (dharma), the path of
knowledge (inana, reserved for the wealthy), and the path of passionate devotion
(bhakti, most common). Vishnu is the most popular Hindu god that has many names
and has appeared as Avatars (saviors, the incarnation of deities).
Founded in the 1500s is a branch of Hinduism that acts as a shortcut to Nirvana
and Moksha (union with the infinite), and avoiding Samsara (endless
reincarnation). Hare Krishna is officially known as International Society of
Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON). It was stared in the U.S. by Abhay Charan
(1896-1977), a Hindu from Calcutta. Before his death at 82 he had published 70
volumes of translation and commentary on the Hindu Scriptures, including the
Bhagavad Gita (as it is). Hindu Scriptures written 2BC-2AD spoke of Krishna as
the eight Avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, one of the three major deities of
Hinduism. The relationship between Krishna and his wife, Radha, symbolizes the
“Divine relationship which is the heart of the Krishnaite religion.” Rama
means “the greatest pleasure”.
– Invented by Siddhartha Gautama, born 560 BC in Nepal. Nirvana means the
highest degree of God consciousness. Buddha believes in reincarnation, karma,
yoga and meditation. Suffering is very real (unlike Hindus believe), and is
brought about through cravings. Thus if you stopped craving things, you could
– Influenced by the Seventh Day Adventists, Charles Taze Russel taught that
Christ would return in 1874. When it didn’t happen, the Adventists again
influenced him to believe Jesus actually did return in 1874 but in a
“spiritual and invisible way”. Then he predicted the end of the world in
1914, the beginning of World War I. Then Joseph F. Rutherford predicted the end
in 1925. He proclaimed all Jehovah Witnesses before 1935 would go to heaven (the
144,000 – little flock), and those after 1935 would live on the earth in
paradise (the great crowd). He predicted the end in 1941. Then Nathan Knorr
predicted the end in 1975. Jehovah Witnesses deny the trinity, Christ’s deity
and the bodily resurrection. They deny the Holy Spirit’s deity and
personality, and they deny hell as a place of eternal punishment.
– Joseph Smith dabbled in the occult. In 1826 he was convicted of “Glass
Looking” (using a seer stone), a misdemeanor. Those who did “Scrying”
(foretelling the future using a crystal ball or other reflective object or
surface) were often con men. Mormons believe Jesus was conceived in Mary by
literal sexual relations with the Father. They believe there are four sources of
truth including the Bible: book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Peal of
Great Price, all produced by Joseph Smith. James Talmadge wrote about the nature
of God, “As man is, God once was; as God is, man will be.” Mormons believe
God is an exalted man, not the eternal cause of everything, but begotten by
another god, who himself was created. For Mormons, God is not eternal but matter
is eternal. Passages that condemn these teachings include: Isaiah 43-10; Hosea
11-9. “Elohim” is the Hebrew word for God, which can be translated as
plural, and Joseph Smith interpreted this plurality to mean many gods instead of
accepting the biblical trinity.
rejects the idea of an infinite creator; instead, “God is not a person; God is
a principle.” To them, there is no reality to the physical world but is merely
an illusion, similar to Hindu pantheism, reducing God to an impersonal force or
idea. Sin, sickness, suffering and evil are all in your mind. Mary Baker
Eddy’s “Science and health with Key to the Scriptures” is their Bible.
They reject the trinity (Jesus and the Holy Spirit as God), and they reject His
atoning death or that He died at all.
Churches of Christ (ICC) – Formerly the Boston Church of Christ is accused of cultic
practices, mind control and mental/emotional abuse. Their leader is Kip McKean.
A mentor puts new converts under heavy supervision. McKean got the idea of one
church per city from Revelation chapters two and three. Disciples undergo
unhealthy personality changes that are seen in well-known manipulative cults,
such as Hare Krishna and the Moonies. The ICC’s goal is to “seek and save
the lost” to fulfill the great commission in one generation. Baptism within
the ICC is a requirement of salvation. Heb 13-17 is a main verse in their
religion to obey your leaders and submit to their authority. If they don’t the
leaders come down hard on them. At first entering, new converts are “love
bombed”. Later they are required to confess their sins, and if the person
wants to leave the Church, their sins are revealed to shame them from leaving
the church. Rick Bauer, a former high-ranking member tells of using embarrassing
information against members. They are told that if they leave the Church, they
will go to hell.
Church (the Moonies) – covers Taoism, Confucianism and occult practices. Sun Myung Moon is
the founder in 1954 in Seoul Korea. His supposed vision is to complete Jesus’
failed mission. He believes Satan had sex with Eve and so passed on the sin
nature to Adam also through sex. His book is “The Divine Principle”. Moon
believes he is the second coming of Jesus Christ, and that the trinity consists
of God the Father, himself and his wife, Hak Ja Han. Two practices separate the
Moonies from all other religions: their fund-raising techniques and mass
weddings. Healthy people in wheelchairs solicit funds, called “heavenly
deception.” Moon and his wife are the true parents of mankind; thus, every
wedding they officiate results in sinless children. The unification church
believes the real purpose of Jesus was to save humanity by getting married and
having sinless children. The crucifixion was an unplanned mistake, and that
salvation through the cross is ridiculous.
Fritz. (2001). So What’s the Difference? A Look at 20 Worldviews, Faiths and
Religions and How They Compare to Christianity. Regal Books. Ventura California