God and Religion, What's it all About?
Article cG
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God
     God is the greatest power in the universe with regards to both physical and intellectual powers.  Concerning physical powers, obviously powers greater than man's powers exist, as the forces of nature (involving the power of the sun, wind, and water) are much more powerful than man's mere forces.  Concerning intellectual powers, powers higher than man's intellectual powers also exist as quite often people have special revelations (dreams or visions) revealing future events, which man's natural intellect obviously is incapable of knowing anything about.  God's knowledge far exceeds man's, and sometimes by special revelations, God reveals portions of this knowledge to man.  Although prophetic dreams and special revelations are more common in our day than miracles, yet miracles or supernatural happenings also occur.  Miracles are a vivid display of God's higher and intelligent powers.  Any special revelation or supernatural happening again is a clear witness of a power greater than man's.       cG-1
     Mankind throughout all history has been aware of God.  Such is revealed by the many ways men have tried and are trying to worship him, and by man's reaction to pray when danger or tragedy strike.  Man in his awareness of higher powers has invented all types of creatures of strange appearance.  Some in their awareness of God, and fear of Him, have vehemently endeavored to convince themselves and others that there is no such power existing.  Yet God can be and should be our best friend!       cG-2

Creation
     As nothing is impossible with God, He could have created our world with a big bang, or created it through some processes of evolution if He so choose.  Yet that is not how our God chose to do it.  Although it is interesting to know how God chose to create the world, yet a much more important issue than God's method of creating the world, is that God as the highest intellectual and physical power yet lives today.  God did not just set the universe in order and then leave it to continue on it's own.  God rather is watching over the universe, and although He allows many things to take their natural course, He yet intervenes as He chooses.  Any miracle or supernatural happening again reveals a higher power than man.       cG-3
     Our God obviously is a great creator.  The vastness of the sun, moon, and the stars and the almost numberless different kinds of creatures we see in our earth and ocean, should give man a little insight of the intelligence and power of our God.  God's power and perfect order can be seen in the orderly functioning of the universe and by the many wonderful and workable physical principles which men discover in their search for inventions.  Quartz for some reason, when charged with electricity gives off steady pulses making possible quartz clocks.  When man invents something new, although it is wonderful, and man might have discovered something very important, yet man must remember our God who long ago created the physical principles that make possible that invention!  Man continually is learning more about God's great creation and the many possibilities therein and therewith!  Although the great things God set in order in the creation are very outstanding, yet what matters most today is that this God still lives and is as great now as when He created the world!      cG-4
     How can our earth maintain such a consistent temperature year after year, when the sun is so extremely hot (10,000 degrees surface temperature much hotter within)  and absolute zero is so extremely cold (-450 degrees).  How does our earth find and maintain such a consistent, narrow, and livable balance between those two extreme temperatures?  Is our God continually adjusting the heat or did He get it all started so perfectly that our consistent livable temperature is now simply a natural result of ongoing physical principles?  God's universe holds endless wonders!       cG-5
     Our God obviously is not only interested in His physical creation such as the sun and moon, or in the many kinds of animals He created, but is very interested in the most intelligent part of His creation which is man.  God is very interested in how man fits into His creation and plan for him.       cG-6

Religion
Death and Resurrection
     Religion is the subject or issue of man properly relating to his Creator and his surroundings.  True religion teaches man how to properly relate to his Creator and his surroundings, while false religion erroneously teaches man how to relate to his Creator and his surroundings.  God is very desirous that humanity relates kindly and properly to one another.       cG-7
     God is not only a great creator but is also a good creator.  God in creation had a good plan for man.  Yet soon after creation man failed God and deprived himself of that good plan.  Thus man must experience significant difficultly in life, and must age and die.  Yet God in mercy made possible a full restoration of His good plan for man.       cG-8
     Us humans are so accustomed to people getting old and feeble and dying, that we think that is simply how it has to be.  We think our bodies should wear out and die because such is simply natural and how it should be.  Yet we should consider that our bodies after getting cut or scratched quite seriously can actually create new skin and heal itself.  One should then consider that a body that has the powers to heal and restore damaged parts of itself, should also be able to every year make itself more healthy than the year before (if God so ordained) rather than getting old and worn out.  It should not be thought strange if a body that that has powers to heal itself of major cuts and scratches, also every year could improve itself as a whole and make itself more healthy than the year before!  One should thus consider that the reason we grow old, feeble and die obviously is not because God could not have made us live endlessly but because we are under a curse of death.      cG-9
     In considering the possibility of the dead being resurrected to life again, one should consider that a power that has power to create life to begin with, should also be able to cause that which has lived and died to live again.  God even gave mankind a significant similitude of the death and resurrection of those that love God.  This is found in the life of the butterfly, which begins as a worm, enters a cocoon, which is like a tomb, and then comes forth from the cocoon tomb as a beautiful butterfly.  This wondrous similitude should not be overlooked!  The subject of resurrection and what might lie ahead after death is very important to most all religions.       cG-10

Truth
     True religion is very concerned about truth, and seeks and submits to it.  There is and old saying, that with much reason says,  "a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still".  If a man wants to believe something bad enough it is almost impossible to change his mind.  It seems us humans largely have the ability to convince ourselves of whatever we want to believe.  This is done by us almost subconsciously exaggerating and focusing on the issues that suit us, and minimizing, overlooking, and confusing the issues that we don't like.  Jeremiah said,  "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" (Jer 17:9).  Man's deceitful heart often simply tells man exactly what he wants to hear, regardless of what is truth.  The deceitfulness of the human heart is clearly manifested in the great difference that is shown when a child is trying to prove that he cannot do something that he doesn't want to do, or is trying to show off what he can do.  The child somewhat convinces himself he cannot do it, and then almost makes his actions agree thereto.       cG-11
     Ten year old Jane thought she was too sick to help her mom with dishes but when her friend came to play she thought she was feeling much better now.  What is controlling Jane's reasoning?  While carpenter Bill thought it was his disliked neighbor's son that had too carelessly damaged the valuable tool, he felt that such carelessness was ridiculous and felt he should be required to pay in full to teach him a good lesson.  But when Bill rather found out that his best friend was the guilty one, the damage all at once did not seem near as serious and he even began to advocate that people should have mercy on such understandable mistakes.  What is controlling Bill's thinking?  Our desires and attitudes if not pure and disciplined, can cause us to greatly bypass justice and truth, while we might yet foolishly and ignorantly defend our position.  May religious people as they defend their particular religious beliefs beware lest they think and reason as falsely and unjustly as did the above individuals.     cG-12
     The worst thing about dishonest or biased reasoning is that we actually convince ourselves of something that is not really true.  We actually lie to ourselves, and believe the lie.  The terms prejudiced and biased are quite popular to us.  If our conclusions are in any way tinted by prejudiced or biased thinking we to some extent have missed the truth.  If we exaggerate the issues we like, and minimize, overlook, and confuse the issues we don't like, the light of our body is evil and our whole body will be full of darkness (Matt 6:22-23, Luke 11:34).       cG-13
     Biased reasoning in defending it's conclusions tends to find all kinds of problems, where their really is bountiful answers, and then turns around and finds all kinds of so called answers where their really is mostly problems.  Biased reasoning can so greatly exaggerate little issues and so greatly minimize big issues that Jesus speaking of this said they strain at gnats and swallow camels (Matt 23:24)!       cG-14
     Although many beliefs are false and need to identified as such, may we yet be very cautious in defending our own beliefs and condemning another's beliefs.  One should consider if we were as hard up to defend another's beliefs as we are to defend our own beliefs, we likely could find some positive points about their beliefs too, and not only about our own beliefs.  May our conclusions be based on more than just a few overly emphasized agreeable issues, but on the complete truth when the whole matter is honestly and thoroughly investigated.       cG-15
     True religion is not a religion of ignorance.  Proverbs 4:7 reads, "Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding."  Proverbs 21:16 gives a strong warning for those who refuse to learn or reason reading  "The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation [religion, church] of the dead."  The term willingly ignorant is quite popular.  The willingly ignorant person is fully guilty, although his deceitful heart yet tells him he is justified.  The reason the willingly ignorant man is ignorant is simply because he chose to minimized, overlook, confuse, and complicate the information he didn't like.  "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." (Rev 22:15).      cG-16
     God's truths and laws are not intended to hurt man but to help him.  Although truth might cause one momentary pain as he faces up to it, we need not be scared of the truth, for the truth makes one free (John 8:32).  True religion is very concerned about truth and carefully seeks and yields to it.  False religions are very tinted with prejudiced reasoning and conclusions.  Truth is so related to God and His Spirit, that the Spirit of God is actually called the Spirit of Truth (John 14:17, 15:26, 16:13)!  Note, we cannot expect to have the blessing and indwelling of the Spirit of Truth while we at the same time resist the truth.      cG-17
     Jeremiah 5:1&3 reads,  "Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it.  {3} O LORD, are not thine eyes upon the truth? ...".  Untruth will stumble and fall, theories will come and go, but the truth abides forever!  Truth is so valuable and vital, and even sets us free, why then is man so often careless about it?       cG-18

Believe and be Saved
     "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house." (Acts 16:31).  Yes, to be saved we must believe in Jesus.  Yet one must consider that really believing in someone includes being confident and trusting of that person.  If a friend would tell you they believe in their teacher you naturally would understand them to mean that they are confident of their teacher and what he teaches.       cG-31
     To be saved one must not only believe in Jesus as their redeemer but as a true teacher.  In seeking how to be saved we obviously should look to Jesus and what He taught about being saved.  Jesus said, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven." (Mat 7:21).  Jesus clearly taught that we must put Him first in our lives and die to our pride and selfishness.  Yet Jesus also promised that as we lose our life for His sake we really will find our life (Mat 10:39, 16:25, Mark 8:35, Luke 9:24, Luke 17:33, John 12:25)!  How foolish it is to claim salvation by believing in Jesus while yet evading or rejecting His teachings!      cG-32
     Jesus speaking of really believing on Him said, "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. {39} (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive..."  (John 7:38-39).  When one really believes in Jesus he receives an inspiration and revelation from the Spirit of God, and receives another sense or capacity that he was not given by His first and natural birth.  This is being born again.  The new sense and life (as received in the second and Spiritual birth) perceives eternal truths and values, and creates faith in what is not seen (not visible).  Hebrews 11:1 speaking of this reads, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen."  The NIV version of this verse reads, "Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see."  This faith is what made Apostle Peter and many of the Apostles gladly give their lives for the sake of Christ.  The resurrection and after life was real to them.      cG-33

God's Good Laws!
     God's laws are good laws with a good intent and purpose!  Jesus particularly taught that all God's laws hang upon properly loving God and our fellowman (Matt 22:36-40).  Numerous Scriptures teach that God's laws all have the intent of helping man to properly love God and his fellowman  (Mark 12:28-31, Gal 5:14, Rom 13:8-10, James 2:8).  God's laws are so practical and good they are even called laws of liberty (James 1:25&2:12).       cG-38
     God very much desires His laws to be followed in the way that fulfills their good intent, rather than to be followed merely according to their technical wording (letter of the law).  Apostle Paul speaking of these things said,  "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life."  (2 Cor 3:6).  Apostle Paul knowing God's laws are good, and that they always bring about a good and just result if applied properly said,  "But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully;" (1 Tim 1:8)!  It is sad that false religions often are caught up in following the letter of the law, while yet being ignorant or evasive of the underlying purpose of God's laws, and thus they wound and kill rather than give life. The laws of false religions rather than being laws of liberty (as Apostle James spoke of), too often are laws of bondage.  Jesus reproving the Jews for such laws said,  "For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers." (Mat 23:4).  Those who follow the letter of the law rather than the intent of the law, are legalistic and are guilty of legalism.  Although those involved in legalism might erroneously convince themselves they are most righteous and humble, legalism is not a small error as it kills rather than gives life.      cG-39
     Prophet Micah made a very profound statement concerning what true religion is all about saying, "Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? {7} Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? {8} He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:6-8).  Note how Micah here reveals that self sacrifice and self affliction is not the basis of true religion while rather, doing justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God, is the basis of true religion.  Note how nicely this corresponds with the various Scriptures that teach that the emphasis of all God's laws is to properly love God and our fellowman.       cG-40
     Apostle James said,  "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world." (James 1:27)  True religion keeps itself unspotted from the world's often mechanical, artificial, vain, and cruel ways.  True religion is separate from the selfishness, falsity, haughtiness, changing fads, jealously and ill will that often prevails in the world.  Being different than the world dare not be the Christian's goal, but rather walking humbly with God and loving his neighbor as himself must be his goal, as such will bless the Christian, while making him different than the world naturally and rightly.  True religion is privileged to have the real thing while others are vainly trying to get it at the wrong place.  Prophet Isaiah said, "O that thou hadst hearkened to my commandments! then had thy peace been as a river, and thy righteousness as the waves of the sea:" (Isa 48:18).  May we not think that being unspotted from the world merely consists of being different than the world by outward appearance.  Being unspotted from the world involves our attitudes and inner character.  God has made a beautiful world and is not a despiser of beauty.  The subject of material appearance and how Christians should relate to beauty is quite extensively considered in article bZ.       cG-41
     Jesus knew His Father had a very good plan for humanity, and also knew that the Jews had greatly missed it, and He wept because of the dreadful loss.  Luke 19:41-42 speaking of this reads, "And when he was come near, he beheld the city [Jerusalem], and wept over it, {42} Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes."  It appears Jesus today likewise could weep over much of the whole world for the same reason.       cG-44

Abundant Life
     Jesus said, "The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly." (John 10:10).  Jesus came that we might have a good life!  Jesus clearly revealed that a good life is not contingent upon wealth and riches saying, "...Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." (Luke 12:15).  Although Jesus came that we can have an abundant life, He also revealed that the way to this life is narrow and that few will find it saying,  "...strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." (Mat 7:14).       cG-45
     The abundant life that Jesus came to give is not found in laws of self affliction, nor is it found in doing every thing we on the spur of the moment might want to do.  The narrow way that leads to abundant life is found between those two ditches.  The abundant life that Jesus came to give is not found in denying ourselves of those blessings God has created for us to enjoy, but is found in denying ourselves of our selfishness and pride.  This life is not found in evading the truth and unjustly trying to convince ourselves of what we want to believe, but is found in humility and the truth.  This life is not found in creating our own religious agenda or in following the commandments of men.  This life is found in being at peace with our Creator, having good will toward all men, and enjoying the blessings God has created for us to enjoy.  Abundant life often is found in trying to bless others.  Abundant life is found in being free from, envy, ill will, bitterness, and rather having the fruit of the Spirit which is "...love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance..." (Gal 5:22-23).     cG-46

Pride and Humility
     Pride often greatly hinders truth as man is too proud to fully admit the truth when it is revealed, and rather holds to old errors and yet to his own harm.  Pride often does not allow man to speak as he should speak, or to hear as he should hear, or learn as he should learn.  God hates pride (Pro 6:16-17).  Pride is often the very thing that keeps people from looking at things fairly and squarely and makes them rather love and make lies.  Pride makes for many arguments and disagreements on our earth, as people because of pride often look at things only from the angle that makes them look right and good, rather than looking at things truthfully.  "Only by pride cometh contention..." (Prov 13:10).       cG-49
     The room for improvement is likely the largest room on earth.  Yet pride often closes the door to this great room, because men often simply are too proud to admit they were doing something less than the best way, so they presumptuously and foolishly keep on doing it the hard way.  Man's proud nature is clearly revealed in the little Negro boy, who when given some hints on how to drive the tractor more smoothly quickly replied "I've already been knowed how".  Because of pride people want to believe or imagine they already know almost everything about a subject.  Pride often causes people to exaggerate and focus on what they already know and to be resentful towards and evasive of what they do not know.  Pride often keeps people from opening their minds to further education and truth.  Pride often makes people think they know very much while they really might know very little.  Obadiah 1:3 reads, "The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee... "  Numerous Scriptures speak of the fool being the one who has many words and who speaks quickly (Pro 10:14&19, 15:2, 17:28, 18:6-7, 29:20, Eccl 5:3,  10:12-140).       cG-50
     May we always be very loving and careful in our judgments towards others.  We should consider that if we'd be as determined to think highly of others as we are to think highly of ourselves we likely could find good things about others too, and not only about ourselves!      cG-51

Man's Laws and Agenda
     False religion because of pride often tries to establish it's own religion and righteousness and thus turns to manmade laws, rather than simply honoring God and yielding to His good and simple plan.  Apostle Paul speaking of this said,  "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (Rom 10:3).      cG-52
     False religion tries to impress God with particular things it does, while yet lacking, justice, mercy, and humility, the three attributes which are the very basics of true religion.  In history, false religions sacrificed their own children, and caused them to go through fires to impress God.  Yet God said such things never even came to His mind and He wasn't impressed (Jer 19:5, 32:35).  True religion is impressed with God and His agenda, rather than being a religion that tries to impress God or man with it's own agenda.       cG-53


Marriage
     False religion by it's own agenda, for many years, and even today has greatly disrupted God's plan for marriage and the intense blessings God intended therewith.  In early Christian history, a very erroneous anti marriage and sex attitude developed which brought much pain and difficulty into our world.  Apostle Paul fortold of this anti marriage attitude saying, "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils...  {3} Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth."  (1 Tim 4:1&3). This anti marriage and sex attitude counted intimacy in marriage as a shameful and disgraceful thing only suitable and allowable for procreation.  Tertullian and numerous other early Christian leaders and writers were very taken up in this anti sex attitude, which in due time developed till it fully disallowed marriage among the Catholic Priests as is seen today.  These writers were not only very negative about marital intimacy but were negative about feminine beauty.       cG-54
     Tertullian writing with regards to women wrote, "And do you not know that you are (each) an Eve?. ...You are the devil's gateway: you are the unsealer of that (forbidden) tree: you are the first deserter of the divine law: you are she who persuaded him whom the devil was not valiant enough to attack. ...And do you think about adorning yourself over and above your tunics of skins?" ( Ante Nicene Fathers Vol. 4, Page 26).  Note Tertullian lived around 180 A.D.       cG-55
     Athenagoras, who lived around the time of Tertullian wrote as follows;  "...each of us reckoning her his wife whom he has married according to the laws laid down by us, and that only for the purpose of having children. ...so to us the procreation of children is the measure of our indulgence in appetite."  (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 2, Page 279).       cG-56
     Cyprian who wrote about fifty years later wrote as follows,  "...we can see sexual intercourse abolished; and this, too, before the future world. And our Lord Jesus Christ was born of a virgin, for no other reason than that He might destroy the begetting by lawless desire".  (The Ante-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1, Page 590).     cG-57
     Although early writers in their anti sex attitude greatly honored virgins (men or women who never married), Tertullian emphasized that the married one who refrains from sex is even worthy of more honor than the one who never married, because it is more difficult to refrain from what was experienced and enjoyed than to refrain from something that was never enjoyed.  Tertullian speaking of this said, "For is not continence withal superior to virginity, whether it be the continence of the widowed, or of those who, by consent, have already renounced the common disgrace (which matrimony involves)?  ...For great is the struggle to overcome concupiscence when you have become accustomed to such concupiscence; whereas a concupiscence the enjoyment whereof you have never known you will subdue easily," (The Ante Nicene Fathers Vol. 4, Page 66).  Many similar writings could be given.  Note such writings are given in article cE.  This anti marriage and sex attitude grew more erroneous as time continued, and in due time resulted in the belief that sex within marriage is a sinful and debased act (as taught by Augustine 400 AD) and resulted in the Catholic Church disallowing marriage among her leaders.      cG-58
     A certain pride can readily accompany the rejection of woman, marriage and intimacy.  The more one raises himself above woman, marriage, and intimacy and emphatically accuses sexual errors, the more Holy one might think himself to be and appear.  Yet such is man's agenda not God's.  Although Jesus reproved sexual errors, He yet did not give despiteful reproofs but simply said "go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).  He even told religious Jews who were taken up with their manmade religious agenda, that "the publicans and the harlots go into the kingdom of God before you" (Matt 21:31-32).  The publicans and harlots were more ready to listen and repent of their errors than those who were taken up with their own religious agenda.  Jesus further spoke of the Sodomites being more ready to repent than those taken up with their own religious agenda (Matt 11:22-23).       cG-59
     Although God has sexual restrictions and has ordained the marriage plan, such does not mean God is anti sex.  God's marriage laws rather than merely upholding a particular theological or religious standard of life are for our good and are very meaningful.  One can hardly imagine how much anxiety, envy, and strife would be encountered throughout our lives if their was no such thing as marriage and it were proper and customary for men and women every day, without respect and care for others, to take any mate whoever they could allure to themselves.  God's marriage laws very much help provide secure mates and secure children, and are laws we can love!  Sex is a very powerful force with can both do much good or much evil.  When sex is in God's plan it's power does much good, creating happy secure families, when it is outside of God's plan it's power does much evil resulting in much trouble, anxiety, and many grievous crimes.       cG-60
     Those opposed to marriage and intimacy should consider that in old times the Jewish Kings often had numerous wives, while most of the Apostles were married.  Paul taught that "Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled...", and clearly commanded that husbands and wives should satisfy each other sexually (1 Cor 7:3-5, Heb 13:4).  Solomon concerning these things said,  "Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the LORD." "Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth. {19} Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love."  (Pro 18:22, 5:18-19).  It is sad that false religion has griped man with the feeling that feminine beauty is evil, although God created it to be greatly enjoyed in it's proper order.  Note another article coded bU extensively considers the place of feminine beauty.       cG-61
     One should imagine how difficult it would be for the newly married couple or any couple who is intensely in love with one another (and naturally lives together), if sex was only to be had for procreation and thus basically never allowable.  Marriage instead of being a blessing as God intended, would be a place of temptation and a snare, while Apostle Paul instead of saying it is better to marry than to burn, should have said it is better to stay away from the marriage environment than to burn (1 Cor 7:9)!  Only God knows how many marriages were needlessly troubled and pained, and how many blessings missed in the last 1800 years because of this erroneous anti marriage and intimacy attitude.  It should not be forgotten that although some religions and Christians are very anti sex, yet God is not anti sex and remembered that Jesus indicated more hope for the Sodomites and harlots, than for those proud and unyielding ones taken up with their own religious agenda.  Articles bH, bU, and bW speak much more of the marriage and intimacy subject.      cG-62
     Numerous early writers largely disallowed second marriages even if one's mate had died.  It is likely the anti marriage attitude of early times has some connection to the fact that many Christian Churches still do not allow husbands to separate from a unfaithful and unrepentant wife and remarry for any reason, although Christ clearly allowed such for the cause of fornication.  Divorce and remarriage is extensively considered in articles coded yB and aW.      cG-63

Commandments and Traditions of Men
     The writer by the following thoughts is not trying to encourage Christians to go against their conscience or their traditions that they feel comfortable and blest in.  Yet Christians need to be careful how they look at things and how they judge others for what they do.  Possibly many Christians judge and condemn those that drink wine.  Yet Christians need to remember that Jesus turned water into real wine (John 2:1-9), need to consider that Jesus speaking of wine said the old wine (which would be fermented) is better (Luke 5:38), and need to consider that Jesus almost certainly drank such wine Himself.  Jesus was accused by some in His day of being a winebibber, and very likely because He did drink wine (Matt 11:19, Luke 7:34).  What would we do today with a Jesus that drank strong wine?  Would we also accuse him?       cG-64
     Although the Bible clearly reproves drunkenness and being overtaken with wine (Deu 29:19, Prov 20:1, 23:29-32, Isa 5:11&22, 28:7), yet the Scriptures clearly give permission to drink it (Num 6:20, Deu 14:26, Song 5:1, 1 Tim 5:23), and many Scriptures speak of wine making glad and merry the heart of man (Eccl 9:7, Eccl 10:19, Psa 104:15, Zec 10:7, 2 Sam 13:28, Est 1:10).      cG-65
     In old times Jonadab the son of Rechab began a voluntary tradition that in his family no one should drink wine or live in permanent dwellings but live as wondering pilgrims (Jer 35:6-11).  Note such a lifestyle could be considered a type of permanent fasting.  God recognized their fasting lifestyle and pronounced a particular blessing upon them. (Jer 35:12-19).  Although God may particularly bless those Christians who take on a self chosen conservatism, yet such Christians dare not demand it of others or despise and condemn other Christians who do not take on their traditions.       cG-66
     Jesus clearly connected music with dancing, and does not appear to have despised or condemned it (Matt 11:17, Luke 7:32, Luke 15:25).  God wants His people to rejoice in Him and the good things He has provided for them.  God very much wants His people to feel like praising Him for His goodness.  Note, although Jesus did not particularly despise or condemn music and dancing, obviously if such is done it should not be done in any manner as would allure marriage partners away from their marriage partner, or done in anyway as would lead one into temptation and sin.  Possibly for many because of strongly established conscience and tradition it could never be a blessing.  May Christians give each other tolerance to live within their conscience and not necessarily demand other Christians to live as they do (Rom 14).      cG-67
     In old times, when the Jews were unfaithful, God took away things which they enjoyed, as a punishment, and to cause them to take notice and turn from their sin.  Yet such by no means, means that God did not want His people to enjoy those things when they were faithful to Him. Just because a father in punishing badly behaved children will take away some privileges and toys from them, does not mean those privileges and toys are evil, and that the father wants to permanently withhold them!  It appears some Christians have too much concluded that whatever God took away from the Jews in punishing them, must have been evil things simply because He took them away as a punishment.  How would you feel if you made something good for your children to enjoy, but others would convince your children those things are evil and not acceptable?  It must grieve our creator when He sees man being taught that the very things He created to be enjoyed by man are evil and unacceptable.  Yet such is what the commandments of men do.       cG-68
     Jesus strongly reproved the Jewish leaders in His day for teaching the commandments and restrictions of men (Matt 15:9, Matt 23).  It is impressive how the erring Jews were not the only ones who forced manmade restrictions upon the their people, but the heathen religions did too!  Some heathen traditions around Tertullian's time required women to be so veiled that only one eye could be free to see with.  Jesus made havoc of many of the man made traditions in His day, and acquired much resistance as He came against the prevailing religious errors.       cG-69
     It is sad that concerning good things that God has created for man to enjoy, Satan has convinced people that God intentionally withholds these things from His children and is a depriving God.  It is sad that Satan then turns around and pretends to be the great giver of these good things to man!       cG-70
     In reviewing what true religion is all about, may we remember Micah's profound truth which states, "He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8).  God's religious emphasis is the vital three, justice, mercy, and humility!       cG-71

Loving our Enemies
     Jesus not only advocated that we should love and be kind to our neighbors, but even taught that we should love and be kind to our enemies (Matt 5:44, Luke 6:27&35). Although Moses gave God's people many laws concerning how to war against their enemies, Jesus rather than strengthening those type of laws advocated loving our enemies and established a particular separation between Church and State that did not exist among the Jews in old times.  Jesus speaking to Pilate said,   "...My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." (John 18:36).  The subject of loving our enemies and Jesus and war is extensively considered in article cH and chapters 7-16 of article aT.       cG-72
     Although God's plan for man is a good plan, yet Christ's followers often must bear persecution from an erring, ignorant, and yet proud society.  Although Jesus promised good things to His disciples for this present life and the hereafter, He also spoke of "bearing persecutions" (Mark 10:30).  Bearing persecution for Jesus sake clearly is the lest desirable aspect of following God and His plan for man.  Yet even such at times can be done with joy.        cG-73

Humanity's Greatest Problem
     When God cursed the world, many obstacles previously unknown entered our planet and environment.  The ground lost it's purity and thorns and thistles were born (Gen 3:17-18).  Rusting, rotting, earth quakes, storms sickness etc, also entered what previously was a paradise environment.  Obviously the curse which God placed upon our world, causes humanity many difficulties.  Yet it appears humanities greatest problem is not his difficult outward environment, but is humanity's inward pride and selfishness and failure to follow the principles of true religion.  Even with man's difficult outward environment remaining as an permanent obstacle, if all humanity would repent of their inward pride and selfishness and follow the principles of true religion, our world would become a totally different place and even our present world could almost become a paradise.  Wars and prisons would be a thing of the past.  Locks and keys and the many difficult security efforts would be unnecessary.  Humanity could live in prosperity and blessing as our world has never known.  Further if all humanity in their debates and conflicts would love each other as themselves, and not only look at the issue from the angle that suites them and makes them look right and good, but rather would look at the issue with total honestly, all conflicting issues could be justly and nicely resolved and arguments and contentions would cease.  Although that seems almost impossible to us, yet that special way of love, honesty, and humility is the narrow way of which Jesus spoke and said leads to life.  Although the writer likely is dreaming in thinking about our present world existing as such, yet God is not dreaming in His plan for a future world to exist as such.  Are we walking on that narrow way leading to life in our present world, and thus prepared to be planted into God's perfect next world?  Or are we caught up with looking at issues merely in the way that suits us (rather than honestly), and guilty of the falsity and strife that goes therewith and thus unworthy to be planted as a living and qualified plant into the next world?  "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie." (Rev 22:15).      cG-74

     Concerning too many Christians, when good reason and intellect defends and supports their beliefs then they somewhat proudly feel these reasons are vital proofs of the truth of their Church's doctrine.  Yet when good reason and intellect doesn't seem to defend and support their Church's doctrines then too many Christians simply say their doctrines are not based on human reasoning and they cannot go by mere human reasoning.  What many Christians don't seem to really realize is that if they don't need to give regards to honest human reasoning and to what it reveals, then man can reject any teaching that doesn't suit him even if the teaching makes honest sense.  And further what many Christians don't seem to realize is that if not all doctrines need to make sense then Churches have the right to be divided and to have opposing doctrines because they simply have the option to choose different doctrines as the ones that really need to make sense.       cG-75


Grievousness of False Religion
     False religion has turned many people against God and religion, and it really is quite understandable, because false religions often are oppressive and do exactly the opposite of what true religion is supposed to do.  Satan has become very religious and has been very busy creating all kinds of religions saturated with the commandments of men, while the religion yet lacks, justice, mercy, and humility, which are the very basics of true religion.  Satan was already very religious when Christ was on, earth, and it was Satan's religious servants that crucified Jesus!  Our world is full of Satan's religions.  Oppression, pride, untruth and all kinds of errors are within the worlds religions.  Jesus and not without reason asked the question, "...Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?"  (Luke 18:8).       cG-110
     The principles upon which false religions operate often are very pitiful.  Leaders among false religions, because of prestige and pride, often feel compelled to make a show of believing in and protecting their religion, as such will honor them as a leader.  Such leaders will feel compelled to correct any departure or drifting from their religion, and when they do so, other proud leaders, because of feeling they must appear just as zealous for their religion, often will feel compelled to do the same.  Yet in all this religious display, selfishness and pride is the motivating power, rather than truth, love, and humility.  Jesus speaking of this sad situation spoke of the blind leading the blind and both falling into the ditch (Matt 15:14, Luke 6:39).  Although within false religions some people are simply hypocrites and know better, yet within false religions many have almost totally convinced themselves and others that their religion is genuine by almost subconsciously exaggerating the issues that suit them and overlooking, minimizing and confusing the issues they do not like.       cG-111
     Those who share the same faulty religion often greatly strengthen and encourage each other in their particular faulty way of looking at issues.  They will unitedly look at things in the way that suits them, rather than with real carefulness and honesty.  People within false religions often honor each other and convince one another that they are better than people of other religions.  They tend to remember everything that compliments and honors their religion and to forget everything that would reveal it's falsity.  They also tend to remember every bad thing they hear about other religions and forget every good thing they hear about them.  Such pride and religion is very repulsive to God, and God speaking of this said, "Which say, Stand by thyself, come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day." (Isa 65:5).  The great and vital difference between true and false religion is that true religion is based on truth and justice, love and mercy, and humility, while false religion is not.  False religions when reproved often will reject and persecute the one who dares to do so, rather than turning from their errors and thus false religions after being started seem to continue endlessly in their falsity.      cG-112
     It appears that in some situations it is be better to have no particular religious training, than to have deep rooted false religious training.  It is even possible to live by the basic principles of true religion without having any religious teaching at all!  Apostle Paul spoke about the Gentiles or heathen by nature doing the things contained in the law (Romans 2:13-15).  People with no particular religious training, if followers of good principles and their God given conscience, will find themselves following the simple and basic laws of true religion.  Following our God given conscience and good principles, will largely result in one recognizing and honoring a higher power than himself (which is God) and result in one treating others like he wants to be treated, and that's what true religion is all about!  God's laws and true religion is simply an aid and an encouragement to humanity to follow such good principles!  Yet God's laws and true religion is a very important and valuable aid (Rom 2:14-3:2).     cG-113
     Although false religion can be very dreadful, yet imperfect religious groups can still do much good.  The more any religious group focuses on truth and justice, love and mercy, and humility, the basics of true religion, the more good they will do, even if imperfect in knowledge and tradition.  May God revive much true religion in our day.       cG-114

Concluding Prayer
     In closing the writer would like to include a prayer for himself as well as the reader.  "Oh God we pray you would forgive us for our faults and errors and help us to be honest and true.  Oh God teach us what you and true religion is all about and help us recognize and reject false religion.  Oh God help us to rightly divide the words of truth rather than to handle the word of God deceitfully (2 Tim 2:15, 2 Cor 4:2).  Oh God teach us your truths that make us free and free indeed (John 8:32&36).  Oh God help Christians to love each other, and be more concerned about the truth and true religion than about their personal reputation and traditional beliefs.  Oh God, help us to see you as the good God you really are and serve you because we in truth admire and appreciate you, and not just because were scared of your punishments.  Oh God teach us to rejoice in you.  Oh God we pray you would uncover Satan's lying face to humanity, so his great misrepresentations about you, your goodness, and true religion can be known.  Oh God teach us how to walk in your perfect law of liberty and how to apply your good laws so they will bring about the good purpose intended.  Oh God fill us with the inspiration of your Spirit, and with the faith and love and good fruits that come therewith (Gal 5:22-23, Rom 15:13).  Oh Jesus we thank you that you really came to earth to bring peace and goodwill to men, and thank you that you came to save man rather than to condemn him (Luke 2:13, John 3:16-17, Luke 19:10).  Oh God we thank you for your goodness, and pray we can participate in it, as well as help others to do the same.  Oh God we pray you would bless us and make us a blessing!  Oh God we pray you would grant miracles to confirm the truth about you, and your ways as you did in the Apostles time (Mark 16:18&20).  Oh God we believe in you, but help our unbelief.  Oh God if you see fit to allow us to live on this earth, please keep us from the evil (John 17:5).  Dear God, we thank you for the many blessing that you have given us, and we're sorry we overlook them so often.  In Jesus name we pray.  Thank you God and Amen."   God Bless and Farewell              cG-115

Index
Note not all the paragraphs and subjects
in this index are included in this short version of the article


Topic     Paragraph Numbers

God     1-2
Creation     3-6
Religion, Death and Resurrection     7-10
Truth     11-19
Higher Powers     20-21
Messiah and Christianity     22-30
Believe and be Saved     31-33
God's Work - Man's Work     34-37
God's Good Laws     38-44
Abundant Life     45-46
Pride and Humility     47-51
Man's Laws and Agenda     52-53
Marriage     54-63
Commandments and Traditions of Men     64-71
Loving our Enemies     72-73
Humanities Greatest Problem     74-75
Final Day of Judgment     76-78
Reward of the Saved and Righteous     79
Punishment of the Unsaved and Wicked     80-81
Duration of Punishment     82-107
Sad Religious Errors     108-109
Grievousness of False Religion     110-114
Concluding Prayer     115

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