Are World Religions Purely Human Inventions?
Thomas laughed at religious people thinking them fools. He felt superior knowing that God, angels, human souls, and life after death exist only in ignorant superstitious minds, not in the real world. Even supposing they exist in a spiritual realm; it would be beyond our physical senses not subject to scientific experimentation that is the only way to prove anything. So these ignorant religious “kooks” should make their peace with it.
But he felt it unfair, anti-intellectual to discount religious beliefs without knowing their basis and teachings. So he set out to learn and to prove all religion wrong. He devised three criteria to test religious claims: logical consistency, objective fact and livability.
Thomas knew that in today’s multicultural world persons ridicule Christians as bias, intolerant, judgmental, uncooperative, absolutist, and other despicable labels to say any religious belief is more true or right than another—except their own. But that’s dishonest and playing intellectual let’s pretend games. Any honest inspection of world religions shows they differ in their teachings about God, man, morals, salvation, and life after death. So it’s a fact that if one religion is true, then all who oppose it must logically be false. It’s just like saying a black cat can and cannot exist at the same time and in the same way. World religions can’t all be true. Criteria exist to show which religion if any is true.
Millions in China acknowledge Confucius’s wisdom. As a government official, he taught people to treat each other with respect and that the government should rule by power of virtue and moral example. That’s seems good philosophy but Confucian religion consists in honoring ancestors and worship of numerous spirits through magical ceremonies. It’s just superstition. Shintoism of Japan is another unproved superstition being worship of nature, many gods, ancestors and obedience to the emperor. Both are merely speculative human philosophy.
Hinduism began about 3,000 years ago. It is mystical thought that says the universe is god that is a single unity, that extends itself into the multiplicity of forms, but all are illusion (maya). Like the cycles of nature things come alive, reproduce, and die repeatedly. Persons may live thousands of lives until finally absorbed into Brahma, the World Soul, or spiritual energy of the universe.
Thomas saw that Hinduism and all pantheist religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, New Age, Christian Science, and Unity are only some persons’ interpretation of nature. Far from being a single unity, they speak of a multiplicity of conflicting forms such as ignorance and enlightenment, absorption and no absorption, truth and falsehood, good and bad karma. And nobody can live as though the world is illusion—people must eat, sleep, wear clothes, avoid oncoming vehicles, pay debts, and obey laws. Such religions deny what they know through their senses and must live by, yet affirm god is merely impersonal energy.
Thomas acknowledged that secular humanisms—Nazism, communism, socialism, fascism--too are religious. They uphold man’s supremacy as the standard to judge all else. Soulless man is the chance product of evolution’s process whose end is to return to dirt. So to improve human chances of survival it makes good sense to eliminate the weaker beings to product higher quality. The stronger always eats the weaker--nature is red in tooth and claw. Hitler—following Darwin--understood this clearly and set about to achieve the super race. Ethics, truth, quality of life, even who lives or dies is what the ruling party says. It’s scary but its human history.
Microevolution is certainly true—we know verities of dogs and trees exist. But genetic limits preclude macroevolution. No consistent path of fossil finds demonstrate one plant or animal can change into another that would be the real proof of evolution. Scientists know spontaneous generation of life doesn’t happen. Nobody was around when the universe and life came into being. No experiment can demonstrate what happened. Entropy produces chaos, not organization. And chance supposedly mindless molecules magically arranging themselves over billions of years into man—computer data show its infinity impossible. Isn’t evolutionary humanism blind faith when everything we know scientifically says otherwise?
The basis of Islam is Muhammad’s claim God’s angel spoke to him alone making him the final prophet. The Mormon, Joseph Smith Jr., later said the same thing. Who are we to believe--if either? Can’t anybody claim the same thing?
Judaism claims one almighty Creator God revealed in human history through miracles, theophanies and fulfilled prophecies. That would be visible, recognizable, factual evidence of God, not like the unseen gods living on Mount Olympus or the gods residing only in mystics’ heads. But their predicted Messiah or deliver didn’t show and the Jews scattered among the nations in unbelief.
Christianity claims the Jew Jesus actually is the predicted Messiah who fulfilled the ancient prophecies and performed miracles proving he’s God. Whether this is true or not would seem to depend upon whether Bible history meets historical standards. But not only the Gospels and Epistles tell about Jesus,’ but many secular and often hostile writers of that time mention details of his life such as Tacitus, Suetonius, Pliny the Younger, Celsus, Julian the Apostate and many others. In fact, more mention is made of Jesus than of Tiberius Caesar or Aristotle.
Archaeology has uncovered many artifacts supporting biblical statements of persons, places and events once thought fictions. When the Bible is correct in physical matters, we should consider it could be true about spiritual matters such as God, miracles, fulfilled prophecies and Jesus’ claims. Unless we have all knowledge, it’s pure prejudice to dismiss a God who can act in our world. Jesus changed world history even dating time. Millions still endure torturous deaths to vouch for his atoning death and resurrection, our only empirical proof of life after death as well as other vital issues as human dignity, freedom, ethical responsibility, ultimate purpose and Heaven.
So while non-Christian religions give us only human wisdom and speculative philosophy. Biblical Christianity alone gives us a historical factual basis for a real God who walked among us, died for us, and rose again. And he alone can offer us life eternal and forgiveness of sin. I caste my lot with Him. How about you?