Religions of the World
World religions encompass many different belief systems, consisting of various ways to practice these beliefs. Many people are searching for their true purpose, a way to bring meaning to their lives. Most would probably say that their religion has given their life greater meaning. The largest of these belief systems is Christianity. The founder of Christianity is Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God. Many religions of the world do not teach that Jesus is the Son of God. They also do not teach that people need to be saved. The Bible teaches that everyone is a sinner and in need of salvation.
Many major belief systems teach that salvation must be attained through self-works. However, Christianity, unlike these world religions, teaches that it is not by works but it is a gift from God. The simplicity of the Christian message is easy to understand. There are no ritualistic methods that one has to practice to attain salvation. It is a message that even children can grasp. It is simply confessing and believing that Jesus is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for the sins of the world; and through believing in Him, anyone can be saved. Christianity teaches that there is nothing people can do on their own that will make them worthy of heaven. Jesus did it all on the cross when He died and arose. What a glorious gift, a gift that is based upon faith. Individuals who have accepted this gift are changed forever. Recognizing that Jesus is all that is needed simplifies Christianity. As people learn to accept this gift freely, they have peace with God.
Many religious organizations or sects seem to serve as organized social structures that give coherence and create harmony. On the other hand, religions of the world do not seem unified. World religions have splintered due to the vastness and differences in people. Christianity has many such divisions and denominations. Paul said, "To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some" (1 Corinthians 9:22). People all relate better to those who are the same. Paul became whatever was necessary to reach the maximum amount of people. Though there are many different Christian denominations that teach different doctrines, most all believe the Bible and realize that Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Many divisions seem to be disappearing as the body of Christ grows in the knowledge of the Lord. To find out more about what the Bible says, visit these Bible resources.
No single belief system dominates all of humankind. Most, especially the major religions of the world, have continued to divide, subdivide, and reform. Facts about these different religious organizations may be found on the Internet. Various world religions believe many different things about God. Some believe in worshiping thousands of gods; others believe in no deity; some believe that humans are god and others believe in an unknowable God. Christianity believes in a loving God whom anyone can have a personal relationship with. God's word teaches that people should worship no other gods; that He alone is God; that everyone has sinned; and that, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God" (John 3:16-18).
Understanding the teachings of the different belief systems will help people to realize how so many are deceived and will be deceived. Many have read about and heard teachings about the end times, including a one world religion that will deceive many. This system is a combination of all false religions of the world. Christians must be steadfast in faith and ask God to open their eyes to the truth, especially in these times. Many Bible prophecy teachers are saying that prophecies in the Bible are being fulfilled today. "So likewise ye, when ye shall see all these things, know that it is near, even at the doors. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled" (Matthew 24: 33-34). Christians must read God's Word and pray that these false religions will not be deceiving and turn them away from the one, true God.
PaganismPaganism is a word that gets thrown around in reference to various religions and the various activities associated with said systems of beliefs. This is perhaps because some versions of the Bible refer to religious practices that are not acceptable to Christianity as pagan, meaning practices from people groups outside the Jewish sector. But, today there is a true religious movement that refers to itself as the pagan religion and some of their beliefs and practices are adapted from the religions that existed thousands of years ago; the very religions that God warned Israel about and that Christ spoke against.
While many Christians use the terminology associated with the pagan religion to describe activities and items that are forbidden by God, most are not even aware that a full blown crusade is currently underway and this movement encompasses the ancient practices of the belief systems that are opposed by God. These practices are centered around nature and honor deities that are not the one true God. Sometimes paganism is referred to as Neo-Paganism signifying that it is a modern practice of the ancient and forbidden occult. And, any search over the Internet will reveal that there is a real religious sect that refer to its followers as pagans and they are practicing what the Bible calls witchcraft, sorcery, or divinations. Most involved with this religious sect openly admit the practice of casting spells for the purpose of improved health, wealth, love, and sex. There are rituals involved and also the use of natural products such as herbs. God's Word teaches that we are to rely upon only Him as the source of all provisions, however He chooses to provide for us, not on the nature that He created for His glory.
Witchcraft is strictly forbidden for Christians. "Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, or observe times." (Leviticus 19:26). Other Old Testament teachings against the pagan religion practices of magic and witchcraft are found in Deuteronomy, chapter 18, and 1 Samuel, chapter 15. The New Testament also address the consequences of practicing witchcraft or sorcery. "Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkeness, revellings, and such like: of which I tell your before, as I have also told you in times past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God." (Galatians 5:19-21). Discover what God thinks about the rituals and ceremonies practiced in the pagan religion and in some Christian circles today with these insightful Bible resources.
The practices of this sect also include polytheistic beliefs of having many different deities to worship and call upon. These gods are often believed to dwell in the subconsciousness of those who believe. There is vague understanding between all who practice paganism and that understanding is to follow individual paths to find the pursuit of happiness, and this could mean the use of magic, higher powers, strength from within, or even nature - a collection of things that are to bring about the wishes of those who believe and have faith in the pagan religion.
The Bible also speaks directly to those who serve many gods. And, this was not just an Old Testament problem with the gentiles who lived before Christ, Paul even warns the church in Corinth to flee from idolatry, which is the worship of idols and false gods. "Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry." (1 Corinthians 10:13) Peter explained God's position on the calling upon the gods of earth when he wrote, "for the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them, to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you." (1 Peter 4:3-4)
Pagans tout peace and love and tend to be rather complacent when it comes to politics, religions and rules. But, when the truth of what happens within this seemingly unorganized group of passive nature lovers is revealed, there is an emptiness that can not be mistaken as the handi-work of Satan. It's interesting, but as the thousands of years have passed, and some of the same practices are emerging today, the question remains, when will we "get it" and turn totally to the Maker of heaven and earth and all humanity, The Great I Am. The Lord of All has called us to follow the paths that He laid for us, and that is to accept salvation through Jesus Christ and then to live a life that is holly, because He is Holy. Anything beyond the truths that He reveals through His Word are false teachings devised by man through the influence of those who hate and rebel against God, the principalities and demons of Satan.
As Christians, we must seriously ask ourselves if some of the practices that we bring into our daily life could be reflections of traditions that have been passed down through paganism over the centuries. Much of what we believe and accept in Christian circles today is not necessarily from holy scripture, but from ceremonies that have come into this country and our circles of influence through those that carried paganism along the way.