Is All Religion Good?
IS ALL religion good? According to the Communists no religion is good. They like to quote Marx, who said that religion is opium for the people. After Darwin embraced the evolution theory he had no more use for religion. And Freud, father of psychoanalysis, termed religion “the Great Illusion.”
Going to the opposite extreme are those who hold that one religion is as good as another, or as true as another, or that religion in itself is intrinsically a good thing. They say that there should be more religion in the home, in the schools, in business and in government, but without stating which religion they have in mind. This is also the position taken by certain modern psychotherapists, such as Carl Jung. They are strong believers in the power of religion to heal those who are emotionally ill. Jung, in his works, dismisses questions as to the merit or validity of certain religious beliefs; all he is concerned with is that religion does help his patients.
The history of man, and in particular as recorded in God’s Word, the Bible, does not allow us to hold that all religion is good. In fact, religious ambition and religious envy caused the first two murders, by Satan the Devil and Cain, the first son of Adam. The nation of Israel suffered incalculable harm by adopting the religions of the people round about them with their idolatries, sex worship and human sacrifices. During the Dark Ages and even until modern times, intolerant fanatical zealots have committed shocking crimes in the name of religion. In many parts of the earth animal worship still abounds, and reports of suttee—where a widow is persuaded or coerced into immolating herself on the funeral pyre of her husband—are still heard. Why, the most infamous, heinous crime in all the history of humankind, the murder of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, was instigated by religious leaders. Clearly, not all religion is good. Those who hold that it is are as mistaken as those who hold that all religion is bad.—John 8:44; 1 John 3:12; Matt. 27:20.
However, the Bible clearly shows there is good religion. Religion is simply a form of worship, the service rendered to a higher power, and that religion may be true or it may be false. Thus the disciple James wrote: “If any man seems to himself to be religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, but goes on deceiving his own heart, this man’s religion is futile.”—Jas. 1:26, ftn.
Religion that is good should be able to tell us convincingly whom to worship, why and how. It should enlighten us as to ultimate causes of things and reasons for present conditions. Further, it should give us hope regarding the future and bring forth the right kind of fruits, proving it to be the one true religion. By these standards true Christianity, as recorded in God’s Word, the Bible, and as taught and practiced by Jesus and his apostles, qualifies, it alone, as the one good religion.
Whom should we worship? The textbook of the one good religion tells us: The one true invisible God, whose name is Jehovah. He is the one who created and keeps on sustaining all things animate and inanimate, material and spiritual. Why Should we worship him? Because it is due him as Creator and the Most High Sovereign of the universe. And not only is it right to worship Jehovah God but it is the wise and loving, grateful thing to do. It results in everlasting life and happiness to us.—Ps. 83:18; Isa. 40:26; 42:8.
How do we worship this God? By obeying his commandments, which have been summed up by his Son in this way: “You must love Jehovah your God with your whole heart and with your whole soul and with you whole mind and with your whole strength,” and, “You must love your neighbor as yourself.” Otherwise expressed, we worship God by giving him exclusive devotion and doing to others as we would have them do to us.—Mark 12:30, 31; Ex. 20:5; Matt. 7:12.
The one good religion, by means of its textbook, the Bible, also gives us accurate information as to the ultimate origins of things and the reasons for present conditions. It shows that with God is the wellspring of life, that all things owe their existence to him and that every good gift and perfect present proceeds from him. It also tells us why God permits wickedness: because of the questions of God’s sovereignty and man’s integrity that were raised by Satan the Devil. This has given all the opportunity to show where they stand, either for God, truth and righteousness or against him. Those who prove God true and the Devil a liar by keeping integrity will be rewarded with everlasting life.—Gen. 1:27; Ex. 9:16; Job chapters 1 and 2; Ps. 36:9; Prov. 27:11.
The one good religion also gives us a solid hope for the future. It assures us that because Jesus Christ died for our sins and was raised from the dead by his Father, a way has been opened for us to become reconciled to God and gain everlasting life in God’s new world of righteousness. To strengthen our hope Jesus taught us to pray for God’s kingdom and for His will to be done on earth as in heaven.—Matt. 6:10; John 3:16; 1 Pet. 3:18.
And lastly, the one good religion proves itself to be such by the changes it makes in the lives of those who embrace it. By reason of the examples God’s Word gives, the high principles it sets out and the rewards it offers, it furnishes powerful motivation to live in harmony with God’s will. Proof of this is seen in the transformation it has brought about in the lives of tens of thousands, causing native Africans to give up polygamy and tribal strife, overcoming national pride and selfish materialism, changing even criminals into upright and God-fearing men.
Would you take a wise course in this space age, safeguarding your future? Then avoid both extremes, that of communism and that of Christendom. Learn the religion that the Most High God himself approves as set forth in his Word the Bible. Let it mold your life, assuring you peace and happiness now and everlasting life in happiness in God’s new world. Jehovah’s witnesses of the New World society will be glad to assist you to that end.