Why Some Are Changing Their Religion
For many, religion is no more than a label. It might indicate where a person occasionally goes on Sunday, where he gets married, and where he will be buried. But it does not say what kind of person he is or what he knows and believes. For example, one survey revealed that 50 percent of professed Christians did not know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount. Why, even the famous Indian leader Mohandas Gandhi, a Hindu, knew that!
IS IT surprising that people drift away from religion when so many of them know so little about their faith? No, it is not. However, it is also not inevitable. Those who have accepted help to learn about the Bible are often astonished to find how much it benefits them. The Bible itself says: “I, Jehovah, am your God, the One teaching you to benefit yourself, the One causing you to tread in the way in which you should walk.”—Isaiah 48:17.
What should those with an unsatisfied spiritual hunger do? They should not give up on serving God! Rather, they should look into the Bible and see what God himself makes available to them.
Answers to Difficult Questions
At seven years of age, Bernd watched his mother die.* Through the rest of his childhood, he wondered, ‘Where is my mother? Why do I have to grow up without her?’ As a teenager, Bernd was an active church member. Concerned about the suffering of mankind, he hoped to become a foreign-aid worker. Still, he was bothered by questions to which his church had no satisfactory answers.
Then Bernd spoke to a schoolmate who happened to be one of Jehovah’s Witnesses. This youth showed Bernd from the Bible that his mother was unconscious, asleep in death. Bernd learned of many Bible verses that explain this, such as Ecclesiastes 9:5: “As for the dead, they are conscious of nothing at all.” So Bernd had no reason to worry about whether his mother was suffering in some kind of purgatory—or worse. Although the doctrine of the immortal soul is taught in most religions, Bernd saw in the Bible that a human soul is just a person. When the person dies, the soul dies. “The soul that is sinning—it itself will die.”—Ezekiel 18:4.
Bernd also learned of the wonderful prospect for the dead. He read for himself in the Bible book of Acts: “There is going to be a resurrection of both the righteous and the unrighteous.” (Acts 24:15) How thrilled he was to find out that this resurrection will take place here on earth, which God will restore to a paradise!—Psalm 37:29; Revelation 21:3, 4.
Soon Bernd’s spiritual needs were satisfied by genuine Bible knowledge. Bernd did not give up on religion. Rather, he left the church that could not satisfy his hunger and adopted a form of worship solidly based on the Bible. He says: “That was 14 years ago, and I have never regretted the step. Now I know that the Creator does not cause suffering. Satan is the god of this system, and he is to blame for the conditions surrounding us. But God will shortly correct all the harm that has been done by Satan’s world. My mother too will return in the resurrection. What a joy that will be!”
Incidentally, Bernd has reached his goal of working abroad to help others. He works in a foreign country helping others to learn about God’s Kingdom, the real solution to their misery. Like Bernd, millions have learned that God will soon put an end to human suffering. They are thrilled to find that there is a religion that satisfies their spiritual need.—Matthew 5:3.
What Is the Purpose of Life?
As the Western world becomes more and more secularized, many ask, ‘What is the purpose of life?’ The answer is to be found in the Bible, as Michael discovered. In the mid-1970’s, Michael wanted to join a terrorist group. He had only one aim in life—to target those people whom he viewed as responsible for the injustices of the capitalist system. “I never left home without my gun,” he says. “My plan was to kill as many top politicians and capitalists as possible. I would have given my life for the cause.”
Michael was a churchgoer, but no one in his church could explain the real purpose of life. So when Jehovah’s Witnesses called at his home and showed him the Bible’s answers to his questions, Michael listened carefully. He started to attend meetings for worship at the local Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Michael’s friends were curious about his newfound interest in the Bible. “Come to the meeting this Sunday,” Michael urged them. “Stay for a while. If you do not like what you hear, then go home.” Sure enough, after a 45-minute Bible-based talk, most of his friends left the hall. But one—Susan—remained. This young woman was fascinated by what she had heard. Michael and Susan later married and were baptized as Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Now I know why we are here on earth,” Michael says. “We were created by Jehovah. Our real purpose in life is to get to know him and do his will. That is what brings true satisfaction!”
Millions share Michael’s conviction. They take to heart the Bible’s words: “The conclusion of the matter, everything having been heard, is: Fear the true God and keep his commandments. For this is the whole obligation of man.”—Ecclesiastes 12:13.
Coping With Life’s Problems
We all experience the fulfillment of the prophecy found at 2 Timothy 3:1: “In the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here.” No one can escape the problems of these “critical times.” But the Bible helps us to cope with them.
Consider Steven and Olive, a married couple. When they began studying the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses, they, like so many others, had marital problems. “We were drifting apart,” explains Steven. “We had different goals and interests.” What helped them stay together? “Jehovah’s Witnesses showed us how we could apply Bible principles in our lives,” Steven continues. “For the first time, we learned what it means to be unselfish and caring. Applying Bible principles cemented us together. Now we enjoy a happy, stable marriage.”
A Close Relationship With God
According to a recent Gallup poll, 96 percent of Americans believe in God, and most of these pray to him. Yet, a separate poll showed that church and synagogue attendance is now at its lowest in a half century. Some 58 percent of Americans say that they go to church once a month or less. Clearly, religion has not drawn them closer to God. And this problem is not limited to the United States.
Linda grew up in Bavaria. She was a practicing Catholic and prayed regularly. At the same time, she was afraid of the future. She knew nothing about God’s purpose for man. When she was just 14 years old, Linda met Jehovah’s Witnesses, and she reports: “What they said was interesting, so I accepted two Bible study aids and read them immediately.” Two years later, Linda began to study the Bible with Jehovah’s Witnesses. “Everything I learned about God from the Bible made sense,” she says. Linda resigned from her church and was baptized as a Witness of Jehovah at age 18.
What moved Linda to change her religion? She explains: “My church helped me to see that there is a God, and I learned to believe in him. But he was impersonal and remote. My study of the Bible not only confirmed my belief in God but also helped me to come to know and love him. I now have a precious personal relationship with God, something that is more valuable than anything else.”
True Religion Is Worthwhile!
Does your religion give you spiritual guidance and show you how the Bible can help you cope with life’s problems? Does it teach the Bible’s hope for the future? Does it bring you to a close, personal relationship with the Creator, based on accurate Bible knowledge? If not, do not give up. Rather than abandon religion, search for the form of worship that is firmly based on the Bible. Then you will be like those prophesied about in the Bible book of Isaiah: “This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: ‘Look! My own servants will eat . . . My own servants will drink . . . My own servants will rejoice . . . My own servants will cry out joyfully because of the good condition of the heart.’”—Isaiah 65:13, 14.
Some of the names in this article have been changed.
[Pictures on page 4, 5]
The Bible helps us to come to know and love God