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Topic: Harmony and Diversity

Going Along with the Crowd?

by Darrel Cline

Can a person be born into a family that is committed to some form of Christian religion, be subjected to the rituals and programs of that form of religion by his/her parents, develop into a conformity of lifestyle that is acceptable to that form of religion, die, and go to heaven?

The essence of this question is really the question: how much of my eternal destiny is determined for me by my parents' decisions and actions in regard to me?

The answer is complicated by two issues: 1) the issue of how a parent's world-view is passed on to the child; and 2) the issue of how God responds to people who simply go along with the convictions of others.

So, let's think a bit about the first issue. Parent's world-views tend to be absorbed by the children. Much of the world-view is accepted uncritically unless, or until, some experience comes along that challenges the truth of it. At that time, the child makes up his/her own mind and either actually buys into the parentally imparted world-view, or rejects it and forms a different faith. But, the critical issue here is this: the child ultimately forms his/her own world-view and believes what he/she believes because of choices made by the child. So, children aren't eternally saved by the parents.

Then, there is the second issue. How does God respond to people who simply go along with the convictions of others. This answer is easy: He rejects them. God has offered a personal offer of eternal life and He has required a personal response from everyone who would possess it. Therefore, no one gets accepted by God who simply goes along with the religion of others.

Why not? Why isn't it enough to simply go along with the religion of our parents? Because God isn't interested primarily in letting people go to heaven. He is primarily interested in establishing a Kingdom of Righteousness. The difference is that God is interested in changing people, not simply delivering them. In order for a Kingdom of love and light to exist, the people who populate it have to have an unswerving loyalty to the King of Righteousness and to the principles of His kingdom. People who simply go along with others never develop the convictions necessary to live correctly in loving service to others. Therefore, God will never save anyone who simply goes along. God only saves people who face the issues and make their own choices to put their trust in Him.

What are the issues that we are to face? There are myriads of them, but a primary one is this: God is a Person who seeks a personal relationship with human beings through His revelation of the truth and their perception of it and confidence in it. God's revelation centered upon Jesus Christ and called all men to a personal faith in Him. Men must decide to reject an outer form of religion and enter into an inner form of faith in a personal God who offers eternal salvation.

Where are you? Going along with your heritage in religion, or believing personally in a personal God?

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This is article #081.
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