imgres-1Vice President Elect Mike Pence is credited in the recent election as helping bringing in the Christian vote. This was an overused term, right up there with the Black vote, the Hispanic vote and so on. Homogenizing has taken away individual identity and is a gross misrepresentation of the belief that we are all created equal and we each have a mind of our own. This has carried on throughout many facets of life, including religion. Too many times it becomes accepted to think or act a certain way because not only every else is doing it, they are also telling you it’s o.k. to do so. It is popular today to deny God and “organized religion”, and the new chant is “I’m a good person, so good will come to me upon death.” Based on what and where are you going? The belief that getting to heaven (or the energy source???) has been diluted and far from the teachings of the Bible.
In the 1800’s Friedrich Nietzsche’s realization that faith in God could not survive as the basis for morality and his fear that the loss of faith would lead to widespread nihilism (the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.)  is what pushed him to search for a more reliable, fundamental, basis for objective morality, which he eventually developed into his theories on the will to power. Nietzsche’s claim that “God was dead” was in reference to the dangers of nihilism after the rise of secularism, and how many of the major religions failed to meet society’s needs. He is recognized as one of our most famous philosophers.
Further back, in the 13th Century, Thomas Aquinas also established the Quinque viæ, or five logical arguments in favor of the existence of God. He is quoted as saying:
The things that we love tell us what we are.
There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.
And most importantly and timeless: To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.
Thomas Aquinas became one of our most famous saints.
In the Bible Jesus says: I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father but through me.
Jesus is considered the greatest teacher of all time, in just 3 short years of  spreading the Gospel.
So as it goes, times change, and people change.
I spent many years, after being raised Catholic, trying to understand what these words meant, and what people meant by “following Jesus”. As this brief history timeline shows, with a broad stroke, morals and values change over the years and so do people’s beliefs.
As a teenager I was put off by the Catholic church and their guilt and fear mongering, and having to repent by their rules. I couldn’t understand why they told me God hears and sees everything, but I had to tell my “sins” to a priest to tell God for me. So I went out searching. First came becoming a “Jesus Freak” on the beaches of Southern California. Then later on I tried to follow Buddha. Universal Unitarianism seemed cool so I tried that. Then came the tough years and the tough times and the longing for answers and more importantly “help.” I ended up back with Jesus and this time to stay. Knowledge is knowing what to say. Wisdom is know whether or not to say it.. so I will say this.
I finally read the Bible when I was old enough and smart enough to understand what it was saying, or at least to ask someone if I didn’t understand. The Bible is the longest running, best-selling, non-fiction history book on earth. It remains timeless and it’s value does not diminish. I was amazed when I realized how simple it was to explain to someone who didn’t “get it.” I have been able to get even the most hardened nay sayers to at least bend a little by saying simply, The Old Testament, written before the birth of Jesus, foretold what was going to happen after the birth of Jesus, and it all came true!  Jesus himself openly announced his death and resurrection and it too was truth. Sounds almost like a fiction or fantasy story. Further explaining that the books of the Bible are written by many different men over many years, who for the most part did not know each other, yet they all told the same story, seems to hit home. It is hard to bring someone to follow Jesus, but it is easy for me to follow with no turning back. Once I allowed myself to put the teachings of the Bible to practical use, my life not only took on new shape, I had some tangible moments when I really felt the hand of God comforting me, and taking me through times of unbearable stress and worry. I mean I really physically felt it. Hard to believe? Not to me or any other believer. It is the only hope for all of us, and, the sooner more know, the better the world will be. The elevator speech, when asked what the Bible is about can be summed up simply as, “this is the greatest love story ever told.” Many songs, many books, many poems and movies all reinforce, what the world needs now….. love sweet love, and the sweet story of a love that promises everlasting life after death is one to live by. I have decided to follow Jesus… no turning back. I couldn’t even begin to imagine anything else.

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