Why do you believe the things you do? What is the source of your opinion? How did you come to your convictions and beliefs?
“Asia for the Asiatics!” Screamed millions of Japanese during World War II. Deutschland iiber alles roared hoarse-throated Germans. Viva il Duce yelled the Italians! Why?
Where did they get those ideas, those clichés, those fanatical beliefs that led to the justification of the overrunning of helpless nations, the slaughtering of millions, the "holy war" that bled the earth?
During World War II, Americans and Britons found it difficult to understand the fanatical beliefs of their enemies! How could they have come to believe such monstrous rot? How could their leaders have possibly so swayed them? Was it mass hypnotism, as some said, or just what?
Think for a moment! You, yes you, regardless of your religious, racial or political viewpoints, firmly believe great groups to be totally deceived! Whether you feel it is only some of the minority groups, or whole sweeping majorities you nevertheless do believe that multiple thousands, even millions of people are deceived! And you are right!
It’s easy to be deceived! Your Bible prophesied you would be living in the time when all nations would be deceived, especially about God’s truth!
Today, we see nothing but confusion, difference of opinions, conflicting ideologies, radically varying political parties, religious bias and close minded opinionated bigots! Why? Why should there be such confusion everywhere? Your Creator answers it is because this very society is Babylon (confusion) The Great! It’s organized, to be sure, but it’s organized confusion!
Notice! “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (II Tim. 3:13). God foretold this time, when Satan, the arch-deceiver, would have the whole world in gross deception (Rev. 12:9). Satan is called the god of this world, the originator of its beliefs and opinions, the author of the lies it believes? (II Cor. 4:4 with John 8:44).
Think again! By the very reason of acknowledging there are huge groups of peoples living their lives, going about their daily routines, eating, sleeping, working, playing, reading, believing, who are really living under delusion, falsehood and deception, you must then honestly admit that it is just possible that you, too, could have been deceived about some things!
How can you know? Who is right? What is the source of truth so you can truly know one way or the other? If you have really proved the existence of your God, and that the Bible is His inspired, personal word to you, then you will recognize that the real source of eternal truth, and of absolute knowledge is the Bible!
Everyone has certain beliefs. But where did they come from? How did you get your beliefs? In our western “Christian” society, everyone has an opinion about religion! Whether rank atheist, uncertain agnostic, or casual layman lazily choosing the “church of his choice” each has definite conviction about religion, and about the Bible!
Undoubtedly, and regardless of your own convictions, you are in total disagreement with dozens and dozens of religious groups, having multiple thousands of adherents! You think they’re dead wrong!
But did it ever enter your mind that they are just as sure you are wrong? What a spectacle! Hundreds of differing, conflicting opinions and persuasions about Christianity and the Bible, each straining off in its own direction, each disagreeing either partly or totally with all the others and yet each claiming to get its beliefs and teachings out of the same book!
So, no matter your background, there are huge groups on this earth right now that believe firmly you are dead wrong in your religious beliefs! It will really shock you to answer that question!
Most of you have supposed your religious convictions and opinions are right! You would certainly not cling to a doctrine or a belief you thought to be really wrong, would you? And yet, that opinion, that doctrine or belief is in total contradiction to the beliefs of some others, and they think you are just as wrong as you might think they are wrong! Who is right?
To find the answer, we must go to the real source of these myriad opinions and beliefs. Where did you get them? Where did they come from?
Why, my beliefs came out of the Bible! You might answer. But did they, really? Do you mean to say you actually studied the Bible, by the weeks, months and years oftentimes on your knees, comparing, searching, praying for guidance, and then living by what you found there? Do you mean you really know book after book in the Bible? – books like Daniel, Ezekiel, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, Zechariah, Romans, Galatians, Jude and the Book of Revelation? Can you think of literally dozens of plain scriptures and even repeat with near accuracy the meaning of whole chapters and sections from many of these books?
Do you mean you can even name all of the books of the Bible in order, that you can give 20 scriptures proving some of the points you believe, that you really know how to prove your beliefs by the Bible?
Well, the average person would answer, “NO!” Most of you simply have not studied the Bible very much. Many are now beginning to find what an interesting, scintillating, gripping study it can be by taking our Mini-correspondence course, our Traditional Christian Doctrines series, reading our articles, and by listening to our sermons.
No – when you face it squarely - your former beliefs didn’t come out of the Bible, but from other people! You have always just supposed certain things to be true. You have always just assumed certain doctrines to be right, and have just sort of always thought this or that. But you have been taking much for granted!
The real source of the beliefs of most people is not the Bible, as they have supposed, but merely by other people by whom they have been influenced!
Can you mentally pause, and step aside, and watch yourself walk by? What are you, anyway? Perhaps a complete analysis would take one or several books for each of us, but it can actually be put quite simply!
Notice! “Verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity” (Ps. 39:5)! And, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Prov. 14:12). And finally, “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7)!
Unless or until we are really changed, we are carnal, vain, and we think our own way is right! But what are you! You are the physical product of your parents. You are the mental result of your parents, teachers and other influential personalities with whom you’ve come in contact. You are, in short, a product of your heredity and environment!
You can, even now, remember certain books which made really lasting impressions on you. You can remember certain people you’ve met, or a grade or junior high school teacher who made deep impressions on you. You remember certain movies you saw, certain experiences you had, which became a literal part of you later.
Perhaps you can remember certain things your parents, your grandparents, your uncles and aunts, or neighbors and friends said that really “stuck” in your memory! They became a part of you! Probably you remember the experiences on certain trips you’ve taken, and the things you saw. You remember certain deaths of loved ones, and the sermons you heard about where they were supposed to be.
You probably remember a fight you had as a child, a present you got, a severe spanking, the time you ran away, the times you were sick! Yes, you can easily remember these and other things which made you what you are!
You are, then, the sum total of the teachings, experiences, impressions and observations of your past years! You believe the things you do because you have been taught to believe them, or else you just always sort of believed them in a vague way! You believed, in other words, whatever your parents, teachers, friends and neighbors told you to believe! But did it ever occur to you they could have been wrong?
What do you really believe about certain things? If you were alive then, did you believe it when, during World War II, you were told the word for “love” was not in the Japanese language? Did you really believe the Communists’ promises of a cease-fire in Korea? Have you really believed Castro was a great liberator? Do you believe the rhetoric from politicians who claim they can solve the world’s problems? Probably you did believe these things once. But you were dead wrong!
It is really difficult to admit you were wrong about something. It is so difficult that most people simply never do! Have you ever known someone who was just dead wrong about certain actions or beliefs? Sure you have! But did that person immediately believe it when you told him how wrong he was? Of course not! Does that illustrate the point?
What if you heard your doorbell ring? It was a man, with a black attaché case, and a rather businesslike expression on his face. He introduced himself as a member of a special detective agency, hired to locate missing heirs. You were astounded, shocked! He inferred you were a missing heir!
So you invited him in. Then in an almost impossible-sounding story, he began unfolding the details of how his agency had carefully searched through old records, gotten a confession out of an elderly retired nurse, proved the whole case by thorough questioning of the other “heir” and finally found that you had been switched in the hospital! You are not really you, after all, but somebody else!
Your name is not really your name, your family not your family, your whole life had been with a totally different family that it would have been! You name is not what you thought, but totally different. You would find this a little hard to believe, wouldn’t you?
Listen! You will find it is just as hard to believe that you have been totally confused, mixed-up, and deceived all your life about the big, important, major religious beliefs you’ve held dear! And yet it is shockingly true! What are some of your wrong beliefs? You’ve probably thought you have a soul that lives on after you die, an that sinners go to an every burning hell, while saints go to heaven! You have probably thought God is a Trinity, that Jesus Christ died of a broken heart, that Christmas celebrates His birthday, and Easter His resurrection. You have probably thought Adam fell, and that Moses gave the people the law. You have probably thought that each person should worship God as he sees fit! Well, in these, probably a myriad other beliefs you have been dead wrong! Surprising? Probably, but true!
But how can you really prove whether your religious convictions have been right or wrong? Why, by going to the only true source, the Bible!
What you will find there is shocking! You will discover the Bible really does say the exact opposite of what you’ve always thought is said! But, without realizing it, most of you have simply never thought to attempt to prove these things. It simply never entered your mind that all these millions could have been wrong! And, to some, it almost seems disloyal, somehow, to begin to check up on their beliefs of the past. Perhaps you feel it might be disloyal to a departed loved one, or to your family and friends, or to your present religious convictions! But you need to come to see it is being loyal and faithful to God!
Isaiah said, “If they speak not according to this word it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). Yes, unless you can really verify it in the Bible, in the sacred Word of God, it probably just isn’t true! “Prove all things,” encouraged Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, “hold fast that which is good” (I Thess. 5:21)!
Yes, we feel that we are religious. We call ourselves Christian people. We pride ourselves on our family’s religious background, holding as something dear to us the traditions of the past, whether we have ever stopped to prove whether they are right or not! We think somehow, that we are “good people!”
But God Almighty thunders at us that we are hypocritical! We make a profession of religion, but we do nothing. We say we are Christian, but we cannot prove the truth of our beliefs! We take the name of Christ, but we do not live as He commanded us! We talk about the “Good Book,” or the “Holy Word,” or the “Sacred Scriptures,” or the “Holy Writ,” but we remain in abject, darkened, blinded ignorance about what it contains!
Surprising though it may sound, difficult as it may be for you to believe, you have been deceived!
You have never thought it was really your duty to check up and see whether or not you could find the things you’ve always just taken for granted in the Bible. Are you ready to begin to question your past beliefs, opinions, convictions, or your faith you have held dear? Is it safe to check up? Is it loyal?
Listen! If the things you have always thought are true, then they will be proved to be true, by the Bible! You need have no fear to check up and see if they are really thoroughly grounded in Scripture. But if they are not true, then you will see them disproved by the Bible!
But the very first step, the real beginning for you, the way you can be really sure is to admit to yourself the source of your beliefs, to come to the frank realization you could have been wrong! Then, begin to really set yourself to find out! Begin to really study the Bible! Look into it, check up, search the Scriptures, prove all things, be sure!
Never take anything for granted. Always prove everything with a positive approach and a willing mind. Really begin to hunger and thirst for the truth of God, and begin to live by what you see revealed!
If you do these things, you will be embarking on a totally new beginning in your life, a refreshing, exhilarating, enlivening, rewarding and deeply satisfying experience! Do you dare enroll in our Mini-Correspondence Course and Traditional Christian Doctrine series? These courses use as their foundation the Holy Bible. You can prove the truth from the pages of your Bible, enroll today! Don’t wait another minute; you will be glad you did.