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Understanding World Religions

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The simple purpose of this podcast is to help you become informed about the various religious beliefs that exist in the world today. In the interest of full disclosure, I am a Christian and I do believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. However, I do have two degrees in Religion and with the knowledge of all these religions, I have chosen to be and remain a Christian.

Religion is the driving force behind much of what happens in the world today — particularly when it comes to the “big three” religions — Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Religious differences have and continue to spark wars, create nations, and spawn ongoing conflict — along with doing much good down through the centuries. No matter what religion you adhere to (or even if you claim that you don’t adhere to any religion at all), you need to have a basic understanding of the world’s religions in order to understand what is happening in the world today so that you can be better informed and a more useful citizen of your nation and of the world. Without some knowledge of religion, you will not understand the underpinnings of what is happening in an increasingly global society.

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On Apologetics and Cults (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #8)

Welcome to The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions podcast. This is episode #8

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Today’s passage of Scripture is Job 12:7-10 which reads: “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee. Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the Lord hath wrought this? In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.”

Today’s quote is from Charles Babbage. He said: “In the works of the Creator ever open to our examination, we possess a firm basis on which to raise the superstructure of an enlightened creed. The more man inquires into the laws which regulate the material universe, the more he is convinced that all its varied forms arise from the action of a few simple principles… The works of the Creator, ever present to our senses, give a living and perpetual testimony of his power and goodness far surpassing any evidence transmitted through human testimony. The testimony of man becomes fainter at every stage of transmission, whilst each new inquiry into the works of the Almighty gives to us more exalted views of his wisdom, his goodness, and his power.”

Our topic for today is titled “On Apologetics and Cults” from “The Encyclopedia of Apologetics”

Scripture often warns about spiritual deception. With so many warnings, it is obvious God does not want people to be deceived. That is one reason cult apologetics is so critically important. Below are 15 brief but time-tested principles designed to enhance success in dialoguing
with cultists.

1. Foundationally. know your Bible. It is well known that the secret service trains bankers to recognize phony dollar bills by having them first study genuine dollar bills. The more familiar the banker is with genuine bills—the coloring, the texture, how they feel, and so forth—the easier it is to recognize a counterfeit. Likewise, the more Christians learn about genuine Christianity through the Bible, the easier they will know how to recognize spiritual counterfeits.

2. Understand the proper definition of a cult. Theologically speaking, a cult is a religious group that derives from a parent religion (such as Christianity), but in fact departs from that parent religion by denying (explicitly or implicitly) one or more of the essential doctrines of that religion. So, for example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons are cults in the sense that they both derive from the parent religion of Christianity, but each of them denies one or more of the essential doctrines of historic Christianity. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the doctrine of the Trinity and argue that Jesus is not eternal deity. The Mormons also deny the eternal deity of Jesus and argue that human beings can one day become gods. Obviously
such beliefs separate these groups from mainstream historic Christianity.

Likewise, the Nation of Islam is a cult of Islam (the parent religion) because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Islam. The Hare Krishna sect is a cult of Hinduism (the parent religion) because it denies one or more of the essential doctrines of Hinduism. Such groups, then, are categorized as cults in this narrowly defined, nonpejorative sense.

In our next podcast we will continue the topic “On Apologetics and Cults”

Today, dear friend, we will continue reading the Preface of “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis:

The danger dearly was that I should put forward as common Christianity anything that was peculiar to the Church of England or (worse still) to myself. I tried to guard against this by sending the original script of what is now Book II to four clergymen (Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic) and asking for their criticism. The Methodist thought I had not said enough about Faith, and the Roman Catholic thought I had gone rather too far about the comparative unimportance of theories in explanation of the Atonement. Otherwise all five of us were agreed. I did not have the remaining books similarly “vetted” because in them, though differences might arise among Christians, these would be differences between individuals or schools of thought, not between denominations.

So far as I can judge from reviews and from the numerous letters written to me, the book, however faulty in other respects, did at least succeed in presenting an agreed, or common, or central, or “mere” Christianity. In that way it may possibly be of some help in silencing the view that, if we omit the disputed points, we shall have left only a vague and bloodless H.C.F. The H.C.F. turns out to be something not only positive but pungent; divided from all non-Christian beliefs by a chasm to which the worst divisions inside Christendom are not really comparable at all.

If I have not directly helped the cause of reunion, I have perhaps made it clear why we ought to be reunited. Certainly I have met with little of the fabled odium theologicum from convinced members of communions different from my own. Hostility has come more from borderline people whether within the Church of England or without it: men not exactly obedient to any communion. This I find curiously consoling. It is at her centre, where her truest children dwell, that each communion is really closest to every other in spirit, if not in doctrine. And this suggests that at the centre of each there is something, or a Someone, who against all divergences of belief, all differences of temperament, all memories of mutual persecution, speaks with the same voice.

Dear friend, we will continue reading the “Preface” of “Mere Christianity” in our next podcast.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

On C.S. Lewis, Part 7 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #7)

Welcome to The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions podcast. This is episode #7

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Today’s passage of Scripture is Ecclesiastes 3:14 which reads: “I know that, whatsoever God doeth, it shall be for ever: nothing can be put to it, nor any thing taken from it: and God doeth it, that men should fear before him..”

Today’s quote is from Timothy Keller. He said: “In the Christian view, the ultimate evidence for the existence of God is Jesus Christ. If there is a God, we characters in His play have to hope that He put some information about Himself in the play. But Christians believe He did more than give us information. He wrote himself into the play as the main character in history, when Jesus was born in a manger and rose from the dead.”

Our topic for today is titled “On C.S. Lewis, Part 7” from “The Encyclopedia of Apologetics”

–His Enduring Legacy
Lewis will continue to be influential in the decades ahead. His books sell now more than they ever did in his lifetime, and his influence has never been greater. Anyone seeking to engage the culture apologetically will do well to consider Lewis’s ideas and methods carefully. Their relevance has not diminished even with the advent of postmodernism. His works are, if nothing else, more relevant than ever.

Today, dear friend, we will continue reading the Preface of “Mere Christianity” by C.S. Lewis:

Some people draw unwarranted conclusions from the fact that I never say more about the Blessed Virgin Mary than is involved in asserting the Virgin Birth of Christ. But surely my reason for not doing so is obvious? To say more would take me at once into highly controversial regions. And there is no controversy between Christians which needs to be so delicately touched as this. The Roman Catholic beliefs on that subject are held not only with the ordinary fervour that attaches to all sincere religious belief, but (very naturally) with the peculiar and, as it were, chivalrous sensibility that a man feels when the honour of his mother or his beloved is at stake.

It is very difficult so to dissent from them that you will not appear to them a cad as well as a heretic. And contrariwise, the opposed Protestant beliefs on this subject call forth feelings which go down to the very roots of all Monotheism whatever. To radical Protestants it seems that the distinction between Creator and creature (however holy) is imperilled: that Polytheism is risen again. Hence it is hard so to dissent from them that you will not appear something worse than a heretic—an idolater, a Pagan. If any topic could be relied upon to wreck a book about “mere” Christianity—if any topic makes utterly unprofitable reading for those who do not yet believe that the Virgin’s son is God—surely this is it.

Oddly enough, you cannot even conclude, from my silence on disputed points, either that I think them important or that I think them unimportant. For this is itself one of the disputed points. One of the things Christians are disagreed about is the importance of their disagreements. When two Christians of different denominations start arguing, it is usually not long before one asks whether such-and-such a point “really matters” and the other replies: “Matter? Why, it’s absolutely essential.”

All this is said simply in order to make clear what kind of book I was trying to write; not in the least to conceal or evade responsibility for my own beliefs. About those, as I said before, there is no secret. To quote Uncle Toby: “They are written in the Common-Prayer Book.”

Dear friend, we will continue reading the “Preface” of “Mere Christianity” in our next podcast.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

On C.S. Lewis, Part 4 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #4)

Today’s passage of Scripture is John 6:35 which reads: “And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

Today’s quote is from Lee Strobel. He said: “To continue in atheism, I would need to believe that nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason. I simply didn’t have that much faith”

Our topic for today is titled “On C.S. Lewis, Part 4” from “The Encyclopedia of Apologetics”

–His Major Works
Mere Christianity

Lewis’s most well-known apologetic work is Mere Christianity. The contents of this book were originally from a series of radio broadcasts Lewis did for the BBC in the 1940s. As such they evoke a sense of personal warmth that has endeared Lewis to readers for decades, and they contain many examples of the clear, logical argumentation that made him so effective as a teacher and apologist.

Mere Christianity is divided into three parts. The first two follow the classical apologetic style. Lewis set out to demonstrate that belief in the existence of God is reasonable, and then he addresses the deity of Jesus Christ. His proof of God’s existence is built on the foundation of the universal moral sense that all men share. He calls this the Law of Human Nature. He does not mean that everyone practices exactly the same morals, but that there is a universal sense within people that some things are inherently right and others are wrong. Also, people everywhere fail to live up to what they know to be right. From this Lewis concludes that there is a moral law to which we are responsible, and therefore there must be a moral lawgiver. Laws do not exist apart from some authority which determines that law and has the authority to enforce it. That lawgiver, Lewis says, is God.

Lewis’s discussion of the deity of Christ comes in part two of the book. He rejects atheism and the deist idea of a “God up in Heaven” who has little to do with the world, and turns to what he calls “The Shocking Alternative” that Jesus Christ was God. His argument for this is the famous “trilemma” argument that says there are only three possible choices when we re confronted with Christ’s own claims of deity. We may assume He is lying, that He knew He was not God but made the claim anyway; we may assume that He was insane and thought He was God when He was not; or we may believe that He really is God. That He was lying or insane does not make sense, for Jesus demonstrated a lifestyle that “even His enemies” recognize as meek and humble, not egotistical. His teaching demonstrates a high level of sanity and awareness of the world around Him and a commitment to morality. Thus, the only logical option is to believe Jesus’ claims of deity.

This trilemma comes as a response to the idea that Jesus is “a great moral teacher”. Great moral teachers, Lewis says, would not make the kind of claims Jesus made. Christ did not give us even the option of treating Him as no more than a moral teacher and, as Lewis says, “He did not intend to”. The argument still surfaces today, in different and sometimes more sophisticated forms. The Jesus Seminar, for example, was founded on the idea that Jesus was a Jewish teacher/philosopher of the first century whose words were embellished by His followers. Those who have read the books and articles that flowed from that endeavor would do well to read Lewis.

Part three of Mere Christianity deals with matters of ethics, and part four with the doctrine of the Trinity and other deeper matters. The section on ethics contains much wisdom that today’s church would do well to heed. Virtue is the focus here, and sections deal with faith, charity (love), and hope. Despite its age, Mere Christianity remains one of the best basic explanations of Christianity that one might give to a nonbeliever. It answers many of the usual objections raised by unbelievers to this day.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.


LISTEN: On C. S. Lewis, Part 3 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #3 with Daniel Whyte III)

Welcome to The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions podcast. This is episode #3.

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. Continue reading “LISTEN: On C. S. Lewis, Part 3 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #3 with Daniel Whyte III)”

On C. S. Lewis, Part 2 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #2)

Welcome to The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions podcast. This is episode #2.

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International.

Today’s passage of Scripture is Exodus 20:1-3 which reads: “And God spake all these words, saying, I am the Lord thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

Today’s quote is from Abraham Lincoln. He said: “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how he could look up into the heavens and say that there is no God.”

Our topic for today is titled “On C.S. Lewis, Part 2” from “The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics”.

C. S. Lewis was an atheist until he was about 30 years old. His mother passed away when he was nine, and he came to the conclusion that God could not exist in a universe filled with disease and suffering such as his mother had known. Thus his atheism was the typical variety of being so mad at God as to deny that He exists. It was Lewis’s friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien that brought him to faith. Tolkien pointed out to Lewis that, in the Bible, we have “myth made reality” in that what the Greek, Roman, and Norse gods were as myth, the God of the Bible really does.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, if you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…” 

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” 

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will. 

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

On C.S. Lewis, Part 1 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #1)

evidenceforchristianity

Today’s passage of Scripture is 2 Timothy 3:16 which reads: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:”

Today’s quote is from C.S. Lewis. He said: “If Christianity was something we were making up, of course we could make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete, in simplicity, with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with Fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he has no facts to bother about.”

Our topic for today is titled “On C.S. Lewis, Part 1” from “The Popular Encyclopedia of Apologetics”

C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis is recognized as one of the foremost apologists of the twentieth century. His books have continued to sell now more than four decades after his death. Lewis was a classical apologist who believed that the truths of Christianity could be shown to be rational. He has influenced several generations of Christians, engaging their minds while delighting their hearts. Continue reading “On C.S. Lewis, Part 1 (The Evidence for the Truth of Christianity in Light of World Religions #1)”