A publication of Tikkun International, Tents of Mercy & Revive Israel, April 2009   Vol 18, No 4

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The Great Passover Revival
An Offering of Thanks
Letters to Svyeta
Esther, Iran
and the
End of Times
 
Polish Leaders
in Israel
 


Recently there has been a spate of books attacking religion and belief in God as a dangerous deception. Other books have been written to refute this thesis. Those who make the case against Christianity in particular do not examine all the facts but select only the evidence that supports their perspective. Parallel to these philosophical attacks on our faith is the popular view that religious people are hypocrites, condemning, prejudiced and narrow. Both of these attacks miss the real criteria for determining ethical behavior. The real test is twofold: first, what does God desire and, second, what are the long term results of the behaviors in question? Based on these criteria, biblical ethics are outstanding. As a philosophy student and professor, I soon learned that one of the greatest shortcomings of those presenting any thesis is a lack of attention to all of the relevant evidence. When one submits the biblical model to a comprehensive examination, we find that our faith has generally contributed to a more humane world and has extended compassion throughout the world.

One of the keys to understanding a religion is to examine the best examples of that religion. I think our perception of good role models has been refined over the centuries. In dialogue with one detractor, my wife Patty argued that not all people of faith are hypocrites, but 'there are yet seven thousand that have not bowed the knee to Baal.' In other words, there are sterling examples of our faith that have lived their lives consistently within the biblical ethic. Many have sought to debunk such evidence, but it is there for all to see.

When one asks, 'Who are the role models of a religion?' we can readily see the great differences between religions. Is the role model a great military conqueror as in Islam? Mohammed killed many and began a process of spreading Islam by the sword. Or is the role model one who can attain perfect control of mind and body as in Buddhism and Hinduism. Buddhism and Hinduism have role models that show compassion. Sometimes this is in contradiction to the underlying philosophy, such as the Buddhist doctrine that there is no real self or I.

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All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicted, are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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