Religion – the belief in, and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods.
Relationship – the way in which two or more concepts, objects or people are connected; the state of being connected (a part of each other).
Humans have been “religious” from the beginning of time. Some of the gods that have been worshiped are:
AMON, chief god of Egypt
ASHERAH, Canaanite goddess
ASTORETH, goddess of war and fertility
BAAL, Canaanite and Phoenician god of fertility and rain
BAAL-ZEBUB, god of the Philistines
BEL, chief god of Babylon
CHEMOSH, chief god of Moab
DAGON or FISH GOD, god of Babylonia and Philistia
MOLECH, chief deity of Ammon
TAMMUZ, Babylonian god of fertility
ZEUS and HERMES, god of Lystra
ARTEMIS (DIANA), Roman goddess
CASTOR and POLLLUX, sons of Zeus, guardian gods of sailors
SHIVA – also of Hinduism
APHRODITE, Greek goddess
ODIN, Norse or Viking
THOR, Germanic god
to name a few. We also have to include two others: SATAN, and yes to some he is a god; HADES, god of the underworld – holding place of all lost souls.
A couple that are still worshiped today besides Krishna are Buddha from mostly the Asia area, and Allah worshiped by Muslims worldwide. For Islam, which is said to mean “submit to or surrender to,” Allah is their god and is proclaimed to be worthy of all their worship. Allah to them means, “the one and only true god.” He has no son or any other form of deity, and relationship is not based on love, but controlled servitude. One never knows for sure if they have served or prayed enough. They follow a book called the Quran or Koran, which supposedly was given to Muhammad by the archangel Gabriel somewhere between 609 and 632 A.D. Some have associated Allah as a “moon god,” but this originated in the early 20th Century because of the crescent moon in the Islam seal, and this is not factual.
All the listed “gods” do not desire a relationship with their worshipers, but complete submission to whatever their supposed demands are. Some of the so-called deities even required child sacrifice. The bible names Molech, a god of the Ammonites, and BAAL of Canaanite religions who supposedly required this to appease them. Later, the Aztec’s Incas and some other South American people along with the Druids of Europe practiced child- and even adult sacrifice.
There is only one place in the Bible where the Lord God Jehovah called for child sacrifice. In Genesis 22:2-13, God instructed Abraham to take his only son, Isaac, to a designated location and offer him up as a sacrifice. With a heavy, but otherwise obedient heart, Abraham followed God’s instructions right up to binding Isaac, and prepared to plunge his knife into the youth. At the last moment, God stopped Abraham, and told him it was a test, and that Abraham proved his true commitment to the Father. God provided a ram that was offered instead. This was sort of a prelude to when God would not stop the sacrifice of His Own Son, Jesus, at Calvary.
Jesus accepted worship from some that He had healed, but out of love, not as a command. He offered His love to everyone, and never forced anyone to be His submissive servant. He treated His closest followers – the apostles – with respect, and acted as their “teacher,” not a “superhuman controlling power.” Instead, our Heavenly Father, who is actually a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, showed His true feelings by allowing a part of Himself to be mocked, abused, tortured, and hung on a cross to die as the only blood sacrifice that could be acceptable for all of our sins.
Nothing we could do could ever appease the Father for sin, which He cannot tolerate, no matter how great or small. Sin is sin to the Father. No other so-called deity ever offered a part of themselves so their “servants” could be let off the hook and be given a gift of such magnitude.
All through John chapter 10, Jesus explains He is the Shepherd, and all of us are His flock. He explained He came to earth as a human to be the pure and acceptable sacrifice for everyone, not just the Jews. He further explained He was willingly going to lay down His life for us, and was not being forced to do so. He made it clear in verse 30 that He and the Father were a part of each other.
In John 17, Jesus prays to the Father to “glorify” Him, which was asking Him to make the sacrifice acceptable and was being offered once for all time. He prayed for His apostles; and at the end of His prayer, He included All who would follow from then on – which included you and me.
After this, Jesus went “willingly” as mentioned, through the crucifixion and His fully human side died on that Cross. His fully God side went immediately to paradise where He welcomed one of those who had died with Him and accepted Him as Savior. Three days later, Jesus was raised up by the Father in a Glorified New Body, as He said He would be, even though He maintained the scars of the crucifixion as proof for us. Sin and death were conquered once and for all. At this point, He could’ve become like all the other “gods” and demanded our worship and servitude; however, the gift is still offered for us to use our own free will to accept or reject.
By the way, Our Savior’s sacrifice was almost 600 years before Muhammad, and was recorded by eyewitnesses to His death, burial and resurrection. His death was real, as no Roman executioner would allow anyone off a cross while still alive. Also, there were approximately 500 or more witnesses over about 40 days after the resurrection that saw Him.
Further, Jesus fulfilled over 300 prophecies through His birth, life, death and resurrection. The odds of fulfilling that many prophecies by one person are beyond calculation. Just as an example, just fulfilling 8 prophecies is 1 x 10 to the 28th power. That is 10 followed by 29 zeros! Needless to say, someone other than me calculated this.
We don’t have something such as an idol that we can see, feel or touch to worship. In fact, Leviticus 26:1 specifically says God forbids Any image or a pillar or sculpted stone to bow down to. All through the Bible, God says to worship Him in Spirit and Truth, and one example of this is found in John 4:24.
When all is said and done, our Lord God Jehovah has a number of names that people have referred to, but they are all the same Heavenly Father. His passion is to love and be loved; and He will not force His will on anyone. A person can reject Him and all that He offers; however, their loss will cause them to be separated from Him forever. He leaves the choice up to us.
If we call on Him and accept Jesus as our Savior; confess we know we are sinners; believe Jesus died and was raised from the dead, and that He ascended into Heaven to prepare a place for His Believers, we will be saved. Also, there’s no way we can “buy” or “earn” this gift, as it has been given freely by our Lord and Savior. To try to come to Him in any other way is to reject His offer, and as a result to be in the White Throne Judgment long line, followed by the Lake of Fire Forever. No third option is available.
Yes, it’s just that simple. John 14:6 spells it out: “Jesus said I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no one comes to the Father except through me.” There are no exceptions to this. Call on Him, accept Him, get into His word (Bible) daily, and talk to Him (prayer) daily. It’s a real relationship, not a controlling power. Also, it’s for All who call on Him (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13). Today would not be too early to do so.