Theology Ditty 9: “What is the relationship between natural revelation and non-Christian religion?”

After more than a month of silence (working and those seminary papers really eat up your waking time!), I’m back! Hopefully, I’ll post twice a week for May to catch up for lost time….

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Non-Christian religion is simply the expression of mankind’s realization of God’s truth paired with the distortion of His nature. Man-centered religion is the attempt to adapt what we know to be true and right in the framework of a wrong answer to one or both of the questions: “Is there a God?” and “What is the nature of mankind?”

Buddhism and Eastern mysticism answers both questions incorrectly, in that they see mankind as inherently good, but mistaken about his place in reality and that they see the non-existence or palpable absence of God. From that foundation, they take the ideas that we must act rightly and that we inherently seek for something beyond ourselves to mean that by releasing our hold on this world will ultimately free us from its corruption and its limitations. Thus the East seeks to satisfy God’s demands for perfection through self-denial and meditative transcendence.

Works-based religions, whether polytheistic or monotheistic, rightly recognize that there is a God, but that our nature is such that we have the capacity to please Him and earn a life with Him in our own deeds and choices. From that, they discern that God (or Allah or Brahma or whoever) has put in us the desire to act rightly and seek Him/It. Thus many of the world’s religions attempt to fulfill the innate morality God has given us through the strictures of legalism.

Naturalism, best typified by evolutionary thought and practice, answers the question of God’s existence falsely, but does recognize that mankind is inherently wicked and violent. From that atheistic anthropology, they deduce that we act rightly because it benefits us in ever-increasing circles of influence with concomitantly decreasing benefit to us. So the rationalist view is that we are moral people because our biology (our extended desire to survive through reproduction) leads us to behave that way.

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