Have you ever wondered what religion you might follow if you were born in another part of the world? I have.
HINDU BOY PRAYING
For example, were I born in Japan, I would likely be Shinto. In India, Hindu. In the Soviet Union or Communist China, I might have grown up without any knowledge of any religion. In Iran or Iraq, I would most like be Moslem.
MUSLIM FATHER AND SON
When my wife and I went to Tanzania to do mission work, we quickly learned the Tanzanians believed in Mungu. One elderly gentleman told me in Swahili, “We have long believed in the God who made everything. Can you look at the heavens and not believe? We call God ‘Mungu’ in our language.”
I’ve learned that the world’s people have many different names for God, but for the most part, they all worship the God of creation. The Tanzanian gentleman actually went on to say, “We have been waiting for you to come and tell us more bout the Creator God and His son, Jesus.”
STREET IN TANZANIA CITY
You may not find this so astonishing, but we assumed we were to to Africa to teach “heathens” about God; we discovered they already believed in God and were hungry to know more about God. It was an exciting trip, but it wasn’t at all what we expected.
In both the Old and the New Testaments, we learn there is only one God. As a matter of fact, the Ten Commandments make it clear that God will not share with “other” gods. Even Jesus carefully differentiated between himself and God, calling God “his heavenly Father” and referring to “your Father who is in heaven.” When God was asked by the Jewish patriarchs by what name He should be called, God answered, “I am that I am.” Thus, God is the great “I am!” In other words, “I am Being” or the God who really exists.
Different languages have different words or names for God. However, if people of other lands recognize the God of creation, by whatever name they call Him, they worship the one true God!
I have said on many occasions the more I study about God, the more I realize how little I know about God. In recent years, I have observed a significant rise in the number of people who call themselves “agnostics” or “atheists.” That is, they have come to believe there is no God.
Recently, some folks asked me about the thousands of Japanese people who were swept away by the horrifying tsunami that recently devastated their country. “Will they be lost?” Will they spend eternity in hell?” “Will they be a part of God’s kingdom?” How can we honestly respond to these questions?
ACCORDING TO THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION GOD LOVES THE WHOLE WORLD
I suggest a theological response and a simple, common-sense reply. Theologically, according to the Christian religion, God loves all the people of the world. God hold “the whole world in His hands.” The simple answer is that God always does the best thing in any situation we can imagine. I believe the God I learned about in Sunday School and in seminary would be incapable of doing anything less than the most loving thing for His creation and for the world’s people.
Whatever we may erroneously presume about God–God will always be God. Or not! Who can know?
Following is a word for word transcript from a Fox News Report on the Presidential Debate:
TRUMP: “I don’t know Putin.”
MODERATOR: “Do you have a relationship with Vladimir Putin?
TRUMP: “I do have a relationship!”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “I was in Moscow couple of months ago. I own the Miss Universe Pageant. And they treated me so great. Putin even sent me a present. Beautiful present with a beautiful note. I spoke to all of his people.”
TRUMP: “I never met Putin. This is not my best friend.”
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “I was in Moscow recently, and I spoke indirectly and directly with President Putin who could not have been nicer. And I got to know him very well because we were both on ’60 Minutes.'”
HRC: “This is a person who has been cavalier, even casual about the use of nuclear weapons. He’s advocated more countries getting them….”
TRUMP: (interrupting) “Wrong!”
HRC: “…Japan, Korea, even Saudi Arabia”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “North Korea has nukes. Japan has a problem with that. I mean they have a big problem with that. Maybe they would in fact be better off if they defend themselves from North Korea. Maybe they would be better off…”
MODERATOR: “…with nukes?”
CLOUD LEFT BY NUCLEAR EXPLOSION
TRUMP: “including with nukes. Yes, including with nukes.”
MODERATOR: “And South Korea with nukes?”
TRUMP: “South Korea is right next door.”
HRC: “He was for the invasion of Iraq…”
TRUMP: (interrupting) “Wrong!”
HRC: “…and you can actually hear the audio of him saying that.”
INTERVIEWER (ON TAPE): “Are you in favor of invading Iraq?”
TRUMP (ON TAPE): “Yeah, I guess so.”
HRC: “He applauds people who are pushing and pulling and punching at his rallies. That is not who America is.”
TRUMP ON VIDEO: “So, if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of ’em, would ya? Seriously, I promise you I will pay for the legal fees.”
HRC: “He also went after a disabled reporter–mocked and mimicked him on national television.”
TRUMP (interrupting): “Wrong!”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO, MIMICKING): Written by a nice reporter. Now the poor guy. You gotta see this guy: ‘Oh, I don’t know what I said, ahhhh.'”
HRC: “He insulted a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, called her an eating machine.”
TRUMP: “Give me a break.”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “She was like an eating machine. She weighed 118 pounds or 117 pounds and she went up to 160 or 70 so this is somebody who likes to eat. Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.”
INTERVIEWER (ON VIDEO): “So you treat women with respect.”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “Uh, I can’t say that either. Ultimately Ivana does exactly as I tell her to do. Right, men? Is that right? Huh?”
TRUMP: “If Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.”
HILLARY CLINTON SPEAKING AT THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
HRC: “He said he could not possibly have done those things to those women because they were not attractive enough: ‘Look at her. I don’t think so.'”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “Look at her. Look at her words, you tell me what you think…I don’t think so.”
TRUMP: “I did not say that. I did not say that.”
HRC: “About another woman, he said, ‘That wouldn’t be my first choice.'”
TRUMP (ON VIDEO): “She would not be my first choice. That I can tell you.”
TRUMP: “I didn’t even apologize to my wife–who’s sitting right here–because I didn’t do anything.”
MELANIA TRUMP: “He apologize to me, and I acc…accepted his apology. And, um, we are moving on.”
SO, WHO IS LYING HERE?
First of all, I’m a bit miffed because I live on the east side where most of the poor people live and all the early voting sites are on the west side that has fewer people but way more money. That sucks. With that off my chest though, I am glad that I have the good fortune of having wheels that I can use to get myself to the west side. I will also be using my wheels to help as many people as I can to get to the polls from now to the 8th.
DONALD J. TRUMP IN A WIND
I went to the gym this morning and then decided to go vote. Usually I vote on voting day. I like to vote on voting day. It makes me feel all patriotic and connected to the people who are my neighbors.
WHAT’S HE UP TO?
This time, though, I went early because I’m alive today and there is a chance that I could get run over by a truck or knocked off by some radical Christian Trump supporting terrorist before the 8th, and that would suck if I hadn’t voted for the future of my yet to be born granddaughters and sons. So I voted.
I was really surprised at the line. This is the third day of early voting in Florida and there were about 20 people in line ahead of me. When I got up to the table to sign in, I asked the lady if it had been this busy the whole time. She said it had, that it had even been busier and it was steady from open to close every day. That makes me happy. The people who live here vote blue way more than red.
After I left I went to the gas station. While I was pumping, a fellow who was driving a truck with the logo of a painting company on it said to me that he really liked my Volkswagen Beetle. I thanked him and asked if he liked my bumper stickers. He looked and thought for a moment and then said, “Yeah, Bernie Sanders. I like him.”
We got to talking and I told him I’d just voted. He told me he hadn’t yet but was thinking he was gonna vote for Trump because he just hates Hillary. I told him that I got that, but I voted for Hillary because if she wins Bernie will get to be head of the finance committee or Secretary of Treasury or something. He thought about that. Meanwhile his partner showed up and jumped in on the talk spewing hateful anti-Hillary Trumpisms. I went on about Bernie and, long story short, by the end of the conversation I had both of them saying that it might be a good idea to vote for Hillary so that Bernie will be in a better position to get his policies enacted.
HILLARY CLINTON SPEAKING AT THE LAST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE
Hey, you just never know what will happen when you get into conversations with people that you think are scary and you have nothing in common with. I hope both of them go vote today before our conversation wears off.
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