Dawn Cribbs from McCook Gazette wrote:

Danny and I are frequent visitors at the local library. We don't even have to show our cards anymore and they can tell just by looking at my face whether or not the little overdue bell is going to ring before I can check out my latest finds.

I love to read, as frequent readers know, and enjoy a wide variety of authors, mostly fiction because I get enough of the current events on the job, and I need a break -- a few storybook endings rarely read in the real world, please.

I did check out a "For Dummies" book recently, though, that I found interesting. (I chose the "For Dummies" version because I can only take so much edu-speak in a day.) This book took a look at world religions and gave mostly interesting, certainly concise snapshots of the major religions in the world.

I read through the pages of Christianity, marveling again at the many splits over the years, taking particular note, however, of the fact that most of the familiar Christian denominations are "recent developments" when measured across two full millennia.

Man's desire for something, Someone, higher is by no means a new development in human history. Virtually every human community over the course of the ages has developed a religious system. As one responder to a recent column opined, "Apollo is Pan is Zeus, is Christ, is Muhammad, etc." concluding with the observation that we should celebrate peace on Earth and goodwill to men, "because it is right and because it may save us from our own continued folly of accepting old literature as absolute truth -- a practice which is well on the way of destroying mankind."

It is true, the adherents of the world's largest religions today do believe that "their way" is the "true path" to enlightenment, to Paradise, to Nirvana or to God himself. What is also true is how many of the desires of those world religions are fully met when meeting Jesus.

Each reveals a certain desire for ultimate justice and each reveals the truth of Scripture that God has placed eternity in the hearts of men. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) And man's continued pursuit of peace, whether peace of mind or peace with God (two-sides of the same coin to my way of thinking) revealed in religious writing is perhaps also revealed in these latter days by the number of pharmaceutical companies vying for our prescription dollars.

The Hindu teaching of karma and reincarnation reveals those desires, but close examination of Hinduism shows that even if given multiple lives, man still fails to save himself, to break for himself the cycle of endless death and reincarnation.

Eternity.

For adherents to Islam, Paradise is the goal and is met only by those who fulfill the Five Pillars of Faith in Islam, the first of which is to publicly acknowledge that "There is no God but Allah, and Muhammad is the Prophet of Allah." Islam teachings are comprised of both faith and duty and Islam further teaches that each man and woman has two angels, one recording good deeds, the other bad deeds. Justice.

It is hard to find fault with the five precepts of Buddhism, which are to avoid killing or harming any living being; to avoid taking what has not been given; to avoid committing sexual misconduct; to avoid using false words and to avoid taking alcohol and other intoxicants. Buddhism provides Four Noble Truths that lead to the Eightfold Path, which ultimately lead to a state of higher consciousness, where dukkah (the futility of life) ceases.

Peace.

Naturally, Judaism makes the top five (by number of adherents) of the religions of the world, and is somewhat familiar to Christians, because of our belief that Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies of the promised Messiah, for whom Israel still waits. The God they worship, follow and serve, is in fact the Father of the Christ we call both Lord and Savior. Judaism and Christianity are intimately and eternally related because of Jesus. God's oft-repeated promise of the restoration of Israel after all, is fully met in the Messiah.

Peace. Justice. Eternity. All are hungers placed in the hearts of men by the One who created them. In the absence of true teaching, and sometimes in spite of it, men have and will continue to manufacture a way to attain one, two or all three.

But look again at the core teachings of Christ and see there the answer to each one. In Jesus we are reconciled with the God who created the heavens and earth, and who formed us in his image. In Jesus we have a righteousness we could never earn on our own, even if we were to live a thousand lives. And in Jesus we find life, both abundant and everlasting.

When all is said and done, it's pretty simple. (Notice I didn't say easy.) There is truth and it can be known by any who truly seek it. If you would know truth, then you would know God for he himself has promised:

"You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 (NIV)

Things you won't see in heaven:

Broken promises

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