ILLUSTRATIONS OF VARIOUS KINDS OF PEOPLE SEEKING GOD
We must see that God is man’s greatest need; man simply cannot rid himself of such a need. You should by no means believe the words of the atheists, who are full of deceit. With their mouths they say that there is no God, yet they secretly build up religion. More than forty years ago during World War II, Germany had a very strong military and began frequent attacks on the Soviet Union. The United States was very concerned about this. In a meeting with Stalin, the head of the Soviet Union, President Roosevelt expressed his desire that the Soviet Union allow churches within its territories to open their doors so that the believers could go to worship God. Only if this was done would the United States be able to give monetary aid to the Soviet Union. This was most likely because the money in America was coming from the taxpayers, a great number of whom were Christians and who would not agree to having the money they contributed used to help the Soviet Union, which was an atheistic country opposing God.
The Soviet leaders considered that if America would not help the Soviet Union, then sooner or later the Soviet Union would be conquered by Germany. Moreover, they probably thought that since they had persecuted Christians for over twenty years already, almost all of the Christians had probably been eliminated. They may have believed that even if the doors of the churches were re-opened, there probably would not be many who would go to church. Therefore, the Soviet Union told the United States that it would not oppose Christianity, that it would not oppose God, and that the United States should send the American dollars to them. Thus, when the Soviets opened the doors of the churches to the Christians, the help from America also arrived. It is reported that in the spring of that year, to their surprise, on the day they opened the doors of the churches, traffic was heavy and the streets were crowded with people going to worship in the churches. Stalin was greatly shocked because twenty years had passed from the time Lenin began persecuting Christianity and closing the doors of the churches to the time the doors were re-opened. Yet the number of Christians was still so great.
It is amazing that the more you persecute people and prohibit them from seeking after God, the more they will seek after God. If someone oppresses us and forbids us to eat, in the end we would surely love to eat even more. After a person has been starved for a few days, he just wants to eat. In the same way, the more you suppress people, restraining them from believing in God, the stronger will be their inner longing for God. Take mainland China for example. Over thirty years ago in China the number of Christians, including Catholics, was not more than three million, but today, in less than forty years, these three million have increased by about seventeen times to over fifty million. Therefore, to suppress people’s belief in God is futile.
MAJOR RELIGIONS AMONG THE HUMAN RACE
All these illustrations tell us that within man there is something created by God. God created the heavens and the earth, and He also created a spirit within man. These three—the heavens, the earth, and the human spirit—are three outstanding items. Although most men do not know God, they have built up a living and culture of worshipping God. Therefore, we may say that the history of the human race is a history of building up religions; human beings are continually researching religions. There are only a few major religions among the human race. Further analysis and study show that all genuine religions, in principle, have only one source. First, Confucianism, strictly speaking, is not a religion. In the Confucian mentality there is only the concept of heaven, as reflected in the saying, “He who offends heaven has none to whom he can pray.” Confucianism does not teach people to worship God; rather, it teaches people to be ethical and to have a purpose in life. Therefore, the followers of Confucius did not introduce a religion to mankind.
Second, in Buddhism there is no God—only Buddha, and its emphasis is on transmigration, or reincarnation. For example, someone may have been a pig in his previous life. Now in this life he has become a man. If, however, in this life he does not do good deeds, then in the next life he will become something worse than a man. However, if he does do good deeds in this life, he might become a Buddha and go to the western heaven. There is no God at all in Buddhism. Therefore, Buddhism is a way of thinking that teaches people to refrain from doing evil, because if a person does evil things, he will be punished. At the same time, it also teaches people to do good deeds and to accumulate them as much as possible. Hence, Buddhism has a certain kind of belief and teaches people according to its belief.
Taoism is even more difficult to understand. Taoism speaks about the wind, saying that the wind is like a breath and comparing human life to the wind or a breath. Thus, Taoism does not talk about God either. Therefore, neither Confucianism nor Buddhism nor Taoism talks about God. Now let us look at Christianity and Islam. Christianity includes Catholicism, Protestantism, and elements of Judaism. Chronologically, first there was Judaism, then Catholicism, and finally Protestantism. The totality of these three is Christianity. In Christianity there is a Bible with the Old Testament and the New Testament. Judaism only acknowledges the Old Testament, whereas Catholicism and Protestantism acknowledge both the Old Testament and the New Testament. In Christianity the Bible is the book that talks about God.
Islam was derived in part from the Holy Word of God. We say this because its founder, Mohammed, who was born about six hundred years after the Lord Jesus, compiled the Koran by copying from the Old Testament and part of the New Testament. Therefore, the Koran of the Islamic religion may be considered an imitation of the Old and New Testaments.
(Speaking for God, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)