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QUESTION: Why are there so many different religions?
ANSWER: I have received several variations of this question in the last few weeks. Every society of man has had a religion of some sort. In fact, family and political bonds were often strengthened by everyone being required to believe the same thing religiously. That is, until the breakaway colony of Rhode Island petitioned the king for a charter. They wrote, “We have it much at heart to demonstrate by means of an efficacious experiment that there can be a very flourishing civil state, and, indeed, that it can be better maintained, with complete liberty in matters of religion.” You may now wave the Red, White and Blue! (By the way, stand and put your hand over your heart the next time the flag goes by in a parade!) I may not agree with what you believe, but I served in the Air Force to defend your right to believe whatever you want. Perhaps this ‘experiment’ has opened the door for some strange ideas, but that has only served to send true Bible believers back to the Bible to see for themselves “whether these things are so” (Acts 17:11).
The oldest recorded religion is Judaism. Buddhism began c. 500 b.c. Christianity (an extension of Judaism) c. 30 a.d. Islam c. 600 a.d. The church of Jesus Christ has existed since the time of Christ until the present day (Matt 16:18). Of course branches came off of the true church as differences in doctrine began to surface. Doctrine is what the church teaches. It is essential because what you believe makes a difference (Rom 6:17-18). When differences occurred a natural parting of ways or ‘splits’ would occur. And that is the answer to our question: there are so many churches because man is trying to find a religion that man likes.
God says there’s only one way to Heaven (John 14:6). Man wants to believe there are many. Man believes most people will ultimately wind up in Heaven. God says that most people are on the wide road to destruction (Matt 7:13). It is this disparity and others like it that has led to so many variations (denominations).
In reality, I don’t think it an over simplification to state that there are only two ‘religions’ in the world: faith or works. One way is to believe God’s Word and be declared righteous entirely by the grace of God (Rom 4:3). The only other way is to try and earn God’s favor by appeasing Him through sacrifice or good works until (hopefully) we wind up in Heaven. These are the only two options and they are mutually exclusive (that means its one or the other, not both nor a combination of the two). “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work” (Romans 11:6). “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph 2:8-9). 
God challenges you to read the New Testament alone for your family devotions or family altar or family home evening time. Surely if what you believe is based in Scripture, the Bible can’t mislead you. Be noble! Search the Scriptures daily and see for yourself (Acts 17:11).
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