Can one religion, or several religions, live in harmony and respect for each other? Can you have one religion in your heart and still follow another religion that is as just and meaningful?
God has made it very clear that we are to worship and follow Him only.
Exodus 20:3-4 - “You shall have no other gods before me. “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.
Deuteronomy 6:13-14 - It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you—
Even Jesus iterated this.
Luke 4:8 - And Jesus answered him, “It is written, “‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve.’”
John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
And the new testament church as well.
1 Corinthians 8:5-6 - For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”— yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.
No, you cannot follow two religions. No one can support two conflicting causes and there is only one God.
As for multiple religions getting along, that will never happen. The Bible says that the darkness hates the light. So anyone not following God is going to hate us because we are spreading His light. If you are not in God’s light, you are in darkness.
Why do Catholics pray and worship Mary? Is that a sin?
Catholics believe in devotion to the saints. They believe that those who have gone before us and lived righteous lives are worthy of praise by imitating their virtues. They also pray to them to intercede on their behalf to God. They believe God works through the saints. There are over 10,000 saints and Mary is considered one of a higher place because God honored her by asking her to be Jesus’ mother. While they do pray to Jesus, they also ask Mary to speak to Him on their behalf.
Hebrews 4:14-16 - Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Because of what Jesus did for us on the cross, we can come boldly before God when we pray. Jesus bridged that gap that Adam left when he sinned against God. We don’t need to fill the gap with anyone or anything else because Jesus, who was God in the flesh, has already done that.
Most Catholics will say that they don’t actually worship Mary in the same sense that they do God, but that they honor her in the same way that they honor elders or those with authority. No one can speak to whether a person worships Mary or not, that is a heart issue that only each individual & God truly know. But as stated earlier, God is one God and only God is worthy of our praise, so if one does worship Mary, that is sin. No one, whether on earth or in heaven is above God. John learned this in Revelation 22:8-9.
Now I, John, saw and heard these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel who showed me these things. Then he said to me, “See that you do not do that. For I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren the prophets, and of those who keep the words of this book. Worship God.”
Even Mary calls herself God’s servant.
Luke 1:38 - And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
She even praises God in Luke 1:46-55.
Our prayers & worship should be to God & God ONLY.
Is it a sin to use “saints” for help? My mother-in-law is Catholic and suggested we use St. Joseph’s statue. You bury it outside your house to help you sell it. It sounds silly to us but is it a sin?
The saints are people who have been elevated by man and not God. By using the saints for help, you are saying “God can’t handle this alone” or “I’m not worthy enough to ask God for help”. Both of these are wrong thinking.
I liken the use of a statue to when Aaron and the Israelite’s built the statue of the calf in Exodus 32. When Moses went up on the mountain to meet with God and didn’t come back for forty days & forty nights (Exodus 24:18), the Israelites came to Aaron and asked him to make them gods because they believed God had forsaken them. In other words, they stopped trusting God.
Any time we stop trusting God and rely on something or someone else, this is sin.
What does the Bible say about ensoulment?
The Bible does not literally speak about “ensoulment”. Here’s what is does say:
Genesis 2:7 - then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.
Adam became a living person as soon as God breathed life into him. Adam, like any other man, was mind, body & spirit.
And, the Bible does say that God knew us before we were even born and He has a plan for each of us. Many authors in the Bible speak to this.
Jeremiah 1:4-5 - Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Psalm 139:13-16 - For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
Luke 1:13-15 - But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zechariah, for your prayer has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great before the Lord. And he must not drink wine or strong drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
Galatians 1:15-16 - But when he who had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;
We are created in God’s image and He is father, son and Holy Spirit and we are mind, body and spirit. Even Paul says that God knew him and had a plan for him even when he was not living for God. And we are to take care of this precious thing God has given us called life.
1 Corinthians 3:16-17 - Do you not know that you are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you are that temple.
2 Timothy 1:14 By the Holy Spirit who dwells within us, guard the good deposit entrusted to you.
When you are conceived, you have a mind, body & spirit. “Ensoulment” happens at conception.