Painting from the Cistine Chapel, by Michelangelo.
A recent Dakota Voice post, The Gods of Liberalism, generated a lengthy discussion in the comments section that some readers may find interesting. But, unfortunately, the conversation strayed far from the subject of the original article.
In the original, the main points were the similarity of some socio-religious beliefs today that are strikingly similar to the ancient beliefs of Baalism: "The principal pillars of Baalism were child sacrifice, sexual immorality (both heterosexual and homosexual) and pantheism (reverence of creation over the Creator)." (Recommended reading for those who haven't read it.)
In Genesis 3:4,5 Eve is tempted by Satan in the form of a serpent, saying to the woman "You surely shall not die [for disobeying God]!" And then Satan promises the woman that by disobeying she will become "like God." Satan's promises were that 1) God will not actually do what He said, that is, God's Word is unreliable and 2) you can be a god, i.e., save yourself from death, through your own actions or works.
Readers of these posts may have read my story about coming to some kind of vague theism after studying anatomy, physiology and microbiology in medical school. Prior to that I was a committed atheist. My theistic beliefs allowed for some intelligent being behind the incredible design that is manifest in nature, but I was still a long way from accepting Jesus as Lord. It wasn't until almost 30 years later that I surrendered to His will and became a Christian. That conversion is quite a story that perhaps someday I'll tell in this forum.
Between theism and Christ I explored many different religions and theologies. I learned a little about Buddhism, Shinto, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, shamanism, and Celtic Druids to name a few. I found all of them interesting and all seemed to possess some truth that I easily accepted. Notice that I devoutly stayed clear of the three great monotheistic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I was raised a Roman Catholic and attended Mass daily through the eight years of my parochial education and less frequently for another five or six years. I thought I knew all about God and Jesus and there was no point in pursuing that any further. Besides, these exotic ancient religions were so much more esoteric and satisfying to my arrogant mind.
One day, out of boredom more than curiosity, I picked up the dusty Bible that occupied a space on my bookshelf beside the Bhagavad Gita. I began reading in Genesis with a mind to find inconsistencies and outlandish tales that would confirm my decision to reject the Bible as a source of spiritual wisdom.
In reading the passages mentioned above something struck me as novel and interesting. What Satan was saying is basically the same thing that all religions hold true, save Christianity and Judaism. In some fashion or another every other religion denies God and His Word, alleging that the Bible is just a collection of occasionally wise sayings written by men of the ancient past; implicitly claiming that God, Yahweh, is not true to His Word. Secondly, all the other religions promise eternal life (or nirvana, filial piety, or whatever) as a reward for deeds done in this life. From human sacrifice to one’s Easter Duty, they all depend upon self actualization and the reward is to become “like gods.”
Satan’s lie in the garden had taken root in man once man willingly disobeyed God, and lives with us even today. Even atheism embraces this paradigm. By denying any Supreme Being (and, of course, God’s Word), that makes man the Supreme Being; all gods within the cosmic consciousness. Humanism and New Age theology state this explicitly.
Satan continues to deceive man with the same lie that he told in the Garden. And most of the world continues to believe it.
The Gods of Liberalism Revisited
The lie hasn't changed, and we still fall for it as easily as ever. But how can we escape the snare?