Which Religion Should You Choose?
‘DIFFERENT religions are simply different roads leading to the same goal. After all, there is only one God, is there not?’ That sentiment is shared by many who feel that although religious affiliation is important, it does not really matter which religion one chooses to follow.
At first glance, this argument may seem plausible, since it is true that there is only one God, the Almighty. (Isaiah 44:6; John 17:3; 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6) However, we cannot overlook the obvious differences—even contradictions—among the many religious groups who claim to serve the true God. They differ greatly in their practices, their beliefs, their teachings, and their requirements. The differences are so great that those belonging to one religion or group find it difficult to understand or accept what the others teach or believe.
On the other hand, Jesus said: “God is a Spirit, and those worshiping him must worship with spirit and truth.” (John 4:24) Does worshiping God with truth allow for a range of contradictory ideas about who God is, what his purposes are, and how he wants to be worshiped? Is it logical to believe that it is immaterial to Almighty God how we worship him?
True Christians Then and Now
Christians of the first century at times had different opinions about things. For example, speaking of those in Corinth, the apostle Paul said: “Disclosure was made to me about you, my brothers, by those of the house of Chloe, that dissensions exist among you. What I mean is this, that each one of you says: ‘I belong to Paul,’ ‘But I to Apollos,’ ‘But I to Cephas,’ ‘But I to Christ.’”—1 Corinthians 1:11, 12.
Did Paul view these differences as of little significance? Was each individual simply following his own path to salvation? Far from it! Paul admonished: “I exhort you, brothers, through the name of our Lord Jesus Christ that you should all speak in agreement, and that there should not be divisions among you, but that you may be fitly united in the same mind and in the same line of thought.”—1 Corinthians 1:10.
Of course, unity of belief cannot be achieved by coercion. It is achieved only when individuals carefully investigate matters and arrive at and accept the same conclusions. Thus, a personal study of God’s Word and an honest desire to apply what is learned are essential steps to enjoy the kindof unity that Paul spoke of. Can such unity be found? As we have seen, God has long dealt with his people as a group. Is it possible to identify that group today?
The Benefits of Right Association
The psalmist David once asked: “O Jehovah, who will be a guest in your tent? Who will reside in your holy mountain?” That surely is a thought-provoking question. David provided the answer: “He who is walking faultlessly and practicing righteousness and speaking the truth in his heart.” (Psalm 15:1, 2) An accurate understanding of the Bible will enable one to identify the religion that meets those divine requirements. Then, by associating with that group, one will enjoy upbuilding fellowship with people who worship God in unity and “with spirit and truth.”
Jehovah’s Witnesses have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve unity in belief and action even in today’s disunited world. In their ranks are former members of many different religions and ethnic groups. Other Witnesses were formerly agnostics or atheists. Still others simply gave no serious thought to religion. Out of this diversity of religions, cultures, and philosophies have come individuals who now enjoy a religious unity that is not otherwise seen in the world today.
The basis for such unity is God’s Word, the Bible. Of course, Jehovah’s Witnesses realize that they cannot dictate to others what to do. But they appreciate the privilege of encouraging others to learn from the Bible so as to base their choice in matters of worship upon that solid foundation. In this way, many more can share in the benefits that come from worshiping God “with spirit and truth.”
Today, the danger of falling victim to harmful influences and enticements is great. Choosing the right kind of association is essential. The Bible notes that “he that is walking with wise persons will become wise” and that “bad associations spoil useful habits.” (Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33) Associating with genuine worshipers of God is a protection. The Bible, therefore, reminds us: “Let us consider one another to incite to love and fine works, not forsaking the gathering of ourselves together, as some have the custom, but encouraging one another, and all the more so as you behold the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24, 25) What a blessing when true friends, spiritual brothers and sisters, lovingly assist one another to fulfill their responsibilities before God!
Ottmar affirms this view. Raised in a Catholic family in Germany, he discontinued going to church. He explains: “Whenever I attended church, I came out feeling as empty as when I went in.” Still, he retained his faith in God. Then he came into contact with Jehovah’s Witnesses and became convinced that they are true servants of God. He saw the need to associate with them. He now says: “Being active in a worldwide organization, I enjoy peace of mind and heart. I am progressively being helped to have a more accurate knowledge of the Bible. That is something of great value to me personally.”
An Invitation to Those Seeking
Like-minded people working closely as a group can accomplish a task far more effectively than individuals working independently of one another. For example, Jesus’ parting instructions to his followers were: “Go therefore and make disciples of people of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy spirit, teaching them to observe all the things I have commanded you.” (Matthew 28:19, 20) How could such a task be satisfactorily accomplished if there were no direction or organization? How could one obey this Scriptural injunction if he tried to serve God independently?
During the last year, Jehovah’s Witnesses worldwide distributed 91,933,280 Bible-based books, booklets, and brochures, plus 697,603,247 magazines, thereby reaching hundreds of millions of people in 235 lands with the message from God’s Word. What outstanding proof that united, well-organized group effort accomplishes far more than unassisted individual effort ever could!
In addition to distributing Bible literature, Jehovah’s Witnesses conduct Bible studies free of charge to assist people to get an in-depth understanding of what God requires. Last year, on an average, 5,726,509 such Bible studies were conducted each week with individuals or groups. This Bible instruction has helped millions of people to acquire a solid basis on which to make their choice in matters of worship. You are invited to learn of the divine requirements as set forth in the Bible. Then you can make your choice.—Ephesians 4:13; Philippians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Peter 3:18.
If you want to please God, religious affiliation is vital—but not with just any religious group or denomination. You need to base your choice of religion on accurate Bible knowledge, not on unproved dogmas or hearsay. (Proverbs 16:25) Learn the requirements for true religion. Compare them with your own beliefs. Then choose accordingly.—Deuteronomy 30:19.
[Pictures on page 7]
Jehovah’s Witnesses enjoy unity in a disunited world