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Jesus said that Pharisees make converts twice the children of hell that they themselves are. (Matthew 23:15) The most common way to do this is by teaching that converts must never doubt the dogmas of the system they join. The teaching sounds reasonable, since salvation comes through faith, and doubt is the opposite of faith.

But faith in what? Faith in a human leader? faith in a religious system? or faith in God? Too much religious faith can be a barrier to faith in a God who is bigger than any religion.

Each denomination teaches its followers to have faith in it. A certain amount of faith is necessary for unity. But it must never be blind or absolute faith. Only God deserves that, and even he tolerates humble questions at times. (Luke 12:10a)

Faith which cannot stand up to a few questions must be pretty shaky. We have discovered that some of the most treasured 'fundamentals' of the so-called Christian faith are very shaky indeed.

A radical (or revolutionary) is one who questions fundamental truths. And we have done that with a long list of sacred doctrines, only to discover that they have been built on the sands of tradition and not on the teachings of Jesus.

The list includes such things as the Trinity, the 'sinner's prayer', faith healing, the idea of being punished forever in hell, the practice of 'going to' church, the teaching that the Bible is the Word of God, the tradition of giving titles of 'respect' to leaders, the belief that devout people pray out loud in public, and the doctrine that people from non-Christian religions are all lost.

It's not that there isn't any truth in any of these teachings. But some are exaggerations and others are outright lies. Faith in a lie is not going to save anyone; so we must be willing to examine our beliefs if we are going to find real truth.

Paul taught: "Do not quench the spirit. Do not despise prophesying. Test everything, and hold fast to that which is good." (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21) In other words, always stay open to further revelation.

Prophets are sent by God to bring correction to his people when they go astray. But they almost always find themselves 'despised' by the establishment, and locked out by the very people whom they seek to help; because the system despises criticism of itself.

We cannot stop this from happening on a grand scale in the world around us. But we can endeavour not to repeat the error in our own lives. Let us stay open to correction, prepared to question even our most sacred beliefs, in an effort to find great Truth.

Are you cheating yourself out of the joys of the kingdom of heaven because of your blind faith in your religious system? (See John 3:3) Or are you seeking daily to learn more from God even if it challenges your most basic assumptions.

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