Facts or Fables?

(Originally written March 1999)

Last month the USA Today published one of those good news/bad news articles.  Life expectancy in our country continues to rise.  It was up to seventy-six years in 1995 vs. only sixty-three years in 1940, forty-seven years in 1900, and thirty-five years back in the 1800’s.  In Russia the average today is still only fifty-seven years. So, our current U.S.  average is good news, but last year 2.3 million Americans still died, more than ever before.  So, we are living longer (my grandmother lived to 105 years), but each of us will die.  During the last year most of us  had a fellow co-worker, family member, or friend who passed away.  Many of these had not reached the “average” of seventy-six.  The World Health Organization reported that fifty years ago the majority of the world’s population died before age fifty, but now that average age is sixty-four in developing countries.  They expect that to exceed age seventy by 2020 if the HIV/AIDS pandemic does not reverse the trend.  Yesterday, the USA Today noted that 52% of the baby girls born today in developed nations live past age eighty.

These articles peaked my interest during this period of busy religious activity.  Easter, Lent, and Passover make this the most religious time of the year, except for perhaps the Christmas-Hanukkah season.  We are spending billions of dollars to prolong our lives, yet we are less certain of life after death than ever before.  We have great interest in a variety of religions and philosophies, but these are having less impact on our daily activities.  In past years, a person’s religion affected how he faced death and how he sought to live, but today there appears to be only a marginal effect on our existence.

Gallup Polls state that religion is important to only 53% of those under age thirty, but for 79% for those over age sixty-five.   George Gallup says that the majority of Americans think the most significant issue that our country is facing is not the deficit, racism, corporate downsizing, or the environment, but spiritual and moral decay.  He states that we are coming to the end of our emotional resources, and when we get there, we’ll finally turn to God.  Gallop thinks that this will also be fueled by empty materialism, parents wanting to give their children moral roots, the pain of broken relationships, and even curiosity about the year 2000.

The Barna Group found some interesting results in their recent research on religion in America.  While 91% of households have a Bible and 80% believe it to be the most influential book of all time, only 58% believe it to be totally accurate and only 45% know what it teaches.  However, our religious climate of today has produced these beliefs:   (1) 80% say the Bible specifically says that “God helps those who help themselves;”  (2) 39% say “it does not matter what faith you embrace” because all teach the same lesson; and (3) 54% say “good people can earn their way to heaven”.  Clearly the facts are that the Bible does not teach any of the three.

So, each of us must individually ask the question:  Does my religion or view of God affect my life today and/or my life beyond the grave?  I’ll leave you to answer that question in the quietness of your own heart.  I will tell you that I have discussed these issues for over thirty years with people from all over our great land.  I find that many people believe they can or must “work their way to heaven”.  The Bible teaches:

“the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23-A); that Jesus said “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me.”  (John 14:6-A)  and Jesus said, “ I came so they can have real life and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”  (John 10:10-M)

Therefore, read the Bible and examine the facts for yourself.

During this religious season of Easter eggs, pageants, family gatherings, beautiful services, bunnies, and TV specials, let us pause to consider how all of this relates to life and to death.  Let us each examine the scriptures, which have survived the ages, and let us ask the hard questions.  Let us expose Jesus Christ as a liar, a lunatic, or a truth teller.  Either He died to offer us the gift of life, or He lied.  These are serious issues.  But as my children, grandchildren, or trusted co-workers each take their stand at the door of death, I hope that I have taken the time to share the truth with them.  I know that they would do the same for me.

Ready to live or die,

Kent

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About kenthumphreys
Kent Humphreys has been a business leader for over forty years. He also served as CEO of FCCI/Christ@Work for six years and now serves as their worldwide ambassador, speaking, writing, and mentoring young leaders. He continues to be active in distribution, private equities, and real estate. Kent and his wife Davidene have written six books together. They have three children and eight grand-children.

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