5. It is good to believe in God, but I think all religions teach people to be good people. So no matter which religion people believe in, as long as they are sincere and commit no evil, surely they will be saved by God?
Relevant Words of God:
What is belief in religion? What is belief in God? Is there a difference? What are the common, prominent features of religion? How do people generally define belief in religion? Belief in religion consists of changes in behavior, a change in such behaviors as fighting with others, cursing others, malfeasance, exploiting others, taking advantage of others, and petty thefts and larceny. It refers, in the main, to changes in behavior. When someone believes in religion, they try to behave well, to be a good person; these are external behaviors. What about religion as a psychological crutch? What about the realm of the mind? With faith, one does have a crutch, psychologically. Belief in religion can therefore be defined thus: being well-behaved, and having a psychological crutch—nothing more. When it comes to details such as whether whom they believe in actually exists and what He is, exactly, and what He asks of them, people use inference and their imagination. Belief with such a basis is called belief in religion. Belief in religion chiefly means pursuing a change in behavior and having a psychological crutch, but does it entail any change in the path of a person’s life? There is not the slightest change in the path, purpose, or direction of a person’s life, nor in the basis on which they live. And what is it to believe in God? What does God define and require as believing in Him? (Believing in His sovereignty.) It is believing He exists and believing in His sovereignty—this is most fundamental. What does God require of people in their belief in Him? What does it relate to? (Being honest people, having normal humanity, pursuing the truth, pursuing dispositional transformation, and seeking to know God.) And is anything required of people with regard to their words and behavior? (In terms of our external behavior, we’re required to be devout and not dissolute, and to live out normal humanity.) Externally, you are required to have basic saintly decency and to live out normal humanity. And what is the definition of believing in God? Believing in God is obedience to God’s words; it is to exist, live, and perform one’s duty according to the words spoken by God, and to engage in all the activities of normal humanity. What this implies is that to believe in God is to follow God, to do as God would have you do, and to live as God would have you live. To believe in God is to follow His way. And in doing so, are the purpose and direction of people’s lives not completely different from those of people who believe in religion? What does belief in God involve? People should live out normal humanity; they should obey God’s words, no matter what God asks them to do; and they should practice according to God’s words. These things all involve the words of God. What are the words of God? (The truth.) Belief in God involves the truth; it is the source, and the right path of life; it involves the path people walk in life. Does the belief in religion involve any of this? It does not. To believe in religion, it is fine merely to behave well externally, restrain oneself, adhere to rules, and have a psychological crutch. If one behaves well and has a psychic support and crutch, does their path in life change? (No.) Some people say, “Believing in religion and believing in God are the same thing.” Do they follow God, then? A belief in religion is merely the pursuit of behavioral change, nothing more than the pursuit of a psychological crutch, and it does not involve any truths. As a result, there can be no change in these people’s dispositions. They are incapable of putting the truth into practice, or of any substantive change, and they do not have true knowledge of God. When someone believes in religion, regardless of how good their behavior, regardless of how robust their psychological crutch, do they follow God? (No.) Then whom do they follow? They follow Satan. And what is the basis of what they live out, pursue, desire, practice, and rely on in their lives? That basis is entirely the corrupt disposition of Satan and its essence. The way they conduct themselves and treat others is in keeping with the logic and philosophy for living of Satan; everything they say is a lie, bereft of the slightest truth; they have not achieved the slightest change in their satanic dispositions, and what they follow remains Satan. Their life view, values, ways of handling things, and the principles of their actions are all the expressions of their satanic nature; there has only been a small change in their external behavior; there has not been the slightest alteration in their life’s path, the way they live, or their outlook. If you truly believe in God, what changes have actually occurred in you after having believed in God for several years? The foundation of your life undergoes a change. On what basis do you live? What governs what you do and say every day? What is it all based on? (It is all based on God’s words and the truth.) For example, perhaps you no longer tell lies—what is the basis of this? Why do you not speak that way anymore? (Because God does not like it.) There is a basis upon which you no longer speak or act that way, and that basis is the word of God, what God asks, and the truth. So, does such a person have the same life path? Here is a summary: What is belief in religion? And what is belief in God? When people believe in religion, they follow Satan; when they believe in God, they follow God. That is the difference.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. One Cannot Be Saved by Faith in Religion or Engaging in Religious Ceremony
Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to conform to God’s will. This is because, though people are familiar with the word “God” and phrases such as “the work of God,” they do not know God, and still less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are muddled in their belief of Him. People do not take belief in God seriously, and this is entirely because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of God’s demands. In other words, if people do not know God, and do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, and still less are they able to satisfy His will. “Belief in God” means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept as regards believing in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means the following: On the basis of the belief that God holds sovereignty over all things, one experiences His words and His work, purges one’s corrupt disposition, satisfies the will of God, and comes to know God. Only a journey of this kind may be called “faith in God.” Yet people often see belief in God as a simple and frivolous matter. People who believe in God in this way have lost what it means to believe in God, and though they may continue to believe until the very end, they shall never gain God’s approval, because they tread upon the wrong path. There are still those today who believe in God according to letters and in hollow doctrine. They do not know that they lack the essence of belief in God, and they cannot receive God’s approval. Still they pray to God for blessings of safety and sufficient grace. Let us stop, quiet our hearts, and ask ourselves: Can it be that believing in God really is the easiest thing on earth? Can it be that believing in God means nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Are people who believe in God without knowing Him or who believe in God and yet oppose Him really able to satisfy the will of God?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface
Some people always think: “Isn’t believing in God simply a matter of attending meetings, singing songs, listening to the word of God, praying, and fulfilling some duties? Isn’t that what it’s all about?” No matter how long you have believed in God, you still have not gained a thorough understanding of the significance of belief in God. In fact, the significance of belief in God is so profound that people are unable to fathom it. In the end, the things within people that are of Satan and the things of their nature must change and must become compatible with the requirements of the truth; only in this way can one truly attain salvation. If, as you used to when you were within the religion, you just spout some words of doctrine or shout out slogans, and then do a few good deeds, exhibit a bit more good behavior and refrain from committing some sins, some obvious sins, this still does not mean that you have set foot upon the right track of believing in God. Does being able to abide by the rules indicate that you are walking the correct path? Does it mean that you have chosen correctly? If the things within your nature have not changed, and in the end you are still resisting and offending God, then this is your biggest problem. If, in your belief in God, you do not resolve this problem, then can you be considered to have been saved?
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. In Believing in God, Choosing the Right Way Is Most Crucial
Mere behavioral changes are unsustainable; if there is no alteration in people’s life dispositions, then sooner or later, their vicious sides will show themselves. Because the source of the changes in their behavior is fervor, coupled with some work by the Holy Spirit at the time, it is extremely easy for them to become fervent or to exhibit temporary kindness. As the unbelievers say, “Doing one good deed is easy; what’s hard is doing a lifetime of good deeds.” People are incapable of doing good deeds throughout their entire lives. One’s behavior is directed by the life; whatever one’s life is, so is one’s behavior, and only that which is revealed naturally represents the life, as well as one’s nature. Things that are fake cannot last. When God works to save man, it is not to adorn man with good behavior—the purpose of God’s work is to transform people’s dispositions, to make them reborn into new people. Thus, God’s judgment, chastisement, trials, and refinement of man all serve to change his disposition so that he may achieve absolute submission and devotion to God, and come to worship Him normally. This is the aim of God’s work. Behaving well is not the same as submitting to God, much less does it equal being compatible with Christ. Changes in behavior are based on doctrine and born of fervor; they are not based upon true knowledge of God or upon the truth, much less do they rest upon guidance from the Holy Spirit. Even though there are times when some of what people do is directed by the Holy Spirit, this is not an expression of the life, much less is it the same as knowing God; no matter how good a person’s behavior is, it does not prove that they have submitted to God or that they put the truth into practice. Behavioral changes are but a momentary illusion; they are but manifestations of zealousness. They cannot be counted as expressions of the life.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
There are several major religions in the world, and each has its own head, or leader, and the followers are spread across different countries and regions all over the world; every country, be it large or small, has different religions within it. However, regardless of how many religions there are across the world, all people within the universe ultimately exist under the guidance of one God, and their existence is not guided by religious heads or leaders. This is to say that mankind is not guided by a particular religious head or leader; rather, the whole of mankind is led by the Creator, who created the heavens and earth and all things, and who also created mankind—this is a fact. Although the world has several major religions, regardless of how great they are, they all exist under the dominion of the Creator, and none of them can exceed the scope of this dominion. The development of mankind, social progress, the development of natural sciences—each is inseparable from the arrangements of the Creator, and this work is not something that can be done by any given religious head. Religious heads are merely the leaders of a particular religion, and cannot represent God, nor can they represent the One who created the heavens and earth and all things. Religious heads can lead all those within the entire religion, but they cannot command all creatures beneath the heavens—this is a universally acknowledged fact. Religious heads are merely leaders, and cannot stand equal to God (the Creator). All things are in the hands of the Creator, and in the end they will all return to the hands of the Creator. Mankind was originally made by God, and regardless of the religion, every person will return under the dominion of God—this is inevitable. Only God is the Most High among all things, and the highest ruler among all creatures must also return under His dominion. No matter how high the status of a man, that man cannot take mankind to a suitable destination, and no one is able to class all things according to kind. Jehovah Himself created mankind and classed each according to kind, and when the end time arrives He will still do His own work Himself, classing all things according to kind—this work cannot be done by any apart from God. The three stages of work carried out from the beginning until today were all carried out by God Himself, and were carried out by the one God. The fact of the three stages of work is the fact of God’s leadership of all mankind, a fact that no one can deny. At the end of the three stages of work, all things will be classed according to kind and return under the dominion of God, for throughout the entire universe there only exists this one God, and there are no other religions. He who is incapable of creating the world will be incapable of bringing it to an end, whereas He who created the world will surely bring it to an end. Therefore, if one is unable to bring the age to an end and is merely able to help man cultivate his mind, then he will surely not be God, and will surely not be the Lord of mankind. He will be incapable of doing such great work; there is only one who can carry out such work, and all that are unable to do this work are surely enemies and not God. All evil religions are incompatible with God, and since they are incompatible with God, they are enemies of God. All work is done by this one true God, and the entire universe is commanded by this one God. Regardless of whether He is working in Israel or in China, regardless of whether the work is carried out by the Spirit or by the flesh, all is done by God Himself, and can be done by no one else. It is precisely because He is the God of all mankind that He works freely, unconstrained by any conditions—this is the greatest of all visions.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God