Does Everyone Have A Right To Their Own Belief?

In 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12, the apostle speaks of some who perish. The reason being, that they received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. Due to their lack of love for the truth, a strong delusion or working of error governs their life that they might believe a lie and be damned. All people believe something! Even to disbelieve is to believe that something is false or not worthwhile. Furthermore, it might be said that there are two classes of believers. There are those who believe the truth and there are believers of that which is false. This passage strongly emphasizes that people can believe the truth and be saved and with equal emphasis that individuals can believe a lie and be damned.

Does everyone have a right to their own belief? What does this question involve? Consider the terminology: The word right - is one granted the privilege of determining what he will believe? And will what he believe be acceptable in the sight of God? Their own belief - refers to whether or not individuals are expected to believe the same way religiously or can one differ from another in matters of faith and be right with God.

The question is truly a very important one. It deals with the salvation of the soul and any subject dealing with the salvation of one’s soul is highly important. A person’s life is affected by what he believes. As long as one feels he has a right to his own belief, he’ll be satisfied to the degree that a search for truth will not be made. Furthermore, the subject certainly affects the principle of unity. How can there ever be oneness when men believe that in the sight of God everyone has a right to their own belief?

Does everyone have a right to their own belief? What shall the answer be?

Legally…YES. Our constitution grants religious freedom to its citizens. We may worship what, when and how we please, so long as it does not violate existing civil laws. Constitutionally, one may worship the one true God, a stone idol, a man or even a bird or beast. He may offer a bloody animal sacrifice, burn incense or dance as a religious rite. He may trust in Christ, Mohammed or Buddha as his savior, or he may legally be an infidel or atheist. Constitutional freedom is a wonderful privilege! We should be thankful for the phrase, “E Pluribus Unum” and be grateful that the colonies could melt and weld their political beliefs together and frame our constitution. HOWEVER, constitutional freedom does not guarantee acceptance with God. What is God’s answer to the question?

Scripturally…NO. Our religious belief is to be controlled by truth and truth does not offer man a preference. This is true in the fields of mathematics and chemistry. Why should it be an element of amazement for some to think of it being equally true in religion? Jesus said His Father’s word was truth. (John 17:17). Some people seem to never grasp the thought that there is truth in religion as in other fields of endeavor. If solutions to a mathematical problem differ, can they all be right? Certainly not! Again, if all “beliefs” in religion are true how could one believe a lie as stated in 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12? There actually could be no lie! For a lie to exist, there must be truth. Furthermore, why should the scriptures speak of religious truth, if one has a right to their own belief? There could be no abiding value in truth. (1 Peter 1:22; 2 Timothy 4:4).

When individuals contend that everyone has a right to their own belief in the sight of God, I find myself thinking upon some rather familiar accounts in the Old Testament. Thinking on these things that were written aforetime for our learning. (Romans 15:4). If everyone has a right to their own belief and are acceptable to God in this belief…Why then…

1. Was Cain’s offering rejected and Abel’s accepted? (Genesis 4:3-5; Hebrews 11:4).

2. Wasn’t Naaman right in what he believed should occur in reference to his being cured of leprosy? (2 Kings 5:10-12).

3. Should God send fire from heaven to devour Nadab and Abihu? (Leviticus 10:1-3).

On and on it goes! These people, and many more that could be mentioned, held their own beliefs and were wrong. Are we more privileged than they? (Hebrews 2:1-3). If anything, our obligations to the truth in this age warrants even more respect. (Hebrews 10:26-29). Christ has the right to command our belief and to refuse him this prerogative is to minimize His authority. Politically, man has a right to his own belief. Scripturally, before God, man has only the right to believe that which is based on the revelation of God (Galatians 1:6-9; Ephesians 4:4-6). Let’s labor to know, believe and obey the truth.

by Bobby K. Thompson

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