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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Old Friends Going Astray

The last entry started me thinking about another old friend. This was an old friend from church. I can remember growing up with him at church, and we always competed in who could recite their memory verse. Or who could say all of the books of the Bible. Or who had studied for the lesson that week for Sunday school. We even competed together against youths from other congregations in a Bible Bowl competition, one in which we took first place!

My mom recently connected with this old friend on Facebook. (I will talk about my DISDAIN for Facebook in a later entry.) Apparently this old friend has the following quote in his Facebook profile:

Religious distress is at the same time the expression of real distress and the protest against real distress. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, just as it is the spirit of a spiritless situation. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is required for their real happiness. The demand to give up the illusion about its condition is the demand to give up a condition which needs illusions. Karl Marx

How sad that someone that was raised to be grounded in the truth could go so far astray. I had heard that he no longer attended church services and that he "was holding services for his family at home". But I had also been told that he had become an atheist. This would seem more in line with having the quote above as part of his profile.

How could this happen? What could cause someone that was so knowledgeable of the truth to stray so far from it? I have some theories but it boils down to this passage of scripture:

Be not deceived: Evil companionships corrupt good morals.
-1 Corinthians 15:33, ASV

The people that we choose to be around will influence what is important to us and what our beliefs are. If we surround ourselves with people that feel that carnal intelligence is supreme, and that religious views make us unintelligent, should we be surprised if we are tempted to lay aside our religious beliefs in order to garner the affections of those around us? When we take our eyes off the prize of the high-calling, our vision can become clouded by things below.

I will continue to pray for this old friend, and for his family. He has been entrusted with three young souls and it pains me to think of how differently they will be brought up from how he was brought up. We only get one chance to lay a solid religious foundation for our children, and he is missing his.

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