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Should the Majority Rule in Religion?

Majority rule in religionIs a practice right just because "everyone is doing it"? Often we are told that some widely accepted practice must be good because "all these people can't be wrong." Young people sometimes tell their parents, "All my friends are doing it!"

Perhaps the fact that our government is a democracy leads people to think that the majority is right in religion. But the truth is that people who are faithful in serving God have always been in the minority.

In Noah's day God sent the flood to destroy thousands of people for their sins. Only eight people were saved (Genesis 6:5-8; 7:23). Would you have wanted to be doing what "everybody was doing" then?

Of all the thousands of adult Israelites who left Egypt, only two entered the Promised Land. All the rest died in the wilderness for their sins (Numbers 14:26-30). Would you have wanted to be with the majority then?

In 1 Kings 18 the prophet Elijah stood alone facing the 450 prophets of Baal. Was the majority right then?

When Jesus was crucified, no one remained faithful to Him. All His disciples forsook Him and fled (Matthew 26:56). Would it have been right to do what "everybody was doing" then? Should we say, regarding those who murdered Jesus, that "all those people can't be wrong"?

Isaiah 55:8,9 says: "'For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,' says the LORD. 'For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.'" God does not think like men think; this is true for all men. So if most people - even all people - think a practice is good, that does not necessarily prove God thinks it is good.

The way to determine truth in religion is, not by taking a opinion poll among people, but by studying the will of God revealed in the Bible. Read 2 Timothy 3:16,17.

For more information on this subject, please visit our Bible Instruction web site at /instruct/ and study our in-depth articles there about the importance of Bible study, how to study the Bible, and the danger of human authority in religion. 

(c) Copyright David E. Pratte, 7/2006

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