With hundreds of different religions, it’s difficult to know which one is true. This wasn’t much of a problem back in Elijah’s day, when the contest was really only between God and Baal. In order to settle that debate, God established some rules for the first official, no-holds-barred, who’s-really-a-god, sacrificial smack-down (1 Kings 18:20-40).
If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.
~ 1 Kings 18:21
The Contest Rules:
Rule #1: Prepare your sacrifice.
Make a pile of firewood and top it off with a nice juicy bull (gods love bull). Water and trench are optional.
Rule #2: Ask your god to consume the sacrifice.
Petition your god to send down fire from heaven to consume your sacrifice. (Sending down fire is a prerequisite for any god; if you can’t send down fire, you can’t be a candidate for God.)
Rule #3: Cheering and Jeering.
You’re allowed to shout, pray, sing, dance, cut yourself, sacrifice virgins, whatever moves your god to action. Other teams are allowed to taunt you during your rituals (1 Kings 18:27).
Rule #4: Determining the winner.
If your god sends down fire and consumes your sacrifice, you win! Congratulations! Now go kill the losing team (1 Kings 18:40)!
Why Not Today?
This may sound ridiculous, but why can’t we make such an appeal to God today? If God is the same today and forever, why not solve the same problem the same way?
Also, if God is not a God of confusion, you’d think He’d want to clear up our confusion, so billions could redirect their paths to the true path of righteousness.
So here’s my proposition:
- We rent out a large stadium.
- We invite representatives from all major religions and denominations.
- We have them petition their god(s) to send down fire to identify which religion/denomination is correct.
- We kill the losers (sorry, I don’t make the rules).
Answer me, LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, LORD, are God.
~1 Kings 18:37
In the Beginning… God was a bit of a Pyromaniac
Elijah’s story isn’t unique, God used to send down fire all the time (apparently without destroying anyone’s faith). He consumed sacrifices from David, Solomon, Moses & Arron (1 Chronicles 21:26 & 2 Chronicles 7:1, Leviticus 9) and rained fire upon anyone who even looked at him funny (e.g. Genesis 19:29, 2 Kings 1:10, Numbers 16:35, Job 1:16).
So why don’t we hold such events today? I think, deep down, we all know nothing would happen. No gods would answer our cries. We’d all retreat to the same ol’ excuse: “It’s too important to have faith.” BUT why was it okay for Elijah? Didn’t these people need faith, too? Why the double standard?
If anyone would like to sponsor such an event, please let me know. I’ll bring marshmallows… just in case. 😉