Sometimes we do not realize the end result of our actions. So it is when a law is passed that seems to be in the best interest of the community. Yet in the hands of clever prosecutors or corrupt officials, such a law may become a problem for honest people.
On May 26, 2008, the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPR) came into effect in the United Kingdom and all member states of the European Union.
An article in a recent edition of The Times (London) explains: "Anyone offering a service must not engage in unfair commercial practice, misleading statement or omission or aggressive sales practice. This would criminalise practices such as 'closing down' sales that aren't, limited time offers that then last longer and false testimonials left on websites" (May 23, 2008, http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/public_law/article3987725.ece).
The regulations cover commercial practices that are directly connected with the promotion, sale or supply of a product (goods or services) to or from consumers. This may occur before, during or after a commercial transaction (if any) in relation to a product between traders and consumers.
This seems all well and good except that people whose activities are "faith-based," such as faith healers and spiritualists, are realizing that they may be forced to describe their activities as "entertainment" to avoid prosecution. Why? Because such practitioners cannot guarantee the outcome of their service. They would be penalized because of unsubstantiated claims or misleading advertising.
Notice the reaction of some members of the public who read The Times newspaper report:
"Can we take this one small step further and apply it to religion as well?"
"Maybe there should be similar disclaimers outside churches or mosques. Then they can tell customers that what they offer is 'for entertainment only' and not 'experimentally proven.' What's the difference? Fortune telling, soothsaying, whatever is as old as the hills. We'll have witch burnings next."
"But the main business of religions is the unproven prediction of life after death. This is essentially a denial of freedom of belief which I think even those wanting a secular society do not advocate. If there is equality under the law then this disclaimer MUST apply to the sale of every Bible."
There are many more comments like these, as well as a number of other activities people find objectionable. The hostility toward what are considered unprovable religious concepts and beliefs predominate.
Under such scrutiny it is good for a Christian to be able to prove the foundations of his or her beliefs. Those in society around may not accept our confidence, but can you and I prove God's existence or the inspiration of the Bible? Are they, as Karl Marx stated, purely part of a religion that acts as an opiate for the people?
The writer of the book of Hebrews, most likely the apostle Paul, states with confidence that "without faith it is impossible to please [God], for he who comes to God must believe that He is [that He exists], and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him" (Hebrews 11:6).
Those whose minds are closed to biblical truths have proved hostile to those who follow God from time immemorial. Certainly Jesus Himself experienced the misuse of law to frame and convict Him of treason when He was guiltless.
We should examine the evidence and prove that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead and is alive today. If He is not, we have no hope (1 Corinthians 15:12-19). One of the promises Jesus made was that after the resurrection He would live within every repentant Christian (John 14:23-24; Galatians 2:20).
It is important to know that the foundation of our faith is sure and absolute, not based on clever religious marketing. And the future God promises us is as sure as the rising sun!
If you need more help strengthening your faith and proving your beliefs, please write to us or download our publications Jesus Christ: The Real Story, Life's Ultimate Question: Does God Exist? and Is the Bible True? WNP