One of my friends says he’s “probably an atheist.” Another friend says that evidence indicates there is a creator, but not a personal and active god. I’m a Christian. I have friends who are the most devout born again Christians that I have ever met and whose faith (unlike mine) is unshakeable. My friends span the spectrum of religion. They also span the spectrum of scientific theories. Most of my friends, regardless of how they would pigeonhole their belief system, help me to help children that don’t have active parents.
Recently I saw a post on social media where the presenter used a comparison between the Titanic and Noah’s Ark to argue his position that it was impossible for the biblical story to be true. You want to know “who let the dogs out?” I’ll tell you; it was the guy who made that post. Christians, Muslims and Atheists lit up the comments section, and judging from the time stamps, some of those angry people stayed in the fight for the entire night. At one point, a commenter recommended that the other participants play nice. It wasn’t to be. There was hardly a civil word. I imagine what could have been accomplished with the combined hours that people arguing over that one particular post wasted, and, here’s the best part… to no avail!
Last December I had the opportunity to take my first trip to the Republic of Georgia, a former Soviet State, where my family and friends help children who are aging out of orphanages (and other disadvantaged youth) to move on from institutions to the real world.
I had wonderful discussions with a kind and generous Rabbi, who has arranged for our charity to use the private Jewish school in Tbilisi (the capitol of Georgia) for our program to help students to prepare for education beyond high school. While we do pay a small amount of money to teachers and administrators to run and teach the afterschool program, our use of the school and all of its resources are at absolutely no charge and are given as a true act of charity by the Jewish community in Tbilisi.
Will assisting children help anyone get into heaven?
During that trip, I also had the privilege of having an audience with the leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church, His Holiness Patriarch Ilia II. During that visit, the kind father and I didn’t talk about how many animals could have fit on Noah’s ark. We didn’t delve into the contradictory beliefs that we both claim as Christian. We didn’t even talk about good Jewish people changing their beliefs. We simply talked about children and how to help them.
Really, with the declining health of the Father, he never should have taken the time to meet with me. He had no business being out in the cold to go to the building for our meeting. He shouldn’t have had to petition others to help him with nearly every step that he took that night. Do you know why he did it? Of course you do. He did it for children. The Holy Father knew that meeting with me would open the hearts of secular Georgian leaders and that it would allow us to grow and expand the program.
During our meeting, the director of our program in Georgia expressed to His Holiness that she found it quite interesting that there was a Jewish Rabbi from Israel, the Leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church and a businessman from The U.S. working together on the same project. The words of wisdom spoken by Patriarch Ilia will never leave my mind. “Yes. But this is something everyone knows we should do. Everyone knows we should help children.”
Will assisting children help anyone get into heaven? If you are asking Christians, your answer would depend on whether the question was posed to those who claim to follow Peter, or those who claim to follow Paul. If you asked and atheist, well, what’s the point? If you ask me, I’m going to tell you that I simply don’t care. I don’t help children with hopes that it will get me into heaven.
My friends (of all spectrums) and I choose to spend our time, effort, talents and resources helping children because that is what we know we should be doing. It is an inherent knowledge. The founding fathers of the United States would have described such truth as “self-evident.” Of course we like to see the lives of these children improved, but there are selfish reasons involved as well. We simply like the way we feel when we do something that will absolutely improve the lives of children, and perhaps, for generations.
If you would like to join our group that helps children, please click on the link. http://elelembra.org/go/monthly-donations/ Thank you.