When I was a child food was natural and often without preservatives. Bread had to be eaten within a day or two or it dried out and molded. Bacon grease and lard seasoned and textured about everything. Vanilla was real vanilla. About the only thing I can think of which was artificial was Kool-Aid. Anyone would say that chemically flavored water is not the real thing! At least real cane sugar was used to make it palatable!
I remember when Tab cola came into existence. Shortly thereafter it was Diet-rite cola. Both had artificial sweeteners and both tasted like lighter fluid. Yes, those who smoked cigaretets when it was cool, know what lighter fluid tastes like because to squeeze out a real flame, it was necessary to put the lighter in the mouth and blow. Now we even have fake fire with laser lighters fresh on the market!
When Tab came out and I tasted it for the first time, I was repulsed. Skinny girls went ahead and drank it to stay skinny and overweight girls drank it so that they had the appearance of self-control. I didn't drink it because it was artificial.
At that time, with the advent of space travel, the media forecast that just like the space pioneers, the general public would also be eating artificial food someday. As a thirteen years-old boy, I made my own forecast: I declared that I would NEVER eat anything artificial! Advance (sic) to 2016. Now almost everything is artificial or imitation and all but the veggie extremists eat it! What was anathema is now acceptable. Just last night I dined on artificial flavored cherry cookies with imitation chocolate covering as I drank 1% milk, not whole vitamin D, flavored with some type of chocolate with all types of chemicals, along with aspartame, the enemy of the sugar industry.
They said that bacon grease and lard will kill me, but it is more reasonable to consider that it may be unknown compounds which will gradually mutate my cells into cancer of some sort!
With that said, let the reader self-examine religion: believing in an existence which transcends self (Herrin Lexicon), which entails some sort of faith because that transcendence is of the supernatural. There is no tangible proof that a higher existence is real, but the desire for hope encourages the believer to have faith. Some admit that they have doubts, but because of optimism about eternal life, believing that is possible is a prerequisite.
Christianity is a religion, but so is everything: Buddhism, Zoroastranism, Islam, Judaism, animism, and even the worship of the self because it relegates the self to the level of supernatural power as Selfism proposes that the individual has the ability to save the self and that God is not needed. Most of these religions place importance on the self to balance bad with good to deserve eternal life.
Christianity, on the other hand, is the genuine religion because it makes sense! No one has godly powers and good works hasn't the energy to propel a material being to heavenly places. Christianity is the real McCoy because by being a REAL Christian, one must admit that the person has no ability to save oneself, and come to the realization that it is by 100% certainity that only Jesus saves.
Pagan religions are imitations of Christianity, being without Christ. Because "the Word" (Jesus) was there in the beginning, then Christianity is the original religion. In those days it wasn't even a religion because faith was reinforced by an audible God who sometimes visited the people as celestial beings, clouds of smoke and fire, and even as persons.
At least atheists are genuine as they admit that even though they have no faith in God, they aren't going anywhere because they have no power to save themselves, and no place to go even if they could! What is artificial about them remains their attempt at being good, not realizing that only God is good.
Their god essentially is unknown because the good they do is for the world. Their religion is secular humanism. In effect their deity is humanity and they live to serve mankind! Their goal is noble, but their reasoning interferes with their own hope. Inside, this must be an imitation life for them: appearing content and joyful, but inside even dreading the thought of death, if they are even contemplative enough to consider the hereafter.
Many people live artificial lives: music, partying, alcoholic beverages, marijuana, sex, positive affirmations, and even an abundance of food. These things take the mind off the hereafter and are the serpent's way of providing pleasure to deceive people into believing that the end is too far away to worry about, when it reality, it could be tomorrow! These placebos for hope creates an artificial existence.
At times the kid who would never eat anything artificial has ingested immediate gratification as all men have! Scripture calls things artificial "the flesh" which is the interaction of our sensory systems to the world, including how the mind uses these things to forget the future and convince the spirit that immortality is easy!
Mad Magazine's Alfred E. Neuman asked it well: "What? Me worry?" Because like Alfred, pleasure exists to take the mind off eternity, but in reality, even if we don't think on it, eternity is long and it is real! I want to be part of eternity (no atheist here), and I want to be part of the REAL faith (Christianity) because only through the sacrificed life of Jesus and his shed blood as a propitiation for my sins can I be saved. That's the real thing (Sorry, Coca Cola), and is the true way to immortality!
If I ask anyone, "What is your greatest desire?" Most would respond: "to be happy", "to be wealthy" or "to be loved". These things are artificial because they are temporal. We even fake out our own selves! Admit it: "What we all want is to live forever!" There is only one gate to that. It is the "strait" gate, meaning it's by truth which we can enter onto the path to eternal life.
Truth isn't shades of gray. God's words cannot successfully be twisted to get there. Imitation churches will mislead you, and it's not progressive beliefs which attain immortality. It's not tolerance which is the gate posts. It's obedience, but not to DESERVE salvation, but because a born-again person appreciates God for his grace! Even obedience to obtain eternal life is false. Artificial does not save; it dooms!
I battle with "the flesh" everyday and so do you! Sometimes I feel as if I'm faking belief because I am weak. Just as with Paul (and many of us), the spirit is willing, but our vision, hearing, taste, smell and touch stands in our way because we all love things which pleasure us. Even sincere people who have trouble with the flesh can be convinced by Satan that indeed they are faking it. Others do fake it for different reasons. We must be genuine Christians who desire genuine meat (the Word) and never eat of those things artificial (false doctrines).