Thursday, August 23, 2007

Do All Religions Lead to God???

(Here is a copy of an article by Steve Cornell in the August 21, 2007 mailing of the Worldview Weekend Alert. The Devil has done a good job of deceiving people all over the world regarding their belief system in God, and the media and educational systems of today have taught us diversity is the key to human interaction, and we should never offend our fellow man!!! However, if we don't share our faith in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, we will have blood on our hands for not warning our fellow man. Ezek. 3:18-19 When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul. Click on the title link above to go directly to the article's webpage for additional information.)

Do all roads from Chicago lead to Atlanta? Do all religions lead to God? The answer to both questions should be obvious. Yet when religion is discussed, I am surprised by the number of people who think all religions are basically the same. Many actually think that the religions of the world are simply different paths to the same God. I’ve also heard people say that the names for deities are just different titles for the same God.

Are Krishna, Mohammed, and Jesus really identical? Can we equate the Buddha, Allah, and Jehovah? No! Nothing could be further from the truth! To think that all religions and the deities they claim are the same is simply wrong. Yes, different religions often have overlapping ideas, but to suggest, for example, that Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, and Christians share the same major beliefs is misguided.

Some also believe that each religion is equally true despite the vast differences they teach. How can religions which deny that Jesus is God and those affirming he is God, both be right? A remarkable trend has developed in our nation over the past several decades. We have moved from recognition and respect for the diverse and multicultural makeup of society (which is important), to an insistence that all religions representing this diversity be treated as equally true.

Perhaps people hold these thoughts for fear that allowing any group to claim the truth and try to convert others could lead to the religious imperialism our Founding Fathers refused. But is the alternative to be found in a type of tolerance which does not allow rational debate? Is this what the Fathers had in mind? Why isn’t it possible to maintain each other’s freedom to follow, express, and defend our beliefs without considering each belief system equally true? Isn’t it possible to tolerate (as we should) two opposing religious opinions without viewing both as correct?

“In the popular mind open-mindedness is no longer connected with a willingness to consider alternative views but with a dogmatic relativizing of all views. It no longer focuses on the virtues of rational discourse among persons of disparate beliefs, as a means to pursuing the truth, but on the conclusions of the discourse. It reflects massive built-in assumptions about the inadmissibility of any religion claiming a truth status above another religion. It forecloses on open-mindedness in the same breath by which it extols the virtues of open-mindedness. Both the irony and the tragedy of this fierce intolerance stem from the fact that it is done in the name of tolerance. It is fundamentalistic dogmatism in the worst sense.” (D. A. Carson, God and Culture)

We may like to believe we are showing respect for our fellow humans by telling them that their religion is as true as anyone else’s, but this is really quite cruel if we are wrong. It could be compared to telling a blind man standing on the edge of a cliff that any way he walks will be equally safe. Why did Jesus speak of a narrow gate that leads to life and a broad road leading to destruction? (Matt. 7:13-14 Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.) Why did he say, “(John 14:6) I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."

Are all religions the same? Does toleration of all religions demand that each be considered equally true? Is it arrogant for one religion to proclaim itself true and others false? The words of Bishop Leslie Newbigin summarize well the Christian concern. “If, in fact, it is true that Almighty God, creator and sustainer of all that exists in heaven and on earth, has — at a known time and place in human history — so humbled himself as to become part of our sinful humanity, and to suffer and die a shameful death to take away our sin, and to rise from the dead as the first-fruit of a new creation, if this is a fact, then to affirm it is not arrogance. To remain quiet about it is treason to our fellow human beings. If it is really true, as it is, that ‘the Son of God loved me and gave himself up for me’, how can I agree that this amazing act of matchless grace should merely become part of a syllabus for the ‘comparative study of religions’?”

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