Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Does it matter what you believe?
At dinner with friends not long ago, I overheard one say to another,
"I believe God created different religions, like Islam and Buddhism, so that people from different cultures could know God from their unique viewpoint."
The other friend nodded in agreement, as if the opinion made sense. I was too stunned to challenge that incredible statement. These friends were fellow Christians. How could they be so wrong on the fundamentals? Before I could decide how to respond, the subject changed and the opportunity was lost.
On the surface, perhaps missing the chance to respond was a good thing. The viewpoint that all religions/roads point to God is so seriously rooted in error, my challenge would not have been dispatched with gentleness.
To wit: By making/agreeing with that statement,
1. My friends call Jesus a liar. Jesus stated emphatically [John 14:6]that He was the only way to God, that no person can get to God unless he or she follows Jesus. Men and women who follow Jesus Christ are called "Christians"--not Muslims, not Buddhists.
2. My friends make a mockery of Jesus' sacrificial death. If there were other ways to become acceptable to God (Koran: Make war on the infidels, Buddha: find your karma) Christ's death and resurrection served no reasonable purpose.[Hebrews 9:22, Romans 5:8-9]
3. My friends must now address the different religions' inherent problems of exclusion and contradiction. For example, Buddhists deny there is a God. So why would God establish a religion that denies His own existence?
4. My friends misstate God's reason for creating man. God wants relationship, not religion. Religion is man's effort to fill the void created when man rejected a relationship with God.
Any response grounded in scripture would most certainly be considered harsh and intolerant. Definitely not politically correct. The world's point of view--that it matters not what you believe, only that you are sincere in your beliefs--is warm and fuzzy and politically correct. Nevertheless, as Christians we are commanded to reconcile our beliefs to God's point of view, not the world's.