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Paths to God
Can Everybody be Right?
There are those who would say that all religions are alike, and that there are many paths to God. Some of these people make the bold assertion that all religions teach the brotherhood of man and the Fatherhood of God, which is untrue but sounds good.
Many say that it is up to the individual to choose and that we should never judge another person's path as being wrong. One might decide to follow Allah, and Muhammad, his prophet. Another might be a Mormon and follow the book which the Angel Moroni gave to Joseph Smith. Still another might follow Animism with its belief that there is no separation between the material and the physical world, and that souls, or spirits exist not only in humans but also in all other animals, plants, rocks or even in geographic features such as mountains and rivers.
The major problem with the "all paths lead to God" belief is that what we are discussing is claims of ultimate truth. All these religions have competing world views and competing claims to truth. You could possibly say that none of them are the right path, but to say that all of them are the right path at the same time is self-contradictory and illogical.
I. Christianity's One Path to God
One belief system which simply cannot fit into the "all paths" philosophy is Christianity. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself said this: "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me" (John 14:6). Speaking of Jesus in Acts 4:12, it says : "Neither is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven, given among men, whereby we must be saved."
I have heard it said that Christians are narrow-minded to think that they, of all the many religions in the world, have the only way to God. The fact is, that by nature, truth is narrow. Something is either true or false, and if it is true, then any other competing beliefs are thus false.
Let's say, for instance, that I decide that gravity doesn't exist. I believe that if I wish it hard enough, then I can walk off of cliffs and be suspended in mid air. After all, it is extremely narrow-minded to believe that everyone is subject to the law of gravity. So, I go and look for a group of people who think just like me. We call ourselves, the Anti-gravity Group. However, no matter what we may believe about gravity, the truth is, it still exists, and if any of the Anti-Gravity group would jump off of a cliff, we'd still fall to our deaths.
In the same way, if Jesus is who He claims to be, the very Son of God who died on the cross for our sins, then no matter what other religions teach, they are wrong. It is as bigoted and narrow to teach this as it is to teach that we all must accept the law of gravity.
II. Christianity's Role Reversal
It is interesting that the major thing that all religions other than Christianity do have in common is their insistence that mankind has to do something to reach God, or the Divine, whatever their conception of what the Divine may be. It is only in Christianity that God saw man in His helpless condition and reached down to provide salvation for mankind, thus allowing him to have a personal relationship with the Lord of the universe. We see this fact in verses like John 3:16, which states:
"For God so loved the world that He gave us His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
We can also see it in Romans 5:8 which tells us plainly:
"But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Christianity teaches that there was nothing we did, or ever could do to win favor with Almighty God. We were dead in trespasses and sins, and dead men can't do anything for themselves (Ephesians 2:1). Rather, it is by God's grace alone that we are saved through faith. Grace simply means unmerited favor.
The bottom line is, that no true Christian could ever make the claim that there are many paths to God. And they can never rightly believe that all religions teach the same things. We may love, or even respect a person who has differing views from our own when it comes to God and how one comes to Him. But we can never say that his or her belief system is equal with our own. Not everybody can be right. Jesus and Jesus alone is the only Way, the only Truth and the only Life. Our Lord made this claim and backed it up by rising from the dead, demonstrating once and for all, that He was who and what He claimed to be. May we never be ashamed of Him, or the good news that He brings. For He is the only real hope for a sinful humanity.