Approaching Other Religions…

“Let’s empty it of its potentially explosive emotional content” [Little, 119]

Does Christianity Differ from Other World Religions…

You know the scripture: Acts 4:12: “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” Matthew 7: 13-14: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”  John 14: 6: “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”

What is the upshot of these scriptures, especially for the person of another faith?

Christ is the only way to God and apart from Him there is no salvation.

Again, let’s empty these scriptures of their explosive emotional content.

Paul Little says that many world religions think that people view Christians as having a bigot club. I have always saved a “Top Ten List of Reasons People Hate Christians” and I refer to it often because I want to be aware of our short comings as Christians.  On the list in several places is the idea that we are a judgmental people.  We are strict and we are quick to push others away with our message.  We don’t even attempt to tolerate others; we condemn them for the way they believe.

I have heard many times from young people the question “How can God send believers of other faiths to hell?” This question often comes from more “worldly” folks who have experienced other cultures and the beliefs of the people in other cultures.

Paul Little is very direct in his description of how others view us: “Some people erroneously view Christians as having formed a bigots club, like a fraternity with a racial segregation clause. If only the fraternity and the Christians were less bigoted, such people think, they would vote to change their membership rules and, in the case to the Christians, let in anyone who believes in God.”

As the scripture above states, it does sound rather exclusive.

For me, I think it is in how the subject is approached.

I can pick a fight rather easily by condemning other faiths but why would I do that? Why would I tell a Hindu, Buddhist or Muslim that they are wrong in their worldview?  The Christian worldview is the best, the only way to know God?

However, if someone asked me directly about how I believe in God, I would have to tell them my truth: I must be faithful to my Lord and not confirm other worldviews just so I can fit in.  Jesus is the Son of God and there is no other Savior.  We cannot change this; this truth is not up for a vote.

I have family members who have different ideas about Christianity and I don’t want to be too strong in my condemnation of their point of view. What good will that do except drive them further away from me?  Being superior over others as you proclaim your belief in Christ is not good either.  Paul Little states “A Christian does not assume a superior posture.  He speaks as a sinner saved by grace.”  To be truthful, no Christian is deserving of salvation.

Again from the “Top Ten List”, “Christians sin a lot. They live their lives by strict do and don’t guidelines and expect other people to do the same.  Christians say that people who do not live by this strict guideline will burn in hell.  Yet Christians sin just like anyone else and are hypocritical about it.”

D.T.Niles feels we have to have the attitude of the “beggar telling another beggar where to find food.”

Just because we know God, does not mean we live perfect lives. We must not forget that.  We are all striving to do better but we don’t have it all figured out.

From the point of view of a person from another faith, they are looking for the Christian to live up to that reputation, you know that “bigot club”.

Ask yourself what the effect of Jesus’ greatest commandment is; you know “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Note that last part “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”, especially if your neighbor is from another faith.

What a powerful act that would be. What a powerful message that would send.

 

 

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