Monday, December 6, 2010

Religion: Path(s) to God ???

**disclaimer** understanding that not all religions share a belief in a single higher power, or "God", as referenced in this entry, but acknowledging that it would be impossible to actually cite the ultimate goal of each & every individual religion in existence

So, there is an idea out there now that seems to be gaining prevalence in our society and it's one that I don't really understand.

The idea is that there are multiple paths to God.

So, basically, the idea is that you are Religion A, but you also think that Religion B, C, D, and E all lead to God also.

It's a very nice, friendly, all-inclusive idea. But quite frankly, it doesn't make much sense to me.

Religion is not inclusive of other religions. It's not. It's kinda why there are other religions. It's kinda why different religions start, why people convert from one religion to another, etc.

Think about it.

Using Christianity as an example, because that is what I am most familiar:

The foundation of Christianity is that Jesus is God made man, is the Son of God, is the Messiah. Right?

Islam acknowledges Jesus as a prophet and a messenger, but makes it clear that Jesus cannot be God.

Judaism also acknowledges Jesus as a prophet and a great man, but does not recognize him as the Messiah.

So if Christianity is true, the other two cannot be, right?. Therefore, if you believe that Christianity is the path to God, then Islam or Judaism cannot be. Or vice versa. If you follow the Quran as a path to Allah, then how can you believe that Christianity is also a path to Allah?

These thoughts have been mulling in my head for a while. Most recently when someone said that they don't like Christianity because Christians have a superiority complex, believing that theirs is the only way to Heaven.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought, wait, is it just Christians? This doesn't make sense. Don't all religions think that theirs is the only way to Heaven, the only path to God? Isn't that why people are the religion they are in the first place?

I mean, right? Am I missing something here? Isn't that why we all, regardless of which religious / spiritual beliefs we hold true, don't we believe them because we, well... believe them? Because we believe that that particular set of beliefs is correct?
So why are Christians getting the bad rap? Why don't we hear about those arrogant Jewish people, or the superiority complex of those Muslims, or how dare that Buddhist think that he's right?

My theory? I think it's because, generally speaking, Christians talk about it. We admit it. We actually come right out and say it.

"Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."  -- John 14:6

But you know what? Why wouldn't you tell the world? If you honestly believed you had found the one true path to God... why wouln't you share it with others? Why would you keep that knowledge to yourself?

So the question I am struggling with... why hasn't anyone else shared their faith with me? Why the secret? Even friends. In my circle of friends / acquaintances: Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu. No one has once volunteered to share their faith, to share their beliefs with me. If I have asked questions, they have been happy to answer. But no one has volunteered the information.


There is a small part of me that is a little bit... offended? hurt?... that none of these people have chosen to share their one path to God / enlightenment with me. Am I not worth that information? Whether or not I choose to embrace it, if they believe they know the truth, do they not care enough about me to share that knowledge with me?

And then, of course, I must turn the mirror back on myself. Since I believe that I know the Truth, who have I not shared it with? Why or why not? and more importantly... what will I do in the future to change?


Rachel Kahindi said...

I totally agree. If you believe that every religion leads to God, then why choose a specific one to follow? If you do believe in a specific one, then you don't believe in the others. That's the way religion works. You can only believe in every religion if you don't really believe.

areyoukiddingme said...

Well, I disagree a bit. Because as I see it, Religions A, B, C, D, and E more or less have similar teachings (such as, do good things, refrain from doing bad things, be kind to others, take care of yourself, share the wealth, etc.) and the difference is in the details. Focusing on the details is what leads to the divisiveness and the holy wars. There are some serious distinctions between facets of Christianity too. My view is that if everyone is following similar methods of living their lives, they are as likely as I am to meet God eventually. Of course, you may also infer that I'm not a huge fan of organized religion...

Cynthia said...

But how can Jesus be both the son of God AND God made man? That makes no sense. To me it sounds like you are combining the two - and they are not combined. Therefore, by your own points, there can still be multiple paths to God - the issue isn't about getting to God - it's about the role Jesus plays in that journey. That's where the controversy really lies - the Devil in the details. By some standards, those who would put the son of God before God in their worship could then fall in peril to the worshipping of false idols because none should be before God - and theoretically that would include his own son. Jesus is the salesman out front, but God is the CEO of the Company. Ya gotta know who signs your paycheck.

Of course all of this is coming from an agnostic who doesn't really believe in the bible as anything other than a group of teaching fables, organized religion, and who completely distrusts anyone that says they KNOW what happens after they die. But that's just me.

Karen said...

I feel that many other religions focus on your works and thoughts, not acceptance of a particular dogma. So, if someone of a different faith sees you on YOUR path doing good works, then why mess with you on a path that is working?

I am a Unitarian Universalist and that's what I believe, anyway. I don't believe that there is one true way for every one -- but that doesn't mean I don't believe that UU isn't the right way for ME.

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