There is only one way to God – letter writer

Unity. Peace. Understanding. Tolerance. Cooperation. These are things that all, or at least most, of us want in our world. I’m in favour of all of the above. However, what I’m about to write is going to sound intolerant and probably politically incorrect.
Recently, World Religion Day was observed locally. There is a reason why I have annually chosen not to take part in this event. It isn’t because I hate any particular person or group. In fact, I follow a risen Saviour who has taught me to love other people. But love does not necessarily mean promoting or affirming all ideas and teachings as equally valid. Now, I do realize that the intentions of those involved in efforts such as World Religion Day are pure: “To foster the establishment of interfaith understanding and harmony by emphasizing the common denominators underlying all religions.” Sounds good. Sounds positive. Sounds comfortable for everyone concerned. Unfortunately, comfortable messages, while good to hear, aren’t necessarily true. Those “common denominators” only go so far, and there’s very little that underlies all religions.
Now, of course, there is some amount of wisdom to be found in all faiths. However, it’s dangerous to imagine that all faiths are equally valid ways of getting to God. There are too many inconsistencies for that to be possible. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Not everybody believes that, but what I’m getting at is: how can I put my faith in Christ as the Son of God, and the only way to God, and still affirm every other faith at the same time? It just doesn’t fit. Pretty intolerant, isn’t it?
Why do I believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of the living God, and more than just another prophet? Because He’s the only one who died in my place so that I could live for eternity with Him, and He’s the only one who rose again from the dead. Muhammad may have been wise, but he didn’t do that. Neither did Baha’u’llah, Zoroaster, Gautama, Abraham, or Moses. Wise and enlightened people they were, but none was God in the flesh, except Jesus Christ. And none other has offered salvation as a free gift rather than something to be earned.
One might say that the claims Jesus made about Himself are terribly arrogant. Not if they’re true. And proclaiming one belief system as superior to others sounds intolerant. Not if it’s true. And while unity of all mankind is a noble goal, which I share, I also believe in truth.
There are three basic ways to achieve unity. One is to compromise and water down all the various teachings to the point where none of us really stands for much of anything. Another is to “agree to disagree.” But again, where is truth in that? The third way is to unite, once and for all, behind the truth; and you can imagine that I’m going to proclaim Jesus Christ as the embodiment of that truth.
“How dare you?” someone might say. Isn’t that insensitive to someone who believes differently? Let me ask this: if you knew the cure for cancer or AIDS, would you tell anybody? I believe that Jesus is the answer for all that plagues mankind, so I’m going to tell people about it. Or someone might say, “That’s not very loving.” Another question: if a close friend or family member is doing something with dire consequences or moving in a wrong direction, would you correct that person? And is that intolerance? …or love?
History is full of examples of people who have proclaimed nice, comfortable, messages that people wanted to hear. Those messengers are usually popular, but not necessarily right. Meanwhile, there have been many others who have proclaimed the truth and been very unpopular for it. I, for one, wish to err on the side of truth, even if it be unpopular. That’s because I follow a risen Saviour who set just such an example.
Finally, one could point to Christianity as a whole, and say how fragmented and lacking in unity we are. Any disunity amongst Christians comes from man-made doctrines and petty disputes, not from God. Thankfully, we are not called to follow Christians; we are called to follow Christ, who teaches unity, peace, and love, through Him.
This has been an intolerant, yet loving, message, brought to you by just one Christian, and has not been paid for by anyone.
Thomas Bailey
Grand Bend