What does the Bible say about other religions?
“All Roads Lead to God” isn’t as nice or humble as it sounds
Saying that “all roads lead to God” sounds nice.
Saying that “all roads lead to God” sounds humble.
You see it this way, I see it that way.
All the roads on this mountain lead to the same place.
Saying “all roads lead to God” makes God into a small and weak God that is unable to reveal himself in a personal way. So right off the bat, all roads no longer lead to God, all roads lead to a small, weak God unable to tell people who he is in a way they’ll get it. If you believe in a large, almighty God who is able to reveal himself to the people he created, sorry you’re out of luck, there’s no road on this mountain for you.
Saying “all roads lead to God” turns God into a jerk. If he’s not too small and weak to reveal himself to us in a personal way, then he’s too big of a jerk to do so. He’s disinterested and enjoys watching us fumble around in the dark in isolation. If you believe God would desire to love us personally, telling us about himself and letting us know him deeper and deeper in intimacy, as well as be loved personally by us in relationship, then again sorry you’re out of luck, there’s no road on this mountain for you.
You’d never tell your college professor that all answers on the final exam lead to the right answer, yet you do this with destination of your eternal life!
Personally, I’d much rather go to bat and swing and miss then never even step up to the plate.
Saying “all roads lead to God” insults every single person in history who has taken a stand for what they do believe. Why in the heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeck would Jesus have came to earth from heaven and die on the cross for our sins, if all roads already led to God? Why would people have died to preserve the Bible if all roads already led to God? Why would people have chosen God knowing their family would disown them, if all roads already led to God?
The idea that it’s bad to be exclusive is extremely barbaric. Pluralism is pretty much equivalent with anarchy. “Do whatever you want, it all leads to God.” No thank you. I want a God who is exclusively against rape, exclusively against child sacrifice, exclusively against sex slavery, exclusively against oppression, and exclusively against a whole bunch of others things, especially the deceptive selfishness that riddles my heart. You can keep your barbaric inclusivism that would allow for all these things.
“All roads lead to God” is not nice. It’s a cop-out to be your own god. It’s a cop-out to get to do what you want with no accountability to anyone. It’s a public admission that you believe you are the supreme authority on all things. “All roads lead to God” is not humble. An admission that I am God is the most arrogant statement a person can ever make, bar none.
The only thing true about “all roads lead to God” is that it is not many roads; it is one singular, wide, very easy to follow road that leads to a very specific, very particular, very exclusive god: you.
If you want to worship that god, you are allowed to do that. But please stop equating that god as the same thing as my God and then acting like the rest of us need to follow that equation.
“Oh I’d never say you need to do that or need to do anything, that’s the beauty of pluralism!”
You just did it again.
Please re-read this article and then once and for all, stop saying that your god is the same as my God.
Hey Noah, I really would wish to talk with you more on your ideas on pluralism. I’m not sure I really understand many of the tenants and points you have stated in your blog. To be frank I am firmly in the pluralist camp as I have traveled with God through much of what Normal Christians would identify as false truths. Never once along this Journey have I seen a weak God, an unloving God, and a God with only one path to the truth.
The first Tennant is in how Pluralism exists within the Christian Church. Really the only point the Church agrees on is that Jesus died for them. Already at the beginning the Catholic and Orthodox Church split over disagreements in the use of icons. Already at the beginning duality arose and there was no two irreversible paths on which on must chose to be saved. Later on the Catholic Church was again split by Martin Luther with the inception of grave over works. In this split we are no longer sure if it is through grace of law in which a follower truly find the top of the mountain to God. This same split also because the division between the Calvinists and Armenians as the divine will of God has been put up in question.
The Divine question of salvation has had a far larger obstacle than that when the scope is expanded to the Abrahamic religions. In this scenario if a person is born in a Muslim country then they believed that Jesus did not die on the cross, and Christians are subordinate to the pure Monotheistic Religion of Islam. It seems that two brothers share polar perspectives, each condemning the path the other chooses to go. In this case either you are left condemning over a billion people to judgment over an area of false arrogance on either end, or left to inevitable war between the both of them. Already we are left with a God that is not loving enough to show people that are devoted him what is really the truth and seemingly condemning them for nothing than being born in the wrong place.
So right off the bat, one road no longer leads to God, one road leads to a small, weak God unable to tell people who he is in a way they’ll get it. If you believe in a large, almighty God who is able to reveal himself to the people he created, sorry you’re out of luck, there’s no road on this mountain for your individualism.
Saying “only one road leads to God” turns God into a jerk. If he’s not too small and weak to reveal himself to us in a personal way that everyone understands, then he’s too big of a jerk to do so. He’s disinterested and enjoys watching us fumble around in the dark in isolation. If you believe God would desire to love us personally, telling us about himself and letting us know him deeper and deeper in intimacy, as well as being loved personally by us in relationship, then again sorry you’re out of luck, there’s no road on this mountain for you (unless you were lucky enough).
Now, to be a little clearer on my stance and ideology on your blog I may be off on a few of your perceptives which would need to be cleared up. That is your definition of “all’ roads. If you mean to say you are condemning radical postmodernism then I would have to agree with you. If you agree that there are multiple ways to finding God, and that with pure love, pure devotion, one can seek him and be a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan? Or is your claim simply only that you Must be a Christian to be saved.
Humans are stumbling in darkness. In Plato’s allegory of the Cave we see the reason and attitudes of people living in the delusion, and also to danger of shining all the light upon those in darkness all at once. But of course since his Mentor Socrates is sent to hell, giving his life to preach a monotheistic way of life amidst pagans.
The path of God to me goes something more like this. If God is at the top of the mountain beckoning everyone to come to the top. There are some that chose not to go, some walk around the mountain, many claim they know the way but are really walk blindly, others sit at the bottom to wait for a guide. There are many ways to get to the top of the mountain, but there are also many dead ends. However is someone, no matter where they are beginning, or how many times they stumble are genuinely serious about getting to the top, they will make it there no matter how off the path they may seem. Many times they are the ones closest of all.
Hi Anonymous, thank you for your well thought out comment. I’ll try to respond to each point in the order you presented them:
This is a huge point that I think you are vastly underestimating. In fact, I think this is the only point that actually matters, as far as shooting down pluralism, which I bring out in the blog post. Why would Jesus have died on the cross if all roads already led to God? Why would he have gone through the torment, humiliation, inconvenience and pain? As far as your quote though of “Really the only point the Church agrees on is that Jesus died for them,” Scripture itself backs up the point that this is the key point of our faith that sets us apart exclusively from other idea systems:
With the gospel being:
To your point itself about pluralism within the Christian church, yes there are differing views, but only a pluralist would call it pluralistic. What I mean is, only a pluralist would say they are all correct. The lack of correctness of certain views is what led to the Protestant Reformation in the first place. It’s what led people back to Scripture. This is the primary job of an elder/pastor: Titus 1:9 He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. “As it has been taught” is referring directly to the apostles and to Jesus, what we now have in the New Testament.
There are splits among non-salvation issues and then there are splits along salvation issues, ones that debunk the Scriptures I previously quoted about what the gospel is. Those who espouse those (the splits from salvation issues) are not a part of the actual Church, but are false teachers. They can go start their own denominations if they want, but they aren’t true or right or the Church. Disagreements over non-salvation issues are going to happen. This is very different than saying a Christian and Muslim are both going to Heaven.
I definitely disagree with you here. Muhammad created Islam in the year 610. This was around 600 years after Jesus. Just because he was crafty enough to get a lot of people to follow him and create a culture that keeps people following what he created, doesn’t mean that he was devoted to God (God, aka Jesus). God had already lovingly revealed himself to the entire world via the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Muhammad rejected this and wanted a religion where he was in charge so he created Islam. Again, these are not the same things. They are not devoted to the same God. They just aren’t. Christianity and the Bible were firmly established, with the Bible being full of verses like the ones I quoted above, that no one was to change who Jesus was or that he died on the cross for sins and if they did, even if they were an angel, they’d be eternally condemned. It can’t get any clearer than this.
No, pure love, pure devotion will not lead you to God. You cannot make up a religion and be purely devoted to it and expect it to lead you to God. God already revealed himself to us. He told us what we need to know. We can’t make something else up where we are the god, be pure lovingly and purely devotedly devoted to it and expect it to lead to the Saving God, Jesus. Jesus leads to Jesus. My made up religion where I am god does not lead to Jesus. Yes, you must be a follower of Jesus to be saved. You must believe that Jesus died on the cross as a substitutionary sacrifice for your sins, that his death paid the penalty for your sins, because He’s God and holy and he lived a perfect life, therefore he is able to take the punishment for your sins and justice is now served. You are now innocent because he took your guilt. There is no other religion or ideology that offers forgiveness and atonement. Atonement being the legal justice of a holy God removing our the guilt of our sins, removing them by his grace and mercy offered to us via faith, not works.
How can a person be saved if their guilty sin is not paid for? God is holy and can’t be in the presence of sin. God himself must take the sin, which he did on the cross. That’s justice. God is justice. He can’t just overlook sin.
Back to your verbiage of “pure love” and “pure devotion.” Even if the pluralism you are asking about were true, there’s no such thing as pure love or pure devotion from humans. Jeremiah 17:9 tells us “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” We are desperately in need of one who can show pure love because we are completely incapable of it. In our own strength, our attempts at love and devotion will always be tarnished by our own sin and selfishness to some degree or another.
God is not at the top of a mountain. God came to earth. He came to the bottom of the mountain. He became one of us. He revealed himself to us. Only a cruel God would sit at the top of the mountain and say “try to find me!” No, he came down in a loving and personal way and showed us exactly who he is in Jesus Christ. And he proposes marriage to us because he loves us so much. And he wants our love in return. He wants us to be married to him, not to create other spouses or to cheat on him. This is love.
I hope this is helpful. Your questions are good. I do hope you consider what I’ve said. To be fair, I answered your questions the best I could, but you did not answer any of the questions in my post. i.e. why would Jesus bother to die on the cross if all roads already led to God? etc. Not in an arrogant or prideful, but because I care for you and because I want us to learn together, I am curious how you would answer or reconcile the things I ask. Thank you again.
The meat of the argument here is that most religions have factors that are fundamentally antithetical to others. This doesn’t mean that the invalidity of pluralism proves the validity of one specific religion. It does, however, mean that the antithetical nature of the various religions does invalidate pluralism.
It’s pretty simple. Pluralism argues that all religions have missed the point and can be redeemed by admitting that every religion has failed to “transcend” certain misconceptions about god(s). It argues that every religion is, in essence, wrong.
It would be helpful for everyone if pluralists were more honest about this.
As I Christian, I believe pluralism is invalid. But I don’t think that invalidity immediately proves that Christianity is correct. I could see where people could perceive your post as having a faulty logic in that respect. We should admit that, at least to some extent, we have arbitrarily chosen which exclusive religion we believe has things figured out.
It’s ok to admit that. Belief is an undeserved gift from Christ, not something that is gained by empirical study or systematic analyses of our religion or other religions. And all that study and analysis is great, it really is. But if we get too caught up in proving things to people, we discredit Christ and credit ourselves as meritorious of the belief we’ve reached by study. That’s a dangerous ground to tread.
Noah, over the last few years I’ve questioned the rigidness of my beliefs with regard to men seeking God in the world. Let me state that only in Christ is God found in a living way. . . communion, union, fellowship with God only can be in/thru Christ. But the Bible says that the knowledge of God is plain to everyone because He Himself has shown it to all. If I was born in India or Iran or Nepal, my heart-empty longing for God would get its answer from the culture and parents and clergy and I would conceivably be Hindu or Muslim or Buddhist. That longing for the invisible God might be satisfied upfront from those with knowledge telling me, “this is God.” Eventually the unreality of no-God should make me question or live with dissatisfaction or blindness.
Two passages have made me more sympathetic and less dogmatic in this question. After Jesus heals the blind man, he is grilled about it, and he says, “We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him.” Then Peter, after being challenged by God and led to go Cornelius says, ““Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” The central reality to both stories is Jesus but they also speak to the wideness in God’s mercy to those who haven’t heard the gospel.
To your point, God is one, and there is always the need for that God to reveal Himself in His creation and to His creatures. It is that revelation only in Christ that makes all other ideas of God apart from Christ prove lacking and unreal.