I'm of Another Faith
TRUTH! Does it matter?
We know what we're supposed to do here. To be politically correct we're supposed to put on a smile, pat everyone on the head and say 'Whatever path you're following is fine, they all lead to the same place'. Of course, you and I know that this kind of thinking is for people who don't take truth seriously.
If you're committed to a faith, you hold to it because you believe it is truer, or at least somehow more preferable than other faiths. This means we're dealing with two issues. One is considering whether objective truth exists. The other, assuming it does exist (as everyone did until well into the 20th c.), is determining what that truth is. Let's take each one in order:
(1) POST-MODERNISM AND THE REJECTION OF OBJECTIVE TRUTH
We'll deal with this first issue in another place. It is a huge and confusing subject which comes from so-called 'post-modern' philosophy, and results in radical relativism. If you want to work through this issue let's go here--->
(2) WHAT IS TRUTH?
More to the point for us is this second issue. Amidst the many existing religions, philosophies and world-views, how are we to discern what is truth and what is error?
This naturally sets us on a course to focus on our differences. Before we jump to how we disagree, however, it is good to notice the significant agreement that exists among most faiths about many values, moral convictions, behavioral mores, personal disciplines, life principles and more. Having intensity and passion about our faiths is common, and natural. It is sad when this leads to overt hostility. But let's remember that the friction comes from a good motive --- the desire to know and defend TRUTH. Because it is easy to become impassioned quickly about ideas we hold dear, we've learned that we need to work at creating a cordial atmosphere for discussion. We have many friends who come from differing points of view, and those relationships are developed based on respectful interaction. This means we try not to fall into merely debating, but to move toward heart-felt discussion. The goal is to clearly hear and understand the other person. We may agree to disagree, but even if we do, it is far more satisfying to feel like we both clearly understand what we're disagreeing about, and part with respect for one another intact.
Now, about those differences. The non-thinking person easily swallows the 'all roads lead to God' idea and assumes that this pat answer should solve all disagreements. The thinking person asks how all roads lead to God if the maps are giving different directions? If two religions are making contradictory claims, then our intellects invite us to examine the causes of the contradictions, not just try to deny or ignore them. For example, Christianity says that Jesus is the Son of God. Islam says he is not. Christianity says that God is One and is distinctly personal (a unity in trinity) and distinct from the natural world, Hinduism says either that there are millions of gods, or that God is an impersonal force or energy that is not distinguished from the natural world.
Can all of these views be correct? We can stir these differing ideas into one big pot only if we are willing to give up logic, which is the foundation of reason. Why is it, when we take the discussion to the realm of spiritual things, that people are suddenly ready to say 'anything goes' --- that the rules of logic don't apply? In another place I've argued that, if anything, the spiritual realm requires more precision than other disciplines, not less. If the spiritual realm is real and is the source of all things, this necessarily includes the whole mental and physical framework of life. Why should we think that when we get to the source of all life that there should be less precision than in the created effects that this source produces? Yet people who are otherwise intelligent and extremely demanding in their own fields --- engineers, scientists, computer programmers, medical people, and so forth ---- people who require exactness in their respective disciplines turn off their brains and assume it just all works out somehow in the spiritual realm.
But digging into these issues requires effort. It requires a hunger for truth and understanding that is willing to take an honest look at the sources, claims and credence of traditions, cultures and religious practices that we may be very emotionally attached to. I believe this requires a massive amount of strength and courage. But if we put it in perspective, it is worth the effort. Our lives on this earth are just a few years, and if you're reading this page you likely believe that there is a spiritual realm to consider that has eternal life as its consequence. What could be of more importance than knowing as much as we can and gaining as much confidence as we can that we are in good standing with whatever the next life holds for us? How much effort do we put into making this life what we want it to be? Then how much more should we be willing to give ourselves to understanding our eternal future?
In time, we will be putting up brief summaries of the essential differences between Biblical Christianity and other faiths, but until we get there, we'll refer you to this source. CARM has developed careful analyses of most major religions. Take a look at their description of your faith perspective, and then, if you'd like, we would love to have you come back and give us your reaction. (In case your particular faith doesn't appear in the list, just type it into the web page's search function. They may have it off the list to work on it) To boil it down to the essence, we are not saying that everything about every other religion is wrong, or that everything about what has come to be called 'Christianity' is right. We're simply saying that what Jesus claimed about himself is the critical issue to examine and encounter. Meeting Jesus is not to be thought of in terms of joining any particular organization or working out a detailed philosophy of life. He is alive and you can have a personal encounter that takes place privately between you and him.
The best way to do this is to go straight to the source and read what I call the 'heart of the Bible' which includes the books of John, Acts & Romans. These fall back-to-back in the New Testament. The King James version is beautiful English, but you're likely to get the picture better if you read it in a good modern version such as the NIV (New International Version) or the ESV (English Standard Version). For the most part this is an easy read, and I think you'll find it to be quite engaging. You can access these Bible versions online here or purchase one here.
There is a great movie about the life of Jesus that stays very true to the account in Luke. It is dated now, but accurate, and has been seen worldwide by millions of people. If you'd rather start in a visual mode, you can see it in English here, and in almost any other language here.
You might find it helpful to see the 'first step' explanation here and let yourself have a direct, honest and undistracted encounter with Jesus. If you'd like to talk with us personally or get more information just contact us.