Do all paths lead to the same end?
One major world religion believes there is no god; another believes there are thousands of gods and goddesses; New Agers believe they are god; Christianity believes in a personal, knowable God; and Islam believes in a powerful, yet unknowable God. As for where all of these paths eventually end up, one religion claims you achieve Nirvana (that place of complete peace and light) through an unknowable number of reincarnations; others believe you're okay if your good actions outweigh the bad; several religions offer regular animal sacrifices; another teaches doing as much good as you can in this life so you'll be reincarnated to a better state or animal in the next; mainstream Islam says you must follow very strict laws and make an improbable pilgrimage before you die; some radical Muslims believe you earn your way to Heaven by shedding your enemy's blood; and Christianity teaches that salvation is through faith in the Son of God alone.
Seriously! Think about it. If the New Age doctrine is true, then that means Muslims and Jews have to give up their one God and Hindus have to give up their thousands of gods and goddesses. If Hinduism is true and one of their gods or goddesses is the supreme being, then Christians have to give up Jesus and Buddhists and New Agers have to acknowledge that there is a god.
C'mon! I am amazed at how many reasonably intelligent people throw logic out the window and insist that all religions are the same, that it doesn't matter what you believe so long as you're sincere. Do you know what's wrong with that brand of logic? Two things: Firstly, no matter how sincere you are, strong faith in a weak bridge will still get you dunked! And secondly, it isn't logical!
I don't care what some well-known media person, talk-show host, religious leader, or self-acclaimed guru tells you. Simple, unadulterated logic mandates that...
That applies in chemistry (water is always H2O), in physics (everyone on Earth exists within one common Space), and in mathematics (2 + 2 always yields 4). So, it is only logical that it applies to the world religions, too! Either one is right and all the others are wrong . . . or they're all wrong! But one thing is certain: they cannot all be right!
Karl Popper (1902-1994), one of the 20th century's greatest philosophers of science, said: "Denying realism (reality) amounts to megalomania (a psychological state characterized by delusions of grandeur), the most widespread occupational disease of the professional philosopher."
Isn't that what New Agers, Agnostics, and the like do when they deny reality in favor of their own idealistic opinions conceived, not for truth or excellence, but for their personal exaltation? Just to be clear, by the way, New Age, Agnosticism, Atheism, Humanism and the like are also religions. Technically, a religion can be defined as a loyalty or allegiance to any belief system, whether that belief is in a higher power, another object, or oneself. And a person's refusal to believe the truth whatever that "truth" turns out to be does not excuse them from the consequences of their decision!
With so much uncertainty, then and so much at stake doesn't it make sense that we should endeavor to be sure we're headed the right way before we come face-to-face with Eternity . . . and the answer?
Good question! Perhaps a good place to start is in examining what sets them all apart. Is there one thing they all have in common or any one thing that sets them apart? Yes! And, it's glaringly obvious . . . if you take the time to really think about it. Look at that list at the top of the page again, the one that compares the different religions.
Do you see it? They all require you to do this thing or that to jump through hoops or perform different rituals or follow certain rules in order to save yourself. All but one, that is...
They all start with the belief that you're basically good and if you work hard enough, you can eventually achieve that state of perfection or excellence or holiness where you're finally declared "good enough." All but one, that is...
They all require you to work your whole life without ever knowing if or when you've done enough. All but one, that is...
The founders of the different world religions are all dead and decomposed in their graves. All but One, that is...
And . . . every person who's ever been born was born to live. All but One, that is...
Yes . . . I'm talking about Jesus Christ not the man, but the God Man, as some refer to Him the Son of God . . . the LORD incarnate (in the flesh)! He was born to die, but is now risen and alive forevermore!
And of course, I'm talking about Christianity! I'm not talking about people who say they "believe in God" or who believe Jesus really lived and died. I'm not talking about church attendance or baptism or confession or penitence or fasting or even tithing or good works. I'm talking about true Christianity humbly agreeing that you can't save yourself and then submitting to God's outrageous love and trusting Jesus Christ alone to save you. In all other religions you have to work your whole life to try to save yourself without ever knowing if/when you've done enough. Christianity is the only religion that says we cannot save ourselves, no matter how hard we try.
Because we aren't perfect. We do things everyday that we know we shouldn't do, or we don't do things we know we should do. The Bible calls this "sin".
Oh, I know . . . in this generation of 'enlightenment', everyone wants to believe that 'sin' is an obsolete concept. Well . . . it sounds okay on talk shows, it doesn't offend anyone, and it makes everyone feel good. [After all, a pesky guilty conscience can really interfere with you having a good time!] But, the Bible says: We're not sinners because we sin. We sin because we're sinners!
Huh? Think of it this way: A dog isn't a dog because he barks; he barks because he's a dog. In the same way, being imperfect and sinning isn't what makes you or me a sinner; it's because we're sinners we're imperfect that we sometimes sin. And I'm not talking about "big" sins, either. I'm talking about everyday things like lying (to make yourself look better or to cover up something you shouldn't have done), cheating (on your taxes or keeping extra money the cashier incorrectly gave you), taking something that isn't yours (a pen from work, for example), being selfish or holding a grudge ("I'll never forgive them for what they did to me!"), coveting (not your neighbor's donkey, but maybe their new car or their new big-screen HD TV), things like that, which we all do sometimes (even Christians or people who say they're Christian).
Even though the Bible teaches we're not able to save ourselves, God offers salvation on the basis of His outrageous love and grace alone and not anything we do or don't do. Christianity is the only religion that says stop striving, stop working, stop worrying, stop fighting, stop judging Him by the actions of others who claim to know Him, stop making excuses . . . and just surrender. It's the only religion that's based on relationship, not rules and rituals, whose "founder" died and then rose again from the grave so that we too might live! It's the only religion whose "founder" loved us so much that He did the work for us!
Some opponents of Christianity claim that it's being exclusive in saying that Jesus is the only way to know God or to be saved. But the truth is, true Christianity based on faith in Christ not church membership, baptism, good works, tithing, judgmental bias, or stopping old vices is all-inclusive! You are just as worthy of God's free gift of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ as anyone else!
Being a 'good' person or saying you "believe in God" won't cut it but trusting Jesus Christ to do for you what you can't do for yourself is the Key that opens Heaven's doors to you!
Almighty God, who said we can't save ourselves no matter how hard we try or how sincere we are, chose this way for you . . . if you'll just accept it!
Notice in that verse, it doesn't say you must "get right with God" or "clean up your act" or do anything before coming to Him. That would be like taking a sponge bath before you take a shower! It says that Christ died for you and for me . . . while we were still sinning and "doing our own thing"! Before you were ever born, He had already died in your place!
"God loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who has faith in Him will have eternal life and never really die." (John 3:16 Contemporary English Version)
Everyone dies. That's a fact of life that none of us can deny or escape . . . unless you've surrendered to God's transcendent love for you and received Christ as Savior, that is. Then, and only then, can you be assured of exchanging one life for another. That's what death means for those who belong to Christ, those who can really call God "Father". Death is merely a change of address, an exchange from imperfect to perfect, from sorrow and fear and struggling to unimaginable joy and freedom!
Which path will you choose? It really is your decision, your choice. One thing's certain. If you refuse to accept this mind-blowingly, unreasonable loving gift because you want to "do your own thing" or you just don't want to believe it, then you won't be able to blame God for "sending" you to Hell. You'll be there because you chose it!
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