default_mobilelogo

Are All Religions Created Equal

About eight years ago, I was asked to conduct the funeral service for a line-of-duty death my fire department suffered.  One of our United States Senators was in attendance.  He was sitting up front with the Lieutenant Governor and several other dignitaries.  As I was giving the sermon, I couldn’t help but notice him dozing off.  He stood out because the hundreds of firefighters and others present were all listening attentively.  I don’t blame him.  He keeps an exhausting schedule, including faithfully showing up to pay his respects when anything happens to a first responder or member of the military from our State.

Toward the end of the sermon, as I’m in the habit of doing, I gave what people often refer to as a Gospel “invitation”.  After explaining that Jesus died to save us and it’s only through faith in Him that we can have eternal life, I invited people to put their trust in Him. 

As soon as I began talking about Jesus as the Way, the Senator’s head shot up, snapping to attention.  He gave me a shocked look, as if to say: “Wait, what?”  Clearly, he wasn’t used to hearing this at the memorial services he attends.  And, although I can’t read his mind and say for sure, he didn’t seem happy about it.  He looked perturbed. 

I can understand why.  Saying Jesus is the only way is offensive. 

Like many in our culture, I really, really wish there were many ways to God.  I really, really like the idea that the major world religions are all created equal.  I really, really prefer to believe that they’re just different paths to the same God.  Not only is this more appealing logically, it’s far more tolerant and inclusive.  It’s far more consistent with the radical inclusiveness Jesus shows in the Gospels.  It’s far more Jesus-y!

But, as radically inclusive as Jesus was in every other way, He also made it unequivocally clear that He is they only way to salvation, to eternal life.  

When I first heard this message, I was just as shocked and offended as our Senator.  “Wait, what?”, I thought to myself.  “Why did Jesus, the embodiment of unconditional love, the one who most clearly taught that eternal life consists in loving God and loving others, say He was the only way?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Why wouldn’t any member of any religion—or no religion at all—who loves God and loves others, be saved?”

I loved watching Michael Jordan play basketball.  In fact, he was the only reason I followed the NBA.  I know a lot about Michael Jordan, his six championship runs and so forth.  But, obviously, I don’t know Michael Jordan, not personally.  I’m not friends with him.  Because I don’t know him in this kind of first-hand, close, personal way, I can admire him from a distance.  But I can’t say I truly love him, as a friend, as a person. 

Jesus claimed to be God incarnate.  If this is right, then Jesus alone gives us first-hand knowledge of God.  He reveals God to us in the only way we can love Him, personally.  The other religions, though containing many elements of Truth, necessarily, therefore, are only able to give us a kind of distant, second-hand knowledge of God. 

Yes, the way to salvation is by loving God.  But the only way we can truly love God—in a close, personal, first-hand way—is through Jesus.  By knowing Him.

So, as I asked those attending that funeral, do you know Him?  Really know Him?

Are you offended by the claim that Jesus is the only way to salvation?  Tell me what you think by going to the “Contact E.J.” page of the Raising Jesus website and leaving your comments there.  Also, please “Like” our Facebook page and Subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Thank you for all your support!

 

About Me

E.J. Sweeney is a true skeptic. He needs to see to believe. Hard Evidence. Compelling Proof. Solid Logic. This is what he believes in. In college, he encountered questions that the superficial faith he was raised on couldn’t handle. So he began a quest for Truth, a quest for the answers to life’s ultimate questions.

EJ Sweeney

Read More