LWAYG: Religious Tolerance

Many people believe that all religions are ultimately the same because they all teach you to love your neighbor as yourself.  If you want a clear example of this, take a look at this video: Religious Tolerance: The Golden Rule.

However, just because different religions all share a version of the Golden Rule, that doesn’t make them the same.  Saying this makes all religions the same it extremely disrespectful and negligent since this basically finds a “Lowest Common Denominator” between the different faiths and intentionally ignores everything else that is different.  If we would not treat other cultures that way (afterall, all cultures have a version of marriage and basic community laws… so can’t we say all cultures are the same?), then why would we treat religion this way unless there’s a hidden agenda?

I came across the following video about the high school in Modesto, CA.

I know that some people might say that teaching our kids about other religions might tempt them to leave their Christian faith to follow Buddhism or some other faith.  I believe that God is not afraid of religious education, we just need to be wise about it.  The more I learn about other religions and the more I read and listen to people who I disagree with the more I find myself growing in my faith as a Christian.

Ultimately, all other religions are a matter of working your way into Heaven (except for biblical Judaism).  Christianity is a religion of faith: we are not “saved” and made children of God because we are good or because we have done certain things.  We are adopted as God’s children because we have placed our lives under the rule of Jesus Christ (aka: we’re trusting Jesus and have put our faith in Him).  Other religions say DO; Christianity says DONE.

I wish I had time to share thoughts on each of the major religions, but I simply don’t have the time right now.  What I do want to emphasize is the religion of most people today: Moralistic Therapeutic Deism.  MTD teaches:

  1. God created the world and watches over human life.
  2. God wants people to be nice and good and fair to each other.
  3. God wants people to be happy and to feel good about themselves.
  4. God isn’t actively involved in the world very much and doesn’t force himself on anyone.
  5. Good people go to heaven when they die.

This isn’t one of the “World Religions” that is taught formally anywhere, but I think most of us can see aspects of this in ourselves.  Not all of that is bad, some aspects of each of these five points of MTD are true, but believing all of these completely is an absolute disregard of what the Bible teaches.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6

But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few will find it. Matthew 7:14

For there is one God and one mediator between man and God, the man Jesus Christ. 1 Timothy 2:5

These are pretty clear statements denying that all “good” people go to heaven.  There’s no way around it: Christianity is an exclusive religion in many ways.  Everyone is invited, but only those who place their faith in Jesus Christ and repent of their sins will be saved.

Here’s my point: Know what you believe and know what the Bible teaches… but listen to other people too.  Listen to them in order to learn more about your faith in Christ through them, not just to debate or to prove them wrong.  Respectfully discuss theology and faith and spirituality with people.  Don’t be afraid to confess your exclusive faith in Jesus Christ or to disagree with the other person’s viewpoint, but don’t be afraid to actually listen to the person you’re speaking with either.

One thought on “LWAYG: Religious Tolerance

  1. tinaf07 December 15, 2010 / 5:02 pm

    Hi, I read this post and like that it gives advice to be an open minded Christian. Unfortunately mainstream media and public institutions don’t reciprocate open minded religious and political discussions. It’s “don’t force your religion on me” out there. It’s even worse in other nations that have laws banning Christianity. The bible states that we are in spiritual warfare and the kingdom of darkness is always on the move. I think it’s best we recognize this as “soldiers for Christ” and speak of his message with boldness and live out the word. Talk is cheap but Jesus said it best: Those who follow wisdom PROVE that it is right.

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