Are There Many Paths To God?
Last week in our GodQuest message series, we asked the question “Who Is Jesus?” The evidence determined that Jesus was either a liar, a lunatic or Lord, that is the Son of God. The evidence does not permit the answer that Jesus was merely a good teacher. Based on all the evidence, we came to the conclusion that Jesus was indeed the Son of God, God in human flesh.
Since Jesus is the Son of God, the teaching of Christianity has always been that Jesus is the only path to God. Peter speaking of Jesus said that
Acts 4:12 (NIV) Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”
Peter is clearly convinced that Jesus was the only way to be saved and have a relationship with God. If Jesus is the only path to God, then what of all the other religions? What of sincere believers in Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism, Islam? According to Acts 4:12, there can be no salvation in these other religions that do not teach the truth about Jesus Christ. The teaching that Jesus is the only path to God has been labeled exclusive, intolerant or arrogant by many in today’s culture.
Rabbi Schmuley Boteach is quoted as saying, “I am absolutely against any religion that says that one faith is superior to another. I don’t see how that is anything different than spiritual racism. It’s a way of saying that we are closer to God than you, and that’s what leads to hatred.”
What are we to make of such an argument? On the surface it may appear to make sense, but let’s examine it a bit closer. Rabbi Boteach says “I am absolutely against any religion that says that one faith is superior to another.” Actually, that is an exclusive and intolerant statement, isn’t it. The rabbi is intolerant of any religion that does not accept all others.
All truth is exclusive. Let’s take a simple math equation: 2 + 2 = 4. If we accept this equation as true, that there are a whole lot of other equations that are false. 2 + 2 ≠ 5 or 6 of 25 or 100.
The fact is that all religions claim to speak the truth and are exclusive. Muslims radically claim exclusivity. Buddhism was born out of a rejection of certain elements of Hinduism. Hinduism is tolerant, only as long as you hold to their view that all religions blend together.
We see much Eastern or Hindu-type thought in our culture today. Let’s go back to our math equation. The tolerant or Hindu mindset would say 2 + 2 can equal whatever you want it to, 25 or 100 or 1000. However, you cannot say that 2 + 2 = only 4, for that leads to mathematical racism and hatred in the language of Rabbi Boteach.
Hopefully, you can see the foolishness of that position. We intuitively know that there is something called truth. We know that 2 + 2 = only 4. And as we will see today, there is unchangeable spiritual truth as well.
When you know the truth, you also know that everything else is false. That’s not intolerant, that’s not being exclusive, it’s simply having the wisdom to recognize truth. To better answer the question “Are There Many Paths to God?” let’s look to Jesus’ words.
Listen to or watch my November 6, 2011 message Are There Many Paths To God?