Other Religions

YouAskedForIt

One of the topics that we were asked to address was "Other Religions." I'm not an expert on other religions, nor am I qualified to point out the strengths and weaknesses of their doctrines. The amount of information that I would need to research would be too much, and I'm afraid I would not be able to go deep enough to do them justice.

The topic that was submitted was not in a form of a question - just the words: "Other Religions." So, I'm not sure what aspect of "other religions" I should address. So, I must apologize - I may not be covering the very topic that the questioner had in mind.

I'm sure the submission was in good heart and out of pure curiosity, but I'd like to take the liberty to re-form this topic into a question with an underlying tone of arrogance (again, I can't emphasize enough that this wasn't the intent of the questioner). So, if you would indulge me in my rant for the next few paragraphs, I'd like to address the question of "Can you tell me why Christianity is better than other religions?"

The reason I'm posing such a negative question is not a reflection on our church. Rather, this comes from a deeply-rooted discontent in my heart that arises every time I come across a Christian who feels that their mission is to argue people into the kingdom.

One of my pet peeves is the characterization that Christianity receives from the media. We live in a world where truth has very little weight anymore. In the post-modern world, everybody has an the ability to sound like an expert in whatever field they can google. If you have an internet connection, you can make an "expert" statement that comes from five minutes of online research, and if you get enough reposts and likes, it must be true. In the last decade or so, we have used this method to make up our minds about politicians, celebrities, and the church.

The "truth" that is accepted by the public about our faith is a very shallow description of a satire. The loudest and most conservative voice in the media is what our reputation is founded on. When atheists clown Christianity by quoting our Scriptures out of context and pick out an examples of the worst kind of Christian chaos from history (the crusades, the Salem witch hunt, etc.) to prove that either a) God is not good or b) God does not exist, I am tempted and inclined to say, "I agree. I don't believe in that god either."

What I'm trying to say is, I would hate to do the same for the other faith groups (and atheists). Sure, I believe that Jesus is the only way, but my conviction to rest in this truth is not founded in believing that the other religious groups are destructive, hypocritical, or founded in falsehood. Do we need to stereotypically characterize Muslims as terrorists to believe that we made the right choice to follow Jesus? Do we need proof that atheists have less of a purpose in life to validate my faith? I sure hope not.

I have said many times that Christianity is not a religion. A religion consists of humanity reaching out to a divine being for some kind of special favor. Christianity is different - central and unique to Christianity is the amazing fact that God reached out to us and emptied Himself. We are not a religion. We are a relationship. Our foundation is not doctrine, but a very powerful conviction about love.

If you have ever had a loving relationship with another person, you know that the bond you share is not based on comparing that person to someone else. You would also know how incredibly rude it would be for you to stereotype another person.

We should continue to pray for those who are not in relationship with our God, but our desire for them to connect with Jesus does not give us the right to label and belittle what they currently believe. Wouldn't it be great if Christians had the reputation of being the light of the world?

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Kats Omine

Kats Omine