“After all, everyone is going to heaven.”
Great to see you recently. When you were here, I mentioned my Egyptian roommate Said, who married a young lady who was a Catholic. Said was a wonderful friend, and we had a great time together. Here is a little more to that conversation. I mentioned that their wedding ceremony was conducted by a Catholic priest and Muslim Iman.
What they shared was religious liberalism – the notion that different people come out of different religious traditions, but that all worship the same God, and that we all go to heaven. Not only does religious liberalism (which is different from political liberalism) deny the fundamental beliefs of each of the religions it “embraces”, but it uses a Christian view of heaven, when other religions have widely differing perspectives on what happens when we die.
In contrast to this perspective (that Christianity is merely a tradition), Jesus stated “I am the way, the truth, and the light; no one comes to the Father except through Me,” John 14:6. This claim to exclusivity is a stumbling block to many people in this modern era, because it denies the validity of other religions and philosophies. It would be inappropriate to say Jesus was a great teacher but a little misguided. Either Jesus was a blatant liar and fraud, or he was telling the truth. If Jesus was fake, we should be all against him. If He is real, we should be all for Him.
In contrast to other religions, which are attempts to reach God (or create god in their own image), only Christianity offers a relationship with the sovereign, living God of the universe. It is only in this relationship can we truly be free; free of the constraints of religious (and secular) traditions, free of sin (when we repent), and free to be all that we were created to be. And our Lord wants to be with us: “I am with you always, even to the very ends of the earth.”
By the way, I don’t expect to you to agree with me. I don’t think a person can come to their own belief system until they critique how they were raised, and consider alternative belief systems. (Much to the consternation of my family, I was a Marxist for a time). I also don’t think a person is truly educated until they can discuss an issue from at least two different perspectives. Each of us is on a personal journey – a great adventure, and we can learn from each other, as we learn from other people along the way. I do ask that you listen to me, and consider what I share with you, as I listen and consider what you share with me.