There is no other way – Part 1
Many people today accept a number of misconceptions about Christianity, with the result that they never respond to Jesus as He really is. They say “It doesn’t matter what you believe, all religions are basically the same” (Syncretism).
Peter the apostle describes the exclusiveness of Christianity by claiming that “there is no other name” that can save (Acts 4:12) “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under the heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
Many people react negatively to the fact that there is no other name than that of Jesus to call on for salvation. Yet, this is not something the church decided; it is the specific teaching of Jesus Himself (John 14:6). If God designated Jesus to be the Saviour of the world, no one else can be His equal. Christians are to be open-minded on many issues, but not on how we are saved from sin. No other religious teacher could die for our sins, no other religious teacher rose from the dead. Our focus should be on Jesus, whom God offered as the way to have an eternal relationship with Himself. There is no other name or way!
That doesn’t play well in our pluralistic society, where tolerance is a chief virtue. Indeed, many people feel that an exclusive commitment to any one religious system is pointless, since they assume that all religions are basically the same. Most of us would never apply such reasoning to any other realm of life. Imagine a student saying, “It doesn’t matter what answer I give in algebra, Latin, history, or geography. They all come to the same thing in the end.” It is like standing in a railway station to board the train to your destination—e.g. Lagos. You decide to take any of the trains going to other places e.g. Calabar, Kano etc. and you convince yourself that it really doesn’t matter which train you take, because any of the trains will eventually get to Lagos! Why the self-deception?
So, why do many people apply the same shaky reasoning to religion? Perhaps one motivation is the strong desire to see everyone getting along in our global village. Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism—all kinds of faiths drive the people of the world. If one system claims exclusivity, it’s bound to create hostility among the others. But the fact is religion is already one of the greatest sources there is of national and international conflicts, which seems incredibly odd, if “all religions are basically the same.” Obviously they are not.
Another reason people accept this myth is because they think faith itself is what really matters. One can believe in anything, they reason, as long as one believes in something. But they misunderstand faith. Faith is only as good as the object in which it is placed. Like a rope, it matters enormously what one attaches it to. One can believe in anything, but not just anything will reward one’s commitment. Only what is true!
A third reason people adopt the all-religions-are-the-same line of thinking is that it helps them avoid a decision. If all religions are the same, they don’t have to choose any one. In other words, they can avoid religion altogether. How convenient!
But they are committing themselves to a deception. The assumption that we are all looking for God and will find Him in the end is false both to the nature of people and to the nature of God.
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