Friday, June 29, 2007

Do All Religions Lead To God?

A church not far from my home advertises this Sunday’s sermon: “Do all religions lead to God?” I think it is safe to assume that the pastor’s sermon this Sunday will assure his flock that there is only one way to the Father and that is through the Son. Is he right?

Yes, he is. Christianity is a system of thought that leads to a clear end point: realizing the Christian god. If you define God as the Christian god then there is only one way to get to him, and that is through the proper brand of Christianity.

Of course the same logic applies to every other religion. Given the assumptions each religion makes the conclusions each draws happen (surprise, surprise) to support those very assumptions.

Judaism proves that the Jews are God’s Chosen. What else would it prove? Islam proves that the Koran is the only uncorrupted revelation from God. What would you expect it to say? Those who worship Krishna find that their faith proves the holiness of the Gita. Are you surprised by this?

Religions are brands, just like Camel, Coke, and Lexus. Each one argues that it is the best in its category. Can you imagine a church marquee announcing, “If Christ Can’t Help You, Give Krishna a Call.” Or how about a synagogue bulletin with the headline: “Not Feeling Chosen? Tried Feeling Saved.”

In the old days you could be executed for saying things like this. In some places you still can.

So, if I am right, my neighborhood pastor will tell his flock that Christianity is the only way to God. The answer is so obvious that I hope most of his parishioners stay home. They won’t though. Why? Because we love being told we are right, especially when the consequence for being wrong is eternal torment in the fires of Hell.

At the rest of my tomorrow being even hotter than today (is Hell a dry heat?) let me say quite simply that no religion leads to God. The only thing a religion leads you to is itself. Christianity leads you to Jesus, Islam leads you to Allah, Judaism leads you to Yahweh, Hinduism leads you to Krishna or Brahman, etc. God has nothing to do with any of this.

God is what is. And what is is right here and now. To be led to God implies that God isn’t already here. You can’t be led to God or away from God because God is all there is. It is like trying to find yourself. Who is doing the looking?

You can, however, be misled into thinking otherwise. You can be frightened into spending thousands of hours and thousands of dollars searching for That Which cannot be lost. And that religion does quite well.

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