The ONLY way to heaven...

I live in Richmond, VA.

The cities surrounding me are Washington, DC to the north, Charllottesville to the West, Virginia Beach to the East and Petersburg to the South.

Richmond sits at the intersection of I95 and I64. For the sake of argument, lets assume these are the only roads between the cities.

Someone in Petersburg wants to come to Richmond. I tell them the ONLY way is via I95 north. This is the truth.

Another person wants to come to Richmond from Virginia Beach. I tell them, in all honesty, that the only way here is via I64 west.

To reach Richmond, the 3rd and 4th people from Charllottesville and DC must take I64 east and I95 south respectively.

Now consider the following scripture:

John 14:6
Jesus *said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”

Could we not replace the various cities in my example with peoples born into different circumstance where they are culturally influenced to a certain religion?

Could we not replace the interstates with a variety of religions? Could God not tell each person, in his own circumstance, that THIS is the way to Heaven, without invalidating the instructions He gives to others in different circumstances?


Soooo, the only way to get to heaven is on 95 North?

You are presumably positing that Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims simply cannot enter Heaven unless “by Me”, ie. unless they believe that Jesus is the Son of God and rose from the dead.

You are perfectly free to do this. However, you may wish to know that it is called exclusivity.

You may also wish to know that many of them don’t believe you’ll get to Heaven unless you accept their central tenets and, here’s the doozy, are absolutley, positively certain they are as uniquely correct as you say you are.

Takes all sorts.

That is exactly what God did.

Al Qur’an, sura V;48 (translation not mine)

And We have revealed to you the Book with the truth, verifying what is before it of the Book and a guardian over it, therefore judge between them by what Allah has revealed, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to you; for every one of you did We appoint a law and a way, and if Allah had pleased He would have made you (all) a single people, but that He might try you in what He gave you, therefore strive with one another to hasten to virtuous deeds; to Allah is your return, of all (of you), so He will let you know that in which you differed;


My post was answering the OP.

For the other members:

I didn’t think newcrasher’s intention was to claim exclusivity for what Christians believe.
That is why I gave the quote of Al Qur’an, answering his question about the possibility that God’s Message was transmitted and understood differently to and by a variety of people in different times and at different places.
There is no exclusivity possible in worshipping God. Every person who believes in God worships Him in his/her own way. Like every single element of Creation does.



You misread me.

I am specifically saying that God could have instructed me to follow Christ as the way to Heaven, due to my circumstances, but may instruct another to follow Hinduism due to his circumstances.

Just as I would not give people in Virginia Beach the same direction to Richmond as I would give people from DC, could God have given varying instructions to the peoples of the world and they ALL be true and correct?

I am speaking AGAINST the exclusivity I see in so many religions, arguing that possibly, God has given many ways, each the true way to the person who receives it…

It seems a little Christian scripture generates a knne-jerk reaction.

newscrasher, apologies for my misapprehension (although I think most would agree I could hardly be blamed!).

You now appear to be positing that “No one may come to the Father but by me” only applies to those it was told to. To those who didn’t hear it, it was actually “Some may come unto the father by not-me”.

Since I gave all this amphibology up years ago it is probably appropriate if I leave the floor solely to interested Christians.

Incidentally, could He instruct me to follow the course that brings me the most inner peace and awesome wonder at the universe, and suggest that I stop believing in Him?

Not necessarily. I could walk :slight_smile:

I see your point, but they always forget the option of creating one’s own route rather than using any of the existing pathways.

“I was quoted out of context.”

Sound familiar? Whenever a controversy arises, it’s a commonplace for the person about whom it centers to utter this line. Often it’s quite true – by careful misrepresentation, his opponents take his own words to show him as having taken a stance very much opposed to the one he actually held. (Of course, sometimes it’s an attempt to spin, too – the ‘quote out of context’ is very much representative of his views, but it serves as a good excuse.)

Exclusivist evangelical Christians will point to Jesus’s words in John 14:6 to make clear that the only way to salvation is in Christ, by which they normally mean going through the initiation ritual which their particular version of Christianity considers normative: answer an altar call, “accept Christ into your heart,” undergo baptism, or whatever.

So what’s the context?

The quote is found in the Gospel of John, which is at pains to make clear that this is the Son of God, through whom all things were made, co-eternal with the Father, walking the earth as a human being, the son of Mary.

It’s located in Jesus’s discourse at the Last Supper, on the night that He will be betrayed and arrested, the night before He will be crucified.

He’s just sent Judas on an errand, which both He and Judas know will mean that Judas will be going to betray Him. And He speaks of His coming departure and glorification. Peter asks where He’s going, and why they can’t follow Him. He tells them not to let their hearts be troubled; He is going to prepare a place for them, and He will come back to take them with Him. But this trip He must make alone. He is going to the Father, and His followers know the way there.

Thomas says that they don’t know where He’s going, so how can they know the way?

He answers:

Philip then asks Him to show them the Father. Jesus patiently explains that anyone who has seen Him has seen the Father, and the works He has done are the works of the Father; the works themselves are testimony to the fact that He and the Father are one. He goes on to promise the sending of the Holy Spirit, and gets into substantially more theology, with which we need not be concerned in this direct question.

What’s the point? That line is intended to reassure a doubting and questioning disciple, who thinks that he’s failed to grasp some mystical “way” of knowing God that Jesus has been teaching, and that when Jesus “goes away” he will never find the mysterious “way to the Father.”

In context, for Jesus to be making an exclusivist claim at that particular point in time makes absolutely no sense.

Rather, what He’s saying is that finding God is not a matter of some spiritual discipline or esoteric mystical insight, that His disciples in fact do know God through the simple human act of knowing Him – that what He is going to do, and has been doing, is to make clear and fresh the connection, the relationship between God and man.

It’s a reassurance, not a exclusivist claim.

Now, the actual words “No one comes to the Father except by Me” seem to suppose something special about Him. There’s no doubt about that. But we are not talking about answering an altar call and “taking Jay-sus as your personal Lord and Savior” here – this is the active Word of God, the creative force through which the Universe was made, standing there in human form saying these words. He does not need the Rev. Billy Bob Evangelical Hour to connect with people – He’s God the Son. And his purpose was said earlier in the same Gospel:

Whoever believes in a God of love, whoever tries to honor God and his fellow man by how he lives his life, whoever cries out to God in crisis and despair – he is seeking after the real and compassionate God – and Jesus Christ is a Person in that Godhead, and hears and loves him.

So to put it quickly “many paths one destination?”

Judging from my experiences driving on the Washington Beltway, you’ll certainly get there faster that way…

Well, I don’t belive Jesus was “a person in that Godhead” so I don’t believe “Jesus saves”. I don’t need a “saviour”. I’m responsible for my own deeds.

This can bring up the question:

How come Christians seem to refuse to take responsibility for their own deeds? They need “Jesus” to “die for the sins of mankind” to feel “saved”.

Answer: I’m sorry, but to me this whole doctrine is one great “making one feeling guilty”.

To make you understand what I mean by that, I’ll pust is very simplistic and black/white:

1.Guilty of a sin committed by the first woman = guilty before birth.
2.Guilty of the fact thad God had to create some human son in order to die because God couldn’t find the mercy to forgive that first sin. (???)
3.Guilty still of that same sin which needs baptism to be neutralized, thus leading to the conclusion that even after God killed his own son in a most horrible way, he still can’t forgive that first sin. (???)
4.Guilty of sins committed during lifetime, but lucky for the Chrsitians there is Jesus who acts as intermediate in order to bring God so far that he forgives them (finally). However that leads to the conclusion that God still doesn’t have enough mercy to forgive sins if Jesus doesn’t interfere.

Yet all of this brings up the next question:

If Jesus IS God, then why does he have to “interfere” with himself and why did he have to die to bring himself to forgive sins?

I’m sorry, but if you try to explain all of this - in an attempt to make it sound logical - to someone who has never heard of all these complications before, you are taken for some kind of mysterious (and a bit scary) person who likes to make the most simple things utterly complicated.
And then we don’t even touch the utterly complicated 3 in 1 Trinity question and the never really answered Christology discussion.


Hmmmm. Anyone mind a little proselytizing?

Here’s what I think.

Religions and their founders use tricks. Tricks, as in tricks on the mind.

Tbe mind is under the control of what some refer to as the parasite. The parasite feeds off of negative emotions-fears, anger, jealously, etc. Tricks were required as teaching methods because the parasite is crafty and extremely clever. It has a vested interest in keeping us in a state of ignorance.

Through domestication and society this parasite changes the perfect being that we all were at one time into a fear based being.

Jesus, Krishna, and Buddha were well aware of this. But it ain’t so easy to change people’s way of thinking/acting/believing. Buddha said that with our thoughts we make the world. That our desires (thoughts) are the source of all unhappiness.

God is thus spoken/referred to as some sort of entity outside of us. Heaven/hell are places outside of us that we strive to attain. When, in fact, heaven or hell is here and now. Jesus and others used teaching methods to try and get us to quit thinking about ourselves. The aim, and here’s the crux, is to tap into god, love, and the happiness that is actually right within ourselves and is not external at all. The aforementioned teachers had awakened to this universal truth.

O.K. That’s my .02 worth.

Yes, what GREY said!

After many years of searching (after being raised fundimentalist) I finally found a church home at Unity (not Unitarian). Unity believes ALL paths lead to God!

When I attended my first service there, they sang a song of affirmation that really touched my heart:

We are all friends here
There are no strangers once you walk inside our door
We welcome you to linger in our family of love
And we’ll hold you in our hearts the way you are

All this in a little redneck town. Our pastor is an openly gay man and I understand more than half the pastors at Unity are women.

Oh happy Days!!

Jesus isn’t the “way” in the sense of a road, but the “way” ([symbol]odos[/symbol]) in the sense of a journey. He is every road that is travelled toward God. And He is the destination as well. With God, the journey and the destination are one and the same — such is the nature of eternity.

(Hi Lib, good to seeya.)

(well-meaning 2-line highjack:)

Lib, I’d be most interested in your comments on my contribution to the “ultimate goal of your ideology” thread.