Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Do You Know the Way?

Christianity has long taken hit after hit for its “exclusivist” “narrow” “exclusionary” and for the dumbest of atheists, what they call our “arrogant” views on salvation. The clearest verse that draws these attacks is Jesus’ comment, “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”

Oh how people wail and moan and flail their arms about over that one verse. You’d think a root-canal without freezing was being done on them. The way they go on and on about all the good people in the world who will miss out on salvation because Jesus says that He is the only way to God, borders on the ridiculous.

The thing is, if that’s how you see the situation , I think you’re seeing it wrong. This was pointed out by our Bible Discovery teacher on Sunday. Here’s the thing, the fact that there exists ANY route by which God can and will accept us into His presence is amazing. We who are sinful to the core, we who from conception exist in rebellion to our Creator, we who in arrogance believe that we don’t need our Creator for every heartbeat, for every breath, we who, again, arrogantly think that we can be good enough to be good enough for Heaven, well, we should not ever expect that our Creator would allow any of us into His presence.

We are the ones who allow thousands upon thousands of children to starve to death every year. We are the ones who allow thousands upon thousands of children to be sold into sexual slavery every year. We are the ones who force children to go through life permanently wounded because of abuse, neglect and divorce. We are the ones who are destroying this jewel of a planet. We are the ones who destroy millions through war and man-made famine and floods. We are the ones who watch murder, and adultery and lying as entertainment and then wonder why our societies are so violent and corrupt. We are the ones who place beauty, education and money ahead of integrity, kindness and love.

God tried to protect the human race from knowing anything at all about evil and death. We didn’t believe Him. We took matters into our own hands and from that moment on everything on earth became prone to death, decay and destruction. Everything is fatally flawed. All things are cursed. Even the earth itself, the Bible says, “will wear out like an old rag.” Who would have dreamed, thousands of years ago to write in this, what atheists derisively call a Bronze Age Book, that the earth would ever run out of anything?

The good news is, God has provided a way, at His own expense so what we can be forgiven, our guilt can be removed and we can spend eternity in paradise, i.e., in the very presence of our Creator. In reality, no other religion or philosophy is as inclusive and humble as Christianity. In Christianity, the playing field is absolutely level.

God has provided a way - ONE WAY - that we might be redeemed. Rather than having a hissy-fit over there being just one way to solve our problem, I’d think we should be happy that there is any way at all. Jesus who is God has taken the guess-work out of our relationship with our Creator. We don’t have to wonder if we’re good enough, if we’ve done enough, if we’ve given enough, if we’ve been kind enough or humble enough. We don’t have to wonder if we’ve offered enough of ourselves to appease an angry god as is the case in ALL other religions. God has done everything possible to not only give us choice in our lives (which makes possible the reality of real love), He has made it possible to cancel the consequences of misusing that freedom of choice. Jesus says to all of us who are lost, “Come! Come to Me and I will give you rest for your souls. You don’t have to guess behind which door you’ll find salvation. I’ve opened the One and Only door and I’ll hold it open for you until every last person who is going to accept my offer has made it safely home. All you have to do is come to Me.”

Just how dumb or stubborn, or rebellious does someone have to be to turn down this offer?


PersonalFailure said...

God tried to protect the human race from knowing anything at all about evil and death.There's two problems with that. If you have good translation of the Old Testament, the name of the tree was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. By your logic, God tried to prevent us from knowing good as well as evil.

The other problem with the whole story is this: according to Genesis, Adam (a Jewish word meaning "mankind", btw) and Eve were all of one day old, and had no knowledge.

Telling those two "don't touch the easily accessible, and tasty looking, fruit or you'll die" would be like me telling my dog "don't eat the chicken bones or they could perforate your intestines and you'll bleed to death." My dog is ignorant, doesn't speak English and finds chicken bones irresistible. Far better for me to remove temptation altogether- if I like my dog, that is.

Makarios said...

Hmm, I find you interesting, Failure. I'm not sure why just yet, but I do.

Anyhow, since we're not allowed to agree on anything, ". . . name of the tree was the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil." is almost a good point. I think it makes the most sense though in that it was a tree (action) that will allow you to know the difference that exists between good and evil.

As to the rest, we don't know how long they had lived and there is no reason to think that they hadn't been warned. Even if they hadn't however, the point is trust, is it not. I trust my wife enough that if she yells, phone 911, I won't go and find out why she's telling me to do that. With no evidence to think otherwise, Adam and Eve could have and should have trusted their Creator. They didn't and the rest is history.

Ian said...

This is what happens when the Federal Government declines to spend money on education in this country. People start believing in magical sky-fairies that watch every move they make, as if they were the most important thing in the universe.

The reality is this: There is no god, there are no demons, angels, there is no heaven or hell. We are a sub-microscopic dot in this universe.

And before you say "Well, how can we have morality without god?" allow me to explain. Morality does not come from the bible, or god. We are a social species. We developed these morals (don't kill people, etc.) in order to ensure the propagation of the species.

And allow me to answer your other inevitable argument, the whole "Without god, there is no purpose in life. What a bleak way to look at the world!"

It is not a bleak way to look at the world. In fact, I think it's less bleak than belief in a magical sky-fairy who will throw you into the pits of hell for all eternity if you don't do exactly what he wants you to do. Living under that constant threat is bleak, in my opinion.

As an atheist, I have morals. I don't hurt people. I treat others as I would have them treat me. I love life. I love people. The only difference between us is that I believe in one less god than you do.

Makarios said...

Wow! You are a really good man Ian. And humble too. Good luck.