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Christianity – the ONLY way? September 20, 2005

Posted by roopster in Bible, Christianity, faith, God, Jesus, Religion, spirituality, Theology.
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Back the the 80’s there was a very popular Christian song sang by the Imperials entitled “Oh Buddha.” In today’s world, this song would be politically incorrect. I’ve been in Christian circles where it was ok to be cocky and condescending to other religions, cultures, and even other Christians who may differ in beliefs. At the core, this attitude seem to be against the principles of love, tolerance, and kindness.

If you’ve never heard the song I referenced, here’s the lyrics:

OH BUDDHA
Words and Music by Mark Farrow

Well old Buddha was a man
And I’m sure that he meant well
But I pray for his disciples
Lest they wind up in hell.
And I’m sure that old Mohammed
Thought he knew the way
But it won’t be Hare Krishna
We stand before on that judgement day

(Chorus)
No it won’t be old Buddha
That’s sitting on the throne
And it won’t be old Mohammed
That’s calling us home.
And it won’t be Hare Krishna
That plays that trumpet tune
And we’re going to see the Son
Not Reverend Moon.

Well, I don’t hate anybody
So please don’t take me wrong
But there really is a message in this simple song
You see there’s only one way Jesus
If eternal life is your goal
And meditation of the mind
It won’t save your soul.

(Repeat Chorus)

Well, you can call yourself a Baptist
And not be born again
A Presbyterian or a Methodist
And still die in your sin
You can even be Charismatic
Shout and dance and jump a pew
But if you hate your brother
You won’t be one of the chosen few.

‘Cause it won’t be a Baptist
That’s sitting on the throne
A Presbyterian or a Methodist
That’s calling us home
And it won’t be a Charismatic
That plays that trumpet tune
So let’s all just live for Jesus
Because He’s coming back real soon.

(Repeat Chorus)

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Comments»

1. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - August 6, 2005

Self-righteous: Righteous in one’s own esteem; pharisaic.

I once attending services at an “Independent” Baptist church. While there, I was grouped with the young singles (which was strange, because I was 26, and the next oldest person was 19, with the rest in high school). There was a fellow there, new to the protestant faith, who was struggling with his own religious/spiritual identity. I would often sit with him, and talk with him. Most of the time, just listening to him, and helping him help himself was what he needed. After about a month or so, after Sunday services, I was walking toward the door, when one the “elder” church members took me aside. She proceeded to bestow accolades upon me for my efforts to help the struggling youth. And then she spoke a comment that I’ll never forget. She said, “Well, you know he really needs help, because he used to be Catholic, and his father and mother are alcoholics.” I was really taken back by this statement. I never knew this about him, nor saw how it would’ve mattered anyway. He evidently didn’t feel the need to bring it up, and it had no relevance to our discussions. What a self-righteous piece of trash she was. I replied to her, “You know, I believe there’s room in heaven for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, and all sorts others.” She just looked at puzzled. I walked out the door, and never returned.

This is all water under the bridge to me now though.

I think the biggest obstacle, the craftiest villian, the most cancerous affliction to the Christian church today are the Christians. But what does this matter really? When the lights go out on your final goodnight, it’s over. There is nothing more.

2. MMM - August 7, 2005

Jesus Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and no man cometh to the Father except by Me.”Exclusionist, or truth? Belief in Man is not gonna get us to the Son. The Son Himself has said so. You believe Him, or not?What’s the matter with following Jesus? What’s the matter with absolutely refusing to follow anyone else? Dont’ we trust Him to lead us, or does He have to be channeled through a Reverend or a Network or a “belief system”?I thought Jesus was God. If He’s the Source, why bother with the middleman? He’s the MiddleMan all by Himself. Does that make Him self righteous, or just Righteousness of God?It may sound self righteous on its face, but so did Jesus, and He was.He was Self Righteous. He believed in God, His Father, who made Him what He is. Why do you think He was slain?

3. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - August 7, 2005

mmm,

Like all things, some people are well-meaning and sincere with their beliefs, customs, and traditions. They don’t intentionally attempt to offend others, and their preferences. I think, though, that there are some Xns. that start with the “confidence” and “assurance” of their belief, but then turn it into “arrogance” and “pretention.” Not all, but some. Unfortunately, those on the outside of this can be dillusioned and confused by it, and affect their own faith. Thus some turn away. Yes, by Xn. standards, they have put their faith in man and not rested on the assurance of their salvation and belief through JC. Human nature, being what it is, still runs its course.

I respect your dedication to your own belief system and faith in it. I don’t particularly subscribe to it (maybe this will change in the future?), but I know full well the power of faith (no matter what it’s based upon).

4. Zoe - August 9, 2005

“At the core, this attitude seem to be against the principles of love, tolerance, and kindness.”

Ah yes, but…having once been of that mind-set & belief I can tell you that we justified ourselves by saying that our message & warnings about “hell” were loving. To warn the heathens, the non-believers was seen as the most loving thing one could/should do. You/we didn’t/don’t want anyone to burn in hell…right?

5. MMM - August 15, 2005

Christianity..the only way.No, it’s belief in God and His son who died to save one that is the only way. Look it up in the Bible if you don’t believe me. I could care less which church one goes to, I could care less how one identifies one’s beliefs.A friend of mine said, “Jesus died for f**d up people. Like me.”And that’s how I see it too. Christianity is something people thought up as a label. If God’s on the inside of you, He’s perfectly capable of identifying you all by Himself. He identifies you in two ways: He’s written you on His palm, and He’s written you in the Book of Life.Oh, and a bonus? He shines through you. So, the conclusion of the whole matter is: God knows me. God loves me. And I love and choose to serve Him.Label that what you will.

6. Anonymous - August 17, 2005

Jesus Christ says “I am THE way and THE truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6–For the young person who misinterpreted someones comments about alcoholic Catholic parents, the truth in John 14:6 does not change. I might argue that knowing your friends’ background is important and to underestimate the scars that may have been rendered on that persons heart (with alcohol often comes abuse) might give insight into their deepest needs. To judge is to be judged, even if that is to judge someone else as being self-righteous. Because a Christian is imperfect is exactly why we are reliant on Christ’s perfection and gift to us in not just His death but in His resurection and defeat of death. You are correct in saying there is room in Heaven for Catholics, Protestants, Jews, etc., so long as they accept and believe that JC died for them and that only by His blood can our sin, which separates us from a Holy God, be covered over, so that we can eternally enter His presence.
“faith” without foundation is worthless. I may have every bit of faith that I will never die…however, experiential truth tells us that that is completely unfounded. Faith in something promised and delivered…peace, joy (not to be mistaken for simple happiness which is transient and fluctuating) and above all a clear conscience…my experience with that says JC IS the only way.
When I was fifteen I argued with my Dad because I thought I was right about something…the hardest thing for me to do was admit I’d miscalculated and not considered the problem at hand deep enough…it humbled me, but then, once I was to that point I was correct, truly correctly. Don’t let anything get in the way of deeply studying and considering the truths of JC…disprove it yourself, logically, methodically…I challenge you.

pc

7. Denes de Sainte-Claire (Baron Del) - August 17, 2005

I do NOT believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ. At one time, I did, but after much personal growth, I can no longer pretend to have this delusion. Personally, I view most people with acceptance and peace, but Christianity is a farce. Quoting biblical passages hold no substance to me, nor do alleged “experiences” and such. But who knows, maybe one day I’ll change my tone. Maybe what I perceive as truth today, will be false tomorrow, and vice versa. We all walk in our own footsteps. So “to thine own self be true.”

8. Anonymous - August 24, 2005

YAWN!
|-O

9. Unregulated Female - August 24, 2005

Why do we have to define our spiritual journey? If you pray this prayer just this way, then you are a christian. I don’t believe this statement anymore. heretical? Maybe so. I really cannot walk around blinded by one particular denomination or church group or faith. When God is “defined” then we can control God. I don’t buy into the belief that God only has certain special ones. It implies if I am of the special camp, then I can do or say whatever I want to those who are outside the special camp. Just not Gospel.

10. Anonymous - August 26, 2005

Where has the moderator/author gone?

11. Roopster - August 26, 2005

Anonymous,

I’m here…. I’ve just been really busy lately. Hopefully things will slow down soon…

Paul

12. Anonymous - December 17, 2005

Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the light, and no man cometh to the father except by me” My sister and I who were raised in a non-denomination (evangelical) Christian church have debated this statement multiple times. We feel as though Jesus may not have meant for this to be taken so literally. We feel he is the ultimate example of a masterful life, and therefore his way is the perfect way (especially when you compare it to the piety and heretical nature of the pharasies). His truth was the truth (the we like him are sons and daughters of GOD), and his light was is the light of God that shines in us all regardless of whether we are aware of it or not. What MMM typed and what we read is an English interpretation of something written in either Hebrew or Greek. It understood by those who are by lingual that many ideas are lost in translation. I won’t debate that those words are perhaps the closest interpretation of what was orginally said, but those who have inquiring and seeking minds understand that Jesus never put pen to paper, and that the accounts of his life were not written until 100 years after his death. That leaves a ton of room for error. Everyone’s played the telephone game. A simple phrase will usually take a somewhat different form just as it’s beeing passed around a room, let alone a hundred years. I think the message of Christ was to find God within yourself. MMM, I applaud your faith, but it can be very exclusionist. Sin seperates us from a Holy God. Where is the unholy God that created sin? If God is the beginning and the end, omnipresent, and omnicient, how could he unintentionally allow the creation of sin? Also, anyone every wonder why Jesus is refered to as both the Son of God and the Son of Man?

13. DC - January 12, 2006

It is a common misconception that Protestants believe Catholics in general won’t go to heaven. The concern of Protestants is when Catholic churches focus on Catholic tradition to the exclusion of the Gospel. This may result in the failure of the church to teach that salvation results exclusively from having a personal relationship with Jesus. This comes by making a conscious decision to give your life to him, acknowledging that you are a sinner and Jesus is the only Savior, and praying and asking forgiveness for your sins. Salvation cannot be achieved by any rite of the Catholic church, the Baptist church or any other. If a church fails to teach this, then it should not be called a Christian church. When you encounter a judgemental Christian, consider that they are in the best place to find forgiveness for their sin, church. Regarding the comment by Anon on Dec 17, God didn’t create sin, he created free will. He chose not to create us as forced worshippers, but gives us a choice. I take comfort in knowing that most of you know the truth even as you argue the liberal ‘who can really know
God’ spiel and will turn to Jesus in the end. It’s those who reject Jesus and don’t have another opportunity to make it right before their time comes unexpectedly that I worry about. God doesn’t want any of his children to perish and most Christians feel the same way. That is why we pray daily for the lost. We can’t blame God, saying a loving God wouldn’t let good people go to hell. Even the best people have sinned and that sin requires atonement. If you reject the one who paid the price for your sin, can you really expect God to welcome you into heaven?

14. Thinking Ape - March 20, 2007

Haha, right on the Imperials or whatever their name was – my mom loved them (wasn’t that more like the late 70’s?)

I couldn’t believe when I heard that song – if only for the political incorrectness. I don’t know whether the song was meant to be intolerant or what not since I wasn’t even born when it came out (if it was the 70’s). I think we have to be careful when making anachronistic judgments. I wonder how history will judge how future “liberals” will see our current liberal movement, especially in reference to something like the pro-choice movement.
As a secondary note, although I do believe that love and maybe kindness are at the core, even a critical reading of the NTgospel will not present tolerance as a core value.

15. heysonnie - March 20, 2007

I’m not a prooftexter, but I, too, want to refer to the gospel of John.

In chapter 21, after the resurrection, Jesus has come to the disciples on the beach. At Peter’s instigation, they’re out fishing, and they have been all night. In the early morning light, they see that someone is walking on the beach, and then they (first “the disciple whom Jesus loved”) realize that it’s Jesus.

Jesus has started a fire on the beach, and he has them bring some of the fish that they have caught and have breakfast together.

After they’ve eaten breakfast, Jesus and Peter are walking-and-talking on the beach.

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; he was the one who had reclined next to Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about him?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? Follow me!” (vv. 20-22, NRSV)

This is the very last thing that Jesus says in John’s gospel! Don’t worry about other people and their faith and their faith journeys: worry about yourself.

I know that I have a hard enough time taking care of myself and taking responsibility for my own actions. Anything that I do to worry over other the “salvation” of others is diversionary. That’s God’s job. My job is to love God and to try my best to be Christ’s presence in the world.

16. Vernon Murray - April 29, 2007

I hear the passage quoted from John 14 “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me”. This verse is quoted to suggest that Christianity is the only way to God; it is is quoted as a sort of formula. But the real question for those of us who want to be open to what God is saying to us is this: “What did Jesus mean by using these words?” I don’t doubt the truth of these words of Jesus; no more than I doubt my perception that the gras I see outside my window is green. But what am I saying; when I say that. What does it mean that the grass outside my window I preceive to be gree. In like matter, what does it mean to say “Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life”. In my opinion we need to stuggle with these Bible quotes and ask the God who supposively is living inside us to take the veil off of these ancient words. That is my opinion.

17. Roz - May 6, 2007

It’s erroneous for Christians to use the quote “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father but by me” to suggest that Christianity is the only way to God. It’s like they ignore the fact that Jesus (Yeshua) was of the Jewish faith. So if you follow the “reasoning” of many Christians then Jesus is actually saying Judaism is the only way!

Footnote: the indegenious people of the world knew of God thousands of years before there was Christianity, Islam or Judaism. How shortsighted it is to contend that ANY one religion is the only path to God.

I’m out…

18. Sinikal Saint - May 14, 2008

I think it’s worth it to remember that this quote comes from the Gospel of John, the most overtly “theological” of the four gospels. This same book opens up with identifying Jesus as the incarnate “Logos” (translated as “Word”) of God. A Greek audience would have roughly understood the philosophical concept of the “logos” as a kind of ineffable, unifying principle of existence. The concept is present throughout Hellenistic philosophy. The concept, in essence, is also present in ancient Hebrew thought, in both the concept of the Wisdom of God (seen in Proverbs and elsewhere, as well as apocryphal–but insightful–documents like the Book of Wisdom and the Wisdom of Sirach); and in the concept of the Torah being the blueprint of Creation.

This basically means that Jesus is the incarnation of a universal principle, of God’s intellect and wisdom by which He created the Universe. Similar concepts about Jesus are expressed in Colossians (1:15-17), and elsewhere. Jesus is “the Way, the Truth, and the Life” because He is the embodiment of a Truth open to all humanity, indeed the very Truth which made humanity and the world in which it lives. The Gospel transcends religions, even the Jewish and Christian religions.


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