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I am a Christian, but I have a hard time believing that Christians are the only ones who have access to God. For me, one of the more difficult of Jesus’ sayings is: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
My idea of God is that He would also welcome those coming from non-Christian religions if they are otherwise qualified. My understanding of God’s grace implies that non-Christians, approaching with the right attitude, could be saved. Could Jesus have been misquoted or misunderstood? Maybe. Could this quote have been mistranslated somewhere in the chain from the actual saying to current versions of the Bible? Maybe. Can we be misled if we analyze this statement apart from the larger context in which it was uttered? Could be.
After I started working on this post, I did a little Google searching and came up with articles on about 3 sides of this issue. Some maintained that Jesus said what he meant and meant what he said, and that believers in no other religion (that did not go through Christ) could be saved. Others took a somewhat inclusive view saying something like “Jesus may save a few of them, as they approach Him after death.” Still others took a pluralistic view, saying that Jesus was the Christian manifestation of a deity that existed in other forms in other religions.
I can’t answer this mystery to my own satisfaction. I’ll have to leave it to God to resolve. I will not be one who insists that anybody is going to Hell simply because he is not a Christian, or especially because he is not a member of my particular Christian organization.
So, my policy is that I am able to respect believers in any other God-centered religion, as long as their religion does not teach that they should enslave, rape, kill, or otherwise harm others who they consider to be infidels.
Unfortunately, in today’s world, there are several branches of the Muslim faith that I cannot respect. I do not know enough about the various Muslim sects to know which one is which. Moderate Muslims, who are not advocating or waging jihad, are OK with me. I have worked with some that are fine people.
I agree with those in political circles who say we should be very careful about admitting people to our country from the areas of the world that are experiencing a lot of militant extremism. That is not hate or bigotry. That is only taking reasonable precautions to protect our people.
There are various Satanic and similar groups who I cannot respect, because they do not worship or follow anything close to our concept of God.
I believe that citizens of our country should be free to worship as they choose, or join any religious organization that they choose, as long as they or their religious organization, does not do harm, or advocate harm, to others who do not believe as they do. In other words, live and let others live.
When an individual, or an organization, starts doing or advocating harm to others, they have crossed the line into criminal activity, and they should be treated as criminals.