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"Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon him while He is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon." (Isaiah 55:6-7)

 

Jan 15, 2020

In this episode, Brother Jonathan answers the questions, "Do all paths lead to God?"

 

Do all paths lead to God?

S4EP1

Remnant Bible Fellowship

 

  1. Intro
    1. There are many ways to restate this question. Are all religions the same? Do all religions worship the same God? Does everybody go to heaven no matter what they believe—you know…except the really bad people like Hitler.
    2. The fact is though that many people assume that propositions like these are true without ever really examining them or thinking them through. Most people accept these things as axiomatic, or self-evident, without ever applying a healthy dose of skepticism. Most people do not apply the same level of criticalness and skeptical analyzing to their own views as they do to opposing viewpoints.
    3. But if we care about what is true, as opposed to just what makes us comfortable, then we must do that. We must examine our own views in light of logical reasoning, philosophy, and evidence. If something, be it a worldview/religion/philosophy, is true then it must bear witness to reality. For example, have you ever looked at a picture of Mount Rushmore—you know, the mountain in the USA that has the faces of four past presidents carved into it—and immediately thought, “Wow, isn’t it amazing that time plus matter plus chance resulted in such amazing likenesses of these men?” No, you’ve never thought that. But in fact, if you believe in Darwinian evolution then you believe that the actual heads, and minds, of those men is a result of time plus matter plus chance. Do you see what I mean? Exactly how much skepticism have you applied to your own views?
    4. But let’s consider the question at hand, do all paths lead to God? Do all religions end up at the same destination? Do they all worship the same God?
  2. Logically
    1. Well, let’s consider it logically. I believe that most people agree with those statements because they really don’t know what many religions believe. Let me contrast some of these beliefs really quick for you:
    2. About God
      1. Islam believes that there is one god, but no trinity.
      2. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the trinity, and believe Jesus is the angel Michael.
  • Mormons believe in millions of gods. Because man grows up to be a god too. They just believe that there is one main god over our planet.
  1. Deists believe in a distant deity or force that has no intimate interaction with the world.
  2. Hinduism believes in millions of expressions of god. They don’t believe in a personal knowable god, but simply that god is a mystical impersonal force called Brahman.
  3. Atheism denies that any god exists anywhere at any time.
  • Agnosticism is a veritable “I don’t know.” But they live like god doesn’t exist.
  1. Authority/revelation
    1. Islam believes the Koran and the Hadith.
    2. Jehovah’s Witnesses created their own version of the Bible which doesn’t follow any of the original language manuscripts in existence. They also have magazines and materials produced by the Watchtower Society which are updated and changed as they need to.
  • Mormons have multiple books written by their prophet Joseph Smith. They also have prophets that change things today as they see fit.
  1. Deists believe that this distant god has never revealed himself to mankind in any way. You have to think your way to god.
  2. Hindus accept the Vedas, Upanishadas (Vedanta), and the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, are seen as scriptures. The Bhagavad-Gita is often studied as a key text.
  3. Atheism generally believes that man is the ultimate authority over himself.
  • Agnosticism, generally, doesn’t really acknowledge any authority but what is pragmatically useful.
  1. Man
    1. Islam believes that man is able to do good by himself but that he still needs help.
    2. JWs believe that man is free to do good works.
  • Mormons believe that men and women are the literal spiritual offspring of Heavenly Father God and that we are reborn on earth and need to re-attain our godhood.
  1. Deists believe that man is a rational being who directs his own destiny.
  2. Hinduism believes that men are part of Brahman, individually as atman. The physical reality doesn’t exist and is a false distinction. You just have to realize that you are part of god, Brahman.
  3. Atheism believes that man is simply a result of time plus matter plus chance. Given enough time particles become people. Man is just another animal no more valuable than pond scum or algae.
  • Agnosticism, generally, believes the same as atheists.
  1. Sin
    1. Islam believes that sin is breaking Allah’s commandments, but that man is not necessarily born with sin.
    2. JWs believe that physical death forgives all your sins.
  • Mormons believe that sin is disobeying God and other commandments outside the Bible.
  1. Deists believe that morals are relative and vary from person to person. There is no absolute morality.
  2. Hinduism vaguely identifies sin as bad deeds. Though, to them, there is no absolute standard of right or wrong.
  3. Atheists hold that there is no absolute standard of right and wrong but do not live that way, and when they do they are Adolf Hitler. If there are no absolutes why whine and complain if someone stole your car, murdered your children, or raped your wife? It’s not consistent with what they say.
  • Agnostics believe as is pragmatically useful for them.
  1. Salvation
    1. Islam believes that man can earn salvation by doing good works, if your good outweighs your bad then you go to heaven. There is no way to know this though.
    2. JWs believe that you earn your own salvation and that there is no eternal hell.
  • Mormons believe that all people except Satan and the demons, and apostate Mormons, will inherit one of the three levels of glory in heaven.
  1. Some deists believe in an afterlife or need of some kind of redemption, but not many.
  2. Hinduism believes that salvation is breaking the cycle of samsara and achieving oneness with Brahman.
  3. Atheists believe that man doesn’t need any kind of redemption and that with enough education, money, and time, man can create his own heaven on earth. This is of course why the world is getting better and better every day. Notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary.
  • Agnostics usually respond with an “I don’t know”.
  1. I can go on and on and on describing the beliefs of Wicca, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, whatever, but the question you have to ask yourself is can they ALL be true simultaneously? The only logical answer is no.
  2. Christianity and Islam cannot both be simultaneously true because Christians believe they only get to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross. Islam believes that you earn your way to heaven.
  3. Hinduism and Judaism cannot both be simultaneously true because Hinduism believes that there is no personal knowable God. Judaism believes that God is personal and knowable.
  4. Atheism and ANY religion cannot be simultaneously true.
  5. Wicca and most other religions cannot be simultaneously true.
  6. New Ageism and Christianity, Islam, or Judaism cannot be simultaneously true.
  7. New ageism and Hinduism teach that you are god and Christianity, Islam, and Judaism say that you send you to hell.
  8. Zoroastrians are dualists, most other religions are not.
  9. The fact of the matter is that if you believe ANY religion or philosophy then you exclude all others. People think that some religions like Hinduism believe that all are true, that’s false. Hinduism believes that everyone is part of Brahman no matter what they believe. That’s very different.
  10. You have to think logically. If I say “the car is red” and you say “the car is not red”, then we cannot both be right. But this is exactly what some people believe without reason or evidence. Religions say that god is this way or that way. That is a propositional statement. The contradictory one cannot be simultaneously true. Not at least according to logical or science.
  • To accept all is to deny all.
    1. The basic truth that you must understand is that if you accept all religions then you must deny all of them simultaneously. If you accept naturalism then you deny God’s existence. If you accept the idea of there being a hell then you deny any religion that denies its existence.
    2. There can be no such thing as the COEXIST movement’s ideology without compromising every single religion’s exclusive truth claims. You ought rather to call it ERRADICATE or COMPROMISE. Besides, we all do coexist because we all exist together right now on the same planet at the same time. What those who care about what is true cannot do is affirm everything. I’m sorry. That’s not something that a rational person can do. That’s not something that a scientific person can do.
  1. The real question
    1. So the real question that you must ask yourself when you are confronted with a religion or philosophy is: is it true? Can you prove that? It’s not about how you feel. Every time you are corrected about something you’re going to feel some kind of uneasiness. It’s not about what something is asking of you. If God exists the implications of His existence affect not only your daily life but your eternal destiny. You are going to spend a lot more time after you die than before you die, and nothing that you do in this world, nothing that you earn materially, not even necessarily your family or friends, are going to walk through death’s door with you to accompany you. Is that bleak? It shouldn’t be. Not if you’ve investigated the truth claims of those who believe that there is a God.
    2. So how do you prove a religion is true or not? I’ve done a three-part series on this in detail if you want to look those episodes up “One good reason to believe”, “from ‘god’ to God”, and “Defending the Resurrection”. Let me sum it up here though.
    3. In all of human history there is only a single religion that has set forth a single, objectively verifiable, historical event as the crux upon whether or not it is true. There is only one. Atheism can’t even prove how everything came from nothing or how chaos led to the laws of physics. They want you to accept it by faith. Islam says if you believe the Koran is pretty then that’s what proves it…no joke. I’ll give you the verse numbers if you ask me. Mormonism says in the book of Mormon, book of Moroni chapter 10, that if you feel a tingling in your bosom then that proves it.
    4. Jesus of Nazareth said, “I’m the Son of God. You have to repent of your sins and believe in me in order to be forgiven. I’m gonna be crucified by the gentiles and die. On the third day afterwards I’m gonna rise bodily from the dead. Then you’ll know that I am who I say I am.” That’s completely objectively verifiable historiographically. We can easily prove or disprove that.
    5. Some people reject the idea of resurrection a priori because they’ve never seen or experienced it (David Hume’s argument). Well by that same logic you should’ve believe in any country that you’ve never been to either. Or, you shouldn’t believe in death altogether because you’ve never died before. It’s silliness.
    6. But among historical scholars, and I mean non-religious ones. There are four historical facts that are almost unanimously agreed upon:
      1. Jesus of Nazareth died under the reign of Pontius Pilate by crucifixion.
      2. Jesus’ disciples sincerely believed that He appeared to them bodily after His death.
  • The Jew who persecuted the Christians as evil, Saul of Tarsus, converted to Christianity after claiming that Jesus appeared to Him post-death.
  1. Jesus’ half-brother, James, who believed that Jesus was a false prophet who died for his own sins, suddenly became a Christian after the death of Jesus. He claimed that Jesus appeared to Him.
  1. The 5th point is accepted by about 75% of historical scholarship as true.
    1. The third day after Jesus was crucified His tomb was empty.
  2. All of these are attested by historical documents, eyewitness testimony, even by enemies of Christians in ancient times—all without even viewing the Bible as the inspired Word of God. The main body of historical scholarship, that is, those who operate in the academic field of historiography and have degrees in it, does not question these points. They are only questioned by people speaking outside of their fields and who don’t know the data.
  3. So, people say “the disciples stole the body”. No, the disciples really believed that Jesus appeared to them. If the body was stolen, then why was Saul of Tarsus converted? He wasn’t a sympathizer. Why was James converted? They separately, and individually, that Jesus appeared to them.
  4. “Maybe someone else stole the body”. Then why was Paul converted, why James? Why did the disciples truly believe that He appeared to them? This, at best, only explains the empty tomb. But it was that the tomb was empty that anyone believed. Even in the bible, when the tomb was empty no one believed that Jesus rose. THEY thought that someone stole the body. It was only after He appeared to people, showing the marks in his hands and feet, that they believed.
  5. Maybe they went to the wrong tomb. That doesn’t account for the appearances to the disciples. His followers were not convinced by an empty tomb but by appearances. Paul wouldn’t have been converted then. James wouldn’t have been converted then. There is literally no source in history that puts forth this idea. Besides, the tomb’s location was known to many people. The religious leaders could’ve literally walked to the tomb and pointed and shown that he was still there.
  1. Conclusion
    1. Biblical Christianity is the only religion that can prove itself. Now, I’m not saying that that church on your corner is right, Christianity as it is set forth in the Bible is absolutely proven. Like I said earlier, the implications of the existence of God affect not only your life today, now, but your eternity.
    2. Jesus said that we must repent of our sins (that is acknowledge them and turn from them) and follow Him because we believe that He died for our sins according to the scriptures. In closing, I will read the passage from scripture that was written by the Apostle Paul in 55 ad. Scholars acknowledge that this passage is based on an early Christian confession from the time immediately following the resurrection of Jesus—about 33-4 ad.
      1. “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1Co 15:1-8)
    3. Jesus rose from the dead. He said repent, and follow Him, and He would come and manifest Himself to you, John 14:21-23. What are you going to do about it?