May 27, 2006

do all roads lead to heaven?

do all roads lead to heaven?

Religious tolerance. This cause has often been invoked: the freedom to believe what you want to believe and the graciousness to extend that freedom to others.

But…there is a big difference between respecting each other’s views and holding on to what you have experienced to be true. i must always respect the person, but there will be times i must respectfully disagree.

In matters of opinion, everyone’s right. But in matters of faith or lack of faith, in God, gods, or no god at all, not everyone can be right at the same time. Or rather, everyone can have faith, but that doesn’t automatically mean that everyone is right.

Religious tolerance entails that everyone is free to worship (or not) as they see fit. Yes, there is free will. But that freedom does not make some people less wrong. And even if your heart is in the right place and your intentions sincerely good, you can still be sincerely wrong.

Do I sound too harsh? Too hopeless? I’d just like to make a wake-up call. Lying around, not caring one way or the other, and/or letting others be, is not the way to go. If you don’t know the Answer, seek It; if you know the Answer, speak It.

No, not all faiths and religions lead to the one true God. but in a sense, i think, all roads do lead to heaven --- in that no matter where you are or what situation you are in, no matter who you’ve been or what you’ve done two minutes ago, there’s still a path that leads to Him. There is no one specific story or outline or formula of how people came to know Christ --- in biblical times, and now. Both saints and sinners have needed and found His immeasurable love, both the religious and the skeptical have been transformed by His grace. And actually, this entire entry has been inspired by my recalling the seemingly trivial, inconsequential (ha! or so I thought) questions that led others to share about God to me, and that led me to share about God to others. Truly, He is just waiting to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18) --- He is just waiting, because of --- that’s right --- free will, because of “religious tolerance”.

There’s only one true, living God, and only one way, Jesus --- but in a sense, all roads do lead to heaven because He is just waiting with open arms regardless of what we’ve done. More important than asking “which path leads to heaven”, perhaps we must be asking ourselves when we will finally take that step and let Him lead us there. :)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)

2 comments:

  1. Some points I would like to add, (for my peace of mind and for you to know a part it):

    ... in matters of faith, how come some people tend to be "more right" than others?

    ... in matters of opinion everyone is right... but some people are not at all comfortable with it. thank heavens for people who accept the differences. again, they do so for various reasons.

    ... in the end, in the interest of fairness and keeping hostilities at bay, tolerance often becomes the compromise. you might not think it's the right thing to do. but so far, it has worked for me.

    ... in matters of faith, god, God, supreme being(s), or lack of them/him/her/it, will be the ultimate arbiter of a person's destiny.

    Anyway, I hope you don't find any of these offensive...

    By the way, Congratulations for earning your Master's Degree =), Master Teci!

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  2. thanks dael...

    we've all heard the phrase that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. so even if some are not comfortable with other's opinions, there has to be mutual respect. that's your opinion, this is mine.

    how much more uncomfortable the situation becomes if it's not about opinions anymore. faith, just like science, refers to absolute issues which may be right or wrong. just like in science, there are all-encompassing claims in the faiths that may be right or wrong. hence "more right" than others?

    do we bash Newton because his classical mechanics were "limited"? his views are still useful, but we acknowledge that they're not completely right. by extension, will someone bash me if i say quantum mechanics is "more right" than Newton?

    if you know a particular option is true, will you continue to discuss all other options with equal merit?

    what's the use of exams, objective and subjective, if all answers are correct anyway? regarding the things God says about Himself and about us, they will not stop being true whether or not i believe them to be true. but because i myself have experienced them to be true, why not give others a chance to learn about God's love?

    i'd rather speak a definite truth than be the civilized compromiser in a dinner conversation. besides, the Bible says to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15). we can come to a tolerant "compromise" without "compromising" the most important truth there is.

    and it's not a matter of me being right versus someone else. i just happened to learn the truth earlier. the Son of God coming down from heaven to save us from our sins wasn't my idea and something i couldn't have imagined on my own.

    i'm all for respect and tolerance. but there's a big difference between compromise in discussions, and letting someone ruin their life without doing anything about it. if there's a chance to share to someone about the most fundamental truth in life, why shouldn't i?

    i'll continue to talk about God, even if it doesn't always work for me. the thing is, i'm not doing this for myself anyway; i'm just a messenger. whether someone would be drawn to God because of me, or be offended because i'm so "intolerant" and i only talk about faith in Jesus and not in anyone or anything else, then so be it. i've done my part, but the rest is up to them. exactly because there is free will, because there is respect for individual decisions.

    good day dael :)

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