Is Jesus the only way to Heaven?
Last semester when I was signing up for classes, I needed an extra elective to add to my schedule. After looking through a few of my choices I decided on the course of Comparative Religion. This class ended up being one of my favorite classes I have taken so far in my collegiate career. This class opened up my mind to all the different types of religions and cultures all throughout the entire world. I retained so much information about so many different religions, that I honestly have a new perspective on life. There is so much to learn from all of these interesting religions.
I have been a Christian pretty much all of my life, the main reason because of this is father's occupation. My dad was a successful businessman for the first ten years out of college. When I was about eight years old, he felt like he had the calling to go into full time ministry at Northside Baptist Church in Lexington, SC.
This completely changed the financial situation of my family and I will always respect my dad for his choice. Ever since then he has stayed at his position and even opened up a private school within the church where he is the headmaster. The reason I am saying all of this is because I believe that you get your initial religious beliefs from just being born into your family. If I were born into a family where the religion was Judaism, I would probably be Jewish. I had never really taken the time to look into other religions because I thought they were not important, I was completely wrong. There are so many things you could learn from studying religions from all over the world.
This leads me to my main point on to whether Jesus Christ is the only way to make it to heaven. On a recent Oprah Winfrey show the guests were two of the hottest young acts in America, Ricky Martin and Jennifer Lopez. They sang and danced and shared how they "stay focused." The Oprah show is interesting because it depicts the popular theme of the day that spirituality is in and choices on how to arrive to God are in as well. On the show they also talked about Ricky's recent visit to Rome and getting to meet the Pope, when Oprah asked Martin about being blessed by the Pope, he said it was like being in the presence of an angel. In the next sentence he said he had recently traveled to India to learn yoga, which he strives to practice. Jennifer Lopez says she finds "balance" in her busy life by dimming the lights in her hotel room, lighting candles and meditating. She said her meditation time, is when she can connect with and center herself. The audience applauds and shows their admiration for these stars and their sense of "balance" and how "spiritual" they areMost religions have the main overall purpose of staying focused and dealing with all of life's problems. This just shows that all people use religion to balance out their life and to cope with all of its trials and tribulations.
A 2008 study by the Pew Research Center discovered that: "70% of Americans with a religious affiliation say that many religions, not just their own, can lead to eternal life" and 57% of evangelical Christians agree! I personally do not agree with this statement, if you are a true Christian then you should know that our God is the one and only God. This is the society in which we live, a society that says all religions are equally true, equally valid, and will lead to God. All of these religions are equally true because only one leads to God.
All of these religions have a perspective about who their sacred is, or what their God is like. Christians obviously believe in a God who is all knowing, all loving, all powerful and his name is Jesus. Jesus made some of the most astonishing claims, not only about God, society and ethics, but also about himself. He claimed to have the authority to forgive sins, to be God in the flesh, and to be the only way for people to attain salvation. Listen to what he said in: John 14:5-6 "Thomas said to him, "lord, we don't know where you a going, so how can we know the way?" Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one come s to the Father except through me."
Hinduism teaches that there are many gods but there are impersonal, this religion is the biggest polytheistic religion, meaning that they believe in more than one god. Buddhism teaches there is no god or at least personal god, there is simply good and evil. All Buddhist's expect you to live your life a certain way. I also found it very interesting that Buddhism had no specific god, I always thought that their god was Buddha.
What about the after life for these religions? Hinduism teaches we are reincarnated over and over until we merge with ultimate reality. They say we become a single drop in the ocean of the universe. Buddhism has no concept of an afterlife. There is simply Nirvana, When you die you quit suffering and everything in your life is perfect. Judaism and Islam teach that eternal life is earned. I was very astonished when I found out how much Jewish people care more about the actions of their followers . You see, if all religions are equally true God is either a liar or a lunatic. The differences are too deep and truth is to narrow. So the conclusion is, it is the uniformed opinion that decides that all religions are the same.