January 25th, 2007

Reply - Pluralisim

a response to the lovely locoiguana

It's just a shame that some people have to be so convinced that they are right and everybody else is wrong that they are willing to start wars, and commit innumerable atrocities in the name of a God that basically just said "love one another."

That's true. But God said other things also in the same books. A lot of people confuse love with tolerance. We don't have to be tolerant of the distortion of the scripture done by the Mormons (and others) but we must love them.

God is a God of TRUTH and love.

Don't ignore the truth part of Him, just for the love. There is religious truth. And it's in His Word. Anything contrary is not truth.

Their reply was:

OK, I like where this is going. (BTW, I tend to go off on a tangent about this stuff, so if it ever sounds like I'm being rude or offensive, I assure it's completely unintentional)

No problem.

Herein lies the crux of religious debate in general. Nobody believes they are following lies; and while your version of the Bible (or Torah? Did I read in a comment that you are Jewish?) may tell you that what the Mormon's follow isn't truthful, they believe that you aren't following God's word because you don't won't listen to the full story. A Catholic would say that both of your views are wrong, and that they are right. And all because everyone believes that their method of worship is the truth.

Actually, the problem is with reading presuppositions into God’s Word. Religions based on blind faith alone are dangerous (i.e “religions” that can’t substantiate any of their claims with the real world around them). There must be some standard to hold it up to. God has created the human brain with this wondrous thing called logic, which all standard science should be based on (but sometimes sadly is not). Starting from the assumption that there is a true empirical universe, and then you can go on to hold each book of antiquity up with its proof and its claims, and study it to see if it has error.

Like we do in a court of law, faith is based on the outcome of what is most plausible or where the evidence is pointing.

Unfortunately in this day and age many people seem to think that emotions count as evidence.

So given the fact that everyone is arguing the same contrary position, how do prove to an unbiased third-party that you are right? You can't. It simply comes down to faith, and what is religious faith if not the stern belief in something that can not be logically proven. Within those boundaries, no one person's religion is any more right or wrong than anyone else's - it's just a matter of personal preference.

Actually, it should be proven BEYOND REASONABLE DOUBT (unless your beliefs and logic are no better than a quack in a mental institution). Just like in a court of law. Faith isn’t true faith if it is blind. Jesus, for one, never asked for blind faith – instead He came so that people could “see” the truth.
Therefore, if there is an ultimate truth then it must be reasonable in light of the empirical world.

Do you assume that nothing is true for all? Or the world we live in is just an illusion (despite the contradictions of this to our experience in the world around us and to science)?

If there is truth, then there must be something behind truth – generating truth. If that is God, then by all accounts we should weigh up the evidence to see what the revelations of God are and what aren’t. If anything is questionable by ANY logical means, it should be discarded.

Another question I've always wondered about from the "My way is the only way crowd" - your God seems to fail to take demographics into account. Look at it this way: there are about 6.5 Billion people in the world, right? Split up among them are thousands, if not tens or hundreds of thousands of religions, many of which vary on a societal or ethnic basis. If only one religion is right, well, that's a LOT of people going to hell.

And there are Christians in every major continent. Which is beside the point though, as you are making an assumption that exclusivism as a whole, is wrong. Yet that is only your point of view.

If there is truth, then there must be the opposite of truth. Then a person should pursue truth (if one understands truth to be better than a lie).

Just because you are a pluralist – who deems that all religions are the same – then you are guilty of the same thing that you blame others for in this… blind faith without any proof that your opinion (all religions are the same) is true.

Feelings are not fact. Only fact is fact. And fact must be consistent with the world around us. Saying that demographics makes a difference to God’s plan would assume that you are God and have all the answers about that plan. However, God says:

(Isa 51:5-6 NNAS) My righteousness is near, My salvation has gone forth, And My arms will judge the peoples; The coastlands will wait for Me, And for My arm they will wait expectantly. 6 Lift up your eyes to the sky, Then look to the earth beneath; For the sky will vanish like smoke, And the earth will wear out like a garment And its inhabitants will die in like manner; But My salvation will be forever, And My righteousness will not wane.

And also other places that some from all people groups and nations will be saved.

Yes, I've heard the whole "the road is narrow" argument before, but would a God of Truth and Love really create an entire race of humans, just to condemn 90% of them to eternal suffering? That hardly seems just. And what about cultures that simply have no awareness of other religions? We're rooting out most of them, but I can promise you that deep in the jungles of South America, there is some lost tribe that has never heard of any religion but their own. Would a loving God condemn them to damnation, simply for being unlucky enough to not have heard about him?

Where are you getting the 90% from? God is a God of justice. Yet you are assuming your OWN ideas of justice are better than His?

M-W says this about justice:
1 a : the maintenance or administration of what is just especially by the impartial adjustment of conflicting claims or the assignment of merited rewards or punishments b : JUDGE c : the administration of law; especially : the establishment or determination of rights according to the rules of law or equity
2 a : the quality of being just, impartial, or fair b (1) : the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action (2) : conformity to this principle or ideal : RIGHTEOUSNESS c : the quality of conforming to law
3 : conformity to truth, fact, or reason : CORRECTNESS

If justice is to mean conforming to the law, and truth – who GAVE the law and truth?
Who are you to redefine the law and truth upon your own terms?
It does say that God creates a way for any seekers to find Him. In the O.T, those that had faith in a coming Messiah or in the law of God were saved.
Jesus was the law incarnate so the faith became real.

If you want to go down that road, I will give you an answer from the Scriptures though (and from a loving, just God):
Romans 1:20:
For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.

This does deem that men will be judged fairly. And those exposed to the Gospel of Christ will have much less excuse than those without.

Heck, until 50-75 years ago, virtually all of Japan was Pagan, and believed their emperor was the direct descendant of the Sun Goddess Amaterasu - a prospect certainly no more ridiculous than the son of God being made flesh on earth. So all the people who died in the Hiroshima bombings are now to spend eternity in Hell, simply because they never learned about your way of thinking? If so, I charge that God is a racist!

This statement made me laugh out loud. Seriously. Racist? You do know that all races are the same right? That if you understand that God created all men, there really are no “races” just slight differences in people groups. In fact, you’re talking about culture in the first place, not even race… so your entire statement is invalid.

And today “virtually all” of China is atheist. But seekers can find God. Just as it was in Japan 50-75 years ago.

God did die to save all people, but is it His fault that only few are saved? Or is it the people that are oppressing others from their own free will that God gave them out of love.

It just seems to me that to interpret the whole of world religion through the scope of one individual belief structure is like trying to describe a gigantic mural after looking at it through a keyhole in a door. It might be a grand masterpiece, but the part of it you can see is only a worthless smattering of color. Would it be right to then attempt convince someone else seeing things from a different angle that what they are looking at is worthless?

So now you’re using the “elephant” analogy (in your own form).
I’d like to point you here: http://www.ptm.org/98PT/SepOct/Elephant.htm
To see just some problems of what’s wrong with this.

Do you think it would be right to keep quiet about the truth, say in the situation where someone (in ignorance) was driving on the wrong side of the road?
Would you think it merciful to point them towards truth and the right way to go? Or would you think it more “right” (in your own words even though it seems that you may have to define this term since you may have your own personal definition of it) to let them keep driving on the wrong side?

Now all I have to ask you is – why do you believe what is right to be above what God says is right?

I understand where you are coming from. There are a lot of pointless disputes over “religion” that seem to be never ending. However it is warned:
“avoid disputes, genealogies, contentions and strivings about the law, for they are unprofitable and useless.”

If God is truth, then only what HE has said is truth.
Romans 3:4
Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: "That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged."

I am not convinced that I am right, but that GOD is right. And if a Muslim/Mormon or whoever can prove to me that their Scripture is God’s word – then I would listen. But so far, every argument I have seen is filled with circular reasoning and logical problems.

My faith and love in God keeps me strong in believing Jesus is the Christ. Yet, Jesus had to tell the Jews when they were not acting within God’s will. Just as us, as followers of Christ must do the same.

Love and blessings from Ye-shu. If you have any more questions I’ll get back to you when I’m around a computer again.