All Roads

Lead To God

 

Response idea: "Can you clarify what you mean by the word 'road'? Do you mean an attempt to reach God?  And if all roads lead to God, that 'any' attempt is satisfactory? If all roads lead to God, wouldn't that mean that Christianity is one of those roads? But Christianity claims to be the only road/way.  How can all roads lead to God if one of the roads states that all the other roads wont lead a person to God?  Applying this phrase doesn't even work in real life.  Think of a destination.  Can it be reached by any road?  No.  And to say that all roads lead to God means that you actually 'know' this is true. What criteria are you using to know that this is actually true?"

 

A similar but less confrontational statement that also shows intolerance is,

“All roads lead to God”.

 

This statement infers that any attempt to reach God will be honored by God, and considered equally valid by God as any other attempt.  For Christians to claim that there is only one way to God is looked at by our culture as very intolerant. Basically, our culture views Christians intolerant because we disagree with this idea that everyone will eventually make it to God.  And also that our disagreement is understood by our culture as us "knowing" our belief is true, when they don't believe that anyone can know for sure.

But is our disagreement the same as not letting someone believe what they want? As we've already covered, Christians don't fit the classic definition of 'Intolerance' commonly accepted for hundreds of years. It is this very recent cultural teaching about 'Intolerance' that Christianity is in violation of, to disagree with someone’s belief and not consider that belief as true. That is considered by our culture as insulting and intolerant.

Think for a moment about the statement. You should notice that it is also a "Truth Claim". When someone makes this statement, they undoubtedly believe it. And if they make the statement, do you think they are reasonably confident in their belief that it is true? Do you think they are any less confident about their belief that all roads lead to God than the confidence you have that there is only one way to God?  Greg Koukl points out that anyone who makes the claim is doing so because they believe what they are claiming. The statement also doesn't work when looked at logically.

A similar statement sometimes made to convey the same meaning is a platitude not used as much today as in the past, “All roads lead to Rome” When you think about it though, do all roads lead to Rome?

I heard Greg Koukl give the following illustration:

"If you get on the 405, or Interstate 5, or any other road here in California or any road in the rest of the country, could you get to Rome? Of course not. The person making the statement 'All roads lead to God' is claiming that they know what God requires to get into heaven, and that God will allow anyone into heaven who makes any attempt to reach Him. Doesn't this sound like a very brave claim?"

While the statement infers that God will provide anyone salvation as long as they are sincere in whatever belief they have about reaching Him, it certainly doesn't fit the Biblical message of salvation.

There is another way to consider the claim “All roads lead to God” that is consistent with the teachings of the Bible. This is not the way a person making the statement means it though.

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.”

Romans 14:10-12 Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For WE WILL ALL STAND BEFORE THE JUDGMENT SEAT OF GOD; for it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, EVERY KNEE shall bow to me, and EVERY TONGUE shall confess to God.” So then EACH OF US will give an account of himself to God".

According to the Bible, everyone will reach God on whatever road they have chosen.  And considering this verse, the question is not whether we all will make it to God, but when we get there, what determines our eternal destination?

Another statement similar to “All roads lead to God”, is the statement,

“We allow all views”

 

Doesn't this sound very agreeable and accepting of "ALL" views?  However, when a person who makes this claim is asked if they allow the view of Christianity, they will often say something like,

We don’t allow that view. We allow all views”.

 

With this response it is clear that they allow all views except Christianity, and in doing so they don’t actually allow all views. And why don’t they allow Christianity?  They don’t allow the view of Christianity because of the exclusive truth claim Christianity makes which indicates that some beliefs are wrong.

Christianity teaches that there is only one way to God, is exclusive, and that contradictory beliefs can’t be true.  If those who “allow all views” allow the Christian view, they would be allowing the belief that they are wrong.  If there is only one way to God, the view of Christianity automatically excludes any other contradictory belief as being true.

Can you see how the “All roads . . .”, and “All views . . .” statements are not accepting of all views and as such are self-contradictory statements?  As well, the last statement is one of intolerance, because they don’t want Christians sharing their beliefs.  Again, Christianity allows all views. It just doesn't agree that all views are true. And while Christians don't agree with contradictory beliefs, they certainly don’t try to keep those who have beliefs contradictory to Christian teachings from believing them as is sometimes claimed about Christians by those who don’t believe the teachings of Christianity.

In a nutshell, the NEW definition of Tolerance, called 'Liberal Tolerance', is to treat all views as True , not just to be accepting of all views.  Again, for non-Christians to have this new view of tolerance would require that they believe that Christianity is true as well as all the other beliefs that others consider true.  But Christianity teaches that beliefs contradictory to Christianity are false. Non-Christians who claim that Christians are intolerant don't think that Christianity should be allowed primarily because Christians believe that beliefs contradictory to Christianity are false.

Non-Christians who believe this statement believe that Christianity is false and not true as is evidenced by their disagreement with its teachings. Since they don’t consider Christianity true and many believe that Christians shouldn’t share their beliefs, they are actually the ones showing themselves to be intolerant. Conversely, Christians fully allow people to hold views Christians believe are wrong. So who is really demonstrating intolerance?

Michael Ramsden, Is Christianity intolerant?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUWUIUND0Yw

One of the illustrations sometimes used by those holding the belief that All Roads Lead To God , is:

THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blind_men_and_an_elephant

 

If you are not familiar with this Indian proverb, it is used to illustrate the limitations of our ability to come to the complete truth about something. This is because we usually don’t have all the information in a situation. Remember earlier where I wrote about the "Who dunnit" type of mystery movie, and not always being able to arrive at the right conclusion if we don’t have all the facts?  

 

In The Blind Men and the Elephant proverb there are 6 blind men who encounter an elephant for the first time.  They are trying to determine what the elephant is like, and each is near a different part of the animal.  The one touching the leg claims the elephant is like a tree.  The one touching the tail claims the elephant is like a rope.  The one touching the side claims the elephant is like a wall.  The one touching the tusk claims the elephant is like a spear.  The one touching the ear claims the elephant is like a fan.  The one touching the trunk claims the elephant is like a snake.  The six men get into a heated argument (the non-legal type) as to what the elephant is like, because each man insists that he is right. A wise man passing by sees them arguing.  He tells them that all of them are partially right, but since each was touching a different part of the elephant, each of them only had part of the truth, indicating that none of them had all the truth. This sounds logical, right?

When someone uses this Indian proverb to claim that a Christian can’t know the truth, it initially sounds reasonable.  It is true that we don’t have all knowledge and that not having all knowledge it seems fair to apply the proverb.  But is the proverb accurate when used about different beliefs, particularly Christianity?  And is it reasonable for someone to use as a challenge to Christians who claim to know there is only one way to God that leads to heaven?

When a person uses this illustration to argue against Christian teachings, we must keep in mind that the person using it doesn't have all knowledge either. Using the illustration, they are implying that the reason Christians shouldn’t share their convictions is because Christians don’t have all knowledge, because no one has all knowledge.  But since they are proposing the proverb, aren't they inferring that they "do" have all knowledge?  Aren't they inferring that they have full knowledge and can see that everyone else, (particularly Christians), only have a limited perspective and limited knowledge.  Using this proverb, they are actually believing themselves to be in the position of the wise man who has all the facts, while also claiming that no one has all the facts.

That is why it is self-contradictory for someone to use this proverb against a Christian’s claims of truth.  They are saying that "They have all knowledge to know that know one has all knowledge".  The statement is a contradiction because if no one can have all knowledge, then the person using the illustration can’t have all knowledge to know that no one has all knowledge.

As well, there is another detail not considered.  The God of the Universe does have all knowledge, and if He truly has communicated truths and proven himself true, we can rely on His information even if we don’t know everything.  Since God has revealed himself both through supernatural evidences and through the Bible, we can know things that this God who created the universe communicated to us, things that we wouldn't otherwise be able to know through our limited perspectives and knowledge. You’ll see many of these evidences in the Evidences for Christianity section.

CHALLENGE RESPONSE: THE BLIND MEN AND THE ELEPHANT

www.youtube.com/watch?v=aO-25yKxQ9M#t=47

This is a great video showing the problem with this illustration.

THE CHEAP SHOT OF "INTOLERANCE"

www.christianity.com/blogs/trevin-wax/the-cheap-shot-of-intolerance.html

THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE

Intolerant Tolerance
www.str.org/blog/intolerant-tolerance#.XB8sLGhKjDc

The Intolerance of Tolerance

www.str.org/articles/the-intolerance-of-tolerance#.XB82AGhKjDc

Greg Koukl: The Intolerance of Tolerance

www.youtube.com/watch?v=KG_R9e60Wp4

The following is a brief excerpt from the EXCELLENT book Tactics by Greg Koukl. 

http://adozenseconds.com/2013/04/03/intolerance

To preview a few chapters of Greg’s excellent book, go to:

http://books.google.com/books?isbn=0310574757

To hear a presentation by Greg Koukl on Tactics, check out:

http://server.firefighters.org/catalog/2003/17053.mp3 Pt1

http://server.firefighters.org/catalog/2003/17054.mp3 Pt2

 

ARE CHRISTIANS INTOLERANT?

www.youtube.com/watch?v=if6NkUQFHfg

THE INTOLERANCE OF TOLERANCE

www.str.org/publications/the-intolerance-of-tolerance

Hopefully, you can see the self-contradictory nature of the statement “Christians shouldn’t be so intolerant”. To see a few eye-opening examples of intolerance exhibited toward Christians, check the following YouTube videos:  Warning:  profanity

WRETCHED: ANTI-CHRISTIAN INTOLERANCE

www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNqIlB9L9zQ

WRETCHED: SHUT UP, CHRISTIAN!

www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4ofS4N2RK8

ANTI-CHRISTIANS VANDALIZE PRO-MARRIAGE SIGNS IN MAINE

http://en.gloria.tv/?media=359104

SEATTLE GAY PRIDE PARTICIPANTS VICIOUSLY BEAT CHRISTIAN STREET PREACHER

www.youtube.com/watch?v=V3YIIDgSkiA

ATTACKED BY TOLERANCE -- HOW SAME-SEX "MARRIAGE" HURTS PEOPLE

www.youtube.com/watch?v=Za0ZvliA3AM#t=32

 

Here are a few more stories demonstrating this intolerance toward Christians, this time by the government:

US GOVERNMENT IS NOW FORCING FIVE AMERICAN PASTORS TO TURN IN THEIR SPEECHES

http://shoebat.org/2014/10/20/us-government-now-forcing-five-american-pastors-turn-speeches-homosexual-sharia-continues/

AMERICAN GOVERNMENT TO CHRISTIAN PASTOR: DO A HOMOSEXUAL WEDDING OR GET THROWN INTO PRISON

http://shoebat.org/2014/10/20/american-government-christian-pastor-homosexual-wedding-get-thrown-prison/

MARK HARDING – THE LAST CANADIAN STANDING

www.blogwrath.com/canada-islam/mark-harding-the-last-canadian-standing/1442/

ISLAM: WHAT THE WEST NEEDS TO KNOW - MARK HARDING

www.billionbibles.org/sharia/mark-harding.html

GOVERNMENT TO PASTOR: RENOUNCE YOUR FAITH!

www.wnd.com/2008/06/66704/

 

It is important to realize that some non-Christians have used names such as “intolerant”, “homophobe”, “racist”, “judgmental”, etc., because they’ve heard these names effectively used to challenge Christians.  This is because most Christians haven’t learned how to respond effectively to these names.  This is very similar to the way the other statements in this section have been used.

Dennis Prager has been called many derogatory names, as he indicates in the video below of his outstanding presentation at Colorado State University.  He indicates a great observation at 3 minutes into the video as to the reason that names are used by those they disagree with is:

"The labels are used so that one doesn't have to interact with ideas" 

Dennis Prager at CSU: Why America Needs Traditional Values to Thrive

www.youtube.com/watch?v=1qcYjJ61Qos

There is something else to realize when people call names. When you are called a name, you will feel compelled to defend yourself against the name you've been called.  This will divert you from the subject you are discussing. Whether intended or not by the one calling the name, you end up no longer discussing the subject and are now forced to defend yourself against the name you are accused of being.

As an example, if you are called “Intolerant” you are now forced to defend yourself against the charge of being intolerant, instead of talking about the subject you are discussing.  Again, I believe that many of the people who call others these names don’t even realize they are using this diversion since so many repeat claims they've heard, claims which are not usually challenged or responded to.  And since most Christians haven’t been taught how to deal with this practice of name-calling, the action is very effective at shutting down or diverting the conversation.

You will also find that some people will call others names when they dislike the conclusions presented by others.  This is usually because they have a weak argument or no argument with which to respond to the presentation they believe is wrong.  This is unfortunately somewhat common, and you will see when some people don’t have a response to another person’s argument, they will start attacking the person rather than deal with the person’s arguments.

If a person resorts to name calling they are already acting in an aggressive way, so being a little more direct when responding to them is fair.  I heard Greg Koukl (www.str.org) give the following possible responses to a person calling a name:

“Calling me a ________ doesn’t really deal with the evidence or conclusion I’ve presented. Do you have a challenge to the evidence/conclusion other than calling me names?”

or,

“Whether I’m a ________ or not doesn’t really answer the evidence or conclusion I’ve presented. Creative name calling isn’t evidence and isn’t a challenge to the evidence. So why don’t you respond to the evidences rather than calling me a name?”

HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH NAME CALLING?

www.str.org/blog/how-do-you-deal-with-name-calling

HOW DO YOU HANDLE NAME CALLING IN A WINSOME WAY?

www.str.org/videos/how-do-you-handle-name-calling-in-a-winsome-way#.XB9Gq2hKjDc

A way to quickly respond to the claim

“You shouldn’t be so intolerant”

would be to first use the previous example we showed. Then ask,

“If I am being so intolerant of another’s views as you claim, and we shouldn’t be intolerant, then why are you being intolerant of my views and why is that OK?”

You might be the first person to effectively answer their claim, and bring them to a realization of the truth of their self-contradictory position.

Again, people usually make these statements because Christians present their beliefs as the truth.  Others see this as intolerance of the non-Christian beliefs of others.  They believe that Christians are judging other beliefs as Not The Truth. See the section on TRUTH and the following YouTube video:

LAW OF NON CONTRADICTION

www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWVzHOhGSC0

The main reason people push back against the claims of Christianity is that they don’t like it when they feel that theirs or another’s beliefs are judged by Christians.  When we make truth claims like “Christianity is true”, or “Jesus is the only way”, others think, “You Christians think you’re better than others, because you think you are right, and others wrong.”  They see it not as a criticism of the belief of the person but a criticism of the person themselves.  They see it as a personal attack.

But aren't those who are making these claims against Christians doing the same thing they are criticizing Christians for?  Don’t they themselves believe they are right and that Christians are wrong?  Aren't they judging the beliefs of Christians?  Many non-Christians who are critical of Christians in this way don’t realize or value the actual reason Christians make these statements.  Most Christians make these statements, not because they think they are better than other people, but because Christians believe that these statements are true.  They believe TRUTH matters, and they believe that the implications of these truths are eternal.

Think of the illustration of a burning house. Suppose you were out very early one morning and you saw a house that had caught fire, and you knew the family was home and were all asleep.  If you woke them up to tell them their house was on fire and they refused to believe you and get out of the house, would it be intolerant of you to keep trying to convince them to get out of the house?  To claim that a Christian is intolerant is similar to claiming that you were intolerant for trying to persuade the family to believe different about their situation than what they were comfortably believing.

A Christian in this illustration might be considered persistent but certainly not intolerant.  Christians continue to try to reach others because they believe there is an eternal destination for all persons who live on the Earth.  Once a person has died, there is no further opportunity to persuade them to consider possibilities they may not have previously considered; possibilities about what is after this life they may have not considered previously.

And lastly on this topic of Tolerance-Intolerance, why is it only applied to what people believe about what happens after this life, that is 'Tolerant/Intolerant'? Don't we consider evidences for other things we believe and accept?

Ultimately, shouldn't a person's belief about what happens after this life be based on the evidences that exist? And if two disagree about their conclusions (based upon the best evidence), shouldn't they be considered to disagree, to agree to disagree, rather than being accused of not allowing one or more people to hold to a contradictory belief?  Or am I being too intolerant of the current use of the word 'Intolerant'? ;-)

Next Section:  You/Christians Shouldn't Judge

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