Don’t All Paths Lead to God?
In the last chapter, we established the first essential truth. That truth is essential no mater what area of life you’re considering. One must choose a path. Any person has that right. People can even change their minds. However, when that first essential decision is made, all other decisions logically flow from there.
So what happens when one decides Christianity is right? If one makes this choice, they must then submit to the principles of the faith.
If one decides to diet, they must decide what foods are good to eat and what foods are bad. If one decides to go to a school, they must decide what study habits are good and what other habits are bad.
This isn’t unique to any particular religion. Unless you are one who thinks all paths lead to God. This is a popular—let’s use the word—compromise. There are those who simply want to live in a world where everyone who means well eventually goes to Heaven. While I can understand the desire to see anyone wishing to find Heaven getting there, the simple truth is, that statement can’t be true.
There may be some agreement between one religion or another. There may even be some shared history. The Jewish religion and Christianity even hold the same history. The larger difference there is belief that Christ was indeed the Messiah or not.
I bring this up because it shows the simple truth. Even if many roads lead to God, it can not be true that all roads lead to God because some religions are indeed at complete disagreement.
Even if many roads lead to God, the Christian path does not allow for a world where all roads lead to God. This is because the Christian faith is based on the idea that Christ is indeed the only way into Heaven.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).’”
Biblically, from the very mouth of Christ, we see a choice must be made. You can be one who believes there is more than one way (non-Christianity) or you can believe that there is only one way (Christianity).
If we ponder this, then even if all roads do indeed lead to Heaven, Christianity is still valid because it leads to Heaven. Even in this situation Christianity is still at least a path if not the path for no other reason than it is a path. The danger is if one considers the alternative. If there is only one path, then anyone on a different path is doomed.
If, all roads, including the Christian one, lead to God, then those following the Christian faith are still doing what’s right. To violate the Christian faith, however, because one suddenly believes there are more ways to Heaven means the individual who has changed is no longer (and probably never was) Christian.
This maintains the choice which must be made. The problem is if there was more than one way to Heaven, there would be no need for Christianity. If there are many paths to God, one doesn’t need a savior to get to the Father. This forces us to circle right back to the fundamental choice I discussed in the last chapter: Either Christianity is right, or it is wrong, even if it is only wrong because there are indeed other ways into Heaven. This means that, for a Christian, they are still promised Heaven because they’re trying, but if Christianity is right, then all other beliefs must acknowledge the principle foundation of Christianity, who is Christ.
As a Christian, my only option remains to stay true to the faith. Those who believe in Christ and accept Him as their salvation are still saved, and those who do not risk damnation because that is what awaits them if Christianity is right. If I live to follow Christ, set myself aside, pick up my cross and follow Him, I hold a guarantee no other religion can make.
Again, all of this is to eventually lead up to understanding what a Christian should never do. However, what tends to happen is that people want to have it more than one way. People want Christ to intercede for them, but they don’t want to follow Him, so they choose to hold onto a belief that is the antithesis of Christianity (either there is one way or there is more than one way).
Some people understand that Christianity is right, but then they see the discipline one must have to live a Christian life. They see sin they want to accept, but they know Christ demands us to live for Him. So again, they try to split the faith apart wanting to have Christian benefits without living a Christian life. The choice remains. It is either right, or it is wrong.
In the case of all roads leading to Heaven, it is still right even if it’s not the only way to be right. However, I urge you to note the contradiction. The Christian faith (as provided above) states plainly there is only one way. It can not be both right and wrong.
C.S. Lewis created a fine argument for the life of Christ. History confirms the existence of the man Jesus Christ. There is no denying his mortal existence. The only debate that can be made is whether he was indeed the son of God or simply a man.
That creates a trilemma, according to Lewis. “A man who was merely a man said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic—on the level with the man who says he is a poached egg— or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God, or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool. You can spit at him and kill him as a demon, or you can fall at his feet and call him Lord and God, but let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about his being a great human teacher.”
To expand on this, no great moral teacher would lie. I don’t think I’d find any place where a person would call a lie a good thing. Even one who buys into the nonsense of a white lie, would not consider the clause, “No one comes to the Father except through me,” anything but either truth, or heresy. So the choice returns. Either Christianity is right, or it is wrong.
Therefore, all roads (or even many) can not lead to Heaven. This because Christ can’t be both right and wrong. One. Must. Choose. At least one must either choose Christianity or to be against Christianity.
For those who choose against Christianity, we can now refer back to the previous chapter in which either I am doomed, or those who are against Christianity are doomed.
However, now those who claim to choose Christianity must then accept the doctrines expressed in that religion. Even still, there are other factors that must be discussed before we can talk about actions forbidden by the faith or not. We will ponder the next factor in the next chapter.
For our panel: What are other verses prove Christianity can’t be both right and wrong? What about other religions that are closely related to Christianity? Can Judaism be right? What about Catholicism? If Christianity is right because of faith in Christ, isn’t Catholicism just another type of Christianity? If not, why?