Do All Religions Lead to God?
DID you know that there is a religion called “Kennedy Worshipers”? Its adherents believe that the deceased president of the United States John F. Kennedy can ‘cure them of congenital and even terminal diseases.’
Or what about the Ministry of Universal Wisdom church? It is based on belief in flying saucers, and its founder claims to have been given a 2 a.m. ride in one.
And who has not heard of, and been shocked by, the mass suicide in Guyana of over 900 members of “Reverend” Jim Jones’ People’s Temple?
Such examples may raise serious questions about a commonly held view, one that you may have heard expressed. The view is often stated this way, ‘All religions are just different roads leading to God.’
WHY THIS VIEW IS POPULAR
One reason why many today believe this way is that there is a growing ‘liberal spirit.’ People are very sensitive about giving any impression of being narrow-minded or fanatical.
Another reason why some say that ‘there is good in all religions’ is that most churches do speak about love and teach that it is bad to hurt others, to murder, to lie or to steal. Churches have established hospitals and schools to help the needy. And religious groups have translated and distributed the Bible, thus allowing many persons to learn about the true God and his Son, Jesus.
If, though, there is a true God who has provided guidance in his written Word, and whose Son accurately taught about religion we ask: “How do God and Jesus view the different religions? Do they agree that ‘all religions lead to God’”?
WITH THE “MANY” OR THE “FEW”?
Around the globe Jesus Christ is honored as having been a wise and godly teacher, certainly not narrow-minded. Yet, in his famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus plainly said:
“Not everyone saying to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of the heavens, but the one doing the will of my Father who is in the heavens will. Many will say to me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not . . . perform many powerful works in your name?’ And yet then I will confess to them: I never knew you! Get away from me.”—Matt. 7:21-23.
Note that Jesus did not take today’s popular and ecumenical view that most persons who practice some religion in their own way are pleasing God. Rather, Jesus said that “many” even of those who claim to recognize Jesus as Lord or Christ are not acceptable.
In the same sermon, Jesus straightforwardly advised:
“Go in through the narrow gate; because broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.”—Matt. 7:13, 14.
Why do you think that Jesus took such a position? The Scriptures make it clear that Jesus knew that to please God a person needs to ‘do the will of the Father,’ which is outlined in the Bible. Bearing this out, Jesus condemned practicing and teaching things in conflict with God’s Word. It was right for him to do that for he knew that religion can be used to ensnare and mislead people. (Matt. 23:13; 2 Cor. 4:4) A comparison with the Scriptures shows that much of what is today taught in the churches misrepresents the loving and generous ways of the true God.
It follows, then, that it would not be sufficient for someone, including ourselves, simply to go along with the religion of our parents or to follow the major religion around us. For even if we did this in sincerity, it might put us among the “many” who Jesus said are on the ‘broad road leading to destruction.’
Certainly you would prefer to be among the “few” whom God judges as being on the “road” that is truly leading to him. It is also the road that Jesus said is leading to “life,” everlasting life.—John 3:16; 17:3.
ACCURATE KNOWLEDGE THAT LEADS TO GOD
You can undoubtedly see that we do not have to be theologians or have an extensive knowledge of religion to avoid churches marked by belief in miracles from a deceased politician, or by flying-saucer travels, or those leading to maniacal suicides. Yet we do need knowledge—accurate knowledge.
We have graphic proof of this in the case of the first-century Jewish lawyer named Saul (or Paul) who became a Christian apostle. He had been very zealous in his former faith, even trying to stamp out worship that he felt was improper. Yet through God’s mercy Paul came to realize that very religious persons, himself included, might have “a zeal for God; but not according to accurate knowledge.” When Paul increased in knowledge of God’s will and dealings, he became a convert to the more correct way of worship.—Acts 8:1-3; 9:1, 2; Rom. 10:2; 1 Tim. 1:12-16.
This ought to have a bearing on our thinking today, for it is God’s will that all persons “come to an accurate knowledge of truth” and worship him accordingly. (1 Tim. 2:3, 4) God inspired Paul to foretell that in our time many persons would ‘have a form of godly devotion but prove false to its power.’ We are commanded: “From these turn away.”—2 Tim. 3:1-5.
We, then, very much need to determine whether we are pursuing a religion or way of worship that is truly leading to God. But how can we be sure?
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Are you on the broad way . . .
. . . or the narrow way?