Do All Roads Lead to God?
Lucy: So what's on your mind today, Carl?
Carl: Well, I think the case you have made for a Creator is solid enough for you to have back-to-back strike-outs of both Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson. "The Cosmos is all that is (Strike One!) or was (Strike Two!!) or ever will be (Strike 3!!!).
Lucy: You've come a long way, Carl. Just remember: Either the Cosmos or its Creator has always existed and it's not the Cosmos.
Carl: I'm with you on that, Lucy. The part that I find offensive, however, is the claim of Christians that Jesus is the only way to God and that sincere believers in other religions are excluded from the Kingdom of Heaven. This is rude (Strike 1!), arrogant (Strike 2!!) and judgmental (Strike 3!!!). For me, this is simply beyond belief!
Lucy: Come, let us reason together, Carl.
Carl: Go for it! Reason tells me that all roads lead to God.
Lucy: Then the first question we should answer is, "Who is God?"
Carl: Fair enough. Who is God? Reveal him to me.
Lucy: Your request sounds an awful lot like the one that Philip asked of Jesus.
Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”
Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work. Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves" (John 14:8-11).
Lucy: When Jesus told Philip, "I am in the Father and the Father is in me" he could not have made the perfect unity of Father and Son any clearer. It is impossible to separate the two. So if all roads lead to God, as you say, then it follows that all roads lead to Jesus.
Carl: There you go again making Jesus exclusive. What's wrong with just believing in God as Creator and leaving it at that?
Lucy: I think James said it best, Carl.
"You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror" (James 2:19).
Lucy: Remember what Jesus told his trembling followers.
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him” (John 14:1-7)
Carl: But why do I have to go through Jesus to the Father? Why can't I stay on my own road in my own lane?
Lucy: Because the road that you are on has two ways and if you are going away from Jesus, you're going in the wrong direction. One direction leads away from God's mercy to judgment and eternal death. The other leads to love and eternal life.
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
Lucy: Break that amazingly good news down into parts: (1) Despite our sin and rebellion against Him, God still loves the world. Above all, that means each and every human life. (2) God gave something up to make that happen. He gave His only Son to go to the cross in our place. We deserved death for our rejection of Him, not Jesus. God is a God of love, but He is also God of justice. Whenever you see the cross, remember that is where love and justice met so that our sin and rebellion could be washed clean. (3) When you hear the word "believe", think trust. Trust Jesus. Why? (4) Because God accepted his sacrifice on our behalf and raised Jesus from the dead. Again, why? (5) So that you may be given the gift of eternal life. When it comes to comparative religion or any other worldview or religious leader, is there really any comparison to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?
Carl: OK. Jesus is exclusive in his death and resurrection (although I have some questions about that) but you Christians are still being judgmental of others.
Lucy: There are certainly judgmental individuals who claim to act this way in the name of God, so it's important to hear what Jesus had to say about that.
He spoke also this parable to certain people who were convinced of their own righteousness, and who despised all others. "Two men went up into the temple to pray; one was a Pharisee, and the other was a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed to himself like this: 'God, I thank you, that I am not like the rest of men,
extortioners, unrighteous, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week. I give tithes of all that I get.' But the tax collector, standing far away, wouldn't even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!' I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Luke 18:9-14, World English Bible).
Lucy: God certainly has the right as our Creator to judge us. That's hard to argue. But who is Jesus judging here: the one who admits his sin or the judgmental Pharisee? Frankly, I would careful of judging or stereotyping all Christians with the same broad brush. You don't want to be judgmental, do you?
Carl: (Sputter, gasp, repeat) Who me? Of course not. I'm only repeating what others have said about Christians. Like also being exclusive.
Lucy: How can God be exclusive if He wants all to come to Him to receive forgiveness and eternal life? Paul wrote that He "wants all people to be saved" (1 Timothy 2:4). The problem is that most people don't want to have anything to do with God. People can lose their way or exclude themselves from Him, but it isn't His desire to exclude them. Read Jesus' parables about the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin or the Lost Son and you'll get an idea of the love of God for each and every individual.
Just remember that if you exclude the Son, you exclude the Father.
Carl: So how do you come to him?
Lucy: Remember the tax collector Jesus spoke about? Humble yourself before Him. If there was ever an original sin, it was pride: trusting ourselves rather than Him.
Carl: You're saying I have to repent, aren't you?
Lucy: I'll admit that word often appears in scripture. It's there so that we don't start taking pride in our humility (if you know get my drift). But it simply means to change your mind. Using your own analogy, it means staying on the same road but going toward God rather than away from Him.
Carl: You've given me some things to think about, Lucy, but you haven't closed the deal.
Lucy: That rarely happens in a five minute conversation, Carl. Just ponder our conversation and read some of Jesus' teachings we've talked about today. There's a lot more good news to be found. Seek and you find it. (There's also some bad news, but you don't want to go there.)
Carl: See you soon, Lucy. In the meantime, be thinking about all of those who have never heard of Jesus. They have roads too, you know.
Lucy: Always thinking ahead, aren't you, Carl? May our roads cross again soon.
Do All Roads Lead to God? - SeanMcDowell.org
Stop Saying All Roads Lead to God! - Mike Winger
Do All Roads Lead to God? - William Lane Craig at UCSB