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Friday, February 18, 2005

Follow the Leader

It seems to be a common conviction these days: Christianity is fine, but its just one way among many. Buddism, Islam, whatever... they're all just different perspectives on God, alternative paths to the truth.

How do we know that truth is not relative?

That's what a friend named Alyssa asked over coffee at Infusion today. Reed, sitting across from us both, offered an interesting analogy.

"Suppose there was a lake full of the purest, clearest water, on top of the highest mountain in the world. If people from every country all climbed that mountain, each from their own side, and they all tapped into that common water source...wouldn't we expect the same kind of water to flow down every side? Of course! We would NOT expect clear water from one side of the lake, and scummy water from another. But how then do we explain the fact that many religions say contradictory things? Someone has to be right, and someone has to be wrong. They can't both be drawing from the same water supply."

To state the matter plainly: When Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth, the life - no one comes to the Father but through me" (Jn 14:6) how can we honestly claim that he's offering one of many compatible perspectives? If I believe there are many ways to God, and Jesus says there is only one, one of us is right and one of us is wrong. Anything else is irrational. This leaves me with two possible options - either Jesus is right and I'm in trouble, or Jesus is wrong and he's most definitely NOT a good guy.

The point here is that there really ARE differences between Christianity and other religions (see Molly's previous post), we can't just pin it all on deficiences in Christian practice (and hey, I know there are plenty!). But in many cases, we Christians are just trying to take seriously the things that Jesus said. So why do people accuse the followers of being intolerant, and not the leader? Why are so few people willing to speak ill of Jesus, in spite of what he says?

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