Jesus: Liar, Lord, or Lunatic?

I continue answering the question:
 
Well, if there is a God, then why should someone believe that Jesus is the only way?
 
In my last blog, I tackled the inherent weakness of spiritual relativism. We have to separate tolerance from acceptance. But even the words tolerance and acceptance are not very helpful. I can tolerate my kid’s bad behavior, but I act to stop them. I may accept my friend’s choices, but I don’t have to approve.
 
Perhaps a different starting point is more helpful. Rather than starting from the belief or action, we can start with the person. After all, our primary desire with others is to love them. So, rather than tolerate or accept, I love. Sometimes this love means tolerating. Sometimes it means accepting. But tolerating or accepting are never ends in themselves. This is the key difference with our modern culture. Our culture puts acceptance as the core value. It is not for Christians. Love is. Above all, I pledge to love others. This may mean there are times I must not tolerate or accept their beliefs or actions. Yet, even when I don’t, I still uphold my commitment to love them.
 
To love others also means to strongly commit to my own beliefs. I do not compromise on what I belief in order to accept others. I accept others based on my love for them, not on their beliefs. So, I can accept people and not accept their beliefs. Now we’re digging deeply into love. Do you see how again it is less about reason and information, and more about relationships? So, because I hold strongly to my beliefs, and I love others enough not to say they are okay no matter what they believe, and because I love them more than I want to insist that I am right, I enter into relationship with them to talk with them as a friend. This changes the conversation!

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Spiritual Relativism

This summer I’ve been blogging about how we can know that God exists. This came from discussions I’ve had with youth this spring who are asking critical questions about their faith. In my previous blog I took a break from the more rational arguments and told my own story of how I came to put my trust in God. A crucial question that I wrestled with is a question I have been asked recently as well. I’ll try to offer my response here (and yes, again, it will be longer than one blog!).

Question: Well, if there is a God, then why should someone believe that Jesus is the only way? Is there any evidence?
In our culture of relativism today, this one is so often discussed, and so often compromised by the Church. We love to be tolerant, understanding and sympathetic. It is so much more politically correct to say that each faith expression has validity and meaning, and it is right for those who believe it. No one faith has priority over the other, and no one is right over and above the others. We all generally acknowledge a Higher Being, but we all prefer if everyone believes whatever he or she may wish. Added to this the fact that religion has divided the world since the beginning, and many wars have been fought over it. Certainly this cannot be godly, no matter what you believe. The bloodshed spilled over rightness of one belief system over another should prompt us more educated folk to steer away from such dogmatic claims of “I’m right and you’re wrong.” A much kinder, gentler approach is “live and let live.” Still further (the argument I never not hear) is that Christianity is the religion of the West. If we lived in another part of the world, we would be equally devout Muslims, or Hindus, or Buddhists, or such. Certainly the majority of the world could not have been wrong throughout history! (When you consider history, more people have lived and died as “other” than those who have accepted the Judaeo-Christian faith tradition).


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