Wednesday, November 23, 2016

MANY PATHS TO GOD?





Are there many paths to God? It is common to hear people say:

·       "I believe God taught that we can get to Him through a variety of paths, and the Buddha taught His followers one valid path."

Buddha's religion was very different. His goal was Nirvana not heaven. Here's what he said about it:

·       “Nirvana is the area where there is no earth, water, fire and air. It is not the region of nothing at all, nor the border between distinguishing and not distinguishing, nor this world nor the other world; where there is neither sun nor moon. I will not call it coming or going, nor standing still, nor fading away nor beginning. It is without foundation, without continuation nor stopping. It is the end of suffering.” (Tripitaka)

In Buddha's Nirvana, we do not even retain the self. "We" are just one amorphous consciousness.

Besides, Buddha taught that we'd get there through mind-action control:

·       "This is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration."

All the religions of the world require us to be worthy of God or Nirvana. However, Christ became worthy for us, coming down to reach us where we are at, rather than expecting us to become worthy for Him, an impossibility:

·       For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin [while He died on the Cross] who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

Consequently, salvation – forgiveness and reconciliation with God – is an absolutely free gift:

·       For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:8-10)

To believe that we can attain to God is to embark upon a path of frustration, discouragement, and despair. If instead, we blind ourselves to our true lowly and broken status, we will become proud and arrogant and will look down on others who haven’t made it. Only in Christ can we experience that satisfaction of arriving without the arrogance of superiority.

1 comment:

  1. One respondent wrote:

    • “You can follow Jesus without falling into the trap of Christian exceptionalism.”

    Not at all! If there are multiple ways of salvation, then Jesus died in vain. Jesus had even prayed:

    • And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” (Matthew 26:39)

    Clearly, had there been another way, the Father would have revealed it. Instead, this was the way prophesied in Hebrew Scriptures in many ways:

    • Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth. (Isaiah 53:4-7)

    The NT warns us in many ways that we cannot trust in another way or in another gospel:

    • I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:6-9)

    This might sound harsh. However, it is God’s truth. Therefore, we are not free to deny it. Instead, we have to come as little children, receiving what God has rather than what we want.

    As a Jew, I had sought God for 12 years, but I wanted God my own way, according to what felt right for me. Consequently, I had found nothing. Instead, I had to pray for the truth.

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