By Jonathan Dodson
This is the perennial question of our generation: “Is Jesus the only way to God?” Some ask it with disdain: How could anyone assert that Jesus is the only way to God? Others ask it with genuine sense of doubt. Is Jesus the only way to God? Only in books do we find this question asked and addressed so explicitly. So while the question may mark our generation, we are loathe to discuss the answer. Why is this question so besetting for our generation? Over the next few posts, I will address this question with honesty and sincerity.
Answering the Question Socially
If the question is: “Yes, Jesus is the only way to God” a line is drawn where we would rather things remain fuzzy. Why would we prefer this particular claim to remain fuzzy? In many cities there are an array of religious beliefs: Mysticism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Christianity, to name a few. The presence of so many different religions in cities leads many people (Christians included) to the conclusion that all religious paths lead to God. Why? When we meet people from various religions who are kind and sincere because of their religious beliefs, it seems arrogant to insist they are wrong. After all, their religion appears to have made them very likable, respectable people. I, for one, have met many people I would consider more generous and sacrificial than some Christians I know.
We make a theological decision based on social experience.
When people of other faiths rival Christian character, we face a tendency to affirm all religions as valid ways to God. We make a theological decision based on social experience. Rather than investigate the answer to one of the most important questions, we prefer to glaze the question with inch-deep reflections upon the character of people we meet. Understandable but not wise.
What if our generation became known for not only posing great questions but also grappling deeply and sincerely with their answers? Many Christians claim that belief in Jesus is the only way to God. Others insist there are many ways to God. In the next post, I will explore why some people insist there are many paths to God.
This series was orginally post here.
Jonathan Dodson is lead pastor of Austin City Life in Austin, Texas. Dodson is author of Fight Clubs: Gospel-centered Discipleship and Viral Hope: Good News from the Urbs and Burbs (and everything in between). For more information about the author, check out his bio.