It’s the exclusivity that bugs people.
One of the things about Christianity that offends people most is how we claim we can only be saved through Christ Jesus.
We do have bible to back up the idea, y’know.
Acts 4.8-12 KWL
- 8 Then Simon Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, told them, “Leaders of the people and elders:
- 9 If we’re investigated today about a good deed to a disabled man—how was he cured?—
- 10 it must be made known to you all, and all Israel’s people:
- In the name of Messiah Jesus the Nazarene—whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—
- by this Jesus, this disabled man stands before you, cured.
- 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone dismissed by you builders, who became the head cornerstone.’
- 12 Salvation isn’t found in anyone else, nor is there given to people
- another name under heaven by whom it’s necessary for us to be saved.”
Jesus is the only way by which people have access to God:
John 14.5-7 KWL
- 5 Thomas told Jesus, “Master, we don’t know where you’re going. How can we know the way?”
- 6 Jesus told Thomas, “I’m the way. And truth, and life. Nobody comes to the Father unless through me.
- 7 If you knew me, you’ll also know my Father.
- From now on you know him. You’ve seen him.”
These absolute statements make Christianity exclusive: You gotta have a relationship with Jesus if you want to get to God. There’s no getting around Jesus. He is how God chose to reveal himself, so if we reject Jesus, we’re rejecting what God’s trying to tell us. Bluntly, we’d be rejecting God.
Now if you’re of another organized religion… big deal. Your religion already has its own claims of exclusivity. Muslims figure there’s no god but God—and Muhammad’s his messenger, so if you wanna know God you gotta embrace Muhammad’s revelations. Buddhists don’t even care about Jesus; he’s a nice guy, but they prioritize the Buddha’s teachings. And so forth.
What these absolute statements tend to annoy most, are
A lot of Christians claim what these bible quotes mean is we must become Christians or we’re going to hell. And that’s not actually what they say. They say—no more, no less—that salvation comes exclusively through Jesus. Not that we gotta first become Christians. Not that we gotta first embrace Christian doctrines. These aren’t statements about the steps anyone has to take. They’re only statements about how God works: Through Jesus.
So if God chooses to save someone from one of those other religions, be they Muslim, Buddhist, pagan, even atheist: He’s only gonna do it through Jesus. Regardless of how they—or we—imagine salvation works.
Yeah, here’s where I start to confuse and lose people.