From the Pastor

Do All Roads Lead to Heaven?

Many Americans are woefully illiterate when it comes to religion.  Journalist Cathy Grossman puts it like this, “Sixty percent of Americans can’t name five of the Ten Commandments, and 50% of high school seniors think Sodom and Gomorrah were married.”  She goes on to point out that “a study in 2005 by the Bible Literacy Project, which promotes academic Bible study in public schools… surveyed 1,000 high schoolers and found that just 36% know Ramadan is the Islamic holy month; 17% said it was the Jewish day of atonement.”  (“Americans get an ‘F’ in religion” by Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today, 3/14/2007).

In the United States the foremost virtue that is taught is tolerance, but because we are so ignorant of religion, even our own, we don’t know what we are to be tolerant of.  So many have come to the conclusion that all religions teach the same essential things, which is not the case.

In so many cases, we hesitate to say anyone’s beliefs are wrong even when they are in direct contradiction with what the Bible says.  We think good people go to heaven and bad people do not (we’re not sure what happens to them).  The Scriptures remind us that it is not good people who go to heaven, but those who have realized they are not good and cling to God’s mercy and grace in Jesus.  As Christian we believe that Jesus is the Messiah, Judaism does not.  We can both be wrong, but we can’t both be right.

This week we will examine the top seven religions of the world and compare and contrast their fundamental beliefs to see if we are all the same, or if there are significant differences.

Grace and Peace,

Pastor Alan