Christianity too Narrow?

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Q. My friend has been witnessed to by many of his Christian friends, but he feels they are too narrow in sharing only about Christianity. He feels it is only the cultural beliefs of the Jews, and thinks he should study all religions before he decides. Any suggestions?

A. Quite a number of people feel the same way as your friend, but their presuppositions are wrong. Due to space limitations, I’ll address only the areas you raised.

First of all, he is inconsistent. He thinks that he’ll be in the best position to decide after he had studied everything. But in which other fields does he adhere to this rule? Does he study medicine for himself when he gets sick, or does he consult a doctor? What if he has some legal problems? Does he go to law school, or find a lawyer? How about fixing his car? Doesn’t he find a mechanic? Why use this excuse only when it comes to matters of faith?

Secondly, are Christians really narrow when they share only about Christianity? Aren’t other faiths exclusive? How many Muslims share anything other than Islam? Their radicals would rather kill if someone converts from Islam. Do Buddhists share about other religions? What about Hindus? Or for that matter atheists? Why would anyone share anything which they do not believe to be true? We are not talking about comparative religion as an academic study here, but matters of eternal destiny.

Third, does Christianity’s Jewish roots make it narrow, the cultural beliefs of Jews only? Hardly. Of all the world religions, Christianity has the widest appeal across all people groups, be they ethnic, cultural, or geographical. Islam is concentrated in the Arab world, Indonesia and Pakistan. Buddhism is centered in China, SE Asia, and Japan. Hinduism is confined to India and the Indian Diaspora. But Christianity knows no national and economic boundaries. Narrow? Save that for other religions.

But let’s focus on the positive. It is commendable that your friend wants to know before he gets into something he does not understand. But precisely for that reason, he should learn about Christianity. Because basically there are two types of knowledge – what we can observe for ourselves, and what needs to be revealed to us or we will never know them. The former is called natural revelation, what is revealed to us in nature, from the cosmos all the way down to subatomic particles. The latter is called special revelation, because God is infinitely greater than man, so unless He tells us, there are so many things beyond our comprehension and reasoning. And of all world religions, only Christianity has special revelation, the Bible, while all other religions have only natural revelation. So if your friend wants to know, he must study Christianity.

When he compares the different faiths, the most important thing is whether it is true. Some may have very ancient history or traditions, but unless it is true, it is all futile. How do you know whether something is true? The same way you understand any other subject – by the use of objective evidences, past, present and future. By the way, let me point out a fallacy in many post-modern people’s thinking – that truth is relative or subjective, what is true to you may not be true to me, and what I feel is most important. Nonsense! Try that in a court of law sometime. Say you’re involved in a car accident and feel the other driver is to blame, does that mean he’s guilty? Of course not, because the truth is revealed by the evidence. Don’t confuse truth, which is absolute, with feeling, which is subjective.

Let’s take a look at evidence. In comparing religions, they can be material, or personal i.e. witnesses. Material evidence from the past can be historical records and archeological findings which collaborate with what is said in the sacred writings. Your friend will find that while other religions have lots of myths (e.g. stories of folk heroes who became gods) which cannot be substantiated, archeological digs in the Middle East have verified the biblical records to be reliable and trustworthy. Present as well as past witnesses have testified as to how faith in Christ have changed their lives. While other religions also have testimonials, the life transformations are qualitatively different in Christianity’s case, bringing broken lives and families whole again. But the most significant proof is “future” evidence in the sense of fulfilled prophecies. Other faiths have no or insignificant self-fulfilling prophecies because of their human origin, while the Bible contained hundred of predictions made centuries ago, yet fulfilled later in detail exactly as prophesied.

Your friend should know that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov 1:7, 9:10). Mt 7:7-8 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” So if he starts with a humble attitude wanting to know God, he will find Him. But if he is proud thinking that he is at the center of his universe, and with his intellect he can understand and decide which god he will grace by his adhering to that religion, then he won’t find Him. I wish him the best in his spiritual quest. Ultimately God has done everything to bring a repentant sinner to Himself. All he has to do is to ask, seek and knock with humility.

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