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01 June, 2010 / theexpositor

What Should Our Attitude Be Toward Other Religions?

 The subject of the following piece by Rick Rood has been on my mind a lot lately. I have friends and family who are part of other religious persuasions, religions or cults. At time or another, they seek to call me out in defense of my faith, which I am glad to do. One person in particular told me she had read a blog post I had written concerning Mormonism. I was surprised she had read it but at the same time glad she did.

 Her comments to me led me to think, what should be our attitudes, our postures toward people of other religions? It’s been pointed out to me on many occasions that ‘Jesus hung out with sinners’. I share, yes, but to the religious hypocrites He was tough as nails and condemning of their false profession and self-centered piety.

While it is my prayer that my friend doesn’t shun me for standing in defense of my faith, it is my greater prayer that she, as well as myself, come to the realization that we must all cry out for mercy. In my brief reply to her, I shared, “Im grateful that God loves even Presbyterians and Mormons”. My God in His love and wisdom show us mercy; and to my friend, and to all of my family and friends, be they Roman Catholics, Oneness Pentecostals, or LDS, with all the ability and grace God has blessed me with, I love you.

What Should Our Attitude Be Toward Other Religions?

(from the article The Christian Attitude toward Non-Christians Religions, by Rick Rood. Read the entier article HERE.)

In the course of this short discussion we have examined the attitude of religious pluralism, as well as that of Christian inclusivism. The former holds that all religions are equally valid. The latter holds that Christ is the unique savior, but that His salvation can extend to followers of other religions. In both cases, we concluded that the evidence in support of these views is inadequate.

The only remaining option is the attitude of Christian exclusivism–the view that biblical Christianity is true, and that other religious systems are false. This is more than implied in numerous biblical statements, such as in Acts 4:12: “And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved.”This is not to say, however, that there are no truths at all in non-Christian religions. There are certainly moral and ethical truths, for instance, in Buddhism. In Buddha’s Eightfold Path, he appealed to his followers to pursue honesty, charity, and service, and to abstain from murder and lust.

We should certainly affirm these ethical truths.Likewise, there are theological truths in other religions–truths about God that we could equally affirm. These may be more scarce in religions such as Buddhism and Hinduism. But Orthodox Judaism and Islam certainly share our belief in a personal Creator–God, though Christianity is unique in the monotheistic tradition with regard to the doctrine of the Trinity. There are even truths about Jesus that we share in common with Muslims–that He was a prophet of God, and the Messiah, and that He worked many miracles, though they deny that He was the Son of God, or that He died for the sins of the world.We can, and should affirm these moral and theological truths that we share in common with followers of other religions.

We must acknowledge, however, that in no other religion is any saving truth to be found. And as mentioned earlier, there is no other religion that presents the human dilemma, or solution to that dilemma, in quite the same way as does the Christian faith. In Christianity, the problem is not ignorance of our divine nature–as in Hinduism–nor simply our desire–as in Buddhism. The problem is our alienation from God and His blessing due to our failure to live according to His will–what the Bible calls sin. And the solution is neither in self-discipline, nor in revised thinking, nor even in moral effort.

The solution lies in the grace of God, expressed in His provision of His Son, Jesus Christ, as a sacrifice for our sin. Salvation is not something we achieve; it is something we receive.It is clear, then, that though there are superficial similarities among the world’s religions, there are fundamental differences. And the most important difference is the person and work of Christ.What should our attitude be toward followers of other religions?

It is important for us to distinguish our attitude toward non-Christian religions from our attitude toward followers of those religions. Though we are to reject the religion, we are not to reject them by mistakenly perceiving them to be “the enemy.” The biblical injunction is to love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves no matter what their religion. Rather than viewing them as “the enemy,” we should see them as “the victims” of the enemy who are in need of the same grace that has freed us from spiritual slavery–in need of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

About the Author

Rick Rood is the former director of publications at Probe Ministries, and now serves as a hospital chaplain. He is a graduate of Seattle Pacific University (B.A., History) and Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.). He has pursued Ph.D. studies in theology at D.T.S. and has served as pastor, been a seminary instructor, and has worked for a number of years in ministry to international students. Rick and his wife Polly are the parents of two young adults.


One Comment

  1. Rev. Bryan Dabney / Jun 17 2010 6 58

    The the fact that we are discussing the validity of other religions apart from the true faith in our Trinitarian God is a symptom of an apostate culture. While it is one thing to study other religions for the purpose of strengthening our witness to them, it is entirely another thing to encourage acceptance of their tenets and become yoked together with them as if biblical Christianity were simply one religious choice among many.

    Keep your armour on at all times and be discerning in the Spirit.

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