by Rob Lundberg
The question posed here is one that harbors an exclusive tone. “What is the difference between Christ’s exclusivity” implies that the burden of proof is put on Christ over and above some other religious view. Before going any further let’s set up the terms, exclusivity and bigotry.
Let’s deal with the latter term first, bigotry. Someone who is bigoted is one who is obstinately or unreasonably attached to a belief, opinion, or faction. To be more succinct it points to a particular prejudice against or an antagonism toward a person or people on the basis of their membership of a particular group. So when someone accuses one of bigotry based on their view that they believe their religion is right, the accuser is actually posing a self imploding question, that has bigoted implications.
When something is deemed exclusive, it is usually enveloped in the understanding that it is the truth. Truth is that which corresponds to reality. Yet at the sametime, all religions make exclusive claims that they alone are the true religion. There are certain things that one must believe to be a Muslim, in the same manner that there are certain things that one must believe to be a Christian. And yet Islam and Christianity do not worship the same “God” and they make claims that the other religion is false. Are they bigoted or are they making exclusive claims that challenge the other to defend their position?
So let’s just forget the popular claim that all religions say the same thing. They don’t. Let’s also remember that there is no fundamental perennial truth that unifies all religions or ties historical Christianity to the other world religions.
All religions are exclusive by their very nature. The talking heads and political pundits will try to show how smart they are by saying that all religious traditions are just different paths to the same place [destiny]. Let me just say that nothing could be furthest from the truth. Let me share an illustration to make my point.
Do you know what you would get if you were to put a Muslim cleric in the same room with a Christian scholar, Mormon scholar, and other philosophers from the other world religions? As soon as the dialogue begins, you and I would find out very quickly that all those scholars would make their cases why their faith is right and the others are not as right or totally wrong.
Each religion has their tenets that make it set apart from the others. While each religion embraces a moral law of some kind, they all differ in areas of man’s nature, view of God, view of salvation, post mortem survival dogmas, and their sacred books.
So let me jump back to addressing this whole cultural clamor regarding religious bigotry. It is not correct to call a person a bigot if they espouse their religion to be true and another’s false. It is bigotry when you do not allow the person from another faith the opportunity to share why their faith may be true against all others.
All religions are exclusive by their very nature. If you look at any of the major religions, you would find that there are certain tenets that make it unique to itself in contrast to the other religions. Although there is an exclusive nature to Hinduism that sets it apart from Islam, and to Islam which sets it apart from Judaism and Christianity, the issue of religious tolerance is one that runs roughshod into the face of religious bigotry.
The test as to find out who is right and who is wrong comes in evaluating the claims of Jesus Christ versus all the other religious leaders. If Jesus made some claims, and possessed attributes that set him apart from Muhammad, Moses, and the gurus of Hinduism and the monks of Buddhism, then I think the point is made. If these attributes set him apart from any other religious leader, and perhaps proved it by rising from the dead, would you be willing to consider His claims and His life, and respond to what He desires for you?
Is this bigoted? I think not. When you set your presuppositions aside and wrap your mind around the reality of Christ’s claims, you will be confronted with having to make a decision. If Jesus is risen from the dead, then Christianity is true. That is not bigoted, that is a reality. My question to you the reader, is that if Christianity is true, then would you become a follower of Christ and be His disciple?
Rob is a blogger, professor, writer, and public speaker on a mission to equip the believer to articulate what and why they believe to a confused culture in a “brave new world.”