I am again an Apple computer guy so when I saw recently that Apple had won a court case against Samsung on their using things that Apple has patents on the thought of for the title above came quickly to mind. Many Christians seem to think that they have exclusive rights to who God is and what we are to believe about him. I believe I can say with some certainty that no one has exclusive patent rights on God.
When I was a Catholic in my early years the nuns and priests that taught me about God insisted that only Catholics would go to heaven. All other types of Christians including Lutherans, Baptists, Pentecostals, and the like and especially including all those “other” type religions will not be in heaven. Even as a very young person this proclamation bothered me. Why would God send Johnny, who was my best friend but not a Catholic, to hell? Johnny was probably the most caring person I knew so it pained me that he would spend an eternity in unquenchable fires!
Since those times back in the 1950’s Catholics have admitted, although very quietly it seems, that maybe others who believe in Jesus just might also earn heaven but still those “others” are bound for hell. Of course almost all of the different denominations think they alone have an exclusive channel to God. Everyone else only have a fuzzy vision of who God really is. As an adult in a Lutheran Bible study was told that Muslims, Hindi, Buddhists and everyone maybe even those Catholics are not praying to the same God we were. Their god was indeed a false god. This practice of each religious group excluding all the others has always troubled me.
I personally believe that everyone has access to the same God. My muslim brothers are praying to the same God as I am. Jesus said no one gets to heaven except through me but he didn’t say he wouldn’t let other religions come through him. Jesus is the gate-keeper but he didn’t say he was going to reject those who come to him on different paths. Jesus was very much Jewish in his religious affiliation. If we want to exclude every religion that came after Jesus then we would also have to question whether Christians are allowed in heaven as that religious body never existed in his time.
I think it is pompous at best and deadly wrong at its worst to say I have exclusive rights to God. God is who he is and no one can ever fully fathom what is in his heart. We all pray to the same God but with different man-made sets of beliefs. Who is to say that other religions who happened to come after Jesus are not from God? Please don’t insist that they are not because they are not mentioned in the Christian Bible. I just don’t buy that logic anymore….