From the beginning of this exercise that began almost a week ago on Thursday, April 14, when I began reflecting on the practice of sharing “untruths” in their religions by the “Interfaith Amigos,” I invited you to share what you felt were untruths in your religion and said that I would share them in Part 4.
On April 15, I said I believed it untrue that God required Jesus’ death as a sacrifice in order to forgive our sin.
One of you wrote what many could have said,
Your blog about Jesus not having to die for our sins is another 'truth' that I grew up thinking. I thought He was the sacrificial lamb for us, just as in the Old Testament they sacrificed animals. The more I hear the more at sea I am . . .sigh
Jim wrote from another perspective:
God's need for a blood sacrifice creates a fear of God that unless Jesus is in the room to intercede God becomes vicious in holiness and consumes us out of vengeful purity. Jesus literally becomes greater than God… Your blog makes me wonder who is working through new understandings of the cross and salvation?
On April 17, I said the claim that Christianity is the only way to God I believe to be untrue.
One Julia wasn’t so sure it is an untrue claim:
I can certainly see your point, but I have also found validity in the explanation for the TRUTH of this has to do with why the Lord "tarries" so that all WILL have an opportunity to hear of Him, believe in Him and receive Him as Savior.
Charles spoke volumes with one line about his ancestors,
I find it hard to believe early Inupiaq (pre-contact) had no chance of going to be with their maker.What audacity to believe by accident of birth they couldn’t be with their maker! And yet that is often exactly what they were told. I can only hope they were wise enough not to believe it!
You have to admit that holding an exclusive path to salvation is a great recruitment tool. I can identify with Christianity because Jesus, through his ministry, showed me a path towards God. But for this white, western, man to think that this path is the only path is pretty arrogant.
Another Julia wrote in response to both of my untruths:
I have never believed Jesus is the ONLY way to God, just one of many paths up the mountain. That's one way in which I identify as a progressive Christian. But Jesus is MY way to God, as Jesus "saved" me, not by being the sacrificial lamb that gets me into heaven, whatever that is, but because he taught me the true nature of God, who gives me a new chance every day to forgive myself for my sins, and thus begin again to try to be the best person I can be. Jesus saves me from myself, from my self-condemnation, and frees me to start each day a new sin-free person, thus I can enjoy heaven right here on earth.
I think it's so important to let people know that... there are MANY Christians out here that believe in the message of Jesus, but not in all the mythology that humans have added to his story. I have been tempted many times to leave my faith because of Christian atrocities, such as bigotry, righteousness, intolerance of God's beautiful diversity, but have always come back to Jesus, and have decided to work from within the church to make change and to invite people to think and experience for themselves what truths their own hearts can embrace.
it can't be because I think God allows EVERYONE into heaven, because not everyone had the chance to know Him on earth.
Dan, who ignited this exercise, wrote:
We must take the exclusivity claims and triumphalist claims OUT OF CHRISTIANITY's doctrines, if those doctrines and faith are to mirror the essence of the real Jesus…Thanks to all of you who took time to participate!
For those observing Passover, I wish for you a renewal of the sacred memory of a God who cared about a slave people and freed them, and who still cares about suffering people whoever and wherever they are.
For all observing Lent, I wish for you a re-discovery of Jesus, perhaps for the first time, as one who died because of his identification with politically oppressed and religiously disenfranchised people, not because of some cosmic chess game God was playing.
And for those not at home in either Judaism or Christianity, I wish for you new friends in both traditions.