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Intolerant God?

False gods - the gods of human manufacturing - despise sinners, but the Father of Jesus loves all, no matter what they do.
-Brennan Manning

In a culture where tolerance is preached above any singular religion and experimentation with different spiritual experiences is encouraged, Christianity is marked as being intolerant, closed-minded, and unloving.

Because Christians are willing to admit that they do believe in absolute truths, we inevitably step on some toes when we proclaim the truth of the Gospel as the only truth. Others mistake our confidence in our God as intolerance. Far from intolerance, however, this confident proclamation of the love of Jesus is actually the most merciful message anyone could ever hear.

And quite honestly, King Jesus is the most “tolerant” and loving God out of all the gods men have created to worship.

In other world religions, individuals are on a journey to please and earn favor with their respective gods. Here are a few brief overviews of major world religions which are not all-encompassing by any means, but may offer us a unique perspective:

  • Buddhists base their ideology on the Four Noble Truths: they recognize suffering, acknowledge that we suffer because we want to improve our existence, realize that suffering can be ended, and finally, seek to end the cause of suffering. They adhere to the Eight Fold Path as a guide and try to eliminate suffering by altering their perspectives and lifestyles. All of this traces back to a self-sufficient type of faith. Buddha is not a god who wants to be involved in the lives of his followers - he is merely the one whose thoughts inspired this type of lifestyle.
  • Muslims believe that Allah is the only god and they spend their lives attempting to please Allah so they can end up in Paradise. They believe that their eternal existence is based on the deeds they do in their physical life and therefore strive to appease Allah and earn their salvation, since Allah is unpredictable and salvation is not guaranteed. Once again, this is not a god who desires to be involved in the lives of his followers.
  • Hindus do not believe in one god but in multiple gods, such as Shiva, Vishnu, and Shakti, to name a few. They believe in karma, which suggests that their moral actions have a direct effect on the way their life plays out on earth as well as the condition of their rebirth in another life. Ultimately, Hindus desire to be present with god and united in all circumstances. This belief hinges on faith in a very abstract god, or multiple gods, and once more, does not constitute a relationship between the gods and their followers.

In other words, if you compare the gods of Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism with Yahweh, the Christian God, Jesus is the only one who not only desires to associate with sinners, but who also sacrificed Himself so that they might be saved to eternal life. In every other religion, individuals are trying to attain good standing but in Christianity, Jesus invites all to participate in the inheritance of a Heavenly Kingdom by merely trusting Jesus to be the only payment for our sin.

Jesus is not only the most accepting, loving, and self-sacrificing diety in all major world religions, He is also the only TRUE God and came to the world with the most liberating message:

For God so LOVED the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but will have everlasting life.            -John 3:16

May we rejoice in the truth that God’s love for us is not conditional on our worth, merit, or ability to earn His favor. He loves us because He made us - we are His people, the sheep of His pasture - and not because we can do enough good things to warrant His mercy and grace.

Next time someone tells you that you are intolerant for declaring that Jesus is the only God, the only Lord, I invite you to demonstrate how loving, inviting, and caring Jesus is towards those who have merited nothing, yet receive everything for their obedience and submission to Him. May we give thanks to our Lord, who furiously loves us, even though we are sinners.

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