The main focus of John 3:16 is God’s love for people. He loves ALL the people, all over the world, in all eras, ages, ethnic groups, and countries. So God loves everyone, EVERYONE? No matter when they lived, where they lived, what skin color or creed? Even, those _______ (you fill in that blank with someone that you just KNOW God can’t possibly love)? If, as some religions say, all of us are God’s children, which religion is the “right one”? Or is there a “right one”? Most zealots of many major religions would answer that question with a resounding “Yes, MY religion is the right one!” Well …
In my research, I start with the assumption that there is only one God-Creator. This God is understood by people through their culture and heritage. I am NOT saying that what they believe is 100% correct, nor am I saying it’s 100% wrong. Instead, I am saying that there has been some deterioration from the original story, no matter what one learns today. The Bible says that “God is Love”, and that anything “unloving” towards others has crept into that religion. Someone’s fears and not because it was there at the start. I use that as a standard to measure the places of validity a religion holds.
Religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the creation of a superhuman agency or agencies, usually involving devotional and ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs. (from Dictionary.com)
Oh, one more illustration about how all have lost some of the light given to. Just as a light source appears dimmer the further you get from it, I have come to believe that the same thing is true of religions. The further in time they are from their beginning, the dimmer the light they still reflect. Each generation is very capable of straying a little bit from what was originally written or meant by what was written. It’s even easier for those that had no writings at the start. For example, Buddhism had nothing written about it until 200 years or so after Buddha.
Anyone 100% Correct?
Every single religion I have studied (I have missed a few, at least) has been correct in some areas and off-course in others. Even the one I was raised in as a child and the one I have adopted as an adult. The wayward teachings come from people poorly translating or misunderstanding the original guidelines of that religion. An example would be those religions/sects that believe “we are going to heaven/nirvana/etc. and we are the only ones going there”. Or even more arrogant, those who believe “God only speaks to us”. I seriously doubt that a Loving God has chosen one religious group to accept and to reject all the others. As a Christian, I see no evidence of that anywhere! For example, I am convinced that some Jews (Moses, Abraham, etc.) will be there as well!
What’s more important?
It’s not what makes each religion different from others that is important! Where they all agree that is much more important! The differences lead to such conclusions as: “Mine is right, you are a heathen because of yours.” I have heard this too often from people too proud for their own good. They are so convinced that they got 100% of the Creator’s message from those around them. Even the Bible says that His ways are too high for us to understand, so if the Bible is accurate, even Christians are missing something! It is wonderful that I have been blessed by having good people around me, but even they were imperfect. Like me.
I am not as interested in what each religion has that is “wrong”, that’s too easy. (I have a list for each of the major ones, and will be adding other religions so that they can have their own list! If you want to know what your religion may have gotten wrong, feel free to contact me!) Anyone can be a critic and become self-righteous as a result. I have been told that I am not a real Christian and that I am going to hell. Well, that is what I seem to be until you look deeper into what I am trying to say. I am trying to dig deeper. As someone much wiser than I once said, “If you want to find diamonds, you have to be willing to go through a lot of mud.”
Am I 100% Correct?
Lastly, I know that I am not 100% correct. This has been and will be controversial and not always correct. I know my own experiences are not enough to have all the answers. I look forward to discussing this, helping each of us to grow closer to our Creator.