Too few means to salvation?

One common complaint against Christianity is the doctrine of exclusivism.  The teaching that there is only one true God and only one true religion is something some people just find objectionable.  Whether they find this to be arrogant, narrow-minded, elitist, or worse; they think the idea that there is only one way to God in order to be saved is distasteful.  But what if Jesus wasn’t the only way and there were more than one way to salvation?  How many would be sufficient?

Presume for the sake of argument that there exists a God to whom you are morally accountable.  A God who will punish those who transgress his moral law yet provides a way to be saved from his wrath?  What else could God offer before it’s finally considered fair?

Comments

  1. An evaluation of one’s lifetime based on the conduct of one’s behavior taking into consideration one’s genetic ability and social conditions.

    • Atticus, could you be more specific? Is it a more good than bad? Is it proportional? Are some good things and bad things weighed higher?

      On a tangent, do you think genetic ability and social conditions should be weighed in our judicial systems?

      • “Atticus, could you be more specific? Is it a more good than bad? Is it proportional? Are some good things and bad things weighed higher?”

        Did they do more good than bad when also taking into consideration their genetics and social circumstance. I think intent and ability would be important to God.

        “On a tangent, do you think genetic ability and social conditions should be weighed in our judicial systems?”

        No. Our judicial system’s job is to protect the natural rights of individuals. If a person of lesser genetics and social conditions interferes with the natural rights of another human they should still be punished equally. I do think that the legal system attempts to take intent into account when sentencing a crime (murder is punished more severely than manslaughter for example).

        • Atticus

          You seem to be implying that God considers no mitigating circumstances beyond a person’s control.

          You also seem to be saying our judicial system is more just than you want God to be?

  2. Since I don’t presume the existence of any god it would be quite silly to speculate as to what god might offer in order to satisfy me. Salvation is a silly idea which I cannot take seriously. Damnation is an ever sillier idea which no one should take seriously.

    A human and a dog have this much in common: Death is the end. There is no hereafter.

  3. In a world in which sinners need a path to salvation, one path will suffice. I don’t understand why that’s a problem.

  4. Hello John,

    You say, “If the point of the exercise is to presume for the sake of argument God exists, and requires moral accountability, why do you respond with a nonanswer? ”

    The concept of salvation / damnation ranks among the very worst ideas ever invented by humankind. A god who would need salvation / damnation isn’t worthy of any worship or any followers. A god who created humankind “in his own image” and was unhappy with the results can pretty much blame himself and condemn himself. Who else could god blame?

    Christians are quite bizarre in their attempt to exonerate god for the behavior of humankind. Of course, it is difficult enough to exonerate god for the behavior of god (such as described in the Bible).

  5. Wow, David! You continue to put the lie to your claims to have studied religions. You clearly have no understanding of the relationship between God and His creation. Quite typical of those who deny His existence.

    I also find it curious that you believe God should be held accountable for the behavior of mankind. It’s seems pretty clear that your “study” of religion was one that which sought to refute the possibility of God, rather than an honest attempt to find truth.

  6. Hello Marshal,

    You say, “You clearly have no understanding of the relationship between God and His creation.”

    As a representative on behalf of religion it is your duty to define the proper relationship between God and his creation. As for myself I observe only a universe and its evolution.

    You say, “I also find it curious that you believe God should be held accountable for the behavior of mankind.”

    If God created humankind, God is responsible for the behavior of his creation.

  7. It is hard to imagine something more obvious than this: You must meet the creator of the universe on his terms, not yours. He starts off perfectly fair, giving all what they deserve. Then He becomes extremely unfair by offering grace to those who accept the sacrifice made on their behalf.

    God is completely inclusive in the sense of offering salvation and forgiveness to all who come to him on his terms. Any type of sinner, any age, any culture, etc. is welcomed.

    God is completely exclusive in that if you reject his terms then He will reject you.

    Complaining that there is only one way to salvation is the height of ingratitude and another symptom of Romans 1-style rebellion and suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. If God offered two ways, then people would complain that there aren’t three, and so on.

    Just get on your knees and thank him that there is a way at all!

  8. “Of course, it is difficult enough to exonerate god for the behavior of god (such as described in the Bible).”

    David expresses the typically incoherent thoughts of atheists. They insist on the fantasy that the universe came into being without a cause, that life came from non-life, that life evolved to caterpillar/butterflies, elephants, humans, etc. and that there is no ultimate accountability for your actions. And then they can’t go three sentences without making moral judgments! If they were slightly consistent with their worldview they’d “know” that Darwinian evolution was the sole cause for all religions, including Christianity and my conversion from atheism to the belief in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. So why are they critical of the products of evolution? Why do they make moral judgments when they would “know” that there is no such thing as universal morality that and that we would agree with or even care about their standards? These Romans 1 poster children tip their hands at every turn.

    Romans 1:18–20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

    More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits. All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God.

    Romans 2:15-16 They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.

    It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride. Seek God on his incredibly gracious terms and not only will your past, present and future sins be completely forgiven, but you will have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you.

  9. Hello eMatters,

    You say, “They insist on the fantasy that the universe came into being without a cause, that life came from non-life, that life evolved to caterpillar/butterflies, elephants, humans, etc. and that there is no ultimate accountability for your actions. ”

    I insist on these things specifically because this is exactly what happened. Reality actually has an atheistic bias.

    You say, ” And then they can’t go three sentences without making moral judgments! ”

    When reading fantasy literature (such as the Bible) it is appropriate to make moral judgments about the behavior of imaginary entities. This same process occurs while reading Hamlet. To do so doesn’t require that Hamlet actually exist nor that Shakespeare’s play actually constitute authentic historic events.

    You say, “If they were slightly consistent with their worldview they’d “know” that Darwinian evolution was the sole cause for all religions, including Christianity and my conversion from atheism to the belief in the evidence for the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. So why are they critical of the products of evolution? Why do they make moral judgments when they would “know” that there is no such thing as universal morality that and that we would agree with or even care about their standards? ”

    I can only respond to the above by asking: What?

    You will need to clarify the above argument because it doesn’t seem to make any sense whatsoever to me.

    You say, “More bad news: You’ll be judged on the standard of Jesus, not by comparing your best traits to your neighbor’s worst traits. All your deepest, darkest secrets will be brought to light and judged by a holy and perfect God. ”

    I’d worry about this if a holy and perfect god existed. However, the god of the Bible is not holy, not good, and often quite evil and incoherent in his behavior. For this reason I always shake my head when I see “In God We Trust” on coinage, at least until I realize that Christianity’s god is mammon and there isn’t an American Christian alive who wouldn’t trade his or her soul for wealth and power.

    You say, “It is foolish and rebellious to think that you get to define whether God exists and what He must be like. Repent and believe while you still have time. Eternity is a mighty long time to suffer for your foolish pride. Seek God on his incredibly gracious terms and not only will your past, present and future sins be completely forgiven, but you will have the righteousness of Christ imputed to you. ”

    I always find it amusing when Christians use “Christ” as a Divine title when the Jewish Bible is quite explicit in applying that title exclusively to humans and never to God. Jesus Christ is a mythological figure, a Greek god, invented by the Christians because the Greeks misunderstood the Hebrew language and therefore assigned magical status to a thoroughly human term.

    “Messiah” doesn’t mean what Christians imagine in means. The prophets of the Old Testament even applied that term to Cyrus, a pagan polytheist, who never even worshipped Yahweh nor even acknowledged Yahweh’s existence.

    So when Christians say “Jesus Christ” this or “Jesus Christ” that they only indicate their own failure to comprehend their own Bible. Two thousand year old errors are difficult to correct.

  10. David,

    “I insist on these things specifically because this is exactly what happened.”

    Really? You have absolute proof of this? Let’s see it. I’m betting the best you could muster would be scientific lessons that make a conclusion based on an analysis of available data that, to some, what you believe is true is really only what is thought to have occurred. However, no where in nature do we have any examples of something from nothing, or that anything exists without a cause. Your position requires far more faith.

    “When reading fantasy literature (such as the Bible) it is appropriate to make moral judgments about the behavior of imaginary entities.”

    First of all, you have yet to provide anything that proves the Bible is fantasy literature rather than a record of actual events. You assert this position without substantive evidence of any kind. That would make your position imaginary. Secondly, without a fixed source of morality, what someone like you asserts is moral is totally subjective and not in any way binding on anyone. It is invented and a fantasy of mankind and therefore worthless to anyone with the strength and power to live in conflict with your notion of what is or isn’t moral. Without a fixed source of morality that exists regardless of whether or not we do, it is futile for anyone to regard anyone or any behavior as good, evil or unholy. Roasting you on a spit while you scream in pain could not be immoral simply because you object. Nothing could be “self-evidently” wrong or immoral. Concepts of right and wrong would have value only for the weak and fearful and why should anyone give a damn about them?

    “This same process occurs while reading Hamlet.”

    Who regards Hamlet as more than the play it is?

    “…there isn’t an American Christian alive who wouldn’t trade his or her soul for wealth and power.”

    Only a self-satisfied atheist would believe this fantasy. Name one American Christian who fits this bill. There are no American Christians who visit this blog who would do such a thing. What an incredibly ludicrous and shallow thing to say. It is extremely hateful as well to regard people you don’t know so poorly. You’re obviously projecting.

    “I always find it amusing when Christians use “Christ” as a Divine title when the Jewish Bible is quite explicit in applying that title exclusively to humans and never to God.”

    I always find it amusing when atheists like you think you understand Scripture at all, much less better than Christians. “Messiah”, “the anointed one”, was applied to any who might deliver or liberate the Jews. Even Cyrus was believed to have been used by God for the purpose of liberation of the Jews. It means “savior”, “deliverer” and words to that effect. I don’t believe you can prove it was reserved for application onto humans alone. Nice try. If this is an example of an “error”, you’re more pathetic than first believed. I’ll continue to pray for you.

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  1. […] Shouldn’t there be other ways for God to save the world?  John recently asked if there were Too few means to salvation? […]

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