What is the nature of God? Is he a personal God? What about other religions?
I cannot understand why there is the perception of God as a distant being,
external to us. A ruler with a human personality and weaknesses, like a
puppet master who seems to be not more than a magical-religious being,
created by human mind to justify our existence and everything that
surround us, instead of preferring to see God as God is: as “us”, and
among ourselves. I see the innate and divine power of good and evil;
universal, changing, revolu-evolutionary energy that can be channeled.
Polarized, but always residing among us, dies with us, and revives with us.
Why do we have to see God as divided among multiple “true religions” to
whom only he can speak, tells the truth to each one only, but not to the
Why has nobody (or almost nobody) has ever seeing God, but God’s angels or
visions about God? Isn’t God reflected in the mirror of our lives?
Why are Catholics (and some of their derivatives) the only ones with
saints, miracles and apparitions?]
To be honest, I am having a little trouble sorting through your question
to find out the bottom line of what you are asking. Let me see if I have
your question at the most basic level correct. I think you are asking two
1. Is it not true that God is a personal God who cares about and is
involved with each of our lives?
2. What is the reason for so many religions, often fighting amongst
themselves, always disagreeing. Can?t we see them as all being a different
path to more or less the same thing?
I will try to answer both questions. Please rephrase your question if I am
answering something other than what you are really asking.
I will answer the second question first, as the answer to the first
question depends on your answer to the second. I have heard many sincere,
well-meaning, intellectual people make the point that all the different
religions in the world are really pretty much the same–that they all are
about the same thing, which is how to be a good person and to live in
harmony with the creator/God. At first, this sounds like a very attractive
thesis. It seems logical at first glance. The ethical teachings of all the
major world religions are similar, although not identical. All the world
religions teach at least some aspect of humility and relying on God or at
least some concept of God. To take the opposite view (that only one
religion is the right religion) seems to many to be very closed minded and
Having said that, I would like to say that I definitely do not subscribe
to this thesis. Peter said about Jesus, “Salvation is found in no one
else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we
must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 ) Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the
Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) These are
extremely narrow statements. One cannot accept Jesus as a good teacher and
as a man accredited by God without also accepting what he said. I would
agree that it would be nice if “all religions lead to God,” but I believe
that logically, this claim does not hold up. The bottom line is that it is
literally impossible for both Christianity and for Buddhism to lead to
salvation and to heaven. The teachings of Christianity include such
concepts as salvation through the blood of Jesus. The New Testament
teaches that only through the blood of Jesus and through the grace of God
can a person have a saving relationship with God. The way I see it, this
claim is either true or it is false. In other words, either the Christian
gospel is the only way to be saved, or it is not a way to be saved at all.
If the message preached by Jesus is a lie, then it has no validity as a
way to God. If the gospel of Jesus is true, then people will absolutely
not be saved through meditation (Hinduism) or through the eight-fold path
(Buddhism), through submitting the will to the Koran (Islam), to the
tenets of Confucius or any other human philosophy. Bottom line, all these
religions teach that one acquires righteousness through one?s own effort,
while Christianity teaches that one pursues righteous, not in order to go
to heaven, but as a response to the love of God.
Let me say this plainly, if the Christian message is true, then Islam,
Hinduism, Jaina, Taoism and so forth are false religions and human
philosophy. These man-made religions may include things which are wise and
which seem to make a person good, but if there is anything the Bible
teaches, it is that we are saved by the grace of God, not by our own
righteousness. The open-minded person would check out the claims, the
historical validity, the scriptures of each of the religions mentioned and
decide for themselves what the evidence points toward. I believe that the
evidence for the Bible being the inspired word of God is absolutely
overwhelming, so for me the answer is simple.
Now, let me attempt to answer the first question. Yes, I believe that the
true God of this universe loves his creation very much. I believe that he
is concerned with each of us as an individual and that he is responsive to
our needs and to our prayers and cries for help. I also believe that he is
very displeased when we are rebellious and have a disobedient heart toward
him. However, if Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism is a true religion, then my
answer would definitely change. Hinduism is polytheistic and pantheistic.
Hinduism does not have a personal God at all. Islam does not include the
concept of true forgiveness or grace. It is debatable if Buddhist teaching
even includes anything which one can describe as GOD. So, yes, I agree
with your concept of God, if one can assume that Christianity is the true
religion established by God in this world and that the Bible is inspired
by that God.
There are a couple of subsidiary questions you ask. You ask why
Catholicism includes such things as “saints” apparitions and so forth. To
answer this question, you will have to look at the history of the Roman
church. You will find that by about AD 500, the Roman Catholic church had
almost completely abandoned its original commitment to follow the Bible as
the only valid revelation from God. By medieval times, Roman Catholicism,
unfortunately, evolved into gross forms of superstition, paganism, and
concepts of a priesthood which are so far from true biblical Christianity
as to be almost unrecognizable from primitive Christian faith. What you
should do in searching for the true church of Jesus Christ is keep your
Bible in hand and ask a lot of questions. Why do you do this? Where do you
find authority for this practice in the Bible? How do you explain this
doctrine and where do you find passages of scripture to support this
teaching? It is not my goal to be critical, but as I see Roman Catholic
teaching and compare it to the Bible, it is easy to make a conclusion
about whether it is true Christianity.
John Oakes, PhD