One of the things that I find hard to accept about most religions is the idea that there is only one path to ‘salvation’, or heaven etc., and that path is through their religion. Naturally this increases potential for conflict between religions and even within religions as factions promote their interpretation of scriptures as the sole accurate interpretation.
If there was a God – could that entity be an exclusivist? Could a creator really condemn a large proportion of their creation simply because they bought the wrong brand?
I’d be quite happy to assign people to a lesser hell for drinking Nescafe, but as I’m not a deity people can be permitted this grievous error without fear of divine wrath.
But let’s substitute Nescafe for Baptist and call Catholics ‘Espresso’ (the Italian connection you see. . .). I went to high school with classmates who regularly informed me that I was doomed for all eternity because I drank espresso. So for preferring espresso to Nescafe I was damned?
Ok – I know we could extrapolate this out to extremes – ‘but what if the religion taught that killing and eating of babies was a good thing’ etc. Yes, I think we can draw the line somewhere – religions that REQUIRE you to harm something or someone are probably slipping outside my personal parameters of acceptability – particularly in the modern context.
My thinking on this refined a little over time – though I do discuss it only crudely here – but boiling a number of things down – can you accept the existence of a condemning God? (oh boy, back to Genesis and original sin we go. . .) I don’t accept the ‘but it is the creation that strays’ argument. Sorry, just doesn’t work from a logical perspective – its fine for personal responsibility at the level of society but an omnipotent omniscient God would have had to know exactly what was going to happen from the get-go, which to me means that that being would have condemned the larger part of its creation from the moment of creation – and did so knowingly.
A bit too callous for me – and I refuse to accept the existence of such a malign entity.
So we move to the all loving creator, endowing its creation with the ability to reason, and therefore to know and worship the creator. Do we then accept that because people are so broadly scattered and such independently minded critters that when a general consensus on the path to God can be agreed within a community that the creator is accepting of that as a valid expression of the human function in knowing and worshipping God?
I might be a little more disposed towards that concept – except that is an heretical statement for almost any religion I have heard of.