There are a lot of really nice people in Las Vegas. A large number of them are trying to sell you something, but there are a lot of people happy to be vacationing, relaxing, and getting away from the daily grind. While swimming in the kiddie pool at the Mandalay Bay recently my family met yet another really nice couple swimming with their three kids. Ironically the husband grew up and attended high school in the city that we currently live. Through our conversation I learned many things; where they grew up, how they met each other, what they do for a living, and who they worship. Huh? Why do I always go there?
Let’s face it. Who you worship, and if you worship something or someone at all is part of who you are. There’s no denying this fact. It tells a ton about who you are to the other person. And no, I don’t go around saying, “your little Johnny is so sweet…ok so he’s 5 as well…who do you worship?”
What happened in conversation was as natural as the sun shining while this beautiful, very intellectual, and highly educated woman started telling me about growing up in Tehran, Iran. She taught how Persian couples enter a relationship only under their loving parents’ watchful eyes. I did ask if she was Muslim. What happened next was a seemingly normal and ever increasing statement that I’m noticing more and more every day through conversation.
“Well…I’m not religious as much as I’m spiritual.”
Here’s me, “ah.”
You see ‘Religion’ has gotten a really bad rap over the last decade or two. There have always been those opposed to hurting others who won’t conform, and rightly so. Therefore we have the pendulum on the swing, disallowing this current generation to freely proclaim who and what they worship for fear of social reprisal. How many of you have heard, or even said, any of these.
“The things I don’t talk about, religion and politics.”
“You believe what?”
“Jesus can’t be the only way, what about all the other religions?”
“So you’re saying everyone else in the world is wrong…”
“How dare one group of people say their way is the only way. How narrow-minded. How arrogant.”
Religious people have been blamed for countless atrocities, plus multiple wars including the current war we’ve been fighting since even before 9/11. The war on terror. I’ve said it before; you can title yourself whatever you want, but love is an action. If you don’t have love you’re a clanging noisy instrument of no worth. It’s not religion the world needs. It needs Jesus. Personal relationships with the Creator and a third Great Awakening.
“You see,” my new friend continued defending her statement in the shallow end, “no matter if you are Muslim and worship Allah, or you’re Jewish, or Christian…no matter what you are.. we’re all praying to the same thing.” Then, before she swam off a minute to chastise her youngest from walking too close to the deep end she says, “I believe it’s all the same in the end.”
Here’s where I believe she’s wrong.
Here’s where I believe The one true God is misunderstood the most.
Jesus is not Allah, the God of the Jewish people is not Budda, and reincarnation does not coincide with the scriptures of Christians or Muslims. The same things are not written in all the holy books. Don’t kid yourselves.
There’s a bumper sticker being flaunted that says “Coexist”, with the letters symbolizing the different religious symbols. Understanding the spirit behind it, I get the premise. Seeking peace, it exclaims can’t we all just get along? Unfortunately, if you know anything about the Muslim worldview it states that the Jewish people are infidels, and that they need to be exterminated. Hence the great tension between Israel and Iran as we speak. The Jewish scriptures believe in the Old Testament God, but not Jesus. The Christians believe Jesus was the Messiah the Jews are still waiting for, and the Holy Spirit, Jesus, and God are one..
And that’s just touching on the three largest world religions!
How in the world does it all come down to one object of worship? It doesn’t. It can’t. They’re contradictory.
The only way we can coexist is by mutual respect towards one another. Loving people no matter what. Allowing others to choose their own way, and smiling, nodding, and golden-ruling your life alongside others. I will still chat about Jesus with you, and whoever will listen, but respect if you choose to take a different path. I may be teeth grindingly narrow minded and believe you’re going in the wrong direction, but in the end it will be between you and God. I may email you a blog about repentance and Jesus being the only way to heaven, but understand if it makes you uncomfortable to open it. I may be ‘arrogant’ for believing there’s only one way up, but in the end it will lead to life everlasting. I bet my life on it.