RELIGION ROUNDTABLE

World religions share one thing

Dualism as a religious conscript is not usually the custom in our western society. However, when researched, every major religion of our contemporary times, from Christianity to Taoism, holds the same doctrinal tenets as core values.

For practical purposes, I will utilize Matthew 7:12 as our foundational teaching for this answer. It states, “Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”

As one researches religious beliefs, it is enlightening to realize that the message of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is the primary teaching of each world religion.

So, could all roads lead to God?

John 14:6 tells us this: “Jesus said unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes unto the Father, but by Me.”

That statement is a threefold declaration of Jesus’ mission on earth. He is the way to the Father, the truth about God and the very life of God.

My personal belief is that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and, because of my personal relationship with Him, I have come to know the heart of the Father. Having traveled in many different cultures and having met countless wonderful people of other faiths, I trust that Jesus will make Himself known to those who seek Him.

— Beverly Mattox, Word Alive International Outreach


There are many ways to worship

In the book “God Is Not One,” author Stephen Prothero says, according to Gandhi, “Belief in one God is the cornerstone of all religions,” so it is toward this one God that all religious people are climbing.

When it comes to divinity, however, one is not the religions’ only number. Many Buddhists believe in no god, and many Hindus believe in thousands.

Moreover, the characters of these gods differ wildly. Is God personal or impersonal? Male, or female (or both)? Or beyond description altogether?

There are Unitarians and Trinitarians (as an Episcopalian, I fall under that category). Unitarians believe in one God and have theological ties to Judaism and Islam. Trinitarians believe in one God in three persons (co-eternal and co-equal): Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Islam is an Abrahamic religious group teaching that there is only one God (Allah) and that Muhammad is the messenger of God. Judaism and Christianity are also monotheistic religions that trace their history back to Abraham.

I believe that there are many paths to God, as there can be many routes to the summit of a mountain. Some people worship in community; some individually; some inside; some outside in nature’s glory.

Our relationship with God is personal. How we seek, find and speak to God is personal. Religious leaders may serve as shepherds, but the choice of how and where to worship God is up to each and every one of us.

It was once said that all roads lead to Rome. Yes — all roads can lead to God.

— Robert Fowler, St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Jacksonville

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