Originally Posted by ILoveSweetpea
From what I can understand reading the bible and from what I can understand by what my pastor says, Christians believe that Jesus is the ONLY way to God. DH and I struggle with the notion a great deal. Our church is fairly conservative, and when we have spoken to our Elders there they have affirmed that the only way to God/Heaven/Salvation is through Jesus. All others need to be saved.
I think there are a lot of misconceptions and wrong teachings in the Christian religions which lead to that sort of misunderstanding.
Here is the verse that has often been misapplied:
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way and the reality and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me.
Note that this verse says nothing about heaven or hell.
It merely states that the way to the Father is through the Son.
According to the orthodox understanding of God as being triune or three/one, the Father, Son, and Spirit are all the One God. The Son is - or was at that time - visible and contactable while the Father was not. Now, the Son is no longer visible, but we still contact the Father through the Son. Christ is the reality of God - He is God realized and expressed.
It is a mystery and not something that can really be explained properly.
But, there is only One God and He exists as the Father/Son/Spirit.
When we are saved, it is through Jesus.
Is it possible that some people are saved without knowing that it is through Jesus? I suppose it might be, but I am not really aware of such instances.
To me it is like going somewhere and you can only get there on a certain road.
And you are driving and you get lost and you wind up at the correct destination.
You never saw any road signs, but you still got there.
If there is only one road to that place, then logic would have it that you were on that road even though you did not see any signs naming the road that you were on.
For me, and everyone I know, it did not work that way though.
I was raised Jewish and was told that God existed and was told certain things about God. But, I did not come to know and experience God so I was not sure if He really existed at all.
When I prayed to Jesus, He came into me as my life and I knew Him and I knew that God exists because He now lives in me.
Originally Posted by ILoveSweetpea
DH and I have friends of other faiths. Maybe we aren't being good Christians, but we've never attempted to convert them. We don't believe they are going to hell... we just can't believe that. I don't understand how someone who seeks God and lives a moral life could be condemned to hell just because he or she is not Christian.
If you read the Bible, you will see that the concept of condemnation to hell is not exactly what is taught in Christianity.
I don't see being saved as merely salvation from hell, but as having Christ in me now as my life and my enjoyment.
The Bible says that if someone seeks God with all of his heart, he will find Him. So, your moral people who seek God may find Him and may not be condemned even if they do not identify with the Christian religion.
However, moral people who reject God are another story.
I do not understand the Christian hoopla about life after death and heaven and hell.
Who knows really what happens after we die?
What may or may not happen after people die is not the main thing that being a Chrisitian is or should be about.
Isn't what happens right now more important and more believable and real?
And what happens right now is that right now we can experience and enjoy the Lord as our life, light, peace, hope, faith and love. He is the reality of every positive thing in the universe! Why wouldn't someone want that?