Are All Religious People Headed For The Same Place?

Is Everyone Entitled To His Own Belief?

Is everyone entitled to his own belief? This question can be answered both yes and no. Yes! If one is asking if man is a free moral agent and that he yet has the inalienable right to choose either good or evil regardless of God's pleasure in the matter. But the answer is no if we are asking if our belief is acceptable even when it is in conflict with God's word and his will for us. The truth of God, the faith once delivered, is narrow! Jesus spoke of it as the narrow way and he admonished men to count the cost before they accept Christianity (Matthew 7:13-14). In concluding the great sermon on the mount, Jesus said that on the day of judgement some would be surprised because they will be rejected. Moreover, he made it clear that only those who hear God's teaching and follow it will be saved (Matthew 7:21-23).

Lest we think that Christianity stands alone in being narrow, let us look at other ordinary areas of life. First, let us take the telephone that most of us use daily and the very instrument that you used to dial this recording. To get a number in the city, seven digits must be dialed. We might ask if one is entitled to his own belief in dialing any seven digits that he likes or maybe the right to dial more or less than the seven digits that are needed? We can answer this question exactly as we can the one about the right to our own religious belief. Yes, as a free moral agent, a man may choose to dial any digit that he wishes, but this right will not necessarily get him the desired end result unless he is narrow and thus dials only the correct digits and in their rightful order.

Again we can speak of the narrowness in chemistry, mathematics, music and even in the development and the lifelong process of our physical bodies. In all these areas and multitudes of others like them, exactness is demanded and man is not free to do what he wills and for all to be well unless his will is to do the right and to constantly double check for error. This principle is true in Christianity and it has always been true with God and his covenant people.

In the Garden of Eden man committed but one wrong act and this one violation changed the entire course of human history. Someone may object to the apparent narrowness here and ask if Adam and Even were not entitled to their own belief in this matter. While one may raise this question, we know the sad story and the facts in the case. Then, their oldest son, Cain (Genesis 4) had his worship to God rejected because of a technicality which a broad-minded person may think to have been too narrow.

Then in the very, very early history of Israel the illustrious sons of Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, chosen as priests of God, offered strange fire upon the altar and with fire God consumed them because the fire that they had offered was not in exact keeping with God's instruction to them as his priests (Leviticus 10:1-3). Later Moses was forbidden to go into the promised land because he hit the rock instead of speaking to it as God had instructed that it bring forth water for thirsty Israel (Numbers 20:7-12). Here too, some may ask "What difference does a thing like this make?" If we answer for God, we have to say that the action of Moses was not in exact obedience to the instruction that God gave him.

Multitudes of other illustrations can be drawn from both the Old and New Testaments which repeatedly show that the choice that man has is to accept or to reject the will of God. Jesus said in John 12:48, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgest him: The word that I have spoken, the same shall Judge him in the last day". Here we are plainly told by Jesus that to reject his word or teaching is to reject Him. Let us again ask the question that is so often asked by so many- "Is everyone entitled to his own belief?" Surely, now you know the answer and by knowing it you can even help others to find the way.

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