Forum on Mary Lane’s Comment

Under my post, Person with Asperger’s Seeks Spiritual Home, I sort of violated my own rule. I told my readers not to respond to what other commenters are saying under the post, since its aim is to help the spiritual seeker with Asperger’s (Anthony), not to ignite a feud.

But Mary Lane made a comment that I had to respond to. She said the following:

I would have to say that most likely those who feel that they need to dabble into religions outside the Scriptures that God has given us, are living life on the edge-okay? The Devil is just as real as the God who created him (Isa.45:7) and he is very adequately disguising himself in the religions of men and organizations. Innovative novices are subject to being “taken at his will” (II Tim.2:25-26) It behooves those of us who decide to remake God into a more palatible Image, to consider that the actual Designer of that designer religion, may not be able to save us. (Just FYI)

Mary Lane may be addressing me and/or Anthony, since both of us have looked into non-Christian religions. Anthony dabbled in Kabbalah and was thinking briefly about studying Buddhism, and I’m currently reading the Koran, with Buddhist and Hindu scriptures lined up on my desk for future projects.

Here are two points:

1. On one hand, Mary Lane’s comment convicts me. I’d like to think that God is somehow involved in all religions, but is such the case, according to the Scriptures? Paul said that those sacrificing to other gods were actually worshipping demons (I Corinthians 10:20), even though Zeus often stood up for justice. Revelation 12:9 affirms that Satan has deceived the whole world.

But there is also a strand of biblical tradition that appreciates the wisdom of other cultures. Paul quotes Stoic authors in Acts 17, in his attempt to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. And, as Randall Heskett points out (see Wife Swap), the Book of Proverbs includes chapters that contain the wisdom of non-Israelite kings (e.g., Proverbs 31). And there are Christians (e.g., C.S. Lewis, the Pope) who view other religions as preparatory for belief in Christ. In the second century C.E., Justin Martyr even posited that Socrates was open to the divine logos, even though the incarnate Word, Jesus Christ, would come centuries later.

2. Mary Lane criticizes remaking God into a more palatable image. As you can tell, she doesn’t care much for pick-and-choose religion! But, as I wrote under the post, I wonder why she is a Christian and not (say) a Muslim. A lot of evangelicals will respond, “Well, because the God of Christianity loves us so much that he sent his only Son to die for us, whereas Islam’s deity is rather harsh.” But isn’t that accepting an image of God just because it’s more palatable than another image?

Or an evangelical may respond, “Because Jesus rose from the dead.” Well, Islam claims that Muhammad ascended to heaven! Why should we accept one truth claim and not another?

Another common evangelical response: “Because the early Christians were willing to die for their faith, and who would die for a lie?” But the early Muslims also suffered for their beliefs. They were persecuted and kicked out of Mecca. Why would people suffer for a lie?

Please address these comments here and not under the post about Anthony’s search for a spiritual home.

Thanks, to all who will participate.

WordPress readers: See Forum on Mary Lane’s Comment  on Blogger, since that may be where Mary Lane responds.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
This entry was posted in Apologetics, Bible, Pluralism, Religion, Resurrection. Bookmark the permalink.