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The Question

How should we respond to people of different religions or to non-believers?

Definition
Religion: A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, usually involving devotional and ritual
observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.

Bible Verses
"I [Jesus] am the way and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14:6)

"Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever
does not believe will be condemned." (Mark 16:15-16)

"The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by
their wickedness, since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the
creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood
from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor
gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. " (Romans 1:18-21)

“But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

"This is what the Lord says… the Lord Almighty: I am the first and I am the last; apart from me there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

"The god of this age [Satan] has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of
Christ, who is the image of God.” (2 Corinthians 4:4)

“But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason
for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)

“Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching
has both the Father and the Son. If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or
welcome him. Anyone who welcomes him shares in his wicked work.” (2 John 1:9-11)

Respect
Christians may respect the sincerity with which others hold their beliefs, but we cannot respect the beliefs themselves. We can
respect those who follow other religions for their contributions to human welfare, scholarship, and culture. But we cannot
respect a belief system that denies the truth of the gospel, insists that Jesus was not God's Son, and takes millions of souls
captive.

In the end, Christians should show respect for non-believers by sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the spirit of love and truth.
We are called to love and respect others, even those who disagree with us, but not their religion. We are not called to
compromise our faith in Him, or to deny His claims to be the only way to God (John 14:6). It is not our place to condemn
anyone. Treat them as Christ told us, "Love thy neighbor as thyself." Make sure that they know that Jesus died for them.
Anything further is between them and God.

Assertive, yet tolerant


Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father but by me." (John 14:6). These are not popular
words in today's culture. But then again, Jesus was not seeking to win a popularity contest. He said it because He knew it was
true. He backed up his claims by many miracles and by rising from the dead.

Some people think incorrectly that it is intolerant to believe only one religion has things right. But this response shows a
misunderstanding of what intolerance really is. Tolerance does not mean never disagreeing with anybody. The word implies
disagreement. True tolerance means allowing differing views to coexist without necessarily agreeing with them or claiming that
all views are true. Therefore, we can hold that one view is true or better than other views without being intolerant. If we were
truly intolerant, we would silence other points of view. But merely engaging in persuasive conversation with someone you
disagree with is not intolerance. We show more respect for each other when we take our religious claims seriously than when we
clothe them in a patronizing cloak of relativism.
Satan would have people believe that Christianity is a hate religion because it will not surrender its claim to be exclusively true.
This may be true of religions which spread through physical violence and oppression, but it cannot be true of a religion that
teaches us to love our enemies, and to do good to those who hate us (Matthew 5:44).

How should we respond?


How should we respond to people when they say, “surely all religions lead to God”? How did Paul respond in Athens when he
saw the city swamped by idols and false gods? “While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that
the city was full of idols.” (Acts 17:16).

Paul wasn’t into winning arguments. He was passionate about saving people who had gone astray and were confused and lost in
their fears and delusions. How should we respond?

1. We need to be humble
We were in just as much need of a savior as they are so there is no room for arrogance. We are like beggars who have found
food, sharing it with those who have none.

2. We need to be positive
Peter and Paul took the opportunities God gave them to share about Jesus and not tear down what other people believed.

3. We need to be respectful
The people we are speaking with were created in the image of God. God loved them so much that he sent his Son to die for
them, as well as for us.

4. We need to be courageous
The first Christians were not ashamed to talk about Jesus. Their message was unpopular and it got them into trouble on many
occasions, even to the point of death. But they wouldn’t keep quiet.

Biblical View on Other Religions


So what does the Bible have to say about other religions? It teaches that there is a spiritual war going on and the intention of
Satan and his host of demonic spirits is to divert us from the truth. The apostle John wrote that "the whole world lies under the
sway of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19), and the apostle Paul warned us that people will "follow deceiving spirits and things
taught by demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). From the beginning Satan has been deceiving humanity, and it’s no different today.

Questions
Do you agree with the definition of religion above? Why or why not?

Do you agree with the phrase “Jesus is not religion”?

Do we treat those of other beliefs the way that we, as Christians, want to be treated?

Does Christianity seem harsh to you, in that we are to proclaim it as the only way to salvation?

If there was only one medicine available to cure an incurable disease then it would be wrong of someone not to tell about. Do
you agree with this? Do you agree with this in regard to Jesus?

References
http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=534764
http://www.christian-faith.com/forjesus/religions
http://norasensation.wordpress.com/2008/12/07/how-christians-should-treat-unbelievers/
http://www.cc-vw.org/sermons/religions.htm
http://www.evolutionfairytale.com/bibleevidences/other_rlgns.htm
http://www.religionfacts.com/christianity/beliefs/other_religions.htm