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Are there "many paths" to God?
by Jack Wellman
2008-04-27 09:21:15
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In recently watching Oprah claim that there are many ways to God and not just one, she is in effect saying that there are many paths that lead to God, and that there is more than one way to salvation. Just have an inward Christ-centeredness. That is all you need. She has given herself over to the New Age way of thinking, self enlightenment, finding God in ourselves. This type of humanistic, existentialism is opposed to teachings in the New Testament that frequently and clearly state that Jesus is the One and Only way which says that there is “no other name by which men [mankind] must be saved” except by the name of Jesus.

This “many paths” philosophy can not most certainly all be true and all at the same time. These philosophies embrace gods, some no gods, and others in reincarnation and so can not all can be right at the same time. There is either one god or many, none or some. The Law of Non-Contradiction states that it can not be both [or multiple] ways! Whatever a person’s beliefs might be, they will have absolutely no effect on stated facts. If you drop a rock and believe it will rise, it will fall nonetheless. Beliefs can not change a proven fact, however, facts can (as least they should) effect a person’s beliefs. Neither can beliefs alter or change a known fact. Beliefs can not create or change stated and known scientific facts.

Ancient world explorers once feared sailing the oceans for fear of falling off the edge of the earth (once thought to be flat). What they used to believe did not change the fact that the earth was a sphere. The fact that they eventually found out that it was spherical, changed their beliefs. Today's mass of talk shows seem to reveal at times, just how varied human opinions can be. What seems right to us can be a social blunder in another country. Shaking our head up and down for yes means no to some people groups. A thumbs up is an offensive gesture in the Middle East.

So what we are left with today is that fast-food, philosophical buffet; choose this, reject that, a dash of that. But can we be allowed to pick and choose what we like and don't like and still all be right? Dr. Phil, like Oprah, is on a first name basis with the mass American TV audiences and appears to have all the answers to the hordes of hurting and the maladjusted people who come to seek him as their last resort. If he doesn't have the answers, his teams backstage of expert therapists and other "resources" have them.

Nothing seems to be too difficult for him to solve after a brief interview in front of millions of American followers. Anyone might melt in the heat of live exposure, being grilled on TV, the perfect "good cop, bad cop" scenario and this Doctor's couch is shared by millions, anything but confidential. I am sure he is often right and makes some excellent observations, but he is so effective because he has a top degree, is a "Doctor," and thus commands respect in a way that Oprah cannot. Oprah has a following in the millions and the massive audience's are easily persuaded by her and Dr. Phil’s secular-humanistic philosophies. The potential influence is ominous.

A person’s philosophy will be completely useless after death and for what comes after it. To believe in only One Way, like Christian's do in Jesus, seems “intolerant” or “narrow minded”. However that is what is written in the Bible, which claims that there is no other way to eternal life except by the name of Jesus. I not only believe He is the Only Way, I know it.

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Emanuel Paparella2008-04-27 14:58:28
I wonder Jack if you have ever reflected on Christ’s portrayal of the last days as found in the New Testament. There he makes it clear that on that day of final judgment-the so called dies irae, or day or wrath—there will be many unpleasant surprises and many people who thought they would surely be on the right side of God because they were good Catholics or good Baptists or good Methodists will find themselves on the left side. That passage would seem to suggest that indeed the pathways to God are numerous and it is a deception on our part to assume that atheists and non-Christians are ipso facto condemned to eternal damnation; in other words, many Moslems and Buddhists and Indus and Jews will find themselves on the right side of God and when they ask why they are there while some “Christians” who went to church daily may find themselves on the left, they will hear that the judgment in the final analysis has nothing to do with doctrine and orthodoxy, as important as those might be, but with “what you did to the least of my brethren.”

Concerning the Aristotelian principle of non contradiction, here is a pertinent anecdote, a philosophy professor was giving a lecture defending such a principle and pointing out that yes always means yes and no always means no; from the back of the room the voice of a colleague chimed ironically: yes, yes, yes. Indeed, even language seems to reflect the paradox that is life.

Jack2008-04-27 21:20:47
I tried to emphasize that opinions are highly subjective [therefore, subject to error]but objective truths remain unchanged by opinions. Conversely, stated given facts or axiomatic truths can change opinions...it is a one-way relationship though, like those who later learned the earth was spherical, regardless of their opinion.

To those who might say that for some, perception IS reality, it reminds my of my college philosophy teacher stating that a certain chair in the corner may only exist in our minds, because you expect it to, since your perceiving with your eyes, it is there...continuing that perhaps this is all a dream and we do not even exist". My answer was, "then my last two semesters sitting in that same chair, in a now rearranged classroom, was not there at all, I just subjectively thought it was, all the while, sitting in mid-air, taking notes, to perhaps a class that also did not exist (I wondered if this class even should!?). If I jump off the balcony just to prove that it does exist, who am I to tell? No, I will take the objective path of the stairs, for I know that my opinion will not overrule object gravitational force. The point is to take steps into eternity that all humans will eventually take [life is still 100% fatal], after death, knowing exactly the Way and through Whom to pass. But there remains only One Way.

Emanuel Paparella2008-04-28 11:35:41
When I read Dante's Divine Comedy I see Dante the poet but also Dante the pilgirm. Dante the pilgrim teaches me that in one's journey from cradle to tomb there is an ultimate destination (you will our peace, or the love that moves the sun and the other stars) but there are also penultimate purposes within time and space. To disregard those is to begin to think that there difference means that that there are superior ways (the while man's burden and Christianity)and inferior ways (everybody else). Indeed there are many pathways to God and Christ hinted that in his Father's home there are many mansions too.

Seth2008-04-29 23:03:20
Clarity, it is really quite simple. Everybody listens, but nobody hears, everyone looks, but the really don't see, everyone talks, but what is really said? It's like, cut to the quick, Jesus, as the Way or no Jesus, no way. Nicely done.

LL2008-04-30 04:11:31
Good for you!

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