On the street today, two missionaries asked if I was going to heaven. I told them I acknowledged spirituality, and was certain of a happy afterlife. They weren’t satisfied and probed further.
The two men, both who went by the name of David, got more aggressive with each new point that we came across. I was asked about my familiarity with the ten commandments. After answering “yes,” they brought up commandment #2, concerning false idols before God. They told me they believed in free will, but that anyone not accepting the Bible as the infallible word of God would be condemned to hell.
I told the Davids a hypothetical story about a man named Abdullah, who lived in Iran. If Abdullah was a devout Muslim, who loved Allah, prayed five times a day toward Mecca, took his Hajj as stated in the Qu’ran, and died in Iran, never being exposed to the word of Jesus or the Bible, then did God create Abdul to live a meaningless existence, only to be tortured forever in hell? That’s hardly fair on Abdul’s soul. The Davids explained while it was a shame, that was indeed how it had to be for a lot of people.
I brought up the fact that if Jesus did indeed suffer and die for the sins of all mankind, then why were non-Christians excluded? Jesus had to die for everyone, including those who ridiculed him, The Davids retorted with the Gospel of John, when Jesus said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the father except through me.” But what about interpreting that metaphorically? If one lives a virtuous life, helps others, and repents their sins genuinely, wouldn’t that also be a way to the father?
I’m not knocking the Davids or their devoutness to their religion. In truth, I find such dedication admirable. But the fact that man feels he has the right to judge others as lesser beings due to their belief system is appalling. It isn’t man’s place to tell people their beliefs are wrong, just because their religion says so. Man has no place to judge men in the place of God.
However, man is indeed capable of rational thought and logic. I believe all of the world’s religions fashioned by men are simply man’s way of attempting to explain the unknown. I believe man was placed on earth to learn, help others along the way, and to try to live a spiritual life. Who is one man to say that he is better than another, based on the ancient texts of another man?
Man’s ability to reason should rather be used for unification, love, and understanding. Rather than judge others, man should try understanding where others come from. Rather than divide ourselves into religions and belief codes, humans should help other humans understand by sharing our own personal beliefs of what truth, love, honor, and virtue could be. The final judge of what is should be ourselves.