Debate.org asked the question: Does religion divide the world?
73% of those responding said yes.
Why does religion divide? One of the respondents (AbdulRaufw4lr6s) nailed it explaining that “Religion is another form of categorizing” :
Religion . . . tries to divide between good and evil . . . ; accordingly, people who belong into that particular definition of ‘good’ is called the ‘believers’ and likewise, those who belong into the definition of evil is termed ‘sinners.’ From there, the whole process of giving definition and categorization escalates . . .
It is true that religion divides humanity in exactly this way. Whenever someone claims and exclusive truth there is a great danger of division. The thing is, everyone makes truth claims
–even “non-religious” people:
“All religions lead to God”
“There is no God”
“Truth requires evidence”
“The ends justify the means”
So the issue is not whether or not one will hold a exclusive belief; the issue is to which exclusive set of beliefs will one hold.
In the spirit of unity, why not the one that will most likely lead to unity? Let this be our standard.
In a sermon entitled, “Exclusivity: How can there be just one true religion?” Tim Keller identify three key differences between Christianity and every other religious beliefs. Keller contends that it is in these differences that we find the basis for unity.
- The central figure of all other religious beliefs is a human being, but in Christianity it is God himself.
- This God became flesh–he became a human being.
- In all other religions the central figure tells us what we need to do in order to be blessed, but in Christianity, God blessed us because we could never deserve it.
These very things, if they are embodied, are the very things that will bring peace on earth.
- Because we aren’t saved by our performance, we can’t even begin “the whole process of giving definition and categorization” described by AbdulRaufw4lr6s. Keller points out that both the secularists and moralists look down their noses at others, but people who live the Gospel believe that they are no better than any one else, probably worse. If you’ve run into Christians who think they are better than everyone else, you’ve either misunderstood them, or they’ve misunderstood the gospel.
- All other religions, (according to Keller) point to a life to come as the true destination for humanity. Christianity, on the other hand, is very interested in THIS life. By becoming flesh, God himself is affirming this world–this physical world. He wants all of humanity to work together to make this world a good world–he wants us to serve the world, as he did when he died for it and us. If you’ve run into Christians who don’t care about the environment, for instance, then you have either misunderstood them, or they have misunderstood the gospel.
- Jesus is God. Keller admits this sounds a little arrogant. But Jesus came into the Jewish/Roman world which was very divided. There were tremendous divisions between Greeks and Jews and the rich and poor. The early Church gives testimony to the inclusive nature of the gospel. Christians mixed races and socioeconomic classes. This unity was created because people understood Jesus to be God, not just a man, who came to earth and died for people who hated him so that they might live, both now and forever. How can a person who follows this God, look down on others for any reason?