On my 38th birthday, a dear friend gave me one of the most important gifts I own. It cost her only US $1.95, but its value is inestimable. It is C.S. Lewis’ Mere Christianity.
On page 43, I have blocked in one critical thesis of what the freedom and power of faith in Jesus Christ mean–the freedom to think and the power of discernment. Lewis wrote:
“I have been asked to tell you what Christians believe, and I am going to begin by telling you one thing that Christians do not need to believe. If you are a Christian, you do not need to believe that all the other religions are simply wrong all through.”
“If you are an atheist, you do have to believe that the main point in all the religions of the whole world is simply one huge mistake. If you are a Christian, you are free to think that all these religions, even the queerest ones, contain at least some hint of the truth.”
“When I was an atheist, I had to try to persuade myself that most of the human race have always been wrong about the question that mattered to them most; when I became a Christian, I was able to take a more liberal view.”
“But of course, being a Christian does mean thinking that where Christianity differs from other religions, Christianity is right and they are wrong.”
“As in arithmetic, there is only one right answer to a sum, and all other answers are wrong; but some of the wrong answers are much nearer being right than others.”
Did you ever notice that, in the Bible, Jesus did not go around pointing a finger of condemnation at other religions? He only criticized the hypocrisy and self-righteousness in His own. And did you ever notice, in the Bible, who Jesus spent time with? They were people at whom He had every reason to point a finger of blame. Instead, He led the way for them to spend eternity in heaven with Him.
The combination of Jesus’, own example and the words of C.S. Lewis make up what I consider the reasonable, rational way to deal with religions which do not line up with my own beliefs. That includes Christian denominations whose doctrine are different from mine.
I am to glean from them any wisdom which does not contradict what Jesus taught at the same time I refuse to either fear or attack them for being different.