The “God-Talkers” would like to convince us that they are the only ones who can show us the “straight and narrow path” into heaven.
If your bullshit0meter [accent on the middle syllable] isn’t in the red zone when they get on this subject, well, allow me to help attune your sensibilities on this subject: most Christian religions can’t agree on who is “saved,” let alone the niggling details of why one Christian (usually themselves) is better than another (usually anyone else).
Christians like to argue about whether Jehovah’s Witnesses, Latter-Day Saints, and Catholics are “truly” Christian. Talk to some and they’ll tell you that the JWs don’t make the cut because they don’t believe that Jesus was an incarnation of Jehovah/God (which also cuts out all that doctrine of a triune God). Talk to others and they’ll tell you that LDS folks aren’t Christian because they “added to the Bible” by saying that the Book of Mormon is another testament of Jesus. Talk to nearly anyone who isn’t Catholic and they’ll tell you Catholics won’t make it because “they worship Mary” or “they worship saints” which is to the minds of some Protestants a form of idol worship.
Do you see the problem here? All of these Christians believe there is a Creator/God and they believe there lived a man (whether or not God incarnate) named Jesus whose death was the means by which all people are forgiven and therefore “saved.” (Skip the credibility of the doctrinal belief in general for a moment; we’ll address that another time.) It should be so simple, shouldn’t it? There is a God who created everything; there was another guy who atoned for all people for all time. End of story. They all agree on these essential points.
And yet they are still arguing and bad-mouthing each other. I even found a web site in which an evangelical Christian claims that JWs are satanic (no, I won’t post the link; all you need to do is a web search and I’m sure you’ll find zillions more).
If evangelical Christians really and truly believed their basic doctrine — that core on which they all agree for the most part — they wouldn’t care how you believed or where you went to church. If they really and truly believed that Jesus’ sacrifice was the atonement for all, then they wouldn’t keep trying to scare you into joining their congregation lest you somehow don’t get your invitation to heaven.
The fear mongering “true believers” want you to believe that only in their church will you find the one and only, the one true path to heaven. They want you to believe that the love of God is capricious, that God will dump you as soon as you utter a swear word or read a secular poem. They want you to believe that the atonement of Jesus is for members only instead of for everyone, that in order to qualify for this great gift of forgiveness you have to follow the rules of their church to the exclusion of all others.
You see, if these fear mongering believers concede that the love of God and the forgiveness of sins is truly available to everyone, then no one will be able to claim exclusive ownership of the “one road” they tout as the only way to heaven, spiritual enlightenment, peace of mind, etc. They have put a sort of toll booth on their road, you see, and they were counting on you believing you needed to take their road and therefore pay your tithe (toll) to their church.
Nobody owns Jesus. Nobody owns the love of God. It’s present even if you don’t believe you deserve it. It’s available to everyone.
Matthew 11:28 (NIV, c. 2007)
Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”
Notice that it doesn’t say, “Come to me …. but only if you’re heterosexual, your wife is submissive, your job isn’t something we’re ashamed to discuss, and your tithe is up to date.”