I have a partner who has been asking me why I travel out to Utah occasionally to reach Mormons with the Gospel of Grace. He is what I would call a ‘Cultural Christian’ in the sense that he wants to identify with the Christian faith, but he is almost afraid to actually read the New Testament for fear that he might discover that this guy named Jesus doesn’t actually agree with his view of the world. So, he continues to hold on to a sanitized, Americanized and relativistic view of Jesus and God, with a sense that being ‘good’ is more important than being ‘right’. He truly believes that all spiritual journeys eventually lead to God, and he sees any effort to argue for truth as just that, an argument.
From his perspective, attempts to persuade are merely contentious arguments that give ALL believers a bad name. He has been telling me that I need to be very careful about this sort of thing. He believes that my view of truth is unloving and disrespectful toward believers of ANY worldview. He is under the impression that I am intolerant and unloving, not based on a behavior on my part, but based solely on the fact that I believe that truth is NOT subjective.
Of course, his cultural relativism related to the issue of truth is at the root of what he thinks about my efforts to persuade people to accept the truth. From his perspective, everyone eventually finds God and has the ability to live a good moral life here on earth, regardless of the religious ‘truth’ that they may subscribe to. In other words, he believes that something GOOD is at the end of all of our journeys, regardless of which path we may take. Something GOOD is at the end. If we all were to accept this premise as true, then it really would make NO sense trying to convince someone that they are on a ‘wrong’ path. In this view of the world, the path is really inconsequential, because the same good thing waits at the end of all paths: a home with God LATER and a righteous life NOW.
Clearly, he has not taken much time to understand what Christianity teaches, and it is also clear that he has not taken much time to understand what all the OTHER systems of belief teach either. If he had taken some time to investigate the truth claims of all world religions, he would quickly realize that they simply DON’T agree in their understanding of the nature of God or what pleases God related to the next life. If he were to take a look, rather than rely on the comfortable assumptions he holds in his unexamined notion of God, he would quickly see that ALL faith systems believe that something GOOD is POSSIBLE for some of us at the end of the path, but that there is also something BAD waiting for those who reject the truth.
It’s an understanding that something BAD is possible that motivates those of us who believe in objective truth to present the Gospel of Grace as the one true cure for what ails man. If nothing else, it is this belief that ideas have consequences and that some ideas are simply BAD that motivates us to at least begin the journey of discovery and dialogue in an effort to discover the truth and then share it with others.
The difference between my partner and I is simply this: he believes that something GOOD is waiting for all of us, in spite of the fact that we may believe in absolutely contrary ideas about the next life; I, on the other hand, believe that the GOOD is possible, but that something BAD is ALSO possible, as the justice of God would certainly demand. It is because I believe in the “possibility of the bad” that I continue to seek and share the truth with others…