War of the Worldviews, part 2: Do All Paths Lead to God?
Author: Andy Robbins
Unitarianism has become popular in today’s post-modern culture. It is surprising how many people believe that as long as you are sincere, you can believe whatever you choose to believe and still be justified in the end. More surprising still is the number of churchgoers who believe that the spiritual path they have chosen is simply one of the many paths that lead to God. But is that true? Can two groups of people believe in totally different ideals and both still somehow be right? Is sincerity a marker for truth?
People don’t mind acknowledging Jesus as a nice religious teacher, and the Hindus are very happy to even acknowledge Him as a god, among their thousands of other gods. But to suggest that Jesus is the ONLY way to salvation can make even the most serene meditating New Ager a little steamed. One of the most common objections to faith in Jesus Christ is the narrowness of His teachings and the exclusiveness of His claims. Indeed, Jesus made radical declarations about Himself, declarations such as “I and the Father are one,” and “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father,” and “No one can come to the Father except through Me.” No religious figure ever made claims like Jesus did.
So then, what are we to make of those claims? It is illogical to conclude that Jesus was simply an important religious teacher and a good man who meant well if those radical claims weren’t true. If they were not true, he was either a deranged lunatic who thought he was God, or he was a liar and a charlatan. And either one of those scenarios discredits Jesus as a good religious leader worthy of anyone’s devotion.
So then, can Jesus’ claims about Himself be validated?
The Old Testament contains over 300 prophecies concerning the Jewish Messiah. Many were prophecies that a person could not fulfill on his own. For example, the Old Testament writings say that the Messiah would come from the family line of King David, would be born in the town of Bethlehem, would be grossly disfigured in being executed yet have no broken bones, and soldiers would gamble for his clothes during his execution. The chances of someone in history accidentally fulfilling all of those prophecies is mathematically impossible, yet Jesus fulfilled every last one.
Six-hundred mathematic students and professors at Westmont College analyzed the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and calculated that the chances of someone in history coming along who could fulfill just eight of the over 300 prophecies was one chance in 10 to the 17th power. Now, if you are not familiar with that mathematical designation, that represents a number with 17 zeros behind it – a number so large that it doesn’t even have a name like a million or billion. Then that same group analyzed 48 of the prophecies concerning the Messiah, and calculated that the chances of someone in history fulfilling just 48 of the prophecies was one chance in 10 to the 157th power – a number with 157 zeros behind it! Mathematically speaking, you have a better chance of waking up tomorrow morning and bumping your head on the moon than for someone coming along in history who just happened to accidentally fulfilling just 8 of those prophecies.
In his landmark book, Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Josh McDowell paints a word picture to show the mathematical impossibility of a number like 10 to the 17th power. He said to imagine the huge state of Texas blanketed with silver dollars four-feet high, and one of those silver dollars has a distinguishing red mark on it. Now imagine parachuting blindfolded somewhere in the middle of Texas and told that you must pick up the silver dollar with the red mark on the first try while still blind folded. There is a better chance of you being able to do that than there is for someone coming along in history who could accidentally fulfill just eight of the Old Testament prophecies concerning the Jewish Messiah given hundreds of years before His birth.
History records, however, that Jesus Christ fulfilled every last one of those prophecies – over 300 in all! So if Jesus fulfilled ALL of those prophecies, what are the chances of Him being the One who He claimed to be? I don’t know about you, but I think it takes more faith NOT to believe in Jesus in light of these details than it does for me to simply accept His claims as true. And if His claims are true, then there is only one response, and that is to serve Him as the Lord of all and the only way to salvation, rejecting all other paths as the tragic misguided man-made teachings that they are.