February 6, 2015
Mountains and Mazes
By Skip Heitzig
"I just can't believe that Jesus Christ could be the only way to God."
Ever heard that? I hear it a lot. It is true that 67 percent of the world's population, over four billion people, do not subscribe to what we believe. They look at us and say, "So what's up with you guys? Why are you so arrogant? What makes you think you have a corner on the market of truth?"
And so, what unbelieving people love to do is draw the analogy of the God of the mountaintop. "See, it's like this," they say. "God is on top of a steep mountain. He's up there, and down below are all the people in the world. They take various paths to get to God, but all lead to the same place. So, on one side of the mountain you might have somebody curving up a windy path, and the other side is a more direct route. And everybody down below is so hung up on their path, not knowing that all paths lead them to the same place."
What's wrong with that analogy? Well, it's convenient for unbelievers to use it, but none of the founders of the religions they're talking about would ever agree with it. Let's just take the three monotheistic religions. For instance, if you were to go to Muhammad and say, "I believe that all paths lead to God. Do you agree?" what do you think he'd say? "Absolutely not!" He taught his followers to fight against anyone who believes that. And if you asked Moses that question, he'd say, "I set before you this day, life and death; therefore, choose life" (see Deuteronomy 30:19). If you were to go to Jesus and say, "Jesus, I think all paths lead to God," would Jesus agree with that? He said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me" (John 14:6).
What I want you to see is that the founders of these religious systems all fundamentally disagree with each other, and the systems themselves contradict each other. So they can't all be right at the same time. They can't all lead to the same place.
So the mountaintop analogy isn't a good one. Let me give you another one: a maze. I don't know if you've ever been to a maze, or seen pictures of them. They're quite fascinating. They have them in some of the old, huge mansions on the East Coast and in Europe. There are these huge hedges with little paths cut out in them, and these different paths all lead in different directions. You might have one that dead-ends. You might have two paths that parallel each other for a long time. One eventually dead-ends, one keeps going. You might have one path that goes almost into the very center of the maze before it stops. But there is in the maze only one correct, right path.
Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it" (Matthew 7:13-14). Why so few? Is it because there is not enough room in heaven? "I'm sorry, we're all booked up; so many people; can't fit them all in."
No, the reason that few find it is because the path is too narrow for most. They want the "God on a mountaintop," the God who smiles on everyone, the God at the end of whatever path you take.
Jesus said, "For if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins" (John 8:24). Yes, it's narrow to believe in the way, the truth, and the life, but it's the one right path.
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