Does it matter


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Central New York
Peace be with you all,

I am sorry if I took this title from somewhere else. I believe I saw it somewhere else but it fit my questions perfectly.

I have been on a spiritual journey for some time now. I have been studying the differences between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. I have felt drawn by my Christian back ground but at times question my beliefs in that matter. I feel drawn to Islam for the simplicity in belief. At times I feel drawn to Judaism mainly due to the old testament imutable laws given. Does it really matter which one believes in. It seems that among many of the differences the main one is the belief in Jesus. He is the son of God, a prophet, or nothing but a man who practiced magic and led the people astray according to a book "Why the Jews rejected Jesus". Does anyone have these feelings out there. Thanks.

Welcome to the CF Boards, Amir!

I struggled with this myself. Growing up with a Christian background, I became desponded with the thought that out of 6 billion people in the world, only a certain margin of those will be saved and the rest will go to hell. Thinking about it, it seems like that if this is the case, then God has a poor track record in saving the world. I have a hard problem believing that God is going to condemn someone just because they happen to fall onto the wrong religion or lack the saving knowledge or altogether just don't know. So I had to go back and re-examine everything I learned. And I come to the conclusion that God is more merciful than that. that what God is looking for in the final analysis is people who will Love God and love their neighbor as themselves. That God is looking at the heart of Man and not his head knowledge.

I personally believe in Christ as Savior. But I am open to the possibility that true seekers of God will find the Spirit of Christ manifest in their lives as they diligently seek God, though they may be of another fold. I don't think you have to be dogmatic to find God. You have to just open yourself up to Him, for He is the Giver of Life, our Creator.

There are a few verses in the NT that suggest that God can be found in a number of ways:

The Witness of Creation

"Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.
For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:" - Romans 1:19-20

The Witness of Conscience

"For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves:
Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another." - Romans 2:14-15

The Nearness of God to Every Man

"God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring." - Act 17:25-28

One book that has had an effect on my thinking is Howard Storm's "My Descent into Death". Howard Storm was an athiest who fell sick and had a near-death experience where he says he went to hell and cried out to Jesus and was saved. Then he found himself in heaven asking questions. When he asked which religion was the best one, the reply came, "The best religion is the one that brings you closest to God".

Hope this helps.

Love & peace


Thanks for your post. I really appreciate it. I have been struggling with this for a bit and it just started to really eat at my heart. Take care and have a wonderful day.

The honest answer is I don't know. the following is just an opinion and I can only defend it with 'it feels right to me'. Like you I was brought up a Christian and I've since left the church. My feeling is too many Christians and denominations concentrate soley on the crucifixion, resurection and the surrounding idea of Salvation. Not enougth is said about the EXAMPLE of Christ's life- or his actual teachings (they seem to prefer St Paul). I think what's in your heart and how you behave towards yourself and other people is far more important to God than actual belief in a specific religion or creed. In Dondis' post above I think the important part was summed up in WITNESS OF CONCIENCE. Hope that helps.
Hello Amir.

My religion is Islam and according to the Holy Qur'an it is said that as long as the person believes in One God only, His laws, prays to Him only, believes in the Judgement Day, he/she is a believer. It says that all the believing Jews, Christians, Sabians and believers in one God will earn Heaven.

While the Holy Qur'an is critical of some Jews and Christians, even Muslims, it often speaks that there are good believers among these people. The Holy Qur'an speaks that as long as Jews and Christians believe what was revealed to them, they will enter paradise. At the same time, The Book criticizes those who used the knowledge to twist it/change it/erase it and quiet frankly accuses those persons of disbelief in One God. Then it threatens Muslims that who ever tries to change God's Word from the Holy Qur'an will find God's Wrath!

So, I personally feel that it does not matter whether a person is a Jew, Christian or Muslim, but if they could find tolerance and try to understand the Message they chose to follow, they won't go astray.
Just to add:

I sometimes feel that Jesus savs was a test to Christians and Jews, and maybe even Muslims. How well each of us did through the test I am not sure. Most of Jewish people of his time did not recognize him. For some reason, despite the miracles he performed it was not enough to convince them he was the Messiah. Was rejection of Jesus the failure of the test?
From my personal islamic view: the Christians loved him so much (and still do) that they raised him to be divine. The recognized him, followed him and try to remember him all the time. Perhaps the divinity believes about Jesus was the failure of the test?
Muslims accept him and love him as well, but it seems to me, failed to follow his example about teaching people the Truth that Jesus savs spoke of. Muslims are often harsh to defend and proclaim the Truth of Islam, but fail to make efforts to reach out to others and preach the Truth. Jesus pbuh was trying to help the lost of the House of Israel through his preaching/teaching to others. People may not know Islam if Muslims do not help spread the Message they received. So, perhaps that was the failure of the test? At least for us Muslims today maybe...
Hi Amir--welcome to CR. :)

Amica--nice to see you around more often these days.

I like this thread so far. I like it because I think Jesus would. He said to love God with all our hearts, minds, and soul--and our neighbors as ourselves. And He said this summed up the essence of all the Law and the Prophets. I notice in reading about Him that whenever someone was pointing the finger of conviction at someone else, He was very quick to rebuke them. So, I don't think that He meant for us to take His teachings and become like the people He rebuked. And He spoke of the blessings that come to peacemakers. As pfw pointed out, He gave us an example regarding how we should live, and I agree that too much of the time, we forget that part of His purpose. And thank you, Dondi, for the kind words you spoke and supported with Scripture.

Blessed are the peacemakers.



Ollie, Ollie in come free...
or All ye, All ye, oxen free...

whatever, game over, let's all play together....
From my personal islamic view: the Christians loved him so much (and still do) that they raised him to be divine. The recognized him, followed him and try to remember him all the time. Perhaps the divinity believes about Jesus was the failure of the test?

From the subjective reality in which I live, I'd say Christianity is just another open door. There may well be other doors open that lead to God, but I have no knowledge of them. The universe is so vast that I do not think I am capable of exploring its boundless depths.:)

In my subject reality, walkers of all faiths each have their own place in the story God is writing. Jews have their place. Muslims have their place and likewise for Christians.

The way I see it, Christians aligning themselves to Christ and their devotion to his ways are not a failure of the test, but rather a realisation of their own unique place in God's agenda. Christians have no intention of idolising Jesus, but are simply on a journey to seek, find and discover God. It may well be true that Jesus is not God. But maybe the gist of the Christianity's message is that in order to find and understand God we must think of Jesus as God for a while, so that when we finally find God, because we knew what we were looking for, we are sure we have found what we sought.

Just as the door of Christianity needs to be seen as an open door for those who want to appreciate its meaning, Christians need to be open to the possibility of other open doors as well. Insiders are not to think as outsiders as mistaken, nor are outsiders to think of insiders as mistaken. The failure of the test to me, instead, is to fail to realise that Christianity, along with its Jesus figure, was the "saving grace" of a group of people who desperately needed it/him and that the Christianity/Jesus paradigm came specifically for those people and not the rest of the world.

Whether or not Jesus has meaning for the rest of the world is a different matter. It may be that there was a different message for those people. Maybe that was what Islam was for. Who knows? Did Jesus have a different message for different groups of people? Should we call that the Islam/Jesus/Mohammed paradigm?

It might sound a bit crude to say this, but maybe Christianity is for Christians, Islam for Muslims and Judaism is for Jews -- and vice versa -- Christians for Christianity, Jews for Judaism and Muslims for Islam. Everyone belongs to something and fits into some kind of picture. We weren't all supposed to belong to the same tribe.:D

Within our own subjective realities, we see, based on our knowledge and experience, what we understand to be important. As life progresses and as we learn and discover more about the world around us, this may change.

People who have never known Christianity should not be required to appreciate its meaning. One cannot value what one has never known. In that sense the concepts of Christianity will only have a chance of becoming valid once its concepts pass into the scope of one's subjective reality. Outside of that scope it has no value, authority or application. But even when it comes into our scope of reality, it is our choice to embrace it.

Christianity is only important, and only has value and application because I know about it. I only belong to it because I have chosen to value it and make it a part of my life.

So far as Judaism and Islam are concerned, the same principle could apply.

I'd say it does matter, but it's a question of how it matters and what it means in terms of "mattering."

I am a Theosophist. Theosophy teaches it does not matterr which religion practices — all religions take us to the same goal. I needs to be said, however, that some religious practices get us there faster than others.