We recently examined one false argument advanced by liberals in regards to refugee resettlement. Their position was put forward through several religious organizations and voiced a deceptive corruption of basic church teachings. Their argument focused simply on man’s nature alone and not on the ideas one holds. Both matter as both define who we are. Otherwise religious tenets, or principles of any kind, simply would not matter. A world without principles leads to anarchy.
Today we are going explore a similar deception used to advance some interfaith efforts. But first let me say that I am not against reaching out to members of different faiths. On the contrary, as Christians we are called to such efforts by our faith. However, I am against using intellectually dishonest arguments to advance a position. Especially when at the same time those supporting present interfaith efforts often engage in the very intolerance they denounce others for—whether it is present or not.
We only need to do two things. First, look at some interfaith movement beliefs, coming from their own web-sites. Second, exploring why their argument fall short. In the process we will see some similarities in the underlying principles being relied upon in both liberal positions.
I went to several interfaith web-sites in order to understand some of their basic principles and objectives. While the list below is certainly not exhaustive, it is representative enough to make the point. Those principles and objectives include,
· Promoting dialogue and education.
· Promoting friendship, community development, and cultural diversity.
· Respecting the integrity of all religions.
· Identifying areas of collaboration, such as making peace, environmental protection, eradicating poverty and ensuring human dignity.
· Uniting to heal and protect the earth.
In a single word, the interfaith effort focuses on unity, based upon our shared humanity and common nature. Christians are called to unity. We all have but one Creator. We are all descended from a single couple. We all share a common kinship and nature. As it is written in 1 Peter, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
We are called to be a single people, God’s people, and to be a people requires unity. It is a necessary, but insufficient, condition. We are also called to live in the truth, His truth. He has told us who He is, who we are, and our purpose. A couple more passages from the Bible to support this assertion. First from John 14, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.’” These are not my words, but His.
As to who we are to be, we can go to the verses just before those mentioned above in 1 Peter. “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says: ‘See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.’ Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, ‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and, ‘A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.’ They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.”
We are to live godly lives within a pagan society. As Paul did, we are to become all things to all people in order that some might believe and be saved. This is a call not to build a community of diversity, but to build the community of God. Once again we see that our nature is just the starting point, as it was for Adam and Eve. The ideas we hold and the actions we take (whether to obey or disobey) determine who we become. By accepting God we are transformed, and we have His unchanging promise for our salvation. A salvation not based upon anything we have done, or can ever do, but one based simply on His love for us and grace. His truth.