All religions

I came across this quote recently:

We in the Orthodox church regard all religions as being an indication of God’s graciousness to mankind. (Father Gregory Hallam, being interviewed on the BBC Radio 4 Sunday Programme last Sunday, found via Dave Walker’s Blog)

And it got me thinking. I’ve been re-reading “What’s So Amazing About Grace?” by Philip Yancey over the past few days – I’m only 1/3 of the way through it, but there’s a little story in it which the quote above reminded me of. I can’t find the exact quotation in the book, but here’s a similar one:

It is told that during a meeting on comparative religions in Britain that many scholars gathered together to discuss what, if anything, was unique to Christianity. Many different elements were discussed and debated. Was Christianity unique because of its concept of truth? No, other religions have this. Was it unique because of the doctrine of reconciliation? No, other religions have this. Was it unique in terms of inspiration of a particular book? No, again, other religions have this. It is told that C.S. Lewis entered the room during the debate and asked what the discussion was all about. “We are discussing what makes Christianity unique, if anything.” “That’s easy” Lewis responded, “its grace.” [Source]

In other words, Christianity has the concept of grace, which other religions lack. Can, therefore, other religions be said to be an indication of God’s grace, or graciousness? Would God graciously give us a religion where we had to earn our salvation, as so many other religions seem to require?

I’m not saying that all other religions are 100% wrong, and as such will contain elements of God’s grace – and in that sense the above quote does hold true. But it just seems you’re on a dangerous road when you proclaim that all religions are an indication of God’s grace, especially some of the stranger ones out there.

To summarise, this post was fairly pointless, just random musings!


2 responses to “All religions”

  1. Another interesting can of worms. Christianity does appear to be on its own when it comes to what you actually have to do to be a Christian. We don’t have to pay membership, we don’t have to do X number of good deeds in any given time frame, we don’t even have to have lived a good life! Obviously if we’re serious about God then those things probably work themselves out anyway, but it’s not essential to our salvation. Just look at that criminal on the cross next to Jesus, who was promised eternal life despite his wrongdoing and his turning to Christ only at the last moment.

    That said, I wouldn’t encourage people to think about the ‘least possible amount you need to do and still get into heavem’, as that’s entirely the wrong attitude. While good deeds don’t get us into heaven, nor elevate our status once we get there, it does show the grace of God that we have the choice. We are not demanded to be slaves, we are asked to be children. We can say no if we choose to. But it’s the love welling up inside us at God’s amazing grace that prompts us to share that grace with others – any good deeds we do are not of any benefit to us, ultimately, but rather direct people’s gaze to Christ and all that He promises.

  2. Thanks for your comment Matthew, good thoughts 🙂

    I like to think of faith / works in terms of — true faith will lead to works, but works are not required from us. We do good works out of a natural response to God’s grace.

    Looks at the Israelites: in the book of Exodus, when was the law given? Only after they’d been brought out of slavery in Egypt. The law was a right response to God’s grace, not a prerequisite for it!

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