Christians, by definition, believe Christ to be God- made-man, God-in-the-flesh. His claims cannot be amended, watered down, relativised, negotiated away or nuanced into acceptability. But this exclusivism is not an exclusivism of Christian culture, of Christian ethics or of Christians as the only candidates for heaven.
Defending the Faith
Should a Christian use some Zen Buddhist meditation techniques? Should Chinese Christians use Confucius as their teacher of social ethics? Should Christian pacifists learn from Gandhi’s methods? Should Jewish Christians celebrate the Jewish holidays? Such questions should be addressed with great care, for religion is the active, actual service of God, gods, spirits or demons.
Jesus kept pointing people to himself, saying, “Come to me” (Mt 11:28). Buddha said, “Look not to me; look to my dharma (doctrine).” Buddha also said, “Be ye lamps unto yourselves.” Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (Jn 8:12). Lao Tzu taught the way (tao); Jesus said, “I am the way” (Jn 14:6). Buddha, Confucius, Muhammad and other religious founders fulfilled no prophecies, performed no miracles and did not rise from the dead. Jesus did. Christians ought to realise how difficult, how scandalous, how objectionable, how apparently unbelievable and absurd this doctrine is bound to appear to others. We can’t apologise for truth.
God is the uncaused Being who caused everything else to come into existence. God is the uncreated Creator who created the universe and everything in it.
If God exists, then we are accountable to Him for our actions. If God does not exist, then we can do whatever we want, without having to worry about God judging us. That is why many of those who deny the existence of God cling strongly to the theory of naturalistic evolution—it gives them an alternative to believing in a Creator God.
Islamic critics of Christianity regularly criticise Christians for apparently deviating from this emphasis upon the unity of God (often referred to by the Arabic word tawhid) through the doctrine of the Trinity. This doctrine is argued to be a late invention, which distorts the idea of the unity of God, and ends up teaching that there are three gods.
Nor can the Uncaused Cause of theism be identical with the material universe, as many atheists believe. As ordinarily conceived, the cosmos or material universe is a limited and spatio-temporal system. It is, for example, subject to the Second Law of Thermodynamics and thus is running down. But an Uncaused Cause is unlimited and not running down.
The Uncaused Cause of Theism is not the God of pantheism. Pantheism affirms that an unlimited and necessary being exists but denies the reality of limited and finite beings.
The Uncaused Cause of theism is distinct from the many polytheistic gods, for there cannot be more than one unlimited existence as such. More than the Most is not possible. Such a Cause is Pure Actuality, and Actuality is unlimited and unique.
God must be infinite (in contrast with finite godism), since per the cosmological argument every finite thing needs a cause. Hence, the Cause of all finite things must not be finite.
One of the most common questions we both receive is, “How can you say Jesus is the only way to God?”. Many criticise Christianity for its exclusivity, but Christians are not the only group claiming to have the truth.
Let’s suppose that at some point in the future the Big Bang Theory is deemed wrong. Would that mean that the universe is eternal? No, for a number of reasons.
One of the hottest controversies today about God concerns the traditional exclusive use of the pronoun he. Nearly all Christians admit that (1) God is not literally male, since he has no biological body, and (2) women are not essentially inferior to men. Those are red herrings.
This year it’s COVID-19 and maybe next year it’s something else. They have been testing this and that, mixing our foods with hormones and playing gods with our weather.
It was Karl Kraus who said, “The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given, rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content. If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result.” There is no such thing as an objective point of view.