My wife and I watched a good movie last week, “The Life of Pi.” It’s a beautiful movie. The scenery and camera work are a delight to watch, especially in HD. The story is compelling as well. It’s about a man who survives a shipwreck and is set adrift in the ocean. His story of survival is dramatic and kept us enthralled throughout the picture wondering what challenge he would face next and if he would overcome it.
The message of the movie bothered me, however. The man, nicknamed Pi, gathered elements from all religions in his search for God. He borrowed teachings from Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam in his search to find his own spirituality. This is a common practice today for many people. They seek to find meaning by combining aspects of many different faiths in a search for their own version of “truth.”
The problem with this syncretic approach to faith is that it ignores the basic message of Jesus. Jesus did not claim to be one way to find God. Jesus claimed to be “the way, the truth, and the life” in John 14:6 (NLT). In that same verse Jesus also said “no one comes to the Father except through me” (NLT). Jesus is very definite about His role in the world. He clearly claims that following Him is the only way to find God.
This kind of absolutism is seen as intolerant and exclusive in our society today. To claim to have an absolute knowledge of the truth is arrogant and is the source of much of the world’s conflict, according to many.
Jesus’ words present a very definitive picture of who He claims to be. We really have only two choices regarding His words. Since His claim to be God is so ingrained in His teachings, we have to either accept every word He spoke or reject them all. Jesus’ claims of divinity cannot be separated from His teachings. There can be no picking and choosing which words we choose to follow and those we don’t. He was either the divine Son of God or He lied. If he lied then none of His teachings can be trusted.
Either what Jesus says is true or it is not. He is either the only way to find God or He is a fraud not worthy of our attention. Combining the elements of various faiths in an attempt to find God relegates Jesus’ teachings to nothing more than the ravings of a mentally imbalanced, sick individual.
What will you decide? Is Jesus the Son of God or do His words deserve to be ignored as nothing more than fraud? I choose to believe.