This doctrine makes Christianity seem very exclusive and close minded and that Christianity won’t play nice with other religions. Basically, we’re saying that the other religions are wrong. The nicest way of putting it is that they have excellent moral codes of how to behave like a good person, but they cannot save us- which is basically afterlife. A Christian counter to the argument that it is very arrogant to say Christianity is the only way is to say that religion is man trying to reach God, but in contrast, Christianity is God reaching down to man. Is it not arrogant to say we know better than God? -especially after going to the trouble of giving the divine blueprint.
Now to the question of what about those who were born at the wrong location in geography or time. Are they out of luck? God chose not to save them, so did he have them born in the wrong place or time? And what about those from the Old Testament? Were all those righteous men like Moses, Elijah, Noah, Job just out of luck being born too soon and not even having a concept of Jesus or messiah? Is it enough that they worshiped the true God the Father and tried to honor and obey him? It seems odd that a benevolent and almighty God would have so many people be eternally damned for being born in the wrong place and time. God wants all to be saved. “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” – 1 Timothy 2:4, King James Bible.
Most would say that the heroes of the Old Testament are saved even if they didn’t know Jesus specifically. Why can’t we say the same of others who never heard of Jesus due to being born in the wrong time or place? If we get some of the details wrong about Jesus, are we still saved? When missionaries try to translate His name and get it slightly off, is the message irredeemable? For example, in Korean we call Jesus “Yea-su”. Are we even pronouncing it correctly in English?
This brings us to the opposing point that through Christ alone we are saved. Does this mean that it was unnecessary? God seemed to go through a lot of trouble with the Crucifixion so it seems to be terribly important. The question is, how do we gain access to the saving power?
The verse, “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” (1 Corinthians 15:22) seems to imply Universalism, that all are saved – period. Should we just screw around and do whatever we want because God did all the heavy lifting? Or is it more that with the Crucifixion God can now save us, but we have to make the attempt to grab his stretched-out hand so that He can pull us to safety? Even though we have to grab for the hand while drowning, it is only due to the power of the saving hand pulling us to safety. Can God still save us even if we get some of the details wrong such as sprinkling baptism versus full immersion? Even if the hand we reach to God is weak, God’s grip is more than strong enough to pull us to safety.
So why is Christianity specifically so important if all we have to do is believe in something? If we truly love and honor something, shouldn’t we want to learn more of it? We should want to learn the truth about everything. What about even the tinniest details?
It is out of a grateful love we want to learn more and share the truth.
The heroes you speak of from the Old Testament were justified by faith. Even though they did not see, they believed in the promise. “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.” God requires faith in His Son. How arrogant of us to put words in His mouth on how people must be saved when Jesus said it himself, “He who believes in me, though he dies, yet he shall live.” “ I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father but by Me.” It’s God’s universe. He makes the rules. We don’t. He is sovereign. We are not.