Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Finding Christ in Other Religions

I'm sorry. That was just too fun. Posting that title. I love those blog titles that get a person's blood boiling. I believe as Christians we should not fear other religions or converstations about other religions. We are at times so afraid that someone is going to convince us that their religion is true, we cover our ears and miss golden opportunities to share the Ultimate Truth with a searching soul. It is astounding the similarities found in other religions concerning, not only God, but even the Holy Trinity. For instance, take this conversation I had with a Hindu man named Egya (pronounced 'Egg ya') about the God/Goddess Shiva.

Me: Egya, tell me about the God/Goddess Shiva.

Egya: Well Shiva is the supreme God in Hindu. He is formless, timeless and spaceless. The word Shiva means "One who purifies everyone by the utterance of his name" or the Pure One. Some Hindus believe that Shiva is one of three aspects of God. Shiva is the Destroyer, Brahma is the Creator and Vishnu is the Preserver. We believe that Shiva sustains all life with His dance.

I went on to explain to Eggya how similar Christianity is to Hindu in so many ways. This peaked his interest.

Me: Did you know that Christianity also has a Trinity. We do not believe that they are three separate Gods to be separately worshiped but that they are three "persons" in one Nature. The Nicene Creed states that "We believe in One God of Heaven and the earth of all that is both seen and unseen" He is also, formless, timelss and spaceless because he is Spirit. It goes on to say "We believe in One Lord Jesus Christ, true God of True God. He is the Son of God, begotten meaning "of God" like your son has and shares many of your characteristics -but He is not made. He is true Light from True Light. We also believe in One Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life who comes from the Father to Son and Son to Father. He is also completely God because He is also eternal, not made. He is glorified and he testifies about the Son and Father."

The Holy Spirit is sometimes thought of the Love from the Father to the Son and Son to the Father. This would make sense to understand him as also God fully because John says that 'God is Love'

Egya: Wow. That is so interesting. Very similar to Hindu. Hard to get I think.

Me: Yes, Christians regard this as the most profound Mystery of our faith. We do not shy from it though as if it were something we cannot grasp. Instead of an insurmountable wall we think of God as a Gallery of Art that has no ending and no beginning.

Egya: I did not know that about Jesus. I knew you worshiped him as a god and thought of him as a prophet but I did not know you thought of him as transcending time and eternal.

Me: Yes, we believe that he is "The Word" of God as well as the Son of God. The "word" or in the Greek "Logos" is really sort of like "the wisdom" of God. We believe that Jesus, the Logos holds all things together. Check out John 1 says (opportunity to open up the old Bible) that " In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came to be through him, and without him nothing came to be. What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. " Then in verse 8 it says "And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory as the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth."

Egya; That is very beautiful. I had no Idea that there were so many similarities. I love these verses. How much was this bible?

Me: It was free, take it if you want. I will get another tonight.

Egya: Thank you! I will see you in class.

After a few weeks, Egya began attending a bible study and converted to Christianity after a few months.

This sounds like a cookie cutter circumstance but it is really how these things usually come up. God WILL come up in your conversations, ALWAYS. It is our job and goal to present Him as He is, but letting the Truth speak for Himself. Pretty powerful stuff.

We should approach all religions with a sense of respect. You will usually find a person who is seeking God in some way. There are truths found in each religion and when you find them you can use them to show them the Light that we believe they are looking for. God does the rest of the work for us. We just need to help them understand. The work is not that hard. We just tell. Jesus told us "Go and tell..." Not go and convince or go and judge.


Stephen said...

Wonderful! I feel I've had the same conversation several times.

Seth Ward said...


Is this the Stephen that I think it is?...

Anyways, I probably have one like that about once a week or two now. In some way shape or fashion.

Egya was disowned by his family for about a year or so. It was hard but they finally were able to speak again. The guys in the study befriending and loving him were the greatest single factors to his conversion rather than that conversation. In the conversation he heard about the Lord but in the brotherhood he experienced it profoundly.

Anonymous said...

Good stuff, brother. I've been there too, and I sure hope people reading this take it to heart.

Anonymous said...

This is the Stephen you think it is, at least I think you think it is. (or something like that)

The beauty of faith and practice. I love it!
You can't have one without the other.

Wait is that a song? ... Or maybe it was a TV show?

Susanne said...

Thanks for that story, Seth. What a great reminder of how we are to be lights of the world, but not blinding strobe lights! I've always been shy about sharing my faith...afraid of offending someone. But most people enjoy discussing what they believe as long as the other person listens. I really enjoyed that post.

Have fun on your trip!

Douglas_Coombs said...

"We should approach all religions with a sense of respect. You will usually find a person who is seeking God in some way."

I like that. Great story, too.

operamom said...

thanks for that story. i needed to hear that!