From my perspective I don’t feel that Christianity is exclusive. Its obvious that if you believe that Jesus is GOD and you follow the rules laid out to mankind by those that wrote about him, anyone can become a Christian. It’s actually what makes it brilliant and powerful, it’s non-exclusivity.
For my post I want to address certain points Aaron raised:
Many Branches One Path
In my experience the tenet that all religions are branches of the same tree is not to say that all religions are the same. Its to say that they have the same basic principles and the same ultimate goal, to connect with God. However, like their physical representations no two “tributaries” or “branches” look exactly the same, some are complicated and winding while others seem to have a more streamline connection. But they are all reaching for the sun or trying to reach that river.
“If he was just a good guy who taught some good things he wouldn’t be worth following”
I have to ask why the hell not? Why not do what you can to live your life by his example? That brings to mind that quote from that 90’s supermodel about not getting out of bed for more than $10,000. So its Jesus’ supposed resurrection that makes him worthy to listen to? This observation continues to solidify for me the belief that scripture is doctored, because the authors felt they had to make Jesus “worth” following. What about Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr.? These men performed no miracles, there was no resurrection, yet their messages of peace spoke, and continue to speak, to millions even after their deaths. There have been many like minded individuals who died for what they felt was the betterment of mankind, including Jesus.
“No other religion has a God who was physically raised from death”
I continue to disagree wholeheartedly with this. There is enough “proof” on both sides to support both views. Until “proof” to the contrary is provided by as many non-christian scientists, historians, and archeologists I will continue to hold my beliefs as my truth.
“Many people say that the Bible is anti-women, pro-slavery, and anti-gay” (Oh yes we will most certainly be touching on each of these topics)
Before I begin, let me say knowing Aaron personally and knowing his incredibly independent and outspoken wife (and daughters), I know that Aaron does not and cannot believe that women are weak. With that said, his point that the Bible ushered in the radical notion that women were not second class citizens by insisting their husbands remain sexually faithful to their wives thus giving them honor, does not make Christianity radical when it comes to women. In my eyes that was the absolute minimal they could do and it doesn’t excuse the other rules they insisted upon when it came to women:
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak: but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.” I Corinthians 14:34-35
“I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. In like manner also that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; But (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.” I Timothy 2:8-12
Just to name a few in the New Testament. (Don’t even get me started on the whole menses-childbirth-“unclean” silliness) Therefore the Bible still fostered the idea that women were/are subservient or weak.
Examples can be found in the inquisition and witch trials that murdered hundreds of thousands of women in the name of God because they practiced medicine, had sex out of wedlock, chose never to marry, demanded equal treatment, or any of the outrageous and foolish reasons given. The fact is that the Bible was repeatedly used as a reference point for why women shouldn’t vote, hold down jobs, or lead their communities. Its why Mary Magdalene will never be considered a “true” disciple. Its why Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. Its why there were no women priests or church leaders for centuries (something the Christian church still struggles with to this day!).
While Christianity may have been a more “inclusive” religion (save some sects of Paganism and Buddhism or more modernly Humanism, Agnosticism and Atheism) Its important to recognize that its “radical” only when compared to religions that were the majority.
The comments have been turned off for this post. Don’t worry, you’ll have your chance to join the conversation Tomorrow.