Dr. Kirk Neely, Religion Department at the University of South Carolina Upstate, recently wrote an article in an upstate newspaper correctly pinpointing hatred and prejudice as a basic problem of mankind which often results in physical violence and death to others. (Remembering 9/11, 09-13-19: also worth reading for memorializing tragic, useless human suffering and brave actions of first responders.) Mankind clearly needs help! Dr. Neely advocated studying other world faith systems as a solution to counter hatred. Perhaps we would do better, instead, to advocate adherents of other world faith systems in the United States and around the world to study Christianity for individual self reflection? It was not individual adherents of Christianity that brought down the Twin Towers! Dr. Neely concludes man should be more loving toward others. True!! But where do we get that individual power? History of mankind graphically demonstrates we humans do not have the inherent power to end hatred, violence and war among men. Man’s hatred can not be overcome by “human” wisdom or “human” religion! But there is a wisdom and truth that transcends collective human wisdom for individuals!
Dr. Neely mentioned “truth” in a hymn by Martin Luther (Luther taught the cross of Jesus Christ): “The body they may kill; God’s TRUTH (present writer’s emphasis) abideth still; ...”. No religion or philosophy on earth can end individual or collective hatred but the cross of Jesus Christ-Jesus is the “truth” that “abideth” still mentioned by Luther! Neither can any religion or philosophy on earth spiritually unite men with true Spiritual God, but Jesus Christ! All mankind needs to know that loving truth because it sets you free. We should teach everyone the cross: which is the demonstration of the love of Jesus Christ; and, that should begin as soon as a child understands his own language! Jesus advocates love from the heart, no violence against man; and, freely offers heaven as a gift to us but providing that gift cost Him much!! Jesus said: “ Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” (Matt: 11, 28-29.)
Jesus condemns and accuses no one of their sin, but like a doctor He just tells it like it is! Doctors don’t give people fatal diseases, they just try to heal them like they find them; and, Jesus did not make us fatal sinners and haters-just heals us from the sin condition He finds us! Jesus also said: “I am the way, the TRUTH (present writer’s emphasis), and the life: no man cometh unto the father but by me.” (John 14, 6.) Why study other world faith systems if Jesus Christ says He is the only way to God and very truth itself? That does not mean you should not treat all indivduals with respect; and, you should treat them like you would want to be treated as Jesus taught. It does mean you can not accept or respect other religions as truth! Others may then isolate you but you would be in good company as Jesus and the apostles were isolated and hated by the "world"for what they taught; and, murdered for it! But Jesus arose! Others need to understand that gift rather than us studying religions that according to Jesus are not truth and can not heal as He can! The Book of Hebrews teaches us “…the Word of God is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two edge sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” (Heb. 4, 12.) Jesus’ statement excludes all other world religions and philosophies as a way to spiritual God! His statement is the Word of God and when those Words strike the heart of individuals, like a sword, it divides into faith or no faith in its truth! Yet the “way” is “freely” offered by Him! Jesus also said HE WAS THE TRUTH and spoke of “truth” 24 times in the Gospel of John. That truth gives rest and peace with God; and, that truth will give you individual spiritual power to interact with your fellow man in love; and, God: but only through Jesus’ gift at the cross. To end individual hatred and reconcile to God, we need Jesus Christ not any wisdom in any world religions!