Recently I was reading through a post on Facebook of 100 interesting facts about Melbourne. The little titbits were fascinating. However, when I got to number 88, I was astounded. It read: Melbourne is home to residents from 200 countries and territories, who speak over 233 languages and dialects and follow 116 religious faiths.
How on earth did we end up with 116 religious faiths? I didn’t know there were so many. I can name several of the big ones, such as Islam, Buddhist, Hindu. But I don’t think I could come up with 116.
What’s the problem with so many faiths?
The biggest problem in my view is that 115 of those faiths have it wrong. They are worshipping the wrong ‘god' and don’t have the amazing saving grace that Jesus gives us. They are lost and they don’t even realise it. God’s face is turned away from them and they don’t see it.
Many of these people have heard of Jesus Christ and have decided they didn’t want to follow those rules. They wanted a religion where they were in charge of what they could do and believe.
This is the saddest thing about so many faiths. The confusion leads to many feeling overwhelmed. These people are lonely. They need a Saviour, and we need to bring that Saviour to them.
Jesus told us there is one faith and one God. “There is one body and one Spirit…one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all (Ephesians Chapter 4 Verses 4-6). We need to bring the world to the understand that there is only one faith.
How did we end up with so many faiths?
It’s actually easy to end up with so many faiths. First you start with the main faith, for example, Christianity. Then you change one aspect you don’t agree with, like tithing. There is your second faith. Then, some people in the second faith decide they don’t like a rule in the second faith, such as abstaining from pornography. And the third faith is born.
All it takes is one person who doesn’t agree with one aspect of faith and you get a wedge between the groups. Each group believes they are right. So instead of working through the difference and turning to the Bible for wisdom, they separate. We can see this in our many denominations including United, Protestant, Catholic, Anglican, and so on.
How do we begin to fix this problem?
The biggest solution to this problem is to preach about Jesus everywhere and to everyone. The more people know about Jesus, the more they will come to the truth. And we, as believers in the truth, have a responsibility to share that truth and bring others back into the fold.
However, it’s important to remember that preaching should be done in love. There is no point preaching to a Buddhist when you start by saying, “Your religion is wrong. Let me tell you about mine instead.” We need to preach in love and guide them to the truth through the Holy Spirit.
Several faiths in the world worship what they can see, the created earth. They find it difficult to believe in something they cannot see. Often we respond by saying, “For we walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians Chapter 5, verse 7). But there is another passage that tells us how to witness to these people:
“No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us. And God has given us His Spirit as proof that we live in Him and He in us.” (1 John 4:12-13).
The only way to truly fix this problem is through the above verse – we prove that God lives by living and sharing love.
Emma Bamford from Melbourne is returning as a Press Service International writer for Christian Today. Emma is undertaking a part time theology course and is a qualified business marketer. A self-confessed Jesus girl, Emma writes to stir the heart of her readers into becoming more passionate and loving Christians.