“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Jesus Christ (Matthew 7:12-13)
One of my favorite Grateful Dead songs is called “So Many Roads”. In that song, the chorus repeatedly chimes:
“So many roads I know
So many roads to ease my soul”
Is that true? How many roads are there exactly to ease our souls?
Discernment, particularly spiritual discernment, is a rare commodity in these last days and a topic of which I am ferociously serious. In a world that has no shortage of messages about how to achieve fulfillment and happiness, pinging us from the moment we arise, until we lay back down again, we desperately need discernment. What are we to believe when it comes to finding fulfillment and happiness in this life? Did God intend for us to be confused or unsure about this? I briefly touched on this topic in my inaugural post to Across the Fruited Plain entitled “Life’s 4 Fundamental Questions”, (http://sepetjian.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/lifes-4-fundamental-questions/), but was enlivened to revisit this when the above graphic and quote surfaced recently as legitimate, practical and tangible truth for obtaining fulfillment and happiness.
Let us suspend disbelief for a moment and pretend that a man who doesn’t speak the language, actually communicated in familiar, conversational English–complete with contractions–as is recorded above. The first two questions that should immediately spring into a thinking person’s mind are:
1. What does the statement mean?
The Dalai Lama is the worldwide, spiritual head of Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama goes by the title “His Holiness”, which means that he also accepts worship reserved for deity. He is a spiritual (false) teacher. Therefore, let us dispense with the obvious, which is that this is clearly intended to be interpreted spiritually. After all, his books and teachings exclusively cover spirituality, not how to bake ziti. Based on the statement above, if you want to worship belly button lint and I want to serve Christ, by grace through faith, that those two views are summarily valid and equally spiritually sustaining and fulfilling.
Therefore, this statement means that there are many spiritual paths to fulfillment and happiness.
2. Is the statement true?
Once we have examined the message and dissected the intent of the statement, we can then determine if the statement is true. Before we even appeal to Scripture, let’s appeal to the Laws of Logic as we consider whether there are many roads to spiritual fulfillment and happiness.
Either absolute truth exists, or absolute truth does not exist. If it does not exist, is that absolutely true? If so, then absolute truth does exist. If it does exist, then there can only ultimately be one true road to spiritual fulfillment and happiness. Even Agnostic friends recognize that either one of the world religions is true, or they are all untrue; but they cannot ALL be true.
For instance, Christianity teaches we were created by God. Buddhism states that there is no God and Hinduism says there are over 300 gods. Therefore, how can all three be true?
The Bible clearly teaches that God has a Son while the Koran states that God does not have a son. How can these both be reconciled as true?
I believe the below graphic showing the incongruence and outright contradictions of the world’s major religious systems does an entertaining job of explaining why they cannot ALL possibly be true.
However, as a bowl of wax fruit looks lush until handled, this, most gravest of deceptions, will determine how a person spends their eternal destiny.
Biblically speaking, this sentiment of “many” and/or “any” path to spiritual fulfillment and happiness is not only contrary to the clear teachings of Jesus, but was even foretold. Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, arguably the greatest single teaching ever delivered, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The people who are in agreement with the above quote, whether it came from the Dalai Lama or not, are those whom Jesus says are doomed to destruction. (Unless of course, they repent.)
Because, as Jesus also taught, He is the Way, the Truth & the Life and no one comes to the Father but by Him. Therefore, to embrace the broad road of universalism is to deny Jesus is Lord!
Jesus is the only way to the Father because Jesus is the only one from the Father.
I know that may sound offensive, but truth is naturally offensive because it excludes all other claimants to truth. It takes courage to stand firm and declare truth as such, which is probably why so many “Christians” genuflect like shrinking violets at the first sign of resistance and then act like capitulation is a virtue.
But just for fun, let’s pretend that this is not clearly speaking about spiritual matters and just speaking about life and it’s general pursuits. Then can I agree that there is a measure of truth in it?
For starters, what are you suggesting this then really means? Are we really confusing this with, lets say, people’s career paths as though there is a debate afoot suggesting that everyone should be the same profession? Is this really about where everyone is living and whether everybody ought to live in the same city, state or country? Maybe it’s referring to the foods people eat and that’s what the Dalai Lama is really contending.
See, when you replace the obvious, clear and intended spiritual inference and plug in a lifestyle variable regarding fulfillment and happiness, the statement no longer holds together logically.
Proverbs 3:6 says: Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
Those still lost, think there are many paths. Those who have found The Way, know there is only one.
I maintain that the Bible contains God’s only prescription for human fulfillment and happiness in this life (read Psalm 1, Matthew 5-7, 1 Peter 1) and the next (read Romans 10:9, John 3:16) and that without God’s definition, you don’t even know who you are, let alone how these things are obtained. True fulfillment and happiness, in this life and for all eternity, is enjoyed only by God’s grand plan of redemption which was thousands of years in the making and that involves forgiveness of sins, the promise of eternal life and a relationship with the one true living God through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross, delivered to us across the pages of Scripture as only our Creator could.