Must Religious Beliefs be “Right?” Part 2 of 2

Rick Mattson Apologetics 2 Comments

In the prior post I mentioned how Ben, an international student in Chicago, voiced the “lottery objection” to faith in Jesus.

To summarize: Picking the right religious beliefs out of the thousands available is like winning the lottery. There’s a lot of luck involved. Either God should make “right belief” more obvious to humanity or he shouldn’t hold anyone accountable for getting it wrong. This whole system makes God appear random and unfair.

What I said in return: The Bible teaches that God’s existence is made plain through nature and conscience (Romans 1 and 2). That’s step one in finding true belief.

Secondly, every person is held accountable by God for the amount of light they’ve been given. This is a stewardship issue: How have you stewarded the information given you about God and his Son, Jesus Christ?

Exactly what this means for salvation, I don’t know. God is wise and just. He judges according to his infinite wisdom. Scripture teaches that no one is saved outside the work of Jesus Christ. But can a person be saved by Christ without knowing Christ personally?

It seems Abraham, Moses and David were all saved without knowing Christ personally. So yes, it’s at least possible.

Back to the crucial question, then, for Ben: For any given person, how have they stewarded the portion of “gospel light” they’ve been given?

To whom much is given, much is required.

But for those given less: If you’ve humbled yourself before the creator, asked further questions, allowed your heart to open to greater things . . . this is certainly headed in the right direction.

The Bible says, “Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”

We leave the true seeker, who perhaps never even heard of Jesus Christ in their lifetime, in the hands of a loving and just God. Trust in his character is our final assurance and hope.

May I suggest a more thorough treatment of this subject in my Faith is Like Skydiving, ch. 10.

Image by jacqueline macou from Pixabay

Comments 2

  1. Hi Rick,
    Well said. One thing that dawned on me at one point while thinking about this is that according to John 1, Jesus was/is the creator of the universe. So even if someone is not introduced to Jesus as the God/man that dwelt among us and died for our sins, everyone is lead to the concept of a creator through nature, even science in my opinion. That to me reconciles Jesus’ statement in John 14:6 “No one comes to the Father except through me.” What people do with the knowledge of a creator is probably how they are judged. Of course this is my limited brain power trying to simplify what I don’t understand, so I could be way off. But it makes sense to me.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks, Chris. This topic gets complicated. Discovering the creator in nature and stewarding the “light” we’ve been given is one solution to the problem of those who’ve never heard the full gospel, but it’s not without problems. This view has been criticized by asking, “Then why share the gospel with the world? Why evangelize? Just leave people as is, trusting they will ‘steward their light well,’ and hand them over to the mercies of God.” But in fact we’re called to share the gospel with the world because that’s actually how people meet Jesus and in turn share him with others. Good thing someone did this with my ancestors and with me personally, so that I could walk with the Lord into eternity. In summary, I favor a both-and approach: 1) Actively share Christ with the world. 2) Trust in the justice and wisdom of God for those who’ve never had an opportunity to hear the gospel.

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