Shouldnít Christians just leave people alone, letting others believe what they want? After all, if all religions are basically the same, or at least are fulfilling to those that follow them, why try to get people to change their beliefs? The idea goes that there are many roads up the mountain, but they all eventually lead to the same point at the top. Thus, many paths … thus, any religion may/will ultimately lead you to God.

Ice CreamI guess it depends whether religion is like insulin or ice cream. For example, I prefer chocolate ice cream, while you might prefer vanilla, or butter pecan, or strawberry, or … great, now I'm hungry. But regardless of what your favorite flavor is, there's nothing wrong with choosing one instead of another; it's a personal preference. If someone told me they liked mint flavor best, I wouldn't respond by saying "What the heck's wrong with you?" or "How dare you choose mint instead of chocolate, you miserable heretic!"

But the point is this:

Thatís the beauty of ice cream – you can choose what you prefer. When it comes to medicine, however, it doesnít make sense to choose what you prefer. Rather, itís essential to choose what heals. It would be silly to choose NyQuil over penicillin simply because it tastes better." (Alan Shlemon, STR.org)

When choosing ice cream, you choose what you like. But when you choose medicine, you choose what heals you. Religion isn't like ice cream, where you should choose whatever "tastes best". You need to choose what's true. The truth is often tough, but that doesn't mean we should just ignore it and choose what we like.

Jesus didn't claim Christianity is true like ice cream. He didn't say "Come, follow me, it'll be fun!". He in fact claimed something very specific, contradicting every single religious (or non-religious) person who lived before him. He claimed that it's impossible to "earn" our way into heaven, and in fact need to trust in God (who Jesus himself claimed to be in human form) instead of trusting our own failing efforts.

Winding stairsBut isn't that pure arrogance? Isn't that intolerant? Doesn't it sound presumptuous for Christians to claim they have "the truth" and all other religions are wrong? Well, only if truth is like ice cream. If someone is dying and needs medicine, you need to give them what will heal them, not what they like best. In the same way, Jesus gives us what we need, and ultimately what is best for us.

There are many different paths, but they don't all eventually lead to the top of the same mountain. Some veer off to the left and the right; others climb entirely different mountains! And if God is real, truth about God is not like ice cream; it's like medicine, and only what is true can heal. Christians don't want to "force" their religious beliefs on anyone; instead, since religion is decidedly not like ice cream, it really does matter what people believe. And people who believe that we have found that truth, that medicine that cures what plagues humankind deep in our hearts, can't help but want to share it with other people.

(This article was originally written for the From Today On website, although it hasn't been posted yet.)

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