Monday through Friday I deal with different subjects in this blog. I also post my blog to my Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld. Wednesday’s I try to focus on the Church. This week I am taking a look at How to Navigate the Many Ways to Heaven.
In today’s world it is widely believed that there are many ways to Heaven. Instead of denying this belief let’s take a look at some of the most popular ways, see what God says, and determine if they’ll get you to Heaven.
The Bahá’í view of God is essentially monotheistic. God is the imperishable, uncreated being who is the source of all existence. He is described as “a personal God, unknowable, inaccessible, the source of all Revelation, eternal, omniscient, omnipresent and almighty“.
Bahá‘ís believe in Muhammad as a prophet of God, and in the Qur’an as the word of God. Baha‘i teachings ‘affirm that Islam is a true religion revealed by Allah‘; accordingly, members of the faith can give full assent to the traditional words of the Shahadah.
The Bahá’í teachings state that there is no such physical place as heaven or hell, and emphasize the eternal journey of the soul towards perfection. They explain that references to “heaven” and “hell” in the Holy Scriptures of other religions are to be understood symbolically, describing states of nearness to and distance from God in this world and in the realms beyond.
Thus if heaven doesn’t exist it stands to reason you can’t go there.
Buddhists seek to reach a state of nirvana, following the path of the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who went on a quest for Enlightenment around the sixth century BC. There is no belief in a personal god. Buddhists believe that nothing is fixed or permanent and that change is always possible.
Buddhism refers to the theory of rebirth and “cyclicality of all life, matter, existence”, a fundamental assumption of Buddhism, as with all major Indian religions. Samsara in Buddhism is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma.
Thus, there is no belief in a Heaven.
Major principles or beliefs in Hinduism include the four Purusartha (aim of human life) namely, Dharma(duties/ethics), Artha (prosperity, work, wealth), Kama(desires/passions) and Moksha(liberation/freedom) along with Karma, Samsara and Yogas.
Core Beliefs of Hindus
- Truth is eternal. Hindus pursue knowledge and understanding of the Truth: the very essence of the universe and the only Reality. …
- Brahman is Truth and Reality. …
- The Vedas are the ultimate authority. …
- Everyone should strive to achieve dharma. …
- Individual souls are immortal. …
- The goal of the individual soul is moksha.
Like Buddhism there is no belief in Heaven, however they do believe in many gods.
Islam (Arabic: الإسلام, Al-Islam (Submission)) is a religion that believes in one God (Allah). All of its teachings and beliefs are written out in the Quran (also spelled Qur’an or Koran), the holy scripture of Islam. Believers of Islam are called Muslims.
Faith (iman) is generally outlined using the six articles of faith:
- Belief in Allah, The Only God.
- Belief in the Angels.
- Belief in Holy Books.
- Belief in the Prophets.
- Belief in the Day of Judgment.
- Belief in God’s predestination.
(Note: While Wikipedia gives a rather wide explanation of Allah’s roots, it is believed that Mohammed adapted the name Allah from a minor tribal god. Wikipedia mistakenly identifies Allah as just another name for God, but there is no comparison between the God of the Christians/Jews and Muslims.)
Islam rejects the divinity of Jesus and teaches that Jesus was not God incarnate, nor the Son of God, and—according to some interpretations of the Quran—the crucifixion, death and resurrection is not believed to have occurred, and rather that God saved him.
Paradise is the term used by Muslims for Heaven. Muhammad is reported to have said, “Allah will bring out people from the Fire and admit them into Paradise.” Different branches of Islam believe differently about Heaven however they believe most of humanity will not get to Heaven.
Judaism (originally from Hebrew יהודה, Yehudah, “Judah”; via Latin and Greek) is the religion of the Jewish people. It is an ancient, monotheistic, Abrahamic religion with the Torah as its foundational text. It encompasses the religion, philosophy, and culture of the Jewish people.
The Jewish religion is closely related to Christianity. At present they reject the Deity of Jesus, His being the Son of God, and His being the Messiah. However, according to the Bible they will someday receive Him.
The Jewish people have been and still are a people that God separated unto Himself and loves dearly. Anti-Semitism is incompatible with Christian worship. While the Jewish people are temporarily set aside, their day is coming!
In the meantime we Christians are to pray for the Jewish people and their land. True Christianity never ascribes to Anti-Semitic behavior.
The Jewish belief in Heaven is centered upon the Old Testament Paradise. Today Modern Judaism differentiates from the historical Jewish view. It seems complicated and works driven to me, so I won’t comment on that. But historically speaking, the Jewish people have believed in God (Jehovah) and in the prospect of going to Paradise. The concept of Paradise having been lifted up to be with God is foreign to many Jewish people today; that is an event that happened in the New Testament at the Crucifixion.
The central tenet of Christianity is the belief in Jesus as the Son of God and the Messiah (Christ). Christians believe that Jesus, as the Messiah, was anointed by God as Savior of humanity and hold that Jesus’ coming was the fulfillment of messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.
A literal view of the Bible teaches that when Jesus was crucified and rose from the grave He took the Old Testament Paradise with Him into Heaven. This is where all the Old Testament saints and prophets are today.
To get to Heaven Christians believe you must be “Born again.” That term has lost some of its luster because it is used frequently to describe a sports figure’s rekindled career or a change of life involving career, money, etc. But in the Bible “Born again” refers to the fact that we are born spiritually dead in the flesh and born again spiritually when we receive Christ as our Savior.
So there aren’t many ways to Heaven?
That’s correct. When Thomas questioned how to be where He was going, Jesus responded, “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6).
There is only One Way and That is Jesus!
The above blog used Wikipedia for much of the material. This by no means represents an endorsement of Wikipedia. I only used that which was pertinent and accurate.
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R Frederick Riddle is the author of several books and is best known for Christian Historical Fiction. For more information on him or his books visit his Amazon Authors Page. He is also co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books where his books are featured. To reply to any blog you have the option of commenting on a blog and/or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also be interested in his Facebook page at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.