Learning About Other Religions
Sermon shared by Hal Seed
Summary: This post-911 message was designed to inform people about the five classic religions, giving enough information for them to make a choice...
Audience: General adults
So now you know the truth about me. I’m a hill hugger. I’ve got crab hands.
And I bring this up because, as a result of the disaster that befell our country on Sept. 11, all kinds of people are asking questions about the paths they’re climbing up these days.
For the past two weeks, we’ve been looking at the path up the mountain called, “Islam.”
The 19 terrorists involved in the 911 horror are all thought to have been Muslim fundamentalists, climbing their way up the mountainside of Islam to get to Islamic paradise.
The fact that they were all religiously motivated has not only put the fear of God into all of us, but has also sparked a lot of curiosity about the Islamic faith.
What does their mountain look like? And what steps do they need to take to climb it?
We looked at those questions in some depth the past two weeks, and that mode of thinking made a lot of us wonder, “What about the other religions of the world?” If Muslims believe in a Five Pillar Path, what do other people believe in?
So this morning I want to tackle that topic.
Over the next 30 minutes, I want to describe for you the basic paths of what have been called THE FIVE CLASSIC RELIGIONS:
I want to talk to you about where they come from, what they believe, how they describe their mountaintop (their afterlife), and how they believe a person gets to that mountaintop.
To keep you on your toes, I’m going to cover them in reverse order.
And my hope is that what we learn together in the next 1/2 hour won’t just be brain candy for you. You won’t just say, “Oh, that was interesting.” But that you’ll think about these spiritual pathways and come to some conclusions for yourself about what you believe and what really makes sense in terms of who God is and your spirit requires to communion with him and experience eternal life.
One time in the N.T. Jesus said to the people around him, “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” – John 8:32
That’s my hope for you this morning, that by talking through each of these truth-options, that you will decide what really is true, and what isn’t, and that truth will set you free.
Because our topic is so massive, I’m going to move a little faster than normal this morning. So take out your message notes, and let’s get at it.
The first spiritual pathway on our list is HINDUISM.
Hinduism has roughly 900,000 million followers around the world.
Unlike the other 4 options we’ll be looking at, Hinduism has no one specific founder. To understand Hinduism, it helps to know something about a closely-related belief system called, “Animism.” Animism is the belief that each piece of the earth, and all life on is “animated,” by a spiritual force. In other words, by a god.
For instance, if an animist saw a stream, he or she would believe that that stream had an animated force behind it. That there was a god of the stream. So if he wanted to cross the stream, or get along with the stream, he might talk to it, or make a sacrifice to it.
If there was a tree nearby, he would believe that the tree had a spirit, and that that spirit had power, and should therefore be pleased and communicated with so that it wouldn’t harm him. And on the positive side, because of its mystical
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