Is there really only one way?

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Many of us were raised to believe there is only one way to God, one keeper of the truth, one church that is right. Oh, my, has this caused problems for us as individuals, groups, communities and countries. Of the over 7 billion people on the planet today, more than 4.7 billion are in three major groups  Christianity, Islam and Secular/nonreligious/agnostic/atheist. (I find the list quite interesting and when you realize that the statisticians lumped fundamentalist Christians, liberal Christians, Catholics, Seven Day Adventists, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc; into one group, it is even more interesting and, yes, amusing. I say that because a number of them proclaim that they are the sole keepers of truth about God and religion).

The sad thing is that  this belief has caused persecutions, wars between countries, disputes, and hatred among groups and members of families. Some are specific to regions or countries and some are world wide. The listing of the top twelve is below: (To see the complete list go to  http://www.adherents.com/Religions_By_Adherents.html).

2.1 billion    Christianity
1.5 billion     Islam
1.1 billion     Secular/nonreligious/agnostic/atheist
900 million   Hinduism
394 million    Chinese traditional religion
376 million    Buddhism
300 million    primal-indigeneous
100 million    African Traditional and Diasporic
23 million      Sikhism
14 million      Judaism

Most of these religions teach that God is Love. Hmmm. Is there a problem here? Think about it. Would a God of Love have His followers killing those who are different or would they love them instead?

I’m not here to judge which religion is right or wrong or which church you should attend or even if you should attend one. I am simply here to ask you if you know what you believe. Do you?

  1. What do you believe about God? Who told you this is the way you should believe? Did you think it through with your heart as well as your mind or did you accept it as a child and have never examined it again?
  2. Do you have to go inside a specific building to find God?
  3. What do you believe about life? Why are you here? Do you have a purpose?
  4. What do you believe about life after life? Do we have more than one chance to “get it right” and what does “getting it right mean”?
  5. Are you a physical being having a spiritual experience on earth or a spiritual being having a physical experience on earth? OR Are you a spiritual being having a spiritual experience or simply a physical being having a physical experience? Think about it.
  6. Is there a difference between religion and spirituality? If so, what is it?
  7. Who determines what is right and what is wrong? What is the “measuring stick?”

It is important that you consider the important questions in your life. You spiritual vitality depends on it. Self Improvement is holistic—what affects one part of you affects the whole. What you believe about God and life affects every decision you make, even those you make about self-help.

Feel free to disagree. Send us your comments by clicking on “Comments” below.

Irene Conlan

Irene Conlan has a master's degree in nursing, She taught nursing at Arizona State University, served as Director of Nursing Administration at St. Luke's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix and served as Assistant Director of the Arizona Department of Health Services for the Division of Health Care Facilities and Emergency Medical Services. Now retired, she is an avid blogger and manages http://www.theselfimprovementblog.com,http://www.theselfesteemblog.com and hosts the Self Improvement Radio Show on VoiceAmerica. Irene lives in Fountain Hills, AZ and has two sons and four grandsons.