When I was researching my book A Danger to God Himself, I spent a lot of time at a website called Mormonthink.com. (The novel’s about a Mormon missionary who goes insane on his mission.) I probably read everything on the website at least three times. people who put this website together care deeply about the truth. It’s a goldmine.
There are many gems on this website. Here’s a particularly brilliant one:
The following nine quotes are each from an Atheist or Buddhist or Catholic or Hindu or Muslim or Mormon or New Ager or Protestant or Universal Unitarian. Try to guess which quote comes from which religion. The language is standardized (changes indicated by brackets), so that differences in terminology between religions will not tip you off (thus, mosque, temple and church all become a [church]; the Bible and all other religious texts become a [text] or [sacred text]).
Try to match these 9 religions to the following 9 quotes. The answer key is below:
- “[Even as a child], without understanding much about the complex [doctrine] . . . he was attracted to [church]. There he often felt a strong feeling of peace flowing through his body.”
- “I was praying . . . when I felt a burning shaft of . . . love come through my head and into my heart.”
- “I truly wanted to know [the truth]. After a few weeks, I stumbled onto [texts] which . . . answered my questions in a way that I had not heard of before. I read everything . . .and I even tried the experiment of asking [God] for . . . his divine love. After about 6 weeks, I felt a burning in my chest and a sensation that was unlike anything I had ever felt. It was pure happiness and peace. I knew then that [God] had sent His love to me.”
- “A feeling of peace and certitude would tell me when I had found the answers and often after people would help me by pointing in the right direction.”
- “We gave up a lot of things. What did I get in return? I received a feeling of peace, hope and security. I no longer lay awake at night worrying. I stopped cussing. I became much more honest in all aspects of my life. [God] has changed my heart and my life. My husband’s heart is changing also. We pray all the time and really feel [God’s] presence in our marriage. My perspective has changed. My view of life has changed about what is truly important.”
- “Every time I am there [at the church building], a feeling of peace overcomes me.”
- “Every time I was with the [church members], I felt this warm feeling, a feeling of peace and for the first time in my life since my church-going days, I wanted to follow [God] . . . .”
- “About 10 years ago, when Jenny and I decided to start a family, we began looking for a spiritual community for our kids. During my first service at [the church]. . . I was hooked. I recall the feeling of peace that I felt when I was attending [services].”
9.”I recently spent an afternoon on the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee, atop the mount where Jesus is believed to have preached his most famous sermon. . . . As I sat and gazed upon the surrounding hills gently sloping to an inland sea, a feeling of peace came over me. It soon grew to a blissful stillness that silenced my thoughts. In an instant, the sense of being a separate self—an ‘I’ or a ‘me’—vanished. . . . The experience lasted just a few moments, but returned many times as I gazed out over the land where Jesus is believed to have walked, gathered his apostles, and worked many of his miracles.”
Answers: 1. Hindu, 2. Catholic, 3. New Age, 4. Islam, 5. Protestant, 6. Buddhist, 7. Mormon, 8. Universal Unitarian, 9. Atheist.
What’s the point? The point is that most religious people think they have a direct line to God, unlike the people in all the other (wrong) religions—however, the way they validate their religion is uniform across all faiths. Anyone can have a “spiritual experience.” That doesn’t necessarily mean they are invalid—just that they’re common. There are many paths to God. Jesus was wrong when he said, “No one comes to the Father but through me.” God is generous with his “presence” – or at least incautious. He lets people from any religion have a “spiritual experience.”
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