In this springtime of sacred days (Easter, Ramadan, Holi, Passover) when I try with extra effort to support my belief (and the belief of my dear departed friend Father Tom) that there are many paths up the same mountain to God, I still receive blowback from readers who cling to the belief that there is only one path, and that this is the path they are on.

Dear Rabbi Gellman: The Bible says that Satan, that old serpent, is the “father of lies.” The greatest deception Satan has ever perpetrated on mankind is this false idea that there are many ways to salvation. Note that in Exodus when God gave Moses the instructions for building the Tabernacle, it had only one gate. God was very specific on how worship was to be conducted and who was worthy to come into His presence.

The Bible says that Jesus died once for mankind and that alone is sufficient. Jesus is that gate of the Tabernacle, He is the only way in.

Psalm 19:11 says that there is “great reward” for keeping God’s statutes. To say that obtaining salvation is possible in any way except through the gift offered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ goes against everything God says in the Bible.

 — From J  

MG: Let us begin, dear J, with a bit of history. The Temple in Jerusalem built by King Solomon in roughly 1000 BCE and rebuilt by Herod in 516 BCE did not have just one gate. According to Josephus, the Roman/Jewish historian who was a contemporary of the second temple, there were 10 gates. There were 10 entrances into the inner courts, four on the south, four on the north, one on the east and one leading east to west from the Court of Women to the court of the Israelites, named the Nicanor Gate. So, if we take your argument that the gates represent a valid path to God and salvation, we have to make room for at least eight other religions in addition to Judaism and Christianity. However, I am fully willing to include many gates or paths to God.

Does it really make sense to you that a God who made all people in God’s image would give all the truth to just one group? This does not make sense to me, and I believe that a more careful reading of our sacred texts supports this view.

We read in the New Testament itself, in I Corinthians 12:4-11, “There are different gifts but the same Spirit. There are different ministries but the same Lord.”

Matthew chapter 7 says this in verse 16: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

This seems to me to be a sound method in evaluating religious claims. Does the religion produce people who bear good spiritual fruit into our world? All the other questions about salvation I am happy to let The Boss work out when the time is right to make all things broken whole again.

In this springtime of sacred days (Easter, Ramadan, Holi, Passover) when I try with extra effort to support my belief (and the belief of my dear departed friend Father Tom) that there are many paths up the same mountain to God, I still receive blowback from readers who cling to the belief that there is only one path, and that this is the path they are on.

Dear Rabbi Gellman: The Bible says that Satan, that old serpent, is the “father of lies.” The greatest deception Satan has ever perpetrated on mankind is this false idea that there are many ways to salvation. Note that in Exodus when God gave Moses the instructions for building the Tabernacle, it had only one gate. God was very specific on how worship was to be conducted and who was worthy to come into His presence.

The Bible says that Jesus died once for mankind and that alone is sufficient. Jesus is that gate of the Tabernacle, He is the only way in.

Psalm 19:11 says that there is “great reward” for keeping God’s statutes. To say that obtaining salvation is possible in any way except through the gift offered by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ goes against everything God says in the Bible.

 — From J  

MG: Let us begin, dear J, with a bit of history. The Temple in Jerusalem built by King Solomon in roughly 1000 BCE and rebuilt by Herod in 516 BCE did not have just one gate. According to Josephus, the Roman/Jewish historian who was a contemporary of the second temple, there were 10 gates. There were 10 entrances into the inner courts, four on the south, four on the north, one on the east and one leading east to west from the Court of Women to the court of the Israelites, named the Nicanor Gate. So, if we take your argument that the gates represent a valid path to God and salvation, we have to make room for at least eight other religions in addition to Judaism and Christianity. However, I am fully willing to include many gates or paths to God.

Does it really make sense to you that a God who made all people in God’s image would give all the truth to just one group? This does not make sense to me, and I believe that a more careful reading of our sacred texts supports this view.

We read in the New Testament itself, in I Corinthians 12:4-11, “There are different gifts but the same Spirit. There are different ministries but the same Lord.”

Matthew chapter 7 says this in verse 16: “Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?”

This seems to me to be a sound method in evaluating religious claims. Does the religion produce people who bear good spiritual fruit into our world? All the other questions about salvation I am happy to let The Boss work out when the time is right to make all things broken whole again.

SEND QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS to The God Squad at godsquadquestion@aol.com or Rabbi Marc Gellman, Temple Beth Torah, 35 Bagatelle Rd., Melville, NY 11747. “The God Squad podcast with Rabbi Marc Gellman” is available on the Apple, Spotify, Amazon and Google apps.

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