I have a friend who is under the impression that members of most other religious group (outside of his) are wrong, and by extension condemned...according to certain Scriptures he cites.
Yet when asked if they are all condemned because of their identity, or affiliation, or individually, or what they've done in their lives, he changes his thoughts accordingly and then resubmits his premise on the grounds of other certain citable Scriptures.
When I point out his contradiction, he goes on to cite yet a few other Scriptures, adjusting yet again his earlier blanket condemnation, now stating that the individual will be judged not according to the some silly things they may believe beyond what he considers important to be believed.
A casual listener to this banter may conclude it is the Scriptures that are contradicting one another and not this friend of mine, but is that truly the case?
There is yet another Scripture regarding arguing over words and contaminating a hearer's ears.
It is all a matter of interpretation and the individual's heart.
Is the individual attempting to bring others into the fold of something beyond their conception, or are they actively dividing others in the futile attempt to 'see' what is unseen?
Is entrance to paradise based on your knowledge of Scripture?
Are anyone qualified for salvation according to knowing the 'right' things and disbelieving the 'wrong' things?
What is right for one person is wrong for another person, and both are thoroughly convinced in their own mind and heart about the matter.
Of course, “we” think we are correct when we pass internal judgment on another person (our judging thoughts, not verbal words).
It is always the other person, religious group, or ethnic group, or nation, etc., that is 'wrong'.
Regarding religious beliefs, some make a great effort of trying to point out what is wrong with others (not what they are called to do), while rarely actually doing any good thing for others (what they are actually called to do).
They resemble more the accuser than the Savior, yet to convince them of this stark contradiction in their manners and words is a futile effort since they are so judgmental, even glorying in their hostility and lack of patience for others and the things they do not yet understand.
This is what the monkey sees and thus what the monkey does; men following men, but not what is Perfect and from Above.
This is the case in practically every religion and culture of man.
This is the methodology of the political system as well; one side always criticizing the other but never doing any constructive work themselves... and if or when they do, the other side criticizes and people look to the criticism and ignore the work.
Such has been the case with the religious, especially the religious of similar groups.
But humanity has not been called to be like these divided people.
Humanity has been called to realize their oneness with others and with He who is from Above; the maker and Creator of their lives and the correct and unifying identity.
Since we are all human beings (and thus our nature is less than perfect), to find error in others and their systems of belief is an easy task.
What are the likenesses?
What are the unifying factors?
Where is your humanity just like theirs?
How are they like you and what do you have in common?
Yes, they fall short of perfection as you do, but how do they desire that perfection as you do?
For some sad individuals, all they do is find error in others...and sometimes they seem to ignore the great error in themselves and in their hearts.
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.
“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
- Matthew 7: 1-5