The leader of the free world repeated his statement first made in 2003:
As the president and Nakouzi walked from the Oval Office to the Map Room in the White House residence, Nazouki asked, “But I want to tell you – and I hope this doesn’t bother you at all – that in the Islamic world they think that President Bush is an enemy of Islam – that he wants to destroy their religion, what they believe in. Is that in any way true, Mr. President?”
“No, it’s not,” said Bush. “I’ve heard that, and it just shows [sic] to show a couple of things: One, that the radicals have done a good job of propagandizing. In other words, they’ve spread the word that this really isn’t peaceful people versus radical people or terrorists, this is really about the America not liking Islam.
“Well, first of all, I believe in an Almighty God, and I believe that all the world, whether they be Muslim, Christian, or any other religion, prays to the same God. That’s what I believe. I believe that Islam is a great religion that preaches peace. And I believe people who murder the innocent to achieve political objectives aren’t religious people, whether they be a Christian who does that – we had a person blow up our – blow up a federal building in Oklahoma City who professed to be a Christian, but that’s not a Christian act to kill innocent people.”
This statement from the president is simply wrong. It seems to stem from a political desire to please all the people all the time. Either that, or a gross misunderstanding of the religion Bush professes to believe in. In fact, it seems to demonstrate a gross misunderstanding of religion, full stop.
Perhaps the president would care to quote how one achieves salvation under all these other religions? Because, if all religions pray to the same god, does it not follow that all religions and all gods lead to some sort of eternal reward?
1. Since the president specifically mentions Islam, let’s start with that venerable religion of peace. There are two ways to get to paradise. The first is to do good things. Allah apparently has an army of bookkeepers writing down every good and bad thing you do, and if the good outnumbers the bad, then you are en route to paradise (via a detour, it seems you still have to pay for those bad things you did, so you may make a detour through the pits of hell).
“There is not one among you who shall not pass through hell; such is the absolute decree of your Lord. We will deliver those who fear Us, and leave the wrongdoers there, on their knees.” (Sura 19:71-72)
We should also note that “good things” for Islam are different to what we consider good things. Public stoning of adulterers does not feature high on on our list, but seems to be carry some weight on the Islamic list, given the amount of enthusiasm with which it is carried out.
The second way gives us another clue into what “good things” may mean. The ultimate good thing you can do, earning you a ticket straight to paradise ( and a number of young ladies thrown in), is to be a martyr for Islam. Yup, defend Islam by offering you own life up, and you eclipse all your previous good entries.
2. Hinduism is just slightly smaller than Islam in it’s following. The goal in Hinduism is to achieve “Moksha”. That means to become one with god, freed from a perpetual cycle of life and death. There are 4 ways to become god: a. The action way is to perform certain rites and ceremonies, and to do good things without personal gain. b. The knowledge way is to use your mind to philosophize to a complete understanding of life and the universe. c. The devotion way is by worshiping the gods of Hinduism, and d. The royal road is the use of yoga and meditation by monks to achieve Moksha.
3. Buddhism wants its followers to reach “Nirvana”, a blissful transcendental spiritual state. When you reach Nirvana, you become a Buddha. This is achieved through following the “Noble 8-fold Path”: 1. Right understanding, 2. right resolve, 3. right speech, 4. right action, 5. right occupation, 6. right effort, 7. right contemplation, 8. right meditation. There is of course a set of instructions that describes each of the right things that must be done along the way.
So given the above, I would ask the president if he still believes his statement? It is clear that each of the religions above differs from Christianity on a very fundamental level. In each of the above, your achievement of eternal reward is down to your own efforts. You have to do good things, you have to clear out the bad by yourself or you have to suffer. It’s all you.
In Christianity, salvation is a free gift from God, through His grace alone. Christians are no better than anyone else, we are equally as sinful and as bad as any other person. But our God is a loving God who does not punish us for those sins, even though we deserve it. (In each of these other religions, you get what you deserve.) Instead, because God loves His people so, He became flesh to pay for our sins. Believing that God did that is the only way to salvation, the eternal reward.
God warns us that we should not believe these other gods. It is one of the greatest lies that the evil one wises that we believe, that we are ourselves responsible for eternal reward. In that way he can always have a foothold, an entry point to sow doubt about the victory of the one true God on the cross.
For the president to equate the human-centric effort-driven religions with the ultimate sacrifice made by Christ is blasphemous and irresponsible. I pray that he repents of this sin, and not be afraid to speak the truth.
Act 4:8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders,
Act 4:9 if we are being examined today concerning a good deed done to a crippled man, by what means this man has been healed,
Act 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead–by him this man is standing before you well.
Act 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
Act 4:12 And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”