Paths to God–Might There Be More Than One?

Paths to God–Might There Be More Than One? April 22, 2024

Not every road leads to LA. BUT, there is more than one.
Snapshot of Google Maps (search: Los Angeles)

“…go home another way.”—Matthew 2:12*


The short answer is: Yes, there might.

And now for the long answer.

The year 2023 put me through some changes. Day one, my rent jumped $750 to $2000—the most I’ve ever paid in my life and, if I have my way, ever will again.

There were changes in employment and changes in my physical body. I had one child graduate from college. Then came losing a dearly-loved pet followed a week later with moving from a three-bedroom town home where I lived with both of my children to a two-bedroom place with just me and my son.

Overall, moving was the hardest.

Even the loss of my cat—17 years old, epileptic and blind—was easier. Sad though it was, seeing her finally get to rest brought me a measure of relief.

But the move was an excruciatingly dreadful process from the very moment I knew it had to happen. We’d been in the house for almost 11 years. In my mind and heart “home is where the heart is” had flipped to heart is where the home is.

As with many things which fill me with dread, I sought escape. Work—despite the stress involved, especially at a new job—served as one kind of escape. Reading was another one, although quieting the noise in my head enough to focus on any printed material for long proved to be a challenge.

So, at times when I should’ve been packing, cleaning or otherwise preparing to move, I plopped myself on the sofa for hours at a time binge-watching whatever piqued my interest. Hence, the weight gain. I’ve never been one to turn to food for comfort when going through junk life throws at me. To the contrary, my appetite decreases. It’s the food choices—chips, pizza and sweets of all sorts—along with being sedentary that give my BMI a lethal one-two punch.

Anyway, after watching the The Mentalist from season one, episode one all the way through to the final cut in season seven (again), there I sat seeking out my next binge.

Enter God’s Favorite Idiot.

A Message from “God”

I know. It’s terrible. Yet, the premise intrigued me. Besides, what’s a better escape than something that could make you laugh? Right? I mean, here’s a main character who’s gifted with the power to literally glow and tasked with spreading an important message to people, ultimately averting the Apocalypse. You can’t get any more special than that.

Honestly, I expected to lose interest in the short series by the second or third episode.

But, surprise, that didn’t happen. Despite its irrelevance and almost gratuitous bad acting, not only did the loss of interest not happen, the show actually left me deep in meditative thought on a couple occasions.

One scene in particular struck a chord. And, to date, it continues to resonate.

The scene is in the men’s bathroom at the place where the main character, Clark, worked (to use the word loosely). God appears in the form of Clark’s fourth-year nurse, Mrs. Rowbotham and tells him the message she wants him to get out:

“That God is real and God is good. And everybody, meaning all religions, are actually quite right about God. Also, nobody’s really wrong. I’m okay with all flavors, unless you’re full crazy train, or use my name to hurt people.”

She prefaced these statements with the words that we should be ‘kind and love one another’ which is the same as Her son Jesus commanded his disciples to do when on earth.

The message couldn’t be clearer or simpler.

A Different Understanding

But the implications seem preposterous—not withstanding the fact that they’re coming from a purely unorthodox character in a TV show, right?

I say they seem preposterous because of Jesus words at Matthew 7: 21-23 (NIV):

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!”

Growing up as I did in the Jehovah’s Witnesses belief system, the foregoing passage is one of several used to teach there can only be one true religion which God accepts.

There are other distinctions made to lead one to this conclusion, all of which are backed up by scripture. But the scripture in Matthew is a favorite.

I wanted very much to swallow this lock, stock and barrel because…well, because it seemed to make sense. First, it lines up with the Old Testament theology—that the Israelites and those who converted to their form of worship were exclusively the chosen people of God. Second, so many other religions teach things that contrasted with our understanding of the scriptures. Some included: immortality of the soul, the trinity, and that Hell is a literal fiery place of torture. Third, the feeling of privilege and blessedness which come from the idea that, of all the faiths, of all the supposed roads to God out there, you’ve manage to find the right one is powerfully validating.

A fourth (inglorious) reason for accepting this ideology is that it lends a sense of superiority—knowing that, out of all different ways people worship, you’ve irrefutably, found the way that’s true. I don’t like to say “find God.” God’s everywhere we are. And He’s all but screaming: “Hey, look! It’s me! I’m right here!” It is us, blinded by lack of knowledge and lack faith and stagnant inattention, who fail to simply step on over and say: “Yes. I see you. I hear you and accept your amazing grace.”

Decades ago, I experienced being verbally and publicly removed from the congregation for the first time—excommunicated as some may understand it. The two very traumatic years which followed was the beginning of a change of thought about who God really accepts or doesn’t accept as his children. But now, after watching God’s Favorite Idiot and hearing “God’s” elegantly plain message, I’m even less close-minded to the concept of inclusivity in terms of who are truly worshipping Him.

Just as there is more than one way home, to work, to school, or to Los Angeles. There’s the usual shortest way or the scenic route. There’s a way that, with the slightest detour, takes us to the grocery store before we continue to our destination.

And there are different means, car, public transportation, bike or walk, scooter, etc.

So why this notion that we all need to find the one denomination or “church” that is right?

Lost in Translation

Hold on, though. Jesus said: “Not everyone who says “Lord, Lord…” So that must mean there’s a church that’s right and there’s one that’s not.

Read it again. Jesus said: “Not everyone…

He does not say: “Not every church…” Or.. “Not every religion.” I believe that to twist “Not everyone” around to anything other than not every person or not every individual would be a mistake in translation. And that, as those of us who are familiar with certain Bible passages know, is a serious sin. – see: Deuteronomy 4:2; Galatians 1:8, 9; Revelation 22:18, 19

Instead, would be more accurate to conclude that Jesus, when saying “Not everyone,” is referring to insincere or “pretend” Christians. Persons of this sort are doing a lot of good things in his name, but they are doing such for a wrong purpose, perhaps to receive adoration or, maybe, in the hopes that God will turn a blind eye to some other wrong they’re practicing. It could even be that they’re doing good deeds just for show, as in, they like to appear righteous to others when, deep down, they know they don’t truly believe. In other words, they are hypocrites, modern-day Pharisees and Sadducees. (Matthew 6: 1, 2; & 2 Timothy 3: 5)

More Than One ≠ To All

None of this is to say that all religions will lead you to God. You can choose one of a few different roads from Arizona that head west and end up in Los Angeles. Yet, to take the same road and expect to end up in Canada—well, that would be boarding the “full crazy train” our tv program “God” mentioned.

So, the question arises: in terms of religions or Churches what would “full crazy train” look like?

Simple answer:  Any church which preaches and teaches some twisted “truth” or even the opposite of what is in God’s Holy Word. Or, more precisely, a church or religion which teaches only the purely made-up ideas of a man or woman who claims to be a prophet or prophetess, or the Messiah returned AND nothing they teach or prophesy benefits (Isaiah 48: 17) their followers or proves to be true (Jeremiah 28:9; 1 John 4: 1-3).

For another clue to help spot a path or religion/church which doesn’t lead to God, I encourage you on your own time to read Acts 5:33-37. But, right now, I’ll highlight verses 38, 39:

“So under the present circumstances, I say to you, do not meddle with these men, but let them alone. For if this scheme or this work is from men, it will be overthrown; but if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them. Otherwise, you may even be found fighters against God himself.”

In other words, a “full crazy train” church tends to pop up virtually out of nowhere through the efforts of one or two very persuasive and charismatic leader(s) and quickly garner a few dozen or hundred followers. But soon that religion of church collapses. Often this fall happens under the weight some fraudulent monetary schemes or other elicit activities conducted within. Or, the leader dies and the followers disperse. Think cult.

You may wonder, however, about all the other religions in the world which are not based on the Bible but on some other Holy Book. After all, the tv “God” did say: “Nobody’s really wrong.” How can that be possible?

Good question.

In the next instalment I will offer an explanation.



south by southwest

a homing pigeon chooses

the scenic route


*The Living Bible, Holman Illustrated Edition, 1973
About Clareece Brunson
Clareece Brunson is an over-thinker. A believer, fighting the hard fight of the faith. A poet first. Then, a writer. A lover and a fighter. Born in Illinois, USA. Currently lives in Arizona, USA. Blessed and grateful. Love, always. You can read more about the author here.
"Maybe there is another way to explain.The pyramid and the eye on American money represents ..."

Paths to God–Might There Be More ..."
"People should never forget; Their Holy Books were written by human hands.And the story in ..."

Paths to God–Might There Be More ..."
"I think you do a great job of defining what Christian Nationalism is as defined ..."

Why Christians Should Stay Away from ..."
"I enjoyed your ruminations. You leave the question unanswered. Why do we call him 'he'?We ..."

God’s Pronouns

Browse Our Archives