I was not always a Christian. I was born and raised in Tehran, Iran to a non-practicing Muslim family. In Iran the predominate religion is Islam and most people practice the Shiite branch of Islam. Growing up my favorite subjects in school were religion and history. I was always intrigued by these two subjects. Upon my arrival to the United States, I would come across Christians who would tell me that, “I need to be born-again in order to be saved and go to heaven,” that usually got us into a discussion about religion, heaven, and the afterlife. One of the statements that they would use was, “Jesus is the only way to God and apart from believing in him no one can go to heaven.”” That statement never made much sense to me, why do I need to believe in Jesus in order to go to Heaven? What about all the people who have never heard of Jesus or don’t believe in him? Would God condemn these people simply because they don’t believe in Jesus? Something within me rebelled against the idea that God would make things so narrow that there was only one way to reach him.
In my religious classes, we were taught that Jesus was a prophet from God, and there was never any thought of him being the only way or that we needed to believe in him in order to become right with God. Growing up I was taught that God’s revelation of himself was progressive and he rose prophets to reveal himself to humanity at large and Jesus was one among many others like Moses, and David. We regarded Jesus in a high esteem, but we never believed that he is the only way or that we needed to only believe in him to go to heaven. I was taught that the original teaching of Jesus was lost and what we have in the bible is not from Jesus himself rather from his apostle and what they thought Jesus had said, and that the bible is nor a reliable document. We believed Prophet Mohammad is the final prophet from God with the final revelation of God to humanity. The christian argument was flawed, and it didn’t make much sense….