Response to a Response
This is specifically aimed toward "eek" who commented on the Joshua Project Unreached People Group prayer profile in my sidebar. I managed to lose your comment, but the gist of it was that the idea of praying for an unreached people group (unreached meaning unreached with the Good News of Jesus Christ) is offensive to you, that they have a "perfectly good religion" of their own.
That's a problem, now, isn't it?
Religion itself is the problem, if you ask me. Religion is only the system of faith, and that itself does not solve anything. Religion is often demonstrated by the lists of rules each faith adheres to - more than anything, these rules determine who is the in crowd and who is the out crowd. Were I making judgment over these lists of rules, I would have to say that lots of world religions "have it right" to an extent.
I was listening to the radio on my way home from my soccer game last night, and the radio host was obviously comparing religion (I'm sure he was analyzing Mitt Romney's recent speech, which gave him the in to talk about Mormonism and to make a claim that Mormonism was no different from Islam and, from his comments, it seemed that he felt that neither was much different from Christianity). A caller tried to tell him a fundamental difference, but the host, in typical talk-radio host arrogance, disconnected his call, shouted him down, and made fun of him, never letting him get his point across.
The difference is that true Christianity is more than a list of rules. It is a personal relationship with God. I cannot disagree that Christianity has its own "list of rules" but they aren't the main point. The main point is living a life that pleases God - in response to what God has already done for us.
That's a whole lot different than the other world religions.
Here's the deal with unreached people groups, and here's why I pray for them and work to make sure that they have access to the Good News of Jesus Christ. I don't do it so they can become Westernized; quite the contrary, I hope we can learn from them. I don't do it to somehow force them to become Christianized - this didn't work with Constantine, and it doesn't work today. It doesn't change anyone or anything to force baptism on someone. I do it so that they can meet Jesus Christ and make an informed decision whether or not to follow Him.
It's kind of like this: when I was dating my wife, I wanted to introduce her to all my friends. I just knew that they would like her because I know what a wonderful person she is. Not everyone does, but it's not because I hid her from them and never let them meet her. No, I let them meet her and make their own decision on whether or not to be her friend. And that's what I hope to be doing with Jesus Christ - introducing others to Him and letting them decide what to do about it.