When we pray, do prayers from all religions go up to the same place? Yes, no, and this might be a scam.
Recently, a famous American politician, U.S. Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, made a controversial statement about our prayers. If you know about her, she always makes controversial statements. My belief is that some politicians are controversial to get free attention and publicity, and avoid the high cost of advertising. I don’t believe she was trying to change the world; I think she was being shallow and flippant, but she said that “all of our prayers go to the same place.”
This has started a few arguments because she made the statement about Muslims. It sounds like she was saying ‘it doesn’t matter what you believe, all religions are the same’ which means the Muslim religion, and the Christian religion, and anything else that people believe, are really all the same.
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So, where do our prayers go? Are we wasting our time believing in something? Am I a Christian, or just a Universal Believer?
I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is both correct and incorrect, and there might be danger here.
Correct: Yes, the whole human race has a sense that there is a God out there and people everywhere reach out to our creator. A Christian preacher A. W. Tozer named this “the pursuit of God.” His preaching style is not entertaining, on today’s Internet, but he carefully explains this:
People everywhere reach out: “What may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities, his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Romans 1: 19-20).
Incorrect: No, a spiritual person always makes a choice and has a focus, and people who don’t believe can’t understand that. It’s insulting when they make the rules, but they don’t play the game.
Our prayers go where we send them, just like email. Imagine a meeting of Satan worshipers, or whatever they call themselves, praying to their lord. Also imagine a group of Christians in a revival meeting, praising Jesus. Prayers are going in different directions, and both sides want you to know that. As well, when Muslims pray to one god, Allah, in a mosque, they are different from Hindus praying to one of their many gods, at a shrine.
People everywhere make choices, in their spiritual lives, and shallow unbelievers cannot take away that freedom. We are not all the same because that is convenient for agnostics and atheists who don’t care anyway.
In the Bible, Joshua made a speech to his nation of Israel and told them:
“But if you refuse to serve the LORD, then choose today whom you will serve. Would you prefer the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates? Or will it be the gods of the Amorites in whose land you now live? But as for me and my family, we will serve the LORD.” (Joshua 24:15)
New Religions: This might be a scam. A spiritual life includes thinking and acting carefully, and that does not fit a shallow politician who just wants to be popular. It also doesn’t fit a lazy person who just wants to be told what to believe. Those people make easy recruits for new religions.
Around 1820, a young man named Joseph Smith was confused about religious denominations. His family had different ideas, and there were different Christian denominations near his home. He resolved his confusion by deciding that they were all wrong and had all “turned aside from the gospel.”
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Joseph Smith’s solution was to start a new religion, that he claimed was better than all the rest, the restoration of the true Church. If you don’t know, that was the beginning of the Mormon religion.
‘You are all the same.’ might really mean ‘I want you to be all the same because I need recruits for my religion.’ Adding one more does not reduce the variety.
Feel-good universalism is dangerous for Christians; we are supposed to be wise, when we believe.
For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations. (2 Timothy 4: 3 to 5)