Below is a response to someone who spoke at a rotary club meeting. The reason I post this here is because of the last paragraph. I’m not so sure he is interpreting that verse correctly. The rest of his response I can accept. Any thoughts are appreciated.
His response to the speaker below:
The speaker was mistaken about one thing: Judaism doesn’t teach there is no afterlife. Some schools of Jewish thought have taught this, but not Judaism as a whole.
In Jesus’ time, the religious party of the Sadducees rejected the concept of afterlife because they said it was not explicitly mentioned in the Torah. But the Pharisees felt the scriptures did allude to it and they believed in it. Today, most Conservative and Orthodox Jews accept belief in an afterlife. Many Reformed Jews do not.
As far as Jesus’ claims to redemptive exclusivity (his being the only way to God), I recognize that many people find this narrow and non-inclusive. But when you think about it, it’s is really the only way Christian theology makes any sense. After all, if there are other ways to find God, then Christ didn’t really have to die, did he? The scriptures say his death opened the way for us to meet and commune with God. But if there are other ways to do this, then Jesus’ death didn’t really open anything that wasn’t already open, and he died for nothing. His death wasn’t really redemptive at all; it was just another everyday act of Roman butchery.
So when you think about it, the entirety of Christian thought and theology rests squarely on Christ’s claim to redemptive exclusivity: “No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) Apart from that, Christianity is a meaningless religion and its adherents are fools.