I vaguely remember a Saturday Night Live skit that involved the main character at the Pearly Gates of heaven, discussing his life. How he'd missed this opportunity or did that thing wrong. I'm not sure it was all that good, but you can find it on Youtube if you search around. The question he had for God or Jesus or the angel he was talking to that struck me was, "What's God's favorite religion?" The answer was Lutheran, sort of matter-of-factly, which made it kind of funny to me. However, I started to think about the question. If we asked God what His favorite religion is, what would it be? Would it be yours?

Being Lutheran, I suppose I agreed with the SNL writers in my belief that my own religion was the best. Actually, the point of most religions (that have survived) is to continuously prove why they are the best. On top of that, they tend to also prove that all others are wrong to some degree of wrongness. For example, I am Missouri Synod Lutheran, which does not go as far as Wisconsin Synod Lutheran on the conservative scale, but doesn't fall as far as ELCA (formerly American) on the liberal scale. And that's just Lutherans, and it's not even all the American Lutheran versions of Christianity.  

My wife likes to point out that all Christian religions are right, but obviously if all us Christians simply believed that, we probably wouldn't have denominations and synods. From reading and watching history TV, I've come to know that even the early Christian church had several factions. Maybe a few thousand people just years after Christ lived couldn't agree completely on how to interpret some of the most important elements of His life and death. I suppose that led to the eventual onset of Jehova's Witnesses and Mormons, since they could point to the early disagreements and later decisions as not being the right ones. 

Martin Luther saw that his own religion was lacking as God's favorite religion, and Luther's desire for change has led to 500 years of people seeking to reform the Christian church into what they think God would want. Is it better in a church older than America or in a converted strip-mall store? After having attended a baptism in a 500 year-old church and a wedding in a strip-mall, I can tell you that the architects from the past knew what they were doing: it does feel like you're somewhere important doing something important. I guess we can wonder what God's favorite kind of church building looks like, too. 

 According to Wkipedia, Luther wasn't even the first to question the authority of the Vatican, and we shouldn't really forget the Eastern church,  either. Then we have the non-Christian religions, all of which would also claim to be lead followers on the right path. Some of us even like to try some aspects of those religions out or even attend a church that presents aspects from other faiths together. Of course, you can pick and choose, but if you're taking a little from each religion (each of which claim to be right), you are doomed to be wrong. Uncle Mark told me in a conversation that he believed all of the religions are right or all of the religions are wrong. I argued against that position, but it all comes down to faith, and faith can't be proven too easily to others who have studied history and have great knowledge. 

Knowledge, however, should not be the enemy of the true religion. I'd read that Christianity is supposed to be a thinking-man's religion, even if it is easier to be Christian with blind faith. We are allowed to think and interpret, and eventually disagree with our follow church members, our ministers, our synods, and our denominations. What is God's favorite translation of the Bible? I suppose that since my church says that the Bible is the most important part of my faith, that's a pretty important question, too. Beyond that, what's God's favorite book, or favorite Gospel? Favorite line? Word? Not yours, but God's, because that's what it's all about. Not your glory, but God's. And we're all doomed to never know enough to be absolutely right, so we have to go on faith, and hope that what we choose is close enough. 

Written by Brian Jaeger, owner of Satisfamily, McNewsy, PassivNinja, Educabana, RealWisconsinNews, ManCrushFanClub, WildWestAllis, SitcomLifeLessons, and VoucherSchool.

 

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