So Many Choices, Only One Truth

Sam Rainer

January 31, 2007

My associate pastor and I both have an affinity for buffets. In order to brainstorm, we need brainfood. So when we have strategy sessions, we like to go to the local Chinese restaurant. The one near our church has more than enough brainfood to satisfy this pastor. As we all know well, the good thing about a buffet is the ability to pick and choose exactly what you like. I usually go for anything deep fried with a lot of sauce. Of course, for the sake of my health I’ll dab a spoonful of fried rice onto my plate and hope that the stray pea somehow makes it into the bunch.

The analogy of the buffet to religion has been used numerous times. Many people are searching to fill the void in their lives, and they pick and choose elements from different belief systems to create their own personal plate of religion. What many don’t realize is the sheer size of the religious buffet. The World Christian Encyclopedia reports that there could be as many as 10,000 distinct and different religions across the globe. And 270 of these religions have over 500,000 adherents each.

The flattening of the world has increased the speed with which people can pick and choose among these religions. The fiber optic boom of the late 1990s has laid the groundwork for the lightening-quick access to information around the globe. With this increasing access to information due to technological advances, the religious buffet has grown morbidly large.

The problem is that people are gorging themselves on fluff. Americans, in particular, are satisfied. In fact, The Gallup Poll recently reported that 84% of Americans are satisfied with their personal lives. While this is encouraging from a political science perspective, it does not bode well for the church. Satisfaction does not equate to salvation. You could spend your entire life at the religious buffet line, weighing all the choices and getting fat on nothing more than deception. There is only one Truth. There is only one way to remedy the void caused by sin. Sin is satisfying; it prevents us from knowing the Truth of Jesus Christ. And in order to follow Christ we must leave our personal sphere of satisfaction pick up our crosses and follow him.

My associate pastor and I discussed this problem of satisfaction and apathy within our community. In fact, it is estimated that 57,000 people may not know Christ within our immediate community. We each came to the realization that there is much work to be done; we can never become satisfied. We must proclaim the one and only Truth until God decides that our work is done. After our meal, the waitress brought us our checks, as well as a fortune cookie. I laughed at the prospect of two ministers of the gospel opening fortune cookies, but we proceeded to anyway.

His said Work hard and you will be rewarded. Not so bad, I guess.
Mine stated When you squeeze an orange, orange juice comes out, because that is what is in it.

So much for truth…

5 comments on “So Many Choices, Only One Truth”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    So true, so true.

  2. Sam, interesting stats on satisfaction. If the old model of only the dissatisfied are open to changing their lives, then maybe we need a new model. Suppose we tell the story of God at work in this world, calling creation (and us) back to Himself. Suppose our invitation is to get in on what God is up to — find your place in this great, dramatic story that God is telling to all of us. We buy into stories all the time — many times because we want to enhance our lives, not just because we are desparate. Satisfaction relieves the pressure so that folks who might have been distracted might be able to hear a new story. Just a thought. Did you have the kungpao chicken? One of my personal favorites. — Chuck

  3. Josh H. says:

    I find many claiming to be Christians also doing this, unfortunately. They are obsessed with not wanting to appear “judgmental” to the point they tolerate everything and anything. While one must avoid casting condemnation on people and thus failing to share God’s love, that does not mean there are no moral standards to be upheld.

    As for the Chinese Buffet, General Tso’s chicken all the way. There’s a nice little buffet downtown on 5th street I frequent with colleagues – very good price, too.

  4. Sam Rainer says:

    Chuck, I’m with Josh on the General Tso’s chicken. It’s probably my most frequent selection. Josh, I may have to cross the river to check out the one on 5th street. Thanks for the tip.

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