After nearly 2,000 years of trying, traditionalists still haven't persuaded even a bare majority of the world’s population that Jesus is the only way to God, let alone that God himself said so, as claimed by some). Even in the United States, one of the world’s most religious nations, only a fraction of the population is persuaded by that claim: A 2005 survey of 1,005 Americans, conducted by Newsweek and BeliefNet, indicated that 79% believed that a good person of a different faith could attain salvation.
Think about that two-millennia track record; contrast it with, say, the track record of fluoridated water supplies. In the 1950s, as fluoridation was just starting to catch on, some branded it a dangerous plot to subvert traditional values and beliefs (much as was said in certain precincts about early Christianity). In a matter of just a few decades, however, more fluoridation studies were done, and more evidence was accumulated. It took not even a half-century to persuade Americans that, on balance, fluoridation is a reasonably good bet. Today, according to the Wikipedia article on fluoridation (which has been the subject of an editing battle between pro and con points of view), "66% of United States residents on public water supplies have fluoridated water” and “In 1998, 70% of people polled believed community water should be fluoridated, with 18% disagreeing and the rest undecided.”
My point isn't that fluoridated water is or is not a good thing. It's that the dispute got resolved comparatively quickly, because most people were willing to take a sober look at the evidence, to face the facts, and to move on.
So now let’s look again at the claim that Jesus is the only way to God, and the ancillary claim that God himself said so. If either claim were true — and especially if both were true — it seems likely that a loving God would have made sure we knew about it. In particular, you'd think God would have arranged for the supporting evidence to prove at least as persuasive to the world's people, over the course of 2,000 years, as the evidence in support of fluoridated water has proved in less than 50 years. That doesn't seem to have happened; yet some traditionalists keep stubbornly insisting that their claim, despite its overwhelming rejection, is a necessary part of all right belief.
You need to find a differernt analogy to make your point because:
Blue-Ribbon Scientific Panel Exposes Fluoridation's Serious Health Risks
New York - September 2006 -- Fluoride jeopardizes health - even at low levels deliberately added to public water supplies, according to data presented in a recent National Academy of Sciences' (NAS) National Research Council (NRC) report. Fluoride poses risks to the thyroid gland, diabetics, kidney patients, high water drinkers and others and can severely damage children's teeth. (1) At least three panel members advise avoiding fluoridated water.
[Extensive additional text deleted]
New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation, Inc.
Paul Beeber, President and General Counsel
PO Box 263
Old Bethpage, NY 11804
[Ed.: I've deleted the remainder of what appears to be a lengthy press release by the anti-fluoridation forces, specifically the New York State Coalition Opposed to Fluoridation (NYSCOF), which coincidentally is the signature used by the commenter, who I assume is the Paul Beeber referred to above. Commenter, I specifically said I wasn't taking a position on whether fluoridation was good or bad. Please don't try again to use this blog to post your propaganda. The IP address you used to post the comment has been noted.]
Posted by: Nyscof | September 17, 2006 at 07:48 AM
Good points. I've often wondered this myself. Why doesn't God just make it obvious to everyone if Jesus is THE way, THE prophet, THE savior? I'm still battling this in my faith journey.
Posted by: Ann W. | September 20, 2006 at 11:26 AM