Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 07 Oct 2023


English »   Malayalam »  

Is it true that Christianity is acceptance-based, whereas other monotheistic religions are merit-based?

[Dr. Nikhil asked: Padanamaskarams Swamiji, I seek Your kind clarification on the following question. Your servant, Nikhil.

A renowned Christian philosopher claims that there is a fundamental difference between Christianity and other monotheistic religions such as Judaism and Islam. He says that Christianity is an acceptance-based religion, whereas the other monotheistic religions are merit-based religions.

In Christianity, the follower accepts Jesus to be the Saviour and the Son of God in the very beginning. At that very instant, the follower is granted an exemption from judgement day and is unconditionally assured eternal life with God in heaven. From that initial moment of accepting Jesus, the rest of the follower's journey through human life, is a loving relationship with God, similar to marriage. The relationship is unaffected by the ups and downs in life and the good and bad deeds of the follower. An analogy is a woman accepting a certain man to be her husband. From that moment onwards, she gets the love, companionship, and protection of the husband, unconditionally. It is not as if the husband will protect her only if her cooking meets certain standards!

In other monotheistic religions, the follower has to strictly follow the do's and don'ts prescribed by God throughout his or her life. Then at the end of the person's life, God judges the person based on the person's deeds. If the overall balance of good deeds exceeds the balance of bad deeds, then the person is sent to eternal heaven; otherwise, the person is sent to eternal hell. It means that these monotheistic religions are merit-based, similar to the case of students in school or college. The performance of the students throughout the year, and especially in the final exam, is evaluated, and based on it, they are either granted the degree or denied.]

Swami replied:- The first quality is love with mercy, whereas the second quality is intelligence with justice. God is possessing love, mercy, intelligence and the talent of protecting justice and punishing injustice. You cannot isolate God completely to one side and criticize the other side. There are no two Gods where the first God has the first couple of qualities and the second God has the second couple of qualities. There is only one God having both couples of qualities. In such a case, the talent of balancing all the four qualities based on the context is required even if the case is a human being. A human being may err in balancing such situations, but, the omnipotent and omniscient God has the unimaginable talent to balance both couples of qualities depending on the merits and defects of each individual case. If love has no analysis, it is criticized as blind love and you cannot say that God’s love is blind. At the same time, sharp analysis is present as the underlying current to make His love shine brightly with logical knowledge. Both love and analysis co-exist like night-darkness and daylight in the twilight. Due to this reason, the twilight becomes sacred to worship God. You can’t take a group of souls (wives) as a homogeneous block and apply a homogeneous policy from God. Each soul differs from the other soul and this heterogeneity brings heterogeneous policy from God. In such a case, one couple of qualities has to be mixed with the other couple of qualities, resulting in various new proportions, each suiting each individual soul. You should also not say that the second couple of qualities alone is perfect because love and mercy have to be shown to some deserving cases. Deservingness makes the second couple of qualities become alive and correlate with the first couple of qualities.