Born in Denpasar, young Komang led a happy life. Being raised on the island of Bali, Komang lived in paradise every single day. He would give thanks for all he had in the traditional manner; by praying to God. First, he took a shower, as cleansing is of the utmost importance before praying. Then, wearing his whitest of white clothes, he set out to cover the bench outside with a white cloth. On it he placed a small pile of uncooked rice. On that he placed a Sudarshan Yantra which was a copper-plated tile with geometric designs. He placed a white mat in front of the bench and sat down facing east. He looked at the center of the yantra and visualized himself in there, protected from all evil. He offered up some flowers and incense while he said this prayer:
“I bow before the God Vishnu,
Who is personification of peace,
Who sleeps on his folded arms,
Who has a lotus on his belly,
Who is the God of gods,
Who is the basis of earth,
Who is similar to the sky,
Who is of the color of the cloud,
Who has beautiful limbs,
Who is the consort of Lakshmi,
Who has lotus-like eyes,
Who is seen by saints through thought,
Who kills all worries and fears,
And who is the lord of all the worlds.”
You see, Komang grew up in Bali which is 83.5% Hindu. Though there are many gods within Hinduism, Vishnu was the one Komang would pray to. Vishnu is part of the Hindu trinity which also includes Brahma and Shiva. Komang never knew any other way to pray or any other gods to pray to. He had no need to know. He had no desire to know. He already knew the truth and therefore anything else was a lie.
Just over 700 miles to the west, in Jakarta, another young person by the name of Berkah was also setting out to pray. He also showered and put on his cleanest clothes. He placed his mat down on the floor and turned to face mecca. He raised his hands up to his ears and said “Allāhu akbar” which means “God is great.” Then, with his right hand over his left at chest level, he said:
Bismillaahir Rahmaanir Raheem
Alhamdu lillaahi Rabbil ‘aalameen
Iyyaaka na’budu wa lyyaaka nasta’een
Siraatal-lazeena an’amta ‘alaihim
Ghayril-maghdoobi ‘alaihim wa lad-daaalleen
This translates to:
“In the name of Allah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful. All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds. The Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful, Sovereign of the Day of Recompense. It is You we worship and You we ask for help. Guide us to the straight path-The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked Your anger or of those who are astray.”
He then bent at a 90 degree angle and said “Allahu Akbar” again. He stood there focused on the ground and said, “Subhanna Rabbiyal Adheem” three times which means “Glorious is my Lord the most great.” He stood up, and as he did with his arms by his side he said, “Samiallah Huliman Hamidah” which means “Allah hears those who praise Him.” Then he offered up “Rabana Walakal Hamd” which means “Our Lord, all praise is for you.” Now he said “Allahu Akbar“ and he lay himself prostrate with both his forehead and nose touching the floor. While prostrate, he said “Subhanna Rabbiyal A’laa“ three times which means “ Glorious is my Lord, the most High.” He rose to his knees, with his left foot “ball to heel” on the floor while the right was “toes-only” touching the floor. With his hands flat on his knees, he uttered ” Allaahumma-ghfir lee warhamnee wajburnee, warfa’nee, wa ‘aafinee war’zuqnee” which means “O Allah, forgive me, have mercy on me, strengthen me, raise me in status, pardon me and grant me provision.” He went back to the prostrate position and said “Subhanna Rabbiyal A’laa” three more times. He said “Allahu Akbar” once more and stood up. This was only part one of his three part prayer. And this prayer ritual was just one of his five that he does every day.
Berkah lived in the Islamic part of Indonesia. Though only hundreds of miles from Bali where Komang lived, which was predominantly Hindu, the rest of Indonesia was mostly Muslim with some 87% of the population being members.
Just under 10,000 miles to the west of where Berkah was in Jakarta, a man named James was sitting in a pew in Albany, New York. The music had just died down. All the people of the congregation sat down and all the talking stopped. The pastor, looking out into the crowd said,” Will you all bow your heads? Now close your eyes. Good…
Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen.”
Everyone opened their eyes, lifted their heads and looked ahead. The pastor then called for two of his
right hand men deacons to grab their collection plates and makes their rounds. Once wallets and purses were lightened and the guilt of those who gave was lessened, the pastor delivered his sermon. After his speech was done, the faithful ate the dry old cracker body of Christ and drank some nasty wine the blood of Jesus. This was communion (the Lord’s Supper) and its purpose was to celebrate the sacrifice Jesus made when he died for us and to cleanse us of our sins. James ate his cracker, drank his wine and bowed his head again in prayer.
These are three examples of different religions and different prayer rituals from three different parts of the world. They are vastly different, yet all have one thing in common: They are all right…at least in the minds of the believers. The Hindu believes he is right and he is following the true god. The Muslim also thinks that and so does James, the Christian. They are all right, yet they are all worshiping different gods in different ways. How is this possible? How did each of them come to believe they found the one (though sometimes in trinitarian form) true god?
The religion you are raised in is mostly due to where you were born. If you are born in a predominantly Christian country, you will most likely be raised to be a Christian. The same goes for Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, etc…Where you are born determines who you will bow down to. But no matter who you are or where you were born, everyone is convinced they were fortunate enough to be born into the true religion of the true god. Pretty impressive, don’t you think? How convenient.
I don’t know all there is to know about all religions. I have done some research but mostly know about Christianity. It’s the religion I was raised in and the one I started to raise my own family in. I do know that according to that religion no one reaches the father (God) except through his son, Jesus. That’s according to John 14:16. So if you were not so lucky, unlike me, then you will not be going to Heaven. Your location has separated you from the true god and has replaced him with a false one…or two or three.
Missionaries have tried to spread the gospel to these places, as well as to places who have no religion at all. They are convinced that if they don’t speak for God, these poor people will spend eternity in Hell. I have a few questions. Is geography more powerful than God? Is the distance between continents and countries too great for God? Can he not reach the people who don’t believe in him? Does this misfortune of people being born in the wrong place punch their ticket to Hell? The people who never hear of Jesus, what is to become of them? Is it their fault their parents misinformed them? Could God not correct their errors and give them proper coordinates?
According to Christians, all other religions are false. Christians represent just over 2 billion people. The world population is getting closer and closer to 8 billion. It’s roughly 7.7 billion as of the date of this post. That means nearly 3/4 of the population of earth disagrees with this “one true religion.” That is a very bad look for the “one true god.” Whose fault is it that just over 25% follow Jesus and the other 70+% do not? If all of the people of the world lived in the same place at the same time, would that make the world a Christian planet?
Look, if God is everywhere all of the time, and he is all-powerful, the map of the world should not be an obstacle to his master plan. Being born in India, Pakistan, Iceland, Australia or the United States should not make one bit of difference. Anywhere on earth is “down here” and God is “up there” looking down. We should all be visible, reachable, approachable and worthy…IF God is real and IF he loves us. Well, the numbers are in. We all disagree and no one is correcting us. What does that tell us about God?