“People Only Believe What Their Culture Tells Them About Religion.” Wanna Bet?

Have you seen those memes on social media about the one true religion? They usually go something like this: “Out of the thousands of religions that exist, the only one you were exposed to as a child is the only ‘true’ religion? What an amazing coincidence!”

Reality check. All over the world, people are abandoning their ‘true religion’ for Jesus Christ. In India, in the last 15 years, 50 million people have come to faith in Jesus Christ. In China, under unrelenting persecution, the Chinese church has grown over 100 times. Christians in China now outnumber communist party members by more than eighty-to-one. Of the ten fastest growing churches in the world, six of them are in the Muslim world (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Yemen, and Bahrain). In Iran, the house church movement there is 1 million groups strong and growing. In Mongolia, the establishment of new church groups exceeds the building of new Buddhist temples by nearly two-to-one. 

While it is some truth to the notion that people tend to believe what they have been taught within their own culture, the fact is, when people gain free and open access to other cultures, other philosophies, and other ways of thinking, they often, very often, reevaluate their original belief system. As just one example, consider what is happening in the Muslim world.

Since the advent of ISIS, millions of people have been displaced from their homes and communities in Iraq and Syria. For the first time many Muslims from these regions are rethinking their faith in Islam. Mind you, they’re not rethinking the ISIS brand of Islam, or the Al Qaeda brand of Islam, or the Muslim Brotherhood brand of Islam, or their own particular brand of Islam (like Sunni or Shia). They are rethinking Islam totally. And more people are coming to faith in Christ in the Middle East than ever before in history. Why? Because their refugee status gives them access to people from other areas of the world they might have never met before. And many of those people bring with them the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, demonstrated by the sacrifices and practical expressions of meeting their needs.

Since the advent of the Internet and increased access to Christian media, Muslims and many more are turning to Christ by the hundreds of thousands, even the millions. Since 2004, 140 million people worldwide have come to faith in Christ through Global Media Outreach. In the last 20 years the availability of Christian media in the Muslim world has exploded. As a result, more than 1,500 people a day respond to media about Jesus, wanting to know more. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is crossing borders, lines of culture, and transcending every barrier it touches in some way whether large or small.

These facts, and many others, lead us to an important conclusion about the idea that people only believe in what their culture tells them. This idea is a fallacy. As long as there is exposure to other ideas, people will seriously entertain embracing Jesus Christ if he is brought to them in a loving way, explaining the true history and facts of the Gospel message.

Perhaps the news might have you distracted. Perhaps things on the nightly news look too bleak and dark, like the world around us is dying with no hope in sight. But believe me when I say, it is not true. Don’t be distracted. The plain truth, the fact of the matter is this: we are living in a time of global awakening about Jesus! That can’t be said for any other religion on earth, even about Islam. Since we live in such a time, let’s not screw it up. Let us take and press every advantage that we have so that we can fulfill the Great Commission Jesus gave us to “Make disciples of all nations.” If the tunnel looks dark it’s because you are in a tunnel. But when you come out you will come out into the glorious light of the day where one fact remains, the light of Jesus Christ is shining everywhere!

It’s true, there is only one true religion. But it’s not a system or philosophy or set of rituals. It is coming to know Jesus Christ personally. And regardless of what people have been taught by their culture, people all over the world are listening to the Gospel now more than ever before.

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