What about the Hindus and other religions that believe in a god that seems similar to ours but doesn’t have Jesus? How do we reach out to them and where do you feel they end up?
The key verse that we use to support the ‘exclusivity’ of Christianity is in John 14:6. To Thomas’ question, “How can we know the way?” Jesus replied, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” All other major world religions acknowledge and respect Jesus as a great moral teacher and/or prophet, but only Christianity lifts him up as the ONLY SON of the one true God and the ONLY MEDIATOR between God and man.
In Western culture these days, it seems bigoted or extremely biased to hold such claims. But, one of the foundational tenants of Christian doctrine is that Jesus is the one and only way to God. The belief that there are other ways to God is not truly Christian.
I have many good-hearted friends who are Buddhist, Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim. My hope is that God, in his mercy and grace, will consider their hearts at the final judgement. However, there is no evidence from scripture that they will be judged by any criteria except their willingness to confess and repent of their sins and embrace Jesus as their only Salvation.
I believe the best way to reach out to people of other faiths - including post-modern existentialists, agnostics, atheists, None, Wicca, New Age, etc. is by building genuine, caring friendships that exhibit compassion, understanding and empathy. A practice of ‘listen, listen, love, love’ will create an opportunity for you to share your life, your heart and your faith with those who are far from God. We should all be prepared to explain what it means to follow Jesus and how our faith impacts our lives. But, trying to argue or convince someone intellectually to consider Jesus has fewer positive results than ‘loving them toward Jesus.’
We don’t have to know much about world religions or religious diversity to begin the conversation. Just sincerely ask, “What is your faith background?” or “I don’t know much about ______. Tell me about your experience.” Eventually we will win the right to be heard and can have honest ‘heart conversations’ about culture, family, values and faith. Respect, curiosity, empathy, and discernment are all we need to build friendships, discover stories and listen for God’s direction in the relationship. He’ll do the rest.