I really want to understand how modern pagans are seen as evil and how their religion is seen as evil; is everything that's not Christian evil? Is it not everyone's personal choice?
You ask some very good questions. First, you ask why modern pagans and their religion are seen as evil. I think what I would say here is that, from a biblical perspective, modern pagans are not necessarily any more (or less) evil than anyone else. The Bible tells us that "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). Thus, according to the Bible, all men and women are sinners. We have all thought, said and done things which are displeasing to God and contrary to His perfect moral standards. In this sense, we are all evil and in need of God's forgiveness and grace.
If, as the Bible teaches, Jesus really is the one and only way to God the Father (John 14:6), then all other religions are ultimately false. Of course, it's important to remember that this does NOT mean that everything they teach is false. For example, many non-Christian religions say that we shouldn't lie, steal, commit sexual immorality, or murder. Clearly, Christianity agrees with this and teaches the same thing. Further, Judaism, Unitarianism, and Islam teach that there is only one God. Again, Christianity certainly agrees with this.
In other words, other religions (including various pagan religions) may certainly teach some things that are true and good. But if Christianity is really true, and if Jesus really is the only way to God, then no other religion is ULTIMATELY true (in all that it teaches). In this sense, then, Christians would consider pagan religions "evil." That is, we would consider these religions evil because they are leading their adherents astray and away from the only true God and the Savior Jesus Christ. If Christianity is true, then these religions will ultimately hurt (not help) those who follow them.
Finally, many Christians believe that God has given people free-will. God will not force anyone to become a Christian against his/her will. He offers us salvation, forgiveness and eternal life as a free gift, but He will not force it on us. Thus, people do have a choice regarding what religion they will follow. But God will hold everyone accountable for their choices. And those who reject His gracious offer of forgiveness and salvation through faith in Christ will be held accountable for their sins and suffer the terrible fate of eternal separation from God in hell. Again, passages like Matthew 25:41-46 and Revelation 20:11-15 make this quite clear. This is why Christians believe it is so important to tell people about Jesus and their need for Him. If He really is the only way to God the Father, then it would be very unloving of us not to tell people about this. Most Christians simply want to see their friends, relatives, and co-workers in heaven. They don't want these people to be eternally separated from God, the Ultimate Source of every good and perfect gift.
I hope this helps. If you're interested in reading about the Christian plan of salvation, please visit Bible.org at http://www.bible.org/page.asp?page_id=276.
The Lord bless you,
© 2006 Probe Ministries
About the Author
Michael Gleghorn is a research associate with Probe Ministries. He earned a B.A. in psychology from Baylor University and a Th.M. in systematic theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. Before coming on staff with Probe, Michael taught history and theology at Christway Academy in Duncanville, Texas. Michael and his wife Hannah have two children. His personal website is michaelgleghorn.com.
What is Probe?
Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at www.probe.org.
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