When I was growing up Christian, I was taught that I was so lucky! Those poor souls in Africa, who’d never heard of Jesus, were doomed.
Some Muslims claim that all children are born into a state of Islam –submission to Allah. Parents then infuse other religions into them. When they grow up and discover their real religion –Islam –they “revert” to the original state. This is why some converts call themselves reverts.
To the extent that all of us had no control over our births, and little more control over our deaths, we are indeed born into a state of submission.
What would happen if a child were to be brought up without any system of religious thought? I don’t mean atheism– that has its own peculiarities. What if a parent were to teach a child that God (Allah, G-d, Yahweh, Buddha, etc.) is up there, and that, “Surely, we are from God, and to God we shall return.”?
What if the family lived in a multi-cultural, free society where each resident practiced a different religion and all residents acknowledged the paths of all others as legitimate?
This question used to engage me because every person in my family practices a different religion– that’s six of them! How can I believe that only one of them will enter Heaven (ME! Me! me?), and the others are doomed? I prefer to think that Allah sits above it all, and that He permits various religions because he permits various approaches to Him, and that all systems have flaws as well as profound wisdom.
I know, I know, the Qur’an says that no religion other than Islam will be accepted, but Christianity says the same thing. Are the two equal? Hardly! Just ask a Muslim– then ask a Christian. Sometimes I wish I could become indifferent to religion. Someday I might develop that capability, but for now I still ponder the nature of divine reality, and I wonder whether we’ll all get to Heaven in the end and say to each other, “Oh! Now I understand!”