I have been on Plurk for about a month now and have seen several threads regarding religion and God. I didn't feel I could give justice to the responses for the threads at 140 characters at a time so I'm writing this post to express my beliefs.
First, I believe that the relationship one has with God is personal. However, that doesn't mean that He hasn't set up a way for us to return to him. I believe that there is only one way back to him. I don't believe that there are many roads to get there. Why would a loving Father in Heaven confuse his children about the way to return home?
I want to try and show this by an example. I have five children. Now lets say that I take each of them out to a remote geographic point a certain distance from my house. When I drop them off I give them instructions that they are to return home. However I don't provide the path that will lead them there, I leave that to them. From a father's standpoint I want them home yet I don't give them the way back? It doesn't make sense.
Example two, I take my children out to another spot that has several paths on it. Eventually the paths will lead home. I tell them that they have a certain amount of time to return home before the doors are closed. I also tell them that it doesn't matter which path they take to get home because they are all going to get there eventually. Of course they may not make it back within the time frame I have given them and if they are late they won't get in. Does that make sense as a father? Again no.
What would a loving father do in these examples? A good father would tell his children which path leads directly home and also that the path is safe. It is still up to the children to choose that path. If they choose a wrong path the likelihood of returning home diminishes and could eventually lead them somewhere not safe.
I believe that a loving Father in Heaven who wants us to return home would not abandon us to our own devices. I believe that there is only one path that leads back to him. I believe that we have that path here on earth and that we can find it. I also believe in a merciful God that won't allow us to not return to him if we did not get a chance to find the path leading home. I believe that every opportunity will be given to a person to hear his message and choose to walk the path leading to God.
The Bible states that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. Jesus organized God's Church when he walked this earth. That Church exists again today. I believe that those who want to find it will. I believe that God still talks to Prophets today (see Amos 3:7) and that he continues to guide his children along the path that leads to Him.
That said, I do not believe that this has to be forced upon everyone. I believe that everyone has a right to worship in their own way. I also believe that we should respect others beliefs and allow them to share them without criticizing them. I may not agree with what you believe, but I will listen to you explain it and hope that you would do the same for me.
I know God lives. I know He is a caring Father in Heaven. Religion is not just an "opiate for the masses" but rather God's true religion teaches us how to return to him and live with him forever.