I don't want to be a religion-basher. I recognize that religion plays an important role in many people's lives and serves a genuine human need. But, to be perfectly frank, I get a little queasy about Christianity some times. (I get a little queasy about Islam too, but I know so little about it that I can't discuss it intelligently.)
There are two main facets to Christianity. The first has to do with how we live our lives here on earth (love thy neighbor, turn the other cheek, etc.) I have no quarrel with that. It's the second aspect that makes me nervous, the one having to do with what happens after you die.
The problem is that a strict reading of Christian doctrine says that anyone who has not accepted Jesus as their personal savior is damned for all eternity. It says so right there in John 14:6. "No man cometh unto the father but by me." (Funny that none of the other Gospel writers thought to include this little tidbit, but who am I to second-guess the inspired Word of God?)
Let's try to put this eternity thing in persepctive. Let's say a person lives to be 100. That's 36525 days (more or less -- it depends on exactly where the leap years fall), 876,600 hours, 52,596,000 minutes, or somewhere in the neighborhood of three billion seconds. Most people would agree that next to the span of an entire human lifetime, a single second is pretty insignificant.
And yet a second is an infinitely greater portion of a human lifetime than a human lifetime is a portion of eternity. Eternity is a dreadfully long time. A lifetime (or any finite amount of time for that matter) is a mere blip by comparison, all but imperceptable against the vastness of the infinite. All of the human suffering that has been endured since the beginning of time is nothing compared to the anguish of even a single soul that dies without having accepted Christ.
Against the prospect of eternal damnation, nothing else matters.
I think very few Christians have really come to grips with this and what it implies. If you accept John 14:6, then unless you are a truly cold-hearted son of a bitch you must dedicate your life to converting as many people as you possibly can by whatever means necessary. You cannot allow doubts about Jesus to be voiced for fear that they will lead someone to lose their faith. The consequences of that are immeasurably worse than a thousand holocausts, a million Stalinesque purges, billions upon billions of 9/11s.
John 14:6 leaves no room for doubt of any kind. In fact, it leaves no room for anything but an absolute dedication of your time here on earth to cementing your relationship with Christ, and getting as many of your fellow humans as possible to do likewise.
I think this is the reason that we're seeing discontent about people saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry Christmas". If "happy holidays" causes people to think that it's somehow acceptable not to believe in Jesus, that's a truly terrible thing. In fact, if it causes anyone to doubt that Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Light and no man comes to the Father but through Him, then merely uttering the phrase is in fact a heinous crime, vastly worse than murder.
Viewed in this light, the current grumbling is actually a pretty restrained response.
The Right Answer, I think, is to recognize that it's possible that whoever wrote John just might have embellished the truth a bit. After all, none of the other Gospels mention this quip, and you'd think that they would considering how important it would be if it were true. Remember, if John 14:6 is true, nothing else matters. But this requires the capacity for humility and doubt, something that seems in short supply among many self-professed Christians noawadays.