Do Rastafarians believe that Jesus is the way to God in the same way that Christians believe? I find that their singing speaks a lot about God and spiritual matters.
First of all, I think it's necessary to point out that Christianity is not defined by being a "lot about God and other spiritual matters". Most world religions could include this. You could just as easily be Muslim and sing a lot about a god and spiritual matters.
Even more specifically than that, a group may have a set of beliefs that draw on many common themes from Christianity without being Christian. Such is the case with the Rastafari Movement. It is a philosophy and loosely organized way of life that includes some common themes and often reuses terms and phrases found in Christianity, but at it's core is a completely separate set of beliefs.
To directly answer your question, no Rastafarians do not believe that Jesus is the way to God in the same way that the majority of Christians (of any major tradition) do. In fact they believe the Christian scriptures have been corrupted. Being a loosely organized set of beliefs it is important to note that you might run into a few people who do believe in Jesus and claim to be Rastafarian. However the normative Rastafari beliefs are quite different.
They do not hold the same beliefs about sin, the reasons for our separation from God or the only solution to that problem. They are usually willing to credit Jesus with being a good moral teacher and admire his rebel tendencies, but they completely miss the main point of who he was: God in the flesh and the only incarnate Messiah.
That last bit is important, because they typically do believe in a "christ" or "messiah", but they believe he had another name, took a body at another time, etc. See Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, to whom Rastafarians attribute many of the things found in Christian scriptures rather than to Jesus Christ.
Confusingly, you might even hear "trinity" nomenclature being used by Rastafarians, but be aware that they mean something completely different by this than Christians:
Rastafari doctrines concerning the Trinity include stressing the significance of the name "Haile Selassie," meaning power of the Trinity, might of the Trinity, powerful trinity in Ge'ez or also Haile Selassie I (qedamawi Haile Selassie) meaning the (first power of the Trinity) name given to Ras Tafari upon his baptism and later assumed as part of his regnal name at his November 2, 1930 coronation by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, then known as just the Ethiopian Tewahedo Church. (Wikipedia)
As a Rasta, I feel led to point out some things. First of all, to answer the question, some Rastas recognize Yeshua (Jesus) as their lord and savior, and see Selassie I as one who continues the work of Christ, through the line of David.
Revelations references Yeshua telling His people of a man that God would send to Earth to continue His work. Rastas believe that man to be Haile Selassie I. Some Rastas see Selassie as God, some as Christ incarnate, and some simply as a prophet who continued God's work on Earth.
Rastafari should not be compared to Christianity, Islam, or Judaism, b/c Rastafari is a livity, not an organized religion, and there are Rastas who follow these faiths. Christianity in the West is not pure Christianity, but Chaldean Christianity. This form of Christianity was taken from it's original home in East Africa and "remade" to serve political purposes of the Roman empire, and later Western European societies. It is very political, and very far from the teachings of Christ.
Rastas denounce Chaldean principles, and advocate consciousness and righteous living, through love, respect, and unity of God's people. I personally feel that some Rastas are lost and confused about what righteous living means, but then, I feel the same way about many who call themselves "Christian", "Jewish", or "Muslim" too.
I Have been a Rasta for over 20 yrs and will try to explain our beliefs.
It is correct to say all Rasta's do not believe the samething, but as said which way of life does. Rastafari began in the 1930's with the first Rasta, Leonard Howell preaching of Haile Selassie as the returned Christ. It was not until the 1960's that Rasta's began to separate into different branches or mantions and different beliefs.
So to the question do all Rasta's belief in jesus Christ. Short answer. Some do and some do not.
Some rasta mainly the Bobo ashanti do not accept jesus christ or the trinity of the bible. Bobo accept their leader Charles Edwards as the Black christ who showed them their way of life, marcus garvey the prophet who prophecied of Haile Selassie and Haile Selassie who the declare as the almighty.
The Nyabinghi and twelve Tribe accept Haile Selassie as The christ return or the second coming. I am of this way of thought. We were taught that christ is the son of God or the mighty God, christ was called the lamb (isaiah ch 58. But after his crucifixion, resurrection and ascension to heaven he was now called the conquering Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev ch.5). One of Haile Selassie titles. Acts ch.2 v. 29-32 says God promised King David the second King of Israel that he would raise up Christ according to the flesh to sit on Davids Throne. The lamb did not do this. To rasta's this prophecy was about the second coming and to rastas Haile Selassie fulfilled this.
So we see Selassie and Christ as the same God manifesting at different time for different reasons. Though not all Rasta's believe the same. This is the view held by the founders and those who are well read and live the way of life.
However I must point out though we accept Christ no Rasta accepts the word Jesus. Jesus is a greek name. Christ real name is Yashua it was changed to jesus when christianity got to Greece. Rasta's ask the Question if the angel told Mary to name her son Yashua, by this name all men will be saved, Why would you change his name.
Selassie said himself that he was not christ and selassie him self was christian. if you want to know rastas opinions about selassie check out the peter tosh album: I am that I am. there he talks about jesusu in one of the interviews. listen if you are interested.
My point here was that i know that many Rastas belive different things about Jesus and christianity, but if you are a true Rastafari then you must listen to Selassie and he was indeed christian check it out: http://www.rastafarispeaks.com/cgi-bin/forum/archive1/config.pl?md=read;id=47396
What an awesome answer Ras!! I struggle everyday to make of what I know to be true. I came to the Lord many years ago (19) and grew in the knowledge and faith of Jesus Christ knowing and feeling something was still missing. Rasta Livity is the true way and it can be different for everyone but I truly believe with my whole heart that it is a blessed manifestation by God, the Most High, to show us in Modern Babylon how we are meant to live. If you know the Bible, His-tory, and have discernment, you will know that we are living in the exact same situation as in Babylon and for us who have had our culture and identity stripped from us, this path has given us all of that which was taken from us...you dont have to have locks and profess "Jah Rastafari" as Lord and Savior like modern Christians do about Jesus...its deeper than that. Jah is the name of God in the original King James Version that was somehow removed, and it is the only name of God that is used solely by Rastas. The meaning of the name Ras Tafari has much symbolism and deeply rooted in ancient Christianity and for those of us "followers of the Way" seeking the pure, narrow way or "pure" Christianity, all we have is Ethiopia to look at, for many reasons. THe livity is the Life we are here to live and live abundantly.
Some might, although these some do not strictly follow Rastafarian writing alone. Many Rastafarians who claim that Jesus is the only way to heaven imply this belief from other situations in their lives. This belief, in particular, does not come from being a Rastafarian... although it does not contradict it - if that makes any sense.