Why all Religions Cannot Be True
It is really nice to believe that all religions are true. At the University of Texas back in 1982, a friendly person was "helping" others. You could give him all your money, and he would give you a white robe and instruction, and you could walk around like Jesus. -such a deal! The most amazing thing was not that he tried to pull off this scam, but that supposedly intelligent university students believed him. Are you very gullible? On the other extreme, do you mask an inability to tell what is genuine by a pervasive cynicism?
How to Test for the Truth
How can you tell what is likely to be true and what is likely hogwash? Here is a way.
1. Does the religion claim to follow the highest, most-powerful God? Strangely enough, many religions only claim to follow a lesser god.
2. What is the historical evidence, if any, for the truth or falsehood of that religion? Were any prophecies made? Did they come true? Were any miracles done? etc.
3. Is the religion logically consistent? Do the teachings and all its scripture fit together? Are there teachings its adherents are embarrassed, unwilling, or universally plead ignorance in talking about?
4. Is the religion morally consistent? Whatever its moral statements, is it consistent, or did its prophet say one thing and do another? If its prophet today did the things he did before, would you look up to him or want to put him in jail? If you had a son or daughter that really loved the God you worshipped, would you be happy or warn them not to take this too seriously.
5. Every religion has its fellow-travelers, hypocrites, and scoundrels. Nevertheless, what is the character, and how selfish are the people who are sincerely believing and trying to follow their religion?
The ABC's of Universalism
It seems common today that people who have not studied world religions believe they all can be true. Now if you want to follow God, then you question the assumption that all religions can be true. Mark any of the following statements you disagree with.
Animist - Nearly every tree and rock has a spirit to fear and appease with offerings.
Buddhism - Life is suffering.
Cargo Cult - (New Guinea) March in formation like the gods (really WWII soldiers) did, so they will return with their gifts of cargo.
Daoism (later) - There are many spirits to be worshipped.
Epicurean philosophy - Life is great. Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.
Family of Love (Children of God) be a sexual prostitute for Jesus.
Greek - Worship Zeus, who raped Europa and others. There is Hades but no heaven.
Hashashins (small Muslim sect) - Get stoned on hashish before assassinating people.
Islam - The Trinity is false, and Jesus Christ is not the Son of God
Jainism - It is spiritual to starve to death.
Khonds (of India) - It is good to slowly torture people to death.
Lubavitchers - (of America) The promised Messiah may have come, and his name is Rabbi Menachem Schneerson of New York.
Mayan (and Aztec too) Ripping people's hearts out while alive is pleasing to the gods.
New Thought Movement - A receptive mind can cure every illness. Sickness is not reality.
Oneida Community - (of America) All adults are "married" to all others in the community.
Papua New Guinea - As a sign of reverence, eat the brains of your dead relatives.
Quraysh (pre-Mohammed) - worship a moon god idol named Allah.
Roman (later) - You must worship the Roman Emperor or die.
Shakerism (of America) - All sexual relations are forbidden.
Thuggees - (of India) In January one worships God by strangling unsuspecting men.
Unitarian Universalists - You may join with any religious belief whatsoever. (except that there is only one way through Jesus.)
Vikings - The only way to go to heaven (Valhalla) is to die violently.
Witchcraft (early) - There are many things you must do to avoid the evil eye.
Yamamato (Indians) - One of the highest virtues is treachery.
Zoroastrianism - There is only one true God, and worship of others should be forcibly suppressed.
If you marked out any statement, then some religions must have falsehood in them.
What About Major Religions?
OK, OK, so all religions are not the same. But all major world religions are the same.
Are the major world religions, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, etc. all from God? If you stopped and asked ten people for directions to get somewhere, and they gave as different answers as these religions give about going to heaven, you would have to conclude at least nine of them were lying or did not know what they were saying.
OK, OK, so major world religions differ on minor matters such as immorality and murder of others. But they all agree on the major points.
If you try to be a good person and nice to everybody, then everything will turn out for the best.
That is not the major point of all world religions. It is not of Islam (read what Mohammed himself said) That is not the message of Krishna's speech to Arjuna. That is not the major point of Therevada Buddhism. That is a caricature of the Bible.
OK, OK, but some religions and "liberal Christianity" teach this: that if you try to be nice to everybody, then everything will turn out for the best.
Let me answer that with an illustration. You can set your own rules for who is invited into your home. For example, only nice people, nobody who beats up your kids, no cholera carriers, no rattlesnakes, etc. are invited to come in. You might be forced to take off your muddy shoes before coming into my home. In a similar way God can set His own rules for who is invited into His home, heaven. People who do not want to live with God forever do not need to worry about being forced to go to heaven. People who want to go to God's heaven on their terms, without taking off the muddy shoes of their sins, and being unwilling to go through the totally transforming process of being rid of their sinful nature cannot enter God's heaven. However they are free to go off and do their own thing - in a different place. However, all love, goodness, and happiness ultimately come from God, the "wild preserve" God has set apart for those who would not submit to God is called Hell.
The Illogic of Universalism
Some statements are self-contradictory, like "Everyone is telling the truth, but Joe says I am not telling the truth." What about this statement, "All religions are true, but Christianity says other religions are false."
The Bible says of Jesus in Acts 4:12, "Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved." Now either this statement is true or it is not. If it is correct, then other religions cannot be the way to God. If Jesus was wrong, then people have been deceived by Jesus for 2,000 years.
1 John 5:12 says, "He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life." The early Christians did not think Jesus was just a good way, but roughly 40,000 died as martyrs rather than worship a Roman Emperor as a god.
Major religions contradict each other on who God is, man's condition, how to be clear/enlightened / one/escape, and other things. Any who honestly study different religions cannot say they are all the same.
How Does God Forgive Your Sin?
Heb 9:22 says, "In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness." Just prior to that, Heb 9:14-15 says, "How much more, then will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of the new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant."
This is a core teaching of Christ. You will search in vain the Buddhist, Islamic, or Hindu scriptures for this, because this truth is not within them. Many in other religions say Jesus was a true teacher from God. Jesus said, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me." in John 14:6.
So accept Jesus' way to be forgiven for your sins. Please pray this prayer. "God I know you are a mighty and just judge, yet you are full of love. I come before you helpless and hopeless without you. I want to be your child. Please clean me, forgive me, teach me, even discipline me when needed, and transform me. I give my life over to you right now. Take it, as dirty and imperfect as it is, and as you promised in your Word, the Bible, give me a new life in Christ, who by His blood shed on the cross paid the price for my sins. In the name of the One and only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen." Christian Debater(tm)www.BibleQuery.org.
Do All Religions Lead to the Same Place?
A previous tract discussed why all religions cannot be true. Even though there is error in different religions, is there enough truth in all religions that sincere people who follow any religion will all go to the same place?
Patterns in World Religions
There are patterns in some world religions. For example, Latin American Voodoo, and certain offshoots of Buddhism and Daoism specialize in cursing people. There are liberal offshoots of Christianity, Buddhism, and even Islam that stress loving others above all else. Aztecs, Mayans, Canaanites, and Thuggees practiced human sacrifice. One common thread that does exist within all these religions is that sincere people are trying to reach either God or the spirit world.
Christians say that Biblical Christianity is a unique pattern of God reaching down to people. Christianity is a unique pattern in that Jesus came to die for our sins and that Jesus is the only way.
But Everybody Does not Want to Go to the Same Place!
Satanists and others in the occult do not want to go to God. They want to follow Satan or various demons, so right from the start we can see they do not want to go to the same place. It is fair to assume that people who consciously do not want to go to God will not be forced to live in bliss with God. But what about others?
There are conflicting patterns on what afterlife is like. The first pattern is a sensual one. Vikings thought that those who died in battle would go to Valhalla, where they got all the drink they desired. The Qur'an 61:30-40 says that good Muslims after death have perfect, chastely amorous, of-age companion virgins to attend to them on their couches. Lest there be any lack of clarity here, in the Hadith 6:402 "...Allah's Apostle said, 'In Paradise there is a pavilioin made of a single hollow pearl sixty miles wide, in each corner there are wives who will not see those in the other corners; and the believers will visit and enjoy them.'" The founder and first prophet of Mormonisn, Joseph Smith, taught that good Mormon men will have a large number of wives to bear him billions of spirit babies.
The second pattern is very different from a celestial booze and sex pattern. The pattern of most (but not all) Hinduism and Buddhism is an escape from life. Nirvana is said not to be like anything we know. There is no sensation, no hunger, no pain, no hate, no foolishness, but also no pleasure, no love, no knowledge. One might think it would be boring to an individual, but Buddhism and Hinduism teach that individuality is consumed, like sparks merging with a cosmic flame. Nirvana does not correspond directly with either a Biblical Heaven or a Biblical Hell, but with no love, no individual value, and flame, it does have a few similarities to the Christian Hell.
A third pattern is found most clearly in Confucianism. Its position is that we cannot know what afterlife is about, so do not think about it too much.
A fourth pattern is best represented in the movie "Heaven Can Wait." Each person, after death boarded a plane to the kind of afterlife they believed in and wanted. Of course if everyone has a slightly different speculation about heaven, does God have to create a separate heaven for everyone?
Are You Trying to Go to Your Own Heaven or God's?
I am sure you have seen other people have an inflated view of their own importance. I suggest that everyone, myself included, may have at one time or another an inflated view of their own importance. Heaven is not everybody's home. God made His heaven so that those He chose could dwell with Him forever. If you want to try to go to your own heaven, fine. --and good luck. But if you want to dwell in God's heaven with God, you have to get there His way, not your way. --make sense?
The Bridge Off the Island
Imagine you are looking at the intersection of two streets on a small island. You can probably take any street and eventually end up on any desired destination on the island. Most religions are like that. As long as you want to travel on the island, it does not matter which road you take. You can drive around the island to the right, to the left, or down the middle. The roads will cross eventually. However, if you get off the island and on the mainland of God's Kingdom, before the hurricane comes, you must take the one long bridge. Saying this is not narrow-mindedness, but geography on the map. Saying there is only one way to God is not narrow-minded opinions by us, but the truth taught by Jesus.
You Wanna Buy a Bridge?
An old tale tells of a con-man who shows new immigrants to America the Brooklyn bridge. With all the cars going over it, the con-man offers to sell the bridge, which he does not own, to the immigrant so the immigrant can make money collecting tolls. Sometimes people want to trust in an imaginary bridge, or a bridge they plan to build themselves. The truth about salvation is that you cannot "buy" anything. You can freely cross the narrow bridge of the cross of Jesus, or you can stay on the island.
Don't You Want Everyone to Go to Heaven?
Some could get the impression that Christians do not want everyone to go to heaven. That is not true of Christians or of God. Ezekiel 18:32 God says, "For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign LORD. Repent and live!" Yes, we would like everyone to "choose life" and live eternally joyfully serving God. However wanting something does not make it so. It is childish to think that what you want is always the way it is.
Since God is Almighty, All-knowing, and loving, at least to the extent of not desiring the death of any, then how come He "failed" to succeed in having everyone go to heaven? God being Almighty means that God can do, control, or restrain anything, --including Himself.
God values our life, but above that He values us and our ability to choose. For whatever reasons, God chose to give us the ability and responsibility to chose whether to follow Him or not. God wishes us to follow Him, but for whatever reason, God chooses not to take away our choice to serve Him.
Some have said, "it doesn't sound like much free will if God gives us a choice, but says we will burn in Hell if you choose the wrong way." God gave us a choice, but He did not give us an escape from the consequences of our choice.
To sum things up, truth is not created by our feeling about what we would prefer; -fantasy is. The Bible teaches that God set up one way, through a relationship with Himself, to go to His heaven. C.S. Lewis said in The Great Divorce, "Never fear, there are only two kinds of people: people who say to God, 'Thy will be done', and the other kind, whom God says to them, 'thy will be done'." People can accept God's way and go where the others who accept God's way go. People can reject God's way and go to the same place as the others who reject God's way.
The Distinctives of This Bridge
Here is Christianity stripped to its essentials: 1. There is and will forever be only One Triune God. He is Almighty, Holy, and just. He has wrath, but He also loves us more than we can imagine. He created us to share our lives with Him, and He shares His life with us. He made us not just to call Him Father, but also "Abba" or "Daddy."
2. Mankind was originally separated from God by sin. People continue to separate themselves from God everyday by sinning against God's Holy laws. God judges fairly, equally, and without partiality toward any.
3. Because of His great love for us, the Father sent Jesus to die for our sins, as an freely given atoning sacrifice for us. His blood, shed at the cross paid the penalty for our sins. Our Lord physically rose from the dead, demonstrating the eternal life He gives to all who truly call upon His name.
4. We must repent and believe in Him. Repentance does not mean cleaning up our life before coming to the cleanser. Rather it is a complete change of heart and a consecration. It is a determination to depend on Christ to take control of our life to make us holy and pure vessels for God's Spirit.
Do All Religions Lead to the Same Place? All religions of man lead to the same place. The island of this world may seem like a tropical paradise to you, or it may seem like a sun-baked desert. Either way, the storm of your death is approaching. Please, get off your small island, and get on the mainland of God's kingdom. Cross this narrow bridge by sincerely believing and praying this prayer.
"God, I acknowledge my sinfulness and callousness toward you and others. I further acknowledge that I am unable to purify myself to be worthy to enter your kingdom. I accept your free gift of salvation, not based on my worthiness, but based on Jesus' the perfect sacrifice, dying on the cross for my sin and bodily rising from the dead to bring new life. I accept your way God, of getting of the island of living my own life. I give my life, today and forever, to serve you as my Lord and Savior. Amen."
For more info please contact Christian Debater™ P.O. Box 144441 Austin, TX 78714 www.BibleQuery.org
by Steven M. Morrison, PhD.