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Don Stewart :: Don't All Religions Ultimately Teach the Same Thing?

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Don Stewart

People often ask the question about common features in all religions. They seem to all be saying the same thing in different ways. Doesn't this mean they all eventually lead to the same place?

They Have Many Things In Common

Yes, most religions have things in common. They all attempt to meet a deeply felt need of all human beings to worship something and to experience ultimate reality. Many have similar codes of ethics. It is generally believed that such things as murder and stealing are wrong and loving is right. Therefore there is some common ground between all faiths.

When this is established people often make the mistake of assuming that they are all the same. However, they are not.

All Religions Are Not Ultimately Saying The Same Thing

Is it possible that all major religions (Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, etc.) are ultimately saying the same thing? If this is the case, then why make such a big deal out of Christianity?

Often we hear it asked in this manner, "Why make such a big issue about Jesus Christ and Christianity? All religions ultimately teach the same thing. Was not Jesus basically saying the same thing as Buddha, Confucius, Mohammed, and the other founders of great religions? They all teach that God is love, we are to love our fellow man, and that we should give of ourselves for others, do they not? If this is the case, then why single out Christianity for special attention?"

They Are Contradictory To Each Other

The answer is simple: the Muslims, Buddhists, Christians and other religious groups cannot all be experiencing the same God because the way they define God contradicts each other. For example, Buddhism believes in an impersonal God - they do not separate God from creation, they are one-in-the same. However Christianity believes and teaches that God is personal - He is not the same essence as His creation but has a separate existence from it. There are many such examples of major differences between the various religions.

They Cannot All Be True At The Same Time

Since the various religions teach different and contradictory things about the nature of God, and how a person can get to know Him, they cannot all be true at the same time. They can all be wrong, but they cannot all be true. It is impossible for God to be personal and impersonal at the same time. Hence, to say that all religions are ultimately the same shows a lack of understanding of these religions and what they are teaching.

Remember: The main question that needs to be addressed concerning the various religions is not, "Do they contain some truth?" The real issue is, "Can they save?" It is the Christian faith alone that is able to save humanity.

Summary

Although religions have many things in common, all religions do not ultimately teach the same thing. They teach different things about the nature of God, if He can be known, and what He expects from humanity. They cannot all be true at the same time. They can all be wrong, but it is impossible for all of them to be true. The key question is not, "Do religions teach some truth?" Almost all of them teach things that are true. The real question is, "Can they save lost humanity?" Only the Christian faith can do this.

CONTENT DISCLAIMER:

The Blue Letter Bible ministry and the BLB Institute hold to the historical, conservative Christian faith, which includes a firm belief in the inerrancy of Scripture. Since the text and audio content provided by BLB represent a range of evangelical traditions, all of the ideas and principles conveyed in the resource materials are not necessarily affirmed, in total, by this ministry.