There are two groups who think all religions are the same: the informed and the uninformed.
The informed have done a general study of the main religions and have concluded that they share the same central tenants or that God is too big to put in a box so he/she/it must be larger than any one religion.
The uninformed are those who don’t really bother to think about these things, but assume all religions are alike the same way one who lives in the desert assumes all fish are alike. And they sleep just fine at night under this illusion.
There are motivations, some genuine and some not, to all of the above, but at the end of the day and with so much on the line, it’s can’t be overstated that all religions are not the same. While generally I don’t like to use the word “religion” to describe what I have found in Jesus (the term “relationship” is much more appropriate and helpful), I’ll stick with it for the sake of this discussion. Here are some brief and immensely weighty reasons why all religions are not the same:
- Have you done wrong against God? Do you need to be forgiven and can you earn that forgiveness? These are huge questions that have actual answers. There is no way the answer to these questions can be “all answers are the same.” You either have or haven’t done wrong against God and He either is or isn’t going to forgive you. In addition, you will either be able to earn this forgiveness, or not, and if not, you’d better hope there’s a way for it to be bestowed upon you. The only religion where you are forgiven through what God did for you rather than what you can do for God is found in Jesus. Period. Jesus says you can’t measure up to God’s holy standard, so he did it for you. Other religions say you must measure up to God’s holy standard (good luck). These are not the same.
- Jesus either rose from the dead or he didn’t. If he did, his religion is true. If he didn’t, all the religions that say he didn’t (which is all of them) could potentially be true. The same goes with his claim to be God. He’s either God or he isn’t God, these two things are not the same. Don’t you find it ironic that no other religion says that Jesus rose from the dead or that he is God? Of course they don’t! If they did, they’d admit that Jesus is where true religion is found.
There are many more things that could be added to this list, but it’s been kept short intentionally. Please think hard about the above two bullet points. It’s okay if you don’t believe them, though if they turn out to be true you will sorely regret it. And goodness, why would you risk that? What are is the payout of that gamble if you end up being right? But at least make a decision. Don’t take the cop-out that all religions are the same. They can’t be.
And as C.S. Lewis so eloquently said in Mere Christianity, do not call Jesus a “good teacher” or a “prophet” as most world religions do:
If your kid’s math teacher was excellent at teaching algebra but also taught that they were God on earth, would you call this person a good teacher? Only if their claim was true! Otherwise you’d have them locked them. You can’t call Jesus a good teacher but reject his claim to be God.
Don’t deprive yourself of intellectual vigor by claiming that all religions are the same, but much more importantly, don’t deprive yourself of your eternity! There’s way too much on the line not to look into these claims.
Author of Beyond the Battle: A man's guide to his identity in Christ in an oversexualized world
Host of the The Flip Side Podcast
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