All Religions Teach the Same Thing.

Have you ever heard someone say, “All religions teach the same thing”?

I know I have.  Here is a response that I find helpful.  It comes in a few different segments.  First, it is good to validate the argument, you know, show that you understand where the person is coming from and that you can relate to why he or she might feel this way.  Don’t validate the argument, unless you will provide the appropriate rebuttal.  Here you can spoon feed the correct answer to the person, or you can ask a bunch of questions that lead the person the fault in professing that all religions have the same doctrines.  It’s good to know a few Scripture verses to support what you are saying from God’s Word and it’s always the goal to present the Gospel in any apologetic endeavor.

Symbol of the major religions of the world: Ju...

Symbol of the major religions of the world: Judaism, Christianity, Taoism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Validation:

I think many religions agree on certain points, such as there is life after death, or that there is some sort of higher power or entity in the universe, and most religions have similar moral laws, so I can see where people can come to this conclusion.  I think the real reason people come to this conclusion is because they don’t want to exclude anyone from having the best existence possible after this life.  We don’t want to say anyone is wrong and we want to avoid drawing lines of division which lead to segregation, elitism, and at times hate and violence.

Answer:

It might be possible to squeeze the world’s religions into teaching the same thing on secondary, or superficial, levels, but on the primary, or fundamental, doctrines, they contradict each other.  For instance, Christians believe that Jesus is God and the Savior of the world, where as Muslims believe that Jesus is just a prophet who should not be worshiped, and Jews, at least conservative Jews, would say that Jesus was a false prophet.  These are just the views of three religions concerning one person in history!  Clearly, they don’t all teach the same thing and they can’t all be true due to their contradictory teachings.

Socratic Method:

“How do they all teach the same thing?”

“On what doctrine do they all agree?”

“Do they all teach the same thing concerning the afterlife?”

“Do they all agree on what mankind’s ultimate problem is and how that problem can be overcome?”

“Do they all agree on who, or what, God is?  Do they all even believe in an eternal, transcendent God?”

“How do Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism teach the same thing?”

Scripture:

1 Timothy 4:1 – “The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.”

Acts 4:12 – “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name [Jesus] under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

Back to the Gospel:

Let’s look at what Christianity teaches concerning the way of salvation.  Romans 4:4-5 says, “Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness.”  In Christianity, salvation is free for men.  God steps into redeem and rescue mankind through the work of Jesus Christ.  None of us can save ourselves by our own work, or merit, because we are all sinful people who do evil.  In all other religions, people must work to earn a good afterlife.  In Hinduism, a person must practice yoga and have good karma.  In Buddhism, a person must follow the eight-fold path.  In Islam, a person must excel in the five pillars of the Islamic faith.  In Judaism, Jews have rejected Jesus their Messiah and have chosen to justify themselves through observance of the Law.  All religions do not teach the same thing.  In Christianity, salvation is free.  In all other religions, salvation, if they call it salvation is not free and must be earned through personal works.

7 thoughts on “All Religions Teach the Same Thing.

  1. Pingback: There’s no way of knowing God! | Andy Wrasman

  2. I agree that all religions don’t teach the same thing. However I know a number of people who do believe this, and I think that rather than not knowing or ignoring the differences I think that they have a different overall outlook. Whereas you say:

    It might be possible to squeeze the world’s religions into teaching the same thing on secondary, or superficial, levels, but on the primary, or fundamental, doctrines, they contradict each other.

    They would say that the primary and fundamental message of religion is “treat others with kindness, the way you would like to be treated”, and “love and respect God”. Even here there are difficulties, for example Islam clearly teaches that apostates should be killed and followers of other religions subdued and live as second class citizens or die – hardly treating everyone the way you would like to be treated. Also Buddhism and Jainism are atheistic. However the “core” universalists will usually say that there is a “true Islam” which does teach equality and that Buddhism and Jainism do teach people to love God through finding God within yourself and others – even if Buddhists and Jains don’t know it’s God.

    Of course this extreme position when firmly believed is difficult to argue against; if a religion can be “right” in some “true version” that is not reflected in the teachings of its scriptures or the practices of the followers, and others be “right at heart” even though believing something wrong it is impossible to say that anything is wrong! The best you can get from them is an admission that the Qur’an, Hadith, and beliefs of most Muslims is wrong …. but they will usually qualify with “that doesn’t reflect on True Islam”!

    I suggest that when you encounter a univesalist you ask them what they consider the core, primary, and fundamental teachings of a religion. Then you will see that the gulf between you is not just “knowing the doctrine or scriptures” but the whole outlook on religion.

  3. I was just curious where you writing from because I have spoken to numerous universalits/unitarians/religious pluralists in America and most if not many of them really don’t know the teachings of the world’s religions and they do claim as you say that the main teachings of the religions are to “treat others with kindness, the way you would like to be treated”, and “love and respect God”. When I share the differences (actually contradictions) it’s news for most of them. You even pointed out the flaw in their claim “love and respect God,” because they don’t all agree upon which God and they don’t all even have a Creator God. Even that shows that they are blatantly disregarding the teachings of the world’s religions if they actually have studied them, even marginally.

    If they are still so adamant to hold to the position that you describe, I’d ask them how they are doing in the “love and respect” category? Have they ever hated someone? Have they ever stolen anything? Have they ever cursed at someone? Have they ever lusted after someone? Have they ever lied? Have they really loved God with all their heart, soul, and mind? Have they really loved their neighbor as themselves? They have fallen short of not only the code of all the religions, but even their own code! They need a Savior, and I would share Jesus Christ with him or her, the only man who was perfect and who died as a substitution sacrifice for the sins of the world. I’d invite them to repent and receive Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

    Or I’d simply say, “OK. They all teach love is the primary doctrine, now let’s look at the secondary doctrines, the one’s that address who God is, what the afterlife is like, what mankind’s ultimate problem is, and how that problem is overcome? They all contradict each other and they can’t all be true.” Then I’d share Jesus with them and give arguments from history that he is fully God and man and their savior.

    If they want to proclaim as you say that all the religions we have now are not the true versions and that somehow none of us can properly interpret the sacred texts of the world’s religions, I’d ask them, “So how do you know you have it right? On what grounds can you say that I am wrong, and you are right? And how do you know for sure that your version is correct?”

    What do you think about the positions you have shared, Tandava? Do you agree with them? What religion do you adhere to? How do you respond to such universalist’s claims as you have shared?

  4. I am a Hindu, there is no imperative for me to convert anyone. A guru in my lineage once said “Offer your religion like sweets on a plate, so those who want can take and those who don’t can pass on”. If someone expresses the view that all religions are the same, just “love and respect God” and “show kindness to others” I would tell them that doing that is definitely good – and I would encourage them to continue, but I would point out the differences between religions and explain that Saivite Hinduism aims to know God, as well as love and respect God.

    If their religion entailed anything that was harmful to others or themselves, and did not encourage treating all as God’s beings then I would tell them that I believed that to be negative. That’s as far as I would go unless the person either wanted to find out about my religion or wanted a discussion or debate.

  5. Pingback: All Religions Teach the Same Thing. | radicalrecovery101

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