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.

It’s the Prince of Peace, Man!

I went to http://www.peacemonger.com.  It’s the website that spearheads the “Co-exist” bumper sticker and t-shirt campaign.  If you visit their site you will see that they sell numerous stickers that advocate for Hinduism or “religious pluralism.”  When they have “Jesus” stickers they are usually condescending, or simply cut-off any aspects of the Gospel narratives that pertain to Jesus being divine, a miracle worker, the Savior of the World, and a harsh judge (which he did quite a lot).

I bought a sticker from their site that says, “It’s the Prince of Peace.”  It has an image of Jesus flashing a “peace sign.”  What exactly does this mean?  Was Jesus a hippie who dropped acid and listened to Hebrew jam bands (I know a stereotype of the 60s counter-culture, so I am committing the same error that this sticker is, but I am trying to figure out what the sticker means.)?  In the context of “Co-exist” and other pluralistic messages from Peace Monger, I think the sticker is trying to say that Jesus is the Prince of Peace, so he wouldn’t be judging other religions as right or wrong, he’d just be loving, accepting, and tolerant of everyone.  Notice what I just did, I moved tolerance and acceptance into a realm of making no judgment calls on what is true and what is not true, which leads to one of two routes, everything is true or everything is false.

Anyways, here’s a video I shot addressing this sticker’s message (whatever it actually is).  I thought it’d be best to start by sharing where the title for Prince of Peace in relationship to Jesus originates and how Jesus was and is the Prince of Peace from a Christian Biblical worldview.

Note: the video is completely ad-lib.  I went in knowing I would share Isaiah 9 and Matthew 10:34-36.  We shot this like 5-6 times and every time different points and verses were shared and none of the shots had a strong conclusion and usually ended awkwardly.  This was one of the better versions, although there is another one that I really like that I might be able to edit to have a conclusion. That’s why this video ends a little sudden without a strong finish…

I’d love to hear feedback and I hope this is helpful to you.

Significant Discoveries from Studying Other Religions #3

I gave a test to students on an overview of what religions are, Hinduism, and Buddhism, and for many of them it was the first time they had studied a religion other than Christianity.  I asked a question at the end of the test for extra points: “Explain the most significant piece of religious information that you’ve learned so far this semester from this class and how it has impacted you.”  Here was one response:

I learned so much from these chapters, since I am from Asia where Buddhism is a great influence.  I always wanted to learn about this religion.  However, I never knew that they don’t have God and that their teachings have mostly to do with one’s self.  This was kind of shocking to me because I have believed in God my entire life and couldn’t imagine how a religion could exist without believing in God.  Also, the eight characteristics common with religions helped me to define religion easily.  I actually had an opportunity to talk to a friend in Life Group who is Buddhist.  She said her family is not vegetarian and goes to the temple only for special events.  Talking with a friend of another religion was fun because now I know some key terms from their teachings.  However, I knew more about the Buddha’s words than her.  I learned that knowing other religions’ teachings makes it easier to evangelize people.