Category Archives: Truth

Case-Making 101: Religious Pluralism – Can That Be True?

Pluralism:

Truth vs. tolerance

Less than a hundred years ago the majority of Americans would never have argued about the truth claims of Christianity and its guiding compass of morality in our nation. But today, with a presidential proclamation that we are no longer a Christian nation, we find ourselves left with the politically correct acceptance of religious pluralism.

Watch this short clip by the One Minute Apologist:

 Don’t all religions ultimately lead to truth?

Survey says today

57% of Evangelical Christians say yes

54% of Conservative Protestant teens say yes

Why?

Our culture teaches it

“I remember when I was 10 years old, I asked my mother, ‘If there’s only one God, why are there so many religions?’ I’ve been pondering that question ever since, and the conclusion I’ve come to is that all religions are true.”  -George Lucas

“I am a Christian who believes that there are certainly many more paths to God other than Christianity.”  -Oprah Winfrey

If you also answered yes to that question you would be supporting religious pluralism, or inclusivism, which at its surface sounds like an honorable thing to believe.

  • Religious pluralism promotes tolerance of all religious beliefs as if they are all equally true.
  • Religious pluralism is a popular belief in our “politically correct” culture today, we don’t want to offend anyone.

But is it true?

Truth, by definition, logically shows that…

  • Religious beliefs are contradictory—they teach opposite ideas
  • Mutually exclusive, or contradictory beliefs, cannot be true at the same time

Different religions do not agree on the most fundamental, foundational and salvational questions about God and life.

The concept of religious pluralism cannot be supported because of the following:

1.  The world’s major religions are fundamentally different, and these differences are logically irreconcilable on vital questions such as:

  • What is my origin?
  • Who is god?
  • Who is Jesus?
  • What is sin?
  • What is my purpose?
  • What constitutes salvation?
  • Where do we go after we die?

2.  The world’s religions are foundationally different:

  • Each has a different historical beginning.
  • Each has a different, or many different holy books.
  • Each one looks to a founder or leader who taught very differently about this life and the afterlife, none of whom claimed to be the Son of God, except one.
  • Each leader’s essential views are in opposition and contradictory at best.

3.  The world’s religions are savationally different, teaching very different pathways about very different eternal destinations:

  • Heaven/hell (Christianity and Judaism)
  • Paradise/eternal damnation (Islam)
  • Brahman (Hinduism)
  • Nirvana (Buddhism)
  • The Bridge (Zoroastrianism)
  • Jiva/Ajiva (Jainism)

Attempts to reduce all religions to a common meaning are futile based on their core beliefs.

 

If you answered no, “all religions do not ultimately lead to truth” then you are probably characterized as intolerant or exclusive.

  • Religions that claim to have exclusive truth and that make exclusive claims about life (and death) are considered to be intolerant and not “politically correct.”
  • However, what logically follows from that thinking would be that everyone who holds a particular belief, even religious pluralism, are claiming to hold exclusive truth about their belief. Only their belief is the right and true belief, correct? NONSENSE!

Watch this twelve minute clip by Tim Barnett of Stand to Reason Ministries:

 

ergun-caner

Ergun Caner, Professor of Christian Apologetics and former Muslim, said: “I did not switch teams when I became a Christian, I came to know the one true and living God and not a false dead god that is taught in Islam. Now I don’t have to strap a bomb to myself in order to be assured of Paradise.”

The difference is clear:

Only Christianity offers…

  1. Intimacy (I am a child of God, I can have a relationship with Jesus)
  2. A Savior (Jesus died for me and my sins)
  3. Grace (forgiveness with a gift, not just mercy)
  4. Acceptance (we can come just as we are, we don’t have to do anything first)
  5. A God who would die for us (not a god that we have to die for)

 

In last week’s post we looked at the importance of truth and how to determine truth objectively. If you look closely at each of the major world religions and what they teach, we can evidentially eliminate those that do not fit the correspondence theory of truth, in other words, we can put the claims of each up against a reality test.

The evidence for the truth of Christianity and the God of the Bible is overwhelming. Evidence is available not only from within the Bible, like prophecy fulfillment and miracles, but evidential support can be found in masses about the Bible like its historical accuracy that is consistently confirmed, positive textual criticism of tens of thousands of early manuscripts, archeological support, accurate transmission of the Biblical text over time, and an abundance of primary eyewitness testimony.

As Christians we need to be equipped to breakdown the strongholds in the culture by answering their questions.

Some common arguments against Christianity’s exclusive claims:

(from Jonathan Morrow’s “Impact 360”)

1.  “People in other religions are so sincere”

  • There are devout sincere people of many faiths, but people can be devoutly and sincerely wrong.
  • Sincerity is not a test for truth.
  • Sincere faith in an improperly packed parachute won’t matter we must be diligent in our preparation for eternity.

2.  “Christians are arrogant for claiming Jesus is the only way.”

  • Arrogance is not a test for truth, the question should be: Is it true; is what I believe true?
  • Arrogance is a description of an individual, not whether or not they have the truth.
  • Truth is discovered, and Christians are claiming to have investigated and discovered the truth by looking at the evidence.

3.  “Exclusive religious claims have lead to war, violence and oppression.”

  • There have been more wars in history over politics, ethnicity and power than there have been over religion.
  • True Christians do not lay claim to people in history that used Christianity for their own purposes.
  • Religion is not the fundamental problem, people are—something is deeply wrong with the human heart and that is the root of all of the wars and oppression in history, and Christianity has the best answer for the solution to that problem.
When you closely examine the life and teachings of Jesus and His followers you will see the true essence of Christianity emerge.  -Jonathan Morrow, Biola University Professor

Watch Ravi Zacharias’ nine minute presentation on this topic:


Does the Bible teach that Jesus is the only way to God?

YES!

  • Jesus is the only one who came to solve the problem of human suffering and sin, and only he brought hope for the future.
  • Jesus is the only one who claimed to be the Son of God and proved it through his ministry, miracles and resurrection.
  • Jesus is the only one who fulfilled all of the prophecies given hundreds of years before his time.
  • Jesus is the only one who brought not just mercy (forgiveness of debt), but grace (a gift of eternal life).
  • Jesus is the only one who said it is done so that we do not have to do anything to earn salvation and entrance into Heaven.

Why is Jesus the only way? Because Jesus is only one who solved the problem of sin. This is the core issue: How do we deal with sin? Other religions don’t give the right answer. None of the leaders of any other religions-Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, any of them-died for your sins. They had sins of their own to pay for. Death is evidence of our sin. After all these years, with all our technology, the death rate is still 100%. But Jesus defeated death by rising from the dead. Death couldn’t hold Him in the grave. –Greg Koukl

Jesus said: “I am the door; if anyone enters through me, he will be saved, and go in and out and find pasture.”  -John 10:9

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  –John 14:6

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

“For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus” 1 Timothy 2:5

 The Bible is clear!

WHOSE HOUSE DO YOU WANT TO SPEND ETERNITY IN? 

One of the most important passages in the Bible is John chapter 14. Please read and study it, ponder what Jesus is really saying because if he is telling the truth then the most important decision you can ever make in your life rests on believing in him.

For further reading I highly recommend “Why is Jesus the Only Way?” by Greg Koukl and the Stand to Reason staff at str.org

Join us next week as we continue to make a case for Christianity!

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You will not find this material in the public school curriculum even though it is based on solid evidence and grounded in research. It is ironic that following the evidence to where it leads stops at the door of our public schools as they will not let a “Divine footprint” in!  Join us as we examine evidence for Christianity and learn how to become a thoughtful defender and ambassador of your faith.

Click into the resource page of this website to view many of the top Christian thinkers and apologists along with some of their work; connecting to these types of resources is essential in your Christian growth.

Please let me know what you think: Give feedback, ask questions or send concerns in the comment section of the blog.

Teri Dugan

TeriDugan@truthfaithandreason.com

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