Are all Religions Equally True?

It is often claimed that since the Bible states that Christ is the only means of access to God, or that salvation only comes in Jesus’ name that Christians are narrow-minded and bigoted, and is often used as arguments to limit the civil rights of Christians (for example, in several political discussions, it was argued that Christians should be excluded from government appointments on these grounds). The Bible’s claim on this is clear (John 14:6, Acts 14:12, etc). It is also important to remember that this is not a new issue, one of the major problems that the Roman officials had with Christianity was their refusal to worship the Emperor, or to recognize the various other divinities of the ancient world – there is truly no new thing under the sun.  Today, this is considered proof that Christians are narrow-minded, bigoted, and should be excluded from polite society.

Problem with Leftist analysis

The belief that all religions are equally true is called “religious pluralism.”  Contrary to popular belief, Christians do not hold to the belief that Christianity is the only way to approach God because of narrow-mindedness, we hold this on the grounds of simple logic. This is perhaps why we are growing out of step with our society. At the same time as modern American society grows out of step with America’s Christian roots, we have also become a pseudo-intellectual society (and yes, I believe these two are related; Scripture warns us of those who think themselves wise, but become fools).  Logic begins with a simple premise known as the law of non-contradiction.  Technically, it states: “a statement cannot be both true and false, at the same time in the same way,” or as it is often stated, “A cannot be not A.”  We understand this, of course – a car can’t be red, and not red at the same time.   Christianity claims that Christ is God – this is a statement that can be true or false, it can’t be both.  If Jesus is God, then Islam, which states that Jesus cannot be God, has a major problem.

The theological left, and other groups get around this problem by two separate, but coexisting approaches. The first is the “comparison of religions” approach, trying to demonstrate that all religions are basically the same.  Thus, we find that most religions frown on murder, have certain comparable rules on when war is just, recognize some degree of property rights, and teach the need to care for those who cannot care for themselves – in other words, the analysis is ultimately shallow, and the similarities are largely limited to moral practices. However, whenever you dig deeper into religions you begin to see the real differences  – Christians believe that man is basically evil, humanists and Budhists do not; Christians accept the Trinity as a part of God’s nature, Islam does not. These issues are closer the heart of what a religion really is, and the core of religious beliefs the points of commonality between religions are typically secondary issues to religious belief.  Therefore, the comparative approach sounds compelling to someone who doesn’t dig any deeper than the surface.

The second approach is the “two tiered universe approach,” as has been commonly cited by theistic philosophers, eastern religions (particularly hinduism), modern new agers, those who believe in a “consensual reality” or those who claim to be “skeptics.” This approach sounds complicated, but the basic way of understanding it is to say that the rules of logic don’t apply to God or spiritual beings. Thus, if it is necessary for logic to describe reality, it is not necessary for logic to be true of God. The basis for this belief, that logic doesn’t describe God, is based on the idea that God cannot be understood objectively, or that truth in these matters is not propositional. This sounds like an insurmountable difference of opinion, except, we have the rules of logic on our side, specifically the law of non-contradiction listed above. The steps are simple:

  1. Those who believe that all religions are true, often claim that the nature of God cannot be understood objectively and that religious truth is not propositional.
  1. The statement “God cannot be known objectively or propositionally” is an objective, propositional statement about the nature of God.
  1. They have therefore contradicted themselves when they state God’s nature cannot be understood objectively, or propositionally.
  1. By contradicting themselves, they have demonstrated that it is impossible to practice their belief.

The real question, then, is not whether Christians are mean tempered or bigoted, but what is the ultimate nature of reality, we believe that reality can only be correctly understood through the Christian faith, as such our only “bigotry” is the audacity to attempt to be consistent with our principles.

Beginning at the beginning: The rational basis for Christianity

This is the first of three messages to kick off truth in the Trenches dealing with the basic defense of the Christian worldview in a world antithetical to faith.  I hope you enjoy it, and more importantly that it strengthens your faith in our Lord Jesus.