Is there any difference between the religions?

Is there any difference between the religions?

With so many other faiths around the world, what makes Christians think they are right and all other religions wrong?

It may sound like arrogance, but that’s not the reason Christians believe they have the truth. And one thing is certain: not all religions can be true, because their basic beliefs contradict each other. If a witness in a court of law stood up and gave a completely different account of events to someone else, it would be up to the jury to decide who was telling the truth. In religion it’s just the same, but woolly thinkers too often get away with claiming that all religions are the same.

Hindu scholar Professor Zaehner correctly states, “To maintain that all religions are paths leading to the same goal, as is frequently done today, is to maintain something that is not true.

“The basic principles of Eastern and Western religions are simply not starting from the same premise.”


Today, our Western world is a multi-religious society and so it is popular to say, “We should be tolerant of all religions.”

We certainly should be tolerant of other people’s beliefs – Jesus never forced anyone to follow him. But that does not make other religions right. For the Christian there is an underlying bedrock motivation to go into the entire world and preach the Christian gospel as the only answer to man’s eternal needs – because that’s exactly what Jesus commanded us to do.

A simple definition of religion is ‘humanity’s attempt to relate to the power behind the world in which we live’. On that definition, most religions, superficially, look the same. They all develop an organisation and professional priests or clergy; they all put up religious buildings – whether temples, shrines, churches or mosques; they all have certain ceremonies of worship; they all mark significant times in life – such as birth, marriage and death.


But very basic differences between religions do exist, and to see that we need to ask two more questions. Firstly, “What exactly is the power behind the universe?” Some religions, like Buddhism, say it’s a kind of ‘life force’. Others say there are all kinds of different ‘spirit’ beings in trees and rivers or mountains. Still other religions say that there is a single person or supreme being. They cannot all be right.

The second question is, “How do you get related to this power behind the universe?” Again there are such diverse answers that they cannot all be right. For some, spiritual enlightenment is achieved physically, through severe self-discipline.

For others, it’s through study and learning. Still others emphasise that you need a mystical experience, even induced by drugs.

So which religion is true? There are only four possible answers. First, none is right and religion is just a crutch for the weak. Second, all are right and it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you are sincere – but we have seen how unrealistic that is. Third, they all have part of the truth, some more than others, and we need to decide for ourselves which bits of each we feel are right.


But the fourth and only choice for the Bible-believing Christian is that only Christianity is true and other religions are either imitations or false. There can be no doubt that this was the attitude of Jesus Christ to the other religions he was surrounded by. Jesus himself said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

The Christian faith is both exclusive and inclusive! Exclusive, in that the Bible says, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” Peter, one of Jesus’ twelve closest followers, said, “Salvation is found in no one else.” And inclusive because the Bible clearly states that only Christianity reveals the way that every one of us can get into a living, eternal relationship with the one creator God of the universe.

This is not to say that other religions do not do good things to help mankind, but the fundamental truth about forgiveness and salvation is found only in the Christian Bible.

This message is exclusive to Christianity, but the offer of friendship with God is also totally inclusive – it’s open to all the world, to as many who will put their faith in Jesus Christ.

From iBelieve Magazine issue 76.


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