Don't All Religions Lead to the Same Path?
Nearly every human being is trying to find four basic truths about themselves:
Origin - Where did I come from?
Meaning - Why am I here?
Morality - How should I live?
Destiny - Where am I headed?
In an attempt to find these four basic truths, we’ve made conclusions about religions, ideologies and beliefs. One consistent believe in the U.S. is that all religions do lead to the same path. The U.S. has the concept of freedom embedded in it from the beginning, and this conclusion allows people to practice whatever they want with out having to deal with the real consequences of disagreement.
The truth is, how we answer the question “Do all religions lead to the same path?” Will determine how well we understand our origin, meaning, morality and destiny. As an exercise, let’s read an analogy and then interact with it in our discussion:
Several blind men fall into a pit. An elephant happens to be in that pit, so the blind men begin to argue about what they’ve discovered. Grabbing the tusk, one says, “It’s like a spear.” Grabbing the tail, another says, “No, it’s like a rope.” Feeling the elephant’s side, still another says, “It’s like a wall.” And the last takes hold of an ear, claiming, “It’s like a fan.” The point is clear. We’re the blind men groping in the dark, and God is the elephant. We’ve got to stop being so narrow-minded and dogmatic and open up our minds a little bit. No one has a clear view of God.
We see three issues with this analogy. Two are philosophical and one is theological.
The Omniscience Issue
The answer to this analogy is often something like: We don't have the full picture, only part. We are all grasping the same God. The trouble with “All perspectives lead to the same path” is that the person telling that story has what they claim no one else can have: perspective. The person telling the story can see the pit, the elephant and that everyone is blind. They have the grand perspective and everyone else needs to see what they see.
2) The Logical Issue
A short study into any of the world’s major religions will tell us that these religions have fundamental differences. For instance, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” The word “believes” is an exclusive truth claim. We must believe in Jesus to be saved. No other religion makes that claim. So, who is right? Is Christianity right or wrong?
Other differences between religions include:
Jews, Christian and Muslims believe different versions of the theistic God, while most Hindus and New Agers believe that everything exists is part of an impersonal force they call God.
2) Many Hindus believe that evil is a complete illusion, while Christians, Muslims and Jewish people believe evil is real.
3) Christians believe people are saved by Grace (you don't earn salvation), while other religions, if they teach salvation, teach a works based righteousness, meaning your actions and behaviors get you into heaven… and the definitions of good and heaven varies greatly.
4) Satanists believe the human instinct is what should govern all that we do and are. Christianity and Judaism teach the human instinct is morally corrupt and cannot be good without God.
3) The Jesus Issue
God himself disagrees that all religions lead to the same path (Isaiah 45:21). But he isn’t doing this to be mean, he disagrees out of love. Jesus says that he is the way and the truth, and no one comes to the Father but by him (John 14:6). He doesn’t say this because he doesn’t like those who don’t agree with him. He does it out of love. He says he knows the truth and he wants other people to know that his path leads to life. We tell the truth to people we love, and sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is to tell them the truth and disagree.
Jesus can provide truth to the four things we seek: Origin, Meaning, Reality and Destiny. If we seek to find these four truth’s we must make an honest assessment of whether all religions can truly lead to the same direction.
Why do you think all humans seek truth in the four areas of Origin, Meaning, Reality and Destiny?
2. Consider our elephant analogy. What works about the analogy? What doesn’t work? Do you agree with it’s conclusions? Why or why not?
3. Why do you think it’s common for people to say all religions lead to the same path?
4. How does John 3:16 rule out the possibility that all religions lead to the same path from the Christian perspective?
5. Is it narrow minded to say a specific religion or worldview is the truth? Why or why not? Why can this be hard to accept at times?
6. Why do people find the message of Jesus as the only way difficult to believe? Why is Jesus’ story true to you?
7. If the Story of Jesus is true, what should change about your life today?