Do All Religions Point to the Same God? (The Big Question 56)
Jun 11, 2020 610
It’s a common thing to say that all religions are all the same: they’re just different ways of pointing to the same god.
And there are some common analogies that are used to illustrate this.
One analogy is of four blind men who encounter an elephant for the very first time. One grabs the its trunk and concludes that the elephant is like a snake. The other feels a leg and concludes that the elephant is like a tree. The third blind man stumbles into the elephant’s side, and says that it’s like a wall. And the fourth blind man finds the elephant’s tail and announces that the elephant is like a rope. They’re all describing the same thing, but experiencing it in very different ways.
So, the moral of the story, according to some, is that this is like the different religions of the world. They’re all describing the same thing in different ways. Accordingly, no one religion is better than any other and they should all be viewed as basically equally valid.
But in the analogy of the blind men and the elephant, the fact is that their opinions are all wrong. Because the elephant is in fact an elephant, not a snake, a tree, a wall or a rope. In matters of fact, there is right and there is wrong. If God does in fact exist, you can’t say that he is whatever your opinion of God might be.
The other issue is that it’s pretty easy to say that all religions are all the same if you don’t understand what the various religions believe. Some religions believe that there is only one God, while others believe in many Gods. Some religions believe that Jesus was God, while others don’t. Some religions believe in reincarnation, while others believe in life after death in other ways. Some religions teach that you have to be good to be saved, while others teach that your good works don’t count for salvation. See what I mean. It’s not possible for all religions to be basically the same, because, well, basically, they’re not. It’s just a matter of fact.
But what if a fifth man who could actually see, comes onto the scene of the four blind men and the elephant? Wouldn’t he be able to accurately tell the blind men what an elephant is?
Well, the way I see it, we are the four blind men, and Jesus Christ, uniquely among all the religious leaders of history, claimed to be the “fifth man,” the definitive revelation of God. That’s a unique teaching of Christianity.
Jesus said that he came to show humanity what God is like and the way to God. Jesus taught, not that there are many ways to salvation, but only one, and that it’s only through him. So now, I don’t think I’m so blind any more.