20
Sep

Is There One True Religion?

imagesMost Christian apologists will eventually face this question: “What makes the Christian religion the true religion?” As one person writing to PleaseConvinceMe put it:

 “Every other religious person outside of Christianity believes with their heart and soul that their religion is the correct one. Why is yours the truth and what makes every other religion wrong?”

 This is a challenging question. On its face, it has some intuitive appeal. It makes the holder of such a view seem a bit arrogant – only he “has it right” – or perhaps a bit close-minded. That’s what is implied in the logic, if we take a moment to tease it out. What is really being said is that because many religions are wrong, but are followed by devout believers, then all religions – including Christianity – must also be wrong. “Devoutness” does not equal truth.

 The first response, then, is to point out that Christianity does not claim that the devotion of its adherents makes it true. There are many people who are intensely convinced of things that are false and others who hold loosely to beliefs that are true. What matters is not the emotional response of the believer, but the veracity of the underlying truth claims.

Take for example the use of antibiotics. If ten people have ten different remedies for a raging infection, and only one of them is the right antibiotic, then only one will survive the illness. It won’t matter which one “really, really” believes that his remedy will work, and the one who gets the antibiotics doesn’t need to be entirely convinced that they will work. It is the object that matters, that thing which is being relied upon by the person. Whether the existence of one, and only one, remedy is “fair” or not is unimportant; the issue is whether it is true – whether it corresponds to reality. There are countless other examples throughout nature. I can sincerely believe that aspirin and arsenic can both treat my headache, but only one will work, while the other will kill me. Put another way – religions are one of many things in which only one of the choices is correct and true, while the other competing ones are wrong. Not all choices fall in this category, of course. There are still many things that are simply preferences, like the flavor of ice cream. The trick is knowing which ones are which.

 Why does religion fall into the “only one can be right” category? Because Christianity makes truth claims that are in conflict with all other religions. In other words, while all religions (including Christianity) may be wrong, it is a logical necessity that all cannot be correct, since they conflict in significant ways. Jesus is either the Logos through whom the world and everything in was created, or he is not. He does not share credit with other deities. If his claims to divinity are false, then Christianity is false and should be abandoned. If, by contrast, his claims are true, then he alone is the way to salvation.

Reaching a proper conclusion about religion requires some study. What claims are being made and what evidence is there for the claims? Christianity stands up to such scrutiny, and has done so for two thousand years. The evidence that Jesus lived, died and rose again is substantial and well grounded. His message is preserved so that we know with confidence today what he preached then. There are numerous prophecies which predate his life that describe him and his life. And his message of universal brotherhood and God’s kingship still resonate with us today.

Making the case for Christianity is beyond the scope of a short post like this, but there are countless resources out there that make that case quite persuasively. The PleaseConvinceMe website is full of free articles and other materials which can make the case, and Jim’s book, “Cold Case Christianity” is another great starting point. Other excellent authors include William Lane Craig, Gary Habermas and, of course, CS Lewis.

Concluding that the evidence supports Christianity is not arrogant. It begins with following where the evidence leads.

Posted by Al Serrato

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2 Comments

  1. John Moore says:

    I wonder how many people grew up with no religion but took the time to study all the major religions and weigh the evidence for each – and then chose Christianity because the strength of its evidence outweighed all the others.

  2. A true religion should improve trust, a connect to God. An effective religious conviction command us in community to show care for toward each other and toward persons less fortunate, and mobilizes us to feed the hungry, dress poor people, make well the fallen and protect the surviving. Theology guides our feelings as religion guides our actions. Religion is inward while religion leads outward. Religion can be practiced alone, but religious conviction in society. Particularly spiritual techniques causes us to more understanding, religious conviction impels us to perform concrete acts of loving-kindness.

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