“I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me” – Jesus

By Reeves

religion symbolsIntroduction

I wrote this essay for almost two years ago for my Swedish essay assignment, and I did get a good grade for this essay. This essay was originally written in Swedish.

I attempted to rewrite this in English version ( I have modified and added some arguments) hoping to have the same effective, but readable argument. Though I prayerfully hope that whoever read this in English will give the ready a clarity of my arguments for Christian exclusivism[1]. No I’m not a scholar nor a teacher. I’m just a student and still learning under the infinte knowledge and grace of my God, Lord Jesus Christ.

I wrote this particular essay as a reaction against the arguments for Religion Pluralism. Religion Pluralism (RP from now) teaches us that whatever religion one my adopt or adhere to, whether it be Hinduism or Islam, no one can hereby claim that an individual belief is more true than any competing beliefs because, “all religion are basically the same.” More over, RP if we understand them correctly also teaches that whether it be Judaism or Buddhism actually believes in the same God. All religious belief according to RP will eventually end up to one common God. But this is utterly nonsense and false as I will counter argue against this false idea later.

Though I do not have the aptitude to demolish altogether the RP objection against the objective, Christian exclusivistic argument for the Orthodox Christian faith, this does not however disqualify me to write any objections against RP. A person does not need to go through academic training in order to refutethe false and fallacious arguments mounted against Christian exclusivism or objectivism. Let us now continue with our study.

The Apparent Contradictions

To believe in something is not wrong just as long your belief is in accord with reality or which that corresponds to reality. Ludwig Feuerbach (1808-72)2 believed that religion is essential, and which I really agree. But, do we ever question our belief system? Whether you are an atheist, agnostic or theists we cannot and should not neglect to ask whether our current beliefs have any significant in our lives.

“Does it really matter what we believe just as long we believe in something?” “The meaning and reality of faith probably does not matter just as long we are faithful or sincere to whatever it is we happens to believe.” Or “Is there any truth in my current belief?” These questions must we ask if we really want to know if there is any truth in our faith.

Elementary Logic

I think the idea behind the statement, “That there really ain’t such thing as absolute truth,” is common philosophy in our media, newspapers, music, peers, and even in our own family dining room. Yet, the same people who argues for “no absolute truth” (relativists) argues in the same time in the same breath “for absolute truth!”

The statement that “Religion is relative,” is a statement about religion, so the statement is also relative that “religion is relative” and should be rejected as false. This is because the given statement is contradictory.

I did not mean to give you headache. No contradictory statements are true. For instance, Fredrik Reinfeld won the 2006 election, Fredrik Reinfeld did not won the 2006 election both are an statement but both cannot be correct in the same time in the same respect one of this statement is simply mistaken.

Before we continue let me first give you a brief introductory to the three law of though. First the Law of Non contradiction (namely, a cannot be non a at the same time in the same sense). No Hindus are Christians.

No H is C,

because C is non H

Therefore H is no C

LikewiseNo Christians are Muslims because Muslims are not Christian, therefore Muslims are not Christians.

No C are M,

because M are not C

therefore C are not M

This is simple logic in which I hope everybody understands. Let us continue with our logical studies. The second law of though is the Law of Excluded Middle-the either or argument. For example, either Jesus was the Christ or he wasn’t. There are no in-between. Either he is the Anointed one or Not the Anointed one.

Either Ann Sofi won the Chess Championship or she did not won the Chess Championship. To push this further, either God exist (Judaism, Christianity), or He does not exist (Atheism, Buddhism), there are no in-between explanation. Jesus as a master logician shows as the Law of Excluded Middle, “He that is not with me is against me;” (Matthew 12:30).

Now to our third law of though which is The Law of Identity. This law simply states that if a statement is true then it is true. Let me provide you with an example. God is God without the Law of Identity God would also be the Devil. These are the basic principles of logic. The RP breaks all these basic principles of logic. Let me yet give you one last example. The RP as I have explained above assumes that all religion (x) are the same (y), therefore all religion is one (z).

All x is y

therefore x and y is z

Taken RP’s conclusion Buddhism is the same as Islam therefore Islam is Buddhism! This is absurd. These above examples are what pluralists postulates. The same people who pride themselves as more logical turns out to be more illogical! The statement “It really doesn’t matter what you believe in just as long as you are sincere,” is ludicrous and horrible.

If this statement is followed by its conclusion then a sincere Nazi or Satanist is praiseworthy! An idea taken from our religious pluralist friend in which God’s applause (by one’s sincerity) of a child molester doesn’t really fit the idea of what we happen to know what’s good, and what’s evil.

This is meant to say that a theist have a belief system value such as the atheist, or a neo-Nazi in his idealism for white supremacy has the same values and equality to a Buddhist. In short all belief system are nothing but subjective thinking or idea according to a religious relativists.

But this is not the case, that all religion in its creeds, rituals, doctrines, and practice in which totally contradicts from each other are nonetheless true, and identical sounds insane, violates against human reasoning! Let me explain why this is irrational and absurd.

Truth per se is not dependent in our belief. Whatever constitutes our belief (believing in Santa Clause, unicorns etc..,) does not entail its truthfulness. For example, whether we believe that the mathematical equation 20+20= 40 or not remains true, but believing in unicorns is not.

I may sincerely believe with all my heart and mind that the weather in Stockholm will be warm through out winter, but, my sincerity of believing this does not validates reality. Again, I may believe with all my heart and mind that I bought a 56′ Chevy, and is parked in the garage does not guarantee that this is really the case. Because in reality tells me that I cannot afford such a classic car.

Inspiration maybe felt deep inside in our inner most being, but this inspiration should not be used as a “compass” to our path for religious objectivity. I maybe deep religious and sincere, but this still does not say anything about the truthfulness of my faith.

What I’m trying to say here that whatever faith there is it must correspond to what reality is. Does your faith corresponds to reality? I guess everybody or most of us have seen Michael J Fox’s Back to The Future series. I have seen all of them and I enjoyed and laughed to it.

gathering the best philosopher such us Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, Plato and a Buddhist thinker, hoping to compose a symposium on physics and astronomy.

If RP is true, an apparent nonsense would eventually be the ending of this symposium–even if these great thinkers will not individually agree with each other no one would be accounted for the mistake! Believing that earth is spherical and that the sun is the center of our solar system the opposite if this is also true according a a RP mind.

Objectivistsdoes not arrive to this conclusion. The nature of the universe is what it is no matter what we believe about it. Belief and sincerity does not entail to what is true and what is real. Rather, all faith must be under the bar of what is real and must correspondingly correspond to reality.

Apparent Differences I

In Accordance with the RP an atheist who flatly denies the existence of God or gods compare to a theist who believes that a just, holy, and merciful God exist, both of them are not different. God (according to RP) exists and not exists in the same time in the same sense! One can be very skeptic by this kind of reasoning.

Let us now face the multi million dollar question. “Are all religion one?” is this really true, that in the core of its religiosity will eventually end up to the same God? My answer of course will be, not in a million chance! My reason for this is that all religion contradicts with each other plain and simple. No contradictory statements or beliefs can be simultaneously be true at the same time in the same sense remember?

A question comes to mind “Is there any truth in other religion?” of course there is, we cannot ignore these truth in other religion after all all truth is God truth.

But just because other religion contains truth one cannot hereby generalize that they are all compatible, and this goes against our rational common sense. Hinduism is pantheist 3while on other hand Buddhism denies any existence of God or gods. As mentioned earlier, God exists for Christians while there has never been any God or gods in Atheism. The Bible teaches that Jesus is God’s incarnate Son while Islam flatly denies this fact.

Jesus who is Yahweh in the Scripture is nothing but a mere prophet in the Qu’ran. Is monotheistic4 belief the same as the polytheistic (1 apple equals 100 apples)? Can God exist and not exist in the same time in the same breath? Is Yes to be understood as no? Is there such a thing as square-circle? More of this later on.

The Argument From Religious Feelings

What about the statement, “I believe Hinduism is true because I feel this deep inside me” Or My beliefs are true because my feelings tells me so.” What have we learned about our feelings? We have learned from the dawn of history of man that feelings are unreliable. Feelings always change from time to time while truth does not (2+2=4, earth rotates around the sun, murdering infants is morally evil).

Besides, feelings cannot be objective. For instance, how many skyscraper and gigantic buildings all over the world that has been built based on feelings? None! How many professors are they who corrected their students exams, essays based on feelings? I hope none! Individualism is rampant among post-modernistic minds. One individualistic philosophy is “Whatever you feel it is true” (go for what you feel!).

But individualism has its maladies. What about marriage? Do we divorce our spouse just because we cannot “feel” any longer? Are we not to feed the poor because we doesn’t feel like it?

Are we to sanction law based on what we each feels? What if we based our moral norms to mere feelings (and which obviously shifts over time) are we then going to call good (helping, giving, honesty, protect human rights) today but evil tomorrow? Who’s feelings are we to base our moral norms to judge what is wrong and what is evil?

Someone will say that “rational people decides what’s good and what’s evil.” But, rationality is not feelings. Worse yet, whoever decides what is good or evil is subject to change since feelings is not constant, as the dictum goes “feelings comes and they goes.” Emotive moralists are standing on the shaky ground here. There must be law and moral norms that transcend our mere futile feelings.

And this moral law giver must be absolute and objective that prescribes universal law and morality. An objective moral giver is the only explanation as to why we know what is good and vice versa. Emotivists cannot discern why is is evil to murder or rape, he/she may “feels” that rape and murder is evil, but feelings of “knowing” is altogether different from why murder/rape is wrong.

I may have deep feelings that goddess Aphrodites only loves me, and watches over me while asleep. The fact is that Aphrodites does not exist no matter how I may feel about here. Likewise we may feel that Darwinism is true and is “scientifically proven” by feelings does not make this theory true.

Because evolutionism as a matter of fact is a hoax. Evolutionism is nothing but religion and an ancient philosophy (Anaximander 610-546 B. C.) 5Despite of what darwinists tells you about evolution, it is never been proven (macro evolution 6 ) nor it is observable.

Though the theory of morality belongs to ethics what I’m trying to say here that since there are problem in morality ascribing to mere feelings how can it there be no problem in religion since most of it happens to be mere emotional rather than objectives?

A religious pluralist cannot maintain to propagate that religions in general are the same and equally true because as i have written earlier, that since these religions contradicts with each other, they cannot all be equally true. Again, while these religion contains truth is not tantamount to their equality.

Apparent Differences II

Further, to say that they are the same is to one way or the other disrespect and undermine these Religion. The conservative Christian believes, that there is only one God, who is supreme and sovereign.

And while He is transcendent — above and beyond us, He is also immanent — right here among us at the same time. He created it all–the universe and the world in which we live from nothing (ex nihilo ).

The Bible says that we are created in God’s image; and when we die we will either go to be with Him of be separated from Him forever. In addition, the conservative Christian believes that those who rejected Christ as their Lord and Savior hell will be their ultimate destination.

Hindus on the other hand, do not believe in a personal, loving God, but Brahma, a formless, abstract, eternal being without attributes, who was the beginning of all there is. Hindus call sin “utter illusion” this is because they believe all material reality is illusory. They seek deliverance from samsara the endless cycle of death and rebirth, through union with Brahmah. Salvation in Hinduism is achieved by good works.

Buddhist, deny the existence of a personal God. They believe that the existence of God is irrelevant. This belief clearly contradicts the Christian God who is personal, omniscient, and omnipotent (Job 42:1-6; Psa.115; Matt. 19:26). Regarding sin, and salvation, Buddhists believe that sin is lust that arises in one’s life. Through self-effort and by summoning Bodhisattvas for help one will be eventually get rid of these lustful desires.

Christian on the contrary believe that sin is any though, deed or desire contrary to God’s will, and salvation comes only through faith in what Christ done for us (see Acts 4:12; Rom. 3:10,23; Eph. 2:8-10).

Let us now turn to what Muslims believe regarding Jesus, sin, and salvation. Muslims believe there is no God but Allah; Christians believe that God is revealed in the Bible as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three persons who are co-eternal God (read Matt 3:13-17; 28:19;9 and Cor. 13:14)

Regarding Jesus Muslims believe that Jesus was only a mere prophet below Mohammedin subordination, who did not die for mankind sin. In contrast, Christians says that Christ is the Son incarnate of God, the sinless redeemer who died and rose again for sinful man (John 1:13,14; 1 Pet. 3:18).

Muslims teaches that Allah does not love those who do wrong, and each person must earn his or her salvation. Again, this teaching is contrary to the Scripture; Christians contend that a loving God sent His Son to die for our sins (cf. Rom. 5:8; 1 Col 15:3,4). Most if not all religions doesn’t agree, and in grave in opposite with each other for example;

Jewish, Christians and Muslims believe as written above different versions of God. Hindus and the New Age adherents believes that everything that exists are part of none personal entities.

Lots of Hindus believes that evil and suffering are nothing but illusions; Jewish, and Christians alike believes that evil and suffering is a fact as a heart attack.

Christians believe that salvation is by faith alone (sola fide), while other religions teaches (among these are Roman Catholics, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mormonism) that salvation through good works. By the way, the definition of what “good” is what salvation means in these religions vary a lot.

If one studies God’s nature, man’s nature, sin, and salvation, heaven, and creation in contrasts with each systems, creeds, beliefs, and dogmas, one would indeed conclude that these faiths do differ, and is not the same as RP wants us to believe.

The statement that Jesus Christ is God’s incarnate (Judeo-Christian), and not God incarnate (Judeo, Islam) is a contradiction. Either Jesus was God’s incarnate or He is not. There are no middle ground here. Jewish, Muslims and Christians identifies Jesus of Nazareth differently, and they may all fail in their belief about Jesus, certainly all cannot be correct simultaneous.

As I have demonstrated, RP failed to explain as to why if they are identical then why do they contradict? Despite their grave differences the RP didn’t give any clear instruction as to why all these would eventually end in the same God.

From these we can now safely conclude that all religions cannot be equally valid in the same time in the same sense. Christians must remember that while we possess the truth we must respect others belief systems. Respect and tolerance does not of course entail accepting them as equally true, because only Jesus Christ Is the truth.

One of Jesus’ disciple Thomas asked, “Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?” and Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth (Gr. alétheia), and the life: no man cometh unto the father, but by me” (John 14:6).

Notes and References—————————

1. Christians who believe that Christ is the only way.

2. An agnostic philosopher.

3. who believes that every thing is God/all is god.

4. who believes in only one God as oppose to polytheism.

5. a naturalist philosopher

6. from a fish evolves (given millions of years) to a philosopher

Religions, Cambridge Illustrated History

Norman Giesler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics; Baker Publisher

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli Handbook of Christian Apologetics; InterVarsity Press

Paul Copan, True For You But Not For Me; Baker Publisher

Fritz Ridenour, So What’s The Difference?; Regal Publisher