Rich Man and Lazarus WikiMedia Commons
Do you think all religions are wrong on everything?
We’ve all heard it before. Christians are arrogant because they think they are right and everyone else is wrong. Do you agree with this?
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According to Pew Research several years ago, the key world religions ranked as follows:
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- Christianity 2.3 bn
- Islam 1.8bn
- Hinduism 1.1 bn
- Buddhism 0.5m
If you disagree with these four religions, you think that over 5.7bn people are wrong. Pew Research estimates by 2050, Islam and Christianity will be roughly on par at 2.8–2.9 billion people.
Person A: Christians are arrogant for thinking every other religion is wrong
Person B: Which religion do you follow, A?
Person A: None
Person B: So you think all religions which make exclusive claims are wrong including Christianity?
Person A: Yes
Person B: Is it more arrogant to think everyone is wrong or everyone except one group?
Below are 5 quick thoughts to help navigate this topic:
- Religions don’t disagree on everything
I have read the Tao Te Ching, the Bhagavad Gita, Confucius’ Annalects, the Quran and so forth. While I disagree with these writings at a fundamental level, I do think there is some wisdom in some of these writings when it comes to topics of patience, perseverance and mental stability.
We could argue being wrong on fundamentals is like mixing poison with good food but as I said I don’t think these writings are wrong on everything.
There are some similarities between these key religions. Take for example, casual sex fuelled by lust. If you think impulsive lust-driven casual sex is fine then you think every major religion is wrong. Even Buddhism (impulsive slavery to sexual desires makes enlightenment more difficult) and Hinduism (Bhagavad Gita 16.21 lists lust as a gate to self destruction) which are not as explicit on say fornication as Christianity/Islam/ Judaism speak against a lustful self-indulgent attitude to sex as opposed to one which is loving and committed.
Lao Tzu WikiMedia Commons
2. Key religions make mutually exclusive claims
You simply can’t be a Christian and a Muslim. To say you can be is ignoring the very texts on which these religions are based. For example, Christians believe Jesus is God’s Son (eg. Mark 1:1, 13:32, 14:60–64, Luke 9:35, 20:9–19), yet the Quran claims Christians are deluded and worthy of destruction for believing this in Surah 9:30:
The Jews say, “Ezra is the son of Allāh”; and the Christians say, “The Messiah is the son of Allāh.” That is their statement from their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before [them]. May Allāh destroy them; how are they deluded?
— Saheeh International
Moreover, Christians believe the good news through Jesus’ death on the cross is the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16, 1 Cor 1:18), while Muslims deny that Jesus even died. Note Surah 4:157:
and for boasting, “We killed the Messiah, Jesus, son of Mary, the messenger of Allah.” But they neither killed nor crucified him — it was only made to appear so. Even those who argue for this ˹crucifixion˺ are in doubt. They have no knowledge whatsoever — only making assumptions. They certainly did not kill him.
Christians think Jesus is the Messiah (eg. Matthew 16:16, Acts 17:3, 2 Cor 1:20), yet Jews fiercely deny this.
Well, you might say, that is the monotheistic religions, the eastern religions are more compatible. You can be a Christian and a Buddhist or Hindu. Or can you? In Buddhism and Hinduism you can be connected to ultimate divine consciousness without Christ and through self-striving. In Christianity, you can only be connected with God through Christ for you are fallen and bound to fail alone.
The World Buddhist Directory offers a key breakdown between Buddhism and other religions. They list 27 points. Several which are worth highlighting include:
- Non — attachment is fundamental. Being attached to doing or being good is a form of craving.
- Key doctrine of emptiness unique to Buddhism- Importance of emptying perceptions regarding the physical world through meditation (eg. Vipassana meditation).
- There is no almighty God in Buddhism. Buddha is not a creator behind the universe.
- Dharma (the teachings in Buddhism) exists regardless whether there is a Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha (as the historical Buddha) discovered and shared the teachings/ universal truths with all sentient beings. He is neither the creator of such teachings nor the prophet of an almighty God to transmit such teachings to others.
- There is no saviour concept in Buddhism- self-reliance, self-discipline and individual striving are the path of liberation
- Buddhism rejects the theory of a transmigrating permanent soul, whether created by a god or emanating from a divine essence.
- The idea of sin or original sin has no place in Buddhism. Also, sin should not be equated to suffering.
- Buddhist teachings expound no beginning and no end to one’s existence or life. There is virtually no recognition of a first cause — e.g. how does human existence first come about?
- There are a virtually unlimited number of hells in the Buddhist cosmology as there are an infinite number of Buddha worlds.
Buddhist Monk WikiMedia Commons
3. If you don’t hold to the views of any religion, then you think all religions are wrong
Everyone is an apologist for something. Show no interest or approval in the views of any religions and you are saying they are either irrelevant or wrong.
Pietro Fabris Couple at a Table- look at the photo or write? every minute you’re making a case for or against doing something
4. It is Christ, not Christians who claim exclusivity
Christianity is about admitting your own fallenness and need for God which is met through Christ who paved the way for humanity through his death and resurrection. It is not about having superior reasoning or wise natural living earning salvation. Works are fruits of faith in Jesus.
It is not about making a case why you should be included or superior to someone else. All of that relates to stereotypes about Christianity.
Christ came to seek and save the lost (Luke 19:10), to give his life as a ransom for many (Matt. 20:28) and to bring lost sheep into his fold (Luke 15:1–10; John 10:1–19). People who come to him are by definition lost and fallen, not exclusive elites. In Christ’s kingdom the first are last and the last first. It’s about being real about how you are before God. It’s not for people who live behind a facade of perfection and superiority thinking they don’t need God.
Christ claims to be the exclusive way to salvation (John 14:6, Matt. 20:28) and the one on whom your destiny stands and falls (Matt. 7:21–28). The question should be who is Jesus? If he was not who he claimed to be, then he was arrogant and seriously deluded. If he was who he claimed to be, he merely spoke the truth and was kind enough to reveal himself to a world that wanted nothing to do with him.
That is the real question. Making a stand against Christian arrogance without answering who Christ is can be likened to denying that a sporting great won many titles because their fans are horrid. It’s mixing a question of historical truth with a question of crowd personality traits. Confusion. Don’t fall into the trap.
Shepherd with a flock of sheep WikiMedia Commons
5. The question for Christians is: Why does God include people who excluded him?
To attack Christianity, you need to attack the worldview as a whole. Christ claimed to be God. In Mark 14:60–64, a passage which even the Jesus Seminar (who think the Gospels are full of myths) deem authentic, Jesus calls himself the Son of Man and Son of the Blessed One. In the context of Daniel 7:13–14 where the Son of Man title comes from, Jesus has dominion, glory and is served by the nations when these are traits only ascribed to God in the Old Testament. Moreover, Jesus describes himself as one who will ride in the clouds of heaven when this is something only God does in the Old Testament.
Jesus is charged with blasphemy. The high priest tears his clothes as other members of the council begin to spit on him, mock him and hit him in the face. The one who came to seek and save the lost and raise up the downtrodden while including the excluded is dismissed by the elites of his day. Cast out. Excluded.
Under a Christian worldview the question is why does God include or extend an invite to people who excluded him? It’s a question of reversal not superiority.
Does the key fit into the lock? Does Christ answer what you’re searching for? Or will you keep flicking through all the other keys you can find?
Ephesians 2:4–5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ — by grace you have been saved.
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