AREN’T ALL RELIGIONS THE SAME? by Michael J. Kruger for Core Christianity

Some folks object to Christianity on the grounds that all religions are basically the same. Why should we think Christianity is the only right way when all religions offer the same moral message about loving others and being a good person? Sure, there are minor theological variations, but aren’t all religions working toward the same goal, namely, to make the world a better place?

At first glance, such reasoning sounds quite plausible. Indeed, it makes Christians seem like quarrelsome folks who are needlessly picking a fight with all other religions. But a closer look reveals that this is not the case at all. First, all religions are decidedly not the same. They have major and irreconcilable differences. Some religions believe in only one God, others in multiple gods. Both can’t be true. Some religions believe that the Qur’an is the word of God; others think it is not. Both can’t be true. Some religions say hell exists; some say it doesn’t. Both can’t be true. Some say Jesus rose from the dead; others say he is still in the grave. Both can’t be true.

The inescapable fact is that not all these religions can be right. Some of them have to be wrong.

I think most people at UNC, when pressed, would even admit this. Rhetorically, they push for the “all religions are the same” approach, but when faced with the harsh realities of some religions, they quickly change their tune. We know, for example, that many ancient religions practiced child sacrifice—from the worshipers of the Canaanite god Molech all the way to the religion of the Incas. Are we obligated to accept all these religions as equally valid as all others? Surely not. And I doubt many of your UNC friends are ready to affirm the truth of the various alien-inspired religions out there, such as Brazil’s Sunrise Valley religion with its eight hundred thousand followers who believe they are aliens in human form! Thus, even postmodern folks eventually must admit that not every religious system can be correct.

Second, there are features about Christianity that make it genuinely distinct from the rest of the world’s religions. And the fundamental difference is this: Christianity is not just another religion about being a good person. Needless to say, this flies in the face of what most people think about religion. Just consider the very popular television show The Good Place, starring Kristen Bell. As strange as it sounds, the show is a comedy about heaven (the good place) and hell (the bad place). On the show, the good place is where good people go, regardless of their religious beliefs. Whether you’re Hindu, Buddhist, or Muslim, you go to the good place as long as your good deeds outweigh your bad.

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