All religions are basically the same, right?

Photo on 2017-01-11 at 2.02 PMSo there I was sitting at a pretty amazing restaurant in the heart of Vancouver with a good friend for dinner. Good food + Good friend= Good time. We were talking about many things – family, work, backgrounds, historic revival, church stuff and basic understanding of the Bible and discipleship etc.

The waiter, who served us extremely well, was back again. And my friend asked him his nationality because he had a slight accent of some kind, and seemed to have a Middle Eastern way about him. He said he was born in Afghanistan and travelled to Canada when he was quite young. Then he went back and then they immigrated to Canada when war broke out. Then he added that he was a Hindu-Afghan… hmmm now that was interesting.

My friend, noting that, “We are Christians,” then asked, “How does the Hindu-Afghani religion get along with Christianity?”

The waiter said, “some of my best friends are Muslims and some are… Christians.” (not sure he really knew how to define a Christian) and then he added in, “I mean aren’t all religions the same really? Aren’t they all just based on being good or trying to be good?”

There was a pregnant pause.

So I said, “actually, ours is quite the opposite. It’s based on the fact that none of us are good but that there was one good One and He died in our place.”

You know what his response was? Do you, huh, do ya?

“More decaf, sir?”… he asked…

“No thanks,” I said.

“Oh… No?” and then he whisked away.

But it was a great question wasn’t it — ‘aren’t all the religions the same, really?

What would your answer be? My answer is an emphatic, “no, no they are not the same!” In fact, all religions are fundamentally different and only the same in very insignificant ways. We’re going to be looking at this during a Saturday Morning Session called Apologetics 101 on Saturday, March 11 at 9 a.m. at CCLF.

For instance, how can Islam, which though they honour Jesus as a prophet who will return (to lead all people to Islam they say), do not believe He is God’s Son, not deity at all actually, nor that He died on the cross, nor rose again yet Christians totally believe that! Inscribed over the door of the Dome of the Rock of the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem is the following: “GOD HAS NO SON.”

How can Islam and Christianity be considered fundamentally the same in any way?

Meanwhile, Orthodox Judaism holds to belief in the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the same as Christians hold to, but do not honour Jesus in any way, and according to the New Testament (which they also do not honour), if you do not have the Son, you do not have life; if you do not honour the Son, you do not honour the Father. Christians totally believe and follow those statements. Is Judaism fundamentally the same thing then? The answer is clear: no, not at all.

Jehovah Witnesses do not believe in hell. Christians do. Jehovah Witnesses believe Jesus was Michael the archangel; Christians do not believe that at all. In fact, that’s clearly totally out of sync with what evangelical Christians believe.

Christians believe in the Trinitarian Godhead – three in one (one God in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit) and our Jehovah Witnesses friends would call that utter blasphemy. Same thing as Christianity? Uhm, NO.

The Mormon faith posits Jesus as actually the brother of Lucifer, otherwise known as Satan, both sons of Elohim — same as Christians, right? NOOOO!

I’m just scraping the tip of the iceberg of course. There are so many fundamental differences!

“Can’t we just co-exist as the bumper sticker says? coWell we are co-existing for sure, but when the founder of Christianity, Jesus Himself says ‘Look dudes, there is only one way to heaven, and that is through me,” you have to seriously consider His statement. Was He crazy? I don’t think so. His teaching was recognized even by his enemies as amazing and authoritative as if from God. No one has ever… ever… improved on His teaching. In fact, His enemies killed Him because He claimed to be God. (Don’t buy into that line that “wellhe never claimed to be God!” He totally did.)

And, if He actually was who He claimed to be, then that’s also really a life and death decision worth considering, and if He is – and He’s the One who said there’s really in fact a MAJOR difference between ‘all those paths’ we’re talking about, well we should listen up.

He did not say “hey, it’s fine if everybody sincerely worships who they think to be God, or who they proclaim to be God, or even if they don’t want to worship at all. We’re all the same.”

No, He said there is only “one way” to the Father – and that is through Him.

So how can that even be called the “same” as all the other paths out there? There’s no way it can be the same. We simply cannot be lumped into the bunch. The people in their protests holding up signs saying “We are muslim too!” are actually inaccurate. That would be like saying, “We are all Moonies. We are all JWs. We are all Christians (and they would never say that!)… it doesn’t make logical sense.

Now either Jesus is who He said He is, or He is not. Both statements cannot be true. One is wrong. Either He was raised from the dead or He was not raised from the dead. Both statements cannot be true. One is wrong.

This is serious for anyone who is seriously seeking the truth. You have to come to grips with what Jesus said, did and is doing today. You have to follow the evidence.

Someone said ‘but all paths lead up to the top of the mountain, don’t they?’ — but I say, who can actually say that? Where do you have to be in order to proclaim that all paths lead up to the top?

That’s right – you have to either be at the top, but more than that, you actually have to be above the top, hovering over the mountain so to speak to have the proper perspective – in other words, you’d have to be God Himself to have that view. And the only One who actually claimed to be God and then proved it in His life, death and resurrection – was Jesus Christ. And He’s the One who said, “there is only one way – no one gets to the Father except by me.”

Not all religions are the same.