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All Religions by Their own Existence Claim Exclusivity

All religions can be false, but not all of them can be true. One religion can be true, which is what I
argue for Christianity, but not all of them can be true because they oppose one another. Religions by their own existence imply exclusivity. Think about it… Would a religion exist if it thought another religion were the truth? Think of what is likely the most extreme example: Hinduism. Hinduism teaches that “there are almost no restrictions on personal beliefs, but in order to qualify as a Hindu, a religion has to (1) regard the Vedas as divinely inspired and authoritative, (2) accept the caste system, and (3) respect the veneration of the various levels of deities and spirits, including the protection of cows.”[1] Notice the wording in this citation: not that a person must do these things to qualify, but a religion must do these three things to qualify as Hinduism. The reason Hinduism is such an extreme example is because it is a polytheistic religion, having up to 330 million gods (to help wrap your mind around this, there are approx. 330,150,668 people in the United States), and also because Hinduism teaches that all religions are true.

When I went to India recently (2021), there were literally cows walking down the street like they owned the place. People walked past them as if they were walking past a human (I could easily picture a man walking past a cow, looking at it square in the face and nodding). Why such strange behavior? Because many Hindus believe that their grandmother’s spirit could be in the cow. What gave them that idea is a longer story for which we do not have time here, but it is clear that when one visits India, Hinduism is alive and well, even in regards to the caste system, no matter what you are told about it in mainstream media.

But since Hinduism teaches that all religions are true, it seems that this is the most extreme example to show that all religions by their own existence claim exclusivity. If all religions are true, then why does Hinduism exist? What is the point of it? It seems that in this case, Hinduism just adds to the plethora of confusion in religion, and should be dismissed as counterproductive. The point is, Hinduism claims exclusivity because it exists. It says that Hinduism is the way, which ultimately is every way and any way.

Since all religions by their existence say that they are the correct way (which is the case, even in our extreme example of Hinduism), then they cannot all be true. The reason they cannot all be true is because they all go in different directions. Think that if you wanted to travel across the U.S., would you use just any map? The map of the Pittsburgh Zoo, for instance? Or would you use a map specifically for the United States? Hopefully the latter. If you wanted to travel from Philadelphia to San Francisco, a map detailing the route from Athens, Greece to Madrid, Spain would not get you there. Similarly, just because there are a bunch of religions that claim to know and show the truth about reality does not even mean that any of them are absolutely true.

Either all religions are false or only one of them is correct. These are the only options. We know this through the fundamental Law of Non-contradiction. The reason for this is because by claiming that they are the one correct way to understand the truth of reality, they are claiming exclusivity. To express it a different way, simply by their existence, every religion disagrees with the other religions that are not themselves. For instance, if Hinduism agreed with Christianity on all parts, then how would one be able to tell them apart? What would be the difference if there were no differences? The fact is, these religions do disagree with one another, which is why we know them separately as Hinduism and Christianity, and not simply one or the other. The reason we can tell Hinduism apart from Christianity is because of their differences.

 

Consider the acronym below: I. N. C. O. N. S. I. S. T. E. N. T. It would be inconsistent to believe that more than one of these are true, let alone all of them.

 

Indigenous Religions

New-Age Movement

Christianity

Occult

Native American

Sikhism

Islam

Shinto

Taoism

Eastern Religions

New Religious Movements

Theravada Buddhism

 


Take the example of Jesus, for instance. Some religions say that He never existed; some religions say that He never died (which assumes His existence); some religions say that Jesus died in a cloud of gasses and His body disappeared into thin air; some teach that He was just a good man and nothing more; some teach that He did not do miracles; some teach He did do miracles; some teach that He died and rose again; others teach that His body was stolen or hidden; some teach that He is the Son of God; and the list goes on. In employing the Law of Non-contradiction, we can know that each one of these claims cannot be both true and false at the same time and in the same sense. For instance, a light switch cannot be both on and off at the same time and in the same sense. Even if you have it “halfway” on where sparks are flying from the switch and the light bulb is flickering, it is still on. Electricity is passing through when points of contact are made in the switch. It cannot be both on and off at the same time. From the Law of Excluded Middle, we can know that each of these claims (or statements) are either true or false, without any other alternatives. For instance, the claim that “Jesus did miracles,” cannot be both true and false. But it is either true or false. We can know that this claim is true beyond reasonable doubt by reading the Bible and examining the evidence therein. We can likewise know that the claim that “Jesus did not do miracles” is false, based on the evidence.

This is ultimately how we discover whether or not a specific religion is true. If we examine the different religions and find false claims, especially in regarding the focal objects of such a religion as well as regarding the beginnings of such a religion, then we can assume that such a religion is false. If we examine Christianity for instance, and find that the claims made are based on historical events, then we can know that it is true.

The whole point of this article is that every time you are driving down the road and see a COEXIST bumper sticker, I want you to think of what you just read above. Maybe if you happen to stop at the same gas station where a COEXIST bumper sticker is on the back of a car, you can strike up a conversation with the information discussed in this article and the others that are linked in the underlined words above. In any event, pray for your conversation, pray for the person you speak with, that God will soften his or her heart, and pray for yourself, that you will know what to say and how to say it.

After your discussion on truth and being able to know what is and is not true, move from here to the arguments for the existence of God (and Here), then to the Bible being true and what it says about Jesus.

 

 

Written by Nace Howell through the grace of the Lord Jesus



[1] Winfried Corduan. Neighboring Faiths: a Christian introduction to world religions (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2012), 267.

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