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Apologetic Moments #18: "How can you claim only your religion is true?"

by Thor Ramsey

"How can you claim only your religion is true?"

This is something Christians are always confronted with, the charge that we're narrow-minded because we believe Jesus is the only way to truly know God.

The first thing I'd like to point out is that all religions believe this about themselves. Each religion believes it's the most correct religion. As a matter of fact, even the person who claims that "all religions lead to God" believes that her view is the most correct. It sounds very open-minded to say that "all religions lead to God," but when we examine this statement it's just as exclusive as the Christian claim that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life and no one comes to the Father except through Him.

Why is the sentiment that "all religions lead to God" just as narrow?

Whenever anyone states that "all religions lead to God" you can say, "You're certainly free to believe that as long as you realize that is actually a Sixth religion."

"What do you mean it's a Sixth Religion?"

"Well, you're saying that what the major world religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam) teach about themselves is wrong, but that what you say about them is right. Your view excludes their own self-understanding. Islam, Christianity and Judaism each claim to be the one true faith. They all can't be right. If we're to respect what each religion teaches about itself, then we'll understand that ultimately they are incompatible. It has been rightly said, 'To claim that Hinduism and Christianity are ultimately compatible is to do violence to both.' By saying they all lead to God, you're saying they're wrong about themselves. That's fine, as long as you understand that your view is a new religion. A Sixth Religion, if you will."

I don't believe Christ is the only way to know God because I'm narrow-minded. I believe Christ is the only way to God because it's built into the theological system of Christianity.

This is where a short explanation of the gospel is necessary.

Christianity claims we have a sin problem that we cannot rid ourselves of, because we are sinners by nature -- people who want to define reality apart from God, instead of living life in relationship with God.

Christ came to earth, fully God and fully human, and lived a sinless life. That's vital because if Someone's going to pay for my sins, He has to be perfect. You can't replace a broken vase with another broken vase. The replacement has to be perfect.

Then if Christ is to pay for the sins of humanity, His life has to have more accumulative value than the entirety of the human race. In other words, His life has to have infinite value. The only Being who has infinite value is God.

The only person in history who fits that description is Jesus Christ, fully human and fully God. That's why He and He alone can pay for our sins by dying on the cross in our place. And all the reports of His resurrection confirm that He is who He said He is -- the Great I Am.

Believing that Jesus is the only way to God and that Christianity is the only true religion has nothing to do with narrow-mindedness. It's simply what you believe if you take the gospel seriously.

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