Question: Don’t all religions offer different paths to the same ultimate reality or destination? Aren’t all religions equally valid sources of spiritual truth and salvation?
Answer: The Bible is very clear that Jesus is the pathway to coming into a saving relationship with the Creator God.“I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). Jesus alone purchased our eternal reward by paying our penalty by dying on the cross in our place. “There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved” (Acts 4:12).
Since the key problem faced by humanity is a broken relationship with God leading to destructive and disharmonious living; and since the ultimate destiny of God’s children, according the Bible, is to spend all eternity enjoying a beautiful intimacy and harmonious relationship with the one true Creator God, what we humans need for “salvation” is a restored relationship with the one true and living God. “Now this is eternal life — that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you sent” (John 17:3). Salvation is found NOT in getting our minds around certain abstract ideas about the Divine (though that is a start), but in personally encountering and trusting in the one true God who has revealed himself to humanity in specific ways at various times.
With all this in mind, we shouldn’t expect other religions to lead us to the true God revealed most fully in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus boldly declared, “If you have seen me, then you have seen the Father” (John 14:9). Rather, they lead us to other false, distorted ideas of God—or in some cases to no god at all (e.g., Buddhism). Usually, they lead us away from God, rather than closer to him.
Now, I am NOT denying that there are similar themes and common truths found in other religions. I believe all truth is God’s truth—wherever it happens to be found. Likewise, I am not denying that other religions teach good morals, or offer a sense of meaning, purpose, peace and harmony in their lives. The question is NOT: Are other religions void of any good values? The specific question is: Do other religions lead us to a real relationship the one TRUE God of the universe. Do other religions offer the solution to humanity’s fundamental problem of sin? To that, Christians who take God’s Word seriously must ultimately say “No.”
This is the reason we are mandated to go to all nations spreading the good news of God’s gift of salvation through the sacrifice, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
But what about those people who never heard the gospel because of the place they were born? That’s next time.