Christianity: 2.42B Islam: 1.8B Hinduism: 1.15b. = 3.47B people (not inc. other religions) Buddhism: 520m

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2 The objection: Since there are so many ways to find God, Christianity is only one among many valid options. The other religions of the world have millions of adherents, producing much wisdom, character, and happiness, so christians should not claim to have the best faith or the only true faith.

3 Christianity: 2.42B Islam: 1.8B Hinduism: 1.15b = 3.47B people (not inc. other religions) Buddhism: 520m "Christianity 2015: Religious Diversity and Personal Contact" International Bulletin of Missionary Research, Vol. 39, No. 1, gordonconwell.edu. January 2015.

4 Religious pluralism: all religions lead to god

5 What are the main reason s people insist that all religions are equally valid?

6 What are the main reason s people insist that all religions are equally valid? 1. A concern for unity 2. An Experience of exclusion

7

8 How would you respond to the objection, All major religions are equally valid, produce much wisdom and happiness, and basically teach the same thing?

9 note: there is much to affirm about the moral behaviour of those who are from different religions.

10 1. To claim that all religions basically teach the same thing is to deny that their differences matter. A. All of the major world religions differ on the nature of god. 1. Christianity: there is one god in three persons (father, son, holy spirit) 2. Judaism: there is one god ( YHWH as revealed in the jewish scriptures) 3. Islam: there is one god ( allah as revealed in quran ) 4. Buddhism: there is no god 5. Hinduism: there are many gods

11 1. To claim that all religions basically teach the same thing is to deny that their differences matter. A. All of the major world religions differ on the nature of god. b. All of the major world religions differ on the person of jesus. 1. Christianity: jesus is god the son, the second person of the trinity 2. Judaism: jesus was not messiah 3. Islam: jesus was a prophet 4. Buddhism: jesus was a good teacher 5. Hinduism: Jesus was a good hindu saint

12 1. To claim that all religions basically teach the same thing is to deny that their differences matter. c. All of the major world religions differ on the road to salvation. 1. Judaism: Be a good jew in order to be accepted by god ( keep the law ). 2. Islam: Be a good muslim in order to be accepted by god ( 5 pillars ). 3. Buddhism: Be a good buddhist in order to attain enlightenment 4. Hinduism: be a good hindu in order to be reincarnated in a better state. 5. Christianity: For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith Eph 2:8

13 2. To ask all religions to deny their differences matter is the worst kind of intolerance. religious pluralism is not a tolerant attitude toward all religions, but a new religion itself that essentially asks every other faith to remake itself in the image of religious pluralism. In other words, it refuses to acknowledge the true diversity of world religions - often in the name of promoting diversity. The Reason for God, 28.

14 Why is that important? By claiming all religions basically teach the same thing you are claiming that the differences don t matter. In that sense you don t promote unity, you instead promote uniformity, the very thing you re trying to fight against.

15 How would you respond to the objection, it s arrogant to claim that christian beliefs are the only true ones?

16 note: sadly there are many who hold to christian truth in an arrogant way. Truth claims will always attract arrogance and moral absolutes will always attract moralists. The Reason for God, 29.

17 1. Arrogance doesn't invalidate truth A. Illustration: an arrogant doctor who discovers the cure for aids. b. The important thing to discover is whether the claim is true or not.

18 2. Holding to truth isn t arrogant. A. If after careful study, research and personal experience you believe christianity to be true, what else can you do but believe that? Illustration: the tree in the road. b. Even if you were later proven to be wrong, you wouldn t have been arrogant to believe that christianity was true. c. Isn t the pluralist is guilty of their own charge by saying, it s arrogant to persuade others to your religious position? Or by holding to the truth that there can t be only one way to god?.

19 Why is that important? The claim that it s arrogant to hold to a truth claim is selfdefeating. We all hold certain things to be true, the most important thing to do is investigate whether they are really true or not.

20 How would you respond to the objection, You can t hold people responsible for rejecting Jesus when they have never heard of him?

21 Note: we acknowledge that there is an element of mystery here because we don t know everything that god knows. However, there are several helpful things we can say in answering this question.

22 1. The bible teaches that god wants all people to come to salvation. The Lord is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance 2 Pe 3:9 [He] wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 1 Tim 2:4 Do I take any pleasure in the death of the wicked? declares the Sovereign Lord. Rather, am I not pleased when they turn from their ways and live? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live! Say to them, As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that they turn from their ways and live. Turn! Turn from your evil ways! Ezek. 18:23, 32; 33:11.

23 2. The bible teaches that faith in Jesus is the only means of salvation. Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. Jn 14:6 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved. Ac 4:12 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God s one and only Son. Jn 3:18

24 3. The bible teaches that god holds us accountable for the revelation we have received. For since the creation of the world God s invisible qualities his eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse. Ro 1:20

25 4. The bible teaches that god determines where we live in order that we would be given an opportunity to seek him. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. Ac 17:26-27

26 Why is that important? everyone is on a level playing field, we are all judged based on our acceptance or rejection of the revelation we have been given. This is the reason why christians share the gospel with anyone who will listen, so that they can know the truth and be saved from god s coming judgement. For those that have never heard we trust god s merciful character that they will be judged based on what they do know.

27 How would you respond to the objection, Nobody can know whose religion is true, so christianity can t claim it is the only true way?

28 A good question to ask, how do you know that? To claim no-one can know is to claim some form of ultimate knowledge that you alone possess. In which case you claim yourself to be right and everyone else wrong, exactly what you just judged christianity for.

29 Want to go further?

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