Culture has been described as a river we are all floating on. If this is true, there are two questions we must ask: 1. Where are we drifting?; and, 2. Are we going to do something about it?[1] Currently, our culture overemphasizes emotions and devalues reason. Just look at the news or an official political debate; the winner is determined by slogans, soundbites, pithy take downs, and buzzwords. At the same time, our culture can be difficult to navigate because we are overscheduled, hurried and hyper focused on the superficial.[2] We worship at the altar of the trivial and dismiss the meaningful. Our society is apathetic toward seriously seeking and  understanding God. Consequently, misunderstandings about God persist in the culture and can often seep into the Church. What are some common misunderstandings about God which get in the way of someone’s quest for truth about God?

1.We Can Believe Whatever We Want about God!

This is a half-truth. It’s true that people are entitled to believe whatever they want about God. Religious liberty and free speech are important freedoms which should be protected. Those freedoms should never be stamped out. While people are free to believe whatever they want about God, they are not entitled to their own truth about God. Just because people believe something does not make it true. Therefore, belief is not what matters—truth is.[3] Truth is discovered not created. Reality is what we crash into when we act on a false belief.[4]  While we all may have different beliefs about God, the only thing that matters is the truth about God. Thus, an investigation about God’s existence, nature, relationship with humankind, creation, etc., must be considered along with a host of other topics.

2.All Religions Teach the Same Basic Things.

 We live in the age of straight-jacket tolerance in which all religious claims are trapped in the room of equality never to be released for a thorough examination in fear of offending one group or another. In the name of tolerance, religious beliefs are not spoken of in terms of true or false. Instead of assessing the individual truth-claims of different religions, it is commonly argued in today’s culture that all religions teach the same thing. But theology has consequences: it shapes lives, communities, families, nations, and cultures; it can change people or destroy people.[5] Therefore, out of love for each other we should engage one another about the merits of our religious beliefs and not assume they are all the same.[6] Note the chart below:[7]

Do All Religions Teach the Same Thing?

Buddhism Hinduism Christianity
No God Thousands of gods One God
Impersonal Personal

 

The basics of Buddhism, Hinduism and Christianity reveal that they are not the same. The fact that the world’s religions make exclusive yet contradictory claims means they cannot all be true. To neglect these differences results in a skewed view of God and a corrupted relationship with Him. Therefore, everyone should reject the misunderstanding that all religions teach the same basic things.

Unfortunately, our society has adopted religious pluralism—where everyone can believe whatever they want about God and no one can be wrong because all religions “teach basically the same thing.” As Christians, it is our obligation out of love for God and the souls of our fellow humans, to lovingly, compassionately, and boldly challenge these misunderstandings about God. In adhering to these misunderstandings, people are missing out on the adventure of inquiry and discovery about God. Sincere, seekers should reject these misunderstandings and seek answers to the deepest questions about God regardless of the where the river of culture currently flows.

 

 

Footnotes

[1] Jonathan Morrow. Questioning the Bible: 11 Major Challenges to the Bible’s Authority. (Chicago: Moody Publisher, 2014) pg. 1.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid., 19.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ross Douthat.  “Let’s Talk About Faith.” The New York Time. Published: January 10, 2010. Accessed: January 27, 2019. shttps://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/11/opinion/11douthat.html

[6]  Ibid.

[7] Morrow, Questioning the Bible. Pg. 20.