APOLOGETICS Apologetics: All Religions lead to the same God June 28, 2009 All Religions lead to the same God Since the beginning of civilization andeven as the early stone age hunter gatherer, settled in caves, religion has always helped to hold and divided people. There are more than 9500 religions in the world and while they have their differences in the nature of prayers and gods, they all seem have the same belief that prayer and obedience to their own god will help the disciple to attain salvation and meets their material and spiritual needs. At times, belief in the greatness of ones own god has lead to fanatic behavior and absolute intolerance for other religions. On the other hand there have been apologetics that believe in religious pluralism and attempt to spread the message that all religions lead to the same god. This paper examines the statement of the apologetics and discusses what such statements mean.
Hutchison (2003) asserts that religious pluralism is a type of interfaith dialogue that is conducted between people with from different religions to bring down tensions and conflicts in their religions. The concept gives rise to statements such as All Religions lead to the same God or that many paths lead to the one God and so on. Religions such as Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and others practice ‘universalism’ with a ‘Inclusivism’ mindset where gods from other religions are tolerated, accepted and members of other religions can be allowed to stay in peace. On the other hand, religions such as Islam, Christianity and other practice ‘Particularism’ with a ‘exclusivist’ mindset. These religions are not ready to accept other religions and call followers of other religions as pagans, heathens, infidels, unbelievers and so on and may take up crusades like Christians and Jihads like Muslims.
Hutchison (2003) argues that religious pluralism is a much better way of resolving religious and sometime political conflicts and he endorses the belief that all religions lead to the same god. If the arguments for or against a particular god were limited to only theological discussions and arguments, then no harm would be done. However, religions hold much greater control over politics and passions of people an religious intolerance and issues are used as the flash point and reasons to settle other scores.
The moot question is why does one believe in a particular religion and god and what does a person ask for when he is fervently offering prayers. Does the person pray to god to find a solution to his own financial and personal problems or does he pray that the neighbor also face the same problems? In a majority of cases would be that a person bows or kneels down before his god to find deliverance from the problems that he himself is facing. It would again be reasonable to presume that people from different religion would have the same set of financial and personal problems that may vary in magnitude. Therefore, when the problems and solutions are the same, why should it be that God, the entity who would grant these wishes should be radically different for different sets of people?
Again, when a child cries for its mother, it may use the corresponding word for mother in different languages such as English, Arabic, Hindi, Japanese, Chinese and so on. It would be illogical to expect that an English mother would be more attentive than say a Hindu mother. This is what happens a person prays to Jesus, Allah, Krishna, Buddha and other gods.
The above arguments show that in spite of how religious heads interpret their religion, the fact remains that all religions lead to the same god, who may be known by different names, who may appear differently and dress differently. In essence, this belief has been taught by many religions, but understood and practiced by very few, down the ages. Thus, the paper would conclude that ‘All Religions lead to the same God’ is correct.
Hutchison, William R., (2003). Religious Pluralism in America: The Contentious History of a Founding Ideal. New Haven: Yale University Press.