Is there a right religion?
There are many religions in the world and all of them cannot be right. They are so different. They include idol worship, polytheism, pantheism, and monotheism. How can we judge between them. Many of them have scriptures and it is no use quoting contradictory scriptures to people who don't accept them in the first place. It is more reasonable that all religions are false than that all religions are true. In this "tolerant" age it is not politically correct to say that anybody's religion is false. But all religions cannot be true. Is there a basis for evaluating the truth or merit of a religion? How can we deal with this problem?
suggested by Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) who wrote some comments in a
book now called Pensees
2. The true religion must explain the misery of man. "That a religion may be true, it must have knowledge of our nature. It ought to know the greatness and littleness and the reason for both."
3. The true religion must teach how man can know God who is hidden and give the remedy for his alienation and misery. "The true religion, then, must teach us to worship Him only, and to love him only. But we find ourselves unable to worship what we know not, and to love any other object but ourselves, the religion which instructs us in these duties must instruct us also in this inability, and teach us also the remedies for it.
If we apply these
to the major world religions it becomes possible to make some judgments
Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism are interesting in that none of them began with an interest in God or gods. Buddha was only interested in life's problems as related to desire and the misery associated with desire. Confucius was not interested in the issue of God. Neither Buddha, Confucius, or Lao-tzu claimed to be gods, and were not interested in the subject. Many centuries after they lived all three philosophies became religions and gods were introduced.
Confucius was interested in ethics and tradition, Lao-tzu, as the presumed founder of Taoism, had no more interest than an ethical outlook on life. It took a long time for them to be made into gods in their traditions. All these systems of thought degenerated into idolatry and polytheism. They were humanistic philosophies and did not require any sense of worship of anything. Buddha rejected the gods of Hinduism. It is ironic that later the religion which grew out of his teaching should reintroduce gods.
This leaves three other major religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.
Judaism and Christianity
a unique relationship. Judaism offers a knowledge of God based
God's self- revelation. Only God can reveal God. Judaism affirms
Passages like Isaiah 53, Isaiah 7:14,
2:7, Gen.3:15, Jeremiah 23:5, Micah 5:2 Isaiah 40:3,
Pascal wrote: "We know God only by Jesus Christ. Without this mediator all communion with God is taken away....Apart from Him, and without the Scripture; without original sin, without a necessary mediator promised and come, we cannot absolutely prove God, nor teach right doctrine and right morality."
The issue of Islam assumes
dimension. Islam claims to build on Judaism and Christianity. It
presumes to be the successor to these two religions. So long as
claims a continuity with the two religions, it has to reckon with
the contradictions involved in its claim. There is nothing in
or Christianity to call forth another religion beyond the Messiah.
did not claim to be the Messiah and there is nothing in the Christian
pointing to a future prophet. When it became obvious to
scholars that the Bible did not prophesy the coming of Mohammed, they
claimed that Jews and Christians conspired to corrupt the Scriptures
The Qur'an speaks about the authority and reliability of the
in the days of Mohammed and it is a monstrous proposal that Jews and
deleted passages from thousands and thousands of manuscripts in various
parts of the world.
In Pascal's terms, only Christianity offers a mediator (the God-man=Jesus) who helps humans come to know the hidden God. The cause of misery is sin, or rebellion against God's commands, and this is also the cause of our lack of knowledge about God (God's hiddenness).
If you are interested in
you can come to know the hidden God, see