So Many Religions—What Do We Do?

If you do a Google search, you will quickly learn there are roughly 4000 religions in the world. Most of us are at least aware of the five major world religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and the New Age movement.

The existence of so many religions has prompted some to wonder how they should respond. If there are so many, can we actually say that only one is true? Isn’t this an arrogant position to take?

Well, I’m going to tell you what we can’t do. And then I’m going to tell you what we should do!

What We Can’t Do

Let’s start with what we can’t do. We can’t say that all religions are true. To illustrate this point in my talks, I get two people from the audience to try to guess what I drive. After receiving two different descriptions of my car, I ask, “Can both descriptions be true?”

Obviously, they cannot both be true since they make contradictory claims. For example, my car cannot be a red Honda Civic and a gray Toyota Prius. Therefore, without even looking at what my actual car looks like, we can say with certainty that both cannot be true. That is, at least one description is wrong. In the same way, all religions cannot be true because they teach contradictory things—they make contradictory truth claims about the world.

What We Should Do

Here’s what we should do: Test religious claims to see if they correspond with reality. And start with Christianity.

In the previous illustration, we were able to say that both beliefs about my car cannot be true. That’s simple logic.

But I think we can say even more than that. We can determine if one religion is actually true. Specifically, we can test to see whether the religion corresponds to reality.

If you want to know if either description about my car is true, then you will need to find out if either claim matches up with reality. In other words, check the parking lot. This is a way of testing to see whether a belief is true or false.

We can test Christianity in the same way. In fact, the apostle Paul challenges you to. Paul boldly states, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith” (1 Cor. 15:14).

C. S. Lewis put it this way, “Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”

If Christianity is false, it’s of no importance because ultimately we are all still left in our sins without a savior. It doesn’t deliver on its central claim—salvation for whoever believes in Him.

But if Christianity is true, it’s infinitely important because it would mean that God—the Creator of the universe—has come to us on a rescue mission. The apostle Paul says, “God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8). But how do we know He paid for our sins? God raised Jesus from the dead. Speaking to the Athenians at the Areopagus, Paul says, “The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now He commands all people everywhere to repent, because He has fixed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed; and of this He has given assurance to all by raising Him from the dead” (Acts 17:30–31).

An awful lot hinges on the truthfulness of Christianity.

At the end of the day, you will need to explore the evidence for yourself. I can’t do it for you. In University, I went through a season where my faith was challenged. I had to put Christianity to the test. And after years of studying the evidence, I have come to believe that it is really true. My prayer is that you will too.

You can watch my 13-minute talk on this question below.

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Tim Barnett