Tim Barnett responds to a video that claims an infinite being would express itself an infinite number of ways and that all religions must be valid since they all have good teachers and similar practices.
Original video: All the major world religions are true. All religions work. Here’s three reasons why. Firstly, by the definition of most religions, God is an infinite being. That means an infinite being should be able to express itself in an infinite number of ways and be reached through an infinite number of ways. So, to limit an unlimited being to this or that religion is, therefore, a theological mistake. Second, if we are to judge a tree, we should judge it by its fruits. Now, all the major world religions have created innumerable saints and mystics and teachers who have inspired people, inspire people today, and continue to inspire people. These saints of all the major world religions are paragons of virtue and charity and service. Thirdly, the practices of all the major religions are, for the most part, the same: meditation, devotional prayer, contemplation of spiritual philosophy, and selfless service of other human beings. If the practices are the same, the destination is the same, too.
Tim: This video offers three reasons to believe all religions are true, but there’s a problem. Each reason fails because it has a fundamental flaw. Let’s briefly look at each.
First, he tries to argue from an infinite God to an infinite number of ways to reach God. Now, some of you might already see why this won’t work. When theologians say God is infinite, they mean certain attributes of God are without limit. They’re using the word as a qualitative concept. But when we say that there’s an infinite number of ways to reach God, we’re using “infinite” as a quantitative concept. So, the first reason relies on an equivocation of the word “infinite.”
Second, he claims that all the major world religions have produced morally noble people, but this falsely assumes they all agree on what it means to be a moral person. After all, a saint in Hinduism is an idolater in Christianity, and a saint in Christianity commits the unforgivable sin in Islam—the sin of shirk. Here’s the point: Good fruit of one religion turn out to be bad fruit in another religion.
Third, he claims the practice of all the religions are generally the same, and since the practices are the same, the outcomes are the same, too. But this is demonstrably false. For example, having sex with your wife and having sex with your neighbor’s wife may be the same practice, but there is a totally different moral outcome. Likewise, praying and sacrificing to the true God and praying and sacrificing to idols may look the same, but the moral outcome is totally different. Worshiping and serving a false god is spiritual adultery.
Saying that all the world religions are basically the same is like saying aspirin and arsenic are basically the same because they both come in tablet form. Sure, there are some superficial similarities, but there are fundamental differences, and when you have a headache, it’s the differences that matter.