It has become less and less P.C. to speak about anything in absolutes. Good thing I follow a man who was absolutely not politically correct. Jesus would be the first to tell you that he’s not here to tell people what they want to hear — only what they need to hear.
What do people want to hear? What’s the latest PC move when it comes to religious and spiritual matters? You know the answer. If you listen to anyone who is not actually a part of any one religion (aka “spiritual but not religious”) speak on religious matters they will tell you. All paths lead to God. Buddhism, Islam, Hindu, Shinto, Judaism, Christianity, etc., are all different paths to the same god-reality.
The problem? I can think of only one religion that would support that claim. It’s called Ba’hai. You’ve probably never heard of it.
Other than that, I’ve never heard a leader or fast follower of any other religion proclaim that all religions are equal. Show me a Muslim Imam who says Christianity and Islam are essentially the same and that either one will lead you to the same God. Show me a Buddhist monk who actually believes in a god. Show me a Hindu priest that believes Christians will go to heaven when they die instead of being reincarnated as (hopefully) a Hindu.
Jesus made the statement, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father if not through me.” And people are surprised?
Let’s take a step back real quick.
No one comes to the Father. I would say that is a true statement. If you look through the Torah, you will see that God almost always makes first contact. What’s more, the place where God resided was completely off limits. The Most Holy Place could only be entered once a year by the High Priest and no one else. No one could come to the Father. They always had to go through someone else — a priest, a teacher, a prophet — unless God initiated.
The same is basically true in these other religions. Allah is not a God who can be approached by just anybody, much less by an infidel. In Hindu, sacrifices are made in the presence of idols, but priests still act as mediators between the gods and men. Buddhism isn’t even about approaching God or gods.
How might things be different if Jesus had phrased this statement in the positive rather than the negative? Sometimes I wish he would have said, “Everyone can now come to the Father through me.” It’s the same idea. It’s no less true than Jesus’ original words. In fact, it may be a little more true because of the way the original statement is misunderstood, misconstrued, or misrepresented.
Through Jesus the whole world can now have access to the Father. Ordinary people can approach the throne of God with boldness (Hebrews 4:16).
Do all religions teach basically the same concepts? No. A close study of these religions will reveal some similarities, yet there are some glaring, irreconcilable differences between them.
Jesus is the only man to claim that everybody on the planet can now have free and clear access to God, the Creator of the universe, through himself.