Do All Religions Lead to the Same God?

by David A. Horner

watch video by philosopher Michael Horner

There is a popular analogy used to show that all religions are valid ways to describe God. Religion professors especially love this analogy, because it equalizes all religions, making all religions equally “true” in their description of God.

The analogy is this: there are four blind men who discover an elephant. Since the men have never encountered an elephant, they grope about, seeking to understand and describe this new phenomenon.

One grasps the trunk and concludes it is a snake. Another explores one of the elephant’s legs and describes it as a tree. A third finds the elephant’s tail and announces that it is a rope. And the fourth blind man, after discovering the elephant’s side, concludes that it is, after all, a wall.

Each in his blindness is describing the same thing: an elephant. Yet each describes the same thing in a radically different way.

According to many, this is analogous to the different religions of the world–they are describing the same thing in radically different ways. Thus one should conclude that no individual religion has a corner on truth, but that all should be viewed as essentially equally valid.

If God is infinite and we are finite, it is reasonable to believe that none of us can fully capture His nature.

But does this elephant analogy demonstrate the truth that all religions lead to God? To conclude that it does would ignore several points:

  1. First, there is a fact of the matter: the elephant. What the blind men are attempting to describe is in fact an elephant, not something else. Just so, there are factual questions regarding God. “Does God even exist?” is a question of fact, much like, “Was Abraham Lincoln ever President of the United States?” If so, it would be true whether anyone believes it or not, and to deny it, one would be mistaken. Thus, not all opinions, whether concerning elephants or the nature of God, are equally true.
  2. Second, all four blind men are, in fact, mistaken. It is an elephant and not a wall or a rope or a tree or a snake. Their opinions are not equally true–they are equally, and actually false. At best, such an analogy of religious pluralism would show that all religions are false, not true.
  3. Third, and most important, the analogy does not take into account any kind of special revelation. If a fifth man were to arrive on the scene, one who could see (and who was able to demonstrate his credentials of having sight), and he were to describe the elephant as an elephant, then it would change the analogy entirely.

Jesus Christ, unique among all religious leaders of history, claimed to be such a “fifth man,” a definitive revelation of God. Many of the people who watched Jesus’ miracles and heard him speak were offended by his clear statements about his deity. “This was why [they] sought all the more to kill him, because he not only broke the sabbath but also called God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”1

Jesus however, invited us to believe in him if we want our search for God satisfied… “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”2

Copyright 2000 EveryStudent.com. Used with permission.

Notes:

  1. John 5:18
  2. John 6:35
EmailPrint

8 thoughts on “Do All Religions Lead to the Same God?

  1. Krishna

    So do all religions of the world lead to the God? I am Hindu and I am proud to be one but some people say that whatever religion you choose, it will lead to the God.

  2. Sai

    So do all religions lead to the same God because I am Hindu and sone people say they all lead to te same God…is that true?

  3. Doris BeckDoris

    Thank you for coming to visit our site Krishna and Sai. Did you take the time to watch the video mentioned in the article above? May I suggest that you do? Although many people would say that indeed all religions lead to the same God, Jesus Christ made it clear that He was indeed the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.(John 14:6) If you would like to ask more questions, we do have online mentors that would love to interact more with you. Just fill in the form on this page and an online mentor will email you. http://powertochange.com/discover/talk-to-a-mentor/

  4. Jaime

    I believe in 1 True God. All religions follow the same God. We just have different views on how He is followed.

  5. JamieJamie

    Hi Jaime, on what do you base that opinion that all religions follow the same God? How do you know that is true? It seems to me that there are more than just differences between how each religion follows God but also on who they say He is. Buddhism says there is no God but rather an impersonal force to which we are connected and as we reach enlightenment that we are joined once again to that impersonal force. That is a completely different picture of God than what Islam identifies or Christianity follows. They identify God as the Supreme being who has personality and is able to interact with His creation. How can they be following the same God when they have such different views on who or what He is?

  6. Shepherd

    I believe that through translation and time, stories and truths are altered naturally. We can never fully understand the exact truths of any religion. All religious books were written and translated by man and humanity is imperfect. So religion, this day and age is also imperfect. I believe throughout history most religion is a broke off piece, and explanation to some truth. And were formed to help those in need of spirituality, by providing some type of explanation. Than, POW! U have a religion. God is God and in the end he will not damn you because u had his name wrong, or the exact history of his existence. He will weigh you heart and read your soul. So Live for what you believe and stay true to you.

  7. Doris BeckDoris Beck

    Interesting perspective Shepherd, and in many cases what you said is true. That is often what happens with man-made religions of which there are many out there. That’s what makes Christianity unique! Even the Bible itself isn’t one book written by one man but 66 books different books written over a period of time. And they all say the same thing!

    Also God has provided a way for us to be in right relationship with Him through the person of His son, Jesus Christ, thus giving us a way to have that relationship. He is the only person that was ever raised from the dead and promised to offer forgiveness of our sins through his death on the cross.

  8. Kenneth Mattay

    . God is the object of worship. No matter what religion you follow and who ever they call God, is their object of worship. Like give devotion to God, make prayer to God and pay charity in the name of “God”. So had Jesus been God? He would have been told people to worship him. But in fact in Matthew 15:9 he did the exact opposite. “But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” also another translation “Their worship of me is empty since they teach instructions that are human rules”. So Jesus said don’t worship me in the Bible.

Leave a Reply