Do All Religions Lead to the Same God?

Written by Michael Horner

spiritualgrowth_muslimsThere 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

Do you have questions about God or want to talk about your doubts? Talk to a confidential and free mentor.

See other articles by Michael Horner.

Copyright 2000 EveryStudent.com. Used with permission.

Notes:

  1. John 5:18
  2. John 6:35
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56 Responses to “Do All Religions Lead to the Same God?”

  • Sharon says:

    to tom thanks for the clarification– sharon

  • Tom Tom says:

    Sharon—
    Just to clarify a bit:
    Satan was originally Lucifer the angel, the most powerful of all the angels. When Lucifer rebelled against God, he was send to earth along with 1/3 of all the angels (because they followed Lucifer.) Satan and his followers are, for a time, in great control of the earth. He’s even referred to as the god of the world; but his power is limited by God.

    God’s word tells us that there are no good people. We have sinned and disobeyed God. There is not a single righteous person on earth. According to human standards, there are “good” and “bad” people, but in God’s eyes, we all come short of his perfection.

    Yes, Christ died for our sins. If we believe in him and trust him to save us from our sins, he will do so. It is only after we are saved that any of our “works” can be counted in our favor, and then only what we do for Christ will count as rewards in heaven.

  • Tom Tom says:

    Sajid–
    Thanks for joining the conversation Sajid. All views are welcome.

    Let me ask you some questions:

    1) Since the Quran says that Jesus is a pr0phet of God, can we believe everything Jesus said? In other words, can a pr0phet of God ever lie?

    2) Since Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me,” isn’t Jesus Christ the only way to heaven?

    3) Since the God of the Bible has very different attributes than Allah of the Quran, how can they both be God?

    4) Since Mohammed taught things contrary to what Jesus taught, how can they both be pr0phets of God?

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