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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74 Responses to “Do All Religions Lead to the Same God?”

  • Tom Tom says:

    LGD–

    I agree. But the original question was whether Islam, based on its teachings and actions, is a religion of peace. I think it’s clear that it is not.

  • LGD says:

    You are right, those that practice this things are the “intolerant” ones……..

    an experpt from got questions({dot)]org “What were the Christian crusades?”

    To summarize briefly, the crusades were attempts in the 11th through 13th centuries A.D. to reclaim land in the Middle East that had been conquered by Muslims. The crusades were brutal and evil. Many people were forced to “convert” to Christianity. If they refused, they were put to death. The idea of conquering a land through war and violence in the name of Christ is completely unbiblical. Many of the actions that took place in the crusades were completely antithetical to everything the Christian faith stands for.

    How can we respond when, as a result of the crusades, the Christian faith is attacked by atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and those of other religions? We can respond in the following ways: 1) Do you want to be held accountable for the actions of people who lived 900+ years ago? 2) Do you want to be held accountable for the actions of everyone who claims to represent your faith?

    Trying to blame all of Christianity for the crusades is analogous to blaming all Muslims for Islamic terrorism.

  • LGD says:

    my last comment went into the moderation que? when the previous ones didn’t? (minus my first)

  • LGD says:

    Tom-

    You are right, those that practice this things are the “intolerant” ones……..

    an experpt from got questions(dot)org “What were the Christian crusades?”

    To summarize briefly, the crusades were attempts in the 11th through 13th centuries A.D. to reclaim land in the Middle East that had been conquered by Muslims. The crusades were brutal and evil. Many people were forced to “convert” to Christianity. If they refused, they were put to death. The idea of conquering a land through war and violence in the name of Christ is completely unbiblical. Many of the actions that took place in the crusades were completely antithetical to everything the Christian faith stands for.

    How can we respond when, as a result of the crusades, the Christian faith is attacked by atheists, agnostics, skeptics, and those of other religions? We can respond in the following ways: 1) Do you want to be held accountable for the actions of people who lived 900+ years ago? 2) Do you want to be held accountable for the actions of everyone who claims to represent your faith?

    Trying to blame all of Christianity for the crusades is analogous to blaming all Muslims for Islamic terrorism.

  • Tom Tom says:

    LGD–
    Correction: That’s 1300 years, not 1700 years.

  • Tom Tom says:

    LGD–
    Thank you for stating the source, as I should have done so myself. However, an attempt to refute the more than 100 verses that teach the destructive and deadly doctrines of Islam is not even necessary. Nearly 1700 years of history clearly reveal that Islam has from the beginning been a religion of conquest and brute force to either bow to the god known as Allah or to be tortured and/or put to death. Those same teachings are what are being acted out by the “faithful” today all around the world. I suggest that those who practice these things are the “intolerant” ones, not those who point out the obvious.

  • LGD says:

    Hi Tom

    First it would be nice if you cite your source especially if you copy and paste and not paraphrase to avoid plagiarism

    Thereligionofpeace{dot)com. “What does Islam Teach about…Violence”

    Also it helps the reader establish the credibility of the author and what agenda the author might have.

    I did search most of those a few of those verses looking for explanations from the apologetics of one’s faith. I am not Muslim and honestly haven’t studied it so I will give one example and one counter from an outside few to christianity to see if I can make a clear point.

    2:190 Fight in the way of God those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. God does not like transgressors.
    2:191 And kill them wherever you find them and expel them from wherever they have expelled you, and fitnah [Persecution] is worse than killing. And do not fight them at al-Masjid al- Haram until they fight you there. But if they fight you, then kill them. Such is the recompense of the disbelievers.
    2:192 And if they cease, then indeed, God is Forgiving and Merciful.
    2:193 Fight them until there is no [more] fitnah [Persecution] and [until] worship is for God. But if they cease, then there is to be no aggression except against the oppressors.
    2:194 [Fighting in] the sacred month is for [aggression committed in] the sacred month, and for [all] violations is legal retribution. So whoever has assaulted you, then assault him in the same way that he has assaulted you. And fear God and know that God is with those who fear Him.
    2:195 And spend in the way of God and do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, God loves the doers of good.

    “ It’s important whenever one reads a Quranic verse, to read it in its context. As you have read, critics only quote the part which suites them, they isolate previous verses and the ones after. When the passage is examined in context, it is clear that nowhere does it sanction the killing of innocent people. From verse 2:190 to 2:195, when read, Allah makes it evident to fight those only who fight them, fighting in self-defence.
    Another thing some love to do with the verse is, change the Arabic word’s meaning. Example, the Arabic word ‘Fitna’ used in 2:191 and 2:193, they deceptively have translated the word as ‘disbelief’. So, when it’s read in that perspective, the passage is implying to fight to those who are disbelievers, just because of their religion. This again when we examine it, it will turn out to be a lie. The Arabic word ‘Fitnah’ means ‘persecution’, ‘corruption’, ‘sedition’. But when the word ‘Fitnah’ is used in verse 2:191 and 2:193 it means ‘persecution’.”

    discover-the-truth[dot}com “Quran 2:191- ‘And kill them wherever you find them…’ Explained” Kaleef K. Karim

    Now what you did to Muslim doctrine could possibly what occurs to Christians from people that don’t understand and conclude based off of misinformation or taking something out of context

    Matthew 10

    “34 Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
    35 For I have come to turn ” ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law

    Luke 19:27

    But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay them before me.

    See?

    To stay on topic..

    My main premise was the misunderstanding that this article has of the point of the story “blind men and the elephant” .

    But one has to be willing to view with an opened mind to see the truth.. and understand that one doesn’t have to falter away from what they subscribe to , to have tolerance and respect for others.

    there is of course basic guidelines that one should use to measure , and trust that the ethics and morals that was ingrained in us that what we believe and the path we choose to accept doesn’t harm others.

    LGD

  • Tom Tom says:

    LGD–
    Thanks for your views, but I find it interesting that the only thing that Harsha wrote that is actually true is the thing you find hateful and intolerant.

    While I’m confident that the majority of Muslims are peaceful at heart, the book they profess to believe in teaches something far from peace and tolerance. Islam was established and built on the idea of conquest, and the destruction of any and all who held opposing views. The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

    Unlike nearly all of the Bible’s Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran. But allow me to let the Quran speak for itself:

    Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)”

    Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (I.e. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

    Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

    Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

    There are dozens and dozens more verses that challenge the true Muslim to wage a religious war against any and all who deny Allah and his pr0phet.

    Over the last 1400 years, 270 million non-believers have been murdered by Muslim jihadists. Islam destroyed the Christian Middle East and Christian North Africa. It is estimated that upwards of 60 million Christians were slaughtered during this conquest. Also, half the Hindu civilization was annihilated and 80 million Hindus murdered. Islamic jihad has also destroyed over 10 million Buddhists. In other words, Islam is a killing machine, not a religion of peace.

    The truth is that Islam is not a religion of peace. Over 90% of all the conflicts on this planet today involve Muslims fighting non-Muslims or each other! We should be very thankful that the majority of Muslims do not closely follow the teachings of the Quran.

  • Tom Tom says:

    LGD–
    Thanks for your views, but I find it interesting that the only thing that Harsha wrote that is actually true is the thing you find hateful and intolerant.

    While I’m confident that the majority of Muslims are peaceful at heart, the book they profess to believe in teaches something far from peace and tolerance. Islam was established and built on the idea of conquest, and the destruction of any and all who held opposing views. The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers for the sake of Islamic rule. Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding. Muslims who do not join the fight are called ‘hypocrites’ and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

    Unlike nearly all of the Bible’s Old Testament verses of violence, the verses of violence in the Quran are mostly open-ended, meaning that they are not restrained by the historical context of the surrounding text. They are part of the eternal, unchanging word of Allah, and just as relevant or subjective as anything else in the Quran. But allow me to let the Quran speak for itself:

    Quran (2:191-193) – “And kill them wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out. And Al-Fitnah [disbelief] is worse than killing… but if they desist, then lo! Allah is forgiving and merciful. And fight them until there is no more Fitnah [disbelief and worshipping of others along with Allah] and worship is for Allah alone. But if they cease, let there be no transgression except against Az-Zalimun (the polytheists, and wrong-doers, etc.)”

    Quran (3:151) – “Soon shall We cast terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers, for that they joined companions with Allah, for which He had sent no authority”. This speaks directly of polytheists, yet it also includes Christians, since they believe in the Trinity (I.e. what Muhammad incorrectly believed to be ‘joining companions to Allah’).

    Quran (4:76) – “Those who believe fight in the cause of Allah…”

    Quran (5:33) – “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement”

    Quran (8:12) – “I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them”

    There are dozens and dozens more verses that challenge the true Muslim to wage a religious war against any and all who deny Allah and his prophet.

    Over the last 1400 years, 270 million non-believers have been murdered by Muslim jihadists. Islam destroyed the Christian Middle East and Christian North Africa. It is estimated that upwards of 60 million Christians were slaughtered during this conquest. Also, half the Hindu civilization was annihilated and 80 million Hindus murdered. Islamic jihad has also destroyed over 10 million Buddhists. In other words, Islam is a killing machine, not a religion of peace.

    The truth is that Islam is not a religion of peace. Over 90% of all the conflicts on this planet today involve Muslims fighting non-Muslims or each other! We should be very thankful that the majority of Muslims do not closely follow the teachings of the Quran.

  • Elkay says:

    Harsha and LGD, the things that I have found to be the “Real Deal” all focus on Jesus . . .

    The point of Christianity is the re-establishment of a “Father-child” relationship between the incomparable God who created our cosmos and us in spite of our ragamuffin nature. God is eternally, immutably, and intrinsically good and His character cannot tolerate our wrong doings. But He also will not “give up” on His creation and the role Jesus has is to “fix” the problem. This is why all of our worship, praise, devotion, energy, etc., all of what we are, has to be focused on Jesus Christ.

    This means that our primary interest is getting to know Jesus as Lord and Savior, to follow Him and to grow close to Him. He was neither lying nor insane when He told the religious establishment that He and God the Father were one (John 10:30) and that when you see Him, you see that Father (John 14:9). Paul makes it very clear in the first chapter of Romans that nature alone speaks loudly about God and that we have no excuse for substituting anything in His place.

    Why is it that Christians can confidently affirm their identity as God’s children, members of His family? The short answer is that we have received the Spirit of sonship (Rom. 8:15). But if we continue to probe, we discover that this Spirit is none other than the Spirit who sets Jesus apart as God’s Son by raising Him from the dead. Jesus’ resurrection by the Spirit begins the re-creation of God’s family. When we receive the Spirit of sonship, we are receiving the Spirit of Jesus, the resurrected Son of God and no other “religion” holds this promise.

  • LGD says:

    Harsha

    You were making some interesting points, that I wanted to have an open discussion about but the second to last paragraph caused me to delete my notes.

    “Now, moving to Islam. Many muslims claim that this is a religion of peace. But when you notice in Mid East (Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya etc) you have the same Muslims fighting and killing amongst themselves. How then can this be a religion of peace? ”

    That is such a hateful and intolerant thing to say. Having what is going on over there because certain groups are misusing that belief system to justify their actions. The belief system itself is peaceful and I know many Muslims that have a peaceful mentality based off of their religious beliefs.

    I hope not eating meat is enough to follow the laws of karma to your advantage.

    Good day..

  • Harsha says:

    Hello Folks, At my current level of consciousness, I do not believe that all Religions lead to the same God. Each religion is at a certain level of consciousness and hence at their core, they may not even realise that they are completely doing the opposite of what the real GOD wants.
    I am a Krishna worshipper and hence worship to his idol everyday. I have read Bhagavad Gita and Srimad Bhagavatam. In these 2 books, I got convinced beyond doubt that Krishna is the only God and he is the same person that Jesus referred to as Father. In that sense, I totally agree that Jesus is the son of GOD. As a Krishna follower, I totally understand that animals and humans are souls and I do not have the right to hurt or kill either of them. Hence, I do not eat meat, fish and eggs. Let’s say I disregard this rule and start eating animal meat. This means, I will be affected by the laws of Karma and I will be reborn as a chicken or a Cow and should get slaughtered in the next life (this is the price I pay for eating meat in this life).In addition, the 2 books describe how Krishna looks like, where he resides and also what I should do in this current human life if I desire to go His abode (called Krishnaloka)

    Now, Christians believe that GOD has blessed them with everything on this Earth to enjoy and hence it is absolutely fine to kill an animal and eat it. How can GOD give 2 contradictory rules ? Hence, I firmly agree that Christians will end up in the path of repetitive Karma of birth and death and keep paying the price for killing innocent and helpless animals. Jesus said ‘Thou shall not kill’. Doesn’t this mean that you should not kill? If yes, how do you justify killing animals?

    Now, moving to Islam. Many muslims claim that this is a religion of peace. But when you notice in Mid East (Syria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Egypt, Libya etc) you have the same Muslims fighting and killing amongst themselves. How then can this be a religion of peace? They can claim that they have an upper hand compared to Christians because they eat animal meat but spare the pigs/swines.

    If 2 students have scored 7 and 10 marks respectively in Maths but the minimum passing mark is 15, both of them have failed. But, the other student thinks he is better off than the other because he has scored 10. This is how I would look at the followers of these 2 most widespread religions.

  • LGD says:

    Hi Jamie, You are right one doesn’t have to do works to prove faith.. thanks for the correction, because that is what I actually meant. Works is because of our faith, and helps us be aware of it. not to prove to God (because he knows) and not to prove to others (with the exception of setting an example).

    I don’t want to go too much into other faiths and religion, because I am not trying to sway anyone that is strong in a particular faith, just want to point out that we as followers may not fully grasp what we receive, no matter how popular/unpopular it may be. I just want to point out what you mentioned.

    1. Islam. in the 5 pillars first one must announce faith in God and it would make sense to acknowledge their prophet, but their is only one true God.
    Well Jesus and God are one and the same so there is a possibility that Islam isn’t going down a wrong path.

    The rest of the 4 pillars are just rituals that help keep one’s mind towards God.. The last part about “earning a BETTER CHANCE of entering Paradise” I am not sure if that is exactly what they mean, but as long as it’s Allah’s (God’s ) will pretty much some it up.

    Christian’s learn God’s will through the scripture, Jesus(who is God), and prayer.

    The reason that God sent Jesus was to show that he has done what we have been falling short of doing. So Accepting God and understanding it is his will for our salvation. i wouldn’t believe semantics would prevent that from happening.

    AS far as Buddhism detaching ourselves from worldly views and achieving Nirvana, (awareness of our relationship with “God”) or enlightenment (opening our ears to God perhaps? ) the last comment “ where we cease to exist as an individual” hmmm My wife is Buddhist and she is quite an individual :) however I am sure the Monks are pretty dedicated (as some extreme followers/teachers of Christ) not to say that is a bad thing.

    I just hope that you see the possibilities that people that who haven’t quite found Jesus that if they are looking towards God they still maybe following how God intended or making mistakes the same way as ones that did find Jesus.

    We all know about Gravity.. but do we understand the science behind it? knowing or not knowing the laws of Gravity doesn’t change the fact that “what goes up must come down” or what would happen if we take one more step at the end of a cliff. Gravity is still Gravity if we know it or not.

    LGD
    Romans 14

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi LGD, I would rephrase your statement about works slightly; you wrote, “However our works are needed to show our faith or to truly see and be connected with God.” It is not that our works are needed to show our faith but rather they will reveal our faith and our true connection with God. Paul wrote “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) The message of Jesus is that humanity is separated from God because of our rebellious nature against God. Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin against God, and through His resurrection we now have access to His Spirit living in us, guiding us so that our lives reflect His character. As we live by faith, looking to Jesus to lead and guide the decisions we make in life, our thoughts, attitudes, and actions are shaped into His perfect character. Our focus is not on doing good works, because they naturally happen through His leading and guiding us. So I don’t need to do good works to prove that I am follower of Jesus, but rather as I follow Jesus I do good works.

    That is one of the central differences between faith in Jesus and all other religions and world views. In Islam there are the 5 Pillars: Faith in the oneness of God and Muhammad His prophet, Prayer according to the rituals laid out in the Quran, Charity towards the poor, Fasting in the proper ways described in the Quran, and Pilgrimage to Mecca. As a person follows the 5 Pillars they earn a better chance of entering Paradise as long as Allah wills it. The emphasis is one what a person does to pay the penalty for their sins and earns Allah’s favour. In Buddhism, we are all trapped in the eternal cycle of death and rebirth because of our desire. In order to escape from that never-ending cycle we must detach ourselves from desire and achieve Nirvana, the point where we cease to exist as an individual. You will note that it is all about what a person does to attain a level of enlightenment. I could go on through other religions a that have rituals, moral codes, or levels of enlightenment through which a human can fix whatever is broken with their nature and be set free.

    Jesus’ message is uniquely different from all others because Jesus said, “Apart from Me you can do nothing”(John 15:5) Instead of humans do something to reach up to God (however they might define God), God reaches down to humanity and rescues us from ourselves. He purifies us so that we live out the purpose for which He created us. We are just called to trust that He will do it, and that He will lead us to follow His plan. That is a message that is incompatible with all other religions, which deny that we need God to rescue us–we can/must rescue ourselves.

  • LGD says:

    Jamie, thank you for your thorough reply, and Picaso :)

    I do believe what Jesus is saying, but I don’t fully accept your comment about that. Yes there are warped worldviews of who God is, but it is hard to believe that many people’s interpretation of Jesus’s words to have the corner market of the view of God.

    If we take Jesus “being the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to God the Father, except by me” we can look at it as being by the grace of God that we are saved. It is exemplified by Jesus. Also, if we accept this we will be guided by the gift of the Holy Spirit that will be inside us.

    So Jesus and God are the same (bible verse quotes inserted) Our works do not accomplish this. However our works are needed to show our faith or to truly see and be connected with God. ( Again bible verse quotes inserted, because I am sure that you are aware of references to this).

    Now with that being said.. If we look to God, but do not know the record of Jesus (who is God in the flesh), however no it doesn’t matter what we do it doesn’t change the fact as to what he has done. It is also possible that no matter what terminology we use that we know it isn’t us in control that we still fall under that umbrella if we are in the mindset of the same concept? So what about the works? We have to understand inside or out side the Jesus teachings, that our works are towards keeping our mind away from worldly views and look inside for that outward connection(this being the Holy spirit, God talking to us, or linking outwardly to what we don’t physically see or can’t be simply explained by reading text and blindly accepting it.

    My point is not to steer you nor anyone else away from what you believe with the exception of rethinking the who “Jesus’s way or the highway” mentality. I believe this analogy of the elephant and the blind men displays that. It is one thing to hold true to your belief and congregate with like believers. Also understandable for wanting to share that to ones that are not going down a path of outwardly thinking. The bible states that we must be weary of false faith, but doesn’t necessarily state that you must follow the literal context of any writing.

    I hope I expressed my point properly, it is hard to provide an abridged explanation of a topic that I literally could talk hours about.

    LGD

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    HI LGD, I do appreciate your thoughtful response to Michael Horner’s article. I agree that there are numerous ways that this analogy insufficiently describes our reality. I guess it is important to note that Michael is responding to an analogy that is used to claim that all religions are ultimately describing their own perspective of the nature of God, each with their own piece of truth. I am certain that Michael does not hold that view and so any attempt he makes at building off this analogy is going to fall short and be misleading in some way.

    I suppose one aspect of the analogy that is true is that we all have opportunity to observe the character of God because it is evident through what He has made. The same can be said of an artist: we look at the art of a man like Picaso and we can see how life circumstances impacted him. There was his blue period (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picasso%27s_Blue_Period) in which his paintings used monochromatic colours and morose subject matter. This was in response to his depression and sorrow over the suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas. Picaso’s paintings changed after he met and fell in love with Fernande Olivier; the colours he used were much warmer and inviting, and the subject matter became much more joyful, so that this is now know as his Rose Period (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picasso%27s_Rose_Period)

    Just as we can know about an artist through the things created, so we can know God through what He has created. The Apostle Paul wrote that what can be known about God is evident to us because God has made it plain through what He has made (Romans 1:19-21). But Paul in those verses also states that we suppress the truth about God because we don’t want to honour Him and submit to His authority. So if the analogy were to reflect Paul’s claim, the blind men are only blind because they have closed their eyes and refuse to look at the whole truth of God. Their descriptions that they use for God reflect more of their own agenda rather than what they honestly can observe. So your point about trusting what Jesus says also needs to apply to what all the other blind men are saying.

    That is why the coming of Jesus is so cataclysmic: out of His love for us God has come to Earth to reveal the truth about Himself. Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen God the Father.” (John 14:9) He also said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to God the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) He does not give us opportunity to put our trust in any other worldview because He knows that all of them reflect a warped view of who God is. As you pointed out then, the question is: Can you trust what Jesus said? What do you think LGD, can He be trusted? Why or why not?

  • LGD says:

    The more I looked into the analogy,, I realize that this article misleads and doesn’t seem to be a proper interpretation of the story.

    “Do all religions lead to the Same God?” Who knows. The story is stating the each observation of the blind men is true but subjective, it may not be the totality of the truth. they are limited by failing to account for the other observed “truths”. the blind men needed to communicate and respect each different perspective.

    Is Jesus the “fifth man”? Well this could go a couple of ways

    Since the “major religions” have different views, this would seem to imply that Christianity and Jesus would be one of the blind men’s observation. That what Jesus says is true but limited by not describing the whole truth. Of course this wouldn’t be accepted nor a popular opinion for Christians.. Note that this would be the same if we said that for Islam and Allah, or any specific religion and their doctrine…. that each perspective view would not accept this opinion towards their beliefs and that they represent one of the blind men’s observation as well. Of course who knows?

    The other way could be that maybe each religion is the whole truth but our observations are represented by the blind men? Maybe us a humans are missing the point that the truth is being described totally across the religions but we pick an choose the truth based of our limited observation?

    or it could be some sort a combination of both?

    To write about the story of the blind men and elephant and conclude that the author’s view that Jesus is the “fifth man” is not solving the “riddle” of the story but proving the point of the story.

  • LGD says:

    The way I see the analogy of the elephant and the four blind men is that they don’t have enough information to make a firm stance on what the truth is. It also leads to show that each discription is left to question, if they don’t know it’s an elephant, how can they know for sure that it is a wall, snake, or rope? The elephant is an elephant no matter how the four men concluded it to be. I would draw from this story that we as humans shouldn’t be so quick to “blindly” accept a confirmation and continue to be open on this quest.

    As far as the hypothetical fifth man who can see, that would change the analogy by making it longer.

    1) blind men would have to take this mans word for it.
    2) and/or the blind men would have to feel the other parts of the elephant that each other touched

    Then it leads us as the outsiders to either hold firm to one of the first four conclusions or that the fifth person was right.

    I guess it boils down to first person view. And unfortunately all religious doctrine isn’t first person view to the readers. For those that have experienced it personally first person view is lost once the experienced has been passed on.

    *i will pause for now and come back at a later time*

  • 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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