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Do all religions lead to the same end?

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<span style="font-size:20pt;line-height:115%;font-family:Calibri, sans-serif;">Do all religions lead to the same end</span>

Caitlin Bootsma - published on 05/07/13

Jesus said he was the only way to God

You might have heard the claim – or even made it yourself – that religions all serve the same purpose. Perhaps you believe that the end of religion is happiness, and that one should pick the religion that makes him feel the most happy. Or, perhaps you think religion is a tool to better society, to inspire virtuous behavior so that we all get along. I’ve even heard some atheists suggest that all religions are a crutch for people who want a fake meaning of life to be handed to them so they don’t have to think for themselves.

Of course, all of these suggestions are symptomatic of a relativistic culture – a society that does not believe there is an absolute truth. If you believe there is an objective reality (whether we can know it fully or not), then to propose that all religions are equally true, or lead us to the same end, is illogical.

Consider, for example, the words of Christ in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” Here, we are told that the only way one reaches God the Father is through Jesus Christ. This is the purpose of our life, according to Christianity. One does not follow Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, or any other religion to reach the Christian God. We must accept as well that these religions would not claim that adherence to their faith would lead to the Christian God, but rather to the deities they believe exist.

In this passage in the Gospel of John, we are also told that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. In other words, religion isn’t primarily about making us happy (though it ultimately does), or about helping us to become virtuous (though it also has that effect) or even about “giving us meaning.” Rather, it is about the reality of the Person of Jesus Christ, who became incarnate so that he could suffer, die, and rise to save us.

To be Christian and claim that any other religion could serve our ends just as well is to deny that there is only one reality. As Christians, we profess that the “end of religion” is to be united with God in Heaven. Christ tells us that he is the Way, and that only through him will we reach that end.


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