Is there such a thing as religious truth?
Is there such a thing as religious truth?

I ended one of my last posts with a comment that some of you may have found unusual.  I said that Christianity is true. And when I say true, I don’t mean that its true for me. I mean it’s true no matter what you or I believe about it.  Of course I realize that’s a bold claim. I am willing to admit that I could be wrong about what I believe.  I’ve have changed my mind about spiritual things in the past (most dramatically going from an atheist to a theist).  In fact, I have taken the time to carefully look at the evidence for Christianity. I think the conclusions I have come to are sound.

Can We Know The Truth About Anything?

Most people you interact with don’t believe that you can know the truth about much of anything, but especially on spiritual matters. I have found that most people are ok with spiritual conversations as long as they are general in nature.  I had a teacher that once said “As long as you talk about God, you’ll be ok.  But once you start to talk about Jesus you will get pushback.”  Why is that?  Because Jesus is specific.  He made certain claims about Himself, the world around him, the nature of man and the nature of God.

What About Religious Truth?

But can we really know truth about religion?  You’ve probably seen the “Coexist” bumper sticker on cars while traveling the freeways. I have to admit, I’ve always disliked the bumper sticker.  Not because I think that we shouldn’t live together peacefully, I do.  But I think there is an underlying secondary message to the sticker.  The underlying message is, we should all get along because no religion has the truth, and all religions are basically the same.  I heard someone once say that all religions are basically the same, except for their view of man, the nature of God, how you are saved, if there is an afterlife, if there is reincarnation, how to solve the problem of evil in the world, whether or not the physical world actually exists and if heaven or hell exist.

Is there such a thing as religious truth?

Take a look at the bumper sticker to the right stating “Contradict, they can’t all be true”.  As Greg Koukl says, “This isn’t bigotry, this is math.”  Different religions make different truth claims about God. Hindus believe there are many gods, Muslims believe there is only one god.  They both can’t be right. Christians believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Jews believe he wasn’t.  Again, one of them is right, the other is wrong.  Our beliefs on the matter don’t change what the truth is.

How Do We Show People That Truth Exists?

So how can we show people that truth actually exists?  It’s easier than you might think.  If they make the claim that there is no religious truth, simply ask them if that’s a true statement about religion.  If their statement is true, then that would show that there is at least one truth about religion that can be known. It’s important to note that they believe this truth applies to all people, regardless of your opinion on the matter.  They are not saying there is no religious truth for those who agree with the statement. They are saying even if you are a Christian their opinion applies to you as well. So they are not taking a neutral, non-judgmental position.  They have a belief about religion that they think is true.

Is Truth A Product Of Our Beliefs?

Some will argue that all truth is relative to the person who believes it. In other words “that’s your truth, but I have a different truth”. This view has some flaws as well.  Things don’t pop in and out of existence based on our belief in them.  I often ask people who make this claim “If I stop believing in gravity, will I then float off the earth?”  That sounds ridiculous, and it is.  But we know from experience that realities don’t change with our point of view. 

So why should we think that heaven and hell might only exist for those that believe in them?  Do we really think someone could escape hell simply by not believing in it?  If that were the case, the best evangelism strategy would be to just burn anything that might tell people about heaven or hell. What would happen if someone committed a crime, and then stated that they shouldn’t be punished because they don’t believe in jails? That’s probably not going to work out very well for them. But this is the same danger people face when denying the existence of God, heaven, hell and other truths.

Is This Important?

So why is all this important? As Tent Making Christians, we are commanded to share the Gospel with others.  In Matthew 28:19 Jesus says:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.

But if people mis-interpret what kind of claim we are making (personal opinion vs. factual), our efforts will be hampered before we even get out of the gates.

You are probably all familiar with the magic team of Penn and Teller.  Pen Gillette is actually a pretty outspoken atheist. But he has an interesting take on Christians.  He appreciates when we try and evangelize to him.  He says something to the effect of “If you really believe that you know the way to eternal life, how much do you have to hate someone to not try and share that with them?”.  This is my primary motivation in doing what I do, and I think it should be all of ours as well.

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