This week’s challenge is that “All religions are basically the same.”

You might hear this statement followed by something like, “Every religion tells you how to live with basic morals like don’t murder and obey the golden rule.” Are all religions basically the same, or do they have fundamental differences? In that single area, they might be right. But there are two questions I have for anyone who seriously claims this.

What Do the Religions Teach?

First, how much research have you done into these religions? Are you sure you actually know what they believe? It doesn’t take very long at all to realize they make fundamentally different claims about the world. Christianity and Judaism teach that people die and go to Heaven or Hell, while Buddhists and Hindus believe in reincarnation, that when we die, we return to Earth in another form. Muslims believe Jesus was merely a prophet and didn’t die and resurrect, while Christians believe he was God incarnate who died and rose again for all of humanity. These are issues that cannot be reconciled.  If all religions are the same, somebody missed the memo when writing down the beliefs.

What is the Point of Religion?

The second question I’d have is what you believe religion is all about? I would guess that the person making this claim believes the point of religion is to provide morality. They believe religion is simply there to give us guidelines to get through life and improve society. I don’t know of any religion that makes this claim. Usually it’s far deeper, such as having a relationship with the creator of the universe, or progressing towards enlightenment.

This is a challenge that is quite easy to respond to, since it just requires some basic education. The mentality behind it is probably trying to promote peace among the different religions. That is a good thing to strive for, but dumbing down religion and sweeping the differences under the rug are not going to accomplish that.

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