The Only True Religion
By Jack Kinsella
I was chatting with a friend about the news and such when he unexpectedly turned the conversation to the subject of religion and specifically the notion that Christianity is the only ‘true’ religion.
“How do YOU know that Christianity is the only genuine religion? People from other religions think theirs is the only true religion. Even some Christian denominations claim theirs is the only way to heaven. Didn’t Jesus die for everybody?”
“Don’t get me wrong,” he continued, “I believe in Jesus and the whole Bible. I just think the idea that Christianity is the only true religion sounds pretty narrow-minded. How can you be so sure?”
At the risk of sounding like, well, you-know-who, much depends on how you define the word ‘religion.’ The Oxford English Dictionary defines ‘religion’ as “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power,” or “a particular system of faith and worship.”
Christianity is a relationship, not a religion. Attending a particular church doesn’t make one a Christian. And not going to any church at all doesn’t mean one isn’t a Christian. It is not a ‘system’ of worship, it is a personal friendship with Jesus.
“Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” (John 15:14-15)
But applying ‘religion’ to Christianity in its loosest sense, the question remains: “How can anybody be completely sure that Christianity is the ONLY true religion?”
The simplest answer is the most obvious. While there can be many religions, there can be only one God. And while there can be many purported revelations from God, only one of them can be true. Things that are different are NOT the same.
Jesus Christ said that He was the ONLY way to the Father. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.” (John 14:16)
Jesus also said that He alone revealed the Father.
“All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and He to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” (Matthew 11:27)
Christians don’t believe Christianity is the only true religion out of narrow mindedness or bigotry. They believe it because they take Jesus at His Word.
There is more or less universal agreement among the various religions that Jesus was a good man and a wise teacher. Jesus SAID that HE was the only way. Either he was telling the truth, or he was a liar and a lunatic.
Truth is not a feeling. Truth is not an idea. Truth can stand on its own merits, without requiring interpretation or semantic gymnastics.
Jesus offers a relationship with God, by trusting in Him and what He accomplished by His death and resurrection, instead of trusting in one’s own efforts.
Sincerity and good works cannot bridge the gap of sin between God and man. The truth of that statement is self-evident.
Men sin. Sinners cannot undo their previous sin, no matter how many good works they perform. Neither can they be certain they won’t sin again, no matter how sincerely they try.
If sincerity and good works were sufficient, then there would be no point in God giving us a Bible to correct our sincerely-held wrong ideas about Him. And He wouldn’t have sent His Son to accomplish what our good works could not.
It is utterly illogical to assume that there can be more than one acceptable way to please God. Logic demands that there can be only one true religion.
It isn’t narrow-mindedness. It isn’t religious bigotry. Jesus is the only way to the Father because He said so.
And if He doesn’t know, who does?
Originally Published: November 30, 2006.