Is there one true religion? Is there one true God? Does that God require a life free from willful sin while living here on earth?
Before exploring your question, let us explore this question, “Do all religions lead to the same God?” The answer is found in the fact that each of the major religions claim to have the correct path. Each one has a different view of God, if they believe in a god. Each one has a different view of salvation and man’s spiritual problem. Christianity and Judaism are the closest. Those who teach that every religion eventually leads to the same point have ignored the fact that each religion claims to have the truth. Each religion is exclusive ultimately. The sacred texts of the religions disagree with each other, except for Christianity and Judaism since they share the Old Testament. To claim that they all lead to the same god ignores the facts.
All religions are not the same. All religions do not point to God. All religions do not say that all religions are the same. At the heart of every religion is an uncompromising commitment to a particular way of defining who God is or is not and accordingly, of defining life’s purpose. (Zacharias, Ravi. Jesus Among Other Gods. Word Publishing. 2000. p. 7)
Is There One True Religion?
We will start by asking the question, “What are the signs or marks of the one true religion?” Someone sent a Bible question to Neverthirsty this past year and said that he or she believed the true god would be loving and kind. They rejected any other type of god. They preferred a warm and compassionate god. That was a very interesting statement. Would they reject the real god if he was unloving and not very kind? The truth is, God is still God even if we do not like Him. God is God. He is who He is. He will not change because you or I do not like Him, His actions, or His viewpoint.
How Can We Identify the True God?
Someone once asked me why doesn’t God show Himself and prove that He exists. The answer that I provided was that He already did. How many times must He show Himself? Is it possible that He has communicated with us already? Most likely He would have communicated with us long ago because people in ancient times would have been asking the same questions about Him that we do today. If He communicated, He would have spoken to one or more people – maybe everyone – and most likely they would have left a written record for others to read. How would He have authenticated His message for them and for those who would live thousands of years later? Would He have had His spokesmen write extremely large books, move a mountain, walk on water, or turn the sky green for a month? None of these very impressive signs would mean anything to anyone who did not see these events. For those in the future, He would have had to leave one or more signs that did not require someone to be physically present to visually see them. Consequently, He had to perform some supernatural events such as fulfilled prophecy. We should not be surprised then that a sacred book contains prophecies that had to be fulfilled and statements about historical events.
The Bible Is Unique
The vast majority of the Christian sacred book called the Bible contains history and prophecy. It is unique among the sacred books. Other sacred books contain little or no historical facts. History and prophecy provide the reader the ability to judge the accuracy and trustworthiness of the book. If the book is accurate when it speaks about historical events and if the supernatural prophecies come true, then we have reason to trust the book. That is, we can trust it when it speaks to other issues.
The Bible Contains History
About half of the Bible is devoted to history. After a very brief description of the creation of the world, the history of the first man and woman is given. Unfortunately, we cannot verify the accuracy of the statements about the first man and woman, since none of us were there. While ancient stories from other civilizations disagree about some details, there is a great deal of evidence that a world wide flood did occur once and a man rescued his family in a large boat. I would encourage the reader to visit Flood Legends from Around the World. The very successful secular London Times author Graham Hancock has written a book titled, “Finger of the Gods.” In his book, he asks the question why do many of the ancient civilizations agree that a world wide flood occurred?
The history sketch continues with an overview of the development of the nation of Israel from their journey from Canaan into Egypt, from the exodus out of Egypt back to Canaan, their deportation from Canaan to Babylon, and their return to Canaan. There is a gap of about 400 years between the Old and New Testaments. The historical overview starts again with Jesus Christ and continues through the lives of key apostles.
Some have claimed that the Bible contains historical errors. About one hundred years ago many archaeological and theological scholars were claiming that the Bible was not accurate because it claimed that the city of Jericho did not exist. The Bible also reported that the walls had fallen down. These scholars could not find a city named Jericho and they could not find a city whose walls had fallen outward. But knowledgeable scholars now agree that Jericho did exist and its walls did fall down outward. The book of Daniel refers to individuals who were once unknown to archaeologists and because they had not discovered the names in ancient ruins, they doubted the accuracy of the Bible. But archaeology has proven the critics to be wrong. Given enough time, archaeology has proven that the Bible is correct over and over again. In the land of Canaan cities were built on top of older cities that had been conquered and destroyed. So historical facts are buried below other historical facts. Archaeological discoveries continue to be unearthed. This last year a tomb of Jesus’ brother was found, proving that he existed. The written records of secular authors prove that Jesus existed and that He performed miracles. The testimony of some of these men can be found in the section called “Historical Jesus.” The Bible provides the details of Jesus’ teachings and miracles. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John provide overviews of only key events in Jesus’ life. So it is not surprising that many details are missing. It is a historical sketch. It is not exhaustive.
The Bible Contains Prophecy
The Old Testament is filled with hundreds of prophecies about the coming Messiah, Jesus Christ, the nation of Israel, and the future kingdom. There are prophecies about nations, cities and people. The destruction of Babylonian, Medo-Persian, and Grecian empires were predicted in the book of Daniel. The return of the Jews to the land of Canaan was predicted. That prophecy was fulfilled in 1947. The rise of conflict in the Middle East and its impact in the future was also prophesied in the book of Revelation. The article, “Peace: Sign of the End” discusses biblical prophecy about the future.
A significant prophecy about the time of Jesus’ death is given in Daniel 9:25-27. An article discussing the week in which jesus died is called, Date of Jesus’ Death. The prophecy says that the Messiah would die during that week. Therefore, anyone who died before or after that week was not the Messiah. Jesus died during that week in fulfillment of the prophecy. Now that is amazing since the prophecy occurred almost 450 years before Jesus was born.
The Bible has provided the following test of its claim to speak for God.
You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him. (NASB) Deut. 18:21-22
Changed lives is the other proof that the Bible is sacred. Many Christians openly talk about the great change that God has made in their lives. Men and women who believe Jesus Christ existed, believe that he is God, and are willing to let God change their lives are followers of Christ. They are called Christians, and God has changed them. They know it. Here is the testimony of the Apostle John.
What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we have looked at and touched with our hands, concerning the Word of Life — and the life was manifested, and we have seen and testify and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us — what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ. (NASB) 1 John 1:1-3
Life Free From Sin?
Does God require a life free from willful sin while living here on earth? The answer is no. Ecclesiastes 7:20 says that even the righteous are not sinless. No one is without sin.
Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins. (NASB) Eccl. 7:20
We cannot live a life without sin because we are sinners. It is our nature to sin. That is why Jesus came to rescue us from our sins. Jesus said that He came to save sinners and not those who think they are perfect. He came to save those who are lost (Luke 19:10 ). He forgives the sins of men and women who believe Jesus Christ existed, believe that he is God, and are willing to let God change their lives.
The Bible claims that it speaks the truth because it speaks for God and God cannot lie.
All Scripture is inspired by God . . . (NASB) 2 Tim. 3:16
. . . it is impossible for God to lie . . . (NASB) Heb. 6:18
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” (NASB) John 14:6
We can verify the Bible’s accuracy. The Bible can be authenticated by its history, prophecy, and the changed lives of those who believe in Jesus and yield themselves to Him. No other religion can make this claim. No other religion has a sacred book like the Bible. But do not take our word for it. Pray to God and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.
“Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD . . . (NASB) Jer. 29:12-14
Suggested Links:Searching For God
Date of Jesus' Death
Why should a person become saved?