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In our pluralistic postmodern culture it is commonly said that all religions are the same—that all faiths call for the same values, foster the same freedoms, create the same cultures, and lead to the same God.
Well, as the Indian-born philosopher Ravi Zacharias says (paraphrased), “I guess all religions are the same except in their understanding about the character of God, of the meaning of the universe, of human nature, of human value, of the nature of reality, of ethics, of the good life, charity, and kindness, sexuality, suffering, joy, hope, salvation, and our eternal destination of either heaven or hell.” Yes, indeed, all religions are the same except in matters critical to life and death, social and physical health, temporal and eternal existence—I guess if you set these minor issues aside all roads do lead to the same place and the same God…
So the next time you hear someone say that all “communities of faith” and all “faith claims” are the same, ask yourself this: Why do other religions still find slavery acceptable? Why do other governments still oppress women rather than liberate them? Why do other faiths still advocate the execution of those deemed heretics? Why do other countries and cultures under the influence of other religions disparage religious freedom rather than embrace it?
And how about this: Why is there no historical evidence of reformation and revival and of repentance and self-correction—of Great Awakenings—in any cultures other than those known as Judeo-Christian?
You see, ideas matter. They always lead somewhere. And the ideas that define our religions, whether they be theistic, atheistic, or agnostic, do lead to very different values, behaviors, governments, and cultural realties. Realities as different as freedom is from slavery. Realities as different as life is from death.