Are All Religions True?
- Thursday, September 25, 2003
The tolerance issue is closely related to a favorite allegation of pluralists that nonpluralists are narrow-minded. They claim that their view is true, and everyone else is in error. This seems presumptuous. The response is that pluralists (P) and exclusivists (E) make an equal claim to truth and error. Both claim that their view is true and whatever opposes it is false. For example, if E is true, then all non-E is false. Likewise, if P is true then all non-P is false. Both views are "narrow." All truth is narrow. After all, 2 plus 3 has only one true answer -- 5. That is the way truth is.
Another objection is a presumption that truth should be more democratic. But truth is not decided by majority vote. Truth is what corresponds to reality, whether the majority believe it or not. Do pluralists really believe that all views are equally true and good and should be settled on by majority rule? Is fascism or Marxism as good as democracy? Was Nazism as good as any other government?
Beneath the pluralists' assertion that all major religions have equal claim to the truth is a relativistic view of truth. But the denial of absolute truth is self-defeating. It claims that relativism is true for everyone, everywhere, and always. But what is true for everyone, everywhere, and always is an absolute truth. Therefore, the relativist claims that relativism is absolutely true.
Christianity makes exclusive claims. Jesus said (Jn. 14:6; 10:1-9); his disciples added (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5); and Christianity provides unique evidence to support these claims: 1) No other great religious leader ever fulfilled dozens of predictions made hundreds of years in advance (cf. Gen. 3:15; 12:1-3; 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:1f; Isa. 7:14; Isa. 53; Dan. 9:25f); 2) No other great religious leader lived a sinless miraculous life (cf. Jn. 3:2; Heb. 2:3-4); 3) No world religious leader ever predicted and accomplished his death and resurrection (Mt. 12:40-42). In fact, there were over 500 witnesses of the resurrected Christ (1 Cor. 15:1-7).
Dr. Norman Geisler is president of Southern Evangelical Seminary (ses.edu) in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has spoken or debated in all 50 states and in 25 countries, and is author or coauthor of some 60 books and hundreds of journal articles. This article appeared originally in the September 2003 issue of AFA Journal.
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