Monday, August 01, 2005

Religion and Contradiction

Recently, I had a friend tell me that all religions are right in their own way.

Now, I'm no philosopher, but that didn't seem to make sense to me. Mainly because many religions are contradictory. For example, Buddhism denies the existence of sin. Judaism says sin is central to understanding humanity. Since they believe opposite things, the Buddhist and the Jew cannot both be right.

The Law of Non-Contradiction states that "A" and "Not A" cannot both be true. Christianity states that Jesus is God. Islam says Jesus is not God. They cannot both be true.

I know this isn't news to the sophisticated apologist or the worldview scholar. But I'm amazed how often I run into this line of thinking.

Recently, I climbed a mountain (Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado). As I climbed, I thought about the common claim that "All roads lead to the same destination". I thought of the paths on the mountain, and wondered if they all would lead me to the top. I didn't know. To claim that I did know would have been both foolish and arrogant. In fact, the only one who could know would be someone who had been to the summit. Fortunately, someone who had been to the summit had come down and marked the right trail for me.

The point is that no one can know whether or not all roads lead to heaven until they die. That is unless someone comes down from heaven and marks the right road. And if that someone also points out that all of the other roads lead to certain death, the kind thing would be to help out the other hikers. How intolerant of us.


Blogger empressbarb said...

What a great illustration!

9:35 AM  
Blogger read with open eyes said...

The passing of newsman Peter Jennings has produced the appropriate tributes, up-close-and-personal glimpses, and quotations. One of the striking, but not startling, comments from Jennings that has been replayed is, "I have discovered that there is no one truth that is the same for everyone." Like the statement that all religions are true in their own way, and many other post-modern dogmas, it is a self-refuting argument. If it is true, as Jennings obviously was convinced it was, then for some people it has to be not true. Then, by necessity, the truths of these other people must be the same for everyone, including Jennings. Hmmm.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Mike said...

Pilate asked, "What is truth?" I ask, what does it mean to assert the Bible is true? Does it mean we have the check the labels on all the clothes we wear: Deut 11 "Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together."

Can I assert the Bible is true in some meaningful way without supporting slavery, polygamy, incest, stoning, etc?

3:19 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

You can assert the Bible is true the same way you can assert that any written communication is true. By trusting the basic concept of comprehension, checking the context, researching authorial intent, and testing the assertions of the author. You did all of these things with my post, which led you to comment on it.

Slavery, polygamy, incest, or a ban on poly/cotton blends can all be understood within their textual contexts as "true" without us having to support them as prescriptive for godly living.

11:45 AM  
Blogger Our Lady of Fatima Biloxi said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:30 PM  
Blogger gbfluteman said...

Excellent illustration and post. I found this blog through a search on the part of my profile "biblical counseling." If you don't mind, I would like to use this post as a means of illustrating the absurdity of post-modernism to the 10th-12th grade Sunday School class I teach.

11:31 PM  
Blogger staceyhoff said...

Jesus says, 'I am the way, the truth, the life- no one can coem to the father Except through Me.' John 14:6
I don't exactly understand your post, in light of this scripture: could you explain it for me? Thanks :)

1:14 PM  

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