Aren’t All Religions Basically The Same?

these are the notes from a message Glen Davis shared at Chi Alpha May 6th, 2003

The point of an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. G. K. Chesterton

Here’s one of my favorite poems: Creed, by Steve Turner. You might want to print this one off and hang it on your door–I bet it’ll get a response from your dormmates!

We believe in Marxfreudanddarwin.
We believe everything is OK
as long as you dont hurt anyone,
to the best of your definition of hurt,
and to the best of your knowledge.

We believe in sex before, during, and
after marriage.
We believe in the therapy of sin.
We believe that adultery is fun.
We believe that sodomys OK.
We believe that taboos are taboo.

We believe that everythings getting better
despite evidence to the contrary.
The evidence must be investigated
And you can prove anything with evidence.

We believe theres something in horoscopes,
UFOs and bent spoons;
Jesus was a good man just like Buddha,
Mohammed, and ourselves.
He was a good moral teacher although we think
His good morals were bad.

We believe that all religions are basically the same
at least the one that we read was.
They all believe in love and goodness.
They only differ on matters of creation,
sin, heaven, hell, God, and salvation.

We believe that after death comes the Nothing
Because when you ask the dead what happens
they say nothing.
If death is not the end, if the dead have lied, then its
compulsory heaven for all
excepting perhaps
Hitler, Stalin, and Ghengis Khan.

We believe in Masters and Johnson.
Whats selected is average.
Whats average is normal.
whats normal is good.

We believe in total disarmament,
We believe there are direct links between warfare and
Americans should beat their guns into tractors
and the Russians would be sure to follow.

We believe that man is essentially good,
Its only his behavior that lets him down.
This is the fault of society,
Society is the fault of conditions.
Conditions are the fault of society.

We believe that each man must find the truth that
is right for him.
Reality will adapt accordingly.
The universe will readjust.
History will alter.
We believe that there is no absolute truth
excepting the truth
that there is no absolute truth.

We believe in the rejection of creeds,
and the flowering of individual thought.

Aren’t all religions basically the same? I’ll give you a hint: the answer begins with an ‘n’ and ends with an ‘o’ (and it’s not ‘nacho’). Let’s take a look at four unpopular truths.

Unpopular Truth #1: Religions Are Superficially Alike But Deeply Different
The observation that all religions have something in common seems profound until we realize that the similarity is implicit in the common label religion What they have in common is precisely that which makes them a religion, and little else.

Unpopular Truth #2: Sincerity, While Commendable, Is Not The Litmus Test for Truth
Religious claims are often treated as though they were mere expressions of personal preference, much as one might make about art or ones own emotions. In reality, religious claims are truth claims. Either we are reincarnated at a station appropriate to our karma (Hinduism) or we are not. Either God became flesh (Christianity) or he did not Either the answer to suffering is the elimination of desire (Buddhism) or it is not. These are all matters of fact about which our opinions are either correct or incorrect.

Unpopular Truth #4: Differences Make a Difference
Beliefs drive behavior, and convictions shape character. What we think determines how we act, and so acquiring right beliefs is one of the most important challenges we face as humans.

Unpopular Truth #4: Jesus Is Unique
Jesus claimed to be God, something no other great teacher has ever done. Jesus also came to offer grace to each of us, and thats something no one else offers.

The point of an open mind, like having an open mouth, is to close it on something solid. G. K. Chesterton