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Is Jesus too exclusive?

Updated: Mar 20

A Hindu parable describes six blind men feeling different parts of an elephant and reaching various conclusions about it. One feels the tail and says it must be a snake; another feels the body and declares it a wall; another feels the leg and argues it’s a tree; another concludes the ear is a fan; and so on. At the end of the tale, it is resolved that all of them are partly in the right and partly in the wrong. To access the full truth, you have to put all their viewpoints together to build the entire elephant. This parable is used to argue for Religious Pluralism – that all religions lead to the same truth.

Sikhism is the epitome of Pluralism. In the Sikh holy scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib, it talks about Nirvana, Reincarnation, Judgment Day, Karma, Hindu deities, Buddha, Monotheism, etc. It truly is an amalgamation of all the major world religions. Some prefer to see religion in this way. It is less offensive to claim that all religions have access to the same overall truth. Less offensive it may be, but is it a valid claim?


At the end of the Blind Men and the Elephant story, who is the person that sees all and is able to declare from their privileged position that the blind men were partly right and partly wrong? If humans following different religions are represented by the blind men, then who is the all-knowing, conclusive voice that alone realises every religion leads to the same goal? This is an Absolute Truth claim aiming to argue that relative/subjective truth is true! Paradoxical? Contradictory? Certainly seems that way.


Yes, Christianity makes exclusive claims about Jesus being the only way to the Father[1]. Jesus either is the way or He is not. Assess this evidence from previous posts:

  • Jesus laid down His life as the ultimate sacrifice for humanity’s sin, to pay the debt we owe to our Creator. This debt arises from the harm we do to other living things – our actions have real life consequences. This debt has to be paid off if we ever hope to gain access to the New Creation. Only redeemed creatures will be allowed, so sin doesn’t enter the eternal reality. The only way to be redeemed is to pay our debt – but we can’t, as we are finite and limited creatures. Only the perfect, sinless, infinite, unlimited, mighty God in human flesh could pay the debt, by giving His own life as a sacrifice.

  • Do any other religions offer an explanation for how our debt is paid? No other God has died in place of humans to cancel their sins and offer forgiveness in a way that is verified historically. There have been plenty of mythological Messiahs over time[2] but offering no verifiable evidence to transform their stories into concrete reality. Plenty of religions offer forgiveness without it having been paid for. The theory is that maybe if we do enough good deeds then that will outweigh the bad and then we can be forgiven. However, the victims of our sins aren’t going to care that we spent the rest of our lives doing good to others – they want recompense for their suffering. Only in Christianity does someone receive the ultimate punishment to show how serious sin is and what true justice looks like.

  • Balancing out your bad deeds with good ones isn’t enough – the bad deeds have to be eradicated completely so the victims are satiated. That is what Jesus’ death achieved. No other religion teaches that their god paid the debt on humanity's behalf. Every other religion requires you to work for your own salvation, which I’ve argued above is impossible for humans to do. No human can become perfect through their own efforts and resources. Yet, Eternal Life can only be given to perfect creatures so sin doesn’t wreck existence forever.

  • Jesus alone satisfies the victims; the demands for justice; pays the price for the consequences of sin; subsumes the debt totally and completely; and can offer full redemption for humans to be fit for purpose in the New Creation.

Yes, Christianity teaches exclusive claims. Maybe because there is only ONE way to deal with sin. It’s either true or it isn’t. It can’t be true and not true at the same time. Religions teach very contradictory things about God, about Creation, about Time, about the Cosmos, about Salvation, about an Afterlife, about Evil, etc. It’s too easy to say they all lead to the same goal in the spirit of fairness. It leads to an illogical outcome. You either receive Eternal Life as a free gift or you earn it. There either is no afterlife at all; you get reincarnated on Earth; you enter an impersonal, peaceful oblivion; or you are judged fit/ill for a New Creation. How can they all be true at the same time?


I mentioned in my previous post that the exclusive claims of Christianity are hard to swallow because it seems like a Western religion asserting itself above other cultures in an arrogant sense. But this is to totally misunderstand where and how Christianity began. Jesus was Jewish and born in the Middle East. Christianity spread throughout Israel, Europe and Asia during the time of the Roman Empire. It has since spread to nearly every country on the planet with 2.5 billion followers. The majority of Christians in the world today are hidden believers in China. They have to hide because they are persecuted by their government for believing in Jesus.

There is a prophecy in Revelation when John sees a vision of the New Creation. He described “there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb [Jesus][3]. This sounds like an extremely inclusive vision. God is real and His message through Jesus is for everyone; no matter where we are from or who we are. It’s just that there is only one entrance; one narrow door and His name is Jesus[4]. If there were multiple back doors via other routes, then that cheapens the death that Jesus suffered. It would be a meaningless, pointless sacrifice and our sins would still stand.


Why should you accept Jesus is the only way?

  • Eye-witnesses testified, in validated historical documents, that they saw Him crucified and come back to life in a body that displayed different physical laws revealing a new reality.

  • The Bible is crammed with prophecies that have come true throughout time. 351 predictions about Jesus, written hundreds of years before He was born, describe His life accurately against remarkable odds. Also, there are predictions that the state of Israel would reform and Jews would be ingathered from many nations to make their home there. This began in 1948 after nearly 2000 years of the Jews not living in Israel under their own government, as the Romans destroyed the city and exiled them.

  • No other religious scriptures contain vast quantities of verified prophecy like the Bible does. In fact, most don’t have any. The closest competitor is the Qur’an which allegedly has fulfilled 7 prophecies. Although one of the prophecies was that Pharaoh’s body would be preserved which was a well-known fact anyway -- ancient Egypt had a famous preference for mummifying their leaders. Another is that the land would experience pollution – but the actual wording is that corruption will come upon the land and sea”[5]. And another two are that the Qur’an will be preserved and easy to memorise, which while true, don’t seem remarkable predictions of the future that couldn’t possibly have been known without divine intervention.

  • Jesus is documented performing miracles that even His opponents couldn’t ignore[6]. They attest, in secular historical documents, that He must have been a “sorcerer”[7] as they had clearly seen or heard reports of the miracles for themselves. Here are unbiased sources which verify the miracle claims of a real historical figure. Compare this to the other religions…

  • Miracles in other religions are few and far between. The Hindu scriptures are clearly mythological stories (i.e. Hanuman the monkey-God battling Ravana the Demon King). The Qur’an explicitly states that Muhammad doesn’t perform miracles[8]. It is only Hadiths written years later by his avid followers that claimed some miracles were attributed to him which contradicts what Allah repeatedly declared. Guru Nanak’s legendary miracles were not recorded during his lifetime, or in the scriptures, but from oral history (folklore) with no secular historical documentation to back up the claims. And there is no historical evidence that Buddha existed as a real person and was called Siddhartha Gautama, let alone being born with golden skin, unless he suffered jaundice?![9]

  • Jesus’ early followers were martyred for their beliefs and held firm to their claims that He was the Son of God even under horrendous torture. Christians are martyred for their faith to a greater degree than any other religion in the world today. The Chibok schoolgirls from Nigeria were Christians kidnapped by Islamic Boko Haram. Christians in North Korea are sent to concentration camps. Chinese Christians are arrested for spreading the Gospel and they have to worship in secret. ISIS sold young Christian girls at slave markets to become child brides (alongside other minority groups). Christians are displaced and persecuted in many parts of Africa where Islam is the majority faith, as well as in Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Hindu Nationalist Party in India and militant Buddhists in South-East Asia are making life very difficult for minority Christians there. Christians were persecuted in the Soviet Union and sent to labour camps in Serbia where many froze to death. And that is just from the last 70 years.

  • The data, attributed to the late researcher David B Barrett, puts the number of Christians martyred since the time of Jesus at 70 million. Many are given the chance to turn from their beliefs and give up on Jesus but refuse to. They must have had very good reasons for choosing to die rather than giving up on their Faith.

  • The Big Bang needs an explanation, as does the remarkable fine-tuning of the Cosmos; the origin of life; the complexity of species in a short period of time; the human brain’s ability to understand other-worldly concepts; our knowledge of good and evil; awareness of the future; the occurrence of verified miracles such as NDEs, healings and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. My previous posts highlight how Christianity has answers for all these areas.

Christianity makes exclusive claims to all of humanity. Jesus said to his followers to “go and make disciples of all nations[10]. Therefore, you could argue that Christianity is actually the most inclusive of religions. It is not a Western religion trying to dominate other cultures. The Western version of Christianity is not even the dominant form. The Church is growing rapidly in areas of the world actively hostile to the Faith.

Did Jesus die for nothing? Are there other paths to take to the same destination? Doug, the Secular Buddhist, outlines that there is no historical evidence for the existence of the Buddha but argues that this doesn’t really matter – it’s the teachings that count[11]. But can you trust the teachings from a potentially 'make-believe' teacher, an unknown source? Jesus proved through His life and death that He was powerful, good, wise and able to save our souls. Why would you turn that down for a possibly fictitious offer?


If there are many paths to the Afterlife then which will you choose to walk? Or will you refuse to accept there is anything else other than annihilation ahead? What’s your evidence for your choice?


References

[1] John 10:30, John 14:6

[2] Carl Jung taught that archetypal stories play themselves out continually throughout history. There is a hunger in the human heart and mind for Saviour-type figures. Why do you think that the top-grossing films of all times include superhero franchises? We are built to seek a Saviour - many myths contain this theme. We can't get enough of the archetypal arc of good vs. evil with redemption and overcoming adversity involved. Christianity, which is the epitome of this archetypal story, has so much logical evidence/arguments in its favour as a concrete/objective reality that it is where the narrative world plays itself out in the real figure of Christ. All the different mythological saviours can actually point to the objectively real one - rather than provide evidence against Him. [3] Rev 7:9 [4] Luke 13:22-30 [5] Surah 30:41 [6]https://dowym.com/voices/5-secular-non-biblical-authors-who-verify-jesus-life-and-ministry/ [7] The Babylonian Talmud [8] Surah 17:90-93, Surah 10:20, Surah 67:25-26, Surah 29:50, Surah 13:7, Surah 21:5, Surah 6:109 [9] https://youtu.be/fKDyCszF7zE [10] Matthew 28:19 [11] https://youtu.be/fKDyCszF7zE

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