While sharing the gospel here in India, I often come across this notion that people have and I believe it is one of the greatest obstacle to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. How to address this issue, in a polite, loving, empathetic and a convincing way.
That’s a great question, @Ashishraj. I don’t know if I can do it justice or not, but I think I would start by asking them that if this were so, how can mutually exclusive ideas, or beliefs be true? Each religion has their own exclusive truths. They all can’t be right. Ravi would probably refer to the Law of Noncontradiction to back this up. Each of the world’s major religions all claim exclusivity in their beliefs of God. I’m sure other Connect members could expound on that better than I.
Although it was primarily a debate surrounding whether Muslims worship the same God as Christians, Nabeel Qureshi had a very provocative debate with Dr. Miroslav Volf. You might go to YouTube if you are interested in hearing that debate.
This is a great question @Ashishraj. I would agree basically with @Melvin_Greene that we need to show them that their view violates the law of non-contradiction. Basically, this law means that A and not A cannot both be true at the same time and in the same sense. So for example, an apple cannot both be red or green. When you see that the apple in front of you is red, it excludes other possibilities regarding color.
Though there are people who don’t think in this way regarding religion, it is inescapable. Ravi had this talk before with a professor who insisted that the logic in India is both-and and not either-or. Ravi was able to show this contradiction that the either-or emerges when a person believes that in India, a person must either believe only in both-and, or nothing else.
In terms of religion, there are different beliefs or doctrines. Islam believes that Jesus did not die on the cross, Christianity believes that Jesus did die on the cross. Theistic religions believe in a personal one true God. Hinduism may be pantheistic, which is impersonal, or polytheistic, Buddhism may be pantheistic too, or atheistic. Aside from that, each of those religions have different views on how why we experience pain in this world, or rules on how we must be saved. The same way that it’s either a bus or we that goes on the road first, there can only be one among the many that is right. The same way that 2 + 2 = 4, this excludes other answers as correct ones.
This is the idea in general, but I suggest that instead of telling this to them using statements, try to use questions instead, like, “Does God confuse people? Since if He is one, then why does He make different ways for people to reach Him that are contradictory?” Or maybe, “If it’s all the same, why do you bother that other religions are flourishing, or that other people are converted to other religions?”
@Ashishraj All of the above answers are great - indeed the law of noncontradiction is violated by the assertion that all gods are one.
An alternate approach you may take if the opportunity arises is to read the Gospels with them and challenge them to make Jesus their Master. Even if they struggle to leave behind the idea that all gods are one - as they walk with Jesus the Spirit of God will enable them to discern truth from error.
If the tone of your conversation is more philosophical, perhaps the law of noncontradiction is the way to go. If the tone is more relational, perhaps it is better to simply steer them toward the Master and let the rest fall into place.
Here’s the link to Ravi’s article which relates to your question:
I’m learning a lot in this discussion thread. Thank you everyone.
This is just a practical note on one of the illustrations shared by @omnarchy, concerning the color of the apple. The idea of comparing two different things and it being a falsehood to say both are the same creates a great, simple picture. It’s just that red and green happen to be two colors that a color-blind person cannot distinguish between–they actually see both as brown. Many people who are color blind have absolutely no idea that they are, and they might just find it confusing. The illustration can be easily adapted to be something that involves shape or other comparison that’s not color related–perhaps and apple and a banana.
Not trying to by picky at all, just not everyone is aware of the color thing. As a designer I’ve run into quite a few clients that were obviously color blind and had no idea–made it very challenging to get them to see the power of the design solution.
Good catch, @Jennifer_Judson. Indeed, it’s simply meant as an illustration, but being sensitive to the type of person whom we want to explain the law of non-contradiction is key, so that we’ll be able to give them the best illustration which they will appreciate best.
Thank you all for your valuable insight on this topic. I am trying to understand the law of non contradiction and use it effectively.
Here’s Ravi’s teaching on the law of non-contradiction, specifically talking about the Either/Or logic and the Both/And logic:
The Law of Non-contradiction vs. The Dialectical System - Ravi Zacharias
Thanks John I will follow the teaching and try to use the video…
Just want to add something that might interested for you. If you are really interested on this topic, there is a great book that tackled the problem of pluralism. It is called Dissonant Voice and Encountering Religious Pluralism:
The book will give a broader information about the view of many religions in the world and then moving on to the specific philosophy that said, every religion led to the same God. So it might help on understanding the people.
May I asked you: what is they meant when they said, all Gods are one? Is it giving an implication that everyone is God , or is it more into: all religion led to the same God?
Thanks Jessica I’ll look into those books to get more information on it…