Post Author: Bill Pratt
I have previously written a post on why all religions cannot be true, but I wanted to revisit this topic and add another perspective.
Religions are commonly composed of three parts: code, cult, and creed.
Code is the moral code that a religion teaches. For Christianity, it would include “love your neighbor” and “do not murder” and other such moral commands.
Cult includes the rituals, ceremonies, and observances of a religion. Singing hymns, baptizing, celebrating the Lord’s Supper – these would all be examples of the cult of Christianity.
Creed involves the doctrines or teachings of a religion. Christians believe that Jesus is God, that he died for our sins, that God is a Trinity. These are all examples of the creed of Christianity.
Now, when a person says that all religions are the same, they are almost always talking about code. It is true that the basic moral commands of most religions are the same, or at least very similar. Everyone agrees that love of our fellow man is good, that we shouldn’t kill the innocent, that we should help each other. There is little disagreement on the basic moral commands, although there may be disagreement on how those moral principles are practically applied in each society.
But code is only one part of what constitutes a religion. The cult and creed of different religions may radically differ. We cannot sweep these differences under the rug, as they are crucial to the understanding of any religion.
As a Christian, would you be willing to stop baptizing so that other religions that don’t baptize could have more in common with you? What about the Lord’s Supper? Is this just an empty ritual with no meaning that we might give up for the sake of religious unity?
How about our beliefs about God? Does it matter that Jesus is the Son of God? Does it matter that God even exists? What about the afterlife? Christianity teaches that we will all be given resurrected bodies. Should we set aside this belief for the sake of religious unity?
Most of the readers of this blog would never agree to these kinds of concessions. But why? If religion is really just about moral codes, then we should be able to cast aside creed and cult and not lose very much. Obviously that is not the case. Creed and cult are fundamental to Christianity and to most other religions, and that is why we cannot say that all religions are the same.