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Are All Religions the Same?

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.


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Comments

  • tildeb

    All religions are the same in that their adherents all rely on assuming first that faith-based belief is sufficient to determine if the creed is true.

    All religions are the same in the sense that their adherents must assume that this application of a faith-based assumption is a legitimate epistemology: that to infuse faith-based belief with the equivalency of reality IS to arbitrate what is true about reality. If this were not the case, then no faith would be required for any religion… and we don’t see this in reality. Faith is very much a central pillar.

    The specifics of each religion are, of course, different (that’s what makes them different). The problem arises when we ask which creed – if any – is true beyond simply taking its truth claims about reality at face value. After all, if faith is considered a sufficient reason (and held in esteem as a virtue by the religious), then reality-as-arbiter-of-claims-made-about-it plays some minor role at best in this process… meaning the specifics really don’t matter. And this is exactly what we find in reality: the specifics about Mohammed’s ascent don’t matter to the christian faith any more than the specifics about Jesus’ resurrection don’t matter to the muslim. Each believer remains ensconced in their belief that the faith they hold as true really is true. Evidence from reality to inform one to be more likely true than the other – any other religion, for that matter – is not valued as any kind of arbiter because to do so reduces the necessity for faith. And all religions are the same in that none would wish faith to be subjugated to reality in this way.

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  • Frank

    Most people are born into a religion, only a few adopt a religion out of conviction. Religions vary only in mechanics, rituals and revered personalities associated with the religion. Clergy of most religions are the root of all evil, they interpret God’s teachings according to their own goals and not so holy motives. Religion has been used to instigate wars and aggression, to enslave people, to kill and maim, to drive people out of their land and legitimize colonialism. The Crusades, Muslim holy wars, Zionist colonization of Palestine,…etc. are a few examples of the atrocities man has committed in the name of God. The basic teaching of all religions are good and can only reflect the greatness of the creator and his grand design for this universe.

  • Nestor

    Religion (re-ligare) means to bind back to God.Why is there a need for this? ‘Coz man sinned.He was alienated from his Maker.And who didn’t sin?Everyone did except Christ.Want to go back to Him? Then submit to His rules, not to your own conditions.Serve your Maker.You are to obey Him, not the other way around. Christ did serve His Father, so He is now in the Father’s glory,’coz God is fair, rewarding the deserving.
    Christ estsblished His own religion-“my church”(Matt.16:18),did He establish something nonsense? Christ church is the only true

    church, go and seek till you find it.

  • Good Priest

    Does it mean all the”Christian”professing religions are of Christ?Apostle Paul explained,”there is only one body…for Christ is the head of the body, the church.” One head, one body(church),only one true organization.Apostle Paul named it -the church of Christ purchased with his blood (Acts 20:28 LAMSA) Apostle Paul was a former zealous member of Judaism,who persecuted the early members of the 1st Century Christians.(Gal.1:12-14 Good News Bible) but before he died he was called to Christ’s ministry, inside the church of Christ.Did he do this without true understanding? Pls. keep on searching…

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