Are all religions the same?

John 14:6 Jesus said," I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me."

I had the opportunity to oversee 15+ in-house events in area businesses during Mission Week 2006. Similar to speaking events as the JAWbreak events in Iowa. The ministry here is call ecom (Evangelising Commerce). We coordinated seminary students to lead the discussions in various institutions in Sydney. Most were 15-20 minute discussions on points, then 15-20 minute Q&A. Challenging for anyone. The topics ranged from "Is life a trivial pursuit?" to "Is wealth building a trivial pursuit?" I participated in the discussion on "Are all religions the same?" Challenging to handle in a short period of time. The speaker discussed the world religions, broadly, and their similarities. He also encouraged us to open the discussion with others of other beliefs. The rub came when he stated that really all of the different religions believe different things. Why is it wrong to even state this fact? When it comes to Christianity, if it is like other belief systems, what do you do with Jesus? Statements like that in John 14:6, shows that He differentiated this belief system from other belief systems. Also, what other belief system gives you concrete hope for the hereafter? Christianity does, difinitively. You cannot equate the different belief systems, they are not the same. Especially not Christianity. Jesus and the Bible do not give us that wiggle room for equivialency. So, the question is what do you do with Jesus and where do you put your hope for eternity?

Coming away from the talk, the speaker left us with this challenge. Are you willing to discuss the questions or will you close down to the discussion? For those truly willing to discuss the option that there is a one clear path to eternal life, shows your view on tolerance. Some would say, "I cannot tolerate that idea of only one way." While others would say," I am willing to consider it, let's discuss it further." Who is the more tolerant? This word of tolerance has a very different meaning here. It does not mean that I have to believe what you believe, but should be willing to discuss it. Then, does your arguement stand up to scrutiny? Can you discuss your faith beyond John 3:16 or "God is love?" It makes for heated, but exhilerating discussion. Also, do you want to debate against the Word of God... your choice.

Australian culture allows for open debate. You have to be willing to listen to different points of view and also have developed what you believe. You earn your place in the discussion, but you have to be willing to hear the others point of view to participate. Fascinating, but fun.