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Do all religions lead to the same God?
Perhaps other religions might be said to reference a similar concept of god, but the Bible makes it clear that Christianity specifically claims to be exclusive. Peter plainly taught this to the leaders in Jerusalem:
Acts 4:11-12 – This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Jesus Himself also made this abundantly clear.
John 14:6 – Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 10:7-9 – I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me were thieves and robbers. But the true sheep did not listen to them. Yes, I am the gate. Those who come in through me will be saved.
When considering this topic many people think of the story about the blind men and the elephant, written thousands of years ago in the Buddhist tradition and popularized in the modern era in a poem by John Godfrey Saxe. The two main morals of the story are that God (represented by the elephant) is too big to ever be fully experienced or described, and man’s discovery (represented by touch without sight) is always deficient. This is a cute parable, but gravely flawed in its analysis. It fails to consider Christianity’s specific claims.
One of the defining & distinguishing characteristics of Christianity is revelation: God WANTS to be made known! And the Bible clearly says He has revealed Himself in His creation (general revelation), through His Word (specific revelation), and by sending His Son to earth as a man (Jesus). In the parable, this concept would be represented by the elephant talking to the blind men and making the truth clear!
Just for fun, we’ve included the classic poem by John Godfrey Saxe (1816 – 1877) below, but we’ve added an alternative ending that we think conveys a more accurate portrayal of Christianity.
Blind Men and the Elephant:
It was six men of Indostan,
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.
The First approach'd the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
"God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!"
The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, -"Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me 'tis mighty clear,
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!"
The Third approach'd the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
"I see," -quoth he- "the Elephant
Is very like a snake!"
The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee:
"What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain," -quoth he,-
"'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!
"The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said- "E'en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!"
The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
"I see," -quoth he,- "the Elephant
Is very like a rope!"
And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!
So, oft in theologic wars
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean;
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!
ALTERNATE MORAL, (added)
With booming voice the beast spoke forth,
At last the truth was shown.
“I supersede what touch can tell
You error, which men are prone.
I AM – quoth He – the Three in One
My Word will make me known!”
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