The irreconcilable differences part 1: Christianity and “modern faiths”

All roads do NOT lead to Rome; all paths do NOT meet at the summit


A superficial examination of the world's faiths will reveal much common ground; most religions appear to condemn selfishness for instance.  Because all the faiths do seem to have so much in common, many people have claimed that it doesn't matter which one you choose, or they have decided that the most sensible course of action is to take what they think are the best bits from each and combine them into their own personal religion.  This form of spirituality is very popular and in the “western” countries Christianity has been combined with Eastern religious ideas and has given rise to Christian Spiritualism, Christian Science, Unitarianism, The infinite way, Theosophy and a host of other larger and smaller religious groups.  Many books have been written that attempt to combine the teachings of Krishna, Buddha, Confucius, Shankara, Jesus and Mohammed.  Although this approach to spirituality is very fashionable, and superficially attractive, sensible and tolerant, it is also badly flawed because the similarity between Christianity and other faiths is only superficial; if you look more carefully you will find that it is impossible to rationally combine Christianity with any other faith.

Some claims contrasted

In the table below are contrasted some of the claims made by Christianity and by the modern combination religions.  You will see that it is simply not possible for both to be equally true and valid:


Claims made by Christians

Claims of "modern" faiths

  This list is not a complete statement of all of the claims of Christianity  Not all faiths and all teachers would make all of these claims.  This list is necessarily rather generalised.
  God is personal — that is to say God has a specific nature, character and personality just as a human has.  These attributes of God remain constant; God does not change to suit our beliefs. 

God created the world and is separate from the creation in the same way that a bricklayer is separate from the house that he or she builds. 

God is a state of your mind OR God is an impersonal force OR God is a set of qualities OR God is the world, the world is God and the two are inseparable OR God is a combination of various of the above.
  Man has broken the relationship with God.  God is the one who most wants to restore that relationship and God is the one making the most effort to do so. 

Mankind is utterly degenerate, doomed to destruction and needs to be rescued.  Only God can perform the rescue operation and it is free to all who want it. 

Mankind is improving progressively and undergoing spiritual evolution.  Individuals must save themselves.
  You cannot find God or know about God by yourself.  God must reveal himself to you.  If he does not step into his own creation then you can never meet him.  Consequently the initiative lies entirely with God. You must search for God until you find it / him.  The initiative lies entirely with you.
  Your debt to God, for the wrong you have done, has been paid in full, by God. 

Forgiveness is free to all who ask for it.

You must pay for all the wrong you do, the damage you cause and for all the mistakes you make. 

There is no forgiveness in karma. 

  Humans are created.  God is the creator. Equality is impossible.  Comparison is meaningless — the difference is too great. Humans can become equal with God.  Mortal man can attain the divine state.
  Clear thought, reason, intellect and common sense will not hinder your relationship with God.  God has commanded that we love him with all of our minds. To understand God you must suspend your reason, intellect and common sense.
  Evil is a state of rebellion against God. 

All people are in this state of rebellion from the day they are born. 

Evil forces are good forces that have turned against God. 

Evil is a misunderstanding / an illusion / maya / a clash between spiritual energies. 

All people are born good. 

Evil forces exist independently of good. 

  Right and wrong, truth and falsehood exist as absolutes.  Some things are always good, and others are always bad. There are no absolutes.  Everything is good if seen from one position, and bad from another.
  Jesus cannot have been just a prophet / good man / great spiritual teacher.  His claims about himself mean that he must have been either mad, bad or God.  There is no fourth option. 

Jesus created Krishna, Buddha and Mohammed.  Jesus has existed eternally.  Jesus is God.  Krishna, Buddha and Mohammed are created mortals. 

Jesus was just a prophet / good man / great spiritual teacher. 

Jesus is in the same league as Krishna, Buddha and Mohammed. 

The perfectly paradoxical problem of paradise All roads quite definitely do not lead to heaven.  Most of them lead to hell. All roads lead to heaven.  Hell is considered either to be a place of ignorance and illusion, or is simply thought not to exist at all.
  Jesus said I am the way, I am the truth, I am the resurrection and the life.  I have overcome the world. Other teachers say: life can be found like this, truth will be found along this path, there is where you must go.
  We are judged for what we are and, except for the grace of God, we are already condemned. There is no judgement and no condemnation because there is no law by which we can be judged.
  Grace is therefore paramount.  (In practical terms, grace means that God freely gives you the good things that you do not deserve instead of the bad things that you do deserve.) Other faiths have no concept of grace.  Most people do not even know what it means.
  The Christian claims make sense in the light of all of the Christian scriptures. People of other faiths usually pick and choose their way through the Christian scripture - taking a few passages that support their ideas and simply ignoring the much larger proportion that actually contradicts their claims.
  Christianity (in its adult form - not the version that is taught to children) contradicts no known scientific fact and defies no reason.  (If you are under the impression that the theory of evolution disproves the Biblical notion of creation then please follow the links). You must suspend your reason to the point that you no longer have any reason to believe that it is necessary to suspend your reason (and if you think that sounds silly then you agree with the Christians)
  Jesus died, was buried on Friday evening and came back to life on Sunday morning.  Jesus died for you.  He died so that you might be free.  He died so that you could be forgiven.  He died so that you might be reconciled to God.  If Jesus had not died and risen, you would have no possibility of forgiveness, no chance of peace and no hope. It is often claimed that Jesus didn't really die on the cross.  Regardless of when he died, it is claimed that his death had no great significance for mankind in general or for you in particular.
What happened on that cross? In Christianity, your salvation depends on what GOD has DONE and FINISHED. In other faiths, your salvation is either unnecessary or it depends on what YOU MUST still DO for yourself.


So, we can see that it is ridiculous to try and merge Christianity with Eastern spiritualism:

  • Jesus cannot be God and not be God.
  • If your salvation depends entirely on God, it cannot also depend entirely on you.
  • If good and evil are absolutes, they cannot also be relative.
  • If God is personal, he cannot also be impersonal.
  • If people are always born sinful, they cannot also be always be born pure.
  • If forgiveness is free to those who ask then karma is Maya!
  • If Jesus is the truth, the light and the way then there is no point looking elsewhere.

The people who claim that “all roads lead to Rome” are not demonstrating sophistication and tolerance, they are proving that they have never given the matter any serious thought.  It is good to walk with the crowd but only if the crowd is walking the right road.

...  For wide is the gate and broad the road that leads to destruction and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The good news according to Matthew, chapter 7, verses 13 and 14.

And why do only a few find it?  Perhaps because the other people refused to open their dull minds and insisted on believing that “all roads lead to Rome”; this may be a witty and popular expression but it is stupid and patently unhelpful advice even for terrestrial journeys, and certainly no more useful for spiritual journeys. 

The state of the matter:

  • If Christianity is true then the other claims must be false.
  • If any of the other claims are true then Christianity must be false.

Now, from this there come two very important points, namely:

  • There are many claims that “all roads lead to heaven” or that “all paths meet at the summit” or other similar suggestions that Christianity can coexist with other faiths with equal validity.  These claims cannot possibly be true.
  • Regardless of their intentions, the people who make such claims or suggestions must be at least one of the following three things:
    (a)  They might be ignorant of the claims of Christianity.
    (b)  They might have failed to understand the claims of Christianity.
    (c)  They might be trying to deceive.

    and, no matter which of these conditions they are in, they are obviously extremely unreliable sources of information about spiritual matters.  This leads us to a very useful conclusion:

You now have a simple way of knowing whether a book or person is a reliable source of spiritual information: If the book or person tries to combine Christianity with any other faith then what they are teaching is utter nonsense.  You wouldn't take advice from a doctor or from a financier who spoke nonsense because you wouldn't entrust your body or your money to a fool.  Don't entrust your eternal soul to one either.  These “teachers” and “spiritual guides” have demonstrated themselves to be unreliable — why then should you believe anything else they say about spiritual matters?

Question or topic Sources of information
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If you find it hard to understand how an all-loving, all-powerful God can allow suffering: If God is good and if God is all-powerful, why is there so much suffering?

A paperback book written by Mr CS Lewis:
"The problem of pain"

If you thought that scientific discoveries concerning "evolution" had proved that the Bible was untrue The following 34 page pamphlet contains a very readable but serious discussion about the major problems with the so called "theory" of evolution:

“Bone of contention - is evolution true?”

Written by Sylvia Baker MSc. 
Published by the evangelical press. 


Articles discussing related issues:

Believing “on trust”.
We all have some sort of beliefs or personal philosophies; but WHY do we believe what we believe and how do we know that it is true?
The Karmic cop-out
The principle of Karma is widely believed.  However Karma is a myth which is irrational, inhibits compassion and leads to a denial of personal responsibility.

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