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One of the many difficulties with the world’s religions is that each believes itself to be correct — and all the others to be wrong.

http://lacrossetribune.com/news/opinion/maria-runde-variety-of-belief-one-of-religion-s-major/article_76364466-09c0-11e2-89b7-0019bb2963f4.html

 

13 hours ago  •  By Maria Runde | Onalaska
 
 One of the many difficulties with the world's religions is that each believes itself to be correct - and all the others to be wrong.

 

 

Each religion holds critical beliefs that are utterly incompatible with the others. How do we know which we should believe? If having the wrong ideas leads to eternal suffering, we need to know which ones are right.

 

There are about 2.2 billion Christians on this planet. In order to be identified as a Christian, one must believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, that he was raised from the dead and that his death offers eternal salvation to all of mankind.

 

If people don't accept these basic ideas, they really cannot call themselves Christians.

 

Most Christians believe the biblical stories about Jesus to be literal, historical truth. However, Earth contains more than 7 billion people, meaning that a large majority do not believe these ideas about Jesus.

 

How can it be that so few have this vital knowledge? Does it make sense that a majority of the world's people could be condemned to eternal despair simply due to geography?

 

There are about 1.6 billion Muslims in the world. They believe that Jesus was a lesser prophet than Mohammed, and that God's true word is revealed only through Mohammed. Though they believe in essentially the same God, they have very different ideas about how he wants us to live in order to be accepted into heaven.

 

There are about 13 million Jews in the world, and none of them believes that Jesus Christ was the Son of God or that his death gives us eternal salvation. They believe he was a false messiah and that the true messiah has not yet come.

 

Islam, Judaism and Christianity therefore have irreconcilable, non-negotiable ideas about the divinity of Jesus Christ. They cannot all be right.

 

There are about 1 billion Hindus on this planet, and they do not believe Jesus was a divine being. Hinduism is one of the oldest religions on the planet, predating all the monotheistic religions by centuries. Its followers believe we are reincarnated to live on Earth over and over again. Hindu belief spans monotheism, polytheism and atheism, clearly an irresolvable conflict with Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

 

There are about 500 million Buddhists in the world, and none of them believes in a personal God. They are, therefore, atheist by definition. They do not believe that humans possess an eternal soul. They believe in reincarnation, which is irreconcilable with the beliefs of the monotheistic majority. Buddhism predates those religions by centuries.

 

There are about 500 million Taoists and Confucianists in the world, and none of them believes in a personal God or the central ideas of Christianity. They identify with multiple gods, but they believe death is final and irrevocable. Consequently, the idea of salvation has no meaning for them.

 

There are innumerable other religions, each with their own ideas about our origins and our fate. Does it make sense that something as important as the knowledge of the fate of mankind would be revealed to only a minority, and that the knowledge is not verifiable, but available only through word of mouth?

 

Any sufficiently advanced society in the world could verify the speed of light and the basic laws of planetary motion. Anthropologists of any culture could discover the fact of evolution in the fossil record. Anyone could derive the Pythagorean theorem from simpler mathematics. Such concepts, independently verifiable by anyone of any culture or age, are very likely to be true.

 

The world's religions, on the other hand, are mutually incompatible with one another. Therefore, they cannot all be correct. However, they can all be wrong.

 

From the dawn of human consciousness, we have sought answers to the big questions of why we are here and where we are going. However, we must remain humble enough to say that we simply do not know. No other answer is supported by evidence, and any claim to specific knowledge will be opposed by a majority of the world's people. It then comes down to faith.

 

Where faith is concerned, I agree with the co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker, when he said, "Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits."

 Do you agree with any of this, none of this why or why not?

 
IhartU

Asked by IhartU at 3:16 PM on Sep. 30, 2012 in Religious Debate

Level 27 (31,394 Credits)
This question is closed.
Answers (26)
  • Aside from mathemtical equations or that everyone will die because we are mortal there are no "Universal truths" ESPECIALLY not in religion. Religious "truths" are all individual truths, not universal ones. No matter what your religion may believe about it being the only "universal truth". It's not.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 3:43 PM on Oct. 2, 2012

  • People are going to believe what they believe, whether it's regarding religion, politics, how to feed a baby, or just something simple about how to hang the toilet paper. As far as religion goes, every single person will find out eventually whether they were right or wrong and as far as my personal opinion goes it's that people are free to believe whatever they choose. Those who belittle others, claim 'they' are smarter, or constantly harangue those who believe differently to justify or prove their beliefs are the ones lacking basic intelligence.

    If you're smart enough to figure out that 'you' believe something that not everyone else does, but not smart enough to understand that 'you' may or may not be correct, that problem is your own. As for each everyone thinking they are right, what's the point of saying you believe something that you feel is NOT right?
    Farmlady09

    Answer by Farmlady09 at 5:50 PM on Sep. 30, 2012

  • Where faith is concerned, I agree with the co-founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Dan Barker, when he said, "Faith is a cop-out. It is intellectual bankruptcy. If the only way you can accept an assertion is by faith, then you are conceding that it can't be taken on its own merits
    ~~
    Also this paragraph is a "cop-out" by the writer who is basically doing  the same thing he finds wrong with world religions.  By not acknowledging that peoples beliefs are complex and others have given as much thought to their belief system as the writer has.  He is condescending the same thing he accuses religion of being.  He doesn't have to agree with my beliefs but he clearly doesn't understand why I believe what I do either.

    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 4:28 PM on Sep. 30, 2012

  • What's the question?
    adnilm

    Answer by adnilm at 4:07 PM on Sep. 30, 2012

  • Right on Ryan'smom.

    So then why is it better not to believe? Why is that a more inteligent choice? Just because it is yours?
    Then you are saying exactlwhat every other religion is saying. They say I Believe in these principals which may containg a god or god, and by your statements saying that everyone else is not making the intelegent choice..
    You are saying I Believe there is no god, and by your statements any one who does not believe as you belive is not making an intelligent choice.

    Same thing. Maybe you should reevaluate, not your belief but how you see yourself as different.
    These remarks are for the wrter of the article and the OP.
    Dardenella

    Answer by Dardenella at 5:15 PM on Sep. 30, 2012

  • The flaw with this premise is the idea that "each believes itself to be correct — and all the others to be wrong." That's only true of the narcissistic ones. The rest really don't give a shit what anyone else believes.
    NotPanicking

    Answer by NotPanicking at 3:13 PM on Oct. 1, 2012

  • If the question is do we`agree with you? Then no, I dont. I found the article interesting, but I disagree with your last paragraph.
    Nimue930

    Answer by Nimue930 at 4:14 PM on Sep. 30, 2012

  • Individuals are like that to. If you hold a certain belief it's because you think this belief is correct, or you wouldn't believe it.


    I think you can hold a belief and still acknowledge that others feel just as strongly about their beliefs.  Many world religions follow this philosophy, individuals in a religion might not.

    RyansMom001

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 4:14 PM on Sep. 30, 2012

  • It is only human arrogance that assumes just because something hasn't been proven to us it cannot exist. It reminds me of a story my history prof told us in college of a bill that was before Congress in the early 1900s. It seems some Congressmen wanted to shut down the US Patent Offce based on the belief that everything that could be invented, already had been!! Humans tend to think they know everything at any given time.

    It is that arrogance (the assumption you are currently living to the fullest capacity of your awareness and potential) that dictates to you that God does not exist. Really??? I find it ludicrous and incredibly arrogant that just because something isn't proven to OUR MINDS, in this moment, it cant exist. So much that wasn't proven at an earlier time, has been proven...
    Nimue930

    Answer by Nimue930 at 12:39 PM on Oct. 1, 2012

  • I have to agree with NP on the flaw being "each believes itself to be correct and all others to be wrong". While it certainly is the premise of many religions it is not the premise of ALL. Obviously an individual will believe that their own religious choice is the correct one, as it applies to themself, otherwise they would not follow it. Not all, however, will claim that ALL others are wrong, merely wrong for themselves. There can be compassion, understanding, and respect found among differing religions, as each has it's own lessons to offer. The problem comes in the individuals applying them and whether their own arrogance, pride, and general narcissitic attitude will allow them to treat the differing religions with equal respect.
    KristiS11384

    Answer by KristiS11384 at 6:19 PM on Oct. 1, 2012