Aren't all religions the same? Is Christ the only way to God?
Jesus claimed absolute exclusivity. Christ was unique compared to founders of other world religions. Some promoted their teachings as the only way to God, but Christ proclaimed Himself as the only way to God. Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6).
Christianity is unique in other ways. The views of gods of other religions are very different from Christianity. The philosophical Hindu is either a monist (believing that ultimate reality is a oneness beyond differentiation) or a pantheist (believing that everything is God). The popular sects of Hinduism are polytheistic (worshippers of many gods).
Buddhist sects may hold a variety of views on God, including polytheism, pantheism, or usually, atheism. Classical Islam endorses the killing of infidels, but Christianity teaches to love your enemies. Islam also teaches that there is one unpardonable sin—to accept that God has a Son. Christianity teaches that one must accept Jesus as the Son of God to get to heaven.
Of eleven major religions of the world, ten of them teach salvation through human effort. Only Christianity recognizes the frustration and futility of man's own efforts and declares that man's salvation rests in the provision and grace of God.
Christianity alone makes provision for man's basic need—the forgiveness of sin. Only Christianity resolves the problem of God's dual nature of both absolute justice and absolute love. This dichotomy is once and for all resolved by Christ's coming, His sinless life, and His finished work on the cross as our substitute.
There are irreconcilable conflicts between Christianity and other religions. Christianity is at odds with other views of God, the nature of man, heaven, and salvation. The law of noncontradiction says that if two statements about one particular issue contradict each other, then (1) only one of them is true, or (2) they are both false. They cannot both be true in the same sense and at the same time. Truth, by definition, is exclusive.
Actually, all religions claim exclusivity. Just ask a Muslim or a Hindu if a Christian is one of them. Even those who say that there should be no exclusivity in religion are in reality, making an absolutist claim by eliminating from their circle those religions who claim exclusivity. So the issue of exclusive truth claims cannot be merely brushed aside by uninformed statements like, "There are many paths to God." In the end, one must choose.
Objective evidence must be the basis for Christian truth claims. By the rationale presented in other parts of this section of our website under Tough Questions, the evidence validates that Christianity is correct, while the other religions are wrong on critical points. To reiterate, the evidence includes: (1) the proven reliability of the Bible through history and prophecy, (2) the demonstrated perfection of Christ, (3) observation and experience that the principles of life and human nature are consistent with those taught by Christianity, and (4) the evidence of uniquely changed history and lives of people.
Rick Rood (Halverson book listed in the resource section) offers four criteria for evaluating religious truth-claims: (1) logical consistency, (2) empirical adequacy, i.e., being consistent with known facts, (3) ability to explain why reality is the way it is, and (4) experiential relevance, i.e., it should enable us to live in the everyday world. No religion other than Christianity stands up to all of these tests.
Authors Boa and Moody explain that the problem with this narrow view for some people is that it seems intolerant. It eliminates many sincere people who are seeking God through other means. Christianity, in this sense, indeed, is not "tolerant" of any other avenue to salvation. A sincerely held belief of another road to salvation does not necessarily mean it is true. Sincerity does not determine truth. It would be cruel to tell a blind man on the edge of a cliff that it doesn't matter which way he steps, as long as he is sincere. A position can be narrow and wrong, or it can be narrow and right. While tolerance in personal relationships is a virtue, tolerance in truth is a travesty.
The great Christian communicator Ravi Zacharias (tapes listed in the resource section) discusses the concept of equality of people, but elitism of ideas. All ideas are not equal. The ideals sought by every culture are embodied in Christ. It is only in Christianity that one finds unity in diversity. Jesus Christ breaks the barriers of gender, race, and background that divide us.
(For further study about what the Bible teaches on this matter, see Acts 4:10-12, also Exodus 20:3-5, Isaiah 44:6-11, 24, Matthew 7:13-20, Mark 16:16, John 3:18, 36, 8:24, 12:48, Romans 8:1, Galatians 1:6-10, Philippians 2:9-11, 2 Thessalonians 1:8-10, 1 Timothy 2:5, 1 John 2:23, 5:12.)