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  • Writer's picturePaige Patterson

How’s That, Again?

A Pew Research project[1] reported this conclusion: A significant number of U.S. teens are confident that there may be truth in more than one religion! Where is Pontius Pilate when we need him? Will someone please ask the question, “What is truth?” And perhaps we need to recall Dr. Francis Schaeffer from his heavenly abode to talk to us about “true truth!”

Of course, every religion contains some element of truth. My last check indicated that all major faiths on the world exchange advocated that parents should love their children. But stretching the measure beyond that affirmation reveals such contrasting perspectives that any fair definition of each world faith exposes among them a yawning gulf that defies the evident worthiness of all proposed vessels. Frankly, to adopt the conclusion reported by Pew Research looks like the teens – and others – have been on their phones playing video games when they should have been exposed to a class in World History 101. Such a class might not have proven friendly to any faith, but even an Ivy League Professor would have recognized the obvious difference within these religions – often polar opposite views, in fact.

Buddhism has no deity; Hinduism boasts hundreds of deities; Judaism, Islam, and Christianity profess monotheism. When the Egyptian Akhenaten adopted monotheism in response to the henotheism of Egyptian history, the move was widely declared to be a novel departure and a new faith—incompatible with the pantheistic deities of the Delta nation. From about 1364 – 1347 BC, Amenhotep IV established the worship of the sun god Ra as the national religion of Egypt. Few argued for the truth of all faiths in the Levant. Akhenaten was even dubbed a “heretic” in the years following 1347!

For the benefit of our “gaming” youth, may I be permitted a few brief observations. First, two propositions that are diametrically in opposition to one another cannot both be correct. They may both be wrong, but they cannot both be correct. For example, Judaism supporting the concept of only one God and Hinduism with its pantheon of gods cannot both be accurate. The atheists would venture that both are wrong; however, no one but a “Twitter or Snapchat hawk” would aver that both are correct. The Quran, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads, and the Torah cannot all have origins with God. All may be void of the signature of the divine, but they cannot contradict each other and all be true.

For the record, how is Christianity unique? What claims does it make, which – either individually or in concert with other beliefs – mark the Christian faith as a unique entity? Only Christianity presents a Creator God who comes searching for men and women to accept His redemptive work on the cross. Christianity alone knows of God incarnate – an eternal Creator who wants the human beings whom He created to share the ethos of the heavens. Greek gods often take the form of humans and participate in human rituals. What remains without parallel outside of Christianity is a God who cares for those whom He created in His image and loves them so profoundly that the Incarnation brings God to mankind and to the humiliation of the cross in order to restore capricious and obdurate human beings to a righteous standing with God.

To note one more unusual feature, most faiths present a program by which one can appropriate God or at least know about Him. I know of no faith outside of Christianity that proclaims the futility of such an enterprise as being destined for disaster. But the Bible promulgates, in the place of human endeavor, the all-sufficient grace of God presented in a dramatic program of loving-kindness, which not only effects forgiveness but also changes the hearts of human beings, causing them to love God as they ought. Most religion has everything to do with what mankind – the creation – accomplishes. Christianity is about what God has actualized through grace on behalf of all His creation.

The lead for this brief blog focused on an article about teens. The Biblical Recorder story to which I alluded in the first paragraph of this blog also noted that teens only followed the lead of their parents. In other words, the problem is universal and singles out no particular age. And fortunately, I am one of the blessed men who gets to work with a contingency of teens who not only are not captured by the psychology of their iPhones but who, it seems to me, have a better grasp of the nature of Christianity than did my own generation sixty years ago. With these kids, may we commit ourselves to jettison the spurious logic and turn ourselves to the grace of our Lord.


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