We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Christianity vs Other Religions

QUESTION: How do you know that Christianity is true versus other religions?

This has to be answered using logic and philosophy to first show that other types of religions have problems with being true, and that, to start with, only a theistic religion can be true — a religion that has a God beyond and within the world, a God that is both creator and sustainer.  This argument can get quite involved and will be left to you to study while we will assume here that everyone believes in a God. Theistic religions can be classified as Deism, pantheism, panentheism, and theism. I will only highlight some of the problems that disprove these first three viewpoints. A study of the individual worldview is very interesting and quite enlightening as to why none but theism really work. (This article was developed from the book, I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be An Atheist, by Norman Geisler and Frank Turek.)

A. Deism says that there is a God who alone is eternal, and who created the world and then walked away from it so that the world operates by natural and self-sustaining laws that He put into existence. A deist says that the supernatural does not exist, that miracles do not occur. This position is inadequate and illogical. If they admit to the miracle of creation, then they have to accept the possibility of other miracles. And if God was concerned enough to create man, it would follow that He would be concerned enough about man as to intervene personally.

B.  Pantheism says that all is God and God is all; that God is the world, is us, etc. Hinduism and other Eastern and so-called New Age religions profess this, and this idea is promoted as the “Force” in Star Wars. There are actually several types of pantheism, some of which devolve into polytheism.  Their god is not a personal god and is more “it” than “him.”

The very quick way to demonstrate the self-defeating aspect of this system is that if God is unknowable and inexpressible by language or thought, then how do they know and express this about God?

Another way to demonstrate that it it self-defeating is to point out that, in this view, “God is and I am not,” that is, God is all that is. But one must exist in order to claim they don’t exist! And if all there is, is God, then there is no I-thou relationship because there is only one entity. Religious experience then becomes impossible.

This view also claims evil is only an illusion, but if that is the case, what is the source of the illusion? This makes God the source of evil.

Pantheism’s god is dependent on creation; without creation the god doesn’t exist. But then they have to explain where the creation came from.

Another problem is, by saying God is all, he must include opposites. This then says nothing meaningful about him because he is and he isn’t.

Finally, there is a contradiction of God’s nature. If he is infinite yet shares his being with creation then part of him is finite, which now makes him infinite and finite which is a logical impossibility. This gets involved in philosophical arguments about contingent and necessary beings, which pantheism tries to make both at the same time.

C. Panentheism.  This is similar to pantheism. God is in the world the way a soul or mind is in a body. A lot of New Age teachers promote this. God is finite and limited. There are two poles of God: an actual temporal pole and a potential eternal pole. A form of this is also known as process theology because God is in a continual process of change.

A primary proof of falsehood is that the concept of God as an eternal potential seeking temporal actualization is self-defeating. No potential can actualize itself. And then there is the problem of evil: a finite god cannot guarantee the defeat of evil.

D. Theism.  Proving the other theistic belief systems false leaves us with theism. It becomes the only adequate worldview. So once we determine theism is true, how do we prove that Christianity is true instead of Judaism or Islam? The need would be to prove that Christianity is true, which by extension falsifies the other belief systems. This proof is for another time.


7 comments:

Martha said...

Great article Glen, broken down into simple, clear and concise terms. I am looking forward to the break down of theism in equally simple terms, as some theologians have a tendency to muck it up with explanations that do no good for those of us who witness the simplicity of Christ in relation to other worldviews.

In my neck of the woods, there has been a strong push in promoting the lies of Islam in equal relationship to Christianity. We have Lutheran pastors holding meetings and speaking from their stages/pulpits that, "muslims and Christians worship the same god." The results of these lies amongst the church goers is a "soft" persecution against those of us who are speaking the true in love and civility. Many a pastor suffers from the sin of pride and will not lend an ear to the truth from the congregation of Christ, because their consciences have been seared, thus they continue in their folly. And as Islam is gaining momentum, stronger than ever in our communities, along with ecumenicalism amongst all various denominations, it becomes easier to see the one world religion forming (as our Scriptures speak of), even in rural America.

Our local churches have become institutions of brainwashing for the one world religion, and those of us who speak the Gospel of Jesus Christ, have now become the out-laws so to speak. And Sharia may be the law of this land sooner than we think. Time to strap that full armor of God on in sharing the true with the church goers, regardless of the hatred poured out on us...….regardless of how our names are being mocked at the local bars (church members love our local bars) on a Friday or Saturday night!

Jesse said...

Priceless!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Keebler Elf,

The rules here are that your comments must address the article posted. Your comments are nothing but dishonest attacks on the book I mentioned.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Martha,

I can't imagine LCMS or other conservative Lutheran bodies claiming that about Islam, but I can easily see the apostate/heretical ELCA doing so. The UMC, PCUSA, and Angilcan churches, and even the POPE, say that Christians and Muslims worship the same God. It isn't out of ignorance, rather it is out of wanting to be politically correct.

Martha said...

Correct Glen,
The Lutheran denomination in which I speak of, is in fact ELCA. I grew up in this denomination and left in my thirties on the exact Sunday, the pastor man spoke this words, and I quote, "You really can't go exactly by what the Bible says, so we have to be careful what we believe."

Not joking here. On the way home, in our vehicle, my husband looked at me and said, "This was the last Sunday we'll be sitting under that man."

My response, "Agreed. I never plan on going back to that church and I don't want our children hearing those lies." The pastor was already in a tizzy due to the fact that some of us refuted his theories spoken as facts theology regarding the creation of the universe by our LORD. During the pastor man's Bible study, he was doing his best to convince us that God used a million years to create the universe, our planet, and everything inbetween. My husband and I spoke up during the open conversation and refuted his claims with Scriptures, and with words from the original text/and their true meanings. A couple of other men attending this study, became angry and defensive in defending the so-called "truths of science" and how our LORD couldn't possibly have created everything within day (24 hour periods of time). The environment during that study was impacted greatly by "theological global warming" as temperatures of the human brains (and their mouths) rose, thus it was time to end the discussion.

Interesting how the pulpit is used and abused to "put us in our place" when we defend the truth of our LORD's creation via Genesis. And our pastor man abused us well with his words spoken above from his indoctrination platform in the church.


This pastor man also supported abortion. Enough said.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Martha,

WIOW!! That was definitely a bad-news place!! Good for you for exposing the lies and abandoning a sinking ship.

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Anonymous Troll,

if you're going to troll, at least learn the meaning of slander.