Not believing the Bible doesn't make it untrue or true just as not believing in science will make it untrue or true. Truth does not depend on what you believe but on the what the truth inherently is.
Are All Religions Essentially the Same?
Can we get to the same God through different religions? Postmodern thinking and political correctness say that all religions are essentially the same and should be accepted and respected.
All religions have underlying ethical similarities but on a doctrinal level the various world religions are very, very different, fundamentally different. All religions are seeking the truth and therefore all will have significant elements of truth in it's teachings. Superficially the different religions might seem very much the same in many ways, but at the core of each, Christianity differs the most radical from all other religions:
1. Most world religions teach that you will be accepted by god if you are good enough. Though very hard to know when and what is 'good enough'
Christianity teaches that you can never be 'good enough' as God is a perfectly holy God who can only accept a perfectly sinless person into His presence. That, we can only be in Christ who was sacrificed for all of our sins and took it all on Him to render us sinless. It is grace alone and not what we do.
2. World religions; man reaching out to god. Christianity; God reaching out to man - so much so, He became man in Christ Jesus.
The Bible teaches that we cannot get to God through different religions, that there is only one way.
John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Jesus claimed to be the only way of salvation.
Peter confirmed what Jesus said and states in Acts 4:12, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to men by whom we must be saved.”
The apostle Paul said, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
Former atheist Lee Strobel said, “When I was an atheist, I bristled at assertions by Christians that they held a monopoly on the only correct approach to religion. 'Who do they think they are?'” (1)
Can we trust the Creator of heaven and earth that He would not allow a Book, the Bible, with half truths or worse, false claims and thereby leave humanity in a state of confusion? Can we trust His integrity?
• II Timothy 3:16 ‘All Scriptures is God-breathed',
• For what is written in this Book, the Bible, hundreds of thousands, in fact millions of people through the ages, had died because they believed what is written in it, trusting God, but also experiencing the living God's presence in their lives.
If I cannot trust God for who He says He is, I would be so frightened of Him, frightened of what He might do to me when I die. Frightened because I cannot know Him, cannot really Who He is. If He would allow a false book, confusing humanity, can I dare trust Him with anything in my life and life after death?
Not surprisingly then, that one of the most important subjects of the Bible is that God tells us over and over again to trust Him. If we cannot trust Him with the absolute truth of the Bible in every aspect, how can I trust God Himself? If I can’t trust Him completely, I can only fear Him as the Almighty’s integrity would be under question.
Muslims claim Allah is the only true god, that Muhammad is his ultimate prophet, and that the Koran is God’s ultimate revelation to humankind.
Hinduism is unbending in its commitment to the Vedas as scriptures, and reincarnation and the law of karma as the means of salvation.
Atheism, for that matter, is exclusivist in its view that all religions that believe in God are wrong, and that atheism alone is the correct view. (2)
Politically it might be correct to say that all religions are essentially the same and should be accepted. It is true that every human being should be respected. God has written His laws in all human hearts (Romans 2:15 ‘the requirements of the law are written on their hearts') and therefore all religions may have underlying ethical similarities.
However, on a doctrinal level, the various world religions are very different:
I. The different world religion views about God:
•Jesus taught that there is only one God and that He is triune in nature (Matthew 28:19).
•Muhammad taught that there is only one god, but that God is not a Trinity and cannot have a son.
•Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (a Hindu scripture) indicated he believed in a combination of polytheism (there are many gods) and pantheism (all is god).
•Confucius believed in many gods. Zoroaster taught that there is both a good god and a bad god.
•Buddha taught that the concept of God was essentially irrelevant.
II The different views on Jesus
•Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Son of God and is absolute deity and the only way to God.
•Islam teaches that Jesus was not the Son of God, and was only a prophet to Israel. (3) Which makes no sense; if Jesus was only a prophet and not the Son of God that He claimed to be, then He is or was a lying prophet which make Him a false prophet and therefore not a true prophet as the Koran claims?
•Hinduism teaches that Jesus was an enlightened man.
•The Baha’i Faith teaches that Jesus is one of many manifestations of God throughout human history (4) – and the same argument as with the Koran’s claim: was Christ a lying manifestation of God in claiming to be the Son of God?
III. Views on being Saved.
•Christianity teaches that one is saved by faith/trust in Christ alone. That He died as the perfect and complete sacrifice for our sins. Salvation is an absolute certainty if Christ's atonement is accepted.
•Islam teaches that one becomes saved through submission to Allah but that salvation can never be an absolute certainty except when dying in a jihad. Your good deeds have to outweigh your bad deeds.
•Hindus teach that salvation is rooted in reincarnation and karma.
If one is right, all the others are wrong. If Jesus was right, then all the others are wrong. (5).
There can only be one true religion.
In essence it is all about trusting the Creator, the integrity of God.
What about those who have never heard the Gospel?
It is estimated that one third, that is approximately 2.2 billion of the world population has never heard about Christ. Since Jesus is “the only way” (John 14:6), are they saved or lost? If they are not really lost, then many of Christ’s teachings become absurd. John 3:16 ”For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life”- becomes meaningless. If the ‘heathen’ are not lost, Christ’s post resurrection and pre-ascension commands to His disciples are a mockery.
In Luke 24:47 Christ commanded “that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His Name among all nations.” Similarly, in Matthew 28:19 He said, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” These verses might well be stricken from the Scriptures if human beings without Christ are not lost. And if some scriptures are wrong, how can we trust the rest of the scriptures and know which are false and which are true? How can we trust the integrity of God if what we can know about Him is in a Book with one, two or perhaps many fallacies? If the heathen are not really lost, then the Lord’s words were meaningless when He said to His disciples, “As the Father has sent Me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Why did the Father send Him? Jesus Himself explained that “the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).
If the heathen do not need Christ and His salvation, then neither do we. Conversely, if we need Him, so do they. The Scriptures become a bundle of contradictions, the Savior becomes a false teacher, and the Christian message becomes “much ado about nothing” if the ‘heathen’ are not lost. Scripture makes it very plain that “salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other Name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).The Bible says, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
All religions cannot lead to God in light of the above. And if we trust God, His integrity and therefore the Bible as God's Word to man , then we read that the one sin for which God judged the people of Israel more severely than any other was that of participating in ‘heathen’ religions. The Bible repeatedly states that God hates, despises, and utterly rejects anything associated with heathen religions and practices. Those who follow such idolatry are not regarded as groping their way to God but rather as having turned their backs on Him, following the ways of darkness.
Because God loves and cares for all the people in the world, He has given a certain amount of revelational “light” to every single person. Everyone has some sense of God’s law in his or her heart. As John Blanchard said so well, everyone “has some conception of the difference between right and wrong; he approves of honesty; he responds to love and kindness; he resents it if someone steals his goods or tries to injure him. In other words, he has a conscience which passes judgment on his behavior and the behavior of others, something the Bible calls a law written on his heart.”
Paul speaks of this law written on human hearts . 'even though they do not have the law, since they show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts now accusing, now even defending them.' Romans 2:14-15
God has also given witness of Himself in the universe around us. As we view the world and the universe, it is evident that Someone made them. 'Since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen and understood from that which He created' Romans 1:20.
We know from other Scripture verses that God is an invisible spirit John 4:24.
The physical eye cannot see Him. But His existence is manifest in what He has made - the creation. The creation, which is visible, reveals the existence of the Creator who is invisible. Because all human beings have God’s law written on their hearts, and because all can see the revelation of God in creation, all people - regardless of whether they have heard about Christ or have read the Bible - are held accountable before God. All are without excuse. Their rightful condemnation, as objects of God’s wrath, is justified because their choice to ignore the revelation of God in creation is indefensible .
'The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.' Psalm 19:1-4
'For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see His invisible qualities - His eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God' Romans 1:20
Let us not forget that God desires all to be saved
'who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth' 1 Timothy 2:4
and does not want anyone to perish
2 Peter 3:9 'He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent' 2 Peter 3:9.
He takes no pleasure in the death of the unsaved
'Do you think that I like to see wicked people die? says the Sovereign LORD. Of course not! I want them to turn from their wicked ways and live.' Ezekiel 18:23.
Further, God is a fair Judge. “It is unthinkable that God would do wrong, that the Almighty would pervert justice” Job 34:12.
“Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” Genesis 18:25 (6)
This all puts a tremendous responsibility on human kind: a responsibility for every Christian to go and tell the world about God and His salvation in Christ and a responsibility for every human to seek the Truth until he finds peace in his heart by finding the Truth.
'How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?' Romans 10:14
Acts 17:26-28New International Version (NIV)
'... He made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and He marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him, though He is not far from any one of us.' Acts 17:26-27
In conclusion a point made by Ravi Zacharias, born in India, Christian apologist and author, (www.rzim.org):
All the world’s other religions seek to take bad men and make them better by ethics. Christianity, by contrast, seeks to take dead men and make them alive. More specifically, Christianity seeks to take people who are spiritually dead (separated from God because of sin), and make them spiritually alive so they can enjoy a personal relationship with the God who created them.
This is what makes Christianity unique.
(1-6 from the book: Answering the Objections of Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics. By Ron Rhodes)