They Can't All Be True
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Tolerance and co-existence are both great! In fact, they are necessary. If we are to live together in peace without hating each other, or physically harming each other over differences in race, culture, sexual orientation, political views, and religious beliefs, we must have tolerance. However, we must also recognize that every belief can’t be equally valid. If two beliefs directly contradict each other, both of them cannot be true, no matter how “tolerant” we become. This means it is false to say that every religion is true, or that every religion leads to God. When people make such claims they show that they have not taken the time to study the world’s religions, because a brief reading of the sacred texts of only a handful of religions quickly reveals contradictions on the most fundamental levels.

Religious Contradictions

Reincarnation (Hinduism and Buddhism) contradicts the belief that this is your only life before eternity (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam).

Salvation from sin (Christianity) contradicts the belief that there is no sin to be saved from but simply pain that can be escaped through enlightenment (Buddhism).

Jesus Christ is the incarnate, Son of God (Christianity), contradicts the teaching that he is just a prophet (Islam) or that he was a false prophet (Judaism).

In light of these contradictions alone, all religions can’t be true.
They could all be false, but they can’t all be true.

Are any of them true?
This is the most important question anyone can ask.
Recognize religious contradictions.
Embrace them.
Test them. Seek the truth.

Religion has divided people. I don’t think there’s any difference between the pope wearing a large hat and parading around with a smoking purse and an African painting his face white and praying to a rock. —Howard Stern Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference. — “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost Is Howard Stern correct that, no matter what the facade of a religion appears to be, there’s no difference between them? Or did Robert Frost nail it: are there diverging paths, and it makes all the difference which one you go by? Religious pluralism would say it doesn’t matter, because all paths are equally valid and true. Tolerance has lost its original meaning. It no longer stands for allowing people the freedom to believe whatever they want. Now it means people can’t be judged for holding the beliefs that they profess and for living out such values. The new-order of tolerance necessitates an inclusive attitude and pluralistic worldview. The exclusive truth-claims of the old order of tolerance created true/false dichotomies that welcomed judgment and scrutiny, with the understanding that people who found differing conclusions would still have the right to believe what they chose to believe. A modern example of blending multiple religious paths, and thus unifying them, can be found in the opening chapters of Elizabeth Gilbert’s popular 2006 autobiographical book, Eat, Pray, Love, which was later adapted for the big screen with Julia Roberts playing Gilbert. Much of the book centers on experiencing God. Regarding the choice to use the word God, Gilbert explains that she “could just as easily use the words Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, or Zeus. Alternatively, I could call God “That,” which is how the ancient Sanskrit scriptures say it, and which I think comes close to the all-inclusive and unspeakable entity I have sometimes experienced.”1 Taking Gilbert’s words at face value, the divine figures she mentions from Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Greek mythology are interchangeable. Her reasoning is that this is possible because “He” or “She”—Gilbert also states that either pronoun is acceptable for God—can go by any name because God is so “all-inclusive” that human language is insufficient to properly name the being she chooses to call “God.” If you take note of Gilbert’s explanations and those of other religious pluralists like her, their beliefs are based on their personal feelings, opinions, and experiences. To make the assertion that Jehovah, Allah, Shiva, Brahma, Vishnu, and Zeus are interchangeable names for God means that these names must be entirely divorced from the context from which they are derived. To believe religious pluralism is true apart from personal feelings, solely based on religious studies, a person must have less than a kindergarten knowledge of the world’s religions. A brief reading of the religious texts of only a handful of religions reveals contradictions on fundamental levels. As long as ignorance is bliss and subjectivity reigns, religious pluralism will continue to exist and even thrive. Studies indicate that such conditions exist in America, showing that most Americans are ignorant about the basic history, geography, and teachings of their own religious faiths and those of others. The Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted a survey in 2010 to ascertain how much religious knowledge Americans possess. A random sample of 3,412 adults were contacted via phone and asked thirty-two religious questions. The average score was 50 percent, or an F! The highest-scoring group was the atheists and agnostics; they got 65 percent, or a D. Mormons outscored Christians on questions about the Bible and Christianity. Among all respondents, 54 percent knew that the Qur’an is the holy book of Islam. Fifty-one percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon. Forty-seven percent know that the Dalai Lama is Buddhist. Forty-six percent knew Martin Luther’s role in Christian history. Only 38 percent knew that Vishnu and Shiva are connected with Hinduism. At least America passed with B-level scores on the questions regarding that Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic and that atheists don’t believe there is a God.2 Such results explain why individuals can now call themselves Buddhist-Christians and why a devout Christian I know almost left the Christian faith after reading Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, having become convinced that Christianity’s exclusive truth-claims must be false in light of Gilbert’s open-mindedness and free-bird nature. These people lacked the necessary religious knowledge to be acquainted with the contradictory teachings of each religion. Let me ask you some questions. Can you name the Ten Commandments? Do you know what the Passover is in Judaism and what it signifies? Which religion observes fasting during Ramadan and which celebrates Diwali? Which religion observes Hanukkah, and why? Do you know if Hindus and Buddhists should eat meat? Can observant Muslims drink alcohol? Do you know which religion practices yoga? Which religion seeks nirvana? Can you name the five pillars of Islam? How is the belief in one God different among Jews, Muslims, and Christians? Do you know the dates of the lives of the Buddha, Jesus Christ, and Muhammad, and where they lived and taught? Do all religions believe in a god? Do all religions pray? Do all religions believe in an eternal heaven or hell? Do any major religions believe in reincarnation? Do all religions have the same ethical laws of what is right and what is wrong, and if not, how are they different? All of these questions are related to Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. These are considered by most scholars to be the world’s major religions. Religions are usually classified as major or minor based upon the number of adherents. All of these religions, except Judaism, rank in the top five most followed religions. I keep Judaism in my list of major religions because it predates Christianity and Islam, and both of these religions trace their lineage and history to the founding patriarch of Judaism, Abraham, as well as to Adam and Eve, the first created humans. Most of the minor religions split from these five major religions or have similar patterns of beliefs and rituals found within these major five. The goal of this chapter is to present the teachings of these five religions. I have chosen to present the key figures, places, events, historical dates, doctrines, and rituals for each of the following World Religions: Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. This glossary is not alphabetized. Instead it is sequenced for a coherent presentation of these religions’ origins and basic beliefs and practices. If you know these hundred terms and their contexts within their given religions, you will have enough of a grasp of these major religions to answer the questions I posed two paragraphs before, as well as to score high on the religious survey given by the Pew Research Center.

Andy Wrasman holds a B.A. in Theological Studies and a M.A. in International Studies from Concordia University Irvine. He regularly engages in faith-based conversations with adherents of various religions, which provides a wealth of first-hand information to share with the high school students in his World Religions class. He currently lives in Silverado, California with his wife Jessica.

Yes, it is. Because, God intended marirage between a man and a woman not to compromise with their temptations and roam with someone else outside marirage. So, they both need to live with each other, brushing aside any temptations they get. They have to raise their family and live for God. Open relationship is nothing but adultery.
Coexist has become the anthem of the current generation in America. No longer is it seen as acceptable to hold to any belief which could say that others may be wrong. Unless of course you speak about Christianity being wrong for claiming the only, exclusive way to God, then it is ok to be intolerant. Such is the intolerance of tolerance in our day and age. Add to that the ever growing multi-ethnic, multi-cultural influence in our country (which can be a very good thing) and Christians have a great need to be informed on some of the major world religions if we desire to reach our generation for Christ.

Thankfully Andy Wrasman has written an incredibly helpful book titled: Contradict: They Can't All Be True. There are a great number of Christian resources out today that examine the world's major religions against the claims of Christianity, so my main question with any book of this nature is: What makes it unique? The answer to this question became abundantly clear as I read through Wrasman's work. This is an incredibly informative and accessible book. Many of the books that examine world religions are written more for an academic audience and are difficult for many lay-people to read and understand. This is not the case with Contradict. Wrasman has done an excellent job bringing together a lot of information for the reader to read, study and digest in regards to Christianity and the world's major religions.

I found the layout of this book to be very helpful. Wrasman spends a chapter (The Multiple Religious Paths) giving a brief sketch of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Each section is presented in a numerical list (each new topic listed numerically and in bold) form where Wrasman defines some of the major thoughts/words/beliefs of each religion. This layout makes Contradict an excellent resource to return to. If the reader has a question, for example, about what a puja is in Hinduism they can quickly turn to the section on Hinduism and search out the bold topics quickly. I think this is helpful because the reader simply cannot retain all of the information in these sections in one read through, and this makes Contradict a book that can be returned to again and again for information that is easily accessed.

The next chapter (Enacting the Law of Noncontradiction) examines the teachings of the world's major religions in the following categories: 1) Views of the Divine 2) Nature of the Universe 3) Nature of Man 4) Humanity's Ultimate Problem 5) Solution to Mankind's Problem 6) Views of the Afterlife 7) Sacred and Authoritative Literature and 8) Code of Ethics. Each category list the views of the major religions back to back which allows the reader to see that while all may be false, they cannot all be true because of such major contradictions. Examining the religions this way was very beneficial for me and will definitely make this chapter a helpful resource for years to come.

After Wrasman makes it plain that all religions cannot be true he then focuses in on the reliability of the Bible, specific
Joey Parker 

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