All Roads Don't Lead to Rome
"All roads lead to Rome" has been the mantra of religious pluralism for quite some time. It is a short-hand way of saying that all religions lead to God. When someone makes the assertion that all religions lead to God,or that all roads lead to Rome ask them some questions to get them thinking about what it is that they are claiming. The statement could mean one of two things. It could mean that God is pleased with all religions, or it could mean that all religions basically teach the same thing. Either way there are problems with this view. To bring these inherent flaws to the surface ask:
If they are content with saying "Well, the way I have described God is the way He really is, but it's ok for others to think differently," ask, "Does God not care what people think of Him?" No matter how they answer you can go back to the same question as above: How do you know this? What is your objective criteria? Did God tell you this is what He thinks?
- Do you mean that God is pleased with all religions? If so, how do you know this?
- What was your objective criteria for making this conclusion?
- Did God tell you this is what He thinks?
- If so, how do you know it was indeed God who told you this (pointing out the subjective, rather than objective nature of such a claim)?
- Who is this God that told you?
- What is He like? (As soon as they try answering this question they are going to make it evident that they believe some religious views of God are wrong, because their description of who God is will exclude some religions and include others)
If they say God does not care who people think He is or what He desires as their creator, ask, "Are you saying God does not care to be known by His creation? Is God not concerned that those who want to know Him actually come to know HIM rather than a figment of their imagination?"
To bring the point home ask, "Would you care if your spouse called you by a name other than your name, and talked about events you shared together that you really did not did share together, and thought of you in ways that differed from the way you really are? Would you be satisfied if the person you wanted to be in relationship with was only with you because he thought you were someone other than who you really are? Then why would you think God is satisfied with people claiming He is all sorts of different things, and desires all sorts of different things? What kind of relationship is that? It's not a relationship at all because a relationship is based on knowing who someone is, not on how we like to think of that person. If people have a false understanding of who God is and what God wants from humanity, then their relationship is not with God but with a figment of their imagination. It is no relationship at all.
Does that mean all religions basically teach the same thing? Why do you believe such a thing? Have you compared the theology of all the major world religions before coming to your conclusion? If you think all religions basically teach the same thing, explain to me how it is that many religions make contradictory claims concerning who God is, how many gods there are, and the ultimate destiny of man. The law of logic called the Law of Excluded Middle demands that two contrary views cannot both be right at the same time and in the same way. For example, it is not possible that both resurrection and reincarnation are true. It could be that one is true and the other false, or that both be false, but it cannot be that both are true. The Jews claim Jesus was a false Messiah whereas the Christians claim Jesus was the Messiah. Both cannot be right. Competing religious views are more often than not contradictory to one another, not complimentary or concurrent.
Furthermore, if all roads lead to Rome, what is Rome? Is Rome respresentative of God, or is it man's ultimate destination? If it is the latter, recognize that each religion has differing concepts of what Rome is. How are we to decide who is right when it comes to the ultimate destiny of man? Are we going to live on a newly created earth like Christianity teaches? Are we going to become gods ourselves like Mormonism teaches? Are we going to reach Nirvana like Hinduism teaches? Which is it, and why do we have to decide between them if all religions are basically the same?
No, all roads do not lead to Rome. We can't just make up our own route on how we want to get to God. God has His own route, and He has disclosed it to us. Any other freeway than the highway to heaven is a one-way ticket to someplace else. We cannot get to God doing it our way. We must get to God doing it His way. Religion is not ice-cream, but medicine. We don't pick our religion based on what we like, but based on what heals. Humanity has a particular sickness that requires a particular medication. Not just any medication will do. If you do not take the right medication because you do not like the way it tastes, don't be surprised when you die of your disease on the road you have chosen.
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