Is Christianity the Only True Religion?

During my dialogues with my online friend Epignosis, a Jehovah’s Witness, we traced the subject of what the Bible taught about “other” faiths back through the ages to Noah.

Epi asserted that in Noah’s time, all other religions were false. This raised many questions for me, so I asked them.

Does this mean, I asked, that when Abraham came, Noah’s faith became false? Or that when Christ came, Moses became a false prophet? I think you would agree that is not the case. Why, then, would Krishna and Buddha be made false by the advent of Christ?

RELATED: Does “The Way, the Truth, and the Life” Mean Only Christ?

You believe the people living in India were also descendants of Noah; why wouldn’t God guide them just as He guided Noah’s other descendants? 

You believe Abraham was a Prophet of God. The Bible tells us (in Genesis) that God made a covenant with Abraham’s son Isaac that resulted in the appearance of Jesus Christ. You accept this. Genesis also tells us that God made a covenant with Abraham’s first son, Ishmael, to raise up a great Prince from among his descendants. Why don’t you accept Ishmael’s descendant Muhammad as this Prince/Prophet?

Epi then made this statement: “When Jesus came, even the Jewish religion was cast aside. There is only Christianity.”

I replied that Jesus said he came not to abolish (cast aside) the Law but to fulfill it. He did not reject Moses or his spiritual teachings, but rather re-affirmed and renewed them while amending some social forms — divorce and observance of the Sabbath, for example. 

Jesus even cited Moses’ testimony (Deuteronomy 18:15) as proof of his own mission. In Matthew 22, he repeatedly confirmed the two greatest commandments given by Moses: To love God and love your neighbor as yourself. He prophesied that in due time, another Counselor (Greek Paraclete) would arise to remind the world of his word, testify of him, and glorify him …  just as Christ did with the teachings of Moses. 

This is exactly what Baha’u’llah has done, repeatedly, stating in one of his tablets that it was Jesus Christ who “purified the world” through his teachings and sacrifice.

Epi told me: You could really say that all religions in the world, except the ones that are mentioned in the Bible, are false — counterfeit.

No, I couldn’t — because that would be calling Christ a liar. He says that God will feed all of His children, not just the ones who happen to be living in and around the time and place of Jesus’ revelation. He tells his disciples how to tell false prophets from true ones, something he wouldn’t do if they were never going to have to exercise that judgment.

The Old Testament chronicles the prophets sent to the Jewish People. These include Abraham, Joseph, and Moses, along with minor prophets like Ezekiel. The books refer to an array of religions devoted to various regional gods that are generally regarded as false, manmade deities — like the Golden Calf that the Hebrews begged Moses to erect in the desert.

There is one religion referenced in these accounts that is treated differently: Zoroastrianism. As I noted earlier, during their captivity in Babylon, God ceased to speak to the Hebrews through their own prophets. He spoke to them instead through the Zoroastrian kings. One of these, Cyrus, was moved by God to give the edict to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem (Ezra Chapters 5 & 6). In Isaiah 44:28, God says of Cyrus: “He is My shepherd, and he shall perform all My pleasure, saying to Jerusalem, ‘You shall be built,’ and to the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.’” 

In Isaiah 45:1, the prophet declares: “Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held…” and prophesies the triumph of this Zoroastrian king’s reign. The passage ends with God affirming to Cyrus that  “I, the Lord, Who call you by your name, Am the God of Israel” (Isaiah 45:3). In doing this, He is also demonstrating that he is the God of Cyrus. 

God doesn’t seem to view the Faith of Zoroaster as “other” or false. If He did, would He speak of Cyrus as His “anointed” and His “shepherd”?

The decree of Cyrus that rebuilds the Temple in Jerusalem is the foundation for time prophecies in the Book of Daniel — the first prophet raised up among the captive Hebrews — that accurately pinpoint the advent of Jesus Christ and of Baha’u’llah’s forerunner, the Bab. Christ himself prophesied the appearance of a divine messenger who will come after him.

I said to Epi: stop and think for a moment about why you believe the Bible is holy but not, say, the Bhagavad Gita. If you were born in India, you would have grown up believing the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Bhagavad Gita, and the Upanishads were scripture. You might argue that only the prophets mentioned in those books are true and any others false. Other Jehovah’s Witnesses have told me, when I shared Krishna’s teachings with them, that they were like Christ’s because Krishna was a counterfeit Christ. But Krishna came to India several thousand years before Christ appeared in Israel. If Krishna is false, God allowed someone to lure a great many descendants of Noah away from Moses and Christ before they had even appeared, using His own teachings! 

This is personal for me; I confronted this idea before I became a Baha’i — because it presented a contradiction. Believing Krishna and Buddha were false called Christ’s word into question — because Christ says, with the voice of authority, that if a soul asks God for bread, God will not give him a stone, and if he asks for fish, God will not give him a snake.

If you who are evil,” Christ said in Matthew 7, “know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more does your Father in heaven know how to give good gifts to those who ask Him?

I have three children. Even I, a flawed human parent, know that it’s wrong to feed, clothe, and educate one child and let the rest fend for themselves — to allow them to be misled by false guides in the complete absence of any guidance from me. If I did this, I would be considered a wretched parent even by human standards, let alone God’s.

This is what Christ tells us about God: We imperfect humans know better than to treat our children in this manner. How can we imagine God would do so?

The only conclusion possible for me is that the Creator who Jesus Christ revealed would, by His own word, offer to every people the bread of life. 

RELATED: What My “Yes” to Baha’u’llah Means for My “Yes” to Jesus

Baha’u’llah wrote that “The beginning of all things is the knowledge of God …” If this is true, He would give all of us — not just a handful — some way to know Him. And, of course, He did. After affirming that God is so far beyond our conceptions that we cannot grasp that Reality, Baha’u’llah wrote that:

As a token of His mercy, however, and as a proof of His loving-kindness, He hath manifested unto men the Day Stars of His divine guidance, the Symbols of His divine unity, and hath ordained the knowledge of these sanctified Beings to be identical with the knowledge of His own Self. Whoso recognizeth them hath recognized God. Whoso hearkeneth to their call, hath hearkened to the Voice of God … Every one of them is the Way of God that connecteth this world with the realms above, and the Standard of His Truth unto every one in the kingdoms of earth and heaven. They are the Manifestations of God amidst men, the evidences of His Truth, and the signs of His glory.

Thus, Baha’u’llah affirms the words of the Apostle Paul that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Since this is so, we can be certain that the loving God of all provided the bread and water of life — that is, a way to know Him — to every generation in every part of the world.

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