Do All Worship the Same God?
“WHO can say that one religion is right and another is wrong?” a teacher asked one of Jehovah’s witnesses in West Africa. “Here in Africa we see people of many religions going to their church or temple, and you preaching as one of Jehovah’s witnesses. Really, are not all worshiping the same God?”
What do you think? Does Almighty God approve of all religions? Does all worship eventually go to the same God anyway? This view is widespread.
‘Same God’ View Widespread
For example, the Hindu “holy book,” the Bhagavad Gita, represents God as saying: “Even those who are devoted to other deities and worship them, filled with faith, they too really worship Me.” The Bahai World Faith considers all the world’s major faiths as part of the same evolving religion, with the same source of wisdom and spiritual power. A clergyman of Christendom said: “I believe God speaks through all religions.”
Those who hold this view often encourage interfaith. A Bahai leader stated: “All must abandon prejudices and must even go to each other’s churches and mosques.” Last year the All Africa Council of Churches expressed its desire that new converts might feel equally at ease in any church. The Roman Catholic Church, too, has become involved in interfaith. There are even hopes that one day all mankind will achieve unity of worship through interfaith.
Of course, many still feel that theirs is the most correct form of worship. Others say that ‘you should stick with the religion in which you were brought up,’ regardless of its teachings. Few who profess Christianity, for example, would feel comfortable worshiping at a Buddhist wat or a Hindu shrine. Yet what difference should it make, if all worship goes to the same God?
Clearly there is confusion when it comes to the type of worship that God accepts. Is there any source that really tells the truth on this matter?
Why Go to the Bible?
There are many religious books in the world. Some of them claim to be revelations from God. But there is one book of religion that truly inspires the confidence of its readers. That book is the Holy Bible. How is the Bible different from other “holy” writings?
The Bible is a book of facts. Its historical accounts have won the admiration of scholars because of their accuracy. The Bible is filled with names of persons and places and descriptions of events that have been verified by archaeological investigation. The Genesis account of creation contains none of the fanciful myths found in the literature of pagan nations but presents matters in a straightforward way that agrees with scientific facts. The Bible contains hundreds of predictions that have been fulfilled to the letter. Its counsel on human relations is unequaled. The Bible’s honest presentation of the shortcomings of its characters in addition to their virtues also recommends it as a book of truth. Then there is the marvelous internal harmony of the Bible’s sixty-six books, although recorded by some forty writers over a period of sixteen hundred years.
Does All Worship Go to the Same God?
Does the Bible teach that all worship goes to the same God? Consider what is written at 1 Corinthians 10:20: “The things which the nations sacrifice they sacrifice to demons, and not to God.”
How much of mankind’s religion is of this perverted type? Revelation 12:9 reveals that Satan the Devil “is misleading the entire inhabited earth.” Noteworthy, too, are the words of Jesus Christ: “Broad and spacious is the road leading off into destruction, and many are the ones going in through it; whereas narrow is the gate and cramped the road leading off into life, and few are the ones finding it.” (Matt. 7:13, 14) That means that the majority of mankind, in spite of having some form of religion, are not worshiping God acceptably.
Interfaith or True Worship?
In view of this, does Jehovah God approve of interfaith? Jehovah’s law to ancient Israel strictly forbade religious fellowship with the surrounding nations. (Ex. 22:20; 23:32, 33) Is it the same for Christians? Consider what God’s Word says at 2 Corinthians 6:14, 16, 17: “Do not become unevenly yoked with unbelievers . . . what agreement does God’s temple have with idols? . . . ‘Therefore get out from among them, and separate yourselves,’ says Jehovah.”
One must go to the Bible to learn the distinctive marks of true worship. Let us take note of some of these.
To Moses, God said: “A prophet I shall raise up for [the Israelites] from the midst of their brothers, like you . . . And it must occur that the man who will not listen to my words that he will speak in my name, I shall myself require an account from him.” (Deut. 18:18, 19) Other Bible prophecies show that that “prophet” would come through the Israelite tribe of Judah in the family of King David and that he would be born in Bethlehem.—Gen. 49:10; 2 Sam. 7:12-16; Mic. 5:2.
Jesus Christ fulfilled those requirements. (Heb. 7:14; Matt. 1:1; 2:1) By his miracles and teachings he proved that he was “the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matt. 16:16) He himself said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) The true religion, therefore, must accept Jesus Christ as God’s chief spokesman in matters of worship.
As an example, Bahais accept Jesus but believe that later spokesmen of God would succeed him and that their teachings would outweigh those of Jesus. For the Bahais, the one succeeding Jesus is a certain Bahaullah of the nineteenth century; for other people, he is another religious leader. But such a succession of prophets after Jesus is not necessary according to what is written of Christ Jesus at Hebrews 7:24, 25:
“He because of continuing alive forever has his priesthood without any successors. Consequently he is able also to save completely those who are approaching God through him, because he is always alive to plead for them.”
But more is involved than simply professing belief in Jesus or belonging to a church that bears his name. Jesus said: “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love among yourselves.” (John 13:35) Jesus demonstrated outstanding love for mankind, even giving his life in their behalf. Do the members of your church display such genuine love for one another, even in times of war? Do they try to imitate the things Jesus did?
What did Jesus do for the benefit of others? In addition to his miracles, the Bible relates: “And Jesus set out on a tour of all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the good news of the kingdom.” (Matt. 9:35) He trained his followers to do this too. (Mark 1:35-39; Luke 8:1; 9:1-6; 10:1-11) Those who truly follow in Christ’s footsteps today likewise teach people publicly and privately that God’s kingdom, his heavenly government, is the only hope for solving the world’s problems. (1 Pet. 2:21) Is this true of your church? Does your minister regularly call attention to the heavenly kingdom of God?
Closely related to this is another identifying mark of true worship: “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, . . . to keep [oneself] unspotted from the world.” (Jas. 1:27, Authorized Version) Because of their allegiance to God’s heavenly kingdom, those who practice “pure religion” from God’s standpoint do not involve themselves in the nationalism, wars and politics of this world. Do the churches of Christendom measure up to these requirements of true worship? What about the church to which you belong?—See also John 15:19; 17:16.
Outstanding among Jesus’ activities was that he “made [God’s] name manifest” to people. (John 17:6) He helped them to get to know God as a person. Those who imitate Jesus also make God’s name known to others, helping them to develop a personal relationship with the Creator. Does your church publicize God’s name Jehovah? You can find that name 6,970 times in the Hebrew text of the “Old Testament.” When was the last time you heard your minister or priest mention it?
In spite of Christendom’s failure there are people on earth today who do live up to the Bible’s requirements for true worship. Because of their love for Jehovah God and their fellowman, these people refuse to engage in the world’s wars. By means of a worldwide public witnessing campaign they point people to God’s kingdom as the only solution to the world’s troubles. These people also make God’s name Jehovah manifest. In fact, in most parts of the earth, one can scarcely mention the name Jehovah without thinking of this group of people. Doubtless you know who they are.
Not all people worship the same God, nor are all religions acceptable to the true God. The Bible specifies that there is only “one faith” that God approves. That faith is the religion revealed by him in his own Word, the Holy Bible.—Eph. 4:5.
Jehovah God desires people to study his Word carefully. When they learn what is acceptable worship to God, he expects them to conform their lives to it. This may require considerable adjustments in one’s life, even changing one’s religion if it does not measure up to the Bible’s standard for true worship. Would you be willing to do that in order to please God? That is the only right thing to do, for James 4:17 says: “If one knows how to do what is right and yet does not do it, it is a sin for him.”