So Many Religions!
IF THERE is only one God, why are there so many religions? Have you ever wondered about this? Most thinking people have. And the answer is not easy to find. The religious situation in the world is about as confused as it could be. Just consider some facts.
How Many Religions Are There? That is difficult to say. But there is a wide variety. Some native tribes worship local deities. Many Orientals worship their ancestors. Some have only one god; Hindus have millions. Most people in Christendom believe in a trinity—three persons in one god. Some people are religious without having a positive belief in any god at all.
Are All Religions Different Ways of Worshiping One God? This is widely believed. But as the facts just presented show, this cannot be true. Besides, even the characteristics of the gods worshiped are different. Some religions have gods that are believed to be indifferent to mankind. Others have vindictive gods, and yet others view their gods as benevolent. Evidently, these religions are not all speaking about the same god.
Are There Things in Common Among All Religions? In spite of the differences, there are widespread similarities that we will discuss later. However, for now, let us just say this: Most religions teach that there is an authority above that of man (although they do not agree on what that authority is). Most religions offer guidance as to how to conduct oneself in this present life (although that guidance differs from religion to religion). And most religions teach some kind of “salvation,” or the hope of a life in which our present tribulations will be no more (although they differ as to the nature of that “salvation”).
Can We Learn Anything from This? Mankind as a whole evidently senses the possibility of enjoying a better kind of life than they have right now. However, individuals feel inadequate to face the problems that confront them and see the need of a higher authority to help them.
But with so many religions offering contradictory advice, where should a person go for this help that he obviously needs? Where did all these contradictory religions come from anyway? Is there any way of telling which one is right?