SUNDAY STUDY: Why Can’t Christians Honor Other Religions?

By Dave Hunt "In Defense of the Faith"

“A Higher Power by Whatever Name?”

Question: “Why are Christians so adamantly opposed to the many other concepts of God that are honored in other religions? I agree with what Vice President Al Gore said at the 1993 Presidential Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C.: “Faith in God, reliance upon a Higher Power, by whatever name, is in my view essential.” Think of the unity there could be if religions would stop quarreling and honor all concepts of God in an open-minded and brotherly fashion!”

Response: Yes, think of the unity there could be if we would all agree that two plus two equals five—but that wouldn’t make it so. A “Higher Power”? How high? Higher than what? And what does this mean? With all due respect to you and the Vice President, what you both propose is completely irrational. Furthermore, you aren’t being “open-minded and brotherly,” as you think you are. By insisting upon the acceptance of any “Higher Power” and thus any god, you thereby refuse to honor the one true God or even to admit His existence. This very fallacy was exposed in Alan Bloom’s book The Closing of the American Mind. Bloom pointed out that “openness” has become the new fad in America, especially in education. Every idea must be respected, nothing can be wrong, and no one should be “put down” by suggesting that someone might be in error. He explained that Americans have in fact become so open to everything that they have become closed to the idea that something might be right and something else wrong. The closing of the American mind . . . by openness!

In much the same way, you become so open to every god that you are closed to the possibility that there just might be one true God and all the others false.

Some Practical Considerations

Let’s put your proposal on a practical level. How would you like it if everyone denied your unique individuality and specific personal identity and looked upon you as simply a representative of the general concept of humanness? Would you like being confused with a murderer, rapist, cheat, thief, or some other criminal simply because each one of them also represents humanness? And what would you think if, to justify this travesty, it was said that “any human” will do? Why not, if “any Higher Power” will do?

There could hardly be any greater insult than such a denial of the truth about you as a unique person! You have definite qualities and traits that distinguish you from all other persons who have ever existed or will ever exist on this earth. You are an individual and not to be confused with anyone else. To deny your individuality would be to deny your very existence.

Suppose that your wife or husband and your children and friends felt no personal relationship with you but simply looked upon you as some kind of generic representation of humanness. Suppose your husband or wife cared not whether it was you or some other form of humanness sharing their home and intimacies of the husband-wife relationship! After all, such a relationship need not be with a particular person but merely with any person—just as any “Higher Power, by whatever name” is good enough. Let’s not be narrow-minded!

Is it not an even greater farce to suggest that God’s personal qualities and attributes, which separate Him by an impassable gulf from His creation and all beings in it, are meaningless?

What a travesty to say that “any Higher Power,” “any god,” will do! How dare you say that God’s love for you means nothing but that you would be just as happy worshiping and trusting and loving some cosmic energy source or an idol or even the devil!

To Create the Universe Requires Definite Qualities

The fact is that no thinking person can embrace just “any god” as the Creator of this universe—and there must be a Creator. The logic of our own existence and the incredible design and structure of the universe around us force us to certain conclusions about God. Based upon such conclusions we must reject any concept of God that violates these requirements. It isn’t true that “any god” will do. And no “power,” no matter how “high,”
could create the universe and mankind in it. Only a personal God of infinite power, wisdom, and love could do so.

Certainly, no one could reasonably attribute the creation of this universe to some idol made by human hands out of clay or wood or stone! Much less could an idol create mankind.
Nor could any idol love us or be worthy of our love. Nor could any idol set the standards of good and evil that we each recognize have been placed in our consciences.

Who could possibly believe that an idol, which itself was made by human hands and has to be carried about, had any power at all to do either good or evil?

Yet the majority of mankind down through history has trusted in idols. Even in today’s supposedly modern world, with radio and television [and the internet] widely publicizing the amazing advancements of science, several billion people still worship idols. Nor is this true only in Africa, Asia, and South America. Multitudes in the modern cities of North America and Europe as well trust in and worship actual physical idols. Such misplaced trust leads to spiritual darkness and bondage.

Mankind will be judged for such folly, and justly so. The very conscience and intelligence that God has given us contradict such superstitious madness. The Bible points out the folly
of trusting in idols:

Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.
They have mouths, but they speak not; eyes have they, but they see not: they have ears, but they hear not; noses they have, but they smell not; they have hands, but they handle not; feet they have, but they walk not; neither speak they
through their throat. They that make them are like unto them; so is everyone that trusteth in them. (Psalm 115:4–8)

Yet one must include idols and every other concept of “god” as equally valid if “any Higher Power” will do. If not, then where does one draw the line?

When he gathered snake worshipers, fire worshipers, spiritists, animists, and witch doctors—along with Hindus, Buddhists, and Muslims—at Assisi, Italy, to pray for peace, Pope John Paul II made the astonishing statement that they were all praying to the same God!

Obviously, there are innumerable false gods and false religions, and the Bible denounces every one of these because they seduce mankind from knowing and obeying the one true God.