Are All Religions the Same?


Rob Scott said...

Here are the questions from the end of the video (but please don't limit your comments to these topics only):

What common ground do many religions share?

What is the source of religious conflict?

Why is it that Jesus appears in several different religions (but occupies very different roles)?

Why is the idea that all religions are essentially the same such a popular perspective?

stacey said...
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stacey said...

The exclusive claim of Christ is that he is the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through him. But that whole idea that God is bigger than we can perceive him to be, and that some of our seemingly conflicting views of God are maybe just seeing the same thing from a different angle - that appeals to me.

Just for the record, I don't think the two are mutually exclusive.

Rob Scott said...

As I was approaching people on the street for this topic a recurrent scenario started to play out:

I would ask someone a question regarding their opinion on the common ground or differences between religions. They would decline to comment, and then when I said "ok" and dropped the camera, they'd launch into a conversation with me about the topic they just said they didn't want to talk about.

Of course I understand people not wanting to talk about this on-camera, but what took me aback was how many people really did want to talk about it (once they were off camera).

I was also taken aback by several people who didn't want to comment because they were honestly afraid of reprisals from fundamentalist religious people who might disagree with their opinions.

Cherie Sr. said...

I think there's an underlying assumption in this culture that we DECIDE to believe in a religion, and therefore if we're given enough information about other religions, we will see (reason/deduce/give intellectual assent to the fact) that they're all basically the same. Because that's our enlightened way of determining what it real or true, right? We examine it with our three pound brains, and that profoundly reliable organ tells us all we need to know.

But what most people don't understand is that faith is not an intellectual pursuit. It's a seduction. It follows you with its eyes, touches you when no one's looking, flirts with you across crowded rooms. It's waits for you in your bedroom. It pulls you to your knees and kisses you full on the mouth. It draws from you vows of love before you even know what's happening, and you find yourself waking up next to it in the morning.

Can you talk someone out of being in love? Can you convince them that it doesn't matter who they marry because in the end all men are the same? The only possible way they'll change is if they fall in love with someone new.

I am a Christian not because it makes sense to me but because Christ kissed me full on the mouth. Buddha never even looked in my direction.

beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy said...

It seems to me that the question “are all religions the same” is ambiguous. There are a number of different senses in which the question can have meaning. For instance it can be taken as asking:

1)Do all religious claims have the same truth value?

2)Do all religious claims amount to, or entail, the same thing?

3)Do all religions share one, or a number of, sufficiently similar characteristics (ie. Moral, ontological, epistemic etc.)

4)Can all religions be explained in terms of the same causal factor?

And so on….

I assume that in this context something like the second or fourth sense is what is being asked here. Is that correct?

Rob Scott said...

Yes, statements 3 & 4 are essentially the question here, but the question is also intentionally ambiguous in order for people to respond from whatever worldview or system of organized (or disorganized) thought they adhere to, and to allow them to launch into any tangental conversation they want to generate. So make of it what you will.

Coolysses S. Grant said...

Cherie sr.

I am a little confused by your post. Are you not employing the very standards that you explicitly reject (reason, deduction, induction etc)?

The way I read it, in saying that religion is a matter of "seduction", you seem to be saying that religious experiences of a certain kind are a sufficient reason to have a particular type religious faith (in your case the Christian faith).

But this is to employ certain standards of rationality in "deciding" to believe (perhaps not from strict a rationalist tradition, but certainly from an empiricist tradition).

Can you clarify this for me?

Cherie Sr. said...


I agree it's funny that I would make an argument for experience over argument. What can I say? It's hard to escape your education.

I'm not sure if I can clarify because I'm not sure what I was trying to say. I think I was just trying to express a feeling of frustration. The statement "all religions are the same" makes me angry because it seems so arrogant and dismissive - like telling a new mother, "What's the big deal? Your baby is the same as the one next door." It doesn't seem to take into account the intensely personal and passionate nature of faith.

Yes, believing because of experience is still a decision, but I guess I was trying to say that for many of us, faith seems to come from the same place as falling in love. Perhaps the decision we make is simply to let it happen.