On Choosing a Religion/On Assessing a Religion

Last month Bill Muehlenberg posted two related articles worth reading:

On Choosing a Religion

This title may seem a bit odd, and there would be some good reasons for that I suppose. Firstly, most people – in the West at least – are likely more concerned about what sort of coffee they might buy than what religion they may choose. And of course most folks simply pick up their religion from their parents.

Far fewer folks will question what they inherited from birth, and carefully seek out what religion or worldview to run with. As Francis Schaeffer once put it, most people catch their worldviews like they do German measles – quite by accident in other words.

Moreover, many people will not choose a religion because they foolishly think all religions are the same. But the only people who make that claim are those who know nothing about religion. The more you study the major world religions, the more you see how very different they are.

For example, there are as many as 330 million different gods in Hinduism. However you can be a Buddhist and not even believe in God. Let me offer just one more example, this time between Islam and Christianity. But let me preface it by reminding you of one of the most important principles of basic logic.

I refer to the law of noncontradiction. This simply states that no two contradictory statements can both be true at the same time and in the same sense. In the words of Aristotle, “one cannot say of something that it is and that it is not in the same respect and at the same time”.

Read more: Culture Watch

On Assessing a Religion

Yesterday I penned a piece on choosing a religion. On such a complex and important topic such an article could only be the briefest of brief introductions. So here I want to pad things out a bit more, even though this too will be a very brief outline of this vital matter.

Religions and worldviews need to be carefully evaluated. They are not all the same, and some are preferable to others. Given that mega-themes like truth and error, life and death are bound up in a worldview, it is imperative that we be wise and discerning as we seek one we can commit ourselves to.

So let’s explore further the range of options available to us. While plenty of sources for all this can be mentioned, let me say that much material from two terrific Christian apologists have been drawn upon here: Norman Geisler and Francis Schaeffer.

When it comes to the question of God and his existence, we really have three major options available to us:

-Agnosticism. The belief that one cannot be sure that there is a God. However complete agnosticism or skepticism is self-defeating: to say absolutely that you cannot know anything absolutely is a contradiction in terms.

-Atheism. The belief that there is no God, and that everything came about by time plus chance. But there is a problem here as well. Most people will admit their knowledge is quite limited. There is more to be known than what we know. Thus what is outside our field of knowledge may include God. If a person knew all things, he would have to be God!

-Theism. The belief that God exists. This of course is the option of most major religions, be it Judaism, Islam, Christianity, Hinduism.

Read more: Culture Watch