The number of religions in the world makes it challenging to know which one is correct. With so many belief systems to consider and the claim that all religions lead to God, many people who are earnestly seeking the truth about God are confused. The end result is that some seekers despair of ever reaching the absolute truth on the subject, or they decide to embrace the universalist claim that all religions lead to God. Of course, skeptics argue that the existence of so many religions is proof that no one can know God or that God simply does not exist.
We first must ask: Does absolute truth exist? If it does not, then we really cannot be sure of anything (spiritual or otherwise), and we become agnostics, unsure if we really know anything, or pluralists, accepting every position because we are not sure which, if any, is right.
Absolute truth is defined as that which matches reality; that which corresponds to its object; telling it like it is. Some people say there is no such thing as absolute truth, but taking such a position becomes self-defeating. For example, the relativist says “All truth is relative,” yet one must ask: Is that statement absolutely true? If so, then absolute truth does exist; if not, then why consider it? Postmodernism affirms no truth, yet in doing so, it affirms at least one absolute truth: Postmodernism is true. In the end, absolute truth becomes undeniable.
Further, absolute truth is naturally narrow and excludes its opposite. For example, two plus two equals four, and no further answer is possible. This point is essential when comparing different belief systems and world views. If one belief system has components that are proven true, then any competing belief system with contrary claims must be false. Also, we must keep in mind that absolute truth is not affected by sincerity and desire. No matter how sincerely someone embraces a lie, it is still a lie. And no desire in the world can make something true that is false.
Romans 1:19–21 contains the biblical explanation for why there are so many religions. The truth of God is seen and known by every human being because God has made it so. Instead of accepting the truth about God and submitting to it, most human beings reject it and seek their own way to understand God. This leads not to enlightenment regarding God, but to futility of thinking. Here is where we find the basis of the “many religions.”
Many people do not want to believe in a God who demands righteousness and morality, so they invent a God who makes no such requirements. Many people do not want to believe in a God who declares it impossible for people to earn their own way to heaven. So they invent a God who accepts people into heaven if they have completed certain steps, followed certain rules, and/or obeyed certain laws, at least to the best of their ability. Many people do not want a relationship with a God who is sovereign and omnipotent. So they imagine God as being more of a mystical force than a personal and sovereign ruler.
The existence of so many religions is not an argument against God’s existence or an argument that truth about God is not clear. Rather, the existence of so many religions is demonstration of humanity’s rejection of the one true God. Human beings have replaced Him with gods that are more to their liking. This is a dangerous enterprise. The desire to recreate God in our own image comes from the sin nature within us—a nature that will eventually “reap destruction” (Galatians 6:7–8).
All religions do lead to God. All but one leads to His judgment. Only one—Christianity—leads to His forgiveness and eternal life. No matter what religion one embraces, everyone will meet the one true and living God after death (Hebrews 9:27). All religions lead to God, but only one religion will result in God’s acceptance, because only through His salvation through faith in Jesus Christ can anyone approach Him with confidence (John 14:6).