What to Say to “All-Religions-Are-Basically-the-Same” Dude

“All religions are basically the same” –Captain Humble and Peaceful

When some peace-loving dude “humbly” tells a believer that all religions are basically the same, the believer typically responds with wet pants. That claim scares many of us. It scares us for a couple of reasons. One, we don’t know all religions. This dude seems to have studied even Zoroastrianism. Secondly, this guy seems pretty sure of himself and he also seems like he really loves peace. I don’t want to be seen as some sort of arrogant, war-mongering, and hate-filled meanie pants.

So what do I do?

If I say, “no they aren’t” then I’m opening myself up to not only sound like a narrow-minded bigot, but an uninformed one to boot. After all, the most I know about Zoroastrianism is that Antonio Banderas played him in a movie. So how do I respond? Do I just nod my head and pray for the guy?

One of your fears can be calmed. You don’t have to know all religions to respond to this guy. You just have to know the one absolutely unique gospel. And when I say that I don’t mean the watered down hippie-Jesus version. I meant he God-becoming-man, who carried human sin to a Cross, and screamed over it “It is finished”!

Ask this confident chap share the gospel with you. Or ask him what the message of Christ is. Then, when he fumbles it—and he will fumble it, because no one who really knows the gospel will say that it’s like every other religion—then, you have an opportunity to share the unique claims of Jesus with him.

At this point when (if) you are accused of arrogance, you might lovingly point out his hypocrisy. After all isn’t it a tad arrogant to say that you’ve studied all religions, and you’ve gotten to the core of them, and have seen that they are all the same. Especially, when all these religions themselves proclaim, “No, we aren’t the same and that’s why we are fighting”. It’s just not be honest and frankly its demeaning because it is essentially calling every one with any religious spine at all a complete moron.

Your goal in sharing the gospel with this guy is to get him to actually have to deal with the unique claims of Jesus. Don’t let him hide behind the idea that Buddha, Mohammed, Zorro, Tom Cruise, Oprah, and Jesus all have the same claim on his life. Jesus makes a unique claim. Help this person understand that he either has to be willing to call Jesus a wrong-headed false teacher or surrender his life to Him. He can’t have it both ways and still have any shred of honesty.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15969310497166526545 Christiane

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/15969310497166526545 Christiane

    sometimes Christ is quoted, and you will hear a person say ‘in other words’ . . .
    but that doesn’t work
    because when Christ has spoken, there are no ‘in other words’

    REASON:
    Christ spoke and taught in the very Person of God,
    so He Himself IS the fullness of God’s Revelation to us

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08034192017775511612 Mike Leake

      I hear what you’re saying. But two things.
      First, how does this connect to the article. Help me out there.

      Secondly, I don’t think when somebody says, “in other words” their trying to diminish the words of Christ. The truth is if we say it in English we are essentially doing it “in other words”. Even if you say it in the Greek of the New Testament writers you are quite likely doing it “in other words” unless of course you speak in the Aramaic of Jesus.

      Now, I agree that we ought to be really careful when putting the words of Jesus into our own. But I don’t think simply saying, “in other words” necessarily means that you aren’t faithful to the message of Christ.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ Steve Martin

    Christianity really isn’t a religion. Religion is about our ascending to, or doing something to be acceptable in God’s eyes. And there is plenty of that going on. Always has been.

    But faith in Christ Jesus is something else altogether. It is a living trust in what God has done for us on the Cross.

  • Anonymous

    Steve,

    If you look at religious studies textbooks, the definition of religion is (in my experience) almost always one that would apply to Christianity. I find it a losing tactic, to try to convince someone that a religion is not a religion is, well, confusing. It is better to say Christianity is different, and then explain the important points you make above.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08034192017775511612 Mike Leake

    I tend to agree with Anon.

    I’ve found it counter-productive. No sense in arguing over that particular term. So I’ll just pick it up if someone uses it and try to show how out of all the other religions Christianity is absolutely unique in the claims that Christ makes.

  • Chris Kuenzle

    I’ve been having a lot of these type of conversations lately at work. I am learning that it is very beneficial to, as you mentioned about having them explain the Gospel, ask questions and keep the ball in their court because it is difficult for these people to explain non-truth. They usually just reveal their ignorance. I like that you mentioned the fear that is often associated with these conversations. I think that as Christians, we need to remain aware that winning these people over does not depend on our performance or abilities, rather it depends on the work of the Holy Spirit, so we can breathe easy and enjoy these conversations.

    • http://www.blogger.com/profile/08034192017775511612 Mike Leake

      Chris,
      Good to hear from you, man. We need to reschedule our get together. Hopefully our schedules slow down once my wife is no longer teaching school.
      I’m happy to hear that God is giving you lots of opportunities to share the gospel at work. And I really appreciate your final sentence. There’s no need for us to wet our pants in these conversations. The Spirit is both sovereign and powerful. So as you said we can chill out and enjoy His work.

  • http://www.icouldlaughicouldcry.com/ Marsha Hodges

    Awesome article. I have heard that remark many times myself, mostly by family members. I have also heard this one: “How do you know which religion is the true one?” Superb article!Keep up the great work.