Are All Religions The Same?

Many people contend that they are. They claim that all the religions of the world have a different “exterior” but the same “interior.” However, this reveals an ignorance of the world’s religions. The core beliefs of the world’s religions are NOT the same. For example, Hindus believe that we all have (or rather “are”) a soul (i.e. atman) which reincarnates. Siddartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism, specifically rejected this. Christians believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again. Based on a section of the Quran (Sura 4:157,158), Muslims reject this. Hindus have no problem with worshiping many gods while Muslims consider this blasphemous. The list could go on and in each case, the differences are a matter of core beliefs, not periphery ones.

Given this great diversity in the world’s religions, Stephen Prothero (professor in the Department of Religion at Boston University) writes in his book, God is Not One:
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“…it has been fashionable to affirm that all religions are beautiful and all are true. This claim, which reaches back to All Religions Are One (1795) by… William Blake, is as odd as it is intriguing. No one argues that different economic systems or political regimes are one and the same. Capitalism and socialism are so obviously at odds that their differences hardly bear mentioning. The same goes for democracy and monarchy. Yet scholars continue to claim that religious rivals such as Hinduism and Islam, Judaism and Christianity are, by some miracle of the imagination, essentially the same…”

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