I was on a quest to write a different post initially – a post that is about proving the deity of God and His existence. But deep into my research, I found something radically different. I noticed the emergence of a global trend; a unified religion of some sort, a promotion of the universal oneness of humanity. Now, given that the world is now even more fragmented than it ever was, it might appear that I’m blabbering some kind of nonsensical gibberish, but hear me out – even the teachings of Jesus sounded creepily similar.
‘Salvation’ through Other Religions?
When I mention ‘universalism’, I don’t mean the theological doctrine that teaches that all will be saved. Rather, I am referring to the universal sameness of innate needs and the similarities in doctrinal teachings of all religions.
The idea that salvation need not necessarily come from Christ is a misinterpretation of Romans 2:14-15.
In my own personal reflection, I have come to know of the teachings that salvation need not necessarily come from Christ alone. If it is not so, then why did Paul reasoned that Gentiles, who do not have the law, are a law by themselves. And through the obedience to the requirements of the law, they are counted as righteous (Romans 2:14-15)? I must say that this is a misinterpretation of text that might have given rise to the idea that others religion can attain for us the ‘salvation’ that Christianity promised. In fact, this misinterpretation may have fueled some people in their push to promote religious syncretism.
The Search for the Real Path to God
Steve McSwain (2014), the Ambassador to the Council on the Parliament for the World’s Religions, noted in an article on Huffington-post that “God is within us”. In fact, He is in all things if He is within us. For this, he noted the similarities between Christianity and Pantheism .
The doctrinal teachings of many religions may appear to be the similar.
The similarities of the Christian faith then is startling similar to that of Polytheistic Hinduism. In fact, now that I have scratched the surface of Hinduism and studied its doctrinal thoughts, I would not even consider Hinduism polytheistic. Hindus believe in the One True God (Hinduism, n.d.) who took the form of the Trinity. To keep the universe in order, these gods manifested itself and gave birth to demigods so as to govern their own area of creation (Dasa, 2012). But if we were to focus on the Creator Trinity God of Hinduism, we will find that the greatly loved “lord Krishna” is an incarnation of “Vishnu”, a member of the Trinity, and this Krishna is in the hearts of everything in every believer (Yadav, 2017).
Just as how Jesus was the Son of God incarnated and born on the earth for our salvation, Krishna was born. And when Krishna died, just as how Christ died on the cross and rose again, we see that Krishna now dwells in all believers just as the Spirit that raised Christ from the grave now indwells within us (Romans 8:11). And for that, Jesus preaches that the kingdom of God is “in your midst” or “within you” (Luke 14:21, NIV).
Similar doctrines appeared in other big and small religions that should be looked into with greater details. However, the focus here is the similarities in doctrinal teachings among the religions.
I previously wrote about the similarities between Abrahamic and Polytheistic religions in an article “Finding God – The Psychological Need to Belong”. In it, I have concluded that there is a fundamental need in every person to belong. This need is planted by a divine authority and ‘religion’ is a bridge that people cross to satisfy that inward need to belong.
“If we consider the similarities in the doctrinal teachings of the religions in the world, then we consider the fundamental needs of every human being, then we consider the functions of ‘religion’, then we will realize that there is no real path to God.”
This need to belong is something that Anjali Kumar so nicely pointed out in her TED speech as, “health, happiness, and love; in that order” (Kumar, 2017). The fundamental sameness that Kumar found speaks of this deep yearning that is within every living being, “regardless of background, race, or religion.”
Now, if we consider the similarities in the doctrinal teachings of the religions in the world, then we consider the fundamental needs of every human being, then we consider the functions of ‘religions’ (that is to establish the link between humanity and the individual to satisfy their innate needs), then we will realize that there is no real path to God.
The Problem with the Rising Global Trend
As we speak, people are forming religious syncretism through the linking of two or more religions together. On the fundamental level, religions are meant to satisfy the innate needs of humankind, and through the combination of teachings, it makes us better people. Schiffman (2012) shared on a Huffington-post blog that his encounter with Vivekananda taught him that the right kind of religion “helps to make one more compassionate, humbler, in the face of the Great Mystery, and tolerant of inevitable human differences”. In the article, he concluded that the “liberating Oneness” is “the heart of faith”.
Not entirely wrong.
In fact, Christ taught the same thing – that believers should be One with ourselves and with God (John 17:23).
Similarly, a rising new ‘religion’ (or teaching) called “Dedjaonism” began spreading in Malaysia. This new teaching that attempts to unify 5 religions into one preaches that there is a commonality of morality within all of them. In it, oneness is preached and practiced.
“In this not-yet-defined new era, we see people are returning to the roots of humanity – the roots that were shared during the days just after creation.”
With this, I see a global trend rising from the depths of the human heart. The innate search for God and the rationalization of the human mind has opened the eyes of many to the many religions out there. The hush-hush “don’t tell anyone” that Kumar (2017) noted in her emails are being brought to light through globalization. In this not-yet-defined new era, we see people are returning to the roots of humanity – the roots that were shared during the days just after creation. The deep yearning to be one is real.
In fact, this oneness is felt not just in the religious domain but in the political arena as well. Recently, we are seeing the rise of a new global liberal order where a ballet between the superpowers orbit around an unknown moral compass .
But as we come back to the religious domain and ask the most basic of questions – “if Oneness is the answer to all things, then with what should we be one with?” – we will find that humanity is not ready to answer this question.
The Fundamental Error of Oneness – We are not One
Behind this fundamental error lies the truth we all need to face – everyone is different, and the difference is most notable in the religious domain. Fundamental religious ‘truths’ differ from beliefs to beliefs. How was the world created, where will we go, how do we become ‘one’ with the gods, with whom do we ‘be one’ with, all differ in doctrinal teachings.
Yeah, given that they all spoke of the need to ‘be one’ and the world was created by ‘one god’, fundamentally, they are all still the same songs with different themes. You can’t achieve ‘oneness’ when you have differences.
The Acknowledgement of the Deity of Christ is the dividing line between believers and non-believers. Even if we all long for a similar kind of ‘oneness’, we are not one with them.
Coming back to the Christian domain, the argument that McSwain (2014) posit gives rise to the fundamental problem on the topic of the elect. More notably, if God is already in everyone, then what makes us different from those who do not believe in (or even reject) the salvation work of Christ? Is Christ in those who reject Him also?
Now we know the answer because “no one who denies the Son has the Father” and “whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also” (1 John 2:23, NIV). This statement lay down for us the dividing line between believers and non-believers. To put it simply, we are not One.
We are not One with the world who does not acknowledge the Son. Even if we all long for similar oneness, we are not one with them.
Finding Christ in The New World Order
With this then, we understand that there is a fundamental difference between the ‘oneness’ God has enabled the world to feel and the ‘oneness’ that believers of Christ should experience. On the surface, they are the same, but on the deeper level, it is the recognition of Christ as God that is the key difference.
Assuming that all religions point to the One True God who created the universe, and unity is founded on this fundamental truth of a One True God, then it is true that they will achieve unity. But this unity is different from that that is within the Christian domain.
The failure to acknowledge the deity of Christ meant we have not known the Father. Believe in Christ and build our foundations on the rock.
The recognition of the One True God without acknowledging the deity of Christ meant that they have not known the Father (John 16:2-3). And likewise, the failure to recognize the deity of Christ meant that they are centering their apparent ‘unity’ on sand (Matthew 7:26-27).
We know that the word of God handed down to us from the apostles are God-breathed (2 Timothy 3) and the teachings of Christ is verified by over five hundred people of His time (1 Corinthians 15:6) and hence, cannot be wrong.
For that, let us build our house upon the rock (Matthew 7:24-25). And in the face of the threats of the new religious world order that does not acknowledge Christ, we will not fall because we “have our foundations on the rock”.
 Pantheism is the doctrine that equates “God” with the forces and the laws of the universe. It is also the toleration and the worship of all gods.
 Polytheism is the belief and worship of more than one god.
 I am excluding ‘Buddhism’ from the discussion because the teaching(s) of Buddha is in fact, just a teaching, and is fundamentally not a religion. Refer to https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lewis-richmond/do-buddhists-believe-in-g_b_859658.html
 I covered this in my article, “The Rise of the New Global Liberal Order and What It Should Mean to Us”.
Dasa, G. P. (2012). The 33 Million Gods of Hinduism. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/gadadhara-pandit-dasa/the-33-million-demigods-o_b_1737207.html
Hinduism: beliefs about God. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/rs/god/hinduismrev1.shtml
Kumar, A. (2017). My failed mission to find God – and what I found instead. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/anjali_kumar_my_failed_mission_to_find_god_and_what_i_found_instead/transcript
McSwain, S. (2014). How to Find God: The Five Ways. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-mcswain/how-to-find-god-the-five-_b_4660375.html
Pantheism. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pantheism
Polytheism. (n.d.) Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/polytheism
Schiffman, R. (2012). Do All Religions Teach the Same Truth? Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/richard-schiffman/do-all-religions-teach-the-same-truth_b_2217161.html
Universalism. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/universalism
Yadav, A. (2017). Lord Krishna is in everyone in this beautiful world. If he is in us, in animals, in you, and in me, then why do people search him only in temples? Why do people build such big temples when he is the creator of this beautiful world? Retrieved from https://www.quora.com/Lord-Krishna-is-in-everyone-in-this-beautiful-world-If-he-is-in-us-in-animals-in-you-and-in-me-then-why-do-people-search-him-only-in-temples-Why-do-people-build-such-big-temples-when-he-is-the-creator-of-this-beautiful-world