Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we don’t know where You are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” — John 14:5-6
With the numerous religions in the world, how can Christians claim exclusivity? I am often asked this question in different settings. But I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that the Christian faith is the only one that seems to have this question posed. The truth is that every religion has its starting points and its deductions, and those starting points exclude.
For example, Hinduism has two nonnegotiable beliefs: karma and reincarnation. No Hindu will trade these away. In Buddhism, there is the denial of the essential notion of the self. Buddhists believe that the self as we understand it does not exist, and our ceasing to desire will be the cause of the end of all suffering. If we deny these premises, we devein Buddhism.
Islam believes that Mohammad is the last and final prophet, and the Qur’an is the perfect revelation. If we deny those two premises, we have denied Islam. Even naturalism, which poses as irreligion, is exclusive. Naturalism teaches that anything supernatural or metaphysical is outside the realm of evidence and purely an opinion, not a matter of fact.
In the Christian faith, we believe Jesus is the consummate experience of God in the person of His Son and is the Savior and Redeemer of the world. We cannot deny these premises and continue to be Christians.
The question is not whether these are mutually exclusive. The question is, which one of these will we deny as being reasonable and consistent? Which one of these will we be able to sustain by argument and by evidence?
It is the very nature of truth that presents us with this reality. Truth by definition is exclusive. Everything cannot be true.
If everything is true, then nothing is false. And if nothing is false, then it would also be true to say everything is false. We cannot have it both ways. One should not be surprised at the claims of exclusivity. The reality is that even those who deny truth’s exclusivity, in effect, exclude those who do not deny it. The truth quickly emerges. The law of noncontradiction does apply to reality: two contradictory statements cannot both be true in the same sense. Thus, to deny the law of noncontradiction is to affirm it at the same time. You may as well talk about a one-ended stick as talk about truth being all-inclusive.
So where does that leave us? We must not be surprised at truth’s claims, but we must test them before we believe them. If the test demonstrates truth, then we are morally compelled to believe it. And this is precisely the point from which many are trying to run. As G. K. Chesterton said, “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”1
Jesus said definitively,
I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me. — John 14:6
Apply the tests of truth to the person and the message of Jesus Christ. You see not only His exclusivity, but also His uniqueness.
1. Why must truth be exclusive?
2. How does understanding that every worldview has exclusive claims impact the way we proclaim the Christian faith?
1. Gilbert K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World (New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1912), 48.
Excerpted with permission from The Logic of God by Ravi Zacharias, copyright Ravi Zacharias.
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Has your life been changed by Jesus’s statement, “I am the way and the truth and the life”? Do you know someone who has found Christianity difficult and walked away from the faith? How might what you’ve read today help you reach out to this person? Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily