Most of you are probably familiar with CS Lewis and his famous dichotomy.
“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.”
Of course, we all understand the implications of such a statement. If Christianity is false, then the way that it describes the universe is essentially invalid and needs to be thrown out.
However, if Christianity is true, then it must be infinitely important.
Why must it be infinitely important though? What claims does Christianity make that, if true, fundamentally alter the way that the universe must be perceived?
It all essentially comes back to one main Bible verse.
Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
The religious exclusivism is incredibly obvious in this verse. Jesus did not say that He was one way or a way to the Father. He said that He was the way. Although it might seem kind of petty to be basing an incredibly important claim on a grammatical article, it really makes all the difference.
As one who believes that the Bible is inerrant, I do believe that this is an actual statement of Jesus Christ. I also affirm the position that Jesus Christ did indeed live a perfect life. Therefore, this statement must be true. If it was not true, it would therefore be a falsehood and Jesus would have told a lie, which is a sin. That would contradict my initial assertion that He did live a perfect life.
This statement, because I believe it is true, is central to my understanding of Christianity. It is truth based on the informal proof I presented above.
If I believe in these rather basic tenets of Christianity, I also need to believe that Jesus spoke the truth when He said that He is the only way.
Now, what are the implications of this belief?
The main implication is I cannot accept the fact that all paths lead to God. For example, I cannot believe that reaching nirvana is the same thing as reaching heaven. I can’t assume that the God that we worship as Christians is the same as Allah of the Muslim faith. I cannot believe that there are an infinite number of possible paths that have different names but really end up in the same place.
Although this may seem somewhat confining, it is the logical conclusion of the premises that I have outlined. Christianity needs to be on its own; it cannot be some kind of branch of one worldwide religion that manifests itself in different ways to different people at different times. Christianity cannot logically coexist with the statement that all religions are equally true.
We live in a society that wants to believe that all views are equally valid. If I believe one thing and you believe another, that is perfectly fine as long as we each affirm that each other’s view is equally true to our own. We like to call that tolerance even though that is a gross misuse of the word.
Christianity cannot operate in that environment. Certainly, we need to respect people who have other views. We need to listen to them and not automatically go into attack mode. However, by the nature of Christianity, we cannot honestly affirm other religions as being just as true as our own.
The Christian faith creates an ultimatum. Either all of it is true and therefore everything else must be false, or Christianity is false and no longer is valid to make any claims about any other religion by becoming worthless.
We could go on to have a lively discussion as to why Christianity is true, but my main purpose in writing this is simply to demonstrate that we cannot hold on to the Christian faith while simultaneously affirming that all paths lead to God. It is inconsistent with the basic tenets of Christianity, and, even though it might be politically correct, it creates many more theological problems than it might seem to reconcile.