I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people say things like this: “All roads lead to God,” or, “People of all faiths pray to the same God,” or, “We’re all praying to the same God.” These statements sound nice, tolerant, and politically correct. However, they are both illogical and unbiblical. Kenneth Samples, in Without a Doubt, gives a helpful explanation of these phrases. He wisely notes, “The acceptance of social pluralism (tolerance of diverse religious expression) does not logically imply the truth of metaphysical pluralism (that all religious truth-claims are equally valid and simultaneously true).
Here are three reasons why it is illogical and unbiblical to say or think that all roads/religions lead to God.
“1) The world’s religions are fundamentally different. While many religions share some common beliefs and especially moral values, fundamental and irreconcilable differences clearly divide them on many core issues. These distinctives include the nature of God, the source and focus of revelation, the human predicament, the nature of salvation, and the destination of mankind.” Some religions are polytheistic, some are monotheistic, and at least one religion is atheistic. “Careful examination of the basic tenents of the various religious traditions demonstrates that, far from teaching the same thing, the major religions have radically different perspectives on the religious ultimate.”
“2) Attempts to reduce all religions to a common meaning are futile. The religions of the world are so diverse in belief and in worldview orientation that they defy attempts to reduce them to a single common theme or essence. Indeed, in light of this vast and complex array of religious perspectives, religious reductionism would appear to be a dubious, if not altogether impossible, venture. …Attempts to reduce all religions to their lowest common denominator usually succeed only in distorting them. …Religion cannot be reduced simply to ethics, for they are rooted in claims about the ultimate nature of reality (metaphysics) to which ethical systems appeal for justification.””
“Similar ethical values shared by religions such as Christianity, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Confuscianism cannot be separated from the distinct doctrines that define these particular religions. This distinctiveness is especially true for historic Christianity, which is not primarily a system of ethics. Christian ethics flow from a redemptive relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ. Therefore the ethical teachings of Jesus in the New Testament cannot be separated from the unique Christian doctrines that emerge directly from the great redemptive events of Jesus’ life (incarnation, atonement, and resurrection). In other words, the truth of Christian ethics is inextricably tied to the truth of Christian theology.”
“3) Different religious beliefs remain logically irreconcilable. The formal laws of logic demonstrate the impossibility of all religious truth-claims’ being true at the same time and in the same way. For example, Jesus Christ cannot be God incarnate (Christianity) and not God incarnate (Judaism, Islam) at the same tame and in the same respect (the law of noncontradiction: A cannot equal A and non-A). Contradictory religious claims have opposite truth value, meaning that they negate or deny each other. Therefore exactly one is true and the other false. And, accordingly, Jesus Christ must either be God incarnate or not be God incarnate; there is no middle position possible (the law of excluded middle: either A or non-A). Since Jews, Christians, and Muslims all conceive the identity of Jesus of Nazareth differently…logically speaking, their conceptions cannot all be true.”
This is an abbreviated quote of a longer and helpful argument by Samples found in chapter 12 of Without a Doubt: Answering the 20 Toughest Faith Questions. In summary, Samples says, “according to the laws of logic and the historical realities of Scripture, religious pluralism (no matter how popular and appealing) cannot be true.”