Duration: 365 days
IS JESUS THE ONLY WAY?
Anyone can claim to be the sole path to God. In fact, quite a few people have made this assertion throughout history. The real issue is why anybody should believe Jesus was telling the truth when he said it.
We can say that Jesus’ resurrection confirmed him as the Son of God. If that’s true, then all other faith systems cannot be true, because they each assert something contrary to Jesus’ divinity. And of course, the historical record concerning the resurrection is extremely compelling.
Well-known apologist and evangelist Dr. Ravi Zacharias believes people should approach the subject by looking at the four fundamental issues that every religion seeks to address: origin, meaning, morality and destiny. In these key areas, only the teachings of Jesus Christ fully correspond to reality. There is coherence among his answers unlike those of any other religion.
“Consider Buddhism,” says Zacharias. “Buddha’s answer on the question of morality does not cohere with his answer concerning origins. Why? Because Buddhism is technically nontheistic, if not atheistic. If there was no Creator, from where does one arrive at a moral law? Or consider the Hindu version of reincarnation. If every birth is a rebirth, and if every life pays for the previous life, then what were you paying for in your first birth?
“By contrast, Jesus addresses these four fundamental issues of life in a way that corresponds with reality and has internal consistency unlike any other faith system.
“Concerning origins, the Bible says we are not identical with God—contrary to the Hindu claim—but we are distinct from him. That is, we didn’t bring ourselves into being, but we are a creation of God. Being created in his image accounts for human beings having a moral point of reference. No system is able to explain this except the monotheistic ones. Even naturalists have no explanation for humanity’s moral framework. However, this moral framework corresponds to the reality of human experience.
“Christianity says we rejected the divine will. The tempter in the garden said if you eat this fruit, you will become as gods, knowing good and evil. The implication is that you become the definer of good and evil. Humanism was born right there; man became the measure of all things. This willful rebellion and rejection of God corresponds to reality.”
On the issue of meaning, Zacharias says the Christian faith stands without parallel. “The simplest way to describe it is that God does not call us to meaning by asking us to be good people. He does not call us to meaning just by telling us to love one another. It is only in the experience of worship that meaning comes to be. Only something greater than pleasure can provide meaning, and that is the perpetual novelty of God himself in worship. The Bible tells us to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul and mind, and only when we’ve done that can we begin to love our neighbors as ourselves. This also corresponds to experience.
“Christianity says morality is not culturally based, but instead it grows out of the very character of God. Otherwise, you end up with the dilemma from philosophy of old: Is the moral law over and above you, or is the moral law subject to you? If it is over and above you, where do you find its root, then? The only way to explain that is to find it in an eternal, moral, omnipotent, infinite God who is inseparable from his character. Thus, Christianity explains morality in a coherent manner.
“Lastly, destiny is based on the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the historical event that proved his divinity and opened the door to heaven for everyone who will follow him. Where else do you have anything that comes close to claiming this? Because the resurrection is an actual historical event, we can be forgiven, we can be reconciled with God, we can spend eternity with him, and we can trust Jesus’ teachings as being from God.
“No man spoke like Jesus. No one ever answered the questions the way he answered them, not only propositionally but also in his person. Existentially, we can test it out. Empirically, we can test it out. The Bible is not just a book of mysticism or spirituality; it also gives geographical truths and historical truths. If you’re an honest skeptic, it’s not just calling you to a feeling; it’s calling you to a real Person. That’s why the apostle Peter said, ‘We did not follow cleverly devised stories when we told you about the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ in power, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty’ (2 Peter 1:16).
“He’s saying, ‘This is true. This is reality. This can be trusted.’ And, yes, this truth excludes that which is contrary.”
Adapted from interview with Dr. Ravi Zacharias