“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”
Leonardo da Vinci
Patterns of False Religions
by Mark Karapetyan
A few months ago, while I was speaking at a nearby church, a Christian woman stood up and presented her dilemma: “I am a Christian myself, but I am having difficulty answering my skeptic mother who constantly tells me that there’s no way of knowing whether any religion is true or false, because all religions, in their own ways, are true.”
“With all due respect, I disagree with your mother. I believe that the reason Christianity alone is true is that all of the other religions are false,” I replied.
“I believe it with all of my heart,” she agreed, “I just don’t know how to prove to her that all of the other religions are false.”
In all honesty, the point this Christian woman made that day is an important one, since many Christians around the world struggle with it.
Here’s the summary of what that Christian woman was basically trying to ask me:
“If Christianity alone is true, how can we point to it, and how do we identify the pattern of all other false religions?”
As you all know, there are countless religions around the world, practiced on a daily basis, by billions of people from the four corners of the earth. For many obvious reasons, such as time and financial limitations, it would be nearly impossible for anyone to study every single one of these many different religions in depth.
What, then, do we do?
It is ironic that I was once asked at a conference about this very topic. A skeptic challenged me by insisting that no one is capable of knowing that one specific religion has the exclusive truth, since no one can study all the other religions: “How can you say that Christianity alone is true, when there are thousands and thousands of other religions that you haven’t even studied, which could potentially be true?”
“I don’t need to study all of the other potentially true religions to know that Christianity is true,” I replied.
What this skeptic failed to realize was that the moment we are able to identify one single religion as the true religion, all of the other religions (even if there are billions of them) must be logically false.
All of the world religions contradict each other. From the law of non-contradiction, we know that two or more opposing and contradictory statements or realities CANNOT all be true at the same time and in the same sense (for more on this, read the topic of Are All Religions True?).
Therefore, the moment we identify one religion as the true religion, we can assume that all among the plethora of other religions are false, because they all contradict Christianity.
Basically, what I am trying to tell you is this:
Once we establish that 2+2=4, we don’t need to study the addition or subtraction of every set of numbers in the universe to obtain the truth, because all of the other numbers contradict the true answer, which is 4. All we need is to study the one, true answer (4), then we will be able to easily identify any number that contradicts 4 as false.
Interestingly, the same is true with regard to religions. Once we identify one religion as the truth (4), then all of the others are false because they are contradictory.
This concept is true and applies to many other aspects of life.
Here’s an example:
I have heard that federal agents here in the United States don’t learn to spot counterfeit money by studying all of the counterfeits. They study genuine bills until they master the look of the real thing. Then, when they see the fake money, they immediately recognize it.
This makes total sense. Why waste precious hours and man-labor by studying millions of different fake, counterfeit bills, when all they have to do is identify the one, true bill, and spot the fake bills based on that one true bill?
Our approach to identifying a true religion must be similar. Find out which religion is true, then the other ones will follow to be logically false.
Having said this, I will now explain to you the second part of this topic-the pattern of false religions.
If you study the world religions carefully, you will soon come to the conclusion that all of them follow specific, repetitive patterns that are easy to observe and identify.
It is worth noting that all of the world religions have five things in common:
- A false prophet
- A false message
- A false god
- A false Jesus
- A false salvation
Let’s analyze each one of these common patterns carefully:
- A false prophet
All of the world religions have a false prophet who either was a deceiver, or sadly, someone who was deceived.
These false prophets claimed to have received revelations from a deity or some kind of angel sent by God.
Take the false prophet Joseph Smith, the founder of Mormonism, who claimed in 1820 that the Father and the Son (Jesus) visited him and told him not to join any other Christian church because all of them taught abominations. Three years later, another messenger (Moroni) allegedly appeared to Joseph to inform him of a special book that was inscribed on gold plates, which supposedly contained the everlasting gospel. As a result, he proclaimed himself as the true prophet of God and founded the Mormon Church.
Smith certainly wasn’t alone in his claims of seeing visions and being crowned a prophet of God. The founder of Islam, Mohammad, claimed to have a similar experience while he was in the cave of Hira, three kilometers from Mecca, in Saudi Arabia.
Mohammad claimed that the angel Gabriel came to him and commanded him to read and recite what the angel gave him-divine revelations- which ultimately lead to Mohammad proclaiming himself as a true prophet and the final messenger sent by Allah to enlighten the lost world.
Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Bible Student movement, also known as Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Ellen G. White, the founder of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, as well as many others, were all self-proclaimed prophets (false prophets) who intentionally deceived people or were themselves deceived.
They all fabricated tales and manufactured events to support their baseless, outrageous claims, without providing a shred of evidence to back up any of their assertions.
- A false message
In this pattern, the false prophet writes down the supposed revelations given to him through dreams and visions, or by angels of God.
All of the world’s false religions claim to have true divine messages, when in reality, they are all false. Not only that, but these false prophets elevate their supposed divine messages and equate them with the Bible, and in some instances, even consider them superior to the true Word of God!
The Mormons, for example, believe in the Book of Mormon more than they believe in the Bible itself. According to Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon “is the most correct book on earth.”
Mormons will deceive you and tell you that they believe in the authority of the Bible “as far as it is translated correctly,” which means that they can always argue that a certain passage was translated incorrectly if it contradicts their teaching. Besides, they believe that the Word of God is more than just the canonical books. For them, the Book of Mormon is also from God.
Muslims also believe that the Quran is the ultimate standard of truth for man. They claim that Allah himself guarded his sacred messages to preserve them for generations to come. “We have, without doubt, sent down the message; and we will assuredly Guard it from corruption.” (Quran 15:9)
Ellen G. White, and most Seventh-day Adventists, also consider her writings to be authoritative and binding. “Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church.” (The-gift-of-prophecy. June 2, 2016)
It is clear from the examples above that all of these false religions claim to have the final authority when it comes to their supposed divine writings. Expectedly, they all contradict each other’s messages also, which means not all of them can be true. All of them can be wrong, but not all of them can be true.
- A false god
Another pattern that false religions take is proclaiming a false god that is constructed in their own minds. It is a made-up god that does not resemble the God of the Bible.
Mormons, for example, teach that “God, the Father, was once a man who lived on earth.”
Muslims believe that there is the one almighty God, Allah, who is infinitely superior to and transcendent from humankind. Allah is viewed as the creator of the universe and the source of all good and all evil. Everything that happens is Allah’s will. He is a powerful and strict judge, who will be merciful toward followers depending on the sufficiency of their life’s good works and religious devotion.
Most Hindus, on the other hand, worship one being of ultimate oneness (Brahman) through infinite representations of gods and goddesses. These various deities become incarnate within idols, temples, gurus, rivers, and animals.
Buddhists say there is no deity and they do not worship any gods or God. People outside of Buddhism often think that Buddhists worship the Buddha. However, the Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) never claimed to be divine; he is viewed by Buddhists as having attained what they are also striving to attain, which is spiritual enlightenment and, with it, freedom from the continuous cycle of life and death.
Most Buddhists believe a person has countless rebirths, which inevitably include suffering. A Buddhist seeks to end this cycle. Buddhists believe it is a person’s cravings, aversions, and delusions that cause these rebirths. Therefore, the goal of a Buddhist is to purify one’s heart and to let go of all yearnings toward sensual desires and the attachment to oneself.
New Age Spirituality promotes the development of the person’s own power or divinity. When referring to deity, a follower of this type of spirituality is not talking about a transcendent, personal God who created the universe, but is referring to a higher consciousness within themselves. A person pursuing spiritual development would see themselves as deity, the cosmos, and the universe. In fact, everything that the person sees, hears, feels, or imagines is to be considered divine.
Do you see how contradictory these beliefs are? Next time someone tells you that all religions worship the same God, gently inform them of their ignorance and teach them the truth.
- A false Jesus
One of the most dangerous patterns that false religions follow is this one because, just like a fake medicine cannot heal anyone, a fake Jesus cannot and will not save anyone.
Mormons claim that Jesus is the spiritual brother of Lucifer. Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Jesus was a created being, and that He is indeed, Michael the Archangel.
Muslims teach that Jesus is NOT the Son of God because He is a mere prophet sent by God.
Jews believe that Jesus was Mary’s son, was a teacher (Rabbi), had many disciples, was respected, performed miracles, claimed to be the Messiah, and was crucified on the cross. They also acknowledge that His followers reported He was raised from the dead.
Bahá’u’lláh (a 19th century Persian) claimed to be a messenger from God as he founded the Bahá’í Faith in 1863. Bahá’u’lláh taught that all of religious history had been revealed through a series of messengers sent by God, and he considered himself to be the last of these messengers. Bahá’í believed Jesus came from God, was a wise teacher who had a divine and human nature, worked miracles, and was crucified and resurrected as an atonement for humanity.
Do you see how confusing it is to identify the true Jesus when all world religions describe Him differently?
To weed out the fake from the genuine, to know the true from the false, you must always refer back to the unchanging, ultimate standard of truth to obtain the truth. In this case, where do you think you must go to learn about the true Jesus?
- A false salvation
Other than true Christianity, most of the world religions teach that works are necessary to attain salvation after death.
Muslims, for example, believe salvation comes to those who obey Allah if their good deeds outweigh their bad deeds. They also recite extra prayers, fast, go on pilgrimages, and perform good works in hopes of tipping the scales. Martyrdom in service to Allah is the only work in Islam that immediately guarantees a Muslim a place in Heaven.
Buddhism, on the other hand, sees ignorance, rather than sin, as the roadblock to salvation. That is, the belief that the world and self truly exist keeps the illusory wheel of existence rolling; only destruction of that belief will stop the mad course of the world. Its doctrine is summed up in the Four Noble Truths.
Furthermore, according to Hinduism, Moksha (salvation) is the ultimate purpose of life and Hinduism suggests scores of ways to attain it.
When an enlightened human being makes himself free from the clutches of birth, death, and the miseries of life, he comes into the state of completeness. He, then, becomes one with God.
Others, like Unitarianism and Wicca, teach that salvation is whatever you want it to be, and that it is a non-issue, since man’s sinful nature doesn’t exist!
Meanwhile, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons assure their members that the only way to Heaven is through faith plus works within their organizations.
Now that we have covered the five patterns of false religions, you may object: “But wait a second! What about Christianity? How is it any different than all of the other so-called “false religions,” when the five patterns we just discussed apply to it as well?”
Like the other religions, Christianity, too, has a prophet, a unique message, a God who is worshiped, a Jesus who is a savior, and a salvation message that saves. How is it any different than the other religions, and why is it not considered a false religion, when the other ones are?
The reason Christianity is different is that it is true, and we can know that it is true because there is evidence to back it up.
Unlike the other world religions, Christianity alone stands on top of a mountain of solid, verifiable, irrefutable evidence. Every other religion fails miserably to prove its authenticity. Not Christianity.
The Christian faith can be verified by hundreds of accurate prophecies, scientific facts, archaeological discoveries, historical accounts, eye witness testimonies, manuscript evidence, and much more.
In addition, Christianity alone answers correctly and describes accurately the four fundamental questions of life that all faiths must answer:
- Origin-where did we come from?
- Meaning-what’s the meaning of life?
- Morality-why is there such a thing as good and evil?
- Destiny- what happens to us after we die?
After answering these questions, the said world faith must undergo three additional lines of testing:
- The logical consistency test: Is the said system logical? Does it make sense, or is it full of contradictions?
- The evidential adequacy test: Does this specific world faith have enough evidence to support it, or will it fall apart under its own weight, due to lack of evidence?
- The relevancy test: Is the faith system relevant to its time, and does it resolve the issues humanity is facing?
Using the four fundamental questions, and then applying them to the three truth tests, you then examine and diligently scrutinize the teachings of that faith system and scan every aspect of that faith to see if the teachings are also logical, consistent, and relevant. Then, you consider the teacher him/herself and study his/her life. A comprehensive, vigorous comparison must be made between the teacher and his/her teachings to see if they also are logical, consistent, and relevant.
When it is all said and done, then you apply the faith and its teachings to the person practicing the faith, and see if a major transformation has been made in the person’s life. Bear in mind that this transformation I speak of cannot be achieved by mere human intervention, but by the hand of a powerful, supernatural, divine cause.
Sadly, the majority of people everywhere quickly forget that it is easy to make truth claims about any faith system. They fail to realize that truth claims must be backed up with facts and evidence. It’s one thing to claim a certain religion is true; it’s another thing to demonstrate that the religion they are claiming to be true is actually true. You see, facts and evidence matter a lot!
It would be fairly easy for me to come up with a new religion, claim that it is factual, and then ask everyone to join and practice it.
What will I do when skeptics ask me to give evidence for the validity of my faith? Will my new religion actually pass the four fundamental questions and the three truth tests?
Moreover, will there be any change in any person’s life because of my teachings, and will my faith system transform a person’s heart and turn him/her from bad to good?
In addition, how tragic would the results be when skeptics inspect my life in detail and compare me, the faith leader, to my teachings? How disastrous would that be?
My advice to you is this:
Go ahead, study the world religions and examine their leaders. See where the evidence leads you. One thing I assure you though: apart from Christianity, all of the other religions will fail miserably when it comes to the testing methods I talked about earlier. Most importantly, exclusive of Jesus Christ, I assure you that you will not find a single faith leader that lives up to his/her teachings.
After all, what man do you know who dares to claim that he is sinless, and then challenges anyone to convict him of a sin?
“Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do you not believe Me?”
APOLOGETICS - ARTICLES AND INFORMATION
- What is Apologetics?
- The Lost Truth
- Logic & Reasoning
- Truth & Reality
- Does God Exist?
- The Cosmological Argument
- The Design Argument
- The Moral Argument
- Who is Jesus?
- Satan’s Wish!
- God’s Dilemma!
- Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?
- Does God Answer Prayers?
- When Were The Gospels Written?
- Was Noah's Flood Real?
- Are Miracles Possible?
- The Apostle Peter
- Does Archaeology Support The Bible?
- Science & The Bible
- How Can Jesus be the only Way to Heaven?
- Don’t All World Religions Teach the Same Thing?
- Undesigned Coincidences
- Are All Men Created Equal?
- Is the Bible Really the Word of God?
- Amazing Bible Facts
- The Blind Atheists
- Jesus Meets Einstein
- Did the Gospel Writers Tell the Truth?
- The Evolution Fairytale
- The Day Common Sense Died!
- The Philosophy of Jesus
- The Report (Part 1)
- The Report (Part 2)
- Are All Religions True?
- Are There Contradictions in the Bible?
- Are All Religions True?
- Why Does God Allow Evil & Suffering?
- Bible Prophecy
- New Age Christianity
- The Wager
- When God Cried
- What Happened to America?
- Don’t All Good People Go to Heaven?
- Jesus at the United Nations
- False Teachers
- The Conference
- Jesus & the Woman at the Well
- The Day You face God
- Was Jesus Really Crucified?
- The Blind & the King
- Is Jesus God?
- The Meaning of Life
- Hero & the Fake
- The Insanity of Pluralism
- Who is God?
- The Tree of Good & Evil
- The Confused Agnostic
- Lazarus Come Forth!
- When God Seems Silent
- Case #1101
- The Proposal
- The Prayer
- Roman Catholicism
- Jesus Meets the Pope
- First Century Jesus
- The Patterns of False Religions
- Timid Christianity
WHERE DO I GO?
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