Until the modern era, Christians largely took it for granted that Christianity is the one true religion for all humankind. By the late twentieth century, however, there were growing numbers of those identifying themselves as Christians who called for a radical pluralism in which Christianity is just one among many possible ways of responding to the divine. Explore the idea that all the major religions are more or less equally true and how Christians can respond to religious diversity today.
Jesus Christ and Religious Diversity by Harold A. Netland Nathan the Wise, the last play written by the eighteenth-century philosopher and dramatist Gotthold Ephraim Lessing, contains a fascinating reworking of the classic parable of the three rings. The parable first appears in the fourteenth century in Boccaccio’s Decameron, but Lessing modifies it slightly so that it expresses nicely the Enlightenment call for religious toleration and condemnation of religious dogmatism.1 If it were updated slightly, it could be taken as an expression of early twenty-first century views as well. Lessing’s version of the story is set in Jerusalem in the twelfth century during the Third Crusade. The play revolves around the complex relationships of three characters, each representative of one of the three great monotheistic religions: Nathan, a Jew; Saladin, the Muslim sultan; and a Christian Templar Knight. Nathan finds himself in the great Saladin’s palace. The sultan tests Nathan by asking him which of the three monotheistic religions is the […]
A Christian Perspective on Islam by Chawkat Moucarry Islam claims that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam itself are three God-given religions. All prophets (including Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad) preached essentially the same message: God is one, and everyone must obey and worship him because on the day of judgment people will be sent to paradise or to hell according to whether or not they believed in their Creator and complied with his laws. This theological inclusiveness is only apparent since Islam is believed to be the only saving religion (3:19, 85).1 It comes at an exceedingly high price for the Christian faith. Indeed, Islam denies the reliability of the Christian Scripture, which contradicts the Qur’an on at least three key issues: God’s holy Trinity, the uniqueness of Jesus Christ, and God’s saving grace supremely demonstrated in the death and resurrection of Christ. The first four sections of this essay examine and respond to Islamic criticisms of the Christian faith. In its […]
As monotheistic religions Christianity and Islam share significant common ground despite their theological disagreements. This common ground needs to be appreciated if our interaction with Islam is to be informed and fair. We can find a way forward by dispelling myths about both Islam and Christianity, seeking to understand Muslim beliefs and practices better, and engaging in charitable dialogue. This essay explores all of these areas, giving Christians insight into how to approach Islam today.