Let all the world look to me for salvation! For I am God; there is no other. I have sworn by my own name; I have spoken the truth, and I will never go back on my word: Every knee will bend to me, and every tongue will confess allegiance to me. (Isaiah 45:22-23)
For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all. (Ephesians 4:4-5)
Relate: One of the most difficult parts of my move to Turkey was surrendering my library. I was only allowed a limited amount of weight on my first flight over and there was no way even a token percentage of my thousand-plus book library was going to make it under that weight. So I spent months giving away selected books to certain individuals and then, just days before getting on that plane, the Binghamton Public Library was bequeathed a seventeen box gift.
Before that clearance happened, I had a book on my shelf called Living Buddha Living Christ by a guy named Thich Nhat Hanh. Now don’t get me wrong, I have huge respect for the author. He has been an active and engaged pacifist who has lived in exile from his native Vietnam for decades. He has also shaped both modern Buddhism and the way the west views Buddhism more than any man in the past century or beyond. He is a man of principle and integrity. He is also disastrously wrong.
The entire premise of this book is that both Buddha and Jesus are great men worth emulation and they both pretty much were saying the same things. Christians who follow Jesus and Buddhists who follow Siddhartha Gautama are pretty much doing the same thing and living the same way. Nhat Hanh has been right up there with the Dali Lama as one of the key voices for the “all roads get to heaven” movement.
React: All religions are not the same. All belief systems are not the same. Yes, there might be some similarities, but those similarities are those which are common to all humanity. In nearly every culture throughout the world and through time things like kindness, generosity, self-sacrifice, discipline and such like are extolled. With the exception of Islam, all religions have some version of the Golden Rule. That two religions might have these types of things in common is no big deal. There are other differences that are very much a big deal. Jesus is unique and if Thich Nhat Hanh does not recognize this truth in the short time he has remaining on this earth, he will end up in hell. As much as I love and respect the man, truth is truth.
Christians have been accused of arrogance because we insist on our claims of uniqueness. Is it arrogance to call the sky blue? Is it arrogance to call the grass green? Why do we insist on excluding all the other colors when we make these unique claims. It is not arrogance to say that Jesus is the only way, the only truth, and the only life. It is not arrogance to say He is the only way to get to God. It is simply fact.
I am so grateful that You are unique. I am so glad that there is no other. For there is truly no one else worthy of praise. As good and as great as others might seem, to try and put them on a level with You tragically cheapens Your greatness. It devalues the cross. I am so grateful that You, and You alone have shown the way to truly live. Help me to walk in it. You alone are worthy of my praise.