Do All Religions Believe in the Same God?
When the apostle Paul came to Mars Hill in Athens he said, “as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you” (Acts 17:23). Far too many do not really know the God they serve. Just as Paul needed to distinguish the true God of Heaven from the man-made pagan gods of his day, so today we need to distinguish Him from the imaginary gods conceived in the minds of men. Furthermore, some believe that the God of the Bible is the same god of the man-made religions of the world. “God is worshiped in different ways and called by various names.” Is the God of the Bible the same as the Allah of Islam or the gods of the Hindus?
Hinduism’s View of God
Hinduism, like most religions, is divided into many sects. Some practice atheism, others monotheism, and most polytheism. They are monist which is belief that all the seemingly separate elements in this universe can be reduced to one single unity. Brahman is the ultimate reality and the eternal three in one God consisting of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. Hindus also believe in 330 million lesser gods. One of these is called Hanuman, the monkey God or lord of the winds. Barack Obama is said to carry a statue of Hanuman with him.
Buddhism’s View of God
For the Buddhist, god is not a personal being to be worshiped. The universe has evolved and there is no need for them to believe in a Creator. However, in Pure Land Buddhism the person of Amitabha Buddha is worshiped. Buddhism is divided into two views about Buddha. Some believe he is an omnipresent and eternal being who guides humans into truth. Others hold Buddha to be only a mortal who possessed knowledge of how to achieve peace and happiness.
Jainism’s View of God
Jains believe the world is infinite and was never created. They claim there is no supreme being. Therefore, no prayers are offered up or worship given to any deity. Later came the development of a system of mythology consisting of several gods and goddesses.
Taoism’s View of God
The god of Taoism is more like the “force” described in the Star Wars movies. Tao is a force that permeates everywhere in the universe. This force flows through everything. Tao is divided into the dark side of the things forming the earth and is called Ying. Conversely, Yang is the light side of things and formed the heavens. Some Taoist priests believe in many gods which are mere expressions of the one Tao. “Taoism has a complicated system of immortals and deities. They fall roughly into three categories: natural gods, such as those of the sun, moon, wind, rain, and earth; deified mortals of great merit, such as role models for fidelity, filial piety, benevolence and justice; and daily functional gods, such as the door, kitchen and fire gods.”
Confucianism’s View of God
Confucianism has developed the idea of God from a supreme being to a moral force and finally the universe itself. Confucius wrote of T’ien (Heaven) which gave him life, watches and judges him, and spoke to him but not in words.
Shintoism’s View of God
Shintoism claims there are three gods: Ame-no-Minaka-Nushi-no-Mikoto, Takami-Musubi-no-Mikoto, and Kammi-Musubi-no-Mikoto. Earth was not created but evolved. The islands of Japan were fashioned into a proper land for mankind to live.
Shinto has other gods or spirits called kami. They are of various types. Some are guardians of geographical locations, others are souls of dead national leaders or family ancestors. Every mountain has its own Kami. Sengen-sama is the goddess of Mount Fuji. The Sun goddess is held in the highest esteemed . Emperors were living kami (ikiga). Emperor Hirohito (1901-89) ended this tradition when he relinquished his claims to deity in 1946 after World War II.
Sikhism’s View of God
Sikhism developed out of Hinduism Some seven hundred years ago in the Punjab region of India. Sikhs claim there is but one eternal, self-existent God who created all things. The Creator, called Karta Purukh (True Name), made this universe and many others. He is the god of all people True Name has a dual nature. He possesses an impersonal nature called Nirguna and also Saguna which is a personal nature. He cannot take human form. Pantheism is firmly rejected.
Biblical View of God
The God of the Bible is the Creator of the Universe and the Earth and all that is in it – including humans (Genesis 1,2). He is intimate or personal with His creation. “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands” (Acts 17:24). Additionally, He does not live in temples, mountains or trees. God is not worshiped through idols or man-made objects. “You shall have no other gods before Me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:3-4; cf. 1 John 5:21). God is not an it but is described as a person in the Bible. “Yet for us there is one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we for Him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, through whom are all things, and through whom we live” (1 Corinthians 8:6). Not only is there but one God, there are three which make up the Godhead or Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 3:16,17; 28:19; Jesus said, “and I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever— the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you” (John 14:16-17). “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1:17).
Although comparisons can be found between the gods of the world religions and the God of the Bible, it is clear that they are not one and the same. It is interesting to note that some of these religions do hold to a god that is made up of three in one. However, this is not a true example of a Trinity has spelled out in the Bible. The false gods of this world have been created by man. They cannot save anyone. The God of the Bible alone has made a plan to redeem fallen man. Without faithful obedience in Christ Jesus His Son, no man can be saved.
– Daniel R. Vess