Are All Religions the Same?

AmitabhWe, Indians are familiar with the popularized T.V. show “Kaun Banega Crorepati” as the show was meant to become crorepati by answering questions posed by the host Amitabh Bachaan. I want to use the scenario of the show and would endeavor to refute the notion that all religions are same, writes Pankaj Parmar.

Mahatma Gandhi popularized the concept of  “Sarva Dharma Sambhava”  meaning “All religions are same and has to be respected”  Most of the Indians approach religions with this kind of mindset assuming that because we perceive reality differently, various religions are various perceptions of ultimate reality,  we need to conclude that all view of reality is true and therefore all religions to be true. Very often to establish this point we are posed with the parable of 6 blind men touching the elephant (I assume readers are familiar) and coming with different conceptions and conclusions of an elephant.

We, Indians are familiar with the popularized T.V. show “Kaun Banega Crorepati”  as the show was meant to become crorepati  by answering questions posed by the host Amitabh Bachaan. I want to use the scenario of the show and would endeavor to refute the notion that all religions are same. I am presenting an imaginary questions and answers series.

Where is Taj mahal in India?

A) Delhi   B) Mumbai   C) Agra   D) Calcutta

Answer: Agra:

Well done your answer is right !  You win 1 crore

But, suppose the let us reframe the answer

A) Delhi B) Mumbai C) Agra D) All three cities (a,b,c)Answer :  D) In all three cities.

Hey, how can Taj Mahal be in all three cities? That is factually incorrect.  What an illogical answer? Can’t you see this quite an obvious point?   Your answer would have right if all the cities too would have had Taj Mahal. But since Taj Mahal is only in Agra which is factually true, your answer “all three cities“ is absurd.Now suppose the 2nd question is asked.

What do you think about God ? Does he exist ?  what he is like ? ( more options for the answer)

A) There is no God
B) All is God and God is All
C) There are many Gods
D) There is only one God
E) All views about God is true
F) Only one view about God is trueSuppose the first answer is:

Answer 1) E All views about God is true.

Wow, Well done, you are right. Mahatma Gandhi and all our religious traditions are teaching this truth .You have given the right answer. You win…

But what if the  answer is given.Answer 2)  f) Only One view  about God is true.

Hey ! you are an arrogant, narrow minded. How can you believe there is only one view True ? We Indian follow the precept of Mahatma Gandhi “Sarva Dharma Sambhav”  and every one in the world should follow this precept so that there will be peace and harmony.

 In the above two scenarios of question, if you observe when it  comes to the question of Taj Mahal and when the answer was “IN ALL CITIES”   everyone would without even much thought would agree the answer is absurd and opposing such answer would not be considered as intolerance but if somebody answers for the question of God that “only one view of God is true” people will be labeled as intolerant and would not see the absurdity of  embracing and affirming the position of “All view of God is true.”

We need to understand for all the great questions of life there is only one true answers. There cannot be contradictory answers because  TRUTH IN ORDER TO BE TRUTH HAS TO BE NON-CONTRADICTORY, EXCLUSIVE, ABSOLUTE AND UNIVERSAL and IT MUST CORRESOND WITH REALITY.  Try challenging this definition and you end up in self-contradiction.

Human beings have this insatiable quest to find THE TRUTH because on that answer depends all other fundamentals question for life. If there is no truth then there is no point to find the answer for the question like Does God Exist? what is his nature ? Is there life after death ? and so on.  Not only that but also the quest for harmony and peace among nations and community depends upon Truth. We long to find “universal” which would give meaning,  identity and harmony to the particulars. All such notions like “Sarva Dharma Sambhav” is a quest to find that “universal” which would become the frame of reference for the answers of human life as well as Harmony among Human being. But to accept any such universal as a frame of reference has to be analyze logically. When done we will come to the conclusion that it is impossible to reconcile contradiction within the universal, if we are honest enough to admit. The validity of law of non-contradiction that basic law for all right thinking is always established the moment anybody opposes to any meaningful statement. If contradictions are true factually then there will be no problem to accept the position that “Only One religion or view point of God is True.” Which is opposite to “All religions are same and true” but we know well that the moment you pronounce yourself to be exclusive you end up deemed to be narrow minded and bigot.

Take all religions and analyses the basic concepts of 1) God 2) Man 3) Morality 4) Destiny. You will find most to be in complete contradictions. Even in India in ancient time there was whole tradition of doing debates where by viewpoints were being presented and each one would try to critique the others positions as they knew well that one has to refute to opposite  viewpoint otherwise it would lead to contradictions. Explore the six schools of Indian philosophy you will find this to be true. An Advaita like Sankara tried to refute Buddhism, Dwata school tries to refute Advaita and Vice-versa. The ISCONITES opposed the Sankara’s Notion of “ultimate reality to Impersonal” as they maintained “ultimate reality to be Personal. They used terms like “Manuawadis” for Sankara and his followers in a derogatory sense and attempted to refute the whole viewpoint of Advaita.

My conclusion is that all religions cannot be the same.


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10 Responses

  1. Please post on such articles regularly

  2. Hello! The article is great. But would love to read more….keep it coming.

    Thank you.

  3. Dear Pankaj,

    YOu have derived it right. Infact I had the conclusion but was searching for this example. All releigion speaks about different things how can all of these be same, Islam speaks about oneness of God, Christanity says God is three (trinity) , hindus beleives in crores and Jain doesnt beleive in god at all. How can all lead you to same directions. But what I feel is we should develope tolarance for each other.

    I as a Muslim, beleives that God has created First Man (Adam) and women ( eve) (mentioned in all religions), and we are children of them hence we all are brothers and sisters.

    God has sent messengers in every era with his guidance. Earlier ages we did not had any mechanism to preserve them and hence they changed with time and the real scriptures disappeared and became differnet religions. Recent one was christanity but till that time also there were no means to write and preserve the words of God and hence the bible was written 100 years after jesus and still being revised. The last edition is Islam and the book Quran is for all human kind and is in its original form. The book itslef testifies all the previous scriptures and messengers and also challanges that no one can destroy it. ( there are crore of hafiz in Muslim who by hearts quran), Hence I invite you all be unbiased and to read the Holy Quran to get the answers for all the questions you have raised in your aritcle: i.e. Purpose of mankind, life after death, suffering in this world etc.

    MAy Almighty Allah guid all of us to right path..ameen

  4. Pankajbahi,

    your article is good. I will like to read your answer for last comment.

  5. A word is made up of many Alphabets; A painting of many colors produces a harmonious mosaic. An orchestra of many musical instruments produces a symphony, instead of cacophony. If there is unity in diversity in the creation, is it not reasonable to expect unity and diversity in the creator.

  6. 1 simple answer for mr pankajs comments to waheed.if there is diversity in god then there should be diversity in the form of air we breathe.the water we drink,the rain which the air different for each religion or do hindus and muslims breathe dear brother my duty is finished by just saying this rest is your duty to read the quran and hadiths and understand just asking to understnad it.thank yu.inshallah i wil pray for u.

  7. Shabna, are you saying that air, water and rain are not diverse from each other?

  8. In place of your first question please give this

    Q : in which of the following water is present?

    Ans: A) Cow milk B) Goat milk c) Tea d) grape juice

    the answer will be “in all four”, is not it ?

    similarly omnipotent gods grace can be obtained by more than one method followers.

  9. All religions are definitely not the same.Middle-eastern faiths like Christianity and Islam want to destroy local cultures while Indic faiths such as Hinduism are open and accepting.

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