Is Jesus The Only Way To God?

Day 3 of 7 • This day’s reading

Devotional

What Do Other Religions Offer? Part 1


It is commonplace today to claim that the world's religions are different roads up the same mountain, different faiths in the same God. Such a claim is astonishing to those who actually follow the various faith traditions. They know that if one is right, the others are, by definition and by necessity, wrong.


Islam


Muslims consider the Qur'an to be the revelation of Allah (the Arabic name for "God") to humankind, given in the Arabic language. Muslims recognize five primary ways of serving Allah and gaining eternity with him (the "five pillars of Islam"):



  • State with full conviction the central claim of Islam: "I bear witness that there is no God but God, and that Muhammad is his prophet."

  • Pray five times each day while facing the holy city of Mecca.

  • Give alms (2.5 percent of one's income and net worth) to the poor.

  • Fast, especially during the holy month of Ramadan.

  • Make a pilgrimage to Mecca at least once. If you are unable, provide for another to go in your place.


A sixth "pillar" is recognized by some Muslims: death during a declared holy war (a "jihad"). Muslims believe that we will live individually and consciously for all eternity, either in heaven or in hell.


Hinduism


Hinduism, the oldest religion in the world,  centers on a similar kind of works righteousness. 


Its famous doctrine of "karma" is illustrated by this statement in one of their sacred writings: "According as one acts, according as one conducts himself, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action." 


Hindus believe that reality ("Brahman") is the "One" who is the "source of all." Humans are "atman," a part of Brahman. Atmans are immortal: "Nobody can kill the atman; the verb 'to kill' means nothing but 'to separate the atman from the body.' The atman . . . is not born when the body is born and does not die when the body dies, whether in individual life or in cosmic life." 


Yoga is the spiritual discipline required to reach our identification with Brahman. Karma Yoga centers on selfless good works; Jnana Yoga stresses the path to oneness through contemplation and knowledge; Bhakti Yoga emphasizes emotion or devotion. Hindus believe that we will ultimately achieve moksha (salvation), where we are absorbed into Brahman and cease to exist individually.