Billy Graham Tribune Content Agency

How does one distinguish true and false religion?

Mar 5, 2019

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Q: There are so many religions in the world and they all have their good points. Isn’t one religion as good as another? If not, how does one distinguish true and false religion? — R.S.

A: Few terms in the language of man have been so distorted and misunderstood as that of “religion.” Eighteenth-century German philosopher Immanuel Kant described religion as “Morality or moral action.” Hegel, the philosopher who influenced Hitler’s thinking, said religion was “a kind of knowing.”

“Religion” has many meanings for many people. It can mean the sadistic symbolism of the occult; it can also suggest quiet meditation within the comforting walls of a church.

Many people say rather proudly, “I’m not very religious,” but in spite of some of his own objections, man is a religious being. The Bible, anthropology, sociology and other sciences teach us that people long for some sort of religious experience.

Religion can be defined as having two magnetic poles, the Biblical and the naturalistic. The Biblical pole is described in the teachings of the Bible. The naturalistic pole is explained in all the man-made religions. In humanistic systems there are always certain elements of truth. Many of these religions have borrowed from Judeo-Christianity; many use portions and incorporate their own fables. Other religions have in fragments what Christianity has as a whole.

False religions cut away parts of God’s revelation, add ideas of their own, and come out with various viewpoints that differ from God’s revelation in the Bible. Natural religion does not come from God, but from the natural world. God’s original design has always had imitators and counterfeits. Anyone who desires God’s truth can find it through Jesus Christ, who is truth. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)


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