“Anyone who claims that all religions are the same betrays not only an ignorance of all religions but also a caricatured view of even the best-known ones. Every religion at its core is exclusive.”
What is truth? Who has the truth? How do I get a piece of that truth?
Depending on who you ask, what religion you ask regarding truth, you will most assuredly receive different answers. Muslims will say that the Quran holds the truth. Buddhists find truth in Enlightenment. Christians find truth in the person of Jesus Christ. And that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are hundreds upon thousands of religions or ideologies that try to stake a claim on what is truth. Who is right becomes the ultimate question. Or are they all right? Don’t all religions point the same way? Aren’t they all interested in the same thing, with different names and titles?
Jesus Among Other Gods declares an emphatic “No! All religions are not the same. Not all of them preach the same message. There is a great difference and it is important to know how they are different.”
Apologist Ravi Zacharias dives into the mirky waters of pluralism—the idea that all faiths lead to the same place—and shows us that this idea couldn’t be further from the truth. While some religions may have similarities, even those similarities come to a point where they become differences. How we are to treat one another seems to be a universal command; we call it the Golden Rule. But even this simple idea, though it appears in Christianity, Buddhism, and Islamic faith, it is radically different when actually examined and put into practice alongside the rest of the religion’s teachings.
This is not the only idea that Zacharias tackles. Throughout his book, he addresses the big questions of life. This is not only to show how the major world religions differ on key issues, but also to illustrate how Jesus Christ offers the only real sustainable and logical answer to the big questions that we have. That includes questions like, “What happens after we die? What role does logic and reason play into faith and belief? Why is there suffering in the world, especially if God is supposed to be loving and good?” While these questions deserve their answers, he also seeks to answer another, perhaps more interesting question, “Was Jesus who He claimed to be?”
These and other questions are not tackled with a sense of self righteousness or ignorance about these other world religions. Quite the opposite in fact. Zacharias was born and raised in India as part of the Hindu priesthood. He is well versed on the ins and outs of religions that are often glossed over or generalized about. Zacharias gives each religion a fair shake, a chance for them to stand up to the criticism. And that isn’t to say that he is easy on the Christian faith either.
Though he goes after the truth with great tenacity, there is a gentle and humble spirit behind it all. Jesus Among Other Gods, while filled with high and lofty ideas and thoughts, is written with the sweet and honest stories of a man’s journey to discover what was true, which religion offered the truth, and how that changed his life, and the life of his family.
“Faith for the Christian is the response of trust based on who Jesus Christ claimed to be, and it resulted in a life that brings both mind and heart in a commitment of love to Him. Is this an irrational or unreasonable response based on all that Christ demonstrated Himself to be?””
One does not pick up a book written by an apologist, thinking that it will be a light read. That is not going to happen. Being an apologist, defending a religious belief, is quite the heavy and thought provoking task. That is true for most of Ravi Zacharias’ work, especially true of Jesus Among Other Gods. This is a heavy book.
But while the notion of defending and explaining one’s faith can be a lot to take in, Zacharias does a wonderful job to soften the topic at hand with numerous personal stories. Do not be fooled into thinking that personal stories in this case take away from the arguments that this book is trying to make. In every case, whether it’s the story of Zacharias’ sibling meeting the Queen or the passing of his father, the story adds a very human element to a traditionally dry topic. These insights into Zacharias’ life help us understand the content of the book better, the author more fully and the immense power that Jesus Among Other Gods reveals.
It is very easy to be consumed by this book, and quickly lose time of the hours. The wisdom and light that is shared within these pages is greatly needed, especially now that there is a growing number of Christians accepting that all religions lead to God. The truth that Zacharias declares is both timeless and timely, even if this book was published in 2000. The display of the stark contrast between Christianity and all other religions is needed, and Jesus Among Other Gods delivers just that.
If I had to say I was disappointed at anything in this book, I would say that it is too short. After Zacharias tackles one question or topic, I found myself wanting him to go back and recover that question. If he could have given more examples or explained it one more way for me, that would have been marvellous. I do realize that this book is a consumer product. You can’t fit everything into one book and give it to the public. That would result in a monstrous paperback, one that would double as a brick for holding up your truck to change a tire.
The end result of Jesus Among Other Gods is simply beautiful, a well thought out and constructed argument against a pluralist view of religions. The claims that Jesus Christ made set Him apart. There is no reasonable way to conclude after Zacharias’ presentation that all faith roads lead to the same place. If you are left hungry for more apologetics, as I was, you would only have to dive into the dozens of other books that Ravi Zacharias has published.
As for Jesus Among Other Gods, this book will remain ON MY SHELF as a staple for Christian apologetics and be a constant reminder as to why Jesus is the only God among a cavalcade of false gods.