Taking A Look At Omnism

(More Bible Studies Available @ www.marktabata.com)

It is written:

John 8:32-And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

Omnism is a belief that all religions are equally true. It is the teaching that all religions are equally valid, and that any religion which lays claim to absolute truth cannot be true (valid).

Many people in our country are identifying as Omnists, which requires some investigation.

Let’s start by noticing that the very claim that all religions are equally valid is self-contradictory, for it is akin to the fundamental principle of agnosticism. The agnostic claims that there is no absolute truth, and then claims this is absolutely true! Such is self-contradictory.

“Really both of these views are self-defeating. If you know that you don’t know anything, then at least you know that much. But that means you have positive knowledge of something and you no longer have to be agnostic. Likewise, you may say that you should doubt everything, but you don’t doubt that. That is, you don’t doubt that you should doubt. Now if there is one thing that you can be certain of (to the skeptic), or one thing that you can know (to the agnostic), then there might be other things, and your position has proven itself to be false.” (Norman L. Geisler & Ronald M. Brooks, When Skeptics Ask: A Handbook on Christian Evidences, 265 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, MI; Baker Books)

More to the point, the Omnist cannot hold to the teaching that all religions are equally valid and then discard the claims of some religions which claim to be exclusive in nature. For example, Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 3:16), and yet Islam vehemently denies such. Both cannot be true: either one premise or the other is false. This is another reason why Omnism is self-defeating.

Omnists will claim that truth is completely relative to an individual, and need not imply that truth is therefore imposable on others. However, just like with agnosticism, this element of relativism is self-contradictory:

“Likewise, relativism claims to speak universal truth about at least one thing—namely, that someone’s “truth” can be someone else’s falsehood—and thus contradicts itself by claiming nothing is true or false. Why believe the relativist if he has no truth to utter? Relativist claims are like saying, “I can’t speak a word of English” or “All generalizations are false.” Our most basic reply to the relativist is that his statements are self-contradictory. They’re self-undermining; they self-destruct. The relativist falsifies his own system by such self-referential statements as “Everyone’s beliefs are true or false only relative to himself.” 2 If claims are only true for the speaker, then his claims are only true for himself, and it’s difficult to see why they should matter to the rest of us. To be consistent, the relativist must say, “Nothing is objectively true—including my own position. So you’re free to accept my view or reject it.” Normally, when the relativist says, “Everything is relative,” he expects his hearers to believe his statement and embrace his view of reality. And he expects his statement to pertain to all statements except his own.” (Paul Copan, True for You, But Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith, 27 (Kindle Edition): Bloomington, Minnesota: Bethany House Publishers)

Our culture is suffering right now because of the effects of relativistic philosophy embedded in Omnist teaching.

Consider an example.

One of the many hotbeds of controversy in American schools is the prevalence of “furries.” A furrie is a person that “identifies” as a cat. Any person can see that a human being is not a feline: yet because of relativistic philosophy, there are high schools around the country that are going so far as to put litter boxes in public bathrooms to accommodate these children.

What has happened?

Very simply, relativist beliefs (the teaching that all religious beliefs are relative to the individual) have permeated our society, and we are seeing the effects more and more. As a result of this indoctrination, children who claim that they are felines actually believe that they are; and because our society has been so exposed to this teaching, people are pressured to support such falsehood at the fear of being labeled “narrow minded” or “bigots” if they say otherwise.

Some will claim, “Christians accept the Bible because it is truth for them! Yet there are no reasons to accept that the Bible is from God any more than with other religious documents!”

Not so.

Christians believe that the Bible is the Word of God because of the evidences which document the truth of its’ claims.

Consider this conversation that I have had with someone we will nickname Joe (who actually represents several Omnists in the last fifteen years that I have been blessed to study and work with).

Mark: My friend, Christianity is not narrow-minded.

Joe: Mark, you cannot believe that Jesus Christ is the “way, the truth, and the life, and that no man goes to the Father except through Jesus (John 14:6) and not be narrow-minded!”

Mark: So what is it that makes a statement narrow-minded? Is it the belief that something is true?

Joe: Yes.

Mark: Is it true that two plus two is four?

Joe: Of course, everyone knows this.

Mark: So if you claim that two plus two is four because you know that it is true, does that make you narrow-minded?

Joe: NO. But that doesn’t mean that two plus two is four applies equally to everyone and everything.

Mark: Really? Can you give me an example where two plus two isn’t true for everyone?

Joe: No, I can’t. But this isn’t about math, it is about religion. You cannot know that the Bible is the Word of God, and you cannot know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

Mark: Actually, I believe that I can know all of those things. And, I can prove it.

Joe: I would love to see that one!

Mark: If the Bible contains characteristics that demonstrate that its’ origin may only be explained by Divine inspiration, then the Bible is the Word of God. The Bible does contain characteristics which demonstrate that its’ origin may only be explained by Divine inspiration. Therefore, the Bible is the Word of God. I can give plenty of evidences that the Bible is the Word of God (prophecy and fulfillment, supernatural unity, scientific foreknowledge of the Bible writers, miraculous confirmations as attested by the credibility of the Bible as well as by archaeological evidences, equidistant letter sequencing, etc.)

Joe: Any “evidences” that you give are only relative for you and your background. You are only a Christian because you were raised in a Christian home and in a Christian nation. It’s all relative.

Mark: If that’s true, then it cannot be the case that people in a non-Christian country could ever convert to Christianity since they were not raised in a Christian environment. How then do you explain the many Jewish people in the first century who became Christians in a pre dominantly Hebrew area where Christianity was hated and persecuted (Acts 2:37-47; 6:7; 9)?

Joe: They did so because it was relatively advantageous to their worldview and wellbeing.

Mark: It was advantageous to be arrested, persecuted, shunned, tortured, and put to death?

Joe: Silence.

Mark: Why don’t we look at some of the reasons why they said they became Christians (Acts 2:22, 32; 10:39-43; 22; 1 Corinthians 15:1-8; 2 Peter 1:16; 1 John 1:1-3)?

This is how conversations with Omnists that I have worked with often go. Sometimes, there will be some who decide to become a Christian (Acts 2:37-47). Other times, I will be rebuked as narrow minded.

Sometimes Omnists criticize Christianity because they perceive that the Bible rejects any claims of truth outside of the Bible itself. However, this is not an accurate statement.

The Bible, for example, points out constantly that God speaks to mankind through nature as well as through Scripture (John 12:7-10; Psalm 19:1-4; Matthew 5:44-45; Acts 14:17; Romans 1:18-20; 2:14-15).

More to the point, the Bible often refers to religious truth found in non-Christian religions.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul writes:

1 Corinthians 15:33-Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”

Many are unaware that the Apostle is here quoting from a well-known ancient orator:

“Paul now moves from a biblical text with an anti-Epicurean thrust (vs. 32 b) to a quotation from the third-to-fourth century Athenian dramatist Meander: ‘Do no be misled; bad company corrupts good character.’ …The epigram from Meander’s Thais was a popular one in Paul’s day and would probably have been known to any educated Corinthian.” (Roy E. Ciampa & Brian S. Rosner, The First Letter To The Corinthians: The Pillar New Testament Commentary, 791-792 (Kindle Edition); Grand Rapids, Michigan; William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company)

In the Book of Acts, we read of Paul’s sermon on Mars Hill:

Acts 17:26-28-And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27  so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28  for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’

Here, he again references pagan writers:

“The precise expression is found in the writings of Aratus (270 B.C.); and though not the exact words still the idea is found in the writings of Cleanthes (300-220 B.C.). Cleanthes was a Stoic philosopher, and the sentiment here quoted was directly at variance with the Epicureans’ beliefs. Aratus was a native of Cilcia, the same country Paul was from. This quotation of the heathen poets would at once quicken the attention of the hearers. This was not an illiterate Jew, but a man of culture, acquainted with the thoughts of their own great poets.” (Gareth Reese, Acts: New Testament History, 632; Joplin, Missouri; College Press)

When Paul wrote to Titus, he warned them of false teachers that were present in that day and age:

Titus 1:12-13-One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.” 13  This testimony is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith,

Whom does Paul refer to when he writes “this testimony is true?”

“This phrase is found in the Minos of the Cretan poet Epimenides, a sixth-century B.C. poet of Knossos, Crete, quoted by Callimachus (ca. 300-240 B.C.). Epimenides joked of his own people that the absence of wild beasts on the island was supplied by its’ human inhabitants…Paul occasionally quoted Ancient Greek poets (Acts 17:28).” (Thomas C. Oden, First And Second Timothy And Titus: INTERPRETATION: A Bible Commentary For Teaching And Preaching, 65-66 (Kindle Edition); Louisville, KY; Westminster John Knox Press)

The Bible teaches that some religious truth is found in all religions of the world: but that the source where all religious truth that can lead to everlasting life and godliness may be found is in the Bible (2 Timothy 3:14-17; 2 Peter 1:3).

The Omnist will claim that a person would have to know all religions and religious teachings before he can know if any are true or false. This is incorrect, and it is illogical. I do not need to know the square root of 36, 289 before I can know and be certain that two plus two is four.

In the same way, once it is established that the Bible is the Word of God, and once it is established that the Bible teaches X is true, then X is true. If I am studying with a friend who tells me that his religion teaches that Jesus Christ is not the Son of God, I can know that is false. (If the Bible is the Word of God, and if the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, then Jesus Christ is the Son of God. It is the case that the Bible is the Word of God, and it is the case that the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Therefore, it is the case that Jesus Christ is the Son of God).

To my Omnist friends, I ask you to please consider the myriad evidences which demonstrate that there is an eternal Creator, that the Bible is His Word, and that Jesus Christ is His Son.

If we can assist you in any way, please call upon us.

The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit, be with you all. Amen.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: