If All Religions are True then God is Cruel

drawbridgeIn 2003, the short-film Most made its way onto the big screen. A brilliantly moving piece of cinema, the film tells the story of a single father who lives with his son in the Czech Republic. The pair share simple yet content lives together. The father works as a bridge engineer—he  was responsible for raising and lowering a massive draw-bridge that allowed ships and trains to pass, at scheduled times. One day, the boy happened to be at the bridge with his father. As he’s playing outside, he notices a train rapidly approaching the station.

It was an hour early.

The bridge was up.

And the train was heading right towards it.

He yells and shouts at the window of his father’s booth, but to no avail. The train was quickly running out of track and the bridge needed to come down. Hundreds of people were potentially onboard. So the boy decides to manually lower the bridge by pulling a lever near the tracks. In a heart-stopping moment, he accidentally falls into the gear-works that enable to bridge to operate.

http://www.christianapologeticsalliance.com/wp-includes/js/tinymce/plugins/wordpress/img/trans.gif A series of heavy, metal gears and levers surrounded his body on all sides. The flicker of movement catches the father’s eye. He turns to see his son fall into the gear-box and lie helpless there.

Realization dawns upon him.

If he lowers the bridge, the gears will crush his boy.

Left with the soul-shredding decision to kill his boy, he cries and screams and punches the wall. With only moments to deliberate, he reluctantly pulls the lever. He hears the gears turn and lets out a guttural scream.

The camera then moves and presents us with the haunting image of the boy’s lifeless corpse.

Hundreds on the train were saved, but at the biggest price to the father. He killed his son.

Now picture the same scenario, but with a twist this time. Suppose the boy had fallen into the gear-works and the train was rushing towards the raised bridge, but this time, the father had two levers: one to lower the bridge and kill his son (like in the original scenario) and one to divert the train onto an alternate track that took it over a second, parallel bridge. It would be madness for the father to choose the first lever and kill his son with the second lever being right within reach! Why on earth would he kill his son when he knows fully well that the second lever is capable of saving both the lives of all the train passengers and the life of his son? Such a decision would be utterly appalling. Only a monster would choose the first lever.

And yet this is exactly what religious pluralists make God out to be.

“All religions are true.”

“All religions lead to God.”

“All roads lead to the same destination.”

While I can understand the sentiment of inclusivity, this idea creates an evil God. If all religions are true then God is cruel. And not just cruel–God is an incompetent, cosmic child-abuser. If religious pluralism is true, then God is the father in the second scenario. He saw the train coming and he decided to pull the first lever and kill his son, rather than pull the second lever. If Islam, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and all the other world religions are true paths to God, then why did God kill his Son, Jesus, in order to make a way for men to come to Him? The very notion is absurd and insulting to God. It paints a portrait of a God who is really, really cruel. He sent Jesus into the world to live a miserable life of scorn, rejection, poverty, betrayal, humiliation, sorrow, and ultimately, torture and death, in order to create a path whereby men can come to know Him, all the while knowing that following the Five Pillars of Islam or the Noble Eight-fold Path could accomplish the very same thing! What a waste! Jesus’ life–God’s plan of salvation– is completely in vain for the same result could be achieved through persons simply adhering to the tenets of any world religion. God is not only cruel, but incompetent for putting into effect the worst salvation plan possible.

But God is not cruel. He is not incompetent. He would not kill his Son needlessly. He would not put into effect a ridiculous or cruel salvation plan for mankind. Hence, religious pluralism cannot be true. This does not show Christianity to be true, but it does show that not all religions can be true, for if they were, then God would not be a God of love–He would be a cosmic sadist or an incompetent guardian of the universe, or both.

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DISCLAIMER: Blog entries made by individual authors reflect the views of the author and not necessarily the view of other CAA authors, or the official position of the group at large.
About Paul Rezkalla

Paul graduated from NYU with degrees in Religious Studies and History. He has recently completed a MA in Philosophy from the University of Birmingham in England and is now pursuing a second MA in Theology. His interests are too many to list and too varied to make sense of.

  • http://www.facebook.com/laurence.lamie Laurence Lamie

    Yes, I agree with you very much

  • Seth Osenkarski

    What a good way of looking at it using the only movie that ever made me cry.

  • Daniel Mann

    How true!

  • pramodkaimal

    GOD is EMBODIMENT OF LOVE so HE never had a son who he killed on cross, Jusus was a YOGI who spoke of GOD in the ARAB region where even now Blasphemy on GOD is sentenced to DEATH in the times’ the MODE of death NOW (may be beheading), At those times CROSS was the means used

  • pramodkaimal

    pramodkaimal@gmail is my email address

  • Damian Opata

    The argument is fraught with faulty logic. It assumes that in one religion, God showed an example and pointed out the correct way to approach him. Religious pluralism is an anthropomorphic phenomenon, showing that different cultures cultivate their approach to the Supreme being, and indeed that if all religions are a matter of faith, not of logic and rationality, then there is no basis to condemn any religion.

    • Paul Rezkalla

      Hi Damien,

      Notice how I said in the article, “This does not show Christianity to be true, but it does show that not all religions can be true, for if they were, then God would not be a God of love…”

      I’m not arguing for the truth of Christianity, here. Rather, I’m arguing that the idea of a loving God is incompatible with religious pluralism if the pluralist believes that Christianity is a valid way to God.

      You’re presupposing that all religions are wrong because they are ‘a matter of faith, not of logic and rationality’. I’m not arguing for the truth of all religions. I agree with you that they are all wrong. The only way to salvation is through Jesus Christ ;)

      • Damian Opata

        Incredible. Intolerant. Arrogant. But you have a right to assert your belief as long as you don’t live in multi-religious society, and so long as no party resorts to fundamentalism and terrorism.

        • Paul Rezkalla

          Why am I incredible, intolerant, and arrogant?

          • Damian Opata

            For you to believe that there is only one way through which people can be saved, and therefore for you to believe in the superiority of one religion over all others.

            • Paul Rezkalla

              How is it arrogant to believe that something is true? You also believe that some things are true, for instance it is true that rape is wrong. You believe that. And you disagree with anyone who says that rape is right. But how arrogant of you to believe that only your view is correct!

              Furthermore, religions contradict each other in irreconcilable ways: Christianity claims that was crucified. Islam claims that Jesus was not crucified. They can’t both be right.

              • Pancho Salgado

                BELIEF IN ONE GOD IS CORRECT AND TRUTH, BELIEF IN JESUS AS ONE SENT BY GOD TO TEACH HIS TRUTH IS THE CORRECT WAY TO SALVATION

                • Paul Rezkalla

                  Pancho, you just said that me and Damien are wrong in believing that the crucifixion of Jesus matters. And you believe that you are right. So you do believe in absolute truth.

                  • Pancho Salgado

                    Paul,what I’ve said is. . that you are both correct on your own reasoning and… you are both wrong on some of your reasonings. What i mean here is that.. even how long you discuss about Jesus, the Good Lord Master Teacher who was sent by the ALMIGHTY ONE UNSEEN, you will find yourselves correct in some and wrong in some. You will just both go round and round and you will find yourselves still disagreeing to one another whether Jesus DIED or DIDN’T DIE! Now, what I am telling here is that, one, both Christians and Muslims, if they do really believed in God, they should only believed that GOD is ONE and Absolutely ALONE! True or not? There’s no pluralism that had been taught by GOD Almighty and even in those teachings inside the scripture or the Bible, for that matter, that HE (GOD), has that multiplicity! Correct?? Then both these great religions should agree that they should believe in ONE GOD! Now, on the topic whether Jesus, the Lord , not as GOD, the Creator as many in the Christian world believes and continue to believed in, but “god”(with small G, a human creation by the power of GOD thru his mother Mary, the Chosen Lady by God to bore Jesus, to lord above us, meaning, to lead us to that real Creator! thru his teachings!) Lord Master Teacher, as I call him, taught us this Truth! Now if he died on the cross or not, to the Muslims and the Islamic Doctrine, he didn’t die on the cross! To many Christians, (do not include me as I believed what was said in Hebrew 5:7 that he survived and was revived in the tomb!) that, they believe that he died on the cross! If so, why would they write there in Hebrew 5:7 that HE WAS HEARD?? If he did die on that cross, the GOD DIDN’T Heard him at all! if he was HEARD, as it was stated there, then the Islamic teaching and what Muslims of the world believes till now, IS CORRECT! Let’s go further here… remember when Jesus was telling people at his time.. ” destroy this temple and it would be whole in three days? He is telling him about what will happen to him because he, by the power of God, sensed that they should kill him because he is destroying what they, the Pharisees is indoctrinating! He is an annoying person to them! So, they punished him and did everything to him, pierced him with that spear on Longhinus until they thought he is dead! The next day, as iwas Sabbath Day and leaving someone dead still hanging on the cross is a taboo or wrong to Jewish belief! So, they relatives of Jesus and Disciples ask the Magistrates to give Jesus to them to be buried. They were given that permission and they ask the help of Joseph of Arimathea and they let him used a part in his property, a sort of cave like used for burying their dead, and he was laid there and they had poured oil; and perfumed liniments to him. Now, be aware that in the Bible, the white linen, which is usually used to wrap dead people according to their (Jews) rituals of burying their dead, was NOT MOVED or USED in other words, he was not wrapped and we can assume that they might had seen sign of life in him and left him in the tomb to rest for recovery! if we not not assume this theortical stance, then why those white linen in the tomb not moved or , can we say,.. not wrapped on him??! Isn’t it unusual? This is why, I do believed, as Muslims believed that Jesus Christ DIDN’T actually died on the cross but rather survived that painful ordeal of being crucified on the cross, pierced with an spear, and was lashed thoroughly until he reached Golgotha to be crucified! Was it not amazing and a revealing one?? Analyze your Bible Paul, I suggest and sip the TRUTH of this thing I am telling you and to many Christians. As i’ve said, I am an avid reader an scrutinized what people says, what preachers preach, what books try to imply or reach us! Many preachers don’t divulge these things that they might have read. The reason? Well, it is obvious! You don’t give people an axe or a shovel, or even a huge sledge mallet to dig their own house’ foundation and crush it to the ground??! Would you allow that to your own house?? NO! This why, if they found something there inside the Bible, they won’t talk about it! To distract you, they tell you about other’s houses! I am just talking point blank and honestly in my heart, talk directly of what these people do! The Truth has to come out! You don’t let the light of your lamp be hidden in a box but you should put it on top of it to shine! This is my principle I am telling you, Paul! This is what I have research and digged from the writings of the Bible and other religious materials i have read! Any other question, Paul?? I’ve done my own theological research and I am proud that I’ve done that! This is why, I really don’t subscribe much of what my church says of that church says but if I heard something, I look at those lectures theyy say inside the Bible itself and I am being answered! may by GOD? I don’t know, but I wish HE was the one who have done that! God bless you Paul, Damian, and the rest of you guys! After reading news anmd magazines, try to read your bible so you would know more of our religious history and not just take what preacher says, hook, line and sinker so we won’t be astrayed!

            • Mo86

              Calling others intolerant and arrogant because they believe their view is correct/true is hypocritical. By that reckoning, we are ALL “intolerant” and “arrogant”. Why? Because we ALL believe some things are true and believe other things are false.

              The key is finding out which of our belies are true and which are not!

  • Steven Dunn

    This article literally blew my mind.

    • Pancho Salgado

      Yes, Steve Dunn, I was also when I diligently read the Bible whwen I was still working in Saudi for almost 11 years! To and fro of those writing and did my own theological typs or style of reading and self questioning myself of those I’ve read there! It blew my mind, but one thing I gladly gained, I realized what was Jesus had been telling us before through the Bible! To gain Salvation, DO Believe in the Total Oneness of GOD Almighty, believed in, on what the real teachings that Jesus taught, and follow the Will of GOD that HE wants us to follow! In John John 17, reading the whole chapter of John 17 till the last verse, try to nurture what Jesus is saying and telling us, and when you found them, follow them! God be with you!

  • v nehru

    God is unique & loving, He does not want to confuse us. But we confuse others by confusing ourselves. Unique God had an unique choice of sacrificing His only son to save the world through Him. Great article, God bless you.

    • Pancho Salgado

      V.Nehru, GOD is not the author of confusion! He is The Author of TRUTH! Only people who says they are the holder or authority to preach the Gospel confuse us! Try to observe them, and you will see wolfs amongst them dressed like sheeps! Using the sweetness of their tongues, to lure and devour unsuspecting lambs! Like in the Red Little Riding Hood! Sorry, I used this term to discribe those so-called learned and/or preachers of so-called truths! And may I clear this with you, Jesus is not the son of God Almighty per se, he is the son of God as we are also! As the scriptures say,.. ” Those who are guided by the SPIRIT OF GOD are called the SONS OF GOD!” So,like Jesus Christ, we are sons of God also! Have you heard these writings from the Bible?? I do hope, my advise to you, that you really start reading it!

  • Adeniyi

    I appreciate your attempt to challenge pluralism, but I disagree with this line of reasoning. It’s just like the atheist who claims that there’s no possible justification for an all-good and loving God to allow so much suffering. The response to such a claim is that the atheist is really in no position to know if God is justified or not. Similarly, all religions could be true and God could have a good reason for allowing Jesus to be crucified.
    I agree that pluralism is self-defeating, I just don’t think this example is the bes way to show it.
    God Bless!

    • Paul Rezkalla

      Hey Adenyi,

      This approach is meant specifically for religious pluralists. So keep that in mind. What drives religious pluralism? The fact that people can’t see God instituting just one way to salvation. They see that as being cruel and narrow-minded. But what the religious pluralist does not see is that pluralism makes God out to be even more cruel on their worldview. Sure, you can argue that God could have had reasons for allowing Jesus to die, but then the original pluralist objection of cruelty at “just one way” has to disappear, or else there’s an inconsistency because I could just as easily argue that God had reasons in only instituting “just one way”. Hope that clears things up.

    • Pancho Salgado

      My dear Adeniyi, just be it known to you that atheist, as the word connote, is not theist or one who believes in the Unseen God! Yes, I do challenge pluralism as this is not the True Way. Pluralism existed long before Christ, people worshiping stones and sculptured wood or logs! This why Jesus taught us,.. John 17, verse 3, “And this is Eternal Life, (what??) that they (those who call GOD and say they believed in HIM) might KNOW Thee(and BELIEVED), (who???, GOD Almighty, the Unseen), the ONLY ONE TRUE GOD! (Only ONE True God! If there are others than HIM or beside Him, those are false Gods! or, simply said, NOT GOD!) So, my intent here is to speak out the Truth that had been hidden by so-called teachers of truth! They have covered our eyes and told us something not taught by Jesus Christ! My real intent here of answering Paul’s contention in this article titling “If all religions are true, then God is cruel!” I cannot agree that God is cruel, that’s one thing, .. and I cannot agree also, that there are many true religions, for me, there SHOULD be a Lone True religion! What is that?? I will give you my principle, If I say I am a Christian, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I am a Protestant, a Baptist, a Catholic of what. I am a Christian, in the essence of the word that I believe in Jesus and his teachings,and follow his advise for my own salvation! I call myself, a Unitarian Christian, because on my own, I believe that there is ONLY ONE GOD, and Jesus teachings, the correct Gospels of Jesus, should be heeded or followed! This is my stand of being a Christian. I may be baptized as a Catholic but it doesn’t obligate me to follow its doctrine and tenet if it goes contrary to God’s Wil and Tenets, and contrary to Jesus’ teachings! When Jesus told us in the Bible, gain eternal life by believing in One and Only True God, I do submit to his teachings! In this case, I follow Jesus! As he had said in the Bible, “my sheep knows my voice, and they follow me!” If Christianity is to follow Jesus, I am a Christian! If being a muslim is to follow Muhammad(SAWS)’ teaching of be at Peace (Islam or Salaam) with God, I am at Peace with GOD by not ascribing partners unto HIM! then I maybe called a muslim! Altho, I cannot avoid that because I don’t have a muslim name or was born froma muslim family, those muslims may disagree with me! Hehehe! But the truth is.. there are people with muslim names but do unmuslim like or unpeaceful like with God! Whether muslims agree or disagree on this or accepts it, I am declaring it as true! See thpse kind of so-called muslims around, killing innocent or do kidnapping for ransom or perhaps rape women because they are not or not having names like them? They even, dragging down because of their bad actions, those muslims who are really GOD worshipers adn are good in personality and attitude! People who really fear Allah or God! Isn’t it true? They are just around somewhere, and maybe. . I said MAYBE,.. in brothels of bed women ! er.. bad women companions! I said, MAYBE!

      c