All religions can’t be right


Published: 17 March 2003 (GMT+10)

We were heartened to hear that the new Dean of Sydney’s Anglican Cathedral, Phillip Jensen, took a brave stand for the claims of Christ recently.

Speaking in his inaugural sermon, Phillip Jensen attacked the excessive ‘relativism’ in the way the media treats Hinduism, Judaism, Islam and Christianity. In his sermon, he said that these religions can’t all be right.

It looks as if such claims about ‘truth’ are not what the media expect these days. We applaud Jensen’s stand. It seems like the new Dean is not playing the game the way the secular liberals expect. His sermon has been hot news.

Phillip Jensen doesn’t dispute that there are many wonderful Hindus, Muslims, Jews and atheists in Sydney. But his message was simple—they can’t all be right.

Jensen explained: ‘Jesus Christ either lived or he didn’t live. The communists in the 1940s said that Jesus didn’t live.’ The Bible says that Jesus Christ did live. Both can’t be right.

He went on to say that Jesus Christ either died or he didn’t die. ‘The Koran—in 4:157—said that Jesus did not die, and that the Jews and Christians were deceived, or confused in saying that he did.’ But the Bible says he did die. Both can’t be right.

It was exciting to see such a prominent cleric taking the same stand as CMI—that the Christian faith makes truth claims and that these claims are tied to real events in history as recorded in the Bible. Take away the history and you destroy the truth claim.

That is why CMI upholds the authority of the Bible from the very first verse. Secular humanism, the real religion of the West, says the world evolved over millions of years. The Bible says the world was created in six Earth-rotation days. Both can’t be right. Jesus Christ said that humans were present from the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6) whereas long-age belief has them appearing towards the end of creation. Again, both can’t be right.

We were excited to see Phillip Jensen raise the truth claims of Christ to national prominence, albeit briefly. You would think that truth would be an issue worth debating. Did the media pick up the issue and promote discussion on Jensen’s claim—that all religions can’t be right? Yes, they promoted discussion. But no, not on the issue.

Discussion focused on how Jensen’s statements were provocative, how they would be interpreted by other religions, how other religions would be offended, how he did not have a right to make such a statement in a pluralistic society, how he shouldn’t be wielding a big stick, how it will impact on the Muslim community, how he can’t claim to be tolerant of other religions, etc. But the discussion avoided the truth claims of Jesus Christ.

Deep down, secular liberals would agree with Jensen that all religions can’t be right. They would go one further—none is right. But it’s strategic for them not to say this about the non-Christian religions. Perhaps the secular liberal is petrified of the only other logical possibility: that one religion is right. That is too terrifying a truth to face.

Published: 5 February 2006