I have often spoken of true Biblical Christianity as being a relationship rather than a religion. God did not send His son into the world to be another deity to set on the shelf alongside all the other icons in the world. It is not just another religion in a smorgasbord of religions of 05 all religionsequal value. But the culture we live in and the trends away from absolute truth has put Jesus on the shelf with Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius, and the other founders of religions. I would argue that this was the case in Israel in Jeremiah’s day as well. He wrote in Jeremiah 3:4-5, “Have you not just now called to me, my father, you are the friend of my youth— will he be angry forever, will he be indignant to the end? Behold, you have spoken, but you have done all the evil that you could.”

I agree with Mackay who explains this passage in his commentary. He writes, “The people had radically failed to recognize the unique character of God and the implications that had for their covenant relationship with him. They saw nothing incongruous in placing him alongside other deities as one worthy of worship; in effect their thinking had become conformed to that of their polytheistic environment.”[1] They indeed remembered that He was the God of their Sunday school days, of their youth, but now He was just one of many and needed to be relegated to the pantheon of the gods. Israel had “matured” and no longer saw the God of their fathers something they needed. Religion to them was something that served them, not a relationship with the one creator whom they must serve.

This is an extremely popular view in our culture as well. All religions are of equal value and provide us with essentially the same spiritual foods. It’s a pragmatic approach which says if one religion works for you then it is right. The entire premise of pantheism is that religion exists to serve man. It’s how we become better people. In other words the world religions are no more that “self-help” manuals. The Dali Lama actually says things to this effect. He said, “I maintain that every major religion of the world – Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Sikhism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism – has similar ideals of love, the same goal of benefiting humanity through spiritual practice, and the same effect of making their followers into better human beings.”[2] Yet these religions differ widely in their view of God. Ravi Zacharias said it well, “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.”[3]

[1] John L. Mackay, Jeremiah: An Introduction and Commentary: Chapters 1–20, vol. 1, Mentor Commentaries (Fearn, Ross-shire, Scotland: Mentor, 2004), 179.

[2] http://www.dalailama.com/messages/world-peace/a-human-approach-to-peace

[3] Ravi Zacharias, Jesus Among Other Gods (Nashville: Word, 2000), 7.[3]