General Revelation In World Religions -- By: Winfried Corduan

Journal: Journal of Christian Apologetics
Volume: JCA 01:2 (Winter 1997)
Article: General Revelation In World Religions
Author: Winfried Corduan

General Revelation In World Religions

Winfried Corduan1

Christian apologetics does not need the beliefs of other religions to establish the veracity of Christian truth claims. However, insofar as certain biblical truths can be found to belong not only to a Christian system, but also to a larger section of non-Christian humanity, it could be an added confirmation of Christian beliefs. This essay will discuss one such area of external recognition of something that is central to all Christian truth, namely the recognition of God, the creator, sustainer, and author of a moral law.

We can probably accept it as given that there is some truth in all religions. All it would take is that any given religion contains one or more true propositions, such as “water is wet,” or “humans are mortal.” Surely it is safe to assume that this is the case.2

The question is whether this given fact is significant, and it would appear that by and large it is not. Part of modem relativism may be based on the idea that, since all religions contain some truth, therefore all religions are true. Such a claim would obviously be invalid, committing the fallacy of composition.3 When we say that a religion is true or false, we do not mean to refer to some propositions which are a part of the beliefs of that religion, but the total complex of the core beliefs of the religion. Thus if I wanted to consider the truth of Islam, I should not just focus on one core proposition, e.g. that God has revealed himself in scripture (which is true), or on one or more fringe propositions, e.g. that Abraham built the ka’ba (which is false), but on all those beliefs which constitute the core of Islam, e.g. submission to the unitarian God who has revealed himself to Muhammad.

The point is that identifying certain truths within a religion does not entail committing oneself to the larger truth of the religion in which it occurs. And this reservation would continue in place even if the truths included in an otherwise false religion were based on divine revelation.

Nor would this assessment be impeded if the divinely revealed truth is a part of the core of that religion when it is conjoined to other false core beliefs.4

But are there such beliefs? Let us stipulate that Christian doctrine is ideally the accumulated sum of true core beliefs based on divine revelation, not only in nature, but also in scripture. Do other religions also contain some divinely revealed truths? Since other relig...

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