Notes from Greg L. Bahnsen’s A Biblical Introduction to Apologetics series.
All of the world religions will fall into one of three categories: transcendent mysticism, immanent moralism or counterfeit christianity.
Counterfeit Christianity: Islam mimick Christianity. The Quran, which was written 700 years after the Bible, is an imitation and draws on the Bible. It acknowledges Moses and Jesus as a prophet. Muhammad was mimicking Judaism and Christianity in having a personal god, who was sovereign and reveals himself. The Moonies also mimick Christianity. Sun Myung Moon presents himself as a personal savior like Jesus. They say that Jesus failed in his endeavor to save humanity. Sun Myung Moon suceeds in saving humanity where Jesus failed. Mormons are also counterfeit Christians. They claim the Bible, but they don’t interpret it correctly. Jehovah’s Witnesses are also counterfeiting Christianity.
Transcendent Mysticism: Transcendent means that which goes beyond man’s experience. It is also the realm that goes beyond our ability to understand. It is not part of our ordinary day to day experience.
Hinduism: Our experience in this world is all an illusion. We live in a realm called “maya.” The main reason why there are illusions is because we are thinking in the terms of differences and distinctions. We are thinking in terms of things being isolated and seperated. The reality is that all is one. You are the drop that falls into the shoreless ocean of being. We do not have seperate existence. As long as we are caught up on the wheel of life and not understand the true nature of reality, we will continue to be reincarnated. After we live our life, we will come back in another form in another life. Until we have become enlightened and practiced yoga so perfectly, we will then be merged into the shoreless of ocean. How we are reincarnated depends upon our karma. If I have bad karma, I might come back as a lower life form. If I have good karma, I will come back as a better person. Eventually, I will be liberated from the wheel of life and be absorbed into Brahman.
Hara Kirshna: You’re not in nirvana; you’re in a world of maya. You are on a wheel of life and if you don’t get things right, you’ll be reincarnated to lower life forms until you finally get enlightenment.
Christian: The real problem in my life is that we draw artifical distinctions when in fact ultimate reality is one.
Hara Krishna: Yes.
Christian: And I haven’t enetered into nirvana because I keep drawing these distinctions and I need to be enlightened and give up that way of thinking.
Hara Krishna: Yes.
Christian: Then I am already in nirvana.
Hara Krishna: No you’re not because you are still here in this world that sees things in an illusory way.
Christian: Wait a minute, when you say that you’re assuming that there is a distinction between maya and nirvana. And if there is a distinction between maya and nirvana, then you’re wrong that ultimate reality has no distinctions.
Hara Krishna: You must be a philosophy student! You’re trying to trap me in your logical debate games.
Christian: No No. I was just trying to follow along with what you told me. You told me that there were no distinctions, so I’m not buying the distinction that I’m not in Nirvana.
Hara Krishna: The whole problem if your mentality is that you want to think in terms of logic!
Christian: Oh, you have a worldview that renounces logic. If you renounce logic, then you can’t be upset with logical contradictions. In fact, your entire worldview is made up of them. You want to renounce logic, yet you assert that your religion is true and mine is false?! Okay, I will now follow your lead and renounce logic. If your religion is true, then I profess that your religion is false. If you’re right, then you’re wrong.
Immanent Moralism: Immanent means close at hand and part of our experience. Buddhism and Confucianism are the leading illustration.