Perennial Philosophy: Are All Religions Guiding us to the Same Destination?

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Some ideas sound great but don’t work in reality.

Wouldn’t it be great if all religions pointed towards the same truth?

Is it possible, taking all religions in existence today as they are now, that this statement could be taken as true?

I find the idea hard to reconcile, if not impossible.

One man likened all the different religions in the world to a group of blind men all feeling a different part of the same elephant and describing these parts accurately, therefore far differently, despite the fact that they all had the same underlying source.

It sounds a bit like the great unifying theory which Einstein sought after: to put these seemingly incongruous parts into a neat and unified whole.

The fundamental flaw of the elephant argument is this: the existence of an elephant ear does not negate the existence of the tail.

Likewise the existence of the tail does not negate the existence of the trunk, and so on. Each blind man could describe his part of the elephant without denying the existence of the others.

Religions claims are not like this.

Their ideologies are, in the fullest sense of the word, contradictory.

One claims there is only one God and that no others exist, while some religions claim the existence of multiple gods.

Many religions claim that to follow anything different is to cause one’s damnation, and others state that we need not worry about death for every time we will come back for a second, third, and fourth chance, ad infinitum.

The bottom line is: these ideas of truth cannot co-exist, they cannot all be right.

Now I can say with certainty that there is a common human hunger that fuels the vast majority of all religious searching. This hunger, I believe, is the underlying truly universal principle in this equation. I must recognize that all religions are invariably products of the same source, though their contents are not equal.

If we acknowledge that all religions are pointing to the same truth, even though they contradict one another, then we must assume that some contain errors. If we acknowledge the existence of errors then we must also acknowledge the existence of the truth they contradict.

So the greatest question of all is not how can we reconcile our differences and accept every religion equally, rather how can we discern which religion contains the truth?

Only by answering this question will true fruit be drawn from such a perplexing tree.

Can the answer be known with certainty?


How do I know when someone loves me?

It is the moment when I realise that they know me almost as well as I know myself.

Perhaps they indicate this with the perfect gift, or with a healing gesture that gives aid where I didn’t realise I needed it. Somehow, somewhere they communicate their love.

It is by this qualification (in combination with others) that I assert that God is not only knowable, but we can discern even His personality. One quality of which is His love.

I will go even a step further and state that the Catholic Church, the body of Christ, contains the Truth which our hearts hunger for and that this spiritual body is the fullest expression of God’s life within us.

Truth is a Person who awakens, enlivens, and beautifies every mind and heart that will accept Him.

My only supporting argument for my claim is the fire which burns in my heart, the vibrant life which pours out from my adherence to the Church’s principles, sacraments, and community.

All Christians come to the realisation sooner or later that their word is not good enough. I will take it as no surprise if any of my readers refuse to take my claims to heart based upon my words alone.

However, compelling me from within is the obligation of Truth.

Each human being is individually responsible to hunt out honestly what is, and what is not.

Even this pursuit, as with every worthwhile adventure, requires a leap of faith.

Someone reading this article who did not believe me but wanted to know more would have to trust me on at least one point: there is something in the universe worth knowing that they do not yet know.

I could repeat a thousand times that to be in communion with Jesus Christ is more valuable, more satisfying, more joyful than every pleasurable experience I have had combined.

However, my claim is easy to dismiss.

I would ask any doubtful person just this one question: If you had found something that truly achieved everything I have just claimed, wouldn’t you too be eager to share the news of this beautiful gift?

Wouldn’t it be supremely selfish to keep this knowledge hidden?

To conclude, I must reassert that all religions are not just different hands pointing to the same door. They are not different paths leading up the same mountain.

They are a multifaceted intersection departing and heading in different directions. Some lead to ruin, and others to life.

Truth can be known and there is no greater joy to not only know Truth, but to live it out as well.


  1. I don’t know where to start here.

    “Not everyone can be right, I’m glad I am.”

    That is about the entirety of this post.

    This is an incredibly presumptuous fluff piece.

    To speak for all people, with traditions that are also thousands of years old, to presume that “the Truth which our hearts hunger” is the truth that everyone should seek shows a complete lack of understanding of any other culture or tradition, and is a total dismissal of anyone else who is seeking their own path to whatever that truth is.

    The Pope himself has said that the peaceful and fruitful coexistence between people and communities belonging to different religions is not only desirable, but also concretely possible and practicable.

    Just because you feel it inside doesn’t make it right for everyone. I believe my savior comes in the form of Batman. Some people like Spiderman.

    • Richard,

      The age of traditions does speak towards our universal human hunger, but not necessarily towards it’s veracity or whether or not it should be kept. If you or I believed in an ancient lie is it worth believing simply because it’s ancient?

      The same could be said about new ideas. Just because they’re modern doesn’t make them right.

      If there is but one Truth, why wouldn’t everyone seek that one Truth? And how could we not benefit from knowing it?

      What benefit would it do to tolerate different ways of doing engineering that are faulty and cause deaths?

      I have spoken nothing of how conflicting ideas can coexist. I am merely stating that they are not the same, or of the same value. I never said we cannot co-exist peaceably.

  2. Is it possible to own your joy in the experience of Catholicism and Jesus, in particular, and to allow others to stand in the shoes of their tradition without being made inferior or wrong? Perhaps that is not your intent Adam, but that is how it comes across to my ears.

    • Hey Jennifer!

      Others are not made wrong by my standpoint. We are only ever wrong if we do not have the truth. A lie is inferior to the truth. We can both agree on that. So why should we want people to be happy with what is worse?

      There is no way I can express the truth without somehow casting a bad light on what is not the truth. But isn’t that the way its supposed to be?

      If we proclaim what is right, we will inevitably upset those who love what is wrong.

      • Assuming you have the truth…..just like ISIS assumes they have the truth, and Westboro Baptist community church assumes they have the truth…..


      • PS. Truth is subjective and all the great philosophers have tried to grapple with what is Absolute truth. Even Pilate asked Jesus “what is truth?” Jesus in his wisdom does not answer him. I’m very wary of anyone who claims they have the truth for everyone else. I am happy that you have found something that is true for you and that it brings you joy. If, in fact, what you have is Absolute truth, then by your fruits you shall know them. Fruits include humility…such as the title of your blog, faith (not belief), joy, peace, etc.

  3. PSS….I never get my thoughts out in one fell swoop…LOL. Adam, I am happy for you that you have found something that makes you want to share it with others, that feels so absolutely right for you and that gives you joy in the debating of ideas. I remember being that way when I was your age. At this stage, it is enough for me to rest in God and let things be. In time, you will discover ways that will allow you to be pastoral, to embrace questions and allow them to have no answers, to pick people up when they stumble and fall and help carry their crosses. You are already a good man…may you become even better. πŸ™‚

    • “PS. Truth is subjective…”

      If physical creation is not subjective (a table exists whether I’d like it to or not),
      if the laws of physics are not subjective (a solid remains a solid whether I’d like it to or not),
      if mathematical principles are not subjective (1 plus 1 is 2 regardless of personal experience or opinion),

      why would religious and spiritual reality inexplicably be subjective? What difference exists there?

      Is it not sane to say that either God exists or He does not, and it cannot be both?

      • When you start working with math and God and Physics….you just get a soup that doesn’t taste very good. It’s not the way to go about it!

        But….cook it that way if you must.

        I prefer not to.


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