‘There are thousands of religions. How can you be so egotistical as to think that your religion is the right one?‘ Do people who ask this have a legitimate gripe? Many people believe that since there are many potential options, that, therefore, there is no right answer – with people holding to this notion in numerous contexts. It seems to be a dominant view especially in conversations about religion.
The first thing we must come to terms with is that Christianity, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Thorism, or any other religion is not interchangeable. I know this is a popular atheistic talking point but it really needs to stop unless one is relentless in one’s pursuit of fallacious thinking.
Religions Fall into Buckets
Religions fall into large buckets based on their truth claims; they can be grouped based on the similarities of their claims. For instance, all the gods that you find in Greek mythology would be in one of those buckets. You may name dozens of these kinds of gods and the number would be irrelevant because they share commonalities. The God of Theism would be under another umbrella. Judaism, Christianity, and Islam share some high-level commonalities. One of these would be that all three claim that God created the heavens and the earth. If it were proven that God did not create heaven and earth, it would compromise all three. However, the Theistic religions also have major differences, and as such, demonstrating one religion to be false based on some difference that is not shared with the others does not compromise the others.
When we examine the claims under each umbrella of religious claims, when those claims are demonstrated to be false, the entire umbrella of religions may be easily dismissed. But the differences are important too. Two glasses of water may be identical in every way. However, if one of those glasses of water contains a drop of poison, the results of drinking one or the other will differ greatly.
A Plurality of Options
Now, just because you can dismiss one or even a hundred truth claims neither implies that all the claims are wrong, nor that there is no truth. Here’s an example: suppose we were given this problem to solve: 563 x 934. Now, if 50,000 people all came up with differing answers, how reasonable would it then be to dispense of the question or claim all answers are wrong because we witness so many answers given that were patently false? It would not be reasonable at all.
It would be most unreasonable to claim all answers to be wrong merely because of a multiplicity of answers provided by so many people. This doesn’t help us in any way. One who takes the time to examine could come up with many reasons why the other answers are wrong. Skeptics do not help themselves a whole lot when they speak to someone of a certain religious persuasion and bring up this objection of so many people believing in completely different things. That’s irrelevant to the question of whether the beliefs of that specific individual or true or false.
The truth is not compromised when people believe falsehoods, and falsehoods are not compromised when people believe in the truth. What’s true remains true. What’s false remains false. Material reality is largely external, and no amount of mental gymnastics of transference of one belief system to dispute another is ever going to be a rational way to dismiss any belief system. A plurality of options does not compromise the truth.