“We accept all religions as true” this is where he fascinated everyone and was applauded, that’s Vivekanand for you. Very smart and intelligent, excelling in music, studies and athletics. But very few of us know that he was very prejudiced about what he presented there and not only that, as Ravi Zacharias puts it “He touched the colonial and racial nerves”. How ? Let’s take a look at his speech (and expose his beliefs).
In his opening address he mentioned something like this, “I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions” (emphasis added). I want you to note a contradiction here. In the later part of his speech he would say that we accept all religions as true ( i would refute this later), but still he is making a claim that my religion is the mother of all religions. What he is actually trying to say here is that, I accept your religion, but mine is the best (mother of all). Heights of hypocrisy, isn’t it? Westerners were blind to see this hypocrisy at that time and they are blind today too.
Then he went on to comment on how tolerant they are, ” I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.” If I would have been present there at the time of this speech, I would have most likely asked him the elementary question like “Sir, can you please define tolerance and universal acceptance?” The reason I say this is because it appears that in spite of being so intellectually sound, his philosophy turns out to be inherently nonsensical. What he implicitly meant was that Christianity is intolerant, but by doing that he was making a self refuting statement, because he was intolerant of Christianity. Let this thought sink in for a wee bit before you move further in the article. Now talking about the universal acceptance, he was actually murdering the concept of absolute truth. The most basic law of logic i.e. the law of non contradiction teaches us that 2 things cannot be true at the same time. Which means, ‘A’ cannot be ‘A’ and ‘not A’ at the same time. If you say I believe A is A and then accept my belief that A is not A, then you’re not only killing the logic of truth but you’re proving yourself to be a fool in accepting the subjective truth.
He mentions that we accept all religions as true, lets once again use the law of non contradiction and check for ourselves how absurd the notion is. Ravi Zacharias has spoken about this in his lectures wherein he mentions that, “All religions are superficially the same but fundamentally different.” Superficially the same means they all talk about God, love, humanity etc etc, but when the fundamental concepts surfaces they all contradict each other and that is where the major blow comes to this sort of nonsensical philosophy. It can be summarized in one sentence, ‘If all religions are true then all religions are false’. Shocking, isn’t it? Hinduism believe we are all Gods, but Christians believe there is only one God, contradiction. Islam believes Jesus was a prophet, while Christianity believes Jesus is the God, contradiction. See how simple it is to refute this notion? (you can thank me later for opening your eyes).
He also quoted a hymn “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.” Different paths cannot lead to God, you will surely find a dead end ahead in one of them! He even mentioned a verse from Gita which is something like this “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” There are a lot of logical and theological flaws in this particular verse. Take a close look at this ‘through whatsoever form, I reach him” this is the pantheistic belief, which means there are many Gods and God manifests himself in different forms. Now if there are many Gods, then one God lacks something from the other. But by definition, God doesn’t lack anything, therefore there cannot be many Gods and thus we can conclude that there can be only one infinite being. Recall what I said about all the religions, they all fundamentally talk about different ways to salvation, now if they have different ways of salvation then how can they all lead to the same God? Absurdity! One of my friend told me that “God is above having any attributes and so any of his manifest forms lacking anything is just not realizing Him in His completeness.” Read carefully, God is above having any attributes, does this sound logical? The Bible tells us about the characteristics of God, which he has chosen to reveal us. How can he be above them? Also in the latter part he said, we are not realizing him in his completeness. This statement is devoid of substance, as in how can something incomplete represent ‘Complete’? If the manifested form gives up on God’s characteristics then how can he be God? They get cornered with such questions, because there is no logical answer to them but just some philosophical mumbo jumbo.
Enough said, I would like to end my article here. You can read the full text of his speech here and check for yourself :
Bottom line is, there is only one God and your notions as to who He is and what He is doesn’t change the real God and his characteristcs, which He has chosen to reveal us in Bible and in Jesus Christ. In order to test a religion whether it is true or not, these question should be asked (as explained by Ravi Zacharias), and the religion should be able to answer them.
1) Origin. How we originated?
2) Meaning. What is the meaning of this life?
3) Morality. What is morality?
4) Destination. Where are we headed?
Search the Lord with all your heart and you will find him, as it is written in bible “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matthew 7:7.