This claim that all religions lead to heaven is one of the most common objections you will encounter as a witness for Jesus. In our current milieu, it is taboo to exclude anyone or hurt anyone’s feelings or say that they are wrong in their beliefs. That attitude has become so much a part of our culture that it just feels wrong to people to think of God excluding someone from heaven if they are not a follower of Jesus.
People are unwilling to accept the fact that Christianity is so exclusive. They can’t accept Jesus’ claim in John 14:6, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” In fact, they would be shocked to know that he even said that. In their minds, if God is loving he would never say something like that.
When responding to someone with this view, you might refer to the Japanese proverb that there are many roads up Mt Fuji, but they all meet at the top. Acknowledge that this is an appealing picture. After all, if it were true, then we would expect each religion to have different ceremonies and practices (different roads up Mt Fuji). But there is something they should all agree on, right? They should all agree on heaven (the top), since they meet there. Is that agreement what we find when we look at the world’s religions?
No, every religion believes something different. If all religions lead to heaven, which heaven are you talking about? Buddhism believes in a temporary heaven and then you are reborn until you reach Nirvana – a mental state. Muslims believe it’s a physical place where there are seven levels and every wish is immediately granted. Hindus believes in different planes of reality above the earthly plane and attaining heaven isn’t even the final pursuit. You can change planes and move between them according to your karma. And then there is Christianity where we spend eternity in the new earth serving and praising God.
You can see how different they all are. You cannot say that all roads lead to heaven, because all the heavens cannot exist. If the Christian heaven is the real one, you cannot say then that the Buddhist one also exists. Or we cannot both go to 1 of the 7 levels of the Muslim heaven and also try to attain the Nirvana of Buddhism.
In addition, God cannot be both impersonal and personal, both singular and triune, both knowable and unknowable, both separate from creation and all of creation. So, to say that all roads lead to heaven and yet there are different Gods just cannot be.
How you respond to the person who believes that all religions lead to God depends completely on where they are coming from. If they are searching, don’t go into these arguments, just go straight to the gospel and say, “Can I share with you what the Bible says about how to be right with God?” Share your personal testimony with them too.
In other circumstances you might share some of these reasons their view of religions cannot be right. But then point out that the Bible makes it so clear that God desires people to not be judged, but forgiven and brought into his family. That’s the whole reason Jesus came into our world and died on the cross, to open the door for us to have a great relationship with God and live lives full of his purposes. God wants to include people, not exclude them, which is why we need to receive his gift of grace and put our faith in Jesus and his death on the cross for us.
Ultimately there are only 2 conclusions that can be true. Either all philosophies are wrong (including ones such as atheism) or ONE of them is true. We cannot say that Christians are narrow-minded because when we look at all the different religions, they are all “narrow-minded.” So the question becomes not whether Christianity is narrow-minded or not but whether the claims of Christianity are true or not!