I am the senior pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in Tampa, Florida. These are my thoughts about faith, life, family, church, and a lot of other important and unimportant things.

“Aren’t all religions basically the same?”

I was having a safe, superficial conversation with a service industry professional today. We exchanged the usual pleasantries: “How are you today? Where are you from? Do you have family?” That sort of thing. Then she said, as people usually do in these exchanges, “So what do you do?” I told her that I am a pastor.

Because of my occupation, this question sometimes leads to deeper conversations, sometimes it stays shallow and safe. It depends on the person asking. I’m usually prepared for either path.

This conversation went deeper.

She told me about her religious upbringing, a semi-connection to the Roman Catholic parish of her grandmother. She said she hadn’t been to a church in a long, long time, but she finds religion fascinating. The inevitable question was then raised. In her mind, the answer to her question was clearly “yes.” But she was trying to engage in a conversation. So she put her belief in the form of a question:

“Aren’t all religions basically the same?”

What would you have said?

To be continued…

2 Responses to ““Aren’t all religions basically the same?””

  • Jack Woodford:

    Pastor Steve, I have been to St James UMC a few times. I am Jacki Holland’s Dad. My response to the question would have been “No all religions are not the same.” I would explain that the Protestant Christian denominations are very similar for the most part. Catholic has some differences. Religions such as Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism etc are totally different and then depending on how deep the person asking was to go and if there is time I would explain the differences to the best of my ability.

    That is a very good question and there are many that think the same thing.

  • Steve Ezra:

    A lot of people—perhaps a majority in the United States—believe this. Or at least, they live their lives like they believe it’s true.

    Thanks for your comment!

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