Why Can’t We have Just One Religion? Here’s Why!

 I am moved by the story of the Tower of Babel because it answers the question non-Jews ask me most frequently (second only to “Why do Jews not believe in Jesus?”). That question is: “Why do we have to have all these different religions? Wouldn’t the world be better if there was one religion instead of all the problems caused by religious differences?”

My response to the question if the asker is a Christian is, “Whose religion would it be? Would it be yours, where the life, death on the cross, resurrection, and ascension to heaven of Jesus are the guiding beliefs and set of religious principles? Or would it be mine, in which the life and death of Jesus plays no role whatsoever?”

I am very proud to be a Reform Jew. I wold never want to be anything else. But that does not mean for a moment that I think everyone should be like me or believe as I do. Our world is enriched, not diminished, by religious diversity. The problems come when people are not able to accept that thinking people can differ on how God wants them to believe. The Tower of Babel story teaches that God is the force that created religious and cultural diversity. If diversity is God’s creation, then it is blasphemy to try to proclaim that one and only one religion is right!

No. Religious unity should not be our goal. Rather, respect for, and appreciation of honest religious differences is what will lead us to a better world.

10 thoughts on “Why Can’t We have Just One Religion? Here’s Why!

  1. All manufactured products like cars, computers, phones, TVs, are not manufactured by one manufacturer. Similarly, all humans (cosmic products) are not manufactured by one God. We are all products created by different gods and hence we connect to different gods. And gods have their gods and creators have their creators.

    Author – The Cosmic Machiavelli


  2. We do not, and cannot, have one religion. Religions must serve the spiritual needs of different cultures, in different parts of the world, at different phases of our evolution. One size will not fit all. And, does it really make any difference which religion a person choses as long as it serves a desired purpose. That purpose should be to give people guidelines, rules to live by. Of course our legal systems do that but religion just adds the spiritual layer.
    Some people believe in an anthropomorphic God floating around up in the clouds guiding us and judging us. Some believe God is just an eternal energy. All that matters is that we have something we can turn to or reflect on when we want or need a spiritual presence in our lives. We also need the sense of community that religion provides. As a matter of fact, that may be the most important aspect of organized religion. Personally, I identify as a Judeo-Christian Pantheistic neo-Pagen. I believe in covering my bases. “…A time of knowing is upon you. There are no other prophets.” (Don’t know who said it but I heard it years and years ago and it sticks in my head.)


  3. I would love to hear your comments on the Binding of Issac. I think it was a cosmic game of “chicken” between God and Abraham.


  4. Bob, my essay posted on September 19, gives you my view on the Binding of Isaac. I don’t see it as a game of chicken at all, so you might not see it the way I do.You can find it on my website (www.rabbifuchs.com) under blog or here in the September archive. It is an excerpt from my book, What’s in It for Me? Finding Ourselves in Biblical Narratives. The essay is Scripture’s Most Troubling Story. Let me know what you think of it after you have a look, please.


  5. I read a dvar Torah by Rabbi Mary zamore that i think fits in nicely with your view here. She felt that God acted too quickly, and should have let the people fail in their mission because at least they were unified, unlike the preflood society. They would have figured out by themselves that they couldn’t build a tower to heaven and reach God…experiential learning. But God took control and gave them the lesson early. In order to have true peace in the world we must respect differences, diversity, and realize thay we do not all look, think, act, or believe the same.
    My expansion…The Almighty wants a world with different strengths because we cannot all be good at the same thing, because then we would all be bad at the same thing. So this expands to beliefs as well. As long as we can embrace diversity, then we will know peace.

    Also read in a couple of places that this signifies that the Almighty is against technology. Do you have thoughts on this and anything else i wrote?

    Keep up with posts on the weekly Parshah!!!


  6. Lisa, I am no sure what you mean by “anything else I wrote.”and I have not read Rabbi Zamore’s D’var Torah. That said I have a problem when people think it is their prerogative to criticize God. Sorry, but there are reasons we come to worship God and don’t expect God to come worship us .This idea fits in with my criticism of those who say God was wrong to tell Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.God and Abraham were teaching us the oat important lesson that humanity has yet to learn. Who the hell are we to tell God what God should and shouldn’t do. The chutzpah annoys me to be honest with you. God is by definition beyond our human understanding. We cannot know why God does the things God does no matter how far we develop our technology and our minds. We can only guess if we wish, but we will only frustrate ourselves or lose faith completely if we expect God to justify God’s self to us. We CAN know that God wants us to use our talents to create a more just, caring and compassionate society. We worship God by trying to do that!
    The scattering of the “Generation of the Scattering” as rabbinic literature refers to the Babel generation teaches us that God’s third attempt to have humans establish the good society failed. Now God responds to the dilemma by calling Abram, Sarai and us to the task.
    I begin my quest for understanding by acknowledging that their is much about God that I will never understand but that it is NOT our place to criticize God.


  7. My thoughts here, I actually don’t believe in God, I refer to my Higher Power and my awareness that there is a Higher Power. I don’t think that god is something to ‘believe’ in, much like one would believe in Santa Claus or the tooth fairy. My being aware has me living my life in wonderment and awe.
    I question if there is such a ting as being an atheist,I will ask an atheist if the ever say the word “wow!” If they do, I tell them saying “wow” is saying a blessing, noticing something an being in awe of what has been seen or heard. If one is in awe and acknowledges it,then they are aware of something, even if they don’t call it God.
    Actually, I do believe in Santa Claus, as it says in Pirke Avot, “Remember 3 things and you will not sin; there is an eye watching everything you do, there is n ear listening to all you say and all that you do is being written in a book of deeds,” therefore, “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake,he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!”
    So for me it’s not about religion, it all about how we treat each other. Also remember the Kris Kringle character in the movie, Miracle on 34th Street, “we don’t have it at Macy’s, but Gimbels down the street does.” Let’s find ways to help each other and be supportive in each other’s successes.


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