I’ve come to understand two things recently,
1) Even a broken clock is right twice a day and
2) Christians have nothing to fear from the truth, irrespective of where that truth is found.
That means that whether it be the Quran, Buddha or Confucius, if something is true then it is true and should be accepted as such.
However, having said that, we must be very careful!!! I want to pause and consider for a minute the nature of truth and lies. The most potent lies are those which are very close to the truth, half-truths. So you are more likely to believe something false that sounds plausible or is close to the truth. For example you are more likely to believe that ‘I am a scout master’ than ‘I am a horse’. So it should be no surprise that the major religions (and even secular disciplines such as philosophy), which have been around for many years, are plausible. This is especially so because they are all starting at the same point - a fallen broken world. I’m sure there are many points where each one reflects some truth about life and the world around us.
Without going into a discussion about the nature of truth, the basic question you need to ask is “how do I work out what is true?”. You need some sort of authority, some sort of measuring rod to test the new idea to see if it is true. For example when wanting to know if a fact about a country is true you look in a reputable encyclopedia. If you want to know if a film is good you look at a review done by a film expert. When it comes to life matters, I tend to ask myself if the idea or concept makes sense of all that I observe and understand of the world around me.
When it comes to Christianity, the authority that we use is the bible, not because that is what the church tells us to do, but because in it God tells us how to view the world and how to discern what is true. It gives us a foundation of understanding by which we can make these decisions about ideas an concepts. What better authority to have than the one which the creator of the world gives us.
The trouble with most religions (and this is the same with Christianity), is that they have central beliefs that define what they are. If you do not believe these things then you cannot be called a follower of that religion. In Christianity, one such central belief is the dual nature (God and Man) of Jesus Christ and the centrality of his death and resurection for forgiveness. You cannot call yourself a Christian without believing these things. Unfortunately no other religions believe this and in fact many disagree with this. This makes it very difficult to pick and choose “truth” from the other religions without destroying the central beliefs of Christianity.
So what do you do? When something strikes you as being true, read your bible and let it shape your understanding of that truth so that in accepting it or rejecting it you do not jepardise your Christian beliefs.
You may find it helpful to look at ‘A Spectators Guide to World Religions’ (Dickson). It is approved by the Department of Education and actually compares the world religions on their own terms rather than by just comparing them to Christianity or assuming that all religions are fundamentally the same (which they aren’t).
So, in short, world religions may contain truth, but it depends which bit you look at. Also it depends which bits you believe in, as to whether you are a Christian or not. If you’d like to get into more details, email back with the specifics and I’ll try to be more specific.