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 Qur’an, Buddha, or Confucius, if something is true then it is true and should be accepted as such.
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. 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 my claim that “I am a chef” than, say, “I am a horse”. It should be no surprise that the major religions (and even secular disciplines such as philosophy), which have been around for many years, sound 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 something objective to measure the new idea against to test and see if it is true - something that doesn’t change and you can trust as authoritative when you test the idea. For example, when wanting to know if a fact about a country is true, you’d check a reputable source - maybe an encyclopedia, or a reliable website. If you want to know if the house you are moving into or buying is stable, you check the reports from the builders or engineers. When it comes to life matters, I tend to ask myself if the idea or concept helps make sense of what 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 decisions about ideas and concepts. What better authority to have than the one which the Creator of the world gives us! (For more on the authority of the Bible, check out this article.)
The thing with most religions (and this is the same with Christianity), is that they have core, defining beliefs. If you don’t believe these things then it doesn’t make sense to be called a follower of that religion.
In Christianity, one of the core beliefs is in Jesus Christ. Christians believe that Jesus is both fully God and fully human, and that the only way to have a right relationship with God is by trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection, which he committed to on our behalf. 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 ignoring or denying the central beliefs of Christianity.
So what do you do? When you encounter something new that sounds true, check out what the Bible has to say on the idea, and whether the new idea is something that is right or wrong, wise or foolish, harmful or helpful.
You may find it helpful to look at “A Doubter’s Guide to World Religions”, by John Dickson. You can find a link to the book here. It’s a book that works hard to compare the world’s five major 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, other world religions may contain bits of truth, but Christianity would say that the others don’t have the whole truth, because they don’t have the means to uncover the whole truth (this is what the Bible is for). Being a Christian depends on whether you want to trust in things that other religions say more than what God tells us through his Word.
I hope this helps you a little,
The CNET Team