Much of the time, celebrities seem far removed from the realities of everyday people. They live their extravagant lives with little regard or even awareness of the goings on of the masses. However, from time to time, certain celebrities transcend their trappings and try to show that they’re “real people” just like everyone else. Consider the recent interview that actor Dennis Quaid gave to Beliefnet regarding his religious beliefs. Quaid considers himself a Christian and a Baptist, yet makes some conflicted claims regarding his faith:
Beliefnet: What’s your own religious background, and where are you with it now?
Quaid: I grew up Baptist and still go to church. I myself have explored other religions, because I want to know what it is that makes other people tick. I find we’re all talking about the same thing, really—it’s all God.
Beliefnet: What’s the most interesting thing you heard?
Quaid: What I find is that we’re all human beings and that it’s all very similar, what we believe. At the bottom, there’s really not that much difference between Christians and Muslims and Hindus and Buddhists. We all worship God.
There’s nothing particularly shocking about this view — it’s probably one of the more prevalent views among Americans at large, even among many so-called Christians. The argument typically goes something like this:
- We’re all looking for God.
- Each of us has our own method of doing so.
- These different methods sometimes cause conflict.
- Therefore, if we strip away these methods for finding God, conflict will cease.
- The key to stripping away the methodologies that blind us is understanding.
- When we truly understand and are no longer blinded by our methodologies, all that will remain will be God, and we can all live happily ever after.
The conflict, of course, is that this view is at odds with not only orthodox Christianity, but many of the other religions that Quaid sees as “all the same thing.” The gods portrayed by Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism are all fundamentally different from one another, much less the God of Christian belief.
Dennis Quaid and relativists like him may well believe that all religions are basically the same. The problem is that such a theology cannot be lived out without destroying one or more of the beliefs in the process. Like the mythical Sasquatch of the forest, relativism doesn’t live in the real world.
Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity all make unique claims. The right question is not about what all these have in common, but which one is true. The relativist wants to sacrifice truth for a commonality that even Bigfoot knows is not there. The irony is that the understanding that relativists claim to gain from seeing all religions as the same only leads into greater misunderstanding of reality.