I borrowed (with permission) a question from Ahmed Han

Which is:

People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that they are on a better path than the peoples of other sects are on. How come could they be so sure?

As a Muslim, how can I be sure that my religion or sect/madhab/path is the rightful one? How can I be sure that there isn't any other religion sent by Allah which is better than Islam, but it is wrongly advertised so that I think that it is wrong?

Change some words and we get:

People of every religion claim that they are the ones in the right path. Even the people of sects in these religions think that they are on a better path than the peoples of other sects are on. How come could they be so sure?

As a Christian, how can I be sure that my religion or denomination/path is the rightful one? How can I be sure that there isn't any other religion sent by God which is better than Christianity, but it is wrongly advertised so that I think that it is wrong?

  • I'm sure this will be closed, but were I to answer, I'd first reference this question to show how Christianity is unique: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/3980/… and follow up with a reference to this answer: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/6023/… and then close by saying denomination doesn't matter, truth does, so worry about what the Word says, and ignore the rest. It's just noise that drowns out truth. Aug 21, 2012 at 22:32
  • It's not closed yet Dave... maybe you should make that an answer :)
    – user1054
    Aug 21, 2012 at 23:01
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    Nah, I'll let someone else answer. I can't seem to give a decent answer to save my life lately. By the way, I think this is an excellent question, and an important one, so I did vote it up, but I also voted to close. That may seem bipolar, but while it's truly a great question IMO, I think it borders too close to the "subjective and argumentative" line. I hope you don't take offense to that. Aug 22, 2012 at 0:43
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    Simply put, pure reason, unadorned by revelation (which I presume is the frame in which you would need an answer) will only get a person to natural, not special, revelation. Christianity is predicated on special, not general (or natural) revelation. Aug 22, 2012 at 2:44
  • @DavidStratton I feel that voting to close and upvoting this question would be the typical Christian thing to do :)
    – user1054
    Aug 22, 2012 at 13:44

4 Answers 4


Yah, I think this is going to be a rather subjective question, but I will take a brief stab at it:

I think the answer to this question comes down to the doctrine of sin. If you accept the notion of a conscience, then I believe every honest person will admit to doing things they know they shouldn't (i.e. that are against their conscience). Furthermore, I believe they will also admit that there are things they do wrong over and over again, even though they wish they would stop doing it. If they won't admit this about their own life, surely they can look out at others and see this at play. Just drop by your nearest AA meeting or youth counseling office.

If they are willing to look to religion to explain this phenomenon, the biblical doctrine of sin is amazingly accurate and powerful in describing this human experience. Once the doctrine of sin is understood and accepted, it seems natural to look to the Bible for explanations to related doctrines such as corruption and death. That, naturally should lead you to the doctrine of hell, damnation, and ultimately salvation through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Yes, I know that was quick.

Ok, now the obligatory: you can never know for sure like you can be sure that your car battery is dead. God didn't design it to work like that.

We live by faith, not by sight (2 Cor 5:7)

Someone can kick and scream and complain about the injustice and lack of intellectual honesty in that position (if they are so inclined), but if we are going to be people of Christ, we must be people of His Word and it says we must live by faith in this life.

Some people argue that seeing is believing. What they don't realize is that many people saw the works of Christ and rejected him anyway. Even some of his disciples saw him after the resurrection and they doubted instead of worshiping him (Matt 28:17).

If you are concerned about the authenticity of Christianity, here is my advice: seriously study it, with a humble and prayerful attitude, asking God to give you clarity of understanding and faith. Hopefully, we will then be able to say with Peter to Christ:

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God. (John 6:68,69)

Furthermore, if you doubt, take your doubt to the Lord. Be honest with Him about it and ask him to give you faith. You will not be disappointed if you seek him:

for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Heb 11:6)

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    This is the best answer (so far) on this question, IMO (+1) - but a minor observation: "seriously studying it" might lead to faith, but a great many former-Christian atheists will also readily testify that it was when they started looking properly that they confirmed their position of non-belief. Aug 22, 2012 at 6:59
  • All the answers are revolving around the word faith. What is faith? It is a very abstract and elastic word, doesn't have an absolute meaning. What is "asking faith from God"? Another religion may say same to me, then why would I choose Christianity over that other religion? In my understanding, what "ask faith from God" means that "come and live as a Christian for a time period, you will make friends, grow some roots around us, then it will be hard for you to return back", and it is like one of those popular psychological traps that some shady organizations use. Aug 22, 2012 at 9:26
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    @MarcGravell: agreed, some will do just that. However, thats why I said "with a humble and prayerful attitude." Ultimately, "small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." But for those that will find it, I don't believe there is a better method than going to God's word humbly and with a prayerful heart. Aug 22, 2012 at 13:48
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    @hkBattousal: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen" (Heb 11:1). Please see my paragraph above starting with "Someone can kick and scream and complain..." At the end of the day, Christianity is built on truth revealed in the Bible. The Bible says that to be saved from the judgment of God, you must repent and believe (i.e. have faith). You may not like that model, but I'm not the guy to take that up with! :) Aug 22, 2012 at 13:52
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    and equally, Islam is built on truth revealed in the Qur'an, and also has a "how to be saved" guide... that doesn't give us much basis upon which to determine the veracity of either position. Aug 22, 2012 at 13:54

I think the edgy part of this question is that it kind of revolves around the sometimes-sensitive-topic of Christian denominations. So if that is troubling to some, I've tried to make this answer apply more generally, to the question actually contained in the title:

How do we make sure that we are on the correct path? (simplified slightly by yours truly)

Let's go to James:

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

— James 1:5-6

If we ask God in faith, we won't waver with uncertainty.


It may not be obvious but this question is the same as “How do we know Jesus is true and not a liar, or confused?’ The exclusiveness of Christ’s claims, as noticed by any Bible reader, make him either the proverbial ‘liar/blasphemer, lunatic or the only Christ’. If he is the Christ then he is the only Christ, only ultimate prophet, only ultimate way, only God, only ultimate truth:

I am the way the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (NIV John 14:6)

Standing from a point of unbelief the question is much different and as an outsider to faith the answer would be that we certainly do not know and can not know while we remain in darkness. From the standpoint of faith in Christ, however, the Bible affirms that we can know. Luke wrote his gospel partially ‘so that you may know the certainty of the things’ we have been taught.(NIV Luke 1:4). Jesus also confirmed that we might know. To those who accused Jesus as the liar and blasphemer Jesus said:

Do not believe me unless I do the works of my Father. But if I do them even though you do not believe me, believe the works, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father. (NIV John 10:37-38).

John was concerned that people know with certainty the things Christians believe so he wrote 1 John partly to help people discern all the liars about that tried to twist the faith to arrive at some other truth, rather then the Christian one.

We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.(NIV 1 John 5:20)

All other religions reject the claim that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah who atoned for the sin of the world, calling him a liar or a lunatic. Even within the title of Christianity others say one needs to believe in somebody else other than Jesus only, to be a ‘true’ believer, such as brother Joe or Brother Bob. However the Apostle Paul even refuses himself or angels from interfering with Christ’s exclusive claims:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! (NIV Galatians 1:8)

We can know for certain if we are a Christian living in the light, but if we are not then we know nothing spiritually speaking and certainty is only a dream as we walk around in darkness, lying to one another and hating one another. (1 John 1:6, 2:9, 2:11, Titus 3:3).

As far as denominations go that's a side issue to the real question. It simply does not matter in knowing 'the truth' or not knowing 'the truth'. This is because the Truth is a person, Jesus Christ. Therefore, so long as our faith is in the only High Prophet, High Priest, Messiah and Lord, who is Jesus Christ, and that such faith is placed solely in Christ's work on the cross for the forgives of our sins, we can certainly know the truth as the Bible declares.

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    Jesus is the only prophet?
    – user1054
    Aug 22, 2012 at 4:59
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    @Mike I am not getting the point Jesus is the final prophet. see acts 13:1 -Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers, Acts 21:10 - After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.
    – Jomet
    Aug 22, 2012 at 6:53
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    I don't see that this addresses the question; when compared to other religions, the real question is "is Christianity true" (which this answer takes as a pre-supposition), and when compared to other sects inside religion, there is nothing in this question that says anything. The bible quotes used cannot support the bible without being circular (i.e. the Bible is true because the Bible says so). Aug 22, 2012 at 6:53
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    Actually, the standpoint I was coming from was merely that of the question: uncertainty, and the mention of other religions. If we accept the Bible's assertion before answering the question, then there is no question to answer - if you see what I mean. Aug 22, 2012 at 7:15
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    @MarcGravell - LOL - You are a clever man, I always like your comments. However soon we will be engaged in circular arguments because yes I do see you point and a person without faith must forever ask this question. However it is the person with faith by accepting God's word who alone can answer by saying believe and accept and you will know. In addition God will directly prove it to you through faith you will experience him and his power. You will no for certain. It is a choice not an intellectual dilemma. Heaven and hell rests upon our choice.
    – Mike
    Aug 22, 2012 at 7:29

If you are truly seeking ask God to show you and just read in the scripture. God talks through his scripture. This is one way.

Or you can study it on an archeological, on the human nature, philosophical level (here I can recommend William Lane Craig and Ravi Zacharias) or on the level of the experiences. With experiences I mean, that you experience what the scripture is promising.

I know people that are wondering about what happens in the world. They have totally different expectations on how they think the world works. But in contrast, for me it is not so strange, because it is according to the reality the scripture describes it.

Look at the nature of the things and how they are described.

There are a lot of great books out there with a lot of really good answers. I can recommend What's So Great About Christianity from Dinesh D'Souza.

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    Your third paragraph is so vague as to be incomprehensible. I have no idea what you're talking about. (something occurs with someone, really?)
    – TRiG
    Aug 22, 2012 at 14:07
  • Yeah thats true. I try to rework it. Aug 22, 2012 at 15:04