Which is the True Religion?
Each person is born in a circumstance which is not of his own choosing. The religion of his family or the ideology of the state is thrust upon him from the very beginning of his existence in this world. By the time he reaches his teens, he is usually fully brain-washed into believing that the beliefs of his particular society are the true religion and that everyone should have. However, when some people are exposed to other religions, they begin to question the validity of their own. The seekers of true religion often reach a point of confusion upon realizing that each and every religion, sect, and ideology claims to be the one and only correct way for men and women. Indeed, they all encourage people to do good. So, which one is right? They cannot all be right, since each claims all others are wrong. Then how does the seeker of truth choose the right path? We will answer that after talking a bit about its importance.
Is it worth it to search for the true religion?
Absolutely, it is, because in most main religions, this present life is only a test for the next realm of existence. In other words, our place in the hereafter, either Heaven (Paradise) or Hell, is decided by which religion we follow. Moreover, the life in the hereafter is eternal, unlike the present life, which usually does not exceed 100 years.
The Prophet of Islam, Muhammad, said: “Whoever enters Paradise is blessed with a life of joy; he will never feel miserable, his clothes will never wear out, and his youth shall never fade away. The people will hear a divine call: ‘I grant you that you will be healthy and never fall sick, you will live and never die, you will be young and never age, you will be joyful and never feel miserable.’” (Narrated in Saheeh Muslim).
And God has said in the Holy Quran: “Truly, God will admit those who believe and do righteous deeds, to Gardens underneath which rivers flow (in Paradise), wherein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls and their garments therein will be of silk.” (Quran, 22:23)
Also the Prophet said that the lowest in rank among the dwellers of Paradise (Heaven) will have ten times the like of this world, and he or she will have whatever he or she desires and ten times like it. And that they will live a very happy life without sickness, pain, sadness, or death; God will be pleased with them; and they will live there forever.
So after this, how can a wise person risk loosing all these pleasures?! Usually in this world, we spend several years to get a certificate that entitle us for a good job. So doesn’t our eternal life deserves that we spend for it few weeks or days of reading and studying to decide which religion is acceptable beside God and which will lead us to eternal happiness?
Which one is the true religion?
Now comes the big question, which is the true religion of God? God gave us all minds and intellects to enable us to make this crucial decision. It is the most important decision in the life of a human being. Upon it depends his/her future. Consequently, each and every one of us must examine dispassionately the evidence presented, and choose what appears to be right until further evidence arises. Below are some suggested steps for finding that:
1. First, to save time, omit those religions that don’t claim to be from God, and those religions that are not widespread, because usually the truth of a right religion is so apparent that many would follow it. Also omit those religions that don't accept converts to it.
2. From the above step we will get very few religions left. Read online and from books about the proofs, arguments, beliefs, and practices of these religions.
3. During this, keep asking God sincerely to show you and open your heart for the true religion and to assist you in following it when you find it. Sometimes we know what is the right path but don't have the courage and will to go ahead with it.
4. After this study, mostly one of these religions should stand out, and you will find that one of them is more logic, authentic, and in accordance with your mind and heart.
5. Put your heritage, prejudgments, emotions, and fear aside and follow that religion for within it lies our happiness in this life and in the hereafter.
6. Now let us begin the journey of finding the truth. For Islam, below are some recommended online resources. Try to read them in the same order. They are brief and can be read in few hours. For the remaining religions, you may search online or at your local library.
Brief online resources for exploring and examining Islam
1. Why Islam (article)
2. A Brief Introduction to Islam (article)
3. What is Islam? (article)
4. How Does Islam Differ from other Faiths? (article)
5. A Brief Illustrated Guide to Understanding Islam (pdf ebook)
6. Islam is... (pdf ebook)
7. The True Religion (pdf ebook)
8. The True Message of Jesus Christ (pdf ebook)
9. The Religion of Islam (a big site with lots of articles and videos on different aspects of Islam. Also the site features a Live Help thru one-to-one chat where you can ask about Islam and discuss it with a real advisor).
Wishing you the best with your quest.