Is there one true religion?

I have to write an argumentative research paper for my college composition class. I believe Catholicism is the true religion, but how do I write a 6-8 page paper on the topic in the title of this post, without offending anyone? Where do I start writing? What would be my main points and how would I back them up?

It’s a noble subject to undertake, but perhaps a little too large seeing as how 2000years of thinkers have tried to argue for it. Perhaps you can try a smaller topic.

You would need to show from history how the catholic church came from the holy land, travelled to Rome, then how the church travelled to other known parts of the world. How it remained the same in it’s teaching and liturgy, some of the famous people down thru the ages. Show the line of popes to the current day. And cite some early church fathers about what they said, and how the early Mass resembles ours today.

The Reformation would be necessary to treat in so far as it shows how other churchmen were catholic before they started their own churches. And the bible itself was put together and preserved thru the ages by the catholic church.

You might also want to show how the Hindu, Moslem, Buddism, relate to Christianity.

Best wishes.

Basically, what is unique about Christianity is its founder. Jesus is a real historical person who did great miracles that no other real historical person was ever able to do such as walking on water and rising from the dead. He basically let everyone know that he was God and then proved it to them. In non-Christian religions, either the founder was a historical person but didn’t do any of the miracles that Jesus did, or the religion has amazing stories about mythical characters that everyone knows never existed as real historical persons.

For example, in Hindu scriptures the human writer of the story inserts himself into the story to advise the characters how they should proceed in the epic. An example of this is how Vyasa, the Indian sage who is traditionally credited with composing the Mahabharata, inserts himself at various points in the epic and at one point even assures the central characters that the story will end well for them. The world described in the Hindu scriptures doesn’t resemble this world at all. In the Hindu epics is a fantasy world like the world of Oz. In this world, the bizarre is taken for granted as being normal just as it would be in a dream. There are things in it such as a woman who is conceived in the womb of a fish, a mother who gives birth to a rock which is broken into a hundred little rocks which end up hatching into a hundred children, etc. The Hindu scriptures are based purely on the imagination of the human composer. The extremist within Hinduism interpret these bizarre stories as being real historical events to be taken literally. But moderate Hindus like spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi did not consider the Hindu scriptures to represent any historical events. Instead, he interpreted the Hindu scriptures in a purely allegorical way.

Another compelling point is the Catholic Church was able to supplant the most powerful and feared empire in human history without a war or rebellion. The growth, longevity, continuity, and consistency of doctrines of the Catholic Church far surpasses any other centralized institution in human history, and even an atheist can observe this if he is willing to take a look and try to compare. The Catholic Church is still here because Jesus (God) guaranteed it. If the Catholic Church had been been a merely man-made institution it would have been destroyed long ago. But she remains essentially unchanged after 2,000 years.

I think it’d be good to start with the papacy as set out in the Bible.

You could mention how Christ changed Simon’s name to Peter, which means “rock” and how Christ said that on this rock, he would build his Church and that the gates of hell would not prevail against it.

Further, he asked Peter 3 TIMES, and Peter alone, to shepherd his sheep. Peter was listed first of the apostles and the clear leader, in the absence of Christ. Christ told Peter that later, he’d need to strengthen his bretheren. Peter alone is given the “keys to the kingdom”.

Christ said that all authority in heaven and earth had been given to him. In turn, he gave authority…besides the keys, Christ told Peter, alone, that what he held bound on earth would be bound in heaven. What he loosed on earth would be loosed in heaven.

Now, we believe Peter held what we would now call an “office”. Notice that when Judas committed suicide, the apostles replaced him with someone else, I think it was Matthew.

In this same way, Peter, when martyred, also was replaced, so that the Church would never be without leadership.

This is an apologetics cheat sheet. Scroll down to “papacy”.

Now, one thing the Catholic Church has is the pope.

Another thing we have is the Magisterium. You could show how the apostles were given special abilities, NOT given to others. They were given the power to forgive sin, for example. Christ breathed on them and told them to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, that sins they forgave would be forgiven. Again, their offices were replaced, and they made some rules and Church laws, I believe under DIVINE authority.

Some will not acknowledge Catholics as Christians, but we are actually the original “Christians”, there from the beginning.

Later, other churches split off…like when Henry VIII couldn’t get an annulment and went out and headed his own church.

Christ said he was establishing his “Church”, NOT “churches”! We believe there’s only one true one, the original.

As to not offending anyone. If you are writing this paper to a group of mixed faiths, someone would probably take offense, though. People would disagree. You’d need to realize this, upfront. However, you could be gentle, polite, and back your beliefs with quotes, etc., to make it more persuasive.

Look into the topic “apologetics” (defense of the faith) for further information.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

The REAL challenge you face is coming up with a set of criteria that “one true religion” must meet in order to claim that title. It’s easier (a LOT easier) if your claim is only related to various Christian Churches, but you don’t indicate one way or another.

FWIW, one of the criteria that I would stipulate is that the Church must at least claim to be the one true Church. After all, how can anyone else claim it is the “one true church” if it doesn’t even make the claim itself? Among Christian churches, I’m not aware of any non-Catholics that make this claim (the Orthodox do, but they’re Catholic, and their claim is not disputed so long as they do not additionally exclude Latin Catholics).

WITHOUT OFFENDING ANYONE, more likely than not such
a project is impossible, but hey, can’t make everyone happy,

Really helpful

To the OP - to write a paper on “the one true religion” without offending anyone is impossible. In fact, unless your instructor is a practicing Catholic himself/herself, you will probably end up offending him/her. In addition, the topic requires several points to be made within it to be met, and, as such, a 6-8 page paper may not be the proper venue. You may, however, be able to argue that absolute Truth exists in such a paper. This, actually, is the first argument that must be made. For any religion to be the True religion, there must be such thing as absolute Truth. Without absolute Truth, no religion can claim to be absolutely True. Only after absolute Truth has been established can you then ask if any religion completely consists of absolute Truth.

Again, if I were you, for the sake of being able to write a complete argument in your paper, I would stick to proving that absolute Truth exists. Believe me, in a world chock full of relativism, proving that absolute Truth exists is quite the task in and of itself.

The only true religion is Christianity and the only Church established by Christ was the Catholic Church and the only one entrusted with the Deposit of faith.

I just need a general outline as to where to even start, like what each of the paragraphs should be about in order to thoroughly answer the question. Please help. Thanks.

You don’t. Claiming one religion to be the one true religion effectively means that others must be false (to one degree or another).

Someone will be offended.

That said the same is likely to be true of just about any subject on which there is a diversity of opinions.

One important difference in Christianity and other religions is the essence of the religion. Other religions revolve around the teachings of the major prophet or figure in that religion. Christianity revolves not around what Christ taught, but WHO He is.

As to the paper, I would start like basic building blocks. Focus on the question of is there one religion, and the arguments against universalism or Unitarianism. Once that question is answered, then begin examining the major world religions and the fundamental issues related to them, and if they hold up as the one true religion.

Well, logically, since claims and beliefs differ among all religions, there can be at most one true religion.

If two beliefs, on any issue, are different and contradictory (i.e.: Jesus is the Son of God / Jesus is not the Son of God), then only one can be true.

As others have stated, it would really be good to know a few more details, such as whether you’re starting from a position that Christianity is true. If that’s not the case, then you’ll need to write a whole lot more.

Here are a few good resources:
How Do We Know It’s the True Church?

Is the Catholic Church the one true Church? (7 things to know and share)

The True Church—Unbroken for 2,000 Years

Four Marks of the Church

Wikipedia - Four Marks of the Church

Understanding Our One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church

Many more if you can narrow the scope down & let us know what you’re interested in …

You could break down your paper by slowly building to why the Catholic faith is the true one. Start with maybe trying to prove the necessity of a Supreme Being of some sort, then prove this Being mostly lines up with Christianity, and from there, Catholicism.

This is similar to what you see in the first couple chunks of C.S. Lewis’ book Mere Christianity, if you’ve read that.

Start out with a definition Religion

The object of religion, is God

So it presumes Faith

for the purposes of Salvation

Our God said He would build His Church Matthew 16:17-19

His Church is Catholic

Our God said He wants perfect unity in His Church John 17:20-22

If we love God we do what He says John 14:15

If we do what God wants and persevere till the end, then Heaven :slight_smile:

one true religion?
You must begin with Truth is one. That is no “truth” is not true. Because if anyone doesn’t believe truth is one you would be wasting your time to prove anything.
Then - the best argument from simpole reason is: Infinite Existence is the only conceivable entity that can give existence to everything else and does not need anything
else to give it existence.
Then "That is exactly the name that God gave when Moses asked him his name-“I AM” -not this or that but simply existence. without which no power,intelligence or any other kind of perfection can be.
This is what our Faith tells us- God revealed Himself to the Jewish people. And it is in
their Scriptures we learn the even God’s chosen People fall on their faces repeatedly and
that God promised to send a Redeemer. Jesus is that Redeemer and a small group of
the Jews believed in Him and spread their faith all over the Roman Empire and not only took over that Empire but converted the hoards of Barbarians that invaded it.
As Pope Francis reminds us -We the People of God are Sinners. So His Church has
been in constant need of Reform. Even some Popes made the mistake of Peter and got
enmeshed in human thinking and tried “Lording it over others” But the Church always over
came these problems. Today many of the Protestant Reformers are finding their way back to the Church realizing that the divisiveness of Christians is a scandal they can no longer
perpetuate. If we unite as Christ prayed for us to be One in Him as He and the Father are One - the World will cry out “Look how these Christians Love one another” So yes there is One True Religion. But you need Faith to recognize it and
if anyone asks they will have it.

Its not up to us to write your homework for you.

Here’s your paper in one page, but the challenge you will have is proving point #1 which Christians assume but non-Christians will reject. Come to think of it, you can stop at point #3 for your purposes.

The Necessity of Being Catholic (Condensed)
by James Akin

  1. To be saved it is necessary to be a Christian.
  2. To be a Christian it is necessary to be a member of Christ’s Church.
  3. To be a member of Christ’s Church it is necessary to be a member of the Catholic Church.
  4. To be a member of the Catholic Church it is necessary to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.
  5. Therefore, it is necessary for salvation to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.

In this argument, the necessities are all normative necessities and the kind of membership being discussed is formal membership. The argument has a logically valid form (in fact, it expresses a variation on what is known as the “hypothetical syllogism” argument form), meaning that the truth of its conclusion depends only on the truth of the premises it contains.

When a Protestant objects to the above argument, it will be to the third proposition – that the Catholic Church is the Church Christ founded. Both sides agree on the other three points. While it is beyond the scope of this article to give a full proof of the third proposition (this is one of the major tasks of Catholic apologetics), we can offer a limited proof.

Both Protestants and Catholics agree that Christ founded some Church and that this Church will remain forever (Matt. 16:18). The question is whether this Church is a visible communion that can be identified or whether is it a purely spiritual communion made up of all the saved. If it is a visible communion, the Catholic Church is the only plausible candidate, since only this Church extends back far enough (the Eastern Orthodox communion did not finally break with Rome until the 1450s, a mere sixty years before the Protestant Reformation). We can thus give a limited argument for the third proposition by showing the Church Christ founded is a visible communion.

This is proven in Matthew 16:17-19, the passage in which Christ promised the gates of hell would never prevail against his Church (meaning that it would always exist). Several factors in the text show he was talking about a visible communion.

First, Jesus made Peter head of this Church (Matt. 16:18), yet Jesus was certainly not making Peter the head of an invisible Church. It is Christ’s own prerogative to be head of the invisible communion of Christians stretching from heaven to earth (Eph. 5:23). Therefore, he must have made Peter the head of a visible, earthly church. (We will not argue here that Jesus made Peter the head; even if one disagrees, the remaining arguments prove our case.)

Second, Jesus gave Peter the keys to the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 16:19), which are for use in Church government (compare Isa. 22:22 – the only Old Testament parallel to this verse). But one cannot govern an invisible communion of believers, only a visible one.

Third, Jesus gave Peter the power of binding and loosing (Matt. 16:19), which Matthew 18:17-18 indicates is used in Church discipline. But one cannot exercise Church discipline over an invisible body. Indeed, Matt. 18:17-18 refers it to public excommunication, in which an individual is treated by the church as “a gentile or a tax collector” (that is, as an unbeliever).

Fourth, Jesus explicitly stated that Peter would exercise the power of binding and loosing on earth. This shows his authority is an earthly one, over an earthly Church.

Fifth, Jesus promised the gates of hell would not prevail against his Church (Matt. 16:18), meaning that it would never perish. But it would be ridiculous to promise that an invisible Church would not pass out of existence since some of the Church’s members are in heaven and Christ’s heavenly Church cannot pass away by its very nature. Only a visible, earthly communion needs a promise that it will never perish.

Thus, there are abundant reasons to conclude that the Church Jesus was discussing in Matthew 16:17-19 was a visible communion of believers, and, since only the Catholic Church goes back that far, only it can be the one Christ founded.

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Please understand that I am not asking for you to “write my homework.” I posted on this forum to ask for advice. By asking for an outline I was asking for main points.

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