Is it fair for me to expect a “satisfied” adherent of another religion to investigate Christianity, while I am not necessarily motivated to pursue their religion?
The short answer is this: only if Christianity is true.
This answer, however, begs the question of whether Christianity is actually true, and how a person could possibly know this if they’ve never thoroughly investigated all the alternatives.
For example, if I never seriously pursued Islam or Hinduism in a thorough manner — including the doctrines, claims, histories and practices of these religions — can I claim to be a “well-informed” person before embracing Christianity?
However, am I obligated to understand all the alternatives out there before deciding on a belief system?
Also, probably not.
Most of us have jobs and busy lives and we simply can’t know everything about every possible worldview before choosing a worldview of our own.
So let me suggest a charitable solution for thoughtful Christians, that comes in two stages:
1. Case-making: I must know the main arguments for my worldview, in this case, Christianity. Lee Strobel has aptly entitled this endeavor The Case for Christ.
2. Dabbling along the way: By dabbling, I mean taking an interest in other religions even if you’re committed to your own (which I am). That is, one need not withhold belief in a worldview such as Christianity until all alternatives are exhausted.
I think it’s OK to stand within a tradition (Christianity, for me) while examining other traditions. I believe it’s wise — and intellectually honest — to know something of neighboring faiths, whether it’s the two religions mentioned above or others such as Mormonism, Judaism or Buddhism.
To the original question then: Is it fair to expect others to investigate Christianity if I don’t investigate their religions?
Well, I think it’s fair to expect them to investigate Christianity if I think a good case can be made for its truthfulness.
But I also shouldn’t let myself off the hook. I shouldn’t just dwell comfortably in my own worldview if I’m trying to be a thoughtful and charitable Christian.
Minimally, I should dabble in what the others are saying so that I am at least conversant in the faiths of my neighbors.
Neighboring Faiths: A Christian Introduction to World Religions by Winfred Corduan
The Compact Guide To World Religions ed. Dean Halverson