All Religions Lead to Same God? - Kim Phuc Phan Thi
Kim Phuc Phan Thi was born and raised in Vietnam. Her family members were devout followers of a religion known as Cao Dai. As a follower of this group she was taught that all religions have “one same divine origin, which is God, or Allah, or the Tao, or the Nothingness.” She was also taught, over and over again, “You are god, and god is you.”
At the age of nine, Kim Phuc’s life took a dramatic turn when she was severely burned by napalm during the Vietnam War. As she ran down a street in great pain, a photographer snapped a photo of her which went on to become an iconic image of the war. Her burns brought a great deal of suffering into her life but it also led her to search for answers. As an adult, she discovered some remarkable truths about religion.
In 1982, I found myself crouched inside Saigon’s central library, pulling Vietnamese books of religion off the shelves one by one. The stack in front of me included books on Bahá’í, Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and Cao Dai. It also contained a copy of the New Testament. I thumbed through several books before pulling the New Testament into my lap. An hour later, I had picked my way through the Gospels, and at least two themes had become abundantly clear.
First, despite all that I had learned through Cao Dai—that there were many gods, that there were many paths to holiness, that the burden of “success” in religion rested atop my own weary, slumped shoulders—Jesus presented himself as the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). His entire ministry, it seemed, pointed to one straightforward claim: “I am the way you get to God; there is no other way but me.” Second, this Jesus had suffered in defense of his claim. He had been mocked, tortured, and killed. Why would he endure these things, I wondered, if he were not, in fact, God?
Kim Phuc’s discovery eventually led her to give her life to Jesus. She writes, “I realize there is nothing greater or more powerful than the love of our blessed Savior.”
Kim Phuc Phan Thi, “‘These Bombs Led Me to Christ,’” Christianity Today, April 20, 2018, https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/may/napalm-girl-kim-phuc-phan-thi-fire-road.html.