Following is a sequence of events that seem to logically explain the diversity in religions today and the differences in religious scriptures. With this model, we can see that the diversity and differences are to be expected, and we can more easily guess which of the religions and scriptures are erroneous. Most importantly, this logical sequence of events points us in the right direction if we are interested to follow God’s true religion.
1. First, God, who created us, must have introduced Himself to us. Otherwise we wouldn’t know that He created us, and we wouldn’t know about Him. Feeling the existence of God could occur through natural inclination, but a more explicit introduction is likely to clear all doubts. God would most likely tell us about Himself, and we should assume that He is perfect in every way (by definition of a god).
2. After introducing Himself to us, God probably shared His purpose in creating us, since naturally he did not create us without purpose (otherwise he would not be perfect). This purpose should be related in a clear and decisive message. If God sent a message like, “I created you for a specific purpose…” then it is logical that we are expected to fulfill the will of God by doing what he expects of us.
3. The message would be most reliable if it came in the words of God. We would appreciate to hear it directly from Him, not paraphrased from a secondary source. These words should be preserved so they can be shared. It makes sense that they would be recorded in a way so that people can access it, i.e. in writing or sound recording. A book is most likely.
4. The one who heard or received the words of God must have been selected by God because of his reliability to relay the message accurately. He would probably also be charged with interpreting the message for those who may not understand, and demonstrating it practically if needed. Ideally, he should be named by God as His messenger in His words.
5. The message should be for all people. It is not only universal but also practicable for people of different abilities, education, and environments. It should not contradict scientifically advanced people/societies nor be too complicated for primitive people/societies.
6. The message should be meaningful and useful both on the personal and communal levels. It should guide the individual and society in life, in order to fulfill the stated purpose. The guidance would most likely be in the form of directives, prohibitions and laws, and together they would describe an interrelated, harmonious system of life that meets the needs of all sectors of society.
7. The message should explain the consequences of implementing or neglecting it (otherwise, what is the point in sending a message?). It should present clear and meaningful warnings and promises, and explain the mechanism for judging one’s success or failure. The rewards should naturally be attractive incentives and the warnings strong deterrents, otherwise there would be no reason to fulfill the purpose of life (doing God’s will) and follow the guidance offered, which would belittle God and His wisdom, authority and power.
8. With the part of God and the messenger complete, it is up to the people to apply the message. Over time, the message would likely have been misunderstood, neglected, lost or even intentionally altered to suit certain individuals. And so it is conceivable that God communicated with many messengers throughout time out of necessity to remind us of His message to us. However, all true messages from God would necessarily be compatible in describing God and stating the purpose of our creation, even though the context or cultural and environmental interpretation could vary.
9. This leads us to the conclusion that the most ancient messages are likely to have been the most corrupted through time. Therefore, it is logical that the most recent message is also the closest to the truth, as it would have been sent to replace the previously corrupted messages. The most recent message may even have descriptions of the previous, now corrupted, messages, and would both correct misinformation and alert the reader not to be misled by them.
This, to me, is really simple and logical. It answers so many questions and points the direction for discovering the truth. If you want a head start in your search, consider these verses from the Quran. “You receive the Quran directly from the One (God) who is All-Wise, All-Knowing” (27:6); “And We (God) have not sent down the Book to you (Muhammad) except that you may explain clearly to them those things about which they differ, and a guidance and mercy to people who believe” (16:64); and “We have given all kinds of examples to people in this Quran so that hopefully they will pay heed” (39:27).